Last words

Material Information

Last words : a final collection of stories
Ewing, Juliana Horatia Gatty, 1841-1885 ( Author, Primary )
Murphy, Hermann Dudley, 1867-1945 ( Illustrator )
Roberts Brothers (Boston, Mass.) ( Publisher )
John Wilson and Son ( Printer )
University Press (Cambridge, Mass.) ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
Roberts Brothers
University Press ; John Wilson and Son
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
285 p. : col. ill., port ; 19 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1891 ( lcsh )
Baldwin -- 1891
Children's stories
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


Content Advice:
Mary's meadow -- Letters from a little garden -- Snap-dragons -- Dandelion clocks -- The blind man and the talking dog -- So-so -- The Trinity flower -- The kyrkegrim turned preacher -- Ladders to heaven -- Sunflowers and a rushlight -- Tiny's tricks and Toby's tricks -- The owl in the ivy bush.
General Note:
Illustrations and frontispiece photograph printed in Brown.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Juliana Horatia Ewing ; with illustrations by H.D. Murphy.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026683999 ( ALEPH )
ALG6224 ( NOTIS )
02453296 ( OCLC )
12032126 ( LCCN )

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to spare, surely nothing can be so satisfactory as a
garden full of such flowers as (in the words of John
Parkinson) “our English ayre will permitt to be
noursed up.” Bearing in mind these counsels :

Make a wise selection of hardy plants. Grow only
good sorts, and of these choose what suit your soil
and climate. Give them space and good feeding.
Disturb the roots as little as possible, and cut the
flowers constantly. Then they will be fine as well
as fit.

Good-bye, Little Friend,
Yours, &c.


“The tropics may have their delights; but they have not
turf, and the world without turf is a dreary desert. The origi-
nal Garden of Eden could not have had such turf as one sees
in England. :

“Woman always did, from the first, make a muss in a garden,

“ Nevertheless, what a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron
back, with a hinge in it.”

—Pusley ; or, My Summer in a Garden.—C. D. WARNER.

‘Do you know the little book from which these say-
ings are quoted? It is one you can laugh over by

own eye, or gain more admiration from others, than
well-kept turf. Green grass is one of the charms of
the British Isles, which are emerald isles throughout,
though Ireland is so par excellence. It isso much a
matter of course to us that we hardly realize this till
we hear or read what foreigners say about it, and also
our own American and colonial cousins. We go
abroad and revel in real sunshine, and come home
with glowing memories to abuse our own cloudy
skies; but they come from burnt-up landscapes to
refresh their eyes with our perpetual green.

Even a little grassplot well repays pains and care.
If you have to make it, never use cheap seed. Buy
the very best from seedsmen of repute, or you will
get a conglomeration of weeds instead of a green-
sward of fine grasses and white clover. Trench the
ground to an even depth, tread it firm, and have
light, finely-sifted soil uppermost. Sow thickly early
in April, cover lightly, and protect from birds. If
the soil is good, and the seed first-rate, your sward
will be green the first season.

Turfs make a lawn somewhat quicker than seed.
The best are cut from the road-side, but it is a hate-
ful despoiling of one of the fairest of travellers’ joys.
Those who commit this highway robbery should reck-
on themselves in honor bound to sow the bare places
they leave behind. Some people cut the pieces eight-
een inches square, some about a yard long and twelve

inches wide. Cut thin, roll up like thin bread and
butter. When they are laid down, fit close together,
like bits of a puzzle, and roll well after laying. If
they gape with shrinking, fill in between with finely
sifted soil, and roll again and again.

Strictly speaking, a grassplot should be all grass,
grass and a little white clover. “Soldiers” (of the
plaintain type) are not to be tolerated on a lawn, but
I have a weak corner for dog-daisies. I once owned
a little garden in Canada, but never a dog-daisy grew
there. A lady 1 knew had one—in a pot—sent from
“ Home.” But even if you have a sentimental fond-
ness for “ the pretty things” (as their botanical name
signifies), and like to see their little white faces peep-
ing out of the grass, this must not be carried too far.
In some soils dog-daisies will soon devour the whole

How are they, and “soldiers,” and other weeds to
be extirpated? There are many nostrums, but none
so effectual as a patient digging up (with a long “daisy
fork’) of plant after plant dy ¢he roots. The whole
family party and any chance visitors will not be too
many for the work, and, if each laborer is provided
with a cast-iron back with a hinge in it, so much the

.better A writer in the Garden seems to have been
very successful with salt, used early in the season and
with great care. He says: “After the first cutting
in the spring put as much salt on each weed, through

the palm of the hand, as will distinctly cover it. In
two or three days, depending on the weather, they
will turn brown. Those weeds that have escaped
can be distinctly seen, and the operation should be
repeated. The weeds thus treated die, and in about
three weeks the grass will have grown, and there will
not be a vestige of disturbance left. Two years ago
I converted a rough pasture into a tennis-ground for
six courts. Naturally the turf was a mass of rough
weeds. It took three days to salt them, and the re-
sult was curiously successful.”

Another prescription is to cut off the crowns of the
offending plants, and dose them with a few drops of
carbolic acid.

Grass will only grow dense by constant cutting and
moisture. The scythe works best when the grass is
wet, and the machine when itis dry. Sweep it and
roll it during the winter. Pick off stones, sticks, or
anything that “has no business” on it, as you would
pick “bits” off a carpet.

If grass grows rank and coarse, a dressing of sand
will improve it ; if it is poor and easily burned up,
give it a sprinkling of soot, or guano, or wood ashes
(or all three mixed) before rain. ‘“Slops” are as
welcome to parched grass as to half-starved flowers.
If the weather is hot and the soil light, it is well oc-
casionally to leave the short clippings of one mowing
upon the lawn to protect the roots.

I do not know if it becomes unmanageable, but, in
moderation, I think chamomile a very charming in-
truder on a lawn, and the aromatic scent which it
yields to one’s tread to be very grateful in the open
air. It is pleasant, too, to have a knoll or a bank
somewhere, where thyme can grow among the grass.
But the subject af flowers that grow well through
grass is a large one. It is one also on which the
members of our Parkinson Society would do kindly
to give us any exceptional experiences, especially in
reference to flowers which not only flourish among
grass, but do not resent being mown down. The
lovely blue windflower (Anemone Apennina), is, I be-
lieve, one of these.

There is no doubt that now and then plants prefer
to meet with a little resistance, and despise a bed
that is made too comfortable. Self-sown ones often
come up much more vigorously through the hard
path than when the seed has fallen within the border.
The way to grow the parsley fern is said to be to
clap a good big stone on his crown very early in the
spring, and let him struggle out at all corners from
underneath it. It is undoubtedly a comfort to rock-
plants and creeping things to be planted with a stone
over their feet to keep them cool!

Which reminds me of stones for bordering. I
think they make the best of all edgings for a Little
Garden. Box-edgings are the prettiest, but they are

expensive, require good keeping, and harbor slugs.
For that matter, most things seem to harbor slugs in
any but a very dry climate, and there are even more
prescriptions for their destruction than that of lawn
weeds. I don’t think lime does much, nor soot. Wet
soon slakes them. Thick slices of turnip are attrac-
tive. Slugs really do seem to like them, even better
than one’s favorite seedlings. Little heaps of bran
also, and young lettuces. My slugs do not care for
cabbage leaves, and they are very untidy. Put thick
slices of turnip near your auriculas, favorite primroses
and polyanthuses, and Christmas roses, and near any-
thing tender and not well established, and overhaul
them early in the morning. “You can’t get up tuo
early, if you have a garden,” says Mr. Warner; and
he adds: “Things appear to go on in the night in the
garden uncommonly. It would be less trouble -to
stay up than it is to get up so early!”

To return to stone edgings. When quite newly
laid, like miniature rockwork, they are, perhaps, the
least bit cockneyfied, and suggestive of something
between oyster-shell borderings and mock ruins.
But this effect very rapidly disappears as they bury
themselves in cushions of pink catch-fly (v. compacta),
or low-growing pinks, tiny campanulas, yellow viola,
London pride, and the vast variety of rock-plants,
“alpines,” and low-growing “ herbaceous stuff,” which
delight in squeezing up to a big cool stone that will

keep a little moisture for their rootlets in hot summer
weather. This is a much more interesting kind of
edging than any one kind of plant can make, I think,
and in a Little Garden it is like an additional border,
leaving the other free for bigger plants. If one kind
is preferred, for a light soil there is nothing like
thrift. And the white thrift is very silvery and more
beautiful than the pink. There is a large thrift, too,
which is handsome. But I prefer stones, and I like
varieties of color—bits of gray boulder, and red and
yellow sandstone.

I like warm color also on the walks. I should
always have red walks if I could afford them. There
is a red material, the result of some process of burti-
ing, which we used to get in the iron and coal dis-
tricts of Yorkshire, which I used to think very pretty,
but I do not know what it is called.

Good walks are a great luxury. It is a wise econ-
omy to go round your walks after rain and look for
little puddles; make a note of where the water
lodges and fill it up. Keep gratings swept. If the
grating is free and there is an overflow not to be ac-
counted for, it is very possible that a drain-pipe some-
where is choke-full of the roots of some tree.

Some people advise hacking up your walks from
time to time, and other people advise you not. Some
people say there is nothing like salt to destroy walk
weeds and moss, and brighten the gravel, and some

people say that salt in the long run feeds the ground
and the weeds. I am disposed to think that, in a
Little Garden, there is nothing like a weeding woman.
with an old knife and a little salt afterwards. It is
also advisable to be your own weeding woman, that
you may be sure that the weeds come up by the
roots! Next to the cast-iron back before mentioned,
I recommend a housemaid’s kneeling mat (such as is
used for scrubbing floors), as a gardener’s comfort.

I hope, if you have been bulb planting, that you
got them all in by Lord Mayor’s Day. Whether
bulbs should be planted deep or shallow is another
“vexed question.” In a Little Garden, where you
don’t want to disturb them, and may like to plant
out some small rooted annuals on the top of them
later on, I should plant deep.

If you are planting roses, remember that two or
three, carefully planted in good stuff that goes deep,
will pay you better than six times the number stuck
znto a hole in cold clay or sand or builders’ rubbish,
and left to push their rootlets as best they can, or
perish in the attempt. Spread out these rootlets very
tenderly when planting. You will reap the reward
of your gentleness in flowers. Rose roots don’t like
being squeezed, like a Chinese lady’s feet. I was
taught this by one who knows,—He has a good name
for the briar suckers and sprouts which I hope you
carefully cut off from your grafted roses,—He calls
it “the old Adam!” Yours, &c.


A good rule
Is a good tool.

JANUARY is not a month in which you are likely to
be doing much in your little garden. Possibly a wet
blanket of snow lies thick and white over all its hopes
and anxieties. No doubt you made all tidy, and some
things warm, for the winter, in the delicious oppor-
tunities of S. Luke’s and S. Martin’s little summers,
and, like the amusing American I told you of, “turned
away writing vesurgam on the gate-post.”

I write vesurgam on labels, and put them wherever
bulbs lie buried, or such herbaceous treasures as die
down, and are, in consequence, too often treated as
mere mortal remains of the departed, by the undis-
criminating hand of the jobbing gardener.

Winter is a good time to make plans, and to put
them down in your Garden-book. Have you a
Garden-book? A note-book, I mean, devoted to
garden memoranda. It is a very useful kind of
commonplace book, and soon becomes as fascinat-
ing as autumn and spring catalogues,

One has to learn to manage even a Little Garden
chiefly by experience, which is slow teaching, if sure.
Books and gardeners are helpful ; but, like other doc-
tors, they differ. I think one is often slower to learn
anything than one need be, from not making at once
for first principles. Jf one knew more of these, it
would be easier to apply one’s own experience, and
to decide amid conflicting advice.

Here are a few rough and ready “first principles ”
for you.

Hardy flowers in hedges and ditches are partly fed,
and are also covered from cold and heat, and winds,
and drought, by fallen leaves and refuse. Hardy flow-
ers in gardens have all this tidied away from them, and,
being left somewhat hungry and naked in proportion, are
all the better for an occasional top-dressing and mulching,
especially in autumn, Itis not absolutely necessary to
turn a flower border upside down and dig it over every
year. It may (for some years at any rate), if you find
this more convenient, be treated on the hedge sys-
tem, and fed from the top; thinning big clumps, pull-
ing up weeds, moving and removing in detail.

Concentrated strength means large blooms. Jf a plant
is ripening seed, some strength goes to that ; if burst-
ing into many blooms, some goes to each of them ;
if it is trying to hold up against blustering winds, or
to thrive on exhausted ground, or to straighten out
cramped and clogged roots, these struggles also de-

mand strength, Moral: Plant carefully, support your
tall plants, keep all your plants in easy circumstances,
don’t put them to the trouble of ripening seed (un-
less you specially want it). To this end cut off fading
flowers, and also cut off buds in places where they
would not show well when they came out, and all
this economized strength will go into the blossoms
that remain.

You cannot grow everything. Grow what suits your
soil and climate, and the best kinds of these, as well as
you can. You may make soil to suit a plant, but you
cannot make the climate to suit it, and some flowers
are more fastidious about the air they breathe than
about the soil they feed upon. There are, however,
scores of sturdy, handsome flowers, as hardy as high-
landers, which will thrive in almost any soil, and un-
der all the variations of climate of the British Isles.
Some will even endure the smoke-laden atmosphere
of towns and town suburbs; which, sooner or later,
is certain death toso many. Itis a pity that small
florists and greengrocers in London do not know
more about this ; and it would be a great act of kind-
ness to them and to their customers to instruct them.
Then, instead of encouraging the ruthless slaughter
of primroses, scores and hundreds of plants of which
are torn up and then sold in a smoky atmosphere to
which they never adapt themselves, these small shop-
keepers might offer plants of the many beautiful varie-

ties of poppies, from the grand Orientalis onwards,
chrysanthemums, stocks, wall-flowers, Canterbury
bells, salvias, cenotheras, snapdragons, perennial lo-
belias, iris, and other plants which are known to be
very patient under a long course of soot. Most of
the hardy California annuals bear town life well.
Perhaps because they have only to bear it for a
year. Convolvulus major —the Morning Glory, as
our American cousins so prettily call it—flourishes on
a smutty wall as generously as the Virginian creeper.

North borders are safest in winter. They are free
from the dangerous alternation of sunshine and frost. |
Put things of doubtful hardihood under a north wall,
with plenty of sandy soil or ashes over their roots,
some cinders on that, and perhaps a little light pro-
tection, like bracken, in front of them, and their
chances will not be bad. Apropos to tender things,
if your little garden is in a cold part of the British
Isles, and has ungenial conditions of soil and aspect,
- don’t try to keep tender things out of doors in win-
ter; but, if it is in the south or west of the British
Isles, I should be tempted to very wide experiments
with lots of plants not commonly reckoned “ hardy.”
Where laurels flower freely you will probably be suc-
cessful eight years out of ten. Most fuchsias, and
tender things which de down, may be kept.

Very little will keep Fack Frost out, if he has not yet
been in, either in the garden or the house. A “hot

bottle” will keep frost out of a small room where
one has stored geraniums, &c., so will a small paraffin
lamp (which—N. B.—will also keep water-pipes from
catastrophe). How I have toiled, in my young days,
with these same hot water bottles in a cupboard off
the nursery, which was my nearest approach to a
greenhouse! And how sadly I have experienced that
where Mr. Frost goes out Mr. Mould is apt to slink
in! Truly, as Mr. Warner says, “ the gardener needs
all the consolations of a high philosophy!”

It is a great satisfaction if things qwz// live out of
doors. And in a “ttle garden. a good deal of cod-
dling may be done. I am going to get some round
fruit hampers to turn over certain tender pets this
winter. When one has one’s flowers by the speci-
men and not by the score, such cossetting is possible.
Ashes and cinders are excellent protection for the
roots, and for plants—like roses—which do not die
back to the earth level, and which sometimes require
a screen as well as ‘a quilt; bracken, fir branches, a
few pea sticks, and matting or straw are all handy
helps. The old gentleman who ran out—without his
dressing gown—to fling his own bed-quilt over. some
plants endangered by an unexpected frost, came very
near to having a fine show of bloom and not being
there to see it ; but, short of this excessive zeal, when
one’s garden is a little one, and close to one’s thresh-
old, one may catch Jack Frost on the surface of

SoU CSE ES ie ans Ue
many bits of rough and ready fencing on very cold

In drought, one good soaking with tepid water is worth
six sprinklings. Watering is very fatiguing, but it is
unskilled labor, and one ought to be able to hire
strong arms to do it at a small rate. But I never met
the hired person yet who could be persuaded that it
was needful to do more than make the surface of the
ground look as if it had been raining.

There is a “first principle” of which some gar-
deners are very fond, but in which I do not believe,
that if you begin to water you must go on, and that
too few waterings do harm, What I don’t believe is
that they do harm, nor did I ever meet with a gar-
dener who complained of an odd shower, even if the

_skies did not follow it up. An odd sprinkling does

next to no good, but an odd soaking may save the
lives of your plants. In very hot weather don’t
grudge a few waterings to your polyanthuses and
ptimroses. If they are planted in open sunny bor-
ders with no shade or hedge-mulching, they suffer
greatly from drought.

Flowers, like human beings, are, to some extent, crea-
tures of habit. They get used to many things which
they can’t at all abide once in a way. If your little
garden (like mine) is part of a wandering establish-
ment, here to-day and there to-morrow, you may get
even your roses into very good habits of moving good

humoredly, and making themselves quickly at home.
If plants from the first are accustomed to being moved
about,—every year, or two years,—they do not greatly
resent it. A real “old resident,”’ who has pushed his
rootlets far and wide, and never tried any other soil
or aspect, is very slow to settle elsewhere, even if he
does not die of zostalgia and nervous shock! In
making cuttings, consider the habits and customs of
the parent plant. If it has been grown in heat, the
cuttings will require heat to start them. And so on,
as to dry soil or moist, &c. If somebody gives you
“a root’? in hot weather, or a bad time for moving,
when you have made your hole pour water in very
freely. Saturate the ground below, “puddle in”
your plants with plenty more, and you will probably
save it, especially if you turn a pot or basket over it
in the heat of the day. In warm weather plant in the
evening, the new-comers then have a round of the clock
in dews and restfulness before the sun is fierce enough
to make them flag. In cold weather move in the morn-
ing, and for the same period they will be safe from
possible frost. Little, if any, watering is needed for
late autumn plantings.

Those parts of a plant which are not accustomed to
exposure are those which suffer from it. You may
garden bare-handed in a cold wind and not be the
worse for it, but, if both your arms were bared to
the shoulders, the consequences would probably be

very different. A bundle of rose-trees or shrubs will
bear a good deal on their leaves and branches, but
for every moment you leave their roots exposed to
drying and chilling blasts they suffer. When a plant
is out of the ground, protect its crown and its roots
at once. If a plant is moved quickly, it is advanta-
geous, of course, to take it up with as much earth as
possible, if the roots remain undisturbed in their
little plat. Otherwise, earth is no better than any
other protection ; and in sending plants by post, &c.
(when soil weighs very heavily), it is better to wash
every bit of soil out of the roots, and then thor-
oughly wrap them in moss, and outside that in hay
or tow, or cotton wool. Then, if the roots are com-
fortably spread in nice mould at the other end of the
journey, all should go well.

I reserve a sneaking credulity about “lucky-fingers.”
Or rather, I should say, a belief that some people
have a strange power (or tact) in dealing with the
vegetable world, as others have in controlling and
coaxing animals,

It is a vivid memory of my childhood that (amongst
the box-edged gardens of a family of eight), that of
my eldest brother was almost inconvenienced by the
luck of his fingers. “Survival of the fittest” (if
hardiest does mean fittest!) kept the others within
bounds; but what he begged, borrowed, and stole,
survived, all of it, conglomerate around the “double

velvet ” rose, which formed the centrepiece. We
used to say that when the top layer was pared off, a
buried crop came up.

An old friend with lucky fingers visited my Little
Garden this autumn. He wanders all over the world,
and has no garden of his own except window-boxes
in London, where he seems to grow what he pleases.
‘He is constantly doing kindnesses, and likes to do
them his own way. He christened a border (out of
which I had not then turned the builders’ rubbish)
Desolation Border, with more candor than compli-
ment. He said it wanted flowers, and he meant to
sow some. I suggested that, sown at that period of
the summer, they would not flower this season. He
said they would. (They did.) None of my sugges-
tions met with favor, so I became gratefully passive,
and watched the lucky fingers from a distance, flut-
tering small papers, and making mystic deposits here
and there, through the length and breadth of the
garden. I only begged him to avoid my labels. The
seeds he sowed ranged from three (rather old) seeds
of bottle gourd to a packet of mixed Virginian stock.
They all came up. He said, “I shall put them in
where I think it is desirable, and when they come up
you'll see where they are.” I did.

For some days after his departure, on other coun-
try visits, I received plants by post. Not in tins, or
boxes, but in envelopes with little or no packing. In


this way came sea lavender in full bloom, crimson
monkey plant from the London window box, and cut-
tings of mesembryanthemum. They are all alive
and thriving.

The bottle gourd and the annuals have had their
day, and it is over; but in the most unexpected
places there still rise, like ghosts, certain plants
which completely puzzle me.* They have not blos-
somed, but they grow on in spite of frost. Some of
them are nearly as tall as myself. They almost
alarm me when I am dividing violas, and trifling with
Alpines. They stand over me (without sticks) and
seem to say, ‘““We are up, you see where we are!
We shall grow as long as we think it desirable.”

Farewell for the present, Little Friend,

Yours, &c.


When Candlemas Day is come and gone,
The snow lies on a hot stone.— Old Saw.

Amonc all the changes and chances of human life
which go to make up fiction as well-as fact, there is
%* When fully grown these plants proved to be the Tree-Mal-

low, Lavatera arborea, the seeds were gathered from specimens
on the shores of the Mediterranean.

one change which has never chanced to any man ;
and yet the idea has been found so fascinating by all
men that it appears in the literature of every country.
Most other fancied transformations are recorded as
facts somewhere in the history of our race. Poor
men have become rich, the beggar has sat among
princes, the sick have been made whole, the dead
have been raised, the neglected man has awoke to
find himself famous, rough and kindly beasts have
been charmed by lovely ladies into very passable
Princes, and it would be hard to say that the ugly
have not seen themselves beautiful in the mirror of
friendly eyes ; but the old have never become young.
The elixir of youth has intoxicated the imagination
of many, but no drop of it has ever passed human

If we ever do just taste anything of the vital, hope-
ful rapture, the elastic delight of the old man of a
fairy tale, who leaves his cares, his crutches, and his
chimney-corner, to go forth again young amongst the
young,—it is when the winter is ended and the spring
is come. Some people may feel this rising of the sap
of life within them more than others, but there are
probably very few persons whom the first mild airs
and bursting buds and pushing flower-crowns do not
slightly intoxicate with a sort of triumphant pleasure.

What then, dear little friend, must be the February
feelings of the owner of a Little Garden? Knowing,

as we do, every plant and its place,—having-taken just
pride in its summer bloom,—having preserved this by
cares and trimmings and proppings to a picturesque
and florid autumn, though wild flowers have long been
shrivelled and shapeless, —having tidied it up and put
a little something comforting round it when bloom and
outline were absolutely no more: what must we feel
when we first detect the ruddy young shoots of our
favorite peonies, or perceive that the brown old hepat-
icas have become green and young again and are
full of flower-buds?

The process of strolling, with bent back and peer
ing eyes, by the side of the still frosty borders is so
deeply interesting, and a very little sunshine on a
broad band of crocuses has such a summer-like
effect, that one is apt to forget that it is one of the
cheapest ways of catching cold. The last days of
the gardening year not unfrequently lead from the
flower-bed to the sick-bed. But though there is for
susceptible folk a noxious influence in the decaying
vegetation of autumn, from which spring is free, there
is bitter treachery in many a spring wind, and the
damp of the ground seems to reek with the exuding
chill of all the frosts that have bound it in mid-winter.

I often wonder that, for some exigencies of weather,
outdoor red-flannel knickerbockers which one wears
in Canada are not more in use here. The very small
children have all their clothes stuffed into them, and

tumble safely about in the snow like little Dutchmen.
Older wearers of petticoats cram all in except the out-
ermost skirt. It is a very simple garment made of
three pieces,—two (straight) legs and a large square.
The square is folded like a kerchief, and the leg pieces
attached to the two sloping sides. A broad elastic and
small openings on each side and at the top enable these
very baggy knickerbockers to be easily pulled on for
going out (where they effectually exclude cold exhala-
tions from snow or damp ground), and pulled off on
coming in.

Short of such coddling as this, I strongly urge
fleecy cork socks inside your garden boots; and I
may add that if you’ve never tried them, you can
have no idea of the warmth and comfort of a pair of
boy’s common yellow-leather leggings, but the but-
tons will require some adjusting.

Of course, very robust gardeners are independent
of these troublesome considerations ; but the garden-
ing members of a family, whether young or old, are
very often not those vigorous people who can enjoy
their fresh air at unlimited tennis or a real good
stretching walk over the hills. They are oftener
those weaker vessels who have to be content with
strolls, and drives, and sketching, and “ pottering
about the garden.”

Now, pottering about the garden in spring and au-
tumn has many risks for feeble vitalities, and yet these

are just the seasons when everything requires doing,
and there is a good hour’s work in every yard of a
pet border any day. So werbum sap. One has to
“pay with one’s person” for most of one’s plea-
sures, if one is delicate ; but it is possible to do a
great deal of equinoctial grubbing with safety and
even benefit, if one is very warmly protected, espe-
cially about the feet and legs. These details are
very tedious for young people, but not so tedious as
being kept indoors by a cold.

And not only must delicate gardeners be cossetted
with little advantages at these uncertain seasons, the
less robust of the flowers gain equally by timely care.
Jack Frost comes and goes, and leaves many plants
(especially those planted the previous autumn) half
jumped out of the ground. Look out for this, and
tread them firmly in again. A shovel-full of cinder-
siftings is a most timely attention round the young
shoots of such as are poking up their noses a little
too early, and seem likely to get them frost-bitten.
Most alpines and low-growing stuff will bear light
rolling after the frost has unsettled them. This is
done in large gardens, but in a Little Garden they
can be attended to individually. Give a little pro-
tection to what is too forward in growth, or badly
placed, or of doubtful hardihood, or newly planted.
Roses and hardy perennials can be planted in open


and are delightful afterwards to cut from. They are
not very tender, though not quite hardy.

For the few pots and pans and boxes of cuttings
and seedlings which you require, it is well worth while
to get a small stock of good compost from a nursery
gardener ; leaf mould, peat, and sand, whether for
seedlings or cuttings. Always sink your pot in a
second covering. Either have your pots sunk in a
box of sand, which you can keep damp, or have small
pots sunk in larger ones. A great coat to prevent
evaporation, in some shape, is invaluable.

Yours, &c.,
J. H. E.


Mr. anp Mrs. SkKRATD].

ONCE upon a time there lived a certain family of
the name of Skratdj. (It has a Russian or Polish
look, and yet they most certainly lived in England.)
They were remarkable for the following peculiarity.
They seldom seriously quarrelled, but they never
agreed about anything. It is hard to say whether it
were more painful for their friends to hear them con-
stantly contradicting each other, or gratifying to dis-
cover that it “meant nothing,” and was “ only their

It began with the father and mother. They were
a worthy couple, and really attached to each other.
They had a habit of contradicting each other’s state-
ments, and opposing each other’s opinions, which,
though mutually understood and allowed for in pri-
vate, was most trying to the by-standers in public.
If one related an anecdote, the other would break in
with half-a-dozen corrections of trivial details of no
interest or importance to anyone, the speakers in-


cluded. For instance: Suppose the two dining in a
strange house, and Mrs. Skratdj seated by the host,
and contributing to the small-talk of the dinner-table.
Thus :—

“Oh yes. Very changeable weather indeed. It
looked quite promising yesterday morning in the
town, but it began to rain at noon.”

“A quarter past eleven, my dear,” Mr. Skratdj’s
voice would be heard to say from several chairs
down, in the corrective tones of a husband and father ;
“and really, my dear, so far from being a promising
morning, I must say it looked about as threatening as
it well could. Your memory is not always accurate in
small matters, my love.”

But Mrs. Skratdj had not been a wife and a mother
. for fifteen years, to be snuffed out at one snap of the
marital snuffers. As Mr. Skratdj leaned forward in
his chair, she leaned forward in hers, and defended —
herself across the intervening couples.:

“Why, my dear Mr. Skratdj, you said yourself the
weather had not been so promising for a week.”

“What I said, my dear, pardon me, was that the
barometer was higher than it had been for a week.
But, as you might have observed if these details
were in your line, my love, which they are not, the
rise was extraordinarily rapid, and there is no surer
sign of unsettled weather.—But Mrs. Skratdj is apt
to forget these unimportant trifles,” he added, with

a comprehensive smile round the dinner-table ; “her
thoughts are very properly absorbed by the more im-
portant domestic questions of the nursery.”

‘“‘ Now I think that’s rather unfair on Mr. Skratdj’s
part,’ Mrs. Skratdj would chirp, with a smile quite
as affable and as general as her husband’s. “I’m
sure he’s guife as forgetful and inaccurate as / am.
And I don’t think my memory is at @// a bad one.”

“Vou forgot the dinner hour when we were going
out to dine last week, nevertheless,” said Mr. Skratdj.

“ And you couldn’t help me when I asked you,”
was the sprightly retort. ‘And I’m sure it’s not like
you to forget anything about diner, my dear.”

“The letter was addressed to you,” said Mr,

“T sent it to you by Jemima,” said Mrs. Skratdj.

“T didn’t read it,” said Mr. Skratdj.

“Well, you burnt it,” said Mrs. Skratdj; “and, as
I always say, there’s nothing more foolish than burn-
ing a letter of invitation before the day, for one is
certain to forget.”

“ve no doubt you always do say it,” Mr. Skratdj
remarked with a smile, ‘but I certainly never re-
member to have heard the observation from your
lips, my love.”

“Whose memory’s in fault there?” asked Mrs.
Skratdj triumphantly ; and as at this point the ladies
rose, Mrs, Skratdj had the last word.

Indeed, as may be gathered from this conversa-
tion, Mrs. Skratdj was quite able to defend herself.
When she was yet a bride, and young and timid, she
used to collapse when Mr. Skratdj contradicted her
statements, and set her stories straight in public.
Then she hardly ever opened her lips without disap-
pearing under the domestic extinguisher. But in the
course of fifteen years she had learned that Mr.
Skratdj’s bark was a great deal worse than his bite.
(If, indeed, he had a bite at all.) Thus snubs that
made other people’s ears tingle, had no effect what-
ever on the lady to whom they were addressed, for
she knew exactly what they were worth, and had by
this time become fairly adept at snapping in return.
In the days when she succumbed she was occasion-
ally unhappy, but now she and her husband under-
stood each other, and having agreed to differ, they
unfortunately agreed also to differ in public.

Indeed, it was the by-standers who had the worst
of it on these occasions. To the worthy couple
themselves the habit had become second nature, and
in no way affected the friendly tenor of their domestic
relations. They would interfere with each other’s
conversation, contradicting assertions, and disputing
conclusions for a whole evening; and then, when all
the world and his wife thought that these ceaseless
sparks of bickering must blaze up into a flaming
quarrel as soon as they were alone, they would bow]

amicably home in a cab, criticizing the friends who
were commenting upon them, and as little agreed
about the events of the evening as about the details
of any other events whatever. :

Yes. The by-standers certainly had the worst of
it. Those who were near wished themselves any-
where else, especially when appealed to. Those who
were at a distance did not mind so much. A domes-
tic squabble at a certain distance is interesting, like
an engagement viewed from a point beyond the range
of guns. In such a position one may some day be
placed oneself! Moreover, it gives a touch of excite-
ment to a dull evening to be able to say sotto voce to
one’s neighbor, “Do listen! The Skratdjs are at it
again!” Their unmarried friends thought a terrible
abyss of tyranny and aggravation must lie beneath it
all, and blessed their stars that they were still single,
and able to tell a tale their own way. The married
ones had more idea of how it really was, and wished
in the name of common sense and good taste that
Skratdj and his wife would not make fools of them-

So it went on, however ; and so, I suppose it goes
on still, for not many bad habits are cured in middle
age. ;

On certain questions of comparative speaking their
views were never identical. Such as the temperature
being hot or cold, things being light or dark, the

apple-tarts being sweet or sour. So one day Mr.
Skratdj came into the room, rubbing his hands, and
planting himself at the fire with “ Bitterly cold it is
to-day, to be sure.”

“Why, my dear William,” said Mrs. Skratdj, “I’m
sure you must have got a cold; I feel a fire quite
oppressive myself.”

“You were wishing you’d a seal-skin jacket yester-
day, when it wasn’t half as cold as to-day,” said
Mr. Skratdj.

“My dear William! Why, the children were shiv-
ering the whole day, and the wind was in the north.”
- “Due east, Mrs. Skratdj.”

“T know by the smoke,” said Mrs. Skratdj, softly
but decidedly.

“T fancy I can tell an east wind when I feel it,”
said Mr. Skratdj, jocosely, to the company.

“JT told Jemima to look at the weathercock,” mur-
mured Mrs. Skratdj.

“I don’t care a fig for Jemima,” said her husband.

On another occasion Mrs. Skratdj and a lady
friend were conversing.

. . . “We met him at the Smiths’—a gentle-
manlike agreeable man, about forty,” said Mrs.
Skratdj, in reference to some matter interesting to
both ladies.

“Not a day over thirty-five,” said Mr. Skratdj,
from behind his newspaper.

“Why, my dear William, his hair’s grey,” said
Mrs, Skratdj.

“Plenty of men are grey at thirty,” said Mr.
Skratdj. “IT knew a man who was grey at twenty-

“Well, forty or thirty-five, it doesn’t much matter,”
_ said Mrs, Skratdj, about to resume her narration.

“Five years matters a good deal to most people at
thirty-five,” said Mr. Skratdj, as he walked towards
the door. “They would make a remarkable differ-
ence to me, I know;” and with a jocular air Mr.
Skratdj departed, and Mrs. Skratdj had the rest of
the anecdote her own way.


Tue Littte SKRATDJs.

THE Spirit of Contradiction finds a place in most
nurseries, though to a very varying degree in differ-
ent ones. Children snap and snarl by nature, like
young puppies ; and most of us can remember taking
part in some such spirited dialogues as the follow
ing :—

“T will.” “Vou daren’t.”
i * Vou can’t.” “T dare.”
Vou shall.” “Tl tell Mamma.”
{ “T won’t.” { “T don’t care if you do.”

It is the part of wise parents to repress these
squibs and crackers of juvenile contention, and to

enforce that slowly-learned lesson, that in this world
one must often “pass over” and “put up with”
things in other people, being oneself by no means
perfect. Also that it is a kindness, and almost a
duty, to let people think and say and do things in
their own way occasionally.

But even if Mr. and Mrs. Skratdj had ever thought
of teaching all this to their children, it must be con-
fessed that the lesson would not have come with a
good grace from either of them, since they snapped
and snarled between themselves as much or more
than their children in the nursery.

The two eldest were the leaders in the nursery
squabbles. Between these, a boy and a girl, a cease-
less war of words was waged from morning to night.
And as neither of them lacked ready wit, and both
were in constant practice, the art of snapping was
cultivated by them to the highest pitch.

It began at breakfast, if not sooner.

“ You’ve taken my chair.”

*Tt’s not your chair.”

“You know it’s the one I like, and it was in my

“How do you know it was in your place?”

“Never mind. I do know.”

“ No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Suppose I say it was in my place.”

“ You can’t, for it wasn’t.”

“TJ can, if I like.”

“Well, was it?”

“ T sha’n’t tell you.”

“ Ah! that shews it wasn’t.”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Ves, it does.”

Etc., etc., etc.

The direction of their daily walks was a fruitful
subject of difference of opinion.

“ Let’s go on the Common to-day, Nurse.”

“Oh, don’t let’s go there; we’re always going on
the Common.”

“T’m sure we’re not. We've not been there for
ever so long.” :

“Oh, what a story! We were there on Wednes-
day. Let’s go down Gipsey Lane. We_ never go
down Gipsey Lane.”

“ Why, we’re always going down Gipsey Lane. And
there’s nothing to see there.”

“JT don’t care. I won’t go on the Common, and I
shall go and get Papa to say we’re to go down Gipsey
Lane. I can run faster than you.”

“ That’s very sneaking ; but I don’t care.”

“Papa! Papa! Polly’s called me a sneak.”

“No, I didn’t, Papa.”

“You did.”

“No, I didn’t. I only said it was sneaking of you


to say you’d run faster than me, and get Papa to say
we were to go down Gipsey Lane.”

“Then you did call him sneaking,” said Mr.
Skratdj. “And you're a very naughty, ill-mannered
little girl. You're getting very troublesome,. Polly,
and I shall have to send you to school, where you'll
be kept in order. Go where your brother wishes at

For Polly and her brother lad reached an age when
it was convenient, if possible, to throw the blame of
all nursery differences on Polly. In families where
domestic discipline is rather fractious than firm, there
comes a stage when the girls almost invariably go to
the wall, because they will stand snubbing, and the
boys will not. Domestic authority, like some other
powers, is apt to be magnified on the weaker class.

But Mr. Skratdj would not always listen even to

“If you don’t give it me back directly, I’ll tell
about your eating the two magnum-bonums in the
kitchen garden on Sunday,” said Master Harry on
one occasion.

“ Tell-tale tit!
Your tongue shall be slit,
And every dog in the town shall have a little bit,”
quoted his sister.
“Ah! You've called mea tell-tale. Now I’ll go

and tell Papa. You got into a fine scrape for calling
me names the other day.”

“Go, then! I don’t care.”

“You wouldn’t like me to go, I know.”

“You daren’t. That’s what it is.”

“T dare.”

“Then why don’t you?”

“Oh, I am going ; but you’ll see what will be the
end of it.”

Polly, however, had her own reasons for remaining
stolid, and Harry started. But when he reached the
landing he paused. Mr. Skratdj had especially an-
nounced that morning that he did not wish to be dis-
turbed, and though he was a favorite, Harry had no
desire to invade the dining-room at this crisis. So
he returned to the nursery, and said with a magnani-
mous air, “I don’t want to get you into a scrape,
Polly. If you’ll beg my pardon I won’t go.”

“T’m sure I sha’n’t,” said Polly, who was equally
well informed as to the position of affairs at head-
quarters. ‘Go, if you dare.”

“T won’t if you want me not,” said Harry, dis-
creetly waiving the question of apologies.

“ But I’d rather you went,” said the obdurate Polly.
““You’re always telling tales. Go and tell now, if
you’re not afraid.”

So Harry went. But at the bottom of the stairs
he lingered again, and was meditating how to return

with most credit to his dignity, when Polly’s face ap-
peared through the banisters, and Polly’s sharp tongue
goaded him on. ;
“Ah! Isee you. You're stopping. You daren’t
“1 dare,” said Harry; and at last he went.
As he turned the handle of the door, Mr. Skratdj
turned round,


“Please, Papa ” Harry began.
“ Get away with you!” cried Mr. Skratdj. ‘ Didn’t
I tell you I was not to be disturbed this morning?

What an extraor ;
But Harry had shut the door, and withdrawn pre-


Once outside, he returned to the nursery with dig-
nified steps, and an air of apparent satisfaction, say-

“You're to give me the bricks, please.”

“Who says so?”

“Why, who should say so? Where have I been,

“T don’t know, and I don’t care.”

““T’ve been to Papa. There!”

“Did he say I was to give up the bricks?”

“Yve told you.”

“ No, you’ve not.”

“T sha’n’t tell you any more.”

“Then I’ll go to Papa and ask.”

“Go by all means.”

““T won’t if you’ll tell me truly.”

“T sha’n’t tell you anything. Go and ask, if you
dare,” said Harry, only too glad to have the tables

Polly’s expedition met with the same fate, and she
attempted to cover her retreat in a similar manner.

“ Ah! you didn’t tell.”

““T don’t believe you asked Papa.”

“Don’t you? Very well!”

“Well, did you?”

“¢ Never mind.”

Etc., etc., etc.

Meanwhile Mr. Skratdj scolded Mrs. Skratdj for
not keeping the children in better order. And Mrs.
Skratdj said it was quite impossible to do so when
Mr. Skratdj spoilt Harry as he did, and weakened
her (Mrs. Skratdj’s) authority by constant interfer-

Difference of sex gave point to.many of these nur-
sery squabbles, as it so often does to domestic broils.

“ Boys never will do what they’re asked,” Polly
would complain.

“Girls ask such unreasonable things,”

was Harry’s

“Not half so unreasonable as the things you ask.”
“Ah! that’s a different thing! Women have got

to do what men tell them, whether it’s reasonable or

“No, they’ve not!” said Polly. “At least, that’s
only husbands and wives.”

“All women are inferior animals,” said Harry.

“Try ordering Mamma to do what you want, and
see!” Said Polly.

‘Men have got to give orders, and women have to
obey,” said Harry, falling back on the general prin-
ciple. “And when I get a wife, I’ll take care I make
her do what I tell her. But you'll have to obey your
husband when you get one.”

““T won’t have a husband, and then I can do as I

“Oh, won’t you? You'll try to get one, I know.
Girls always want to be married.”

“I’m sure I don’t know why,” said Polly; “ they
must have had enough of men if they have brothers.”

And so they went on, ad wnyinitum, with ceaseless
arguments that proved nothing and convinced nobody,
and a continual stream of contradiction that just fell
short of downright quarrelling.

Indeed, there was a kind of snapping even less
near to a dispute than in the cases just mentioned.
The little Skratdjs, like some other children, were
under the unfortunate delusion that it sounds clever
to hear little boys and girls snap each other up with

smart sayings, and old and rather vulgar play upon
words, such as:

“ll give you a Christmas box. Which ear will
you have it on?”

“T won’t stand it.”

- “ Pray take a chair.”

“Vou shall have it to-morrow.”

“ To-morrow never comes.”

And so if a visitor kindly began to talk to one of
the children, another was sure to draw near and
“take up” all the first child’s answers, with smart
comments, and catches that sounded as silly as they
were tiresome and impertinent.

And ill-mannered as this was, Mr. and Mrs. Skratdj
never put a stop to it. Indeed, it was only a carica-
ture of what they did themselves. But they often
said, ‘“‘We can’t think how it is the children are

always squabbling!”

Tue Sxratpy’s Doc anp THE Hot-TEMPERED

Ir is wonderful how the state of mind of a whole
household is influenced by the heads of it. Mr.
Skratdj was a very kind master, and Mrs. Skratdj
was a very kind mistress, and yet their servants lived
in a perpetual fever of irritability that fell just short
of discontent. They jostled each other on the back
stairs, said sharp things in the pantry, and kept up a
perennial warfare on the subject of the duty of the
sexes with the general man-servant. They gave
warning on the slightest provocation.

The very dog was infected by the snapping
mania. He was not a brave dog, he was not a
vicious dog, and no high-breeding sanctioned his
pretensions to arrogance. But like his owners, he
had contracted a bad habit, a trick, which made him
the pest of all timid visitors, and indeed of all visit-
ors whatsoever.

The moment anyone approached the house, on
certain occasions when he was spoken to, and often
in no traceable connection with any cause at all,
Snap the mongrel would rush out, and bark in his
little sharp voice—“ Yap! yap! yap!” If the vis-
itor made a stand, he would bound away sideways on
his four little legs ; but the moment the visitor went
on his way again, Snap was at his heels—‘ Yap!
yap! yap!” He barked at the milkman, the butch-
er’s boy, and the baker, though he saw them every
day. He never got used to the washerwoman, and
she never got used to him. She said he “ put her in
mind of that there black dog in the Pilgrim’s Pro-
gress.” He sat at the gate in summer, and yapped
at every vehicle and every pedestrian who ventured
to pass on the high road. He never but once had
the chance of barking at burglars; and then, though

he barked long and loud, nobody got up, for they
said, “It’s only Snap’s way.” The Skratdjs lost a
silver teapot, a Stilton cheese, and two electro chris-
tening mugs, on this occasion; and Mr. and Mrs.
Skratdj dispute who it was who discouraged reliance
on Snap’s warning to the present day.

One Christmas time, a certain hot-tempered gen-
tleman. came to visit the Skratdjs. A tall, sandy,
energetic young man, who carried his own bag from
the railway. The bag had been crammed rather
than packed, after the wont of bachelors; and you
could see where the heel of a boot distended the
leather, and where the bottle of shaving-cream lay.

As he came up to the house, out came Snap as
usual—“ Yap! yap! yap!” Now the gentleman was
very fond of dogs, and had borne this greeting some
dozen of times from Snap, who for his part knew the
visitor quite as well as the washerwoman, and rather
better than the butcher’s boy. The gentleman had
good, sensible, well-behaved dogs of his own, and
was greatly disgusted with Snap’s conduct. Never-
theless he spoke friendly to him; and Snap, who
had had many a bit from bis plate, could not help
stopping for a minute to lick his hand. But no
sooner did the gentleman proceed on his way, than
Snap flew at his heels in the usual fashion—

“Vap! Yap! Yap!”
On which the gentleman—being hot-tempered, and

one of those people with whom it is (as they say) a
word and a blow, and the blow first—made a dash at
Snap, and Snap taking to his heels, the gentleman
flung his carpet-bag after him. The bottle of shaving-
cream hit upon a stone and was smashed. The heel
of the boot caught Snap on the back and sent him
squealing to the kitchen. And he never barked at
that gentleman again.

If the gentleman disapproved of Snap’s conduct,
he still less liked the continual snapping of the
Skratdj family themselves. He was an old friend of
Mr. and Mrs. Skratdj, however, and knew that they
were really happy together, and that it was only a
bad habit which made them constantly contradict
each other. It was in allusion to their real affection
for each other, and their perpetual disputing, that he
called them the “Snapping Turtles.” ©

When the war of words waxed hottest at the dinner-
table between his host and hostess, he would drive
his hands through his shock of sandy hair, and say,
with a comical glance out of his umber eyes, “ Don’t
flirt, my friends. It makes a bachelor feel awkward.”

And neither Mr. nor Mrs. Skratdj could help

With the little Skratdjs his measures were more
vigorous. He was very fond of children, and a good
friend to them. He grudged no time or trouble to
help them in their games and projects, but he would

not tolerate their snapping up each other’s words in
his presence. He was much more truly kind than
many visitors, who think it polite to smile at the sau-
ciness and forwardness which ignorant vanity leads
children so often to “show off” before strangers.
These civil acquaintances only abuse both children
and parents behind their backs, for the very bad
habits which they help to encourage.

The hot-tempered gentleman’s treatment of his
young friends was very different. One day he was
talking to Polly, and making some kind inquiries
about her lessons, to which she was replying in a
quiet and sensible fashion, when up came Master
Harry, and began to display his wit by comments on
the conversation, and by snapping at and contradict-
ing his sister’s remarks, to which she retorted ; and
the usual snap-dialogue went on as usual.

“Then you like music?” said thé hot-tempered

“Yes, I like it very much,” said Polly.

“Oh, do you?”? Harry broke in. “Then what
are you always crying over it for?”

“T’m not always crying over it.”

“Ves, you are.”

“No, Pm not. I only cry sometimes, when I stick

“Your music must be very sticky, for you're
always stuck fast.”
Ee a ese ce

“Hold your tongue!” said the hot-tempered gen-

With what he imagined to be a very waggish air,
Harry put out his tongue, and held it with his finger
and thumb, It was unfortunate that he had not time
to draw it in again before the hot-tempered gentle-
man gave him a stinging box on the ear, which
brought his teeth rather sharply together on the tip
of his tongue, which was bitten in consquence.

“Tt’s no use speaking,’ said the hot-tempered gen-
tleman, driving his hands through his hair.

Children are like dogs, they are very good judges
of their real friends. Harry did not like the hot-
tempered gentleman a bit the less because he was
obliged to respect and obey him; and all the chil-
dren welcomed him boisterously when he arrived
that Christmas which we have spoken of in connec-
tion with his attack on Snap.

It was on the morning of Christman Eve that the
china punch bowl was broken. Mr. Skratdj had a
warm dispute with Mrs. Skratdj as to whether it had
been kept in a safe place; after which both had a
brisk encounter with the housemaid, who did not
know how it happened ; and she, flouncing down the
back passage, kicked Snap; who forthwith flew at the
gardener as he was bringing in the horse-radish for
the beef; who stepping backwards trode upon the


| 4



cat ; who spit and swore, and went up the pump with
her tail as big as a fox’s brush.

To avoid this domestic scene, the hot-tempered
gentleman withdrew to’ the breakfast-room and took
up a newspaper. By-and-by, Harry and Polly came
in, and they were soon snapping comfortably over
their own affairs in a corner.

The hot-tempered gentleman’s umber eyes had
been looking over the top of his newspaper at them
for some time, before he called, “ Harry, my boy!”

And Harry came up to him.

“ Shew me your tongue, Harry,” said he.

“What for?” said Harry; “‘your’re not a doctor.”

“Do as I tell you,” said the hot-tempered gentle-
man; and as Harry saw his hand moving, he put his
tongue out with all possible haste. The hot-tempered
gentleman sighed. “Ah!” he said in depressed
tones; “I thought so !—Polly, come and let me look
at yours.”

Polly, who had crept up during this process, now
put out hers. But the hot-tempered gentleman looked
gloomier still, and shook his head.

“What is it?’ cried both the children. ‘“ What
do you mean?” And they seized the tips of their
tongues in their fingers, to feel for themselves.

But the hot-tempered gentleman went slowly out
of the room without answering ; passing his hands

through his hair, and saying, “ Ah! Hum!” and nod-
ding with an air of grave foreboding.

Just as he crossed the threshold, he turned back,
and put his head into the room. ‘“ Have you ever
noticed that your tongues are growing pointed?” he

“No!” cried the children with alarm. “Are

“Tf ever you find them becoming forked,” said
the gentleman in solemn tones, “let me know.”

With which he departed, gravely shaking his head.

In the afternoon the children attacked him again.

“ Do tell us what’s the matter with our tongues.”

“ Vou were snapping and squabbling just as usual
this morning,” said the hot-tempered gentleman.

“Well, we forgot,” said Polly. “We don’t mean
anything, you know. But never mind that now,
please. Tell us about our tongues. What is going
to happen to them?”

“Tm very much afraid,” said the hot-tempered
gentleman, in solemn, measured tones, “that you
are both of you—fast—going—to—the ”

“ Dogs?” suggested Harry, who was learned in .
cant expressions.

“Dogs!” said the hot-tempered gentleman, driv-
ing his hands through his hair. ‘ Bless your life, no!
Nothing half so’pleasant! (That is, unless all dogs
were like Snap, which mercifully they are not.) No,

my sad fear is, that you are both of you—rapidly—
going—/o the Snap-Dragons |”

And not another word would the hot-tempered gen-
tleman say on the subject.


In the course of a few hours Mr. and Mrs. Skratdj
recovered their equanimity. The punch was brewed
in a jug, and tasted quite as good as usual. The
evening was very lively. There were a Christmas
tree, Yule cakes, log, and candles, furmety, and snap-
dragon after supper. When the company was tired
of the tree, and had gained an appetite by the hard
exercise of stretching to high branches, blowing out
“dangerous” tapers, and cutting ribbon and pack-
thread in all directions, supper came, with its wel-
come cakes and furmety and punch. And when
furmety somewhat palled upon the taste (and it
must be admitted to boast more sentiment than fla-
vor as a Christmas dish), the Yule candles were
blown out and both the spirits and the palates of
the party were stimulated by the mysterious and pun-
gent pleasures of snap-dragon.

Then, as the hot-tempered gentleman warmed his
coat-tails at the Vule-log, a grim smile stole over his
features as he listened to the sounds in the room. In
the darkness the blue flames leaped and danced, the

raisins were snapped and snatched from hand to hand,
scattering fragments of flame hither and thither. The
children shouted as the fiery sweetmeats burnt away
the mawkish taste of the furmety. Mr. Skratdj cried
that they were spoiling the carpet ; Mrs. Skratdj com-
plained that he had spilled some brandy on her dress.
Mr. Skratdj retorted that she should not wear dresses
so susceptible of damage in the family circle. Mrs.
Skratdj recalled an old speech of Mr. Skratdj on the
subject of wearing one’s nice things for the benefit of
one’s family, and not reserving them forvisitors. Mr.
Skratdj remembered that Mrs. Skratdj’s excuse for
buying that particular dress when she did not need
it, was her intention of keeping it for the next year.
The children disputed as to the credit for courage and
the amount of raisins due to each. Snap barked fu-
riously at the flames; and the maids hustled each
other for good places in the doorway, and would not
have allowed the man-servant to see at all, but he
looked over their heads.

“St! Se! Atit! Atit!” chuckled the hot-tempered
gentleman in undertones. And when he said this, it.
seemed as if the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Skratdj rose
higher in matrimonial repartee, and the children’s
squabbles became louder, and the dog yelped as if he
were mad, and the maids’ contest was sharper ; whilst
the snap-dragon flames leaped up and up, and blue
fire flew about the room like foam.

ioe eR

At last the raisins were finished, the flames were

all put out, and the company withdrew to the drawing-
room. Only Harry lingered.

“Come along, Harry,” said the hot-tempered gen-

“Wait a minute,” said Harry.

“You had better come,”’ said the gentleman.

“Why?” said Harry.

“There’s nothing to stop for. The raisins are
eaten, the brandy is burnt out ye

“No, it’s not,” said Harry.

“Well, almost. It would be better if it were quite
out. Nowcome. It’s dangerous for a boy like you
to be alone with the Snap-Dragons to-night.”

“ Fiddle-sticks !” said Harry.

“Go your own way, then!” said the hot-tempered
gentleman ; and he bounced out of the room, and
Harry was left alone,


He crept up to the table, where one little pale blue
flame flickered in the snap-dragon dish.

“What a pity it should go out!” said Harry. At
this moment the brandy bottle on the side-board
caught his eye.

“Just a little more,” murmured Harry to himself ;


and he uncorked the bottle, and poured a little
brandy on to the flame.

Now of course, as soon as the brandy touched the
fire, all the brandy in the bottle blazed up at once,
and the bottle split to pieces; and it was very fortu-
nate for Harry that he did not get seriously hurt. A
little of the hot brandy did get into his eyes, and
made them smart, so that he had to shut them for a
few seconds.

But when he opened them again, what a sight he
saw! All over the room the blue flames leaped and
danced as they had leaped and danced in the soup-
plate with the raisins. And Harry saw that each
successive flame was the fold in the long body of a
bright blue Dragon, which moved like the body of a
snake. And the room was full of these Dragons.
In the face they were like the dragons one sees made
of very old blue and white china; and they had
forked tongues, like the tongues of serpents. They
were most beautiful in color, being sky-blue. Lob-
sters who have just changed their coats are very
handsome, but the violet and indigo of a lobster’s
coat is nothing to the brilliant sky-blue of a Snap-

How they leaped about! They were for ever leap-
ing over.each other like seals at play. But if it was
“play” at all with them, it was of a very rough
kind; for as they jumped, they snapped and barked

at each other, and their barking was like that of the
barking Gnu in the Zodlogical Gardens ; and from
time to time they tore the hair out of each other’s
heads with their claws, and scattered it about the
floor, And as it dropped it was like the flecks of
flame people shake from their fingers when they are
eating snap-dragon raisins.

Harry stood aghast.

“What fun!” said a voice close by him ; and he
saw that one of the Dragons was lying near, and not
joining in the game. He had lost one of the forks
of his tongue by accident, and could not bark for

“T’m glad you think it funny,” said Harry, “TI

“That’s right. Snap away!’ sneered the Dragon.
“You're a perfect treasure. They'll take you in
with them the third round.”

“Not those creatures?” cried Harry,

“Ves, those creatures. And if I hadn’t lost my
bark, I’d be thefirst to lead you off,” said the Dragon.
“ Oh, the game will exactly suit you.”

“What is it please ?”? Harry asked.

“You'd better not say ‘please’ to the others,”
said the Dragon, “if you don’t want to have all your
hair pulled out. The game is this. You have always
to be jumping over somebody else, and you must either
talk or bark. If anybody speaks to you, you must snap

in return. JI need not explain what szapping is. You
know. If anyone by accident gives a civil answer, a
claw-full of hair is torn out of his head to stimulate
his brain. Nothing can be funnier.”

““T dare say it suits you capitally,”

said Harry;
“ but I’m sure we shouldn’t like it. I mean men and
women and children. It wouldn’t do for us at all.”

“Wouldn’t it?” said the Dragon. ‘ You don’t
know how many human beings dance with dragons
on Christmas Eve. If we are kept going in a house
till after midnight, we can pull people out of their
beds, and take them to dance in Vesuvius.”

“Vesuvius!” cried Harry.

“Ves, Vesuvius. We come from Italy originally,
you know. Our skins are the color of the Bay of
Naples. We live on dried grapes and ardent spirits.
We have glorious fun in the mountain sometimes.
Oh! what snapping, and scratching, and tearing!
Delicious! There are times when the squabbling
becomes too great, and Mother Mountain won’t
stand it, and spits us all out, and throws cinders
after us. But this is only at times. We had a
charming meeting last year. So many human be-
ings, and how they caz snap! It was a choice party.
So very select. We always have plenty of saucy chil-
dren, and servants. Husbands and wives too, and
quite as many of the former as the latter, if not
more. But besides these, we had two vestry-men, a

country postmaster, who devoted his talents to in-
sulting the public instead of to learning the postal
regulations, three cabmen and two ‘fares,’ two
young shop-girls from a Berlin wool shop in
where there was no competition, four commercial
travellers, six landladies, six Old Bailey lawyers, sev-
eral widows from almshouses, seven single gentlemen
and nine cats, who swore at everything; a dozen
sulphur-colored screaming cockatoos ; a lot of street
children from a town; a pack of mongrel curs from
the colonies, who snapped at the human beings’ heels,
and five elderly ladies in their Sunday bonnets with
Prayer-books, who had been fighting for good seats
in church.”

“ Dear me!” said Harry.

“Tf you can find nothing sharper to say than ‘ Dear
me,’” said the Dragon, “you will fare badly, I can
tell you. Why, I thought you’d a sharp tongue, but
it’s not forked yet, I see. Here they are, however.
Off with you! And if you value your curls—Snap! ”

And before Harry could reply, the Snap-Dragons
came on on their third round, and as they passed
they swept Harry with them.

He shuddered as he looked at his companions
They were as transparent as shrimps, but of this
lovely cerulean blue. And as they leaped they
barked—“ Howf! Howf! ”—like barking Gnus ; and
when they leaped Harry had to leap with them. Be.

sides barking, they snapped and wrangled with each
other ; and in this Harry must join also.

“ Pleasant, isn’t it?’ said one of the blue Dragons.

“Not at all,” snapped Harry.

“That’s your bad taste,” snapped the blue Dragon.

“No, it’s not!” snapped Harry.

“Then it’s pride and perverseness. You want your
hair combing.”

“Oh, please don’t!” shrieked Harry, forgetting
himself. On which the Dragon clawed a handful of
hair out of his head, and Harry screamed, and the
blue Dragons barked and danced.

“That made your hair curl, didn’t it?” asked an-
other Dragon, leaping over Harry.

“That’s no business of yours,” Harry snapped, as
well as he could for crying. :

“It’s more my pleasure than business,” retorted
the Dragon.

“Keep it to yourself, then,” snapped Harry.

“‘T mean to share it with you, when I get hold of
your hair,” snapped the Dragon.

“Wait till you get the chance,” Harry snapped,
with desperate presence of mind.

“Do you know whom you're talking to?” roared the
Dragon ; and he opened his mouth from ear to ear,
and shot out his forked tongue in Harry’s face; and
the boy was $0 frightened that he forgot to snap, and
cried piteously,

“Oh, I beg your pardon, please don’t!”

On which the blue Dragon clawed another handful
of hair out of his head, and all the Dragons barked
as before.

How long the dreadful game went on Harry never
exactly knew. Well practised as he was in snapping
in the nursery, he often failed to think of a retort,
and paid for his unreadiness by the loss of his hair.
Oh, how foolish and wearisome all this rudeness and
snapping now seemed to him! But on he had to go,
wondering all the time how near it was to twelve
o’clock, and whether the Snap-Dragons would stay
till midnight and take him with them to Vesuvius.

At last, to his joy, it became evident that the
brandy was coming to anend. The Dragons moved
slower, they could not leap so high, and at last one
after another they began to go out.

“Oh, if they only all of them get away before
twelve!” thought poor Harry.

At last there was only one. He and Harry jumped
about and snapped and barked, and Harry was think-
ing with joy that he was the last, when the clock in
the hall gave that whirring sound which some clocks
do before they strike, as if it were clearing its throat.

“Oh, please go!” screamed Harry in despair.

The blue Dragon leaped up, and took such a claw-
full of hair out of the boy’s head, that it seemed as
if part of the skin went too. But that leap was his

last. He went out at once, vanishing before the first
stroke of twelve. And Harry was left on his face on
the floor in the darkness.


WHEN his friends found him there was blood on
his forehead. Harry thought it was where the Dragon
had clawed him, but they said it was a cut from a
fragment of the broken brandy bottle. The Dragons
had disappeared as completely as the brandy.

Harry was cured of snapping. He had had quite
enough of it for a lifetime, and the catch-contradic-
tions of the household now made him shudder. Polly
had not had the benefit of his experiences, and yet
she improved also.

In the first place, snapping, like other kinds of
quarrelling, requires two parties to it, and Harry.
would never be a party to snapping any more. And
when he gave civil and kind answers to Polly’s smart
speeches, she felt ashamed of herself, and did not
repeat them.

In the second place, she heard about the Snap-
Dragons. Harry told all about it to her and to the
hot-tempered gentleman.

“Now do you think it’s true?” Polly asked the
hot-tempered gentleman.

“Hum! Ha!” said he, driving his hands through

his hair. “You know I warned you, you were going
to the Snap-Dragons.”
* * * * * x *

Harry and Polly snubbed “ the little ones ” when
they snapped, and utterly discountenaneed snapping
in the nursery. The example and admonitions of
elder children are a powerful instrument of nursery
discipline, and before long there was not a “sharp
tongue” amongst all the little Skratdjs.

But I doubt if the parents ever were cured. I
don’t know if they heard the story. Besides, bad
habits are not easily cured when one is old.

I fear Mr. and Mrs. Skratdj have yet got to dance
with the Dragons.

Every child knows how to tell the time by a dan-
delion clock. You blow till the seed is all blown
away, and you count each of the puffs—an hour to
a puff. Every child knows this, and very few chil-
dren want to know any more on the subject. It
was Peter Paul’s peculiarity that he always did want
to know more about everything; a habit whose first
and foremost inconvenience is that one can so seldom
get people to answer one’s questions,

Peter Paul and his two sisters were playing in the
pastures. Rich, green, Dutch pastures, unbroken by
hedge or wall, which stretched—like an emerald
ocean—to the horizon and met the sky. The cows
stood ankle-deep in it and chewed the cud, the
clouds sailed slowly over it to the sea, and on a dry
hillock sat Mother, in her broad sun-hat, with one
eye to the cows and one to the linen she was bleach-
ing, thinking of her farm.

Peter Paul and his sisters had found another little
hillock where, among some tufts of meadow-flowers
which the cows had not yet eaten, were dandelion


clocks. They divided them quite fairly, and began
to tell each other the time of day.

Little Anna blew very hard for her size, and as
the wind blew too, her clock was finished in a couple
of puffs. “One, two. It’s only two o’clock,” she
said, with a sigh.

Her elder sister was more careful, but still the
wind was against them. “One, two, three. It’s
three o’clock by me,” she said.

Peter Paul turned his back to the wind, and held
his clock low. ‘One, two, three, four, five. It’s
five o’clock by my dandelion—I wonder why the fairy
clocks ali go differently.”

“We blow differently,” said his sister.

“Then they don’t really tell the time,” said Peter

“Oh yes, they do—the fairy time.” And the little
girls got more clocks, and turned their backs to the
wind in imitation of Peter Paul, and went on blow-
ing. But the boy went up to his mother.

“Mother, why do dandelion clocks keep different
time? It was only two o’clock by Anna’s, and three
o’clock by Leena’s, and five by mine. It can’t really
be evening with me and only afternoon with Anna.
The days don’t go quicker with one person than an-
other, do they?”

“Drive Daisy and Buttermilk nearer this way,”

said his mother; “and if you must ask questions,
ask your Uncle Jacob.”

There was a reason for sending the boy to Uncle
Jacob with his difficulties. Te had been born after
his father’s death, and Uncle Jacob had taken up the
paternal duties. It was he who had chosen the
child’s name. He had called him’ Peter Paul after
Peter Paul Rubens, not that he hoped the boy would
become a painter, but he wished him to be called
after some great man, and—having just returned
from Antwerp—the only great man he could think of
was Peter Paul.

““Give a boy a great name,” said Uncle Jacob,
“and if there’s any stuff in him, there’s a chance
he’ll live up to it.”

This was a kindly way of putting the proverb about
giving a dog a bad name, and Uncle Jacob’s strong-
est quality was kindness—kindness and the cultiva-
tion of tulips.

He was sitting in the summer-house smoking, and
reading over a bulb-list when Peter Paul found him.

“Uncle Jacob, why do dandelion clocks tell dif-
ferent time to different people? Sixty seconds make
a minute, sixty minutes make an hour, twenty-four
hours make a day, three hundred and sixty-five days
make a year. That’s right, isn’t it? Hours are the
same length for everybody, aren’t they? But if I
got to teatime when it was only two o’clock with

Anna, and went on like that, first the days and then
the years would go much quicker with me, and I
don’t know if I should die sooner,—but it couldn't
be, could it?”

“ Certainly not,” said Uncle Jacob; and he went
on with his list. ‘ Yellow Pottebakker, Yellow Tour-
nesol and Yellow Rose.”

“Then the fairy clocks tells lies?” said Peter

“That you must ask Godfather Time,” replied
Uncle Jacob, jocosely. “He is responsible for the
clocks and the hour-glasses.”

“ Where does he live?” asked the boy.

But Uncle Jacob had spread the list on the summer-
house table; he was fairly immersed in it and in a
cloud of tobacco smoke, and Peter Paul did not like
to disturb him.

“Twenty-five Bybloemens, twenty-five Bizards,
twenty-five Roses, and a seedling-bed for first bloom
this year.”

Some of Uncle Jacob’s seedling tulips were still
“breeders,” whose future was yet unmarked* (he did
not name them in hope, as he had christened his
nephew !) when Peter Paul went to sea.

* The first bloom of seedling tulips is usually without stripes
or markings, and it is often years before they break into stripes ;
till then they are called breeders, and are not named.

He was quite unfitted for a farmer. He was
always looking forward to what he should do here-
after, or backward to the time when he believed in
fairy clocks. Now a farmer should live in the pres-
ent, and time himself by a steady-going watch with
an enamelled face. Then little things get done at
the right time, which is everything in farming. ~

“ Peter Paul puzzles too much,” said his mother,
“and that is your fault, Jacob, for giving him a great
name. But while he’s thinking, Daisy misses her mash
and the hens lay away. He’ll never make a farmer.
Indeed, for that matter, men never farm like women,
and Leena will take to it after me. She knows all
my ways.”

They were a kindly family, with no minds to make
this short life bitter for each other by thwarting, as so
many well-meaning relatives do ; so the boy chose his
own trade and went to sea.

He saw many places ,and many people ; he saw a
great deal of life, and came face to face with death
more than once, and under strange shapes. He found
answers to a lot of the old questions, and then new
ones came in their stead. Each year seemed to hold
more than a life-time at home would have held, and
yet how quickly the years went by!

A great many had gone by when Peter Paul set
foot once more upon Dutch soil.

“And it only seems like yesterday that I went
away!” said he.

Mother was dead. That was the one great change.
Peter Paul’s sisters had inherited the farm. They man-
aged it together, and they had divided their mother’s
clothes, and also her rings and earrings, her gold
skull-cap and head-band and pins,—the heirlooms of
a Dutch farmeress.

“Tt matters very little how we divide them, dear,”
Anna had said, “for I'shall never marry, and they
will all go to your girl.” —

The elder sister was married and had two children.
She had grown up very pretty—a fair woman, with
liquid misleading eyes. They looked as if they were
gazing into the far future, but they did not see an inch
beyond the farm. Anna was a very plain copy of her
in body, in mind she was the elder sister’s echo. They
were very fond of each other, and the prettiest thing
about them was their faithful love for their mother,
whose memory was kept as green as pastures after

On Sunday Peter Paul went with them to her grave,
and then to service. The ugly little church, the same
old clerk, even the look of that part of the seat
where Peter Paul had kicked the paint off during
sermons—all strengthened the feeling that it could
only have been a few days since he was there before.

As they walked home he told his sisters about the

various religious services he had seen abroad. They
were curious to hear about them, under a sort of pro-
test, for they disapproved of every form of worship
but their own.

“ The music in some of the cathedrals is very beau-
tiful,” said Peter Paul. ‘ And the choristers in their
gowns, singing as they come, always affect me. No
doubt only some are devout at heart, and others care-
less—which is also the case with the congregation—
but outward reverence is, at the lowest, an acknowl-
edgment of what we owe, and for my own part it
helps me. Those white figures are not angels I
know ; but they make one think of them, and I try
to be worthier of singing Gon’s praises with them.”

There was a little pause, and Leena’s beautiful eyes
were full of reflections.

Presently she said, ““Who washes all the white

“T really don’t know,” said Peter Paul.

“T fancy they don’t bleach anywhere as they do in
Holland,” she continued. “ Indeed, Brother, I doubt
if Dutchwomen are what they were. No one bleaches
as Mother did. Mother bleached beautifully.”

“Yes, she bleached beautifully,” said Anna.

Peter Paul was only to be three weeks at home be-
fore he sailed again ; but when ten days were over,
he began to think the rest of the time would never
come to anend. And this was from no want of love

for his sisters, or of respect for their friends. One
cannot help having an irritable brain, which rides an
idea to the moon and home again, without stirrups,
whilst some folks are getting the harness of words on
to its back. There had been hours in his youth when
all the unsolved riddles, the untasted joys, the great
possibilities of even a common existence like his, so
pressed upon him, that the shortness of the longest
life of man seemed the most pitiable thing about it.
But when he took tea with Vrow Schmidt and her
daughters, and supper-time would not come, Peter
Paul thought of the penance of the Wandering Jew,
and felt very sorry for him.

The sisters would have been glad if Peter Paul
would have given up the sea and settled down with
them. Leena had a plan of her own for it. She
wanted him to marry Vrow Schmidt’s niece, who had
a farm.

“But I am afraid you do not care for young
ladies?” said she.

Peter Paul got red.

“Vrow Schmidt’s niece is a very nice young lady,”
said he.

He was not thinking of Vrow Schmidt’s niece, he
was thinking of something else—something for which
he would have liked a little sympathy ; but he doubt-
ed whether Leena could give it to him. Indeed, to

cure heartache is Godfather Time’s business, and

even he is not invariably successful. It was proba-
bly a sharp twinge that made Peter Paul say, “‘ Have
you never wondered that when one’s life is so very
short, one can manage to get so much pain into it?”

Leena dropped her work and looked up. “ You
don’t say so?” said she. ‘“‘ Dear Brother, is it rheu-
matism? I’m sure it must be a dreadful risk being
out on the masts in the night air, without a roof over
your head. But do you wear flannel, Peter Paul?
Mother was very much troubled with rheumatism lat- ~
terly. She thought it was the dews at milking time,
and she always wore flannel.”

“Yes, dear, Mother always wore flannel,” said

Peter Paul satisfied them on this head. He wore
flannel, red flannel too, which has virtues of its own.

Leena was more anxious than ever that he should
marry Vrow Schmidt’s niece, and be taken good
care of.

But it was not to be: Peter Paul went back to his
ship and into the wide world again.

Uncle Jacob would have given him an off-set of his
new tulip—a real novelty, and named—if he had had
any place to plant it in.

“ve a bed of breeders that will be worth looking
at next time you come home,”’ said he.

Leena walked far over the pastures with Peter Paul.
She was very fond of him, and she had a woman’s

perception that they would miss him more than he
could miss them.

““T .am very sorry you could not settle down with
us,” she said, and her eyes brimmed over.

Peter Paul kissed the tears tenderly from her

* Perhaps I shall when I am older, and have shaken
off a few more of my whims into the sea. I’ll come
back yet, Leena, and live very near to you and grow
tulips, and be as good an old bachelor-uncle to your
boy as Uncle Jacob was to me.”

“ And if a foreign wife would suit you better than
one of the Schmidts,” said Leena, re-arranging his
bundle for him, “don’t think we sha’n’t like her.
Any one you love will be welcome to us, Peter Paul—
as welcome as you have been.”

When they got to the hillock where Mother used to
sit, Peter Paul took her once more into his arms.

“Good-bye, good Sister,” he said. “I have been
back in my childhood again, and Gop knows that is
both pleasant and good for one.”

“And it is funny that you should say so,” said
Leena, smiling through her tears; “for when we
were children you were never happy except in think-
ing of when you should be a man.”

“And there sit your children, just where we used
to play,” said Peter Paul.

“They are blowing dandelion clocks,” said Leena,
and she called them,

“Come and bid Uncle Peter good bye.”

He kissed them both.

“Well, what o’clock is it?” said he. -The boy
gave one mighty puff and dispersed his fairy clock at
a breath.

“One o’clock,” he cried stoutly.

“One, two, three, four o’clock,” said the girl,
And they went back to their play.

And Leena stood by them, with Mother’s old sun-
hat on her young head, and watched Peter Paul’s
figure over the flat pastures till it was an indistin-
guishable speck.

He turned back a dozen times to wave his hands
to her, and to the children telling the fairy time.

But he did not ask now why dandelion clocks go
differently with different people. Godfather Time
had told him. He teaches us many things,


Page 181.

THERE was once an old man whom Fortune
(whose own eyes are bandaged) had deprived of his
sight. She had taken his hearing also, so that he
was deaf. Poor he had always been, and: as Time
had stolen his youth and strength from him, they had
only left a light burden for death to carry when he
should come the old man’s way.

But Love (who is blind also) had given thé Blind
Man a Dog, who led him out in the morning to a
seat in the sun under the crab-tree, and held his hat
for wayside alms, and brought him safely home at

The Dog was wise and faithful—as dogs often are
—but the wonder of him was that he could talk. In
which will be seen the difference between dogs and
men, most of whom can talk ; whilst it is a matter
for admiration if they are wise and faithful.

One day the Mayor’s little son came down the
road, and by the hand he held his playmate Alde-

said she.

“Give the poor blind man a penny,’
“You are always wanting me to give away my


money,” replied the boy peevishly. “It is well that
my father is the richest man in the town, and that I
have a whole silver crown yet in my pocket.”

But he put the penny into the hat which the Dog
held out, and the Dog gave it to his master.

“Heaven bless you,” said the Blind Man.

“Amen,” said the Dog.

“ Aldegunda! Aldegunda!” cried the boy, danc-
ing with delight. ‘“ Here’s a dog who can talk. I
would give my silver crown for him. Old man, I
say, old man! Will you sell me your dog for a sil-
ver crown?”

“‘ My master is deaf as well as blind,” said the Dog.

““What a miserable old creature he must be,” said
the boy compassionately.

“Men do not smile when they are miserable, do
they?” said the Dog; “and my master smiles some-
times—when the sun warms right through our coats
to our bones; when he feels the hat shake against
his knee as the pennies drop in; and when I lick his

“But for all that, he is a poor wretched old beg-
gar, in want of everything,” persisted the boy.
“Now I am the Mayor’s only son, and he is the
richest man in the town. Come and live with me,
and I will give the Blind Man my silver crown. I
should be perfectly happy if I had a talking dog of
my own.”

“It is worth thinking of,” said the Dog. ‘I should
certainly like a master who was perfectly happy. You
are sure that there is nothing else that you wish for?”

‘*T wish I were a man,” replied the boy. ‘To do
exactly as I chose, and have plenty of money to
spend, and holidays all the year round.”

“That sounds well,” said the Dog. ‘“ Perhaps I
had better wait till you grow up. There is nothing
else that you want, I suppose?”

“T want a horse,” said the boy, “a real black
charger. My father ought to know that I am too old
for a hobby-horse. It vexes me to look at it.”

“J must wait for the charger, I see,” said the Dog.
“ NotlLing vexes you but the hobby-horse, I hope?”

“‘Aldegunda vexes me more than anything,” an-
swered the boy, with an aggrieved air; “and it’s very
hard when JI am so fond of her. She always tumbles
down when we run races, her legs are so short. It’s
her birthday to-day, but she toddles as badly as she
did yesterday, though she’s a year older.”

“ She will have learned to run by the time that
you are a man,” said the Dog. “So nice a little
lady can give you no other cause of annoyance, I am

The boy frowned.

“She is always wanting something. She wants
something now, I see. What do you want, Alde-

“JT wish—” said Aldegunda, timidly, “I should
like—the blind man to have the silver crown, arid
for us to keep the penny, if you can get it back out
of the hat.”

“That’s just the way you go on,’
gtily. ‘“ You always think differently from me. Now

’ said the boy an-

remember, Aldegunda, I won’t marry you when you
grow big, unless you agree with what I do, like the
wife in the story of ‘What the Goodman does is sure
to be right.’” j

On hearing this, Aldegunda sobbed till she burst
the strings of her hat, and the boy had to tie them

> said he.

“T won’t marry you at all if you cry,’

But at that she only cried the more, and they went
away bickering into the green lanes.

As to the old man, he had heard nothing ; and when
the dog licked his withered hand, he smiled.

Many a time did the boy return with his playmate
to try and get the Talking Dog. But the Dog always
asked if he had yet got all that he wanted, and, being
an honorable child, the boy was too truthful to say
that he was content when he was not.

“The day that you want nothing more but me I
will be your dog,” it said. ‘Unless, indeed, my
present master should have attained perfect happi-
ness before you.”

““T am not afraid of that,” said the boy.

In time the Mayor died, and his widow moved to
her native town and took her son with her.

Years passed, and the Blind Man lived on; for
when one gets very old and keeps very quiet in his
little corner of the world, Death seems sometimes to
forget to remove him.

Years passed, and the Mayor’s son became a man,
and was strong and rich, and had a fine black charger.
Aldegunda grew up also. She was very beautiful, won-
derfully beautiful, and Love (who is blind) gave her
to her old playmate.

The wedding was a fine one, and when it was over
the bridegroom mounted his black charger and took
his bride behind him, and rode away into the green

“ Ah, what delight!” he said. “ Now we will ride
through the town where we lived when we were chil-
dren; and if the Blind Man is still alive, you shall
give him a silver crown ; and if the Talking Dog is
alive, I shall claim him, for to-day I am perfectly
happy and want nothing.”

Aldegunda thought to herself—‘“ We are so happy,
and have so much, that I do not like to take the Blind
Man’s dog from him ;” but she did not dare to say
so. One—if not two—must bear and forbear to be
happy even on one’s wedding day.

By-and-bye they rode under the crab-tree, but the
seat was empty. “What has become of the Blind

Man?” the Mayor’s son asked of a peasant who was

“He died two days ago,” said the peasant. “ He
is buried to-day, and the priest and chanters are now
returning from the grave.”

“ And the Talking Dog?” asked the young man.

“ He is at the grave now,” said the peasant ; “ but
he has neither spoken nor eaten since his master

“We have come in the nick of time,” said the
young man triumphantly, and he rode to the church-

By the grave was the dog, as the man had said, and
up the winding path came the priest and his young
chanters, who sang with shrill, clear voices—-“ Blessed
are the dead who die in the Lord.”

* Come and live with me, now your old master is
gone,” said the young man, stooping over the dog.
But he made no reply.

“JT think he is dead, sir,” said the grave-digger.

“T don’t believe it,” said the young man fretfully.
“He was an Enchanted Dog, and he promised I
should have him when I could say what I am ready
to say now. He should have kept his promise.” __

But Aldegunda had taken the dog’s cold head into
her arms, and her tears fell fast over it.

“You forget,” she said; “he only promised to

come to you when you were happy, if his old master
were not happier first ; and, perhaps, 1

“T remember that you always disagree with me,”
said the young man, impatiently. ‘‘ You always did
do so. Tears on our wedding-day, too! I suppose
the truth is that no one is happy.”

Aldegunda made no answer, for it is not from those
one loves that he will willingly learn that with a sel-
fish and imperious temper happiness never dwells.

And as they rode away again into the green lanes,
the shrill voices of the chanters followed them—
“ Blessed are the dead. Blessed are the dead.”

“Br sure, my child,” said the widow to her little
daughter, “that you always do just as you are told.”

“Very well, Mother.”

“Or at any rate do what will do just as well,” said
the small house-dog as he lay blinking at the fire.

“You darling!” cried little Joan, and she sat
down on the hearth and hugged him. But he got up
and shook himself, and moved three turns nearer the
oven, to be out of the way; for though her arms
were soft she had kept her doll in them, and that
was made of wood, which hurts.

“What a dear, kind house-dog you are!” said
little Joan, and she meant what she said, for it does
feel nice to have the sharp edges of one’s duty a
little softened off for one.

He was no particular kind of a dog, but he was
very smooth to stroke, and had a nice way of blink-
ing with his eyes, which it was soothing to see.
There had been a difficulty about his name. The
name of the house-dog before him was Faithful, and
well it became him, as his tombstone testified. The

“ 50-SO." 189

one before that was called Wolf. He was very wild,
and ended his days on the gallows, for worrying
sheep. The little house-dog never chased anything,
to the widow’s knowledge. There was no reason
whatever for giving him a bad name, and she thought
of several good ones, such as Faithful, and Trusty,
and Keeper, which are fine old-fashioned titles, but
none of these seemed quite perfectly to suit him.
So he was called So-so; and avery nice soft name
it is.

The widow was only a poor woman, though she
contrived by her industry to keep a decent home
together, and to get now one and now another little
comfort for herself and her child.

One day she was going out on business, and she
called her little daughter and said to her, “I am
going out for two hours. You are too young to pro-
tect yourself and the house, and So-so is not as strong
as Faithful was. But when I go, shut the house-door
and bolt the. big wooden bar, and be sure that you do
not open it for any reason whatever till I return. If
strangers come, So-so may bark, which he can do as
well as a bigger dog. Then they will go away.
With this summer’s savings I have bought a quilted
petticoat for you and a duffle cloak for myself against
the winter, and if I get the work I am going after
to-day, I shall buy enough wool to knit warm stock-
ings for us both. So be patient till I return, and

then we will have the plum-cake that is in the cup-
board for tea.”

“Thank you, Mother,”

“Good-bye, my child. Be sure and do just as I
have told you,” said the widow.

“ Very well, Mother.”

Little Joan laid down her doll, and shut the house-
door, and fastened the big bolt. It was very heavy,
and the kitchen looked gloomy when she had done it,

“T wish Mother had taken us all three with her,
and had locked the house and put the key in her big
pocket, as she has done before,” said little Joan, as
she got into the rocking-chair, to put her doll to sleep.

“Yes, it would have done just as well,” So-so re-
plied, as he stretched himself on the hearth.

By-and-bye Joan grew tired of hushabying the doll,
who looked none the sleepier for it, and she took the
three-legged stool and sat down in front of the clock
to watch the hands. After awhile she drew a deep

“There are sixty seconds in every single minute,
So-so,” said she.

“So I have heard,” said So-so. He was snuffing
in the back place, which was not usually allowed.

“ And sixty whole minutes in every hour, So-so.”

“You don’t say so!” growled So-so. He had not
found a bit, and the cake was on the top shelf.
There was not so much as a spilt crumb, though he
« S0-S0." Igl

snuffed in every corner of the kitchen till he stood
snuffing under the house-door.

“ The air smells fresh,” he said.

“Tt’s a beautiful day, I know,” said little Joan.
“‘T wish Mother had allowed us to sit on the door-
step. We could have taken care of the house B

“Just as well,” said So-so.

Little Joan came to smell the air at the keyhole,
and, as So-so had said, it smelt very fresh. Besides,

one could see from the window how fine the evening

“Tt’s not exactly what Mother told us to do,” said
Joan, “but I do believe ¥

“Tt would do just as well,” said So-so.

By-and-bye little Joan unfastened the bar, and
opened the door, and she and the doll and So-so
went out and sat on the doorstep.

Not a stranger was to be seen. The sun shone
delightfully. An evening sun, and not too hot. All
day it had been ripening the corn in the field close
by, and this glowed and waved in the breeze,

“Tt does just as well, and better,” said little Joan,
“for if anyone comes we can see him coming up the

“Just so,” said So-so, blinking in the sunshine.

Suddenly Joan jumped up.

“Oh!” cried she, “there’s a bird, a big bird. Dear
So-so, can you see him? I can’t, because of the sun.

What a queer noise he makes. Crake! crake! Oh,
I can see him now! He is not flying, he is running,
and he has gone into the corn. I do wish I were in
the corn, I would catch him, and put him in a cage.”

“Tl catch him,” said So-so, and ‘he put up his
tail, and started off.

“No, no!” cried Joan. ‘You are nottogo. You
must stay and take care of the house, and bark if any-
one comes.”

“You could scream, and that would do just as
well,” replied So-so, with his tail still up.

“No, it wouldn’t,” cried little Joan.

“Ves, it would,” reiterated So-so.

Whilst they were bickering, an old woman cameup
to the door ; she had a brown face, and black hair,
and a very old red cloak.

“Good evening, my little dear,” said she. “ Are
you all at home this fine evening?”

“Only three of us,” said Joan; “I, and my doll,
and So-so. Mother has gone to the town on business,
and we are taking care of the house, but So-so wants
to go after the bird we saw run into the corn.”

““Was it a pretty bird, my little dear?’” asked the
old woman.

“It was a very curious one,” said Joan, “and I
should like to go after it myself, but we can’t leave
the house.”

“Dear, dear! Is there no neighbor would sit on
“SO-SO.” 193

the doorstep for you and keep the house till you just
slip down to the field after the curious bird?” said
the old woman.

“T’m afraid not,” said little Joan. ‘Old Martha,
our neighbor, is now bedridden. Of course, if she
had been able to mind the house instead of us, it
would have done just as well.”

“T have some distance to go this evening,” said
the old woman, “but I do not object to a few min-
utes’ rest, and sooner than that you should lose the
bird I will sit on the doorstep to oblige you, while you
run down to the cornfield.”

“ But can you bark if anyone comes?” asked little
Joan. “For if you can’t, So-so must stay with you.”

‘“‘T can call you and the dog if I see anyone com-
ing, and that will do just as well,” said the old

“ So it will,” replied little Joan, and off she ran to
the cornfield, where, for that matter, So-so had run
before her, and was bounding and barking and
springing among the wheat-stalks.

They did not catch the bird, though they stayed
longer than they had intended, and though So-so
seemed to know more about hunting than was sup-

“TY daresay Mother has come home,” said little
_Joan, as they went back up the field-path. “TI hope
she won’t think we ought to have stayed in the house.”


“Tt was taken care of,” said So-so, and “ that must
do just as well.”

When they reached the house, the widow had not
come home.

But the old-woman had gone, and she had taken
the quilted petticoat and the duffle cloak, and the
plumcake from the top shelf away with her; and no
more was ever heard of any of the lot.

“For the future, my child,” said the widow, “ I
hope you will always do just as you are told, what-
ever So-so may say.”

“T will, Mother,” said little Joan! (And she did.)
But the house-dog sat and blinked. He dared not
speak, he was in disgrace.

I do not feel quite sure about So-so. Wild dogs
often amend their ways far on this side of the gal-
lows, and the Faithful sometimes fall ; but when any-
one begins by being only So-so, he is very apt to be
So-so to the end. So-sos so seldom change.

But this one was very soft and nice, and he got no
cake that tea-time. On the whole we will hope that
he lived to be a Good Dog ever after.
A Begend.

“BreEAK forth, my lips, in praise, and own
The wiser love severely kind :
Since, richer for its chastening grown,
I see, whereas I once was blind.”

—The Clear Vision, J. G. WHITTIER.

In days of yore there was once a certain hermit,
who dwelt in a cell, which he had fashioned for him-
self from a natural cave in the side of a hill.

Now this hermit had a great love for flowers, and
was moreover learned in the virtues of herbs, and in
that great mystery of healing which lies hidden among
the green things of Gop. And so it came to pass that
the country people from all parts came to him for the
simples which grew in the little garden which he had
made before his cell. And as his fame spread, and
more people came to him, he added more and more
to the plat which he had reclaimed from the waste
land around.

But after many years there came a Spring when the
colors of the flowers seemed paler to the hermit than
they used to be ; and as Summer drew on, their shapes,


became indistinct, and he mistook one plant for an-
other ; and when Autumn came, he told them by
their various scents, and by their form, rather than
by sight ; and when the flowers were gone, and Win-
ter had come, the hermit was quite blind.

Now in the hamlet below there lived a boy who
had become known to the hermit on this manner. On
the edge of the hermit’s garden there grew two crab
trees, from the fruit of which he made every year a
certain confection, which was very grateful to the
sick. One year many of these crab-apples were
stolen, and the sick folk of the hamlet had very
little conserve. So the following year, as the fruit
was ripening, the hermit spoke every day to those
who came to his cell, saying :—

“T pray you, good people, to make it known that
he who robs these crab trees, robs not me alone,
which is dishonest, but the sick, which is inhuman.”

And yet once more the crab-apples were taken.

The following evening, as the hermit sat on the
side of the hill, he overheard two boys disputing
about the theft.

“Tt must either have been a very big man, or a
small boy, to do it,” said one. “So I say, and I
have my reason.”

“ And what is thy reason, Master Wiseacre?” asked
the other.

“ The fruit is too high to be plucked except by a

very big man,” said the first boy. “ And the branches
are not strong enough for any but a child to climb.”

“ Canst thou think of no other way to rob an apple
tree but by standing a-tip-toe, or climbing up to the
apples, when they should come down to thee?” said
the second boy. ‘ Truly thy head will never save thy
heels ; but here’s a riddle for thee:

Riddle me riddle me re,
Four big brothers are we ;
_ We gather the fruit, but climb never a tree.
Who are they?”

“ Four tall robbers, I suppose,” said the other.

“Tush!” cried his comrade. ‘“ They are the four
winds ; and when they whistle, down falls the ripest.
But others can shake besides the winds, as J will show
thee if thou hast any doubts in the matter.”

And as he spoke he sprang to catch the other boy,
who ran from him; and they chased each other down
the hill, and the hermit heard no more.

But as he turned to go home he said, “The thief
was not far away when thou stoodst near. Neverthe-
less, I will have patience. It needs not that I should
go to seek thee, for what saith the Scripture? Zhy
sin will find thee out.” And he made conserve of
such apples as were left, and said nothing.

Now after a certain time a plague broke out in the
hamlet ; and it was so sore, and there were so few to
nurse the many who were sick, that, though it was not

the wont of the hermit ever to leave his place, yet in
their need he came down and ministered to the peo-
ple in the village, And one day, as he passed a cer-
tain house, he heard moans from within, and entering,
he saw lying upon a bed a bov who tossed and moaned
in fever, and cried out most miserably that his throat
was parched and burning, And when the hermit looked
upon his face, behold it was the boy who had given the
riddle of the four winds upon the side of the hill.

Then the hermit fed him with some of the confec-

tion which he had with him, and it was so grateful to
the boy’s parched palate, that he thanked and blessed
the hermit aloud, and prayed him to leave a morsel
of it behind, to soothe his torments in the night.
_ Then said the hermit, “ My Son, I would that I
had more of this confection, for the sake of others as
well as for thee. But indeed I have only two trees
which bear the fruit whereof this is made; and in
two successive years have the apples been stolen by
some thief, thereby robbing not only me, which is
dishonest, but the poor, which is inhuman.”

Then the boy’s theft came back to his mind, and he
burst into tears, and cried, “ My Father, I took the
crab-apples !”

And after awhile he recovered his health; the
plague also abated in the hamlet, and the hermit
went back to his cell. But the boy would thenceforth
never leave him, always wishing to show his penitence
and gratitude, And though the hermit sent him away,
he ever returned, saying,

“Of what avail is it to drive me from thee, since I
am resolved to serve thee, even as Samuel served Eli,
and Timothy ministered unto St. Paul?”

But the hermit said, “ My rule is to live alone, and
without companions ; wherefore begone.”

And when the boy still came, he drove him from
the garden.

Then the boy wandered far and wide, over moor
and bog, and gathered rare plants and herbs, and laid
them down near the hermit’s cell. And when the her-
mit was inside, the boy came into the garden, and gath-
ered the stones and swept the paths, and tied up such
plants as were drooping, and did all neatly and well,
for he was a quick and skilful lad. And when the
hermit said,

“Thou hast done well, and I thank thee ; but now
begone,” he only answered,

“‘ What avails it, when I am resolved to serve thee?”

So at last there came a day when the hermit said,
“It may be that it is ordained; wherefore abide, my

And the boy answered, “Even so, for I am re-
solved to serve thee.”

Thus he remained. And thenceforward the her-
mit’s garden throve as it had never thriven before.
For, though he had skill, the hermit was old and

feeble ; but the boy was young and active, and he
worked hard, and it was to him a labor of love.
And being a clever boy, he quickly knew the names
and properties of the plants as well as the hermit
himself. And when he was not working, he would
go far afield to seek for new herbs. And he always
returned to the village at night.

Now when the hermit’s sight began to fail, the boy
put him right if he mistook one plant for another ;
and when the hermit became quite blind, he relied
completely upon the boy to gather for him the herbs
that he wanted. And when anything new was planted,
the boy led the old man to the spot, that he might
know that it was so many paces in such a direction
from the cell, and might feel the shape and texture
of the leaves, and learn its scent, And through the
skill and knowledge of the boy, the hermit was in no
wise hindered from preparing his accustomed reme-
dies, for he knew the names and virtues of the herbs,
and where every plant grew. And when the sun
shone, the boy would guide his master’s steps into
the garden, and would lead him up to certain flow-
ers ; but to those which had a perfume of their own
the old man could go without help, being guided by
the scent. And as he fingered their leaves and
breathed their fragrance, he would say, “ Blessed be
Gop for every herb of the field, but thrice blessed
for those that smell.”

And at the end of the garden was set a bush of
rosemary. “For,” said the hermit, ‘“‘to this we
must all come.” Because rosemary is the herb they
scatter over the dead. And he knew where almost
everything grew, and what he did not know the boy
told him.

Yet for all this, and though he had embraced pov-
erty and solitude with joy, in the service of Gop and
man, yet so bitter was blindness to him, that he be-
wailed the loss of his sight, with a grief that never

“For,” said he, “if it had pleased our Lord to
send me any other affliction, such as a continual
pain or a consuming sickness, I would have borne it
gladly, seeing it would have left me free to see these
herbs, which I use for the benefit of the poor, But
now the sick suffer through my blindness, and to this
boy also I am a continual burden.”

And when the boy called him at the hours of prayer,
saying, “‘My Father, it is now time for the Nones
office, for the marigold is closing,” or, “The Vespers
bell will soon sound from the valley, for the bindweed
bells are folded,” and the hermit recited the appointed
prayers, he always added,

“T beseech Thee take away my blindness, as Thou
didst heal Thy servant the son of Timeaus.”

And as the boy and he sorted herbs, he cried,

“Ts there no balm in Gilead?”

And the boy answered, “The balm of Gilead
grows six full paces from the gate, my Father.”

But the hermit said, “I spoke in a figure, my Son.
I meant not that herb. But, alas! Is there no rem-
edy to heal the physician? No cure for the curer?”

And the boy’s heart grew heavier and heavier day
by day, because of the hermit’s grief. For he loved

Now one morning as the boy came up from the
village, the hermit met him, groping painfully with
his hands, but with joy in his countenance, and he
said, “Is that thy step my Son? Come in, for I
have somewhat to tell thee.”

And he said, “A vision has been vouchsafed to
me, even a dream. Moreover, I believe that there
shall be a cure for my blindness.”

Then the boy was glad, and begged of the hermit
to relate his dream, which he did as follows—

“I dreamed, and behold I stood in the garden—
thou also with me—and many people were gathered
at the gate, to whom, with thy help, I gave herbs of
healing in such fashion as I have been able since this
blindness came upon me. And when they were gone,
I smote upon my forehead, and said, ‘Where is the
herb that shall heal my affliction?’ And a voice be-
side me said, ‘ Here, my Son.’ And I cried to thee,
‘Who spoke?’ And thou saidst, ‘It is a man in
pilgrim’s weeds, and lo, he hath a strange flower in

his hand.’ Then said the Pilgrim, ‘It is a Trinity
Flower. Moreover, I suppose that when thou hast
it, thou wilt see clearly.” Then I thought that thou
didst take the flower from the Pilgrim and put it in
my hand. And lo, my eyes were opened, and I saw
clearly. And I knew the Pilgrim’s face, though
where I have seen him I cannot yet recall. But I
believed him to be Raphael the Archangel—he who
led Tobias, and gave sight to his father. And even
as it came to me to know him, he vanished ; and I
saw him no more.”

“And what was the Trinity Flower like, my Father?”
asked the boy.

“Tt was about the size of Herb Paris, my son,”
replied the hermit. ‘But instead of being fourfold .
every way, it numbered the mystic Three. Every
part was threefold. The leaves were three, the petals
three, the sepals three. The flower was snow-white,
but on each of the three parts it was stained with
crimson stripes, like white garments dyed in blood.” *

Then the boy started up, saying, “If there be such
a plant on the earth I will find it for thee.”

“But the hermit laid his hand on him, and said,
“Nay, my Son, leave me not, for J have need of thee.
And the flower will come yet, and then I shall see.”

And all day long the old man murmured to him-
self, “ Then I shall see.”

* Trillium erythrocarpum. North America.

“And didst thou see me, and the garden, in thy
dream, my Father?” asked the boy.

“ Ay, that I did, my Son. And I meant to say to
thee that it much pleaseth me that thou art grown so
well, and of such a strangely fair countenance. Also
the garden is such as I have never before beheld it,
which must needs be due to thy care. But wherefore
didst thou not tell me of those fair palms that have
grown where the thorn hedge was wont to be? I
was but just stretching out my hand for some, when
I awoke.”

“There are no palms there, my Father,” said the

“Now, indeed it is thy youth that makes thee so
little observant,” said the hermit. ‘ However, I
pardon thee, if it were only for that good thought
which moved thee to plant a yew beyond the rose-
mary bush ; seeing that the yew is the emblem of
eternal life, which lies beyond the grave.”

But the boy said, ‘‘There is no yew there, my

“Fave I not seen it, even in a vision?” cried the
hermit. “Thou wilt say next that all the borders
are not set with hearts-ease, which indeed must be
through thy industry ; and whence they come I know
not, but they are most rare and beautiful, and my
eyes long sore to see them again.”

“Alas, my Father!” cried the boy, “the borders

are set with rue, and there are but a few clumps of
hearts-ease here and there.”

“Could I forget what I saw in an hour?” asked
the old man angrily. ‘“ And did not the holy Raphael
himself point to them, saying, ‘Blessed are the eyes
that behold this garden, where the borders are set
with hearts-ease, and the hedges crowned with palm !'
But thou wouldst know better than an archangel, for-

Then the boy wept ; and when the hermit heard
him weeping, he put his arm round him and said,

“Weep not, my dear Son. And I pray thee, par-
don me that I spoke harshly to thee. For indeed I
am ill-tempered by reason of my infirmities ; and as
for thee, Gop will reward thee for thy goodness to
me, as I never can. Moreover, I believe it is thy
modesty, which is as great as thy goodness, that hath
hindered thee from telling me of all that thou hast
done for my garden, even to those fair and sweet
everlasting flowers, the like of which I never saw be-
fore, which thou hast set in the east border, and where
even now I hear the bees humming in the sun.”

Then the boy looked sadly out into the garden, and
answered, -

“T cannot lie to thee. There are no everlasting
flowers. It is the flowers of the thyme in which
the bees are rioting. And in the hedge bottom there
creepeth the bitter-sweet.”
200n 8 LAST WORDS.

But the hermit heard him not. He had groped
his way out into the sunshine, and wandered up and
down the walks, murmuring to himself, “Then I
shall see.”

Now when the Summer was past, one Autumn morn-
ing there came to the garden gate a man in pilgrim’s
weeds ; and when he saw the boy he beckoned to him,
and giving him a small tuber root, he said,

“Give this to thy master, It is the root of the
Trinity Flower.”

And he passed on down towards the valley.

Then the boy ran hastily to the hermit; and when
he had told him, and given him the root, he said,

“ The face of the pilgrim is known to me also, O
my Father! For I remember when I lay sick of the
plague, that ever it seemed to me as if a shadowy
figure passed in and out, and went up and down the
streets, and his face was as the face of this pilgrim.
But—-I cannot deceive thee—methought it was the
Angel of Death.”

_.Then the hermit mused ; and after a little space he

“Tt was then also that I saw him. I remember
now. Nevertheless, let us plant the root, and abide
what Gop shall send.”

And thus they did.

And as the Autumn and Winter went by, the hermit
became very feeble, but the boy constantly cheered





him, saying, “ Patience, my Father. Thou shalt see

But the hermit replied, ‘ My son, I repent me that
I have not been patient under affliction. Moreover,
I have set thee an ill example, in that I have mur-
mured at that which Gop—Who knowest best—or-
dained for me.”

And when the boy ofttimes repeated, “Thou shalt
yet see,” the hermit answered, “If Gop will. When
Gop will. As Gop will.”

And when he said the prayers for the Hours, he no
longer added what he had added beforetime, but ever-
more repeated, “If Tuov wilt. When Tuov wilt. As
TxHov wilt.”

And so the Winter passed ; and when the snow lay
on the ground the boy and the hermit talked of the
garden ; and the boy no longer contradicted the old
man, though he spoke continually of the hearts-ease,
and the everlasting flowers, and the palm. For he
said, ““When Spring comes I may be able to get
these plants, and fit the garden to his vision.”

And at length the Spring came. And with it rose
the Trinity Flower. And when the leaves unfolded,
they were three, as the hermit had said. Then the
boy was wild with joy and with impatience. And
when the sun shone for two days together, he would
kneel by the flower, and say, “I pray thee, Lord, send
showers, that it may wax apace.” And when it rained,

he said, “I pray Thee, send sunshine, that it may
blossom speedily.” For he knew not what to ask.
And he danced about the hermit, and cried, “Soon
shalt thou see.”

But the hermit trembled, and said, ‘‘ Not as I will,
but as THou wilt!”
And so the bud formed. And at length one
evening, before he went down to the hamlet, the
boy came to the hermit and said, ‘‘ The bud is
almost breaking, my Father. To-morrow thou shalt


Then the hermit moved his hands till he laid them
on the boy’s head, and he said,

“The Lord repay thee sevenfold for all thou hast
done for me, dear child. And now I pray thee, my
Son, give me thy pardon for all in which I have
sinned against thee by word or deed, for indeed my
thoughts of thee have ever been tender.” And when
the boy wept, the hermit still pressed him, till he said
that he forgave him. And as they unwillingly parted,
the hermit said, ‘I pray thee, dear Son, to remember
. that, though late, I conformed myself to the will of

Saying which, the hermit went into his cell, and the
boy returned to the village. ‘

But so great was his anxiety, that he could not
rest ; and he returned to the garden ere it was light,
and sat by the flower till the dawn.

And with the first dim light he saw that the Trinity
Flower was in bloom. And as the hermit had said,
it was white, and stained with crimson as with blood.

Then the boy shed tears of joy, and he plucked the
flower and ran into the hermit’s cell, where the her-
mit lay very still upon his couch. And the boy said,
“Twill not disturb him. When he wakes he will find
the flower.” And he went out and sat down outside
the cell and waited. And being weary as he waited,
he fell asleep.

Now before sunrise, whilst it was yet early, he was
awakened by the voice of the hermit crying, “My
Son, my dear Son!” and he jumped up, saying,
‘““My Father!”

But as he spoke the hermit passed him. And as he
passed he turned, and the boy saw that his eyes were
open. And the hermit fixed them long and tenderly
on him.

Then the boy cried, ‘‘ Ah, tell me, my Father, dost
thou see?”

And he answered, ‘“ / see zow /” and so passed on
down the walk.

And as he went through the garden, in the still
dawn, the boy trembled, for the hermit’s footsteps
gave no sound. And he passed beyond the rose-
mary bush, and came not again.

And when the day wore on, and the hermit did not
return, the boy went into his cell.


Without, the sunshine dried the dew from paths on
which the hermit’s feet had left no prints, and cher-
ished the spring flowers bursting into bloom. But
within, the hermit’s dead body lay stretched upon his
pallet, and the Trinity Flower was in his hand.

A Legend.

Ir is said that in Norway every church has its own
Niss, or Brownie.

They are of the same race as the Good People,
who haunt farmhouses, and do the maids’ work for a
pot of cream, ‘They are the size of a year-old child,
but their faces are the faces of aged men. Their com-
mon dress is of grey home-spun, with red peaked
caps ; but on Michaelmas Day they wear round hats.

The Church Niss is called Kyrkegrim. His duty
is to keep the church clean, and to scatter the marsh-
marigold flowers on the floor before service. He also
kéeps order in the congregation, pinches those who
fall asleep, ‘cuffs irreverent boys, and hustles mothers
with crying children out’ of church as quickly and
decorously as possible.

But his business is not with church-brawlers alone.

When the last snow avalanche has slipped from the
high-pitched roof, and the gentian is bluer than the
sky, and Baldur’s Eyebrow blossoms in the hot spring
sun, pious folk are wont to come to church some time


before service, and to bring their spades, and rakes,
and watering-pots with them, to tend the graves of
the dead. The Kyrkegrim sits on the Lych Gate and
overlooks them.

At those who do not lay by their tools in good time
he throws pebbles, crying to each, “ Skynde dig!”
(Make haste!), and so drives them in. And when
the bells begin, should any man fail to bow to the
church as the custom is, the Kyrkegrim snatches his
hat from behind, and he sees it no more.

Nothing displeases the Kyrkegrim more than when
people fall asleep during the sermon. This will be
seen in the following story.

Once upon a time there was a certain country
church, which was served by a very mild and excel-
lent priest, and haunted by a most active Kyrkegrim.

Not a speck of dust was to be seen from the altar
to the porch, and the behavior of the congregation
was beyond reproach. :

But there was one fat farmer who slept during the
sermon, and do what the Kyrkegrim would, he could
not keep him awake. Again and again did he pinch
him, nudge him, or let in a cold draught of wind upon.
his neck. The fat farmer shook himself, pulled up his
neck-kerchief, and dozed off again.

“ Doubtless the fault is in my sermons,” said the
priest, when the Kyrkegrim complained to him. Fo1
he was humble-minded.

But the Kyrkegrim knew that this was not the case,
for there was no better preacher in all the district.

And yet when he overheard the farmer’s sharp-
tongued little wife speak of this and that in the dis-
course, he began to think it might be so. No doubt
the preacher spoke somewhat fast or slow, a little too
loud or too soft. And he was not “stirring” enough,
said the farmer’s wife ; a failing which no one had
ever laid at her door.

“‘ His soul is in my charge,” sighed the good priest,
“and I cannot even make him hear what I have got
to say. A heavy reckoning will be demanded of

“The sermons are in fault, beyond a doubt,” the
Kyrkegrim said. “The farmer’s wife is quite right.
She’s a sensible woman, and can use a mop as well
as myself.” i

“Hoot, hoot!” cried the church owl, pushing his
head out of theivy-bush. “And shall she be Kyrke-
grim when thou art turned preacher, and the preacher
sits on the judgment seat? Notso, little Niss! Dust
thou the pulpit, and leave the parson to preach, and
let the Maker of souls reckon with them.”

“Tf the preacher cannot keep the people awake, it
is time that another took his place,” said the Kyrke-

“He is not bound to find ears as well as argu:

ments,” retorted the owl, and he drew back into his
ivy bush. ;

But the Kyrkegrim settled his red cap firmly on his
head, and betook himself to the priest, whose meek-
ness (as is apt to be the case) encouraged the oppo-
site qualities in those with whom he had to do.

“The farmer must be roused somehow,” said he.
“It is a disgrace to us all, and what, in all the hun-
dreds of years I have been Kyrkegrim, never befell
me before. It will be well if next Sunday you preach
a stirring sermon on some very important subject.”

So the preacher preached on Sin—fair of flower,
and bitter of fruit!—and as he preached his own
cheeks grew pale for other men’s perils, and the
Kyrkegrim trembled as he sat listening in the porch,
though he had no soul to lose.

“Was that stirring enough?” he asked, twitching
the sleeve of the farmer’s wife as she flounced out
after service.

“Splendid!” said she, “and must have hit some
folk pretty hard too.”

“Tt kept your husband awake this time, I should
think,” said the Kyrkegrim.

“ Heighty teighty!” cried the farmer’s wife. “Id
have you to know my good man is as decent a body
as any in the parish, if he does take a nap on Sun-
days! He is no sinner if he is no saint, thank

Heaven, and the parson knows better than to preach
at him.”

“Next Sunday,” said the Kyrkegrim to the priest,
“preach about something which concerns everyone ;
respectable people as well as others.”

So the preacher preached of Death—whom tears
cannot move, nor riches bribe, nor power defy. The
uncertain interruption and the only certain end of all
life’s labors! And as he preached, the women sit-
ting in their seats wept for the dead whose graves
they had been tending, and down the aged cheeks of
the Kyrkegrim there stole tears of pity for poor men,
whose love and labors are cut short so soon.

But the farmer slept as before.

“Do you expect to die?” asked the Kyrkegrim.

“Surely,” replied the farmer, “we must all die
some day, and one does not need a preacher to tell
him that. But it was a funeral sermon, my wife
thinks. There has been bereavement in the miller’s

“ Men are a strange race,” thought the Kyrke-
grim ; but he went to the priest and said—“ The far-
mer is not afraid of death. You must find some
subject of which men really stand in awe.”

So when Sunday came round again, the preacher
preached of Judgment—that dread Avenger who
dogs the footsteps of trespass, even now! That
awful harvest of whirlwind and corruption which

they must reap who sow to the wind and to the flesh!
Lightly regarded, but biding its time, till a man’s for-
gotten follies find him out at last.

But the farmer slept on. He did not wake when
the preacher spoke of judgment to come, the reckon-
ing that cannot be shunned, the trump of the Arch-
angel, and the Day of Doom.

“On Michaelmas Day I shall preach myself,” said
the Kyrkegrim, “and if I cannot rouse him, I shall
give up my charge here.”

This troubled the poor priest, for so good a Kyrke-
grim was not likely to be found again.

Nevertheless he consented, for he was very meek,
and when Michaelmas Day came the Kyrkegrim
pulled a preacher’s gown over his homespun coat,
and laid his round hat on the desk by the iron-
clamped Bible, and began his sermon.

“T shall give no text,” said he, “but when I have
said what seems good to me, it is for those who hear
to see if the Scriptures bear me out.”

This was an uncommon beginning, and most of the
good folk pricked their ears, the farmer among them,
for novelty is agreeable in church as elsewhere.

“T speak,” said the Kyrkegrim, “of that which is
the last result of sin, the worst of deaths, and the
beginning of judgment—hardness of heart.”

The farmer looked a little uncomfortable, and the
Kyrkegrim went bravely on.

“Let us seek examples in Scripture. We will
speak of Pharaoh.”

But when the Kyrkegrim spoke of Pharaoh the
farmer was at ease again. And by-and-bye a film
stole gently before his eyes, and he nodded in his

This made the Kyrkegrim very angry, for he did
not wish to give up his place, and yet a Niss may
not break his word.

“Let us look at the punishment of Pharaoh,” he
cried. But the farmer’s eyes were still closed, and
the Kyrkegrim became agitated, and turned hastily
over the leaves of the iron-clamped Bible before him.

“We will speak of the plagues,” said he. “The
plague of blood, the plague of frogs, the plague of
lice, the plague of flies Hs

At this moment the farmer snored,

For a brief instant anger and dismay kept the
Kyrkegrim silent. Then shutting the iron clamps he
pushed the Book on one side, and scrambling on to a
stool, stretched his little body well over the desk,
and said, “ But these flies were as nothing to the fly
that is coming in the turnip-crop!”

The words were hardly out of his mouth when the
farmer sat suddenly upright and half rising from his
place, cried anxiously, “ Eh, what sir? What does
he say, wife? A new fly among the turnips?”

“Ah, soul of clay!” yelled the indignant Kyrke-

grim, as he hurled his round hat at the gaping far-
mer. “Is it indeed for such as thee that Eternal
Life is kept in store? ” :

And drawing the preacher’s gown over his head, he
left it in the pulpit, and scrambling down the steps
hastened out of church.

* * # * * * *

As he had been successful in rousing the sleepy
farmer the Kyrkegrim did not abandon his duties ;
but it is said that thenceforward he kept to them
alone, and left heavier responsibilities in higher
A Legend,

THERE was a certain valley in which the grass was
very green, for it was watered by a stream which never
failed; and once upon a time certain pious men
withdrew from the wide world and from their sepa-
rate homes, and made a home in common, and a
little world for themselves, in the valley where the
grass was green.

The world outside, in those days, was very rough
and full of wars; but the little world in the Green
Valley was quiet and full of peace. And most of
these men who had taken each other for brothers,
and had made one home there, were happy, and
being good deserved to be so. And some of them
were good with the ignorant innocence of children,
and there were others who had washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.

Brother Benedict was so named, because where he
came blessings followed. This was said of him, from

* “Tadders to Heaven’’ was an old name for Lilies of the


a child, when the babies stopped crying if he ran up
to them, and when on the darkest days old women
could see sunbeams playing in his hair. He had al-
ways been fond of flowers, and as there were not
many things in the Brotherhood of the Green Valley
on which a man could full-spend his energies, when
"prayers were said, and duties done, Brother Benedict
spent the balance of his upon the garden. And he
grew herbs for healing, and plants that were good for
’ food, and flowers that were only pleasant to the eyes ;
and where he sowed he reaped, and what he planted
prospered, as if blessings followed him.

In time the fame of his flowers spread beyond the
valley, and people from the world outside sent to beg
plants and seeds of him, and sent him others in re-
turn. And he kept a roll of the plants that he pos-
sessed, and the list grew longer with every Autumn
and every Spring ; so that the garden of the monas-
tery became filled with rare and curious things, in
which Brother Benedict took great pride.

The day came when he thought that he took too
much pride. For he said, “ The cares of the garden
are, after all, cares of this world, and I have set my
affections upon things of the earth.” And at last it
so troubled him that he obtained leave to make a pil-
grimage to the cell of an old hermit, whose wisdom
was much esteemed, and to him he told his fears.

But when Brother Benedict had ended his tale, the

old man said, “Go in peace. What a man labors for
he must love, if he be made in the image of his Maker ;
for He rejoices in the works of His hands.”

So Brother Benedict returned, and his conscience
was at ease till the Autumn, when a certain abbot,
who spent much care and pains upon his garden, was
on a journey, and rested at the Monastery of the Green
Valley. And it appeared that he had more things in

- his garden than Brother Benedict, for the abbey was
very rich, and he had collected far and near. And
Brother Benedict was jealous for the garden of the
monastery, and then he was wrath with himself for
his jealousy ; and when the abbot had gone he ob-
tained leave, and made a pilgrimage to the cell of the
hermit and told him all. And the old man, looking
at him, loved him, and he said:

“My son, a man may bind his soul with fine-drawn
strands till it is either entangled in a web or breaks
all bonds. Gird thyself with one strong line, and let
little things go by.”

And Benedict said, “With which line?”

And the hermit answered, “What said Augustine ?
‘Love, and do what thou wilt.’ If therefore thy la-
bors and thy pride be for others, and not for thyself,
have no fear. He who lives for Gop and for his
neighbors may forget his own soul in safety, and shall
find it hereafter ; for for such a spirit—of the toils and

pains and pleasures of this life—grace shall alike build
Ladders unto Heaven.”

Then Benedict bowed his head, and departed ; and
when he reached home he found a messenger who had
ridden for many days, and who brought him a bundle
of roots, and a written message, which ran thus:

“These roots, though common with us, are un-
known where thou dwellest. It is a lily, as white and
as fragrant as the Lily of the Annunciation, but much
smaller. Beautiful as it is, it is hardy, and if planted
in a damp spot and left strictly undisturbed it will
spread and flourish like a weed. It hath a rare and
delicate perfume, and having white bells on many
footstalks up the stem, one above the other, as the
angels stood in Jacob’s dream, the common children
_ call it Ladders to Heaven.”

And when Brother Benedict read the first part of
the letter he laughed hastily, and said, “The abbot
hath no such lily.” -But when he had finished it, he
said, “Gop rid my soul of self-seeking! The com-
mon children shall have them, and not I.”

And, seizing the plants and a spade, he ran out be-
yond the bounds of the monastery, and down into a
little copse where the earth was kept damp by the
waters of the stream which never failed. And there
he planted the roots, and as he turned to go away he
said, “ The blessing of our Maker rest on thee! And
give joy of thy loveliness, and pleasure of thy per-


fume, to others when I am gone, And let him who
enjoys remember the soul of him who planted thee.”

And he covered his face with his hands, and went
back to the monastery. And he did not enter the new
plant upon his roll, for he had no such lily in his gar-

* % * * * * *

Brother Benedict’s soul had long departed, when in
times of turbulence and change, the monastery was
destroyed, and between fire and plunder and reckless
destruction everything perished, and even the garden
was laid waste. But no one touched the Lilies of the
Valley in the copse below, for they were so common
that they were looked upon as weeds, And though
nothing remained of the brotherhood but old tales,
these lingered, and were handed on ; and when the
children played with the lilies and bickered over
them, crying, “My ladder has twelve white angels
and yours has only eight,” they would often call
them Brother Benedict’s flowers, adding, “but the
real right name of them is Ladders to Heaven.”

And after a time a new race came into the Green
Valley and filled it; and the stream which never
failed turned many wheels, and trades were brisk,
and they were what are called black trades. And men
made money soon, and. spent it soon, and died soon ;
and in the time between each lived for himself, and
had little reverence for those who were gone, and

less concern for those who should come after.
And at first they were too busy to care for what is
only beautiful, but after a time they built smart
houses, and made gardens, and went down into the
copse and tore up clumps of Brother Benedict’s flow-
ers, and planted them in exposed rockeries, and in
pots in dry hot parlors, where they died, and then
the good folk went back for more ; and no one reck-
oned if he was taking more than his fair share, or
studied the culture of what he took away, or took
the pains to cover the roots of those he left behind,
and in three years there was not left a Ladder to
Heaven in all the Green Valley.

The Green Valley had long been called the Black
Valley, when those who labored and grew rich in it
awoke—as man must sooner or later awake—to the
needs of the spirit above the flesh. They were a
race famed for music, and they became more so.
The love of beauty also grew, and was cultivated,
and in time there were finer flowers blossoming in
that smoky air than under many brighter skies.
And with the earnings of their grimy trades they
built a fine church, and adorned it more richly than
the old church of the monastery, that had been de-

The parson who served this church and this peo-
ple was as well-beloved by them as Brother Benedict

had been in his day, and it was in striving to link
their minds with sympathies of the past as well as
hopes of the future, that one day he told them the
legend of the Ladders to Heaven. wards he was wandering near the stream, when he
saw two or three lads with grimy faces busily at
work in the wood through which the stream ran.
At first, when he came suddenly on them, they
looked shyly at one another, and at last one stood
up and spoke.

“It’s a few lily roots, sir, we got in the market, and
we’re planting them ; and two or three of us have set
ourselves to watch that they are not shifted till they’ve
settled. Maybe we shall none of us see them fair
wild here again, any more than Brother Benedict did.
For black trades are short-lived trades, and there’s
none of us will be as old as he. But maybe we
can take a pride too in thinking that they’ll blow
for other folk and other folk’s children when we are

* € * * * * *

Once more the fastidious* flowers spread, and be-
came common in the valley, and were guarded with
jealous care ; and the memory of Brother Benedict
lingered by the stream, and was doubly blessed.

* It is well known that Lilies of the Valley are flowers which
resent disturbance, though they are perfectly hardy and vigor-
ous if left in peace.


For if he is blessed whose love and wisdom add to
the world’s worth, and make life richer in pleasant
things, thrice blessed is he whose unselfish example
Shall be culture to the ignorant or the thoughtless,
and set Ladders to Heaven for the feet of those who
follow him!



Doctor Brown is our doctor. He lives in our vil-
lage, at the top of the hill.

When we were quite little, and had scarlet-fever,
and measles, and those things, Dr. Brown used to be
very kind to us, and dress his first finger up in his
pocket-handkerchief with a knot for the turban, and
rings on his thumb and middle finger, and do—‘“ At
the top of a hill lived a man named Solomon,” in a
hollow voice, which frightened me rather.

And then he used to say—‘ Wise man, Solomon!
He lived at the top of a hill,” and laugh till his
face got redder than usual, and his eyes filled with
laughter-tears, and twinkled in the nice way they do,
and I was not frightened any more.

Dr. Brown left off being our doctor once. That
was when he and Grandmamma quarrelled. But they
made it up again.


It was when I was so unhappy—lI tried to help it,
but I really could not—about my poor dear white
china-poodle (Jael broke him when she was dusting,
and then she swept up his tail, though I have so
begged her to keep the bits when she cleans our
room, and breaks things; and now he never never
can be mended, all the days of my life) :—it was when
I was crying about him, and Grandmamma told Dr.
Brown how silly I was, to make me feel ashamed,
that he said—‘There are some tempers, which, if
they haven’t enough people to love, will love things.”

Margery says he did not say tempers but tempera-
ments. I know it began with temper, because it
reminded me of Jael, who said ‘them tears is all
temper, Miss Grace,” which was very hard, because
she knew—she knew quite well—it was about my
poodle ; and though accidents will happen, she need
not have swept up his tail.

Margery is sure to be right. She always is, Be-
sides, we looked it out in Johnson’s Dictionary, which
we are rather fond of, though it is very heavy to lift,
We like the bits out of books, in small print; but I
could not understand the bits to the word sempera-
ment, and I do not think Margery could either, though
she can understand much more than I can.

There is a very odd bit to the word temperamental,
and it is signed Brown ; but we do not know if that
means our Dr. Brown. This is the bit: ‘‘ That zem-

peramental dignotions, and conjecture of prevalent
humours, may be collected from spots in our nails,
we concede.”—Brown,

We could not understand it, so we lifted down the
other volume (one is just as heavy as the other), and
looked out “ Dignotion,” and it means “ distinction,
distinguishing mark,” and then there is the same bit
over again, but at the end, is “ Brown’s Vulgar Er-
rors.’ And we did not like to ask Dr. Brown if they
were his vulgar errors, for fear he should think us
rude. I thought we might perhaps ask him if they
were his errors, and leave out va/ear, which is rather
a rude word, but Margery thought it better not, and
she is sure to be right. She always is.

But we should have liked to ask Dr. Brown about
it, if it had not been rude, because we think a good
deal of spots on our nails. All we know about them
is that you begin at your thumb, and count on to your
little finger, in this way,

A Gift, a Beau,
A Friend, a Foe,
A Journey to go.”

I like having a Beau, or a Friend; Margery likes
a Gift or a Journey to go. We neither of us like
having Foes. ;

And it shows that it does come true, because Mar-
gery had a white spot in the middle of her left little
finger nail, just when our father’s old friend wrote to

Grandmamma, for one of us to go and pay him a
visit ; and Margery went, because she was the elder
of the two.

I do not know how I bore parting with her, except
with hoping that she would enjoy herself, for she al-
ways had wanted so very much to have a journey to
go. But if she had been at home, so that I could
have taken her advice, I do not think I should have
been so silly about the Sunflowers and the Rushlight.

She says—“ You’d have put on your slippers, and
had a blanket round you at least. But, oh, my dear
Grace, you always are so rash!”

I did not know Iwas. I thought rash people were
brave ; and if I had been brave, the Rushlight would
never have come out of the roof. Still Margery is
sure to be right. I know I am very foolish and lone-
ly without her. :

There are only two of us. Our father, and our
mother, and our brother, all died of fever, nearly five
years ago: We shall never see them again till we go to
Paradise, and that is one reason why we wish to try
to be good and never to be naughty, so that we may
be sure to see them again.

I remember them a little. I remember being fright-
ened by sitting so high up on my father’s shoulder,
and then feeling so safe when I got into my mother’s
lap; and I remember Robin’s curls, and his taking
my woolly ball from me. I remember our black

frocks coming in the hair-trunk with brass nails to the
sea-side, where Margery and I were with our nurse,
and her telling the landlady that our father and moth-
er and brother were all laid in one grave. And I re-
member going home, and seeing the stone flags up in
the yard, and a deep dark hole near the pump, and
thinking that was the grave ; and how Margery found
me stark with fright, and knew better, and told me
that the grave was in the church-yard, and that this
hole was only where workmen had been digging for

And then never seeing those three, day after day,
and having to do without them ever since!

But Margery remembers a good deal more (she is
three years older than am). She remembers things
people said, and the funeral sermon, and the books
being moved into the attic, and she remembers Grand-
mamma’s quarrel with Dr. Brown.

She says she was sitting behind the parlor curtains
with Mrs. Trimmer’s Roman History, and Grand-
mamma was sitting, looking very grave in her new
black dress, with a pocket handkerchief and. book in
her lap, and sherry and sponge biscuits on a tray on
the piano, for visitors of condolence, when Dr. Brown
came in, looking very grave too, and took off one of
his black gloves and shook hands, Then he took off
the other, and put them both into his hat, and hada

glass of sherry and a sponge biscuit, so Margery knew
that he was a visitor of condolence.

Then he and Grandmamma talked a long time.
Margery does not know what about, for she was read-
ing Mrs. Trimmer; but she thinks they were getting
rather cross with each other, Then they got up, and
Dr. Brown looked into his hat, and took out his
gloves, and Grandmamma wiped her eyes with her
pocket handkerchief, and said “I hope I know how
to submit, but it has been a heavy judgment, Dr.

And Margery was just beginning to cry too, when
Dr. Brown said, “A very. heavy judgment indeed,
madam, for letting the cesspool leak into the well ;”
and it puzzled her so much that she stopped.

Then Grandmamma was very angry, and Dr. Brown
was angry too, and then Grandmamma said, “I don’t
know another respectable practitioner, Dr. Brown,
who would have said what you have said this morn-

And Dr. Brown brushed his hat the wrong way
with his coat sleeve, and said, “Too true, madam !
We are not a body of reformers, with all our oppor-
tunities ; we’re as bigoted as most priesthoods, but
we count fewer missionary martyrs. The sins, the
negligences, and the ignorances of every age have
gone on much the same as far as we have been con-

cerned, though very few people keep family chaplains,
and most folk have a family doctor.”

Then Grandmamma got very stiff, Margery says
(she always is rather stiff), and said, “I am sorry, Dr.
Brown, to hear you speak so ill of the members of an
honorable profession, to which you yourself belong.”

And Dr. Brown found out that he had brushed his
hat the wrong way, and he brushed it right, and said,
“Not at all, madam, not at all! J think we’re a very
decent set, for men with large public responsibilities,
almost entirely shielded from the wholesome light of
public criticism, who handle more lives than most
Commanders, and are not called upon to publish our
disasters or make returns of our losses. But don’t
expect too much of us! JI say we are not reformers.
They rise up amongst us now and again; but we
don’t encourage them, we don’t encourage them. We
are a privileged caste of medicine-men, whose ‘ mys-
teries’ are protected by the faith of those to whom
we minister, a faith fortified by ignorance and fear.
I wish you Good morning, madam.”

Margery has often repeated this to me. We call it
“Dr. Brown’s Speeches.” She is very fond of spout-
ing speeches, much longer ones than Dr. Brown’s.
She learns them by heart out of history books, and
then dresses up and spouts them to me in our attic.

Margery says she did not understand at the time
what they were quarrelling about; and when, after-

wards, she asked Grandmamma what a cesspool was,
Grandmamma was cross with her too, and said it was
a very coarse and vulgar word, and that Dr. Brown
was a very coarse and vulgar person. We’ve looked
it out since in Johnson’s Dictionary, for we thought
it might be one of Dr. Brown’s vulgar errors, but it is
not there.

Margery reads a great deal of history; she likes it ;
she likes all the sensible books in the attic, and I like
the rest, particularly poetry and fairy tales.

The books are mother’s books, they belonged to
her father. She liked having them all in the parlor,
“littering the whole place,” Jael says; but Grand-
mamma has moved them to the attic now, all but a
volume of Sermons for Sunday, and the Oriental An-
nual, to amuse visitors if they are left alone. Only
she says you never ought to leave your visitors alone,

Jael is very glad the books were taken to the attic,
because “they gather dust worse than chimney orna-
ments ;” so she says.

Margery and I are very glad too, for we are sent to
play in the attic, and then we read as much as ever
we like ; and we move our pet books to our own cor-
ner and pretend they are our very own. We have
very cosy corners; we pile up some of the big books
for seats, and then make a bigger pile in front of us
for tables, and there we sit.

Once Dr. Brown found us. We had got whooping

cough, and he had come to see if we were better ; and
he is very big, and he tramped so heavily on the stairs
I did really think he was a burglar; and Margery
was a little frightened too, so we were very glad to
see him ; and when he saw us reading at our tables,
he said, “So this is the Attic salt ye season life with,
is it?’ And then he laughed just as he always does.

There is one story in my favorite Fairy Book
which Margery likes too; it is called “A Puzzling
Tale.” J read it to Margery when we were sitting in
our tree seat in the garden, and I put my hand over
the answer to the puzzle, and she could not guess;
and if Margery could not guess,-I do not think any
one else could.

This is the tale:—‘“Three women were once
changed into flowers, and grew in a field: but one
was permitted to go home at night. Once, when day
was dawning, and she was about to return to her
companions in the field and become a flower again,
she said to her husband, ‘ In the morning come to the
field and pick me off my stalk, then I shall be re-
leased, and able to live at home for the future.’ So
the husband went to the field as he was told, and
picked his wife and took her home.” ;

“ Now how did he know his wife’s flower from the
other two, for all the three flowers were alike?”

(That is the Puzzle. This is the answer):

“He knew his wife because there was no dew upon
her flower.” :

There is a very nice picture of the three flowers
standing stiff and upright, with leaves held out like
hands, and large round flower faces, all three exactly
alike. I have looked at them again and again, but I
never could see any difference ; for you can’t see the
dew on the ones who had been out all night, and so
you can’t tell which was the one who was allowed to
go home. But I think it was partly being so fond of
those round flower faces in the Puzzling Tale, that
made me get so very very fond of Sunflowers.

We have splendid Sunflowers in our garden, so tall,
and with such large round faces!

The Sunflowers were in bloom when Margery went
away. She bade them good bye, and kissed her
hands to them as well as to me. She went away ina
cab, with her things in the hair trunk with brass nails
on the top. She waved her hand to me as long as
ever I could see her, and she wagged one finger par-
ticularly. I knew which finger it was, and what she
meant. It was the little finger with that dignotion
on the nail, which showed that she had a journey
to go.



THE Sunflowers were in bloom when Margery went
away ; and the swallows were on the wing. The gar-
den was full of them all the morning, and when she
had gone, they went too. They had been restless for
days past, so I dare say they had dignotions of their
own, that they had a journey to go as well as Margery.

But when they were gone, and she was gone, the
garden felt very lonely. The Sunflowers stretched
out their round faces just as if they were looking to
see if the cab was coming back; and there was a
robin, which kept hopping on and off the pump and
peeping about with his eyes, as if he could not imag-
ine what had become of all the swallows.

And Margery’s black cat came and mewed to me,
and rubbed itself against my pinafore, and walked up
and down with me till I went in and got the “ Ancient
Mariner” and my little chair, and came back and
read to the Sunflowers.

Sunflowers are quite as good as dolls to play with.
Margery and I think them better in some ways. You
can’t move them about unless you pick them; but
then they will stand of themselves, which dolls will
not. You can give them names just as well, and you
can teach them lessons just as well. They will grow,
which dolls won’t ; and they really live and die, which
dolls don’t. In fact, for tallness, they are rather like
grown up people. Then more come out, which is
nice ; and you see the little Sunflowers growing into
big ones, which you can’t see with dolls.

We can play a Sunday game with the Sunflowers,
We do not have any of our toys on Sunday, except
in winter, when we have Noah’s Ark. In the sum-
mer we may go in the garden between the services,
and we always walk up and down together and play
with the Sunflowers.

The Sunday Sunflower game is calling them after
the black-letter saints in the Kalendar, and reading
about them in a very old book—a big one with a
black leather binding—in the attic, called “Lives of
the Saints.” I read, and then I tell it to Margery
as we walk up and down, and say—“ This is S. Pris-
ca, this is S. Fabian, this is S. Agnes, this is S. Aga-
tha, and this is S, Valentine ’—and so on,

What made us first think of having them for Saints
on Sunday, was that the yellow does sometimes look
so very like a glory round their faces. We choose

by turns which name to give to each, but if there is
a very big one with a lot of yellow flaming out, we
always called him S. George of England, because
there is a very old figure of S. George slaying the
Dragon, in a painted window in our Church; and S.
George’s hair is yellow, and standing out all round ;
and when the sun shines through the window, so that
you can’t see his nose and his mouth at all clearly,
he looks quite wonderfully like a Sunflower. Then
on week days, the game I like best, is pretending that
they are women changed into flowers.

They feel so grown up with being so tall, that they
are much more like grown up people turned into flow-
ers than like children. I pretend my doll is my child
when I play with her; but I don’t think I could pre-
tend a Sunflower was my child; and sometimes if
Margery leaves me alone with rather big Sunflowers,
when it is getting dusk, and I look up at them, and
they stare at me with their big faces in the twilight,
I get so frightened for fear they should have got leave
to go home at night, and be just turning, that I run
indoors as hard as ever I can.

Two or three times I have got up early and gone
out to see if any one of them had no dew; but they
have always been drenched, every one of them. Dew,
thick over their brown faces, and rolling like tears
down their yellow glories. I am quite sure that I
have never seen a Sunflower yet, that had had leave

to go home at night, and Margery says the same.
And she is certain to know.

I had a very bad night, the night after Margery
went away. I was so terribly frightened with being
alone in the dark. I know it was very silly, but it
was most miserable. I was afraid to go and wake
Jael, and I was more afraid of going to Grandmam-
ma, and I was most of all afraid of staying where I
was. It seemed to be years and years before the
light began to come a little; and the noises left off
creaking, and dropping, and cracking, and moving

Next day I had avery bad headache. Jael does
not like me when I have headaches, because I give
trouble, and have to have hot water and mustard for
my feet at odd times. Jael does not mind bringing
up hot water at night; but she says she can’t abide
folk wanting things at odd times. So she does not
like me when I have headaches; and when I-have
headaches, I do not much like her. She treads so
very heavily, it shakes the floor just as ogres in ogre-
stories shake the ground when they go out kidnap-
ping; and then the pain jumps in my head till I get
frightened, and wonder what happens to people when
the pain gets so bad that they cannot bear it any

That morning, I thought I never should have got
dressed ; stooping and fastening things do make you

so very bad. I was very late, and Grandmamma was
beginning to scold me, but when she saw I had got a
headache she didn’t—she only said I looked like a
washed-out pocket handkerchief ; and when I could
not eat any breakfast, she said I must have a dose of
rhubarb and magnesia, and as she had not got any
rhubarb left, she sent Jael up to Dr. Brown’s to get

I did not like having to take rhubarb and magne-

sia; but I was very glad to get rid of Jael for a bit,
though I knew she would hate me for having had to
take a message at an odd time. It was her shaking
the room when she brought in the urn, and knocking
the tongs into the fender with her dress as she went
by, that had made me not able to eat any breakfast.
- Just as she was starting, Grandmamma beckoned
to her to come back, and told her to call at the bar-
ber’s, and tell him to come up in the afternoon to
“thin” my hair.

My hair is very thick. I brush as much out as I
can; but I think it only gets thicker and thicker.
Grandmamma says she believes that is what gives me
so many headaches, and she says it is no use cutting
it shorter, for it always is kept cut short; the only
way is to thin it, that is, cutting lumps out here and
there down to the roots. Thinning does make less
of it; but when it grows again it is very difficult to

keep tidy, which makes Jael say she “never see such

a head, it’s all odds and ends,” and sometimes she
adds—‘“inside and out.” Margery can imitate Jael

When Jael came back, she said Dr. Brown would
step down and see me himself. So he came.

Then he felt my pulse and asked me what sort of
a night I had had, and I was obliged to tell him, and
Grandmamma was very much vexed, and made me
tell the whole truth, and she said I did not deserve
any pity for my headaches when I brought them on
myself, which is true.

I think it was being vexed with: me that made her
vexed with Dr. Brown, when he said rhubarb and
magnesia would not do me any good. She said she
liked a regular system with the health of young peo-
ple ; and when she and her six sisters were girls they
were physicked with perfect regularity; they were
bled in the spring, and the fall of the leaf; and had
their hair thinned and their teeth taken out, once a
quarter, by the advice of their excellent friend and
local practitioner, who afterwards removed to London,
and became very distinguished, and had his portrait
painted in oils for one of the learned societies. And
Grandmamma said she had been spared to survive
all her family, and had never had a headache in her

Though my head was so bad, I listened as hard as
‘Icould to hear what Dr. Brown would say. ForI


thought—“ if he makes one of his speeches, they will
quarrel, and he will leave off being our doctor again.”

But he didn’t, he only said—‘ Well, well, madam,
T’ll send the child some medicine. Let her go and
lie down at once, with a hot bottle to her feet, and as
many pillows as she wants under her head ; and don’t
let a sound reach her for the next three or four hours.
When she wakes, give her a basin of bread and milk.”

So he went away, and presently he came back him-
self with the medicine. It tasted very nice, and he
was very kind; only he made Jael so cross with say-
ing she had not put boiling water in the hot bottle,
and sending it down again; and then making her
fetch more pillows out of the spare bed-room (Jael
does not like odd things any more than odd times).
But I never had such a hot bottle or such a comfort-
able headache before, and he pulled the blind down,
and I went to sleep. At first I dreamt a little of the
pain, and then I forgot it, and then slept like a top,
for hours and hours.

When I woke I found a basin of bread and milk,
with a plate over it to keep it warm, on the rush-
bottomed chair by the bed. It hadn’t kept it very
warm. It made me think of the suppers of the Three
Bears in their three basins, and I daresay theirs were
rather cold too, Perhaps their Jael boiled their bread
and milk at her own time, whether they were ready
for it or not.

But I think mine must have been like the Little
Bear’s supper, for I ate it all up.

My bead was much better, so I went up to our at-
tic, and got out the Fairy Book, that 1 might not
think too much about Margery, and it opened of it-
self at the Puzzling Tale. I was just beginning to
read it, when J heard a noise under the rafters, in
one of those low sort of cupboard places that run all
round the attic, where spare boxes and old things are
kept, and where Margery and I sometimes play at
Voyages of Discovery.

I thought Margery’s black cat must be shut up
there, but when I went to look, there was another
crash, and then the door burst open, and out came
Jael, with her cap so crushed that I could not help
laughing. i

I was glad to see her, for my head was well, so I
liked her again, and did not mind her being ogre-
footed, and I wanted to know what she was doing ;
but Jael had not got to like me again, and she spoke
very crossly, and said it was more trouble of my giv-
ing, and that Dr. Brown had said that I was to have
a light in my bedroom till Miss Margery came back—
“if ever there was a sinful waste of candle-grease!”
and that it wasn’t likely the Mistress was going to
throw away money on box night-lights ; and she had
sent the boy to the shop for half-a-dozen farthing
rushlights—if they kept them, and if not, for half-a-

pound of “sixteen” dips, and had sent her to the
attic to find the old Rushlight-tin.

“ What’s it like, Jael?”

“Tt’s like a Rushlighttin, to be sure,” said Jael. .
“ And it’s not been used since your Pa and Ma’s last
illness. So it’s safe to be thick with dust, and a
pretty job it is for me to have to do, losing the pin
out of my cap, and tearing my apron on one of them
old boxes, all to find a dirty old Rushlight, just be-
cause of your whims and fancies, Miss Grace!”

“Jael, I am so sorry for your cap and apron. I
will go in and find the Rushlight for you. Tell me,
is it painted black, with a lot of round holes in the
sides, and a little door, and a place like a ees
in the middie? If it is, I know where it is.’

I knew quite well. It was behind a very old note
manteau, anda tin box with a wig and moths in it,
and the bottom part of the shower-bath, just at the
corner, which Margery and I call Bass’s Straits. So
I made a Voyage of Discovery, and brought it out,
‘‘thick with dust,” as Jael had said.

And Jael took it, and went away very cross and
very ogre-footed, with her cap still awry ; and as she
stumped down the attic-stairs, and kept clattering the
Rushlight against the rails, I could hear her mutter-
ing—“A sinful waste of candle-grease—whims and




JaeEw’s ogre-footsteps had hardly ceased to resound
from the wooden stairs, when these shook again to the
tread of Dr. Brown.

He said—‘‘ How are you?” and I said—“ Very
happy, thank you,’ which was true. For the only
nice thing about dreadful pain is that, when it is gone,
you feel for a little bit as if you could cry with joy at
having nothing to bear.

Then I thanked him for asking Grandmamma to
let me have the Rushlight till Margery came home;
and he said J ought to be very much obliged to him,
for he had begged me off the barber too. So I asked
him if he thought my hair gave me headaches, and he
felt it, and said—“ No!” which I was very glad of.
He said he thought it was more what I grew inside,
than what I grew outside my head that did it, and
that I was not to puzzle too much over books.

I was afraid he meant the Puzzling Tale, so I told
him it was very short, and the answer was given; so


he said he should like to hear it—and I read it to
him. He liked it very much, and he liked the pic-
ture; and I told him we thought they were Sunflow-
ers, only that the glory-leaves were folded in so odd-

*ly, and we did not know why. And he said—‘‘ Why,

because they’re asleep, to be sure. Don’t you know
that flowers sleep as soundly as you do? Zzey don’t
lie awake in the dark!”

And then he shook with laughing, till he shook the
red into his face, and the tears into his eyes, as he
always does.

Dr. Brown must know a great deal about flowers,
much more than I thought he did; I told him so, and
he said, ‘‘ Didn’t think I looked as like a flower sprite
as yourself, eh? ’Pon my word, I don’t think [I’m
unlike one of your favorites. Tall, ye know, big
beaming face, eh? There are people more unlike
a Sunflower than Dr. Brown! Ha! ha! ha!”

He laughed, he always does ; but he told me quite
delightful things about flowers: how they sleep, and
breathe, and eat, and drink, and catch cold in
draughts, and turn faint in the sun, and sometimes
are all the better for a change (“like Miss Margery,”
so he said), and sometimes are home-sick and won’t
settle (‘which I’ve a notion might be one of your fol-
lies, Miss Grace’’), and turn pale and sickly in dark
corners or stuffy rooms. But he never knew one that
went home at night.

Except for being too big for our chairs and tables,
and for going voyages of discovery, I do think Dr..
Brown would make a very nice person to play with;
he seems to believe in fancy things, and he knows so
much, and is so good-natured. He asked me what
flower I thought Jael was like ; and when I told him
Margery could imitate her exactly, he said he must
see that some day. I dared not tell him Margery
can do him too, making his speeches in the shovel
hat we found in an old hat box near Bass’s Straits,

and a pair of old black gloves of Grandmamma’s.

_ When he went away he patted my head, and said
Margery and I must come to tea with him some day,
and he would show us wonderful things in his micro-
scope, and if we were very good, a plant that eats

“But most flowers thrive by ‘eating the air,’ as the
Irish say, and you’re one of ’em, Miss Grace. Do
ye hear?_ You're not to bury yourself in this attic in
the holidays. Run out in the garden, and play with
your friends the Sunflowers, and remember what I’ve
told you about their going to sleep and setting you a
good example. It’s as true as Gospel, and there’s
many a rough old gardener besides Dr. Brown will
tell you that flowers gathered in the morning last
longer than those gathered in the evening, because
those are fresh after a night’s nap, and these are tired
and want to rest, and not to be taken into parlors,

and kept awake with candles. Good bye, little Mi-

chaelmas Goose!”

And away he went, clomping
downstairs, but not a bit like Jael.

When bedtime came I was a good deal tired; but
after I got into bed I kept my candle alight for a
time, hoping Jael would bring the Rushlight and put
it on the floor near Margery’s bed, as I had asked
her to do. But after a while I had to put out my
candle, for Grandmamma is rather particular about
it, and then I was so sleepy I fell asleep. I was
awakened by a noise and a sort of a flashing, and I
thought it was thunder and lightning, but it was only
Jael; she had come stumping in, and was flashing
the Rushlight about before my eyes to see if I was
asleep, and when she saw I was, she wanted to take
it away again, but I begged and prayed, and then I
said Grandmamma had promised, and she always
keeps her promises, and I should go and ask her.
So at last Jael set it down by Margery’s bed, and
went away more ogre-footed than ever; grumbling
and growling about the waste of candle-grease. But
IT had got the Rushlight, so I didn’t mind; I only
hugged my knees, and laughed, and lay down again.
And when I heard Jael go stumping upstairs, I knew
that she had waited till her own bedtime to bring the
Rushlight, and that was why it was late. And I
thought to-morrow I would tell Grandmamma, for
she promised, and she always performs. She does

not spoil us, we know, but she is always fair. Jael
isn’t, always.

A Rushlight is a very queer thing, It looked so
grim as it stood by Margery’s bed, in a little round
of light ; rather like a ruined castle in the middle of
a lake in the moonshine. A castle with one big door,
and a lot of round windows with the light coming
through. They made big spots and patches of light
all about the room. I could not shut my eyes for
watching them, for they were not all the same shape,
and they kept changing and moving ; at last they got
so faint, I was afraid the Rushlight was going out, so
I jumped up and went to see, and I found there was
a very big thief in the candle, so I got the snuffers
out of my candlestick, and snuffed it, and got into
bed again; and now there were beautiful big moons
of light all over Margery’s bed-valance.

Thinking of the thief in the Rushlight made me
think of a thief in a castle, and then of thieves getting
into our house, and that if one got in at my window
Icould do’nothing except scream for help, because
Grandmamma keeps the Watchman’s Rattle under
her own pillow, and locks her bedroom door. And
then I looked at my window, and saw a bit of light,
and it made me quite cold, for I thought it was a
burglar’s lantern, till I saw it was the moon.

Then I knew how silly I was, and I determined
that I would not be such a coward. I determined I

would not think of burglars, nor ghosts, nor even

. Margery and I are quite sure that we can think of
things, and prevent ourselves thinking of things, by
trying very hard. But it is rather difficult.

I tried, and I did. I thought I would think of
flowers, and of Dr. Brown, for he is very cheerful to
think of. So I thought of Sunflowers, and how they
eat the air, and go to sleep at night, and perhaps
look like the three women in the Fairy Tale. And I
thought I would always pick flowers in the morning
now, and never at night, when they want to go to
sleep and not to be woke up in a parlor with candles.

And then I wondered: Would they wake with can-
dles if they had begun to go to sleep? Would they
wake with a jump, as I did, if Jael flashed the Rush-
light in their faces?) Would the moon wake them?
Were they awake then, that very minute, like me, or
asleep, as I was before Jael came in? Did they look
like the picture in the Fairy Book, with their glory
leaves folded over their faces? If I took a candle
now, and held it before S. George of England, look-
ing like that, would he wake with a start, and spread
his glory leaves out all round, and stare at me, broad
—wide awake?

Then I thought how often I had gone out early,
and wet my petticoats, to see if any of them had no
dew on their faces, and that I had never gone out at

night to see if they looked like the women in the
Fairy Tale ; and I wondered why I never had, and I
supposed it was because I was silly, and perhaps
afraid of going out in the dark.

Then I remembered that it wasn’t dark. There
was a moon: besides my having a Rushlight.

Then I wondered if I was very very silly, and why
Dr. Brown had called me a Michaelmas Goose. But
Iremembered that it must be because to-morrow was
the 29th of September.

Then the stairs clock struck eleven.

I counted all the strokes, and then I saw that the
Rushlight was getting dim again, so I got up and
snuffed it, and all the moons came out as bright as
ever; but I did not feel in the least sleepy.

I did not feel frightened any more. I only wished
I knew for certain what Sunflowers look like when
they are asleep, and whether you can wake them up
with candles. And I went on wondering, and watch-
ing the moons.

Then the stairs clock struck a quarter-past eleven,
and I thought—“ Oh, Grace! if you were not such a
coward, if you had jumped up when the clock struck
eleven, and slipped down the back stairs, with the
Rushlight in your hands, and unlocked the side door,
you might have run down the grass walk without
hurting your feet, and flashed it in the faces of the
Sunflowers, and had a good look, and got back to bed

again before the clock struck a quarter-past; and
then it would have been done, and couldn’t be un-
done, and you would have known whether they look
like the picture, and if they wake up with candles,
and you never could have unknown. But now, you'll
go on putting off, and being frightened about it, and
perhaps to-morrow Jael will tell Grandmamma you
were asleep, and she won’t let you have a Rushlight
any more, not even when you are a grown-up young
lady ; and even when you get married and go away,
you may marry a man who won’t let you have one;
and so you may never know what you want to know,
all because you’re a Michaelmas Goose.”

Then the Rushlight began to get dim again, so I
got up and snuffed it, and it shone out bright, and I
thought “If it was Margery she would do it straight
off. I won’t be a Michaelmas Goose; I’ll go while
I’m up, and be back before the stairs clock strikes
again, and then it will be done and can’t be undone,
and I shall know, and can’t unknow.”

So I took up the Rushlight and went as fast as I

I met a black beetle on the back stairs, which was
horrid, but I went on. The side door key is very
rusty and very stiff; I had to put down the Rushlight
and use both my hands, and. just then the clock struck
the half-hour, which was rather a good thing, for it
drowned the noise of the lock. It did not take me

two minutes to run down the grass path, and there
were the Sunflowers.

I did it and it can’t be undone, but I don’t know
what I wanted to know after all, for. the moon was
shining in their faces, so they may not have been
really sound asleep. They are so tall, the Rushlight
was too heavy for me to lift right up, so I opened the
door and took out the candle, and flashed it in their
faces. But they did not take as much notice as I
expected. Their glory leaves looked rather narrow
and tight, but they were not quite like the flower-
women in the picture.

Sunflowers are alive, I know ; they look so different
when they aredead. And Iam sure they go to sleep,
and wake up with candles, or Dr. Brown would not
have said so, But it is rather a quiet kind of being
alive and awake, I think. Something like Grand-
mamma, when she is very stiff on Sunday afternoon,
and goes to sleep upright in a chair, and wakes up a
little when her book drops. But not alive and awake
like Margery’s black cat, which must have heard me
open the side door, and followed me without my see-
ing it. It did frighten me, with jumping out of the
bushes, and looking at me with yellow eyes!

Then I saw another eye. The eye of a moth, who
was on one of the leaves. A most beautiful fellow!
His colored wings were rather tight, like the Sun-

flower’s glory leaves, but he was wide awake—watch-
ing the candle.

I should have got back to bed quicker if it had’ not
been for Margery’s black cat and the night-moths. I
wanted to get the cat into the house again, but she
would not follow me, and the moths would ; and I
had such hard work to keep them out of the Rush-

There was nothing to drown the-noise the key
made when I locked the side-door again, and when I
got to the bottom of the back stairs, I saw a light at
the top, and there was Grandmamma in the most aw-
ful night cap you can imagine, with a candle in one
hand, and the watchman’s rattle in the other.




THE worst of it was, I caught such a very bad cold,
I gave more trouble than ever ; besides Grandmamma
having rheumatism in her back with the draught up
the back stairs, and nothing on but her night things
and the watchman’s rattle. I knew I deserved to be
punished, but I did not think my punishment would
have been such a terrible one.

I hoped it might have been lessons, or even, per-
haps, not having the Rushlight again, but I did not
thik Grandmamma would think of hurting the Sun-

She waited till I was well enough to go out, and I
really began to think she was going to be kind enough
to forgive me, with a free forgiveness. But that day
she called me to her, and spoke very seriously, and
said, that to punish me for my misconduct, and to try
and cure me of the babyish nonsense I gave way to
about things, she had decided to have all the Sun-
flowers destroyed at once, and not to have any seed
sown for new ones, any more. The gardener was to
do it next morning, and I was to be there to see.
She hoped it would make me remember the occasion,
and teach me better sense for the future.

I should have begged and prayed, but it is no use
begging and praying to Grandmamma; Jael attends
more to that. There was no comfort anywhere, ex-
cept in thinking that Margery would be at home in
two days, and that I could pour out all my sorrow to

As I went crying down the passage I met Jael.

““What’s the matter now?” said she.

“Grandmamma’s going to have all the Sunflowers
killed,” I sobbed. ‘Oh, I wish I’d never gone to
look at them with the Rushlight!”

“That’s how it is,” said Jael sagely, “folks always


wishes they’d done different when it’s too late. But
don’t sob your heart out that fashion, Miss Grace.
Come into the pantry and I’ll give you a bit of cake.”
“Thank you, dear Jael, you’re very kind, but I
don’t think I could eat cake. Oh Jael, dear Jael!
Do you think she would spare one, just one?”
“That she wouldn’t, Miss Grace, so you needn’t
trouble your head about it. When your Grandmam-
ma’s made up her mind, there’s no one ever I saw
can move her, unless it be Dr. Brown. Besides, the
missus has never much mattered those Sunflowers.
They were your mamma’s fancy, and she’d as many
whims as you have, and put your Grandmamma about
a good deal. She was always at your papa to be do-
ing this and that to the place ‘Wasting good money’
as your Grandmamma said. Your papa was a very
easy gentleman. He wanted to please his wife, and
he wanted to please his mother. Deary me! I re-
member his coming to me in this very pantry—I don’t
know if it would be more than three months afore
they were both taken—and, standing there, as it
might be you, Miss Grace, and saying—‘Jael,’ he
says, ‘this window looks out on the yard,’ he says;
‘do you ever smell anything, Jael? You are here a
good deal.’ ‘Master John,’ I says, ‘I thank my
Maker, my nose never troubles me; but if it did’ I
says, ‘I hope I know better than to set myself up to
smell more than my neighbors.’—‘ To be sure, to be


sure,’ he says, looking round in a foolish kind of a
way at the sink. Then he says, ‘Jael, do you ever
taste anything in the water? My wife thinks there’s
something wrong with the well.’ ‘Master John,’ I
says, ‘with all respect to your good lady, she disturbs
her mind a deal too much with books. An ounce of
ex-perience, I say, is worth a pound of book learning ;
and Ill tell you what my father said to them parties
that goes round stirring up stinks, when they were
for meddling with his farm yard. “ Let wells alone,”
he says, ‘and muck heaps likewise.” And my father
passed three-score years and ten, Master John, and
died where he was born.’ Well-a-day! I see your
poor Pa now. He stood and looked as puzzled as a
bee in a bottle. Then he says—‘ Well, Jael, my wife
says Sunflowers are good against fevers ; and there’s
no harm in sowing some.’ Which he did that very
afternoon, she standing by him, with her hand on his
shoulder; but, bless ye, my dear! they were took
long before the seeds was up. Your mother was a
pretty woman, I’ll say that for her. You’d never
have thought it, to look at her, that she was so fond
of poking in dirty places.”

“Jael!” I said, “Mamma was right about the
smells in the back yard. Margery and I hold our
noses ’—‘‘you’d a deal better hold your tongues,”
interrupted Jael.

“We do, Jael, we do, because I don’t like mustard

plasters on my throat, and when the back yard smells
a good deal, my throat is always sore. But oh, Jael!
If Sunflowers are good for smells, don’t you think we
might tell Grandmamma, and she would let us have
them for that?”

“She’ll not, Miss Grace,” said Jael, “so don’t wor-
ry on. They’re ragged things at the best, and all
they’re good for is to fatten fowls; and I shall tell
Gardener he may cut their heads off and throw ’em
to the poultry, before he roots up the rest.”

I could not bear to hear her, so I went out to bid
the Sunflowers good bye.

I held their dear rough stems, rough with nice little
white hairs, and I knew how easily their poor heads
would cut off, there is so much pith inside the stems.

I kissed all their dear faces one after another.
They are very nice to kiss, especially in the sun, for
then they smell honey-sweet, like blue Scabious, and
lots of flowers that have not much scent, but only
smell as if bees would like them. I kissed them once
round for myself, and then once for Margery, for I
knew how sorry she would be.

And it was whilst I was holding S. George of Eng-
land’s face in my ‘two hands, kissing him for Mar-
gery, that I saw the Dignotion on my middle finger

A Gift, a Beau, 4 Friend /—

And then it flashed into my mind, all in a moment

—“ There can be no friend to me and the Sunflow-
ers, except Dr. Brown, for Jael says he is the only
person who ever changes Grandmamma’s mind.”

I dawdled that night when I could not make up
my mind about going out with the Rushlight, but I
did not wait one minute now. I climbed over the
garden wall into the road, and ran as hard as I could
run up to the top of the hill, where lived a man—]
mean where Dr. Brown lived. :

Now, I know that he is the kindest person that .
ever could be. I told him everything, and he asked
particularly about my throat and the smells. Then.
he looked graver than I ever saw him, and said,
“Listen, little woman ; you must look out for spots
on your little finger-nails. You’re going away for a
bit, till I’ve doctored these smells. Don’t turn your
eyes into saucers. Margery shall go with you; I
wish I could turn ye both into flowers and plant ye
out in a field for three months! but you are not to
give me any trouble by turning home-sick, do you
hear? I shall have trouble enough with Grandmam-
ma, though I am joint guardian with her (your: dear
mother’s doing, that!), and have some voice in the
disposal of your fates. Now, if I save the Sunflow-
ers, will you promise me not to cry to come home
again till I send for you?”

“Shall you be able to change her mind, to let us
have Sunflowers sown for next year, too?


“Then I promise.”

I could have danced for joy. The only thing that
made me feel uncomfortable was having to tell Dr.
Brown about the spot on my middle finger-nail. He
would ask all about it, and so J let out about John-
son’s Dictionary and the Dignotions, and Brown’s
Vulgar Errors, and I was afraid Margery would say
I had been very silly, and let a cat out of a bag.

I hope he was not vexed about his vulgar errors.
He only laughed till he nearly tumbled off his chair.

I never did have a spot on my journey-to-go nail,
but we went away all the same; so I suppose Digno-
tions do not always tell true.

When Grandmamma forgave me, and told me she
would spare the Sunflowers this time, as Dr. Brown
had begged them off, she said—‘ And Dr. Brown
assures me, Grace, that when you are stronger you
will have more sense. I am sure I hope he is right.”

I hope so, too!


“Ou Toby, my dear old Toby, you portly and
princely Pug!

“You know it’s bad for you to lie in the fender :—
Father says that’s what makes you so fat—and I want
you to come and sit with me on the Kurdistan rug.

“Put your lovely black nose in my lap, and I'll
count your great velvet wrinkles, and comfort you
with kisses,

“If you'll only keep out of the fender—Father says
you'll have a fit if you don’t !—and give good advice
to your poor Little Missis.

“Father says you are the wisest creature he knows,
and you are but eight years old, and three months
ago I was six.

“And yet mother says I’m the silliest little girl that
she ever met with, because I am always picking up

“She does not know where I learnt to stand on
one leg (unless it was from a goose), but it has made
one of my shoulders stick out more than the other.

“It wasn’t the goose who taught me to whistle up


Page 262.


and down stairs. I learnt that last holidays from my

“The baker’s man taught me to put my tongue in
my cheek when I’m writing copies, for I saw him do
it when he was receipting a bill.

“And I learn’t to wrinkle my forehead, and squeeze
up my eyes, and make faces with my lips by imitat-
ing the strange doctor who attended us when we were

“It was Brother Jack himself who showed me that
the way to squint is to look at both sides of your nose,

“And then, Toby—would you believe it?—he
turned round last holidays and said—‘Look here,
Tiny, if the wind changes when you’re making that
face it’ll stay there, and remember you can’t squint
properly and keep your eye on the weathercock at
the same time to see how it blows.’

“But boys are so mean !—and I catch stammering
from his school friend— 7 ut-tut-tut-tut-Tom,’ as we
call him—but I soon leave it off when he goes.

“I did not learn stooping and poking out my chin
from any one; it came of itself. It is so hard to sit
up ; but mother says that much my worst trick

“Is biting my finger nails; and I’ve bitten them
nearly all down to the quick. —

“She says if I don’t lose these tricks, and leave off
learning fresh ones, I shall never grow up like our
pretty great-great-grandmamma,

“Do you know her, dear Toby? I don’t think you
do. I don’t think you ever look at pictures, intelli-
gent as you are!

“Tt’s the big portrait, by Romney, of a beautiful
lady, sitting beautifully up, with her beautiful hands
lying in her lap.

“Looking over her shoulder, out of lovely eyes,
with a sweet smile on her lips, in the old brocade
Mother keeps in the chest, and a pretty lace cap.

“I should very much like to be like her when I
grow up to that age ; Mother says she was twenty-six.

“And of course I know she would not have looked
so nice in her picture if she’d squinted, and wrinkled
her forehead, and had one shoulder out, and her
tongue in her cheek, and a round back, and her chin
poked, and her fingers all swollen with biting ;—but,
oh, Toby, you clever Pug! how am I to get rid of
my tricks?

“That is, if I must give them up; but it seems so
hard to get into disgrace.

“For doing what comes natural to one, with one’s
own eyes and legs, and fingers, and face.”


“Remove your arms from my neck, Little Missis—
I feel unusually apoplectic—and let me take two or
three turns on the rug.

“Whilst I turn the matter over in my mind, for
never was there so puzzled a pug!

““T am, as your respected Father truly observes, a
most talented creature.

“And as to fit subjects for family portraits and
personal appearance—from the top of my massive
brow to the tip of my curly tail, I believe myself to
be perfect in every feature.

“ And when my ears are just joined over my fore-
head like a black velvet cap, I’m reckoned the living .
likeness of a late eminent divine and once popular

“Did your great-great-grandmamma ever take a
prize ata show? But let that pass—the real ques-
tion is this: :

“ How is it that what J am most highly commended
for, should in your case be taken amiss?

“Why am I reckoned the best and cleverest of
dogs? Because I’ve picked up tricks so quickly ever
since I was a pup.

“And if I couldn’t wrinkle my forehead and poke
out my chin, and grimace at the judges, do you sup-
pose I should ever have been—Class Pug. First
Prize—Champion and Gold Cup?

““We have one thing in common—lI do zof find it
easy to sit up.

“But I learned it, and so will you. I can’t imag
ine worse manners than to put one’s tongue in one’s

cheek ; as a rule, I hang mine gracefully out on one

“And I’ve no doubt it’s a mistake to gnaw your
fingers. I gnawed a good deal in my puppyhood, but
chewing my paws is a trick that I never tried.

““How you stand on one leg I cannot imagine;
with my figure it’s all I can do to stand upon four.

“T balance biscuit on my nose. Do you? I jump
through a hoop (an atrocious trick, my dear, after
one’s first youth—and a full meal!)—I bark three
cheers for the Queen, and I shut the dining-room

“T lie flat on the floor at the word of command—
In short, I’ve as many tricks as you have, and every
one of them counts to my credit ;

“Whilst yours—so you say—only bring you into
disgrace, which I could not have thought possible if
you had not said it.

“Indeed—but for the length of my experience and
the solidity of my judgment—this would tempt me to
think your mamma a very foolish person, and to ad-
vise you to disobey her; but I do zo#, Little Missis,
for I know

“That if you belong to good and kind people, it is
well to let them train you up in the way in which
they think you should go.

“‘Vour excellent parents trained me to tricks; and
very senseless some of them seemed, I must say:


“But Pve lived to be proud of what I’ve been
taught ; and glad too that I learned to obey.

“For, depend upon it, if you never do as you’re
told till you know the reason why, or till you find that
you must ;

“You are much less of a Prize Pug than you might
have been if you’d taken good government on trust.”

“Take me back to your-arms, Little Missis, I feel
cooler, and calmer in my mind.

“Yes, there can be no doubt about it. . You must
do what your mother tells you, for you know that
she’s wise and kind.

“You must take as much pains to lose your tricks
as I took to arn mine, long ago;

‘And we may all live to see you yet—‘ Class Young
Lady. First Prize. Gold Medal—of a Show.’”


“Oh, Toby, my dear old Toby, you wise and won-
derful Pug!

“Don’t struggle off yet, stay on my knee for a bit,
you'll be much hotter in the. fender, and I want to
give you a great, big hug.

“What are you turning round and round for?
you'll make yourself giddy, Toby. If you’re looking
for your tail, it is there, all right.

“You can’t see it for yourself because you're so
fat, and because it is curled so tight.

“T daresay you could play with it, like Kitty, when
you were a pup, but it must be a long time now since
you’ve seen it.

“It’s rather rude of you, Mr. Pug, to lie down with
your back to me, and a grunt, but I know you don’t
mean it,

‘‘T wanted to hug you, Toby, because I do thank
you for giving me such good advice, and I know
every word of it’s true.

“I mean to try hard to follow it, and I’ll tell you
what I shall do.

“Nurse wants to put bitter stuff on the tips of my
fingers, to cure me of biting them, and now I think I
shall let her.

““T know they’re not fit to be seen, but she says
they would soon become better.

“IT mean to keep my hands behind my back a good
deal till they’re well, and to hold my head up, and
turn out my toes; and every time I give way to one
of my tricks, I shall go and stand (om both legs) be-
fore the picture, and confess it to great-great-grand-

“Just fancy if I’ve no tricks left this time next
year, Toby! Won’t that show how clever we are?

“T for trying so hard to do what I’m told, and you
for being so wise that people will say—‘ That sensi-

ble pug cured that silly little girl when not even her
mother could mend her.’

ie Ah! Bad Dog! Where are you slinking off
to?—Oh, Toby, darling! do, go take a little of your
own good advice, and try to cure yourself of lying in
the fender!”




“Hoot toots, man, yon’s a queer bird! ”
—Bonnie Scotland.

I am an Owl ; a very fluffy one, in spite of all that
that Bad Boy pulled out! I live in an Ivy Bush.
Children are nothing to me, naturally, so it seems
strange that I should begin, at my time of life, to ob-
serve their little ways and their humors, and to give
them good advice.

And yet itis so. Iam the Friend of Young Peo-
ple. In my flight abroad I watch them. As I sit
meditating in my Ivy Bush, it is their little matters
which I turn over in my fluffy head. I have estab-
lished a letter box for their communications at the
Hole in the Tree. No other address will find me.

It is well known that Iam a Bird of Wisdom. I
am also an Observing Bird; and though my young
friends may think I see less than I do, because of
my blinking, and because I detest that vulgar glare
of bright light without which some persons do not
seem able to see what goes on around them, I would


have children to know that if I can blink on occasion,
and am not apt to let every starer read my counsel
in my eyes, I am wide awake all the same. I am on
the look-out when it’s so dark that other folk can’t
see an inch before their noses, and (a word to the
foolish and naughty!) I can see what is doing be-
hind my back. And Wiseacre, Observer, and Wide-
awake—I am the Children’s Owl.

Before I open my mouth on their little affairs, be-
fore even I open my letters (if there are any waiting
for me) I will explain how it came about that I am
the Children’s Owl.

It is all owing to that little girl; the one with the
fluffy hair and the wise eyes. Asan Observer I have
noticed that not only I, but other people, seem to do
what she wants, and as a Wiseacre I have reflected
upon it as strange, because her temper is as soft and
fluffy as her hair (which mine is not), and she always
seems ready to give way to others (which is never my
case—if I can help it). On the occasion Iam about
to speak of, I could zo help it.

It was last summer that that Bad Boy caught me,
and squeezed me into a wicker cage, Little did I
think I should ever live to be so poked out, and rum-
maged, and torn to shreds by such a thing as a boy!
I bit him, but he got me into the cage and put a cloth
over it. Then he took me to his father, who took
me to the front door of the house, where he is coach-

man and gardener, and asked for Little Miss to come
out and see the new pet Tom had caught for her.

“It’s a nasty tempered brute, but she’s such a one
for taming things,” said the coachman, whipping off
the cloth to show me to the housemaid, and letting in
a glare of light that irritated me to frenzy. I flew at
the housemaid, and she flew into the house. Then I
rolled over and growled and hissed under my beak,
and tried to hide my eyes in my feathers.

“Little Miss won’t tame me,” I muttered.

She did not try long. When she heard of me she
came running out, the wind blowing her fluffy hair
about her face, and the sun shining on it. Fluffed
out by the wind, and changing color in the light and
shade, the hair down her back is not entirely unlike
the feathers of my own, though less sober perhaps in
its tints. Like mine it makes a small head look
large, and as she has big wise eyes, I have seen
creatures less like an owl than Little Miss. Her
voice is not so hoarse as mine. It is clear and soft,
as I heard when she spoke:

“Oh, Aow good of you! And how good of Tom!
I do so love owls. I always get Mary to put the sil-
ver owl by me at luncheon, though I am not allowed
to eat pepper. And I have a brown owl, a china
one, sitting on a book for a letter weight. He came
from Germany. And Captain Barton gave me an
owl pencil-case on my birthday, because I liked hear-

ing about his real owl, but, oh, I never hoped I should
have a real owl of my own. It was kind of Tom.”

To hear that Bad Boy called kind was too much
for endurance, and I let them see how savage I felt.
If the wicker work had not been very strong the cage
would not have held me.

“He’s a tartar,” said the coachman.

“Oh, no, Williams!” said Little Miss, “he’s only
frightened by the light. Give me the cloth, please.”

“Take care, Miss. He'll bite you,” cried the
coachman, as she put the cloth over the cage, and
then over her own head.

“No, he won’t! I don’t mind his snapping and
hissing. I want him to see me, andknowme. Then
perhaps he'll get to like me, and be tame, and sit on
the nursery clock and look wise. Captain Barton’s
owl used to sit on his clock. Poor fellow! Dear
old owlie! Don’t growl, my owl. Can you hoot, dar-
ling? I should like to hear you hoot.”

Sometimes as I sit in my ivy bush, and the moon
shines on the spiders’ webs and reminds me of the
threads of her hair, on a mild, sleepy night, if there’s
nothing stirring but the ivy boughs; sitting, I say,
blinking between a dream and a doze, I fancy I see
her face close to mine, as it was that day with the
wicker work between. Our eyes looking at each
other, and our fluffiness mixed up by the wind. Then

I try to remember all the kind things she said to me

to coax me to leave my ivy bush, and go to live on
the nursery clock. But I can’t remember half. I
was in such a rage at the time, and when you are in
a rage you miss a good deal, and forget a good deal.

I know that at last she left off talking to me, and -
I could see her wise eyes swimming in tears. Then
she left me alone under the cloth.

“Well, Miss,” said the coachman, “you don’t make
much of him, do ye? He’s a Tartar, Miss, I’m

“Y think, Williams, that he’s too old. Captain
Barton’s owl was a little owlet when he first got him,
I shall never tame this one, Williams, and I never
was so disappointed in all my life. Captain Barton
said he kept an owl to keep himself good and wise,
because nobody could be foolish in the face of an
owl sitting on his clock. He says both his godfathers
are dead, and he has taken his owl for his godfather.
These are his jokes, Williams, but I had set my heart
on having an owl on the nursery clock. I do think
I have never wished so much for anything in the
world as that Tom’s owl would be our Bird of Wis-
dom. But he never will. He will never let me tame
him. He wants to be a wild owl all his life. I love
him very much, and I should like him to have what
he wants, and not be miserable. Please thank Tom
very much, and please ask him to let him go.”

“I’m sorry I brought him, Miss, to trouble you,”

said the coachman. “But Tom won’t let him go.
He’d a lot of trouble catching him, and if he’s no
good to you, Tom’ll be glad of him to stuff. He’s
got some glass eyes out of a stuffed fox the moths
ate, and he’s bent on stuffing an owl, is Tom. The
eyes would be too big for a pheasant, but they’ll look
well enough in an owl, he thinks.”

My hearing is very acute, and not a word of that
Bad Boy’s brutal intentions was lost on me. I shrunk
among my feathers and shivered with despair; but
when I heard the voice of Little Miss I rounded my
ear once more.

“No, Williams, no! He must not be stuffed. Oh,
please beg Tom to come to me. Perhaps I can give
him something to persuade him not. If he must
stuff an owl, please, please let him stuff a strange
owl, One I haven’t made friends with. Not this
one. He is very wild, but he is very lovely and soft,
and I do so want him to be let go.”

‘Well, Miss, I’ll send Tom and you can settle it
with him, All I say, he’s a Tartar, and stuffing’s too
good for him.”

Whether she bribed Tom, or persuaded him, I don’t
know, but Little Miss got her way, and that Bad Boy
let me go, and I went back to my Ivy Bush.


“ What can’t be cured must be endured.”
—Old Proverb.

Ir was the wish to see Little Miss once more that
led my wings past her nursery window ; besides, I
had a curiosity to look at the clock.

It is an eight-day clock, in a handsome case, and
would, undoubtedly, have been a becoming perch for
a bird of my dignified appearance, but I will not de-
scribe it to-day. Nor will I speak of my meditations
as I sit in my Ivy Bush like any other common owl,
and reflect that if I had not had my own way, but
had listened to Little Miss, I might have sat on an
Eight-day Clock, and been godfather to the children.
It is not seemly for an owl to doubt his own wisdom,
but as I have taken upon me, for the sake of Little
Miss, to be a child’s counsellor, I will just observe,
in passing, that though it is very satisfactory at the
time to get your own way, you may live to wish that
you had taken other folk’s advice instead.

From that nursery I have taken flicht to others.
I sail by the windows, and throw a searching eye
through these bars which are, I believe, placed there

to keep top-heavy babies from tumbling out. Some-
times I peer down the chimney. From the nook of
a wall or the hollow of a tree, I overlook the children’s
gardens and playgrounds. I have an eye to several
schools, and I fancy (though I may be wrong) that I
should look well seated on the top of an éasel—just
above the black-board, with a piece of chalk in my
feathery foot.

Not that I have any notion of playing schoolmas-
ter, or even of advising schoolmasters and parents
how to make their children good and wise. Iam the
Children’s Owl—their very own—and all my good ad-
vice is intended to help them to improve themselves.

It is wonderful how children do sometimes improve !
I knew a fine little fellow, much made of by his fam-
ily and friends, who used to be so peevish about all
the little ups and downs of life, and had such a la-
mentable whine in his voice when he was thwarted in
any trifle, that if you had -heard without seeing him,
you'd have sworn that the most miserable wretch in
the world was bewailing the worst of catastrophes
with failing breath. And all the while there was not
a handsomer, healthier, better fed, better bred, better
dressed, and more dearly loved, little boy in all the
patish. When you might have thought, by the sound
of it, that some starving skeleton of a creature was
moaning for a bit of bread, the young gentleman was
only sobbing through the. soap and lifting his voice


above the towels, because Nurse would wash his fair
and rosy cheeks. And when cries like those of one
vanquished in battle and begging and praying for his
life, rang through the hall and up the front stairs, it
proved to be nothing worse than Master Jack implor-
ing his friends to “please, please,” and “do, do,” let
him stay out to run ina final “go as you please” race
with the young Browns (who dine a quarter of an
hour later), instead of going in promptly when the
gong sounded for luncheon.

Now the other day I peeped into a bedroom of that
little boy’s home. The sun was up, and so was Jack,
but one of his numerous Aunts was not. She was in
bed with a headache, and to this her pale face, her
eyes shunning the light like my own, and her hair
restlessly tossed over the pillow bore witness. When
a knock came on the bedroom door, she started with
pain, but lay down again and cried—“ Come in!”

The door opened, but no one came in; and outside
the voices of the little boy and his nurse were audible.

““T want to show her my new coat.”

“You can’t, Master Jack. Vour Aunt’s got a
dreadful headache, and can’t be disturbed.”

No peevish complaints from Jack: only a deep
sigh, ie

“I’m very sorry about her headache; and I’m very
very sorry about my coat. For I am going out, and
it will never be so new again.”

His aunt spoke feebly.

“Nurse, I must see his coat. Let him come in.”

Enter Jack.

It was his first manly suit, and he was trying hard
for a manly soul beneath it, as a brave boy should.
He came in very gently, but with conscious pride
glowing in his rosy cheeks and out of his shining
eyes. His cheeks were very red, for a step in life is
a warming thing, and so is a cloth suit when you’ve
been used to frocks.

It was a bottle-green coat, with large mother-o”-
pearl buttons and three coachman’s capes ; and there
were leggings to match. The beaver hat, too, was
new, and becomingly cocked, as he stood by his
Aunt’s bedside and smiled.

“What a fine coat, Jack!”

“Made by a tailor, Auntie Julie. Real pockets!”

“Vou don’t say so!”

He nodded.

“Leggings too!” and he stuck up one leg at a
sudden right angle on to the bed ; a rash proceeding,
but the boy has a straight little figure, and with a hop
or two he kept his balance.

“My dear Jack, they are grand. How warm they
must keep your legs!”

He shook his beaver hat.

“No. They only tickles. That’s what they do.”

There was a pause. His Aunt remembered the

old peevish ways. She did not want to encourage
him to discard his winter leggings, and was doubtful
what to say. But in a moment more his eyes shone,
and his face took that effulgent expression which
some children have when they are resolved upon be-
ing good, :

“and as L can’t shake off the tickle, [ have to bear
wz,” added the little gentleman.

I call him the little gentleman advisedly. There
is no stronger sign of high breeding in young people,
than a cheerful endurance of the rubs of life. A tem-
per that fits one’s fate, a spirit that rises with the oc-
casion. It is this kind of courage which the Gentle-
men of England have shown from time immemorial,
through peace and war, by land and sea, in every
country and climate of the habitable globe. Jack is
a child of that Empire on, which the sun never sets,
and if he live he is like to have larger opportunities
of bearing discomfort than was afforded by the wooly
worry of his bottle-green leggings. J am in good
hopes that he will not be found wanting.

Some such thoughts, I believe, occurred to his

“That’s right, Jack. What a man you are!”

The rosy cheeks became carmine, and Jack flung
himself upon his Aunt, and kissed her with resound-
ing smacks.

A somewhat wrecked appearance which she pre-

sented after this boisterous hug, recalled the head-
ache to his mind, and as he settled the beaver hat,
which had gone astray, he said ruefully—

“Ts your headache very bad, Auntie Julie!”

“Rather bad, Jack. And as [can’t shake tt off, 1
have to bear it.”

He went away on tiptoe, and it was only after he
had carefully and gently closed the bedroom door
behind him, that he departed by leaps and bounds to
show himself in his bottle-green coat and capes, and
white buttons and leggings to match, and beaver hat
to boot, first to the young Browns, and after that to
the General Public.

As an Observer, I may say that it was a sight worth
seeing; and as a Bird of some wisdom, I prophesy
well of that boy.


“Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling.”
—The Raven.
“Taffy was a thief."—Old Song.

I FIND the following letters at the Hole in the Tree.

“$1r,—You speak with great feeling of that ele-
vated position (I allude, of course, to the top of the
eight-day clock), which circumstances led you some-

what hastily to decline. It would undoubtedly have
become you, and less cannot be said for such a situa-
tion as the summit of an easel, overlooking the black-
board, in an establishment for the education of youth.
Meanwhile it may interest you to hear of a bird (not
of your wisdom, but with parts, and a respectable
appearance) who secured a somewhat similar seat in
adopting that kind of home which you would not. It
was in driving through a wood at some little distance
from the above address that we found a wounded
crow, and brought him home to our hut. He became
a member of the family, and received the name of
Slyboots, for reasons with which it is unnecessary to
trouble you. He was made very: welcome in the
drawing-room, but he preferred the kitchen. The
kitchen is a brick room detached from the wooden
but. It was once, in fact, an armorer’s shop, and has
since been converted to a kitchen. The floor is
rudely laid, and the bricks gape here and there. A
barrack fender guards the fire-place, and a barrack
poker reposes in the fender. It is a very ponderous
poker of unusual size and the commonest appearance,
but with a massive knob at the upper end which was
wont to project far and high above the hearth. It
was to this seat that Slyboots elevated himself by his
own choice, and became the Kitchen Crow. Here
he spent hours watching the cook, and taking tit-bits
behind her back. He ate what he could (more, I

fear, than he ought), and hid the rest in holes and
corners. The genial neighborhood of the oven
caused him no inconvenience. His glossy coat, be-
ing already as black as a coal, was not damaged by
a certain grimeyness which is undoubtedly character-
istic of the (late) armorer’s shop, of which the chimney
is an inveterate smoker. Companies of his relatives
constantly enter the camp by ways over which the
sentries have no control (the Balloon Brigade being
not yet even in the clouds) ; but Slyboots showed no
disposition to join them. They flaunt and forage in
the Lines, they inspect the ashpits and cookhouses,
they wheel and manceuvre on the parades, but Sly-
boots sat serene upon his poker. He had a cook-
house all to himself... . . He died. We must all
die; but we need not all die of repletion, which, I
fear, was his case. He buried his last meal between
two bricks in the kitchen floor, and covered it very
tidily with a bit of newspaper. The poker is vacant.
Sir, I was bred to the sword and not to the pen, but
I have a foolish desire for literary fame. I should
be better pleased to be in print than to be promoted
—for that matter one seems as near as the other—
and my wife agrees with me. She is of a literary
turn, and has helped me in the composition of this,
but we both fear that the story having no moral you
will not admit it into your Owlhoots. But if your
wisdom could supply this, or your kindness overlook

the defect, it would afford great consolation to a be-
reaved family to have printed a biography of the dear
deceased. For we were greatly attached to him,
though he preferred the cook. I can at any rate give
you my word as a man of honor that these incidents
are true, though, out of soldierly modesty, I will not
trouble you with my name, but with much respect
subscribe myself by that of

The gallant officer is too modest. This biography
is not only true but brief, and these are rare merits
ina memoir. As to the moral—it is not far to seek.
Dear children, for whom I hoot! avoid greediness.
If Slyboots had eaten tit-bits in moderation, he might
be sitting on the poker to this day. I have great
pleasure in making his brief career public to the sat-
isfaction of his gallant friend, and I should be glad
to hear that the latter had got his step by the same
post as his Owlhoot.

The second letter is much farther from literary ex-
cellence than the first. I fear this little boy plays
truant from school as well as taking apples which do
not belong to him. It is high time that he learnt to
spell, and also to observe the difference between
meum and tuum, From not being well grounded on
these two points, many boys have lost good situations
in life when they grew up to be men.

“deer mister howl,—as you say you see behind

your bak i spose its you told varmer jones of me for
theres a tree with a whole in it just behind the orchurd
he wolloped I shameful and I'l] have no more of his
apples they be a deal sowerer than yud think though
they look so red, but do you call yourself a childerns
friend and tell tails i dont i can tell you.

Tom Turnip.”

[PUBLISHER’s Nore. Mrs. Ewing did not live to complete
“The Owl in the Ivy Bush.” This, and “Tiny’s Tricks and
Toby’s Tricks” were first published after her death.]
SSE Oe SE Fe ie Se Re hae ee Oe ge he ame tee ee — As LR

Roberts Brothers Juvenile Books.

With seven illustrations by the author. Small gto. Cloth.

PRICE, $1.00.


“The child is father of the man,” — so Wordsworth sang; and here is a jolly
story of a little girl who was her father’s mother in a very real way. There were
hard lines for him ; and she was fruitful of devices to help him along, even hav-
ing an auction of the pretty things that had been given her from time to time, and
realizing a neat little sum. Then her father was accused of peculation; and she,
sweetly ignorant of the ways of justice, went to the judge and labored with him,
to no effect, though he was wondrous kind. Then in court she gave just the
wrong evidence, because it showed how poor her father was, and so established a
presumption of his great necessity and desperation. But the Deus ex machina
— the wicked partner — arrived at the right moment, and owned up, and the good
father was cleared, and little Daughter Dorothy was made glad. But this meagre
summary gives but a poor idea of the ins and outs of this charming story, and no
idea of the happy way in which it is told. — Christian Register.




A i A tn

Miss Alcott is really a benefactor of households. ~H. H. ,
Miss Alcott has a faculty of entering into the lives and feelings of children
that is conspicuously wanting in most writers who address them ; and to this

cause, to the consciousness among her readers that they are hearing about
people like themselves, instead of abstract qualities labelled with names, the
popularity of her books is due. — MRS. SARAH J. HALE.

Dear Aunt Fo!

sands of little men and women.—

Little Women; or Meg, Jo,
Beth, and Amy. With illustra-
tions. 16mo .

Hospital Sketches, and Camp

and Fireside Stories. With
illustrations. 16mo . .
An Old-Fashioned Girl. © With

illustrations. 16mo . .
Little Men: Life at Plumfeld with
Jo’s Boys. Withillustrations. 16mo
Jo’s Boys and How they Turned
Out. A sequel to ‘* Little Men.”
With portrait of ‘‘ Aunt Jo.” 16mo
Eight Cousins; or, The Aunt-Hill.

With illustrations. 16mo E
Rose in Bloom. A sequel to
‘* Right Cousins.’? 16mo

Under the Lilacs. With illustra-

tions. 16mo. .

Jack and Jill. A ‘Village ‘Story.
With illustrations. 16mo . . .

Work: A Story cf Experience.
With character illustrations by Sol
Eytinge. 16mo_.

Moods. A Novel. New edition,
revised and enlarged. 16mo . .

A Modern Mephistopheles, and
A Whisper inthe Dark. 16mo

Silver Pitchers, azd Indepen-
dence. A Cente,nial Love Story

Proverb Stories. New edition, re-
vised and enlarged. 16mo. .

Spinning~Wheel Stories. With
illustrations. 16mo . .

4 Garland for Girls, and Other
Stories. With illustrations. 16mo











My Boys, &c. First volume of
Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag. _16mo

Shawl-Straps. Second volume of
Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag. 16mo. i

Cupid and Chow-Chow, &c.
Third volume of Aunt Jo’s Scrap-
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Little Women. Illustrated. "Em.
bellished with nearly 200 charac-
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designs drawn expressly for this
edition of this noted American
Classic. . One:small quarto, bound
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Little Women Series. Compris-
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Eight Cousins ; Under the Lilacs ;
An Old-Fashioned Girl; Jo’s
Boys; Rose in Bloom; Jack and
Jill. 8 large 16mo volumes in a
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Miss Alcott’s novels i in uniform bind-
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topheles, and A Whisper in the
Dark. 4 volumes. 16mo.. .

Lulu’s Library. Vols. L, IL,
Ill. Acollection of New Stories.
16mo . ee maitae .

You are embaimed in the thoughts and loves of thou-











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receipt of price, to any address.

Boston, Mass

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