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Frontispiece. "Seepage io6.
AND OTHER STORIES.
BY T. S. ARTHUR.
J. M. STODDART & CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
J. M. STODDART &- CO.,
In the Offce of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
WSTCOTTr & THOMSON, SHERMAN & CO.,
r~fotypers and Electrotypers, PhLlada. Printers.
THE-WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND .... ...... 9
THE SQUIRREL HUNT .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 53
NEDDY HARRIS .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 55
ONE OF BABY'S TEACHERS .. .... 79
EASTER EGGS .. .. 83
HOW BOBBY RYAN CAME NEAR BEING DROWNED ...... 89
BE A GOOD GIRL .. .. ........... ....92
THE SNOW STORM ..... ............ 96
GOD'S ACRE .. .. .. .... .. .. oc
THE WHITE ROSE ..... ........ .... 104
THE NEW SCHOLAR .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. o6
THE SISTERS .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. -.. .. io8
KATIE'S RIDE DOWN HILL .. .. .. ... .. .. 113
CHRISTMAS IS COMING .. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. g9
DON'T CRY OVER SPILLED MILK .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 132
TIRED OF READING ... .... .... .. .. .. .. 136
THE YOUNG SOLDIER ... .. .141
THE NEW SCHOLAR ......... Frontispiece.
GRETCHEN'S VISIT ... .. ........... ...
EASTER EGGS .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 15
BOBBY RYAN'S DELIVERANCE .... ..............25
THE RUINED CASTLE .. .. .. .. .. .. .... 35
THE SQUIRREL HUNT .. .... .. .. .. ... 51
NEDDY THINKS .. .. .. .. .. .. .56
BRAIN FOOD ......... ............ 63
NEDDY FISHING .................. ...... 68
THE YOUNG SOLDIER .......... .... ...... 71
WASN'T GOD VERY GOOD TO LET US HAVE HIM? .. ...... 79
FANNY IS NOT GOOD .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 84
BE A GOOD GIRL .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 93
I'M SO DISAPPOINTED .... .. ........... 97
HARRY DELIGHTED .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 98
8 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
GOD'S ACRE .. .. .. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. 101
THE WHITE ROSE .. .. .. .... .. .. .. .. .... o104
LOVING SISTER AND SWEET PET BROTHER :. .. .... .. no
COASTING, OR DOWN HILL .. .. .. ........ ..15
CHRISTMAS MORNING .. .. .. .. .. .. .... 123
TIRED OF READING .... ........ .. .... .... 137
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
'M going to tell you about a child who lived a great
many years ago in a far-away country-a little de-
4 formed and homely child. When only two years old,
she fell and hurt herself very badly and had to lie in
Sbed a long time. A great hump grew on her back, her
breast-bone was pushed out and her head was drawn down
between her shoulders. Her face lost its healthy color and
roundness, and had a pale, pinched look that was sad to see.
She was unlovely in all eyes save the eyes of her widowed
mother, who lived, in a mean little cottage, for they were very
poor. The child's name was Elsie.
One gloomy day in mid-winter, when the air was full of snow
and the lorth winds rushing and roaring through the great
forest, a woodman, in passing the poor widow's cottage, noticed
that no smoke came out of the chimney, and he said to him-
10 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
"What does this mean? I must stop and see. The widow
Hermann may be sick."
So he turned aside and knocked at the door. But as no one
bade him come in, he lifted the latch and entered the cottage.
How cold and still it was! No fire on the hearth and no sign
Then he pushed open a little chamber door, and saw a sight
that drew tears to his eyes. On the bed, with a white but
peaceful face, lay the widow Hermann, and close beside her
was Elsie-the mother in the land of spirits, the child in the
land of dreams. For a moment or two the woodman stood
gazing at the two pale faces, and then turned noiselessly away
and left the cottage. His own poor hut was nearly'half a mile
distant, and he ran all the way through the blinding snow.
"Oh, Felice," he cried, in a panting voice, as he swung open
the door of his hut, "the widow Hermann is dead!"
"Well," answered Felice, coldly, "we've all got to die one
time or another. It's her time now, that's all."
"But," said the woodman, "I found her dead in her cottage.
I was going by and saw no smoke coming from the chimney,
and so r went in to see what was the matter, and there she lay
dead, with little Elsie asleep by her side. Such a sight! I
haven't got over it yet!" And the man shivered.
Now, Felice was not tender of feeling like her husband, but
a cold, selfish, hard-hearted woman.
"It's no matter of ours," she answered. "Let somebody
else find it out."
At this the woodman got angry and spoke roughly to his
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. II
wife, calling her evil names. A violent quarrel ending in blows
would have followed had not a little old woman with a wrinkled
face, her cloak white with snow, pushed open the door of their
hut and cried, reproachfully,
"For shame, good neighbors !"
"Why, Gretchen 1" said the woodman, in surprise, turning to
the small, quaint figure that stood in the door. "It's no day
for you to be out."
cheery. All days are alike to me when there's good to be
Where are you going ?" asked the woodman.
To the widow Hermann's. She was sick yesterday. And
"I'm neither salt nor sugar," answered the woman, with a
strange little laugh that had in it something pleasant and
cheery. "All days are alike to me when there's good to be
"Wheie are you going?" asked the woodman.
"To the widow Hermann's. She was sick yesterday. And
12 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
SHans Gobreight, who drove by her cottage this morning, says
he didn't see any smoke coming out of her chimney."
Felice and her husband exchanged glances.
"Then I'll go with you," said the woodman.
"Ah! that's good!" exclaimed old Gretchen. "You were
always a- kind neighbor."
The woodman spoke in low tones to his wife, but she
"I wonder at you, Paul, when you know I'm cramped and
aching with rheumatism! It would be the death of me to go
out on a day like this."
Then she drew her husband aside and said to him in a low
Mind ye, Paul, and don't bring that ugly Elsie home with
you I won't have her."
The woodman and the little old woman, Frau Gretehen,
went in the thickly-falling snow to the lonely cottage on the
roadside. They found everything just as when Paul was there
an hour before-the mother in the land of.spirits and Elsie in
the land of dreams-but did not waken the child until a fire
was kindled. Then Paul lifted her up tenderly, and carried
her out of the chamber where she had been sleeping beside
her dead mother.
Poor little Elsie! Homely, deformed and almost helpless,
what was to become of her? As the woodman held her in his
*arms he thought of this, and a sad feeling came into his heart.
He looked into her pinched, colorless face, and it was unlovely
in his eyes-nay, almost repulsive. The hump on her back
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 13
came sharply against his breast and made him shiver. He was
about putting her down on the floor, so strong was the feeling
of dislike that came over him, when her soft little hand was
laid on his, touching it gently as a falling snow-flake, but with
a living -warmth that seemed to dissolve and run down to his
heart, making it glow with a new and tender delight.
The arm that was relaxing tightened its hold on Elsie, and
she was drawn closer against the woodman's breast. What did
this mean ? The little baby-fingers-for they were small as a
baby's-still rested on Paul's great rough hand, and the current
of love kept running down to his heart, and thrilling it with a
strange pleasure such as he had never known. And now,
when he looked into the pale, wan face, it did not seem repuls-
ive; nay, its very homeliness was gone, and in its stead he
saw something soft and pure and tender that won his love. It
was a wonderful transformation.
Old Gretchen came out from the chamber of death, and
stood for a while looking at the child, who was still held closely
against the woodman's heart.
"Take the baby home, good neighbor," she said, "and then
go for the Sisters."
"I will take her to the Sisters," answered Paul.
But Gretchen said,
"No, no! Felice and you are childless. Take her home."
Then Gretchen put warm garments around Elsie to protect
her from the snow and cold, and the woodman carried her to
his hut. When Felice saw him enter with the child in his arms,
she flew into a great passion.
14 WONDERFUL STORY OF. GENTLE HAND.
"Why did you bring the ugly wretch here ?' she cried.
"Take her to the Sisters !" And she waved her hand toward
The poor child shrank in terror against the woodman's
breast. One little soft hand lay in his, and the magic of its
touch filled his heart with love and courage.
Paul did not heed his wife, but sat down with the child in his
arms, and commenced taking off the thick wrappings that old
Gretchen had put round her.
"Take her away! Take her away!" cried Felice, more
angrily. "Take her to the Sisters !"
But Paul answered firmly: No, Felice. We will keep the
poor little thing. She has no mother now, and you will be a
mother to her."
On hearing this the woman became more enraged, and
threatened to fling Elsie out into the snow if her husband did
not take the child off instantly.
And now a wonderful thing happened. Elsie struggled out
of the kind arms that held her, and standing before the woman,
touched one of her hands gently. A quick change was seen in
the woman's face. An angry word died half spoken on her
tongue. She stood very still, though a moment before her body
swayed with passion.
The child's soft hand rested on the woman's hand so lightly
that it seemed like down. A long silence. Then Felice said
in a voice that trembled with feeling,
"Poor little one!" And stooping down, she gathered the
child into her arms and kissed her pale face with motherly ten-
See zage 86.
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.' 17
derness. As she did so, the hand of Elsie was laid on her face,
and it seemed as if a new life came out of the hand, warm and
sweet, and full of tenderness and love.
"We will keep her, Paul," said his wife, "and I will be a
mother to her."
Did Elsie know of the strange power that lay in her small
hand? I think she did. It was soft and weak as a baby's, and
yet so wonderfully strong that its touch could change anger
into love. What a gift it was! Better for her, poor little
motherless one! deformed in body and unlovely in counte-
nance, than to have been the-possessor of great riches, for gold
does not bring love-love, the best and sweetest thing in life.
Leaving Elsie with his wife, the woodman went through the
fast-falling snow to the convent not far off, and told the Sisters
of poor widow Hermann's death, as Gretchen had desired him
to do, and then returned home, for he felt troubled about Elsie,
knowing his wife's hardness and bad temper. He would not
have been greatly surprised if he had found little Elsie shiver-
ing in the snow outside of his hut. The magic of her touch he
did not yet understand. He had felt its power, yet' did not
perceive clearly from whence it came. The love born of that
touch was very sweet, but his dull mind did not see how, like
an electric current, it had leaped from her fingers to his heart,
and from her fingers to the heart of Felice.
Paul did not find Elsie lying in the snow outside of his hut,
but fast asleep, with her head resting peacefully on the bosom
of Felice, who raised her fingers in silent warning as he entered,
and then let her eyes fall with a gaze of tenderness on the
18 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
child, whose soft hand lay closely shut within one of her own.
Paul came and sat down by his wife, and bent lovingly over the
sleeping little one.
"She isn't at all homely," whispered Felice, gazing down at
the poor pinched face. I never saw such beautiful hair ;" and
she lifted some of it on her fingers. "It is like spun gold!
And such soft skin, Paul! I've been looking at it for ever so
long. See how the blue veins run across her temples and over
her eyelids and down her white neck! Oh, I think her almost
handsome, Paul. We will keep her. She shall be ours-our
own Elsie, if she is deformed, poor little one !"
And Felice could not help kissing the child just as a fond
mother would have done. Elsie's large eyes opened, and she
looked wonderingly and half frightened into the faces bending
over her. They were so full of love that her heart took cour-
age and the scared look vanished.
The child did not ask for her mother, but by her sorrowful
face and eyes every now and then filling with tears, it was plain
to the woodman and his wife that Elsie knew her mother was
dead, and the pity they felt made them love her the more.
Now, the Sisters at the convent, when they heard that Elsie
had been taken home by Paul, said one to another,
"This will never do. Felice is cold, selfish and cruel, and
will be unkind to the child. She must come into the convent
as one of God's poor."
And they sent two of their number to the woodman's hut to
bring Elsie away.
The stormy day was drawing to its close. Felice was busy
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 19
getting supper, and Paul sat near the fire with Elsie on his
knee. There w'as a rap-on the door, and the two Sisters from
the convent, their black garments covered with snow, entered
and said to Paul and his wife:
"We have come for little Elsie."
"And will go back without her!" answered Felice, bashing
up angrily and going quickly over to where Paul sat with the
child. She had no respect for any one nor fear of any one
when her will was crossed.
"Her mother is in heaven, and she is one of God's poor
who are given into our care," said the Sisters, gently.
"God has given her into our care, good Sisters," spoke out
Paul, mildly but firmly. "She is our child now, and we will
love her as our own."
As Felice stood by her husband and Elsie, her eyes full of
angry defiance, like some wild beast whose young were threat-
ened, the Sisters saw a strange thing that filled them with
wonder. A little hand reached out and laid itself gently on
the woman's hand. Then the fire went out of her eyes, the
hardness and anger from her lips, and a motherly tenderness
and softness stole over her countenance. Stooping down, she
kissed the child fondly, then lifted her into her arms. Elsie
laid her head with a low murmur of satisfaction against the
bosom of Felice, and looked into the eyes that were bent upon
her with love and confidence.
"It is kind in you to come for her, good Sisters," said Felice,
in so changed a voice that they marveled still more, "but she
is our child, and we cannot let her go, because we love her."
20 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
The Sisters went back to the convent, wondering at what
they had seen and heard, and unable to understand its mean-
That night, after Elsie was asleep, Paul and his wife sat talk-
ing together, and soon fell into their old bad habit of speaking
roughly to each other. Felice had a very sharp tongue, the
thrust of which Paul could not always stand, and so they often
got to quarreling. Their loud and angry voices soon awoke
the child, who started up in affright. But love quickly over-
came her fear. In an instant, gliding like a spirit across the
floor, she .was. at the side of Felice, her soft hand resting on
that of the angry woman, and the sweetness and gentleness of
her own pure heart going in warm currents to that of the other.
Ah! we have the secret of Elsie's power now. It was love.
The reaching forth of her hand was only an effort to give of
her love with all its gentle sweetness, and the touch of that
hand was like a good deed, full of blessing.
Anger went out like a candle blown on suddenly, and peace
came in where passion had ruled a moment before. The wood-
man and his wife grew dumb in the presence of a child.
It was known to all the neighbors far and near that the
woodman's wife was a hard and passionate woman, and when
they heard that Elsie had gone to live with her, every one pit-
ied the child and said that her life would be wretched. What
was their surprise when it was told by one and another who
happened to call in at the woodman's hut that Elsie was happy
in her new home, and that Felice was kind and loving to her as
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 21
The Sisters told what they had seen, and this neighbor and
that told what she had seen, and all agreed that the child had
some wonderful power in her hands, for at their softest touch
the fire had been seen to go out of angry faces. Soon the
neighbors began to speak of the child as "Gentle Hand," and
the fame of her magic touch spread far and wide, until it came
to the ears of a lady, the wife of a great lord, who lived in a
castle. Now, the name of this lady was Margaret, and she
had five children-two sons and three daughters-and there
was strife among these children always, so that the lady had
no comfort with them, but was, on account of this strife, almost
When the Lady Margaret heard of Gentle Hand and the
strange power of her softest touch-how it subdued anger and
filled all hearts with kindness and love-she said to herself, "I
must see this wonderful child, and if all be true that is told of
her, I will bring her'home to the castle and set her among my
So she went in her carriage almost a day's journey to the
woodman's hut-for she lived a long way off-to see Elsie, or
'Gentle Hand, as we must call her. Now, it happened that on
this very day Felice had died, after a sudden illness that lasted
only a few hours, and when the Lady Margaret came to the
woodman's hut she found death and sorrow therein.
"Is there a child here called Gentle Hand?" she asked of
Paul, who met her at the door of his poor hovel.
There is a child here called Elsie," answered the wondering
22 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
"May I see her?" said the Lady Margaret as she stepped.
down from her carriage.
Paul made a sign for her to enter, and in the next moment
she stood in the presence of the dead woman, who had been
laid out by the Sisters, two of whom sat near the body. A
child with a wan, shrunken, almost repulsive face looked up as
she came in, and gazed at her through tearful eyes.
"That is Elsie," said the woodman.
"You have another child here?" said the lady.
Only Elsie," replied the woodman with a sorrowful tender-
ness that did not escape the lady's notice.
Lady Margaret was silent for some moments. She felt
greatly disappointed: This she thought was not the child in
search of whom she had come. so far. There had been some
mistake. Then she, asked about the dead wife of Paul, and
while the Sisters answered her questions she held out her hand
in pity toward Elsie, but the child did not move.
"Will you not come and speak to me ?" asked the lady.
"Go to her, Elsie," said the Sisters.
Then the child went slowly across to where the Lady
Margaret sat, and laid one of her soft little hands in that which
had been stretched out to her.
The Sisters, who were looking at Lady Margaret, saw her
face flush and change. She fixed her gaze in a searching kind
of way on the child's countenance, while a tender light began
to shine in her eyes.
"Is this the child they call Gentle Hand?" she asked, in a
subdued voice, looking at the Sisters.
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 23
"Many call her Gentle Hand," they replied.
Then the lady, moved, it seemed, by a feeling she could not
control, stooped over Elsie and kissed her lips and forehead
with loving tenderness. The soft hand with its magic touch
still lay in hers, and now she held it tightly.
Will you go home and live with me ?" asked the lady.
Elsie drew away quickly and went over to the side of Paul,
who was standing by his dead wife. Paul, who had heard what
the lady said, took up Elsie and held her for a little while
closely to his breast. Then crossing the room, he laid her
light and tiny form in the arms of Lady Margaret, saying as
he did so, in a broken voice:
My poor hut is no place for her now."
Rising quickly, ere Elsie could object the lady bore her out
to her carriage, and a moment after they were driven rapidly
Bewildered, passive, helpless, the child made no resistance,
but sat very still on the cushioned seat opposite the lady. It
seemed to her that all this was a dream, and that she would
soon awaken. Her heart was full of sorrow for Felice, who
had been kind to her as a mother.
The Lady Margaret saw the sorrow in her homely little face,
and pity, mingled with a strange yearning love, stirred her
heart, so she reached out her hand and said:
Come and sit beside me."
As Elsie moved to obey she grasped the extended hand. In
the next moment she was lifted into Lady Margaret's arms and
drawn closely to her bosom, a new, strange feeling darting
24 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
through her. The magic touch of the child's hand had sent a
quick thrill of tenderness to her heart.
"Is it a fairy child ?" said the lady to herself, wonderingly, "or
an angel disguised in a poor, deformed body ?"
It was an angel disguised, or rather imprisoned, in a body of
flesh. The lady's thought had reached the truth.
Every moment, as the hand of Elsie continued to rest in
hers, the Lady Margaret felt her love grow deeper and
stronger. Looking down upon the child's face, it seemed to
change in her eyes; the pale skin had a semi-transparent tex-
ture and a warmth of color as from light within. The features
lost their pinched aspect, rounding to a softer fullness. What
was homely, almost repulsive, a little while before, now put on
a garment of beauty.
Nor was all this a mere fancy. Part of the transformation
was real. If the purity and innocence of Elsie, with whose
spirit angels dwelt in close companionship, though she knew it
not, made itself felt in other hearts by the touch of her hand,
the love she awakened by this touch.came back in returning
currents to her own heart, and thence flushed her face, giving
it a semblance of beauty.
The.lady bent over Elsie and kissed her on lips and cheeks
"Will, you love me?" asked the child, putting up-her small
arms and clasping them around the lady's neck.
Yes, if you will go home with me and be like one of my
own children," answered the Lady Margaret, again kissing her
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WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 27
"Will they love me ?" asked Elsie, a shadow falling across
her face as she looked down at her. poor garments.
For a little while the lady did not speak. Ah, too well she
knew that no love awaited the child! But then, as she felt the
soft arms clasping her neck, she said in her heart, She is an
angel, and where an angel dwells there will be love."' Speak-
ing aloud she answered:
"Love brings- love. Oh yes! They cannot help loving
Elsie gazed long into the tender eyes that bent over her;
then her head sank upon the Lady Margaret's bosom, and as
the carriage rocked her gently like an infant in a cradle; she
Lord Hubert, the husband of Lady Margaret, was a bold,
passionate, wicked man, feared by all over whom he had any
power. Carl, his oldest son, a boy of fifteen, had all the bad
qualities of his father, and was as active in stirring up strife at
home as his father too often was among his neighbors. Helen,
younger by two years than Carl, was self-willed and exacting,
and Ursula, ten years of age, had a fiery temper that. no dis-
cipline or punishment had been able to restrain. Hubert,
seven years old, and Lilli, in her fifth summer, took from their
mother more of her gentle character than the rest, but their
lives were often made miserable by their older brothers and
sisters, who took an evil delight in tormenting them.
Into such a home as this the Lady Margaret brought the
unlovely crippled child. Gentle Hand was sound asleep
among the cushions in the carriage when they arrived, long
28 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
after nightfall, at the castle, and a servant was ordered to lift
her softly and to carry her to one of the chambers.
Lord Hubert had grown impatient at his wife's long absence,
and met her with angry words. The children had been quarrel-
ing among themselves, as usual, and filled her ears with ,com-
plaints and accusations.
"Where have you been?" demanded her husband, a dark
frown on his face, as soon as they were alone.
The Lady Margaret answered truly that she had been a long
distance in search of a child about whom she had heard strange
things, and that she had found the child and brought her.home,
but she did not saywhat the strange things were.
At this Lord Hubert grew more angry, and said that he
would not have other people's children brought into the castle
without his consent. Lady Margaret pleaded with him, but
this only made him the more violent.
"Where is the child?" he demanded.
The Lady Margaret took him into the chamber where the
servant had borne Gentle Hand, and they found the weary
child lying asleep on the bed.
"The fright!" cried Lord Hubert as his eyes rested on her
pinched and homely face. Gentle Hand started up at his
"Take her away!"' He spoke in stern command to a ser-
vant, who went quickly to the bed and lifted Gentle Hand in
her arms. But as the child clung about her neck and she felt
the touch of her soft hand, a strange thing happened. She
stood motionless for an instant, a gleam of surprise in her face,
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 29
and then she put the child back gently and with.a reverent air,
bending over and gazing upon her with looks of tenderest,
At this Lord Huoert became ftirious, and laying his hand on
the servant, drew her violently from the bed. Then' he caught
up the child, saying, in his cruel anger,
I will throw her out of the window !" and strode across the
floor, meaning to do what he had said. But stopping suddenly, a
look half of wonder, half of fear, on his bold, bad face, he gazed
down at the child. Lady Margaret, who had started forward
with a cry of terror, stood still also, and looking closely, saw
that a hand of Elsie's was clinging tightly to one of Lord
What a moment of joy for the heart of Margaret! Tears
gushed from her eyes. She clasped her hands together, and
looking upward, gave thanks to God.
As for Lord Hubert, he seemed to himself to be in a dream.
Suddenly all anger toward this child had gone out of him, and
in its stead there had come into his heart a tender feeling, like
that of a mother for her baby.
"Don't be afraid, my poor child," he said, in so changed a
voice and with so changed a manner that it seemed to those
that heard him as if another man were speaking; "I will not
harm a hair of your head."
Then looking toward Lady Margaret, who was crying for joy,
"What is her name ?"
"She is called Gentle Hand," was the answer.
30 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
Gentle Hand! Gentle Hand !" And Lord Hubert looked
more bewildered as he repeated the name.
Then the Lady Margaret went up close to her husband, and
speaking softly in his ear, so 'that the child could not hear her
"I think she is an angel."
A shade of reverence, not unmingled with fear, passed over
the bold's man's' face. He made a movement to lay Gentle
Hand on the bed from which he had taken her, but as he did
so she turned and clung to him, saying, "Won't you love me?"
in tones that sounded sweet to his ears.
Love flooded his heart with a passionate tenderness not to be
repressed, and drawing the child close to his bosom; he held
her there for a long time. Then he kissed her fondly, answer-
ing, as he laid her back upon the bed,
"Oh yes I will love you."
A heavenly smile lit up the face of Gentle Hand, and her
eyes were bright as stars.
The words that Lady Margaret had spoken, "I think she is
an angel," made a deep impression on Lord Hubert. As he
stood looking down upon her, a soft light seemed to spread
over an I around her face, and all the features to change into
lineaments of beauty. The tender reverence felt for her a
little while before grew stronger, and when Lady Margaret
said, in a low voice, She has been sent to us from heaven," he
felt that it was so.
On the next morning, as Carl, the eldest son of Lord Hu-
bert, was coming down the great stone staircase that led to the
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 31
hall, he saw his little sister Lilli on one of the landings, sitting
by the side of a strange child. Now, Carl was a born tyrant,
and never let an opportunity for oppressing or annoying any
one pass unimproved. The sight of a poor little hunchback
with a pale, unlovely face, instead of touching his heart with
pity, filled him with an evil desire to give her pain.
"Ho!" he cried, in a harsh, cruel voice, and springing
down the stairway, stood in front of the children, grinning and
frowning at them by turns, and trying to frighten the little
Go away, Carl, you bad boy !" said Lilli as she jumped up
and stood between her brother and Gentle Hand.
"Oh what a fright! Where did she come from? Who is
she ? I'll get a cage and show her off like a bear or an ape."
And Carl, as he said this, took hold of Lilli and tried to push
her away, so that he might come close up to Gentle Hand.
But Lilli, gentle and sweet as she was by nature, had a, brave
young heart, and now that her cruel brother talked of putting
this poor little stranger into a cage, all fear left her, and she
stood bravely in front of Gentle Hand, and resisted the efforts
of Carl to thrust her aside. Then he grew very angry, and
his loud voice rang up the stairway and along the halls, reach-
ing even to the chamber where his father lay sleeping, and
arousing him from slumber. In vain were all dear little Lilli's
brave efforts to protect Gentle Hand from the rude assaults of
her brother. Carl, maddened by her resistance, dragged her
fiercely away, and threatened to fling her down the stairs.
Frightened more for Gentle Hand than herself, Lilli, as soon
32 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
as she could get free from Carl, ran wildly to her father's cham-
ber, and as she flung open the door cried,
Oh come! Come quickly! Carl is going to put a poor
little lame girl in a cage. Oh, don't let him, for she's good."
Then Lord Hubert knew that it was Gentle Hand of whom
Lilli spoke; and he ran out into the hall and across to the stair-
way. All was silent now. Lord Hubert bent over the balus-
trade, and looking down, saw a sight that made his heart. leap
and then tremble down into a strange stillness. Carl stood, as
fixed as a statue, just in front of the child, looking upon her
with a tender surprise in his face. She had reached out one
of her hands, that lay softly on one.of his. Lady Margaret
was by his side looking down also at the group below them.
"The good God has sent an angel into our house," she whis-
pered as she gazed upon Lord Hubert with tearful eyes.
Lord Hubert did not answer, but went back to his chamber,
saying, in his heart,
"It must be an angel.'
And now a new feeling came into his heart, and he was able'
to perceive in goodness a beauty and desirableness never seen
before. As he thought of the power that lay in the touch of
this child, his wonder increased. What could it all mean ?
The power of a strong right arm wielding a sword, a spear
or a battle-axe was something he could understand. But here
was a mystery that baffled him, and the more he thought about
it, the more he was puzzled.
Below all this wonder and bewilderment lay a sense of
pleasure so new to Lord Hubert that, as he thought of it, won-
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 33
der had a fresh increase. A state of feeling had been born in
his' soul, which, every time the image of Gentle Hand grew
distinct in his mind, moved him with a strong impulse to better
"Tell me all you know about this Gentle Hand," he said to
Lady Margaret, and she told him all she knew-how she had
heard strange stories about a child with such a wonderful
touch that it not only made every one love her, but changed
anger into- gentleness, and how she had gone a long way to
see this child, and found everything she had heard about her
And Lord Hubert said: "It is well. If she bring love and
peace to our castle, then is she sent of God."'
Never had Lady Margaret seen hinm so softened, or heard
him speak after this manner.
"It is a wonderful hand," Lord Hubert said, speaking as if
to himself. I can feel it now, sweet in its touch as a strain of
music to the ear, and as penetrating to the soul. Hark !"
A jangle of harsh voices rang through the hall-children's
voices, in which, louder than the rest, were those of Carl and
Helen. A shadow of pain fell over the face of Lady Margaret,
and one of anger over that of Lord Hubert, who strode out
from his chamber and down the great stairway to the hall
below, where he found Carl, Helen and Ursula in a fierce
quarrel. Carl had a heavy whip in his hand, and had just
raised the large end to strike Ursula, when, swift and silent as
a bird, Gentle Han'd came flying in among the angry children,
and, before Lord Hubert could spring forward and grasp the
34 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
arm of Carl, had, by a touch, made it weak for any cruel work
as an infant's.
Over the boy's face there spread a blush of shame, and he
said to Gentle Hand,
I was only in play."
And Gentle Hand answered him,
Don't even pretend; it is so dreadful to be angry and
A deep silence and peace fell on parents and.children as
they stood in the great hall, looking at the pale, shrunken,
deformed child, and all the eyes that looked upon her were full
One day, not long after Gentle Hand came to the castle,
Lord Hubert got into a great rage at Lady Margaret for some-
thing she had said or done. When he was in a passion he
always became violent, and sometimes gave cruel blows. On
this occasion he stormed about in a-threatening way, and Lady
Margaret was in terror at his wild passion. No one was near
them except Lilli, their youngest child, a sweet little tender-
Lilli looked frightened at first, but in a moment or two the
fear went out of her face.- Then there came over it a calm,
serious expression, and she went up to her father as she had
seen Gentle Hand do, and laid on him one of her little palms
that touched him as softly as a snow-flake.
Whether there was a heavenly magnetism in Lilli's touch, as
in that of Gentle Hand, or whether the act only surprised her
father, I cannot tell. but Lord Hubert's anger died out on the
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WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 37
instant. The dark blood that reddened his face went back to
his heart and left it almost pale. He stood for a few moments
like one who had been stunned by some unforeseen shock.
Then bending to Lilli, he lifted her in his arms and held her
closely against his breast.
"An angel has been long with us and we knew it not," he
said as he laid Lilli in her mother's arms, passing her the child
as a peace-offering.
A new joy and a new wonder were born in Lady Margaret's
heart as she took the child, murmuring as she did so, "My own
Gentle Hand!" A little while after she said, looking tenderly
into her husband's face,
"Love is sweeter than wrath."
"What mean you?" he answered.
Lady Margaret lifted one of his hands, and kissing it, said
"Love is sweeter than wrath.'.'
Then her meaning penetrated his thought, and a new light
broke upon him.
"This is sweeter," he replied as he kissed her lips and
cheeks with a fervor she had not known for many long years.
Wildly, passionately, were the arms of Lady Margaret thrown
about her husband's neck, and wildly, passionately, as in the
far-off time when he had wooed and won her as his bride, did
he return her loving caresses.
A new and better life was born in the heart of Lord Hubert
from that moment. He felt the first moving of higher im-
pulses and nobler desires.
38 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
"It is a great mystery," he said, speaking to Lady Margaret.
"I cannot make it out."
"The good God has sent an angel into our house," answered
Lady Margaret, "for only an angel could work so great a mir-
acle. Once-it is long ago-I heard an old monk tell my
father that a time would come when the lion would lie down
with the lamb and 'a little child lead them, and that time must
be coming now."
"It is all very wonderful," said Lord Hubert. "I cannot
understand it. How can the light- touch of a child's hand have
such mighty power?"
"Good wishes have power in good acts," said Lady Mar-
garet. "The will and the deed must go together, and it is
the hand that.does the good deed. Without the hand the will
has no power."
Lord Hubert mused for a long time, then replied,
"A little light comes into my mind, and yet I see but
"See what?" inquired Lady Margaret.
"See that love may be sweeter than anger, kindness better
than cruelty and good deeds nobler than violence."
"Oh, my husband!" exclaimed Lady Margaret in joyful sur-
prise, laying her head on his bosom. A little while she was
silent, then looking up into Lord Hubert's face, she asked,
"Who is noblest?"
He did not answer.
"God is noblest," said Lady Margaret, speaking low and
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 39
"Yes, noblest of all," replied Lord Hubert.
"No prince is so powerful," continued Lady Margaret.
Nope," said her husband.
"Nor so honored and revered, and yet he is good to all,
and kind even to the unthankful and the evil."
Lord Hubert answered only with a long-drawn sigh.
"To be truly great must we not be godlike?" asked Lady
Margaret. Princes and nobles are lifted above the people
and have power over them-power for good and power for
evil. They can be cruel and oppressive, filling the land with
violence, or wise and good, covering it with peace. Which is
best? Which is noblest?"
"To cover the land with peace, my gentle Margaret," an-
swered Lord Hubert.
"Alas for the people that our prince is cruel, an evil man
and full of violence !" said Lady Margaret, wondering within
herself at her boldness of speech, for her husband was a great
favorite with the prince, and had long been a man after his own
Lord Hubert did not answer, and Lady Margaret began to
fear that she had offended him, and to tremble in her heart
lest his anger should break forth into passionate words or per-
At this moment there came floating in upon them from afar
off the clear, rich notes of a bugle.
"It is the prince," exclaimed Lord Hubert, starting up.
SThe countenance of Lady Margaret flushed and then grew
pale, while a troubled look settled in her eyes.
40 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
"Is he coming to our castle ?" she asked.
"Yes. There is to be a grand hunt in the forest. I had
forgotten to tell you."
All now was hurry and excitement. Soon the prince, with
nobles, servants and retainers, came dashing up to the castle
gate, and entering, filled the courtyard with men and horses
richly dressed and gay with plumes and trappings.
"Welcome, my prince!" was the greeting of Lord Hubert,
who was proud of the honor conferred by this visit.:: Lady
Margaret received him with courtesy and deference, yet with a
coldness she was not able to conceal.
My lady is not warm in her welcome," said the prince as
he held the hand of Lady Margaret and looked boldly into her
eyes. How now? What does it mean?"
Our prince is always welcome," answered Lady Margaret,
and then asked,
"Is the young prince here ?"
A handsome boy, tall and graceful, with large, proud-looking
eyes, came forward and was warmly greeted by Lady Margaret,
while the prince looked on half pleased and half annoyed.
And now all was changed in and around the castle. Its dull
quiet gave way to sounds of mirth .and revelry, to the tramping
and clanging of horses' feet and the tumult of voices.
On the morning of the second day, that on which the grand
hunt was'to begin, there came a lady to the castle and asked
to see the prince. When this was told him, he frowned heavily
and denied the lady an audience. The truth was, the prince
had had a quarrel with the lady's husband, a noble of the land,
WONDERFUL STORY OF. GENTLE HAND. 41
and had violently seized his castle and given it to one of his
But the lady refused to leave the castle until she could get
audience with'her sovereign. Then the prince demanded of
Lord Hubert that she should be thrust out and driven away.
But Lord Hubert's heart had been touched by softer impulses,
and he was seeing in a new and better light. His prince was
wrong; he knew it and felt it. And so he ventured to speak
in favor of the lady and her husband. At this the anger of the
prince burned hotly, and there was danger of a sudden quarrel
between him and Lord Hubert, for both were fierce and un-
governable when ruled by passion. Lady Margaret saw the
rising storm, and vainly tried with gentle words to draw from
the clouds of wrath that darkened their souls the fierce light-
ning that was just ready to leap out in consuming flames. A
feud between her husband and the prince would, she knew, be
bitter and terrible.
A few of the prince's favorites drew closer around him with
dark and scowling faces, ready to draw their swords at a word,
while as many of Lord Hubert's friends and retainers ranged
themselves on his side.
At this a wild cry of fear and pain broke from the lips of
Lady Margaret-a cry so full of anguish that it thrilled every
heart, and made the fiercest pause on the threshold of strife.
The echoes of this cry had scarcely died along the halls, and
all was yet hushed in a deep silence, when the sound of little
feet was heard coming swiftly up the great stairway, pattering
like the fall of sudden rain, and a moment afterward a weird-
42 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
looking child, with large, tender, startled eyes, came hastily into
the midst of this company of angry men, each of whom stood
with his hand on his sword-hilt, ready for the shedding of
"Oh, Gentle Hand !" exclaimed Lady Margaret, in a tone of
such strange meaning that every one gazed at the child in
wonder, except the prince, on whose countenance disgust
mingled with cruel passion.
"Take her away!" he cried,, with angry impatience, but
scarcely had he spoken ere the child's hand was laid softly on
one of his hands, and he stood very still, with swift changes of
feeling trembling over his stern face and smoothing away its
savage lines. As if a vision had suddenly come before him
did he stand gazing down at the face upturned to his. And
now, taking courage and hope, Lady Margaret spoke out in a
sweet, firm voice, saying,
Oh, my prince, love is sweeter than anger, kindness better
than cruelty.and good deeds nobler than violence!"
Those who heard this speech trembled as they looked at the
prince, expecting an answer full of stormy wrath at language
so bold and so rebuking. But strange to tell, the swift changes
of his countenance went on as he stood with the child's hand
still resting on one of his hands, until it lost every trace of
sternness and evil passions, and became gentle almost as a
loving woman's. Then he stooped, and lifting the child in his
What is your.name ?"
I am Elsie," she answered, "but they call me Gentle Hand."
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 43
The prince looked at her small hands, stroking them with his
own, and then laid one of them against his face, toying with it
in a fond sort of way.
"It is a witch-child !" exclaimed a fierce noble, and drew his
"A witch-child!" cried two or three others, beginning to
crowd around the prince with angry scowls on their faces.
"An angel-child," answered Lady Margaret, speaking in
deep, impressive tones. "Put up your swords, my lords.
They are for the enemies of your prince, not for the mes-
senger Heaven sends to him on an errand of mercy."
The hands of the fierce nobles dropped weakly to their
sides, and they stood looking on with wonder-marked faces.
Then the lady who had come to ask justice pressed into the
midst, and kneeling before the prince, caught one of his hands,
and bowing her face upon it, cried,
Oh, my prince, be just and merciful!"
A thing happened then that was so strange to the men of
violence who stood around the prince that they were in amaze-
ment. When had he shown pity, or weakly consented to res-
titution ? But now, bending with princely grace, he said to the
"Arise, true wife of a brave and noble baron! Courage
and devotion like yours shall have their reward. I restore
castle and lands, rank and privileges, and let no man gainsay
At this the Lady Margaret spoke out in clear tones, repeat-
ing the sentence uttered a little while before:
44 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
Oh, my prince, love is sweeter than anger, kindness better
than cruelty and good deeds nobler than violence !"
Then the prince turned to her and answered in a subdued
It hath been proven to me this day."
And now all the bold men of his retinue came closer to the
prince, and one and another touched the child he still held in
his arms, and to all a new life seemed to pass. The stern
lines of their faces softened, their eyes had gentler meanings
in them, and they spoke to each other in a language that was
almost as new as a foreign tongue, so full was it of kindness
We said all the bold men of the prince's retinue, but there
was one exception. The favorite to whom the prince had
given the castle and lands he now restored was so full of rage
and disappointment that he could scarcely restrain himself.
Lord Hubert saw the pent-up anger of this man, and knew
that he would resist his prince and stir up strife among the
people. In the wild freedom of the chase for which they had
assembled, all the bad passions now under control might leap
into active life and kindle the fires of anger and hate, and
when these.are once kindled no man knoweth when they will
be put out, nor when destruction and sorrow will cease.
And so Lord Hubert, while yet the child was in their midst,
and while the heavenly sphere surrounding her yet penetrated
the souls of all and softened and humanized their feelings,
spoke out and said:
"Most honored prince, and you, brave nobles of the land, we
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 45
have fallen upon something new and strange. Hitherto, in
bright swords and strong arms only have we seen the emblems
of power. But to-day, in the touch of a little child, we find
these to be as nothing. The anger of our hearts, which has
been used to burn as a consuming fire, dies out at her breath.
What does it mean ? I think we have in our midst a messen-
ger from the great God whose subjects we are, and who holds
our lives every moment in his hands. Without him we are
nothing. Let us be wise and prudent, and consider this thing.
Most honored prince, and you, brave nobles of the land, we
are met for a grand hunt in the forest-for a wild, fierce revel.
Let us do another and a better thing. Let us hold a council
to consider the welfare of our people. We are lifted above
them, and have power over them for good or for evil. We can
be cruel and oppressive, filling the land with violence, or wise
and good, covering, it with peace. Which is best? which is
"To cover the land with peace!" spoke out Lady Margaret
in the silence that followed.
Then the prince bowed to her graciously, and thus answered
"Let it be -as my lords and barons 'shall say-a hunt or a
And in all that assemblage of bold men whose lives had been
spent in acts of violence and wrong not"one spoke against a
"It is well," answered the prince. "We will hold a council,
and for a new thing under the sun. Not to consider how we
46 WONDERFUL STORE Y OF GENTLE HAND.
may further oppress and wrong our people, but how we may
help them and do them good-not to decide questions of war
and violence, but questions of peace and. good-will."
Then the council met in order in the great hall of the castle,
and continued for two days, and for most.of the time Gentle
Hand sat near the prince, and often, when some noble spoke
up fiercely and the prince was .moved by sudden anger, the
hand of the child would rest softly upon him. and then the evil
fire would go out in his eyes and the anger from his counte-
The doings of this council were memorable in the land. A
new and better day dawned upon the people. Courts of justice
were established at which the humblest could bring his cause.
The poor and the weak were cared for and protected. Roads
were cut through dense forests and across mountains; and
bridges built over impassable streams. Nobles vied with their
prince and each other ingiving benefits to the people. And
they were all so much happier that even the men of violence
wondered at and approved the change.
Gentle Hand went home with the prince to his royal palace.
Thus it happened. After the second day of the council had
closed, and while the prince, with nobles and retainers, was in
the great banqueting-hall of the castle at dinner, two of the
nobles, being heated with wine, got into a quarrel and drew
their swords upon each other. It was in vain that the prince
commanded them to put up their swords. They heeded him
not, so fiercely burned their anger against each other.
Where is Gentle Hand ?" he asked of Lady Margaret, who
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 47
sat by his side. Already he had learned to reverence and trust
in her wonderful power to subdue human passions.
Even as the prince asked for the child, she came swiftly into
the banqueting-room, and went bravely up to the two angry
men, laying a hand upon each and lifting her bright but soft
and steady eyes to their faces. She did 'not speak a word, but
looked at them steadily. .Slowly the upraised swords went
down, and arms that a moment before thrilled with a giant's
strength were weak for evil deeds as a child's.
Then the prince rose up and said to Lord Hubert, before all
A gift so wonderful must-be from Heaven, and for the good
of all our people."
Lord Hubert bowed, but did not answer, for he knew what
was in the prince's thought.
Shall not the blessing lifted to your castle from a wood-
man's hut have a still wider sphere of influence, and go forth
from our palace to the whole land?"
Even as the prince said this, Gentle Hand came and stood
close to his side, and seeing her, he stooped down and lifted
her tenderly and reverently in his arms.
I will do no wrong," continued the prince, looking at Lord
Hubert and Lady Margaret; "I will not take her without your
consent; but for the good of our people I ask that -she may
dwell in the palace."
And all who were present urged warmly the prince's re-
Very hard was it for Lord Hubert and Lady Margaret to give
48 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
up the wonderful child, but they knew that if she dwelt with the
prince in his palace it would be better for all the people, and
that which was good for all would be good for each, whether
he were noble or peasant.
And so Gentle Hand was taken from Lord Hubert's castle
to the palace of the prince.
Now the princess was a proud and haughty woman, and her
life with the prince was not a happy one. Often there was
strife between them. When the- prince returned bringing
Gentle Hand with him, he had the child taken into the royal
chamber, where his wife sat among her maidens, and placing
her in the midst, he said:
"I have brought you a gift from Heaven, my gracious lady!"
Then, as the princess looked at the deformed child, with its
pinched, unlovely face, she grew hot with anger,' for she
thought it an insult. But the prince said, with unwonted gen-
tleness, as he lifted the child in his arms,
"I have spoken truly. It is a gift from Heaven."
And now one and another came round the prince curiously,
and looked at the child, but the princess stood at a distance
with a frowning brow. As one of the maidens leaned close to
Gentle Hand the child touched her. All who were looking
saw a quick motion of surprise in her countenance. Then she
held out her hand and took the child and drew it toward her
with a loving gesture.
"What mummery is this?" exclaimed the princess, in anger,
"Give me the child !"
Almost rudely she caught Gentle Hand from her maiden's
WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND. 49
arm. As she did so, all saw the anger die out of her face and
a look of wonder spread over it. Then, as if her strength had
departed, she sat down, still holding the child, and gazing upon
it in mute surprise.
What does it mean, my lord ?" she said, looking up at the
A good gift from Heaven, sent as a blessing to us and to
our people," answered the prince. Her name is Gentle Hand,
and there is more power in her softest touch than in the arm
of our bravest knight."
At this moment the young prince, who had returned with his
father, dashed into the chamber in a furious passion, followed
by a younger brother, with whom he had already quarreled.
Quick as thought Gentle Hand slipped from the arms of the
princess and was at the side of the young prince. A soft
touch of her small hand, and the raging boy stood motionless
as a statue, all the dark passion going out of his face. Then
he stooped and kissed her with a brother's loving kiss, saying
as he did so,
"I am glad you are going to live in the palace."
Such wondering looks as sat upon the faces of the princess
and her maidens were never, seen before.
And now a stranger thing happened. As they all stood
looking at the thin, pinched, weird face of Gentle Hand, its
straight lines seemed to bend in curves of beauty and the soft
flesh to take a rounder fullness on lips and cheeks. The great
humps on her back and breast seemed to grow smaller, and her
neck and head to lift themselves more gracefully above her
50 WONDERFUL STORY OF GENTLE HAND.
shoulders. All signs of homeliness faded out of her counte-
nance, and to the charmed eyes that now gazed intently upon
her she looked beautiful.
From this day forth the marvelous change went on. Softer
and rounder grew the lines of beauty in her face, and smaller
and smaller the unsightly hump on her shoulders and back,
until at last she stood straight and tall, as beautiful in form and
features as the loveliest princess in all the land.
All hearts drew toward her, and as by her heavenly power
she ruled all hearts, she became through -that power the ruler
and dispenser of good to all the people, though they knew it
not, nor saw the sign of her power, but gave honor and praise
and gratitude to their prince, who governed so justly and with
such a wise and generous regard for their welfare.
As years passed on, and Gentle Hand grew toward woman-
hood, she grew more and more lovely.
The fame of her beauty and goodness spread far and near,
and princes and nobles came to the palace to ask for her hand.
But Eric, the young prince, was deeply in love with her, and to
him she gave her heart, and they were married.
There was never a grander or a happier wedding than the
wedding of Gentle Hand and the young Prince Eric, and there
was never a happier people than the people of that land when,
on the death of Eric's father, the prince and Gentle Hand came
to rule over them.
THE SQUIRREL HUNT.
THE SQUIRREL HUNT.
GRAY squirrel was busy one pleasant autumn day
in gathering nuts and storing them up for winter in
the hollow of an old tree. A farmer was chopping
wood rnot far off, and his axe rang loudly through the
.' forest, but this sound did not trouble our squirrel, for
he had heard it often before, and knew that it meant no harm
But there came other sounds on the air-children's voices
and the barking of a dog. At this the squirrel started in
alarm. The children saw him and gave a loud shout, and the
two dogs that were with them went tearing after the frightened
animal, making the woods ring with their fierce yelpings.
The dogs were so close upon the poor squirrel when he saw
them that escape seemed almost impossible. But close by
there lay a hollow log, and into this he darted just as one of
the dogs was about seizing him.
"We've got you now, old fellow !" cried the children as the
dogs sprang into the hollow of the tree to seize the squirrel.
But Squirrel was not so easily caught. He was smaller than
the dogs, and could go in a great deal farther to keep out of
54 THE SQUIRREL HUNT.
their reach. The dogs barked and yelped and growled, but it
was of no use. Squirrel was safe from their teeth.
And now the farmer came up with his axe, and seeing how
it was, said to the children and dogs:
Just keep off a minute and I'll get him."
And so he raised his sharp axe and began cutting down into
What was that which struck him a smart tap on his head ?
Only a nut, dropped by Mr. Squirrel from the tree above him
where he sat looking down far away from danger. Squirrel
had been in that log many a time before, and knew just how to
get out of it at the other end. He had whisked through like a
flash, and was springing up into the tree at the very moment
when the dogs were looking for him in the dark hollow of the
The farmer cut away with his axe, not heeding the nut that
fell upon his head, but when he had laid the log open from end
to end no squirrel was to be .found.
You are glad Squirrel got away. I can see it, children, in
the pity and gladness that beam from your eyes.
E'VE had a good time, Tony, old fellow! haven't
we ?" said Neddy Harris, who was beginning to
feel tired with his half day's ramble in the woods
and fields. And as he said this he sat down on a
g hill-side that overlooked a pleasant valley, and from
which he could see the clusters of elms and maples that stood
around his home.
Tony replied to his young master by a short bark and a
knowing twist of his waggish little head, which was as near as
he could come to saying, "A first-rate time, Master Neddy!"
And then he seated himself also, and took a survey of the
country spread out beneath them. He looked very wise and
very sharp, as though he had charge of everything, and was on
the watch to see that nothing went wrong. What 'kind of
fancies played through his doggish brain I cannot tell, but I
think they had something to do with the supper that awaited
his arrival home.
S"A grand good time !" added the boy as his tired limbs felt
the comfort of a soft resting-place on the green turf. And
now," he continued, "as father says we should always do, I'll
56 NEDD Y HARRIS.
just go back and think over what I've done this holiday
afternoon, and if I forgot myself in anything, and went wrong,
it will be best for me to know it, so that I can do better next
So Neddy turned his thought backward, and read out of the
book of his memory what had been written down there by -an
invisible pen during the past few hours. Now, this book of
memory is a very wonderful book. Did you ever think of it?
Every instant of time in which we are awake, and often when
asleep, an invisible penman is writing in it every one of our
thoughts and actions, good or bad, and we have no power to
olot out the writing.
NEDD Y HARRIS. 57
"I'm sorry about that poor squirrel," said Neddy. He
never did me any harm. What a beautiful little creature he
was, with his bright black eyes and shiny skin !"
And the boy's face grew sad, as well it might, for he had
pelted this squirrel with stones from tree to tree, and at last
knocked him to the ground, when Tony, with one grip of his
sharp teeth, made an end of him.
"I don't blame Tony," said the boy. He's only a dog, and
doesn't know any better. But it was so cruel in me Now,
if' I live a hundred years, I'll never harm another squirrel.
God made these frisky little fellows, and they've just as much
right to live as I have."
Neddy felt better about the squirrel after this good reso-
lution, which he meant to keep.
"That was curious about the spider," he went on, trying to
push all thoughts of the dead squirrel from his mind. Let me
tell you about this spider. In the corner of a fence Neddy saw
a large circular spider's web, shaped like a funnel, down in the
centre of which was a hole. As he stood looking at the deli-
cate thing, finer than any woven silk, a fly struck against it and
got his feet tangled, so that he could not escape. Instantly a
great black spider ran out of the hole at the bottom of the
web, and seizing the poor fly, dragged him out of sight and
made his dinner off him.
"Try what you can do with this, you old black land-pirate !"
exclaimed Neddy, who pitied the fly, although he had just
helped his dog Tony to kill a harmless squirrel, and all for
sport. But, as we 'have seen, he was sorry for that cruel act,
58 NEDDY HARRIS.
and we only mention it here to show how quick we are to
blame others and forget our own wrong-doings. As Neddy
spoke, he dropped a piece of dry bark about the size of his
thumb nail into the web, and it slipped down and covered the
hole through which the spider had to come for his prey. In-
stantly the piece of bark was pushed up by the spider, who
came out of his den and ran around on the slender cords of
his web in a troubled kind of way. "Then he tried to get back
into his hidden chamber, but the piece of bark covered the
entrance like a shut door. And now Mr. Spider was in a
terrible flurry. He ran wildly up one side of his web and
down another; then he tugged at the piece of bark, trying to
drag it out, but its rough edges took hold of the fine silken
threads and tore them.
"You'll catch no more flies in that web, old chap!" said
Neddy as he stood watching the spider.
But Neddy was mistaken. Spider did not belong to the
give-up class. If the. thing could not be done in one way, it
might in another. He did not reason about things like human
beings, but then he had instinct, as it is called, and that teaches
animals how to get their food, how to build their houses or
make their nests, and how to meet the dangers and difficulties
that overtake them in life. After sitting still for a little while,
spider went to work again, and this time in a surprising way.
He cut a circle close around the piece of bark as neatly as you
could have done it with a pair of sharp scissors, and, lo it
dropped to the ground, leaving a hole in the web about the size
of a ten-cent piece.
NEDD Y HARRIS. 59
"Rather hard on the web, Mr. Land-pirate!" said Neddy,
laughing. Flies can go through there as well as chips."
When he called the. spider a land-pirate, Neddy was wrong.
2He was no more a pirate-that is, one who robs and murders
-than is the woodpecker and swallow, for they feed on worms
;and insects. The spider was just as blameless in his work of
catching and eating flies as was Neddy's white bantam when
she went off into the fields after grasshoppers.
But Neddy's laugh at the spider was soon cut short. The
most difficult part of his work was done when he got rid of
*the piece of bark. As soon as that was out of his way, he
Began moving backward and forward over the hole he had
'cut in the web, just as if he were a weaver's shuttle, and in
about ten minutes it was covered with gauzy lacework finer
than ever was worn by a queen.
"I'll give it up, old fellow !" exclaimed Neddy, taking a long
breath as he saw the work completed. "This just beats me
out!" Spider crept down into his den again to wait for an-
other fly, and Neddy, whistling to Tony, went on his way
pleased and wondering.
"I'm glad I didn't take the eggs out of that hanging bird's-
nest," Neddy said to himself as he sat thinking over what he
had done during his afternoon's holiday. "I. wanted to so
badly, but then I thought of the dear little birds that would be
hatched if I left them in the nest. An egg is a pretty thing,
but what is an egg to a bird? all alive and so beautiful! And
I'm glad I put up Farmer Glenn's bars that somebody left
down. He might have had ever so much trouble about his
60 NEDD Y HARRIS.
cattle. I wasn't going to do it at first, for I said, It's none of
my business.' But then I remembered hearing father say once
that it was everybody's business to be kind and thoughtful of
their neighbors, .and to see that no harm came to them that we
could help. And father's always right about these things."
So Neddy talked on with himself, until he had gone over all
he had done during his afternoon in the woods and fields. For
the stone he threw at a frog he was sorry. It didn't hit him,
and I'm glad of that," he said, by way of comfort. For the
pail of water he drew from the well for a poor old woman who
looked too weak to turn the wheel, and for the lamb he had
taken back to the field from which it had strayed, he felt well
satisfied with himself.
"It's the good we do that makes us happy, father says, and
the wrong we do that makes us unhappy. And now I under-
stand just what he means. If it had not been for killing that
dear little squirrel I'd go home feeling all right, but that wor-
ries me. Now, Tony !" And he sprang from the ground, and
ran swiftly down the hill, as if trying to flee. away from all
thoughts of the dead squirrel.
Neddy Harris was one of your well-meaning boys who
wished to do right, and if he found himself wrong, he was
sorry for it, and tried to do better next time.
Play is a help, not a hindrance, to study. But then play and
study must each have its own time. The trouble with some
boys is that they wish to play in study hours.
Neddy Harris was as fond of play as any one, and when he
NEDDY HARRIS. 61
did play, it was in earnest. He took his full measure of enjoy-
ment. And he was able to do this because his mind was free
from all thought about lessons. He never dropped his ball in
the midst of his play, as I have seen some boys do, and ex-
"Oh dear! I haven't got one word of my lessons yet, and I
shall be kept in again to-morrow if I miss a line," and then
scamper off home to the drudgery instead of the pleasure of
"You don't call study a pleasure I hear a little reader say,
in a tone of surprise.
Why not? Isn't eating a pleasure?
"Eating!" You look amazed, my little friend, as if I were
half in jest. But I am not.
"What has- eating to do with studying?" you ask, looking
serious, because you see that I am in earnest. Did you never
hear of food for the mind ?
Oh yes," you say, in ready answer.
Well, what is food for the mind? Now you look just a trifle
puzzled. But it's all as plain as day, if you, will think for a
moment. There's your little sister. A year ago she could
just stand alone; now she runs about and goes up and down
stairs almost as easily as. you can. How does it happen that
she has grown larger and stronger? All is easily explained.
She has had food to eat, and this food has been turned into
blood and flesh and bone, making her bigger and stronger day
But something else has happened, and I want to hear your
62 NEDD Y HARRIS.
explanation of that. A year ago her mind was so feeble' that'
she only understood the meaning of a few words; now she
talks quite plainly, and thinks as well as talks. In fact, her
mind has grown as well as her body. Now, what made. her-
mind grow? Not the food that went into her mouth. That:
couldn't have done it. Dogs and cats eat, but their minds;
don't grow. They never become wise like men and women.
Her mind grew from what she learned. That is the explana-.
tion. The knowledge of things was her mental food, and to
know or learn was to eat this mental food. And I think you
will say that she often took as much delight in eating the food
that made her mind grow as she did in eating the food that
made her body grow. Don't you remember how eagerly she
listened when you told her about the birds building nests and
laying little speckled 'eggs in them, out of which came dear
little birds not so big as young chickens ? You were feeding
her mind then, and she enjoyed the taste of the food you gave
her as much as she ever enjoyed her bread and milk.
"I never thought of that!" you say, a pleasant light falling
over your face.
There are a great many interesting things passing in us and
around us all the while -of which we can know nothing unless
we stop to think. Let me ask you another question. Have
you never felt as much pleasure in reading about the wonder-
ful things of nature as your little sister felt when you told her
of the birds, their eggs and their little ones ?
"Oh yes," you say; "hundreds of times."
A book is your delight. Why? Because it gives food to
NEDD Y HARRIS. 63
your mind, and for no other reason. But study! Ah, it is the
task-work that you don't like. No one's fault but your own,.
I'm thinking, that .study has become task-work. You might
make it a pleasure, if you would.
'-', --' ,
But in my desire to help you to see that there ought to be
as much pleasure in learning as in eating, I have kept my
young friend, Neddy Harris, out of sight, and I must now go
back to him again. As I have told you before, he liked play
as well as study, and there was not a boy' in his class who
enjoyed a game at ball or cricket, or a half-day's ramble in the
woods, better than he. He let his heart, as we say, go into
whatever he did, and that is the true secret of success or
04 NEDD Y HARRIS.
Neddy had finished all his lessons for the next day, except
the one on Physiology. He was studying that, and really en-
joying the information it gave him about the way in which the
blood enters the heart on the right side, and passes from one
chamber to another by valves that open and shut, going into
the lungs and again back into the heart, and then by heart-
throbs sent leaping in pulsations all over the body, when the
door of his room was thrown open, and Harry Brown,. a class-
mate, cried out,
".Come, Neddy! we're going to have a game of base ball
over in Mr. Bloomer's field. Hurry! The boys are making
it up now."
I can't until I've got my Physiology lesson," Neddy an-
swered, speaking firmly.
"Faugh! Let Physiology go to the dogs !" answered Harry
Brown. "I haven't got mine yet, nor my Latin lesson, either,
as to that; so come along."
"Study first and play afterward," answered Neddy. "That's
my rule, and it's never good to break rules, father says. It's
always sure to get us into trouble."
"You can get this lesson just as well in the evening," urged
"No, I can't. To-night's our reading-night. Father reads
aloud three evenings in the week, and I wouldn't miss the part
of the book we're going to have to-night for half a dozen
games of base ball, much as I like to play."
"Oh, well! Stick to your lesson, then! A fellow can't turn
you any more than he can turn the wind," said Harry, rather
NEDD Y HARRIS._ 65
impatiently. "I'll have my fun, at any rate, and you can dig
and-delve at your Physiology till doomsday if you like. I hope
you may have a good time over it."
And bounding out of the room, Harry Brown ran off to join
his playmates in a game of ball.
When deeply interested in anything, we scarcely think of
time. The minutes glide by unnoticed. It was nearly an hour
after his schoolmate left when Neddy's father opened the door
of the library and found him sitting over his book. The lesson
was just finished, and Neddy lifted a face that beamed with
satisfaction. It had been no mere task-work with him, this
hour's study, but a season of refreshment for his mind. He
had learned something about his own body that filled him with
wonder and delight. Now, when he laid, his hand over his
heart and felt its steady throb, lie understood something of
what was going on in the hidden chambers of life.
"I am going to drive over to Milford this afternoon, my son,"
said Mr. Harris. "If you have all your lessons, I shall be glad
of your company."
"I'm just through," answered Neddy, shutting his book,
"and I should like to go over to Milford above all things. Will
you stay there long enough for me to see the glass-works?"
"I shall be there at least an hour."
"I'm so glad! Yes, thank you, I'll go along." And Neddy
ran up to his room to make a few needed changes in his dress.
I am very sure that Harry Brown did not enjoy his game at
base ball half so much as Neddy enjoyed his hour among the
glass-blowers, for Neddy's. mind was not burdened with the
66 NEDD Y HARRIS.
thought of unlearned lessons, but free to enter with delight into
whatever was new, strange and interesting. How different all
would have been if, yielding to Harry, he had broken his rule
of "study first and play afterward" The game would not have
been half enjoyed for thinking of the lesson yet to be learned,
and the lesson learned in the evening wouldn't have been half
enjoyed, because while studying it his father would be reading
the pleasant book he could not hear. And to make all worse.
would be the thought that he had been a weak and foolish
On the next day all of his lessons were said perfectly, but
Harry Brown had learned his so badly that he was kept in
during the half-hour's recess.
Sadly poor Harry gazed from the schoolhouse window as
the boys played on the green. Neddy was with them, one of
the happiest of the number' There was not the smallest bur-
den on his free spirit.. Study-hours had been, spent in study,
and now he ran and jumped and shouted with the rest, no
shadow of care or regret dropping down from a passing cloud
of thought to dim his enjoyment.
"Where are you going?" asked Mr. Harris of Neddy,
who came out of the house with a basket on his arm one
Saturday morning. There was no school on that day.
"To pick up scraps of iron and nails down by the old mill,"
"What are you going to. do with scraps of iron and nails ?"
said Mr. Harris.
NEDDY HARRIS.- 67
"Sell them. They're worth two cents a pound."
"Ah, indeed. But what put that idea into your head, my
"I'm saving up money to buy a line and reel. Will Martin
told me that he picked up enough old iron in a few weeks to
sell for three dollars. So I'm going to try what I can do. I
found two old horseshoes and an iron bolt yesterday that
weigh nearly two pounds. I look closely at the ground as I
walk along, and I don't let even an old nail escape me."
A smile lit up the face of Mr. Harris for a moment, and
then he looked grave.
And so," he said, "for the sake. of a few old nails and
horseshoes,, you turn your eyes away from the pleasant trees
and fields, from the river and the sky, from all the beauty of
nature. You do not read a single sentence in the great book
about which we have talked, giving up all for a penny's worth
of old iron."
"Oh, father !" exclaimed Neddy as he let the basket drop
from his hand, "you have such a way of putting things, as
our teacher says! I thought it was all right, and that when you
knew about it you would be pleased. I'm sure it's better to
pick up old bits of iron and have them worked over again
than to let them -lie useless on the roadside."
"Of course it is, provided always that the person doing this
little bit of useful work does not neglect something of more
importance. If one can be better employed than in gathering
up old iron, then it is waste time to engage in this sort of
68 NEDDY HARRIS.
Neddy's eyes fell to the ground. He saw that his father was
right, and yet all was not clear to him.
SI might be better employed in reading than in searching
--. -- -- "- ..--
-2 r, '
about at the old mill for scraps of iron," he said, "but then it's
a holiday, and you think it best for me to be out of doors as
much as possible. If I can get exercise and old iron at the
NEDDY HARRIS. 69
same time, what's the harm? I want money to buy a line and
reel, and I don't see any other way to get it."
"So we have it all in a nutshell, as they say," remarked Mr.
Harris. "And now let us examine it carefully. We should
always try, in earning money, to give the best service of which
we are capable. Any of the poor little boys and girls whose
parents live in the shanties across the meadows can pick up old
iron and nails as well as you, but there is not one of them
able to render the higher service in your power to give. They
could not add up a column of figures, nor make out a bill, nor
teach a child to write and cipher. Mr. Josslyn the storekeeper
would not trust one of them to ride over to Milford to buy
things for him, or to pay or collect a bill. Yet you could do
any of these things."
Oh, father," said Neddy, growing excited, "do you think
that Mr. Josslyn would like to have me go over to Milford for
"I shouldn't wonder. His young man is sick, and I've no
doubt he would be glad of a little help of some kind, for
Saturday is usually a busy day with him. And I'm sure that
two or three hours spent in helping Mr. Josslyn, if you wish to
employ a part of the time in earning a little money, would be
a great deal better than picking up old iron, and give you a
large return of pennies, as well as satisfaction of mind."
I'll run right over and see Mr. Josslyn," said Neddy.
"What will you say to him ?" asked his father.
Oh, let me see." And Neddy thought for a few moments.
"Why, I'll just say it as it is: Mr. Josslyn, I want to earn some
70 NEDD Y HARRIS.
money to buy a line and reel, and if you want any help, I'll
come and work for you part of the day.'"
SYes, I think that will do. It's the simple truth," replied his
And so it happened that Mr. Josslyn wanted some, one that
he could trust to ride over to Milford and transact several items
of business. Two persons living there owed him small bills
which they had promised to settle on this very day; besides, he
wanted to order some glass and several other things that could
be had at Milford.
He knew Neddy very well, and was just as glad to get the
service offered as Neddy was to render it.
It took our young friend just three hours to ride over to Mil-
ford and back. He did not look down all the way for old nails
and horseshoes, but enjoyed the sight of woods and fields and
sparkling water, the songs and sporting of birds, and, best
of all, his own thoughts about what he saw.
"Thank you, my little man," said the storekeeper, when
Neddy returned with the money he had collected. "You have
done me a real service." And he paid him a dollar and a
Oh, that's too much," exclaimed Neddy as he looked at the
"If you are satisfied, I am," said Mr. Josslyn. "And what is
more, I will'be glad to see you on next Saturday."
Better than old iron," said Neddy as he showed the money
to his father.
"And there's something better still," remarked Mr. Harris.
VI I M i A,
............ ;1 111111111 10IMP,1 1
"V .1i.11 Jill
110111 11. 1
'':p ; il
it ITIRITI' I
Se pe 4
NEDD Y HARRIS. 73
"What?" Neddy. looked up at his father.
You are wiser as well as richer."
You have learned some things about the difference in work-
how some kinds are more useful than others."
Oh yes. Picking up old iron may be well enough for boys
that live in the shanties across the meadow, but it would be
wasting time for me. I can do better and higher kinds of
Better and higher because it is more useful," said Mr. Har-
ris. In the mere work of gathering up lost or cast away
things no. one is helped. There is no double good. A few
pennies or dollars are earned by the person who does this
work, but the work itself helps no one. How different when
we help another in what we-do, as in your case to-day! You
may, if you will, have as much pleasure in thinking of the
service rendered Mr. Josslyn as of the money you earned."
On the next Saturday the storekeeper was very glad to see
Neddy again, who helped him for a few hours, and received a
dollar for his service. He had money enough now to buy the
line and reel he had set his heart on, and the following Satur-
day started off alone for a day in the woods among the trout
He came home several hours before his father expected to
see him, without rod or reel, or the basket of speckled trout he
"What's the matter, my son ?" asked Mr. Harris. "Where's
your fishing-tackle? and what brought you home so early?"
74 NEDD Y HARRIS.
"I'll just tell you all about it," said Neddy. "The fact is,
I've changed my mind about fishing."
Have you, indeed? Why, how did this come about ?"
I'm going to tell you. I felt as light and happy as a bird
when I started off this morning. At first I thought of Ellis
River, but afterward changed my mind and went to Mountain
Brook. It was a good hour's walk. How lovely the -water
seemed 1 So clear and still in the quiet places; so bright and
sparkling when it rushed between or leaped over rocks. All
was beautiful, and I felt so happy. I looked down into the
water, and remembered your saying that it was like truth to
the mind, satisfying thirst and cleansing from impurity. I saw
the little minnows gliding about; the white pebbles at the bot-
tom; the tiny caverns and the smooth sandy places. A bird
came down to drink close by where I stood, dipped its bill into
the water a few times, and then with a chirrup flew off among
the trees. For a little while I forgot what I had come for.
Then I unwound my reel, fixed my line, and made ready for
the sport I had so long promised myself.
"The very first time my fly touched the water there was a
leap at one of the hooks, and then a fish struggled at the line.
I can't tell you just how I felt, it came so suddenly. But before
I could land him he broke away. For more than half an hour
after that I threw my line, sometimes going up stream and
sometimes down, but without a bite. At last, as I dropped my
hooks lightly over a rapid piece of water, a small trout caught
at one of them and fastened himself. I drew him easily to the
shore, and as I removed the hook from his mouth the blood
NEDDY HARRIS. 75
ran over my hand. I could not help a shiver as I saw it. And
yet I've fished a great many times.
"Poor little trout! He trembled and struggled in my hand,
and gasped for the water that to him was like air. He was
slender and beautifully speckled, and as I looked at him, pity
came into my heart. So I just put him back into the water and
let him go. I couldn't help it, father. Oh, I was so glad when
I saw him dart away!"
Neddy paused, and looked up into his father's face.
"And what then?" asked Mr. Harris.
I sat down to think," replied Neddy. Or, I might better
say, the thoughts that came into my mind made me sit down."
"What kind of thoughts were they?"
"A new kind of thoughts to me, but they Were right
thoughts: I'm prettysure of that. It seemed as if somebody
were talking inside of me. The first thought was a question,
and came in these very words: "Is it right to take pleasure in
giving pain?' Then this question followed: 'Has God given
us so few things to enjoy that we must kill the fish and shoot
the birds for sport?' 'But we eat the fish,' I answered to
myself. 'Were you so hungry that you had to come out here
to get food?' was asked. What could I say to that but No' ?
I had only come for pleasure, and I was to find that in torturing
and killing the happy trout sporting and feeding in the pure
water where God had placed them. Turn it over in my mind
as I would, I was not able to see it any differently. If I had
been hungry and in need of food, or if I had been poor and
obliged to fish for a living, it would have been another case.
76 NEDD Y HARRIS.
But to kill for sport is certainly not godlike and angel-like, as
I've heard you say.
So you see, father, I'm cured of my fishing mania, as you
called it the other day. If I were to tell the boys at school,
they'd laugh at me, but I can't help that."
"There is no need of your talking about it," said Mr.
"But if I am right, father, why shouldn't I talk about it?"
"Very true, my son."
"There is nothing in it to be ashamed of," added Neddy.
"Boys talk about their robbing birds' nests, throwing stones at
frogs, geese and pigs, and doing other mean and cowardly
things, and because the older boys brag over their cruel acts,
the smaller ones follow their example. Laughing doesn't hurt
anybody. I guess I can stand a little of it. If I don't say
what I think about a thing, as to whether it is right or wrong,
what use are my thoughts to' any but myself? And you say
that nobody in this world has a right to live for himself
"Spoken like a brave boy, as you are, Neddy !" said Mr.
Harris, with so pleased a tone in his voice that it made the lad's
heart glow. "As to the sport of fishing, you will find plenty
to differ with you, and among them good and true men. But
be sure of this, my son, that every voice which, speaking to
your inward ear, warns you against cruelty to any living thing,
is the voice of an angel, and that if you hearken obediently
to that voice, you will come under purer influences, and be
better able to meet the temptations that assail every one in the
NEDDY HARRIS. 77
journey of life. At your age I was very fond of gunning and
fishing, and I have often spent days in the wood with either
my rod or fowling piece. But once-I had grown to be fifteen
years old-I shot a blue jay, breaking its wing. It fell from the
tree where, but an instant before, it had been so happy in its
innocent bird-life, and fluttered in pain on the ground only a
few yards from where I stood. As I picked it up, and saw the
bleeding and broken wing, and felt the blood, on my hand, a
thrill of pity for the poor suffering bird ran through my heart.
Could a load of buckshot, shattering my shoulders to pieces,
put me in greater agony than I had caused this harmless jay?
Shame reddened my cheeks.
"Poor bird! I put him out of his misery, and went home,
feeling very sober. From that day, my son, I have never killed
a bird nor caught a fish. When I needed recreation or pleasure,
I found plenty of ways open to me quite as satisfactory and
health-giving as shooting and fishing, and so will you. But
you have not said what became of your. rod and line."
"I sold them," replied Neddy. "Wasn't it curious? As I
came out of the woods over by Mr. Reed's, a man met me,
"'That's a nice outfit, my lad. What'll you take for it?'
'Three dollars,' I answered, without stopping to think.
"'It's a bargain,' said he, taking out his pocket-book, and
handing over three dollars.
"' You are perfectly satisfied?' he added.
"'Ohyes, perfectly,' I replied, 'for I don't mean to fish any
78 NEDDY HARRIS.
"'Why not?' he asked.
"'Because,' said I, 'the sport is too cruel for me.'
"If you could have seen how he opened his eyes, showing
the whites all around them, and could have heard the long, low
whistle he gave, you would have laughed, as I did.
"'Good for you!' he said, patting me on the shoulder, and
then he went his way and I went mine."
an I dS li:\ I
His purity and innocence. There is nothing in all this
world so pure and innocent as a baby," answered Nelly's
"His purity and innocence. There is noaink in all this
world so pure and innocent as a baby," answered Nelly's
Wasn't God very good to let us have him ?" asked the child.
80 ONE OF BABY'S TEACHERS.
Oh yes, and how thankful we should be !"
"I am thankful, mamma. Last night, when I was saying my
prayers, I said 'Thank you, Lord, for baby,' and I said it again
this morning. Do you think he heard me?"'
Yes, for he is everywhere, and hears and sees everything."
"Then he knows how much I love baby?"
"Yes; he knows all our thoughts and feelings."
"All of our bad thoughts as well as our good ones?"
"Yes, dear. He knows us better than we know ourselves."
"I don't have any bad thoughts when I'm with baby,' said
Nelly. "And if I feel naughty, it's all gone when he comes in.
Oh, he's so sweet! sweet! sweet!" And she bent over the
cradle again, almost smothering the baby with kisses.
"And he's so good and pure," added the mother. "Now,
shall I tell you how we can best show our thankfulness to God
for sending us the baby ?"
Nelly looked up earnestly, and waited to hear.
We must do all we can to keep him sweet, and pure, and
good. We must be kind and gentle in all our ways with him.
And as he grows older, we must be careful what we say or do,
for we will be his teachers. What he hears us say, he will say,
and what he sees us do, he will do. Just think, darling, of his
getting angry at the table, as you did this morning, and throw-
ing his piece of bread on the floor."
Don't talk about that, mamma," said Nelly, her face getting
sober and tears coming into her eyes.
"It is not to make you feel badly, dear, that I speak of it,"
answered Nelly's mother. "But as you are one of baby's
ONE OF BABY'S TEACHERS. 81
teachers, I must put you on your guard. How did he learn to
kiss his hand ?"
I kissed -my hand to him ever so many times, and at last he
could do it. And I taught him to squint up his eyes in such a
funny way. See !" Nelly shut her eyes, and the baby, laugh-
ing and crowing, did the same.
"See, Nelly dear, how fast he is beginning to learn from you.
You have taught him to kiss his hand and squint up his eyes,
and do ever so many cunning little things, but don't, if you
love him and want the good Lord who sent him to us that
we might help him to live a good life in this world, and become
an angel in heaven, to leave him to our care, teach him by
word, or look, or example, anything that is wrong. If he hears
you speak angrily, or sees you do naughty things, he will do
the same, for the little ones have everything to learn, and do
just what they see us do. And so, darling, if baby does not
keep his sweetness and innocence while a baby, it will be our
"I wish I could always be good," said Nelly, but I'm afraid
there is something bad in me." And a shadow came over her
"There is something bad in us all," Nelly's mother replied.
" But the Lord knows about it a great deal better than we do,
and he is always trying to help us to do good. Now, one of
the'ways in which he helps us is to lead us to help others. If
we see that the bad in us hurts others as well as ourselves-as
the bad in you, if you let it come out, would hurt baby-then
if we will try to conquer this bad, and, while trying, ask the
82 ONE OF BABY'S TEACHERS.
Lord to help us, he will do so, and put good into our hearts in
place of the bad."
"Oh, mother, will he?" A light, like sunshine fell over
"He will, darling."
"I'm so glad !" She spoke the words half to herself. Then
taking baby's hand, softer than any velvet, she laid -it against
her cheek, and murmured, I'll try to be good for your sake,
After that no mother could have asked for a better child
than Nelly. "I am one of baby's teachers," she would often
say to herself, when tempted to do wrong, and then, for baby's
sake, she would resist the wrong, often asking God to help her.
And he did help her, as he helps every one who, earnestly try-
ing to do right, prays to him for strength, for he wants us to
be good that we may be happy and live with him for ever in
heaven, and so, the moment we try to do right, he, the All-
powerful, comes quickly to our aid.
"What do you want ?' Sister Grace did not lift
-. her eyes from the gay embroidery over which her
fingers were swiftly moving.
Can't you tell me something I don't know ?" was the reply-
not unkindly spoken, but without any interest in the sister's
Look at me, Grace, won't you ?"
"There I'm looking at you." And Grace Bond dropped her
hands in her lap with a slightly annoyed gesture and fixed her
eyes on the child's face.
I've heard that before. Anything else ?"
Yes: I want you to dye me some eggs."
Dye you some eggs !"
"Yes. All the little- girls are going to have them. Jennie
May and Lucy White told me about the beauties they had last
year, and what lovely ones their mother was going to dye for
84 EASTER EGGS.
"I must beg to be excused, Fannie," said Grace, coldly.
The light and eagerness went out of the child's face, and her
eyes grew wet with tears.
Don't be silly !" Grace spoke a little harshly. What does
a big girl like you want with Easter eggs?"
"I'm no bigger than Jennie May or Lucy White, and they're
going to have them," replied Fannie.
'I 1,,,, i, I ,ll, ,,
I 1 I
"I can't help it if they are." Grace spoke with some petu-
lance in her voice. "I haven't any time for such nonsense."
Now, Fannie had set her heart on the Easter eggs, and her
disappointment was so great at her sister's refusal that she
could not control her feelings, but burst out crying, at which
Grace, being much annoyed, scolded her sharply. This did. not
help the matter any. Grief gave way to anger, and Fannie
help the matter any. Grief gave way to anger, and Fannie
EASTER EGGS. 85
talked back to Grace in a very unsisterly way. Both of them
were made unhappy.
Thinking to find employment for Fannie, and so divert her
thoughts,. Grace handed her a piece of worsted work and said,
"Put this flower in for me, won't-you? You did the last
No, I won't!" Yes, these were her very words. If you
can't dye me the eggs, I'll not work your flowers."
"Oh," said Grace, "if you're going to keep such bad com-
pany, I can't stay." And she went from the room, leaving Fan-
For a good while Fannie sat crying from anger and disap-
pointment. Then, as* she grew calm, the thought of what her
sister said as she went out, If you're going to keep such bad
company," came into her mind. She knew very well to what
company 'her sister referred. Anger, ill-nature, fretfulness,
were her companions now, and they were making her wretched.
Gradually, as she sat alone thinking, a change came over her
feelings. "I'm sorry I talked so to Grace," she said,." even- if
she wouldn't dye me the Easter eggs. Oh dear !"- and she
drew a long sigh-" some little girls have kind sisters that do
everything for them, but Grace thinks it a trouble to do even
the littlest thing for me."
Even as Fannie said this she remembered the beautiful party-
dress that Grace made for her only the week before, and how
she sat up late at night so as to be sure to have it ready. And
then she thought of a dozen kind and self-denying acts of her
sister, all done for good.
86 EASTER EGGS.
"I'm sorry," she spoke aloud. The bad company in which
Grace-left her had gone, and in their place were repentance,
She took up the strip of worsted that Grace had placed in
her lap, and unrolling it, commenced working in the flower, and
was soon so interested in what she was doing that she scarcely
noticed the passage of time.
Grace did not feel very happy when she went from the room
leaving Fannie alone. She had not regarded her little sister
with the kindness, and consideration that were her due. The
Easter eggs were a thing of no account to her, but to the child
who had set her heart on them they were a great deal.
Now, it happened that next. door to the pleasant home in
which Grace Bond lived was a poor German family-a man and
his wife and two children. The woman had been sick, and
Grace had gone in two or three times during the week to see
her. It was an hour, perhaps, after leaving Fannie alone, that
the thought of this woman came into her mind.
"I'll go and see how she is," said Grace, and putting some-
thing over her head, she went to the next door and knocked.
Come in!" cried a pleasant voice, and Grace pushed open
What a surprise The group that met her gaze was a pic-
ture in itself, and very pleasant to look upon-a picture with a
lesson that went down into her heart.
Sitting on a low chair was the German mother. On the
floor was a white napkin, over which gayly-colored Easter
eggs had been spread to cool, and she was now lifting these,
EASTER EGGS. 87
one by one, into a dish on her lap. In front of her were the
Stwo children, a boy and a girl, looking so pleased and happy
That the very sight of their faces made the heart of Grace grow
"Easter eggs ?" she said, with a smile, as she came forward
into the room.
Yes; they please Ludwig and Bertha," was the woman's
answer. "And I make them happy when I can."
How lovingly the children looked up into her worn and
A thought of her unhappy sister now flashed through the
mind of Grace, and there came to her the image of the child
sitting alone and in tears-a painful contrast to the scene be-
fore her. Self-rebuke and self-condemnation followed quickly.
Oh, these are beautiful!" she said, stooping to the floor
and taking up one of the eggs. How charmingly you have
"Won't you take some for your little sister? Bertha and
Ludwig will be glad to share them, I know." And the mother
looked to her children for approval.
"She slall have two of mine,".said Bertha, quickly. "And
two of mine," cried Ludwig.
"Oh no; I can't rob you after that fashion," answered Grace.
"But if you will let me have four of these beauties-they are
oeauties-I will send you in a dozen not dyed. Fannie will be
so pleased to get them."
"Take them all," said the woman. "I will dye more for the
88 EASTER EGGS.
But Grace said, "No; four will be enough for Fannie."
On returning home, Grace hurried to the room where, an
hour before, she had left her little sister angry and in tears.
Her heart had a troubled beat as she pushed open the door
and went in. All was silent. By the table, with her face
buried in her arms, sat Fannie fast asleep. The strip of wor.
sted work, with the flower completed, lay on the floor, as if it
had just dropped from her hand.
"Fannie dear!" Grace spoke in a tender, loving voice.
The child moved but did not answer, for sleep lay heavy on
"Oh yes! What is it?" answered the child, dreamily.
"Fannie dear !" Grace called again.
"Oh! Easter eggs? No, I haven't any; and I wanted them
Still dreaming, but she was wide awake a moment afterward,
sitting up looking at Grace and then at the beautifully painted
eggs that were held before her wondering eyes.
It is so good in you, sister dear !" she exclaimed. "Thank
you a.thousand times !" And springing up, she threw her arms
about Grace's neck, hugging and kissing her in a heart-gush of
"I will try and be more thoughtful of my little sister here-
after," said Grace to herself; and speaking aloud, with her
arms still about the neck of her sister, Fannie said: "I wasn't
naughty long, Grace; and I've worked the flower for you, and
you are a dear, dear good sister as ever was!"
HOW BOBBY RYAN CAME NEAR
S''1i EVER make an enemy even of a dog," said I to
Bobby Ryan as I caught at his raised hand and tried
'i to prevent him from throwing a stick at our neighbor
Howard's great Newfoundland. But my words and
fort were too late. Over the fence flew the stick, and
whack on Dandy's nose it fell. Now, Dandy, a great, powerful
fellow, was very good-natured, but this proved a little too much
for him. He sprang up with an angry growl, and bounding
over the fence as if he had been as light as a bird, caught
Bobby Ryan by the arm and held him tightly enough to let his
teeth be felt.
"Dandy! Dandy!" I cried, in momentary alarm, "let. go.
Don't bite him."
The dog lifted his dark brown angry eyes to mine with a
look of intelligence, and I understood what they said: I only
want to frighten the young rascal."
And Bobby was frightened. Dandy held him for a little
while, growling savagely, though there was a great deal of
make-believe in the growl, and then tossing the arm away,
90 HOW BOBBY RYAN CAME NEAR BEING DROWNED.
leaped back over the fence and laid himself down by his
"You're a very foolish boy, Bobby Ryan," said I, "to pick a
quarrel with such a splendid old fellow as that. Suppose you
were to fall into the lake some day, and Dandy happened to
be near, and suppose he should remember your bad treatment
and refuse to go in after you ?"
Wouldn't care," replied Bobby. "I can swim."
Now, it happened only a week afterward that Bobby was out
on the lake in company with an older boy, and that in some
way their boat was upset in deep water not far from the shore,
and it also happened that Mr. Howard and his dog Dandy
were near by and saw the two boys struggling in the-~water.
Quick as thought Dandy sprang into the lake and swam
rapidly toward Bobby, but, strange to say, after getting close
to the lad, he turned and went toward the larger.boy, who was
struggling in the water and keeping his head above the surface
with difficulty. Seizing him, Dandy brought him safely to the
shore. He then turned and looked toward Bobby, his young
tormentor. He had a good many old grudges against him,
and for some moments seemed hesitating whether to save him
or let him drown.
Quick, Dandy !" cried his master, pointing to poor Bobby,
who was trying his best to keep afloat.. He was not the brave
swimmer he had thought himself.
At this the noble old dog bounded again into the water and
brought Bobby to land. He did not seem to have much heart
in his work, however, for he dropped the boy as soon as he
HOW BOBBY RYAN CAME NEAR BEING DROWNED. 91
reached the shore, and walked away with a stately, indifferent
But Bobby, grateful for his rescue and repenting of his
former unkindness, made up with Dandy on that very day, and
they were ever afterward fast friends. He came very near
.losing his life through unkindness to a dog, and the lesson it
gave him will not soon be forgotten.
BE A GOOD GIRL.
S E a good girl, Dolly! Don't do anything naughty
while I'm gone, and be sure to get your lesson."
And Katy lifted her finger and shook it at Dolly
as she opened the door to leave the .room.
Now, these were almost the very words Katy's
mother had said to her only a little while before.
And what do you think was in Katy's mind when she said
this to her Dolly? I will tell you. She had been playing with
Fido and her Dolly for a good while, as happy as she could be,
when all at once she thought of the basket filled with nice cake.
she had seen that morning in- her mamma's closet, and as soon
as she thought of the cake she began to want a piece.
But mamma had told her never to go to this closet to help
herself, so she tried not to think about the cake, but still the
thought would come. At last she said to herself, I'll just get
a tiny little piece"-as if it wasn't as wrong to take a little
piece as a big one.
So off Katy started, after charging her Dolly to be a good
girl while she was gone. As she opened the closet door she
thought she beard her mother's voice. She stopped to listen.
S1-,1 1 :1
I1I**, 'i II~ rI l luI '
V11 I i iX'v',~i IiiViiiIIl'
"BE A GOOD GIRL."
SBE A GOOD GIRL. 95
"Be a good girl, Katy!" It seemed as if the words were
spoken aloud, so distinctly did they fall on her ears. Don't
do anything naughty while I'm gone." Just what she had said
A strange feeling came over little Katy. -She shut the closet
door softly, looked all about the room and listened for her
mother's steps, but she was alone.
"Be a good girl, Katy!" Again the words seemed spoken
Katy stood wondering; then she said softly to herself, as a
light came into her face, I guess it's one of the angels mam-
ma told me about that won't let bad spirits make us naughty
if they carinhelp it. I was going to be naughty, but I won't.
I'll not touch the cake, because mamma said I mustn't."
And the little girl went back to her Dolly, and catching it up
in her arms, kissed it fondly, saying, as she danced about the
room, Dear Dolly was a good little girl, and didn't, do any-
thing naughty while its mamma was gone !"
THE SNOW STORM.
S H dear! I'm so disappointed !"
Harvey sat by the window looking out dreamily
Sat the fast-falling snow.
Now, a boy ten years old is not often put out of humor
by a snow storm, for the snow brings frolic and fun. But
it happened that this one came just in the wrong time-at least
so Harvey thought, for it kept him from making a promised
visit to his cousins, who lived a mile or two away. The snow
was already deep and still falling, and his mother would not
hear to his going off alone.
"My dear boy," she said, "you might get lost in the snow
and be frozen to death."
But Harvey wasn't afraid, and would have taken all the risks
if his mother had said the word. This she could not do, and
so the boy had to stay at home, much against his will.
Instead of putting on his great coat and warm mittens, as
most little boys would have done, and having a good time out
of doors, where the beautiful snow was drifting about in
feathery flakes and covering the earth with a carpet of the
purest white, he sat moping at a window, saying every now
and then to himself, in a miserable voice:
THE SNOW STORM. 97
"Oh dear! I'm so disappointed!"
About midday the snow ceased falling and the sun came out
bright and strong. What a lustre and sparkle was on every-
thing! How strange and wonderful in its new robe of dazzling
whiteness was every object on which the vision rested!
As Harvey looked from the window he felt the charm of a
scene so lovely. The shadows of disappointment passed away
and his cheerfulness returned.
What is the snow good for ?" asked Harvey.
grain. This show storm, which 'made you angry because it
,ih y oaliIle pr
"It is so beautiful!"' he said, looking up into his mother's
"It is good as well as beautiful," answered his mother.
"What is the snow good for?" asked Harvey.
"It is good for the broad fields in which the farmer sows his
grain. This sniow storm, which -made you angry because it
came in the way of a little pleasure, has covered the grain-
98 THE SNOW STORM.
fields as with a soft blanket, protecting the seed sown there,
and making sure the summer harvests."
"Oh, I didn't know that !" answered Harvey. "But I was
"And, like a great many older people," said his mother
"refused the pleasure that was at your door, and sat down
gloomily to sigh for something afar off. But the storm is over
now, and I think, if you are dressed up warmly, you might go
over to your cousin's. The snow is not very deep."
Harvey clapped his hands in high glee, and danced about
the room for joy.
In a few minutes he had on his warm overcoat, his cap and
his mittens, and with a light basket in his hand started off.