ai_/- '3. P
Y Ij ~V
WHO LIVE ON THE ROUND BALL THAT
FLOATS IN THE AIR
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
LOUISA PARSONS HOPKINS
SUPERVISOR IN BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
GINN & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year r86i, by
TICKNOR AND FIELDS.
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District cf Massachusetts.
By EMILY R. ANDREWS.
All rights reserved.
THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
lWJp btree Eittle jrienb0,
MARNIE, BELL, AND GEORDIE,
I HAVE WRITTEN THESE STORIES.
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS . .. 7.
THE BALL ITSELF . . ... .27
THE LITTLE BROWN BABY, THE YOUNGEST OF THE
SEVEN SISTERS . . ... 31
AGOONACK, THE ESQUIMAU SISTER, AND HOW SHE
LIVED THROUGH THE LONG DARKNESS 35
How AGOONACK LIVES THROUGH THE LONG SUN-
SHINE . . . .. 44
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. ... 48
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN ...... .67
THE STORY OF PEN-SE . .. 80
THE LITTLE DARK GIRL WHO LIVES IN THE SUN-
SHINE . . . ... 94
LOUISE, THE CHILD OF THE BEAUTIFUL RIVER RHINE, 1o8
LOUISE, THE CHILD OF THE WESTERN FOREST 121
THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS . .. 137
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.'
BY LOUISA PARSONS HOPKINS.
PERHAPS the readers and lovers of this little
book will be glad of a few pages, by way of intro-
duction, which shall show them somewhat of MTss
Andrews herself, and of her way of writing and
teiacing, as an old friend and schoolmate may try
to tell it; and, to begin with, a glimpse of the
happy day when she called a few of her friends
together to listen to the stories contained in this
volume, before they were offered to a publisher.
Picture to yourselves a group of young ladies in
one of the loveliest of old-fashioned parlors, look-
ing out on a broad, elm-shaded street in the old
town of Newburyport. 'The room is long and
large, with wide mahogany seats in the four deep
windows, ancient mahogany chairs, and great book-
I Born December 1, 1833. Died July 15, 1887.
8 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
case across one side of the room, with dark pier-
tables and centre-table, and large mirror, all of
ancestral New England solidity, and rich simpli-
city; some saintly portraits on the wall, a modern
easel in the corner accounting for fine bits of
coloring on canvas, crayon drawings about the
room, and a gorgeous fire-screen of autumn tints;
nasturtium vines in bloom glorifying the south
window, and German ivy decorating the north
corner; choice books here and there, not to look
at only, but to be assimilated; with an air of quiet
refinement and the very essence of cultured
homeless pervading all ;- this is the meagre out-
line of a room, which, having once sat within, you
would wish never to see changed, in which many
pure and noble men and women have loved to
commune with the lives which have been so blent
with all its suggestions that it almost seems a
part of their organic being.
But it was twenty-five years ago that this circle
of congenial and expectant young people were
drawn together in the room to listen to the first
reading of the MSS. of "The Seven Little Sis-
ters." I will not name them all; but one whose
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 9
youthful fame and genius were the pride of all,
Harriet Prescott (now Mrs. Spofford), was Jane's
friend and neighbor for years, and heard most of
her books in MSS. They were all friends, and
in a very sympathetic and eager attitude of mind,
you may well believe: for in the midst, by the
centre-table, sits Jane, who has called them to-
gether; and knowing that she has really written a
book, each one feels almost that she herself has
written it in some unconscious way, because each
feels identified with Jane's work, and is ready to
be as proud of it, and as sure of it, as all the world
is now of the success of Miss Jane Andrews's writ-
ings for the boys and girls in these little stories of
geography and history which bear her name.
I can see Jane sitting there, as I wish you
could, with her MSS. on the table at her side.
She is very sweet and good and noble looking,
with soft, heavy braids of light-brown hair care-
fully arranged on her fine shapely head; her fore-
head is full and broad; her eyes large, dark blue,
and pleasantly commanding, but with very gentle
and dreamy phases interrupting their placid decis-
ion of expression; her features are classic and
Io MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
firm in outline, with pronounced resolution in the
close of the full lips, or of hearty merriment in
the open laugh, illuminated by a dazzle of well-set
teeth; her complexion fresh and pure, and the
whole aspect of her face kind, courageous, and
inspiring, as well as thoughtful and impressive.
The poise of her head and rather strongly built
figure is unusually good, and suggestive of health,
dignity, and leadership; yet her manners and voice
are so gentle, and her whole demeanor so benevo-
lent, that no one could be offended at her taking
naturally the direction of any work, or the plan-
ning of any scheme, which she would also be
foremost in executing.
But there she sits looking up at her friends,
with her papers in hand, and the pretty business-
like air that so well became her, and bespeaks the
extreme criticism of her hearers upon what she
shall read, because she really wants to know how
it affects them, and what mistakes or faults can be
detected; for she must do her work as well as
possible, and is sure they are willing to help. Her
sister Emily has made all the lovely little pictures
for illustration, except the chamois which her
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. II
friend Mrs. Harriet Hale copied from her ivory
paper-folder, and the Esquimau sled, which Mr.
Hale, her life-long friend, drew from a cut in
"Kane's Arctic Explorations." (By the way, the
little picture of Louise in "Each and All," with
her knitting, always seemed to me very much like
a daguerreotype of Jane at the age of twelve or
thirteen.) "You see," says Jane, I have dedi-
cated the book to the children I told the stories to
first, when the plan was only partly in my mind,
and they seemed to grow by telling, till at last
they finished themselves; and the children seemed
to care so much for them, that I thought if they
were put into a book other children might care for
them too, and they might possibly do some good
in the world."
Yes, those were the points that always indi-
cated the essential aim and method of Jane's
writing and teaching, the elements out of which
sprang all her work; viz., the relation of her mind
to the actual individual children she knew and
loved, and the natural growth of her thought
through their sympathy and the accretion of all
she read and discovered while the subject lay
12 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
within her brooding brain, as well as the single
dominant purpose to do some good in the world.
There was definiteness as well as breadth in her
way of working all through her life.
I wish I could remember exactly what was said
by that critical circle; for there were some quick
and brilliant minds, and some pungent powers of
appreciation, and some keen-witted young women
in that group. Perhaps I might say they had all
felt the moulding force of some very original and
potential educators as they had been growing up
into their young womanhood. Some of these were
professional educators of lasting pre-eminence:
others were not professed teachers, yet in the
truest and broadest sense teachers of very wide
and wise and inspiring influence; and of these
Thomas Wentworth Higginson had come more
intimately and effectually into formative relations
with the minds and characters of those gathered
in that sunny room than any other person. They
certainly owed much of the loftiness and breadth
of their aim in life, and their comprehension of
the growth and work to be accomplished in the
world, to his kind and steady instigation. I wish
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 13
I could remember what they said, and what Jane
said; but all that has passed away. I think some-
body objected to the length of the title; which
Jane admitted to be a fault, but said something
of wishing to get the idea of the unity of the
world into it as the main idea of the book. I
only recall the enthusiastic delight with which
chapter after chapter was greeted; we declared
that it was a fairy tale of geography, and a work
of genius in its whole conception, and in its
absorbing interest of detail and individuality; and
that any publisher would demonstrate himself an
idiot who did not want to publish it. I remember
Jane's quick tossing back of the head, and puzzled
brow which broke into a laugh, as she said,
"Well, girls, it can't be as good as you say: there
must be some faults in it." But we all exclaimed
that we had done our prettiest at finding fault,
that there wasn't a ghost of a fault in it. For the
incarnate beauty and ideality and truthfulness of
her little stories had melted into our being, and
left us spell-bound, till we were one with each
other and her; one with the Seven- Little Sis-
ters, too, and they seemed like our very own
14 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
little sisters. So they have rested in our imagi-
nation and affection as we have seen them grow
into the imagination and affection of generations
of children since, and as they will continue to
grow until the old limitations and barrenness of
the study of geography shall be transfigured, and
the earth seem to the children an Eden which
love has girdled, when Gemila, Agoonack, and
the others shall have won them to a knowledge
of the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of
0I would like to bring before young people who
have read her books some qualities of her mind
and character which made her the rare woman,
teacher, and writer that she was. I knew her
from early girlhood. We went to the same schools,
in more and more intimate companionship, from
the time we were twelve until we were twenty
years of age; and our lives and hearts were "grap-
pled" to each other "with links of steel" ever
after. She was a precocious child, early matured,
and strong in intellectual and emotional experi-
ences. She had a remarkably clear mind, orderly
and logical in its processes, and loved to take up
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 15
hard problems. She studied all her life with
great joy and earnestness, rarely, if ever, baffled
in her persistent learning except by ill-health.
She went on at a great pace in mathematics for a
young girl; every step seemed easy to her. She
took every thing severe that she could get a
chance at, in the course or out of it, surveying,
navigation, mechanics, mathematical astronomy,
and conic sections, as well as the ordinary course in
mathematics; the calculus she had worked through
at sixteen under a very able and exact teacher, and
took her diploma from W. H. Wells, a master who
allowed nothing to go slip-shod. She was absorbed
in studies of this kind, and took no especial inter-
est in composition or literature, beyond what was
required, and what was the natural outcome of a
literary atmosphere and inherited culture; that
is, her mind was passively rather than actively
engaged in such directions, until later. At the
normal school she led a class which has had a
proud intellectual record as teachers and workers.
She was the easy victor in every contest: with an
inclusive grasp, an incisive analysis, instant gen-
eralization, a very tenacious and ready memory,
16 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
and unusual talent for every effort of study, she
took and held the first place as a matter of course
until she graduated, when she gave the valedictory
address. This valedictory was a prophetic note
in the line of her future expression; for it gave a
graphic illustration of the art of teaching geogra-
phy, to the consideration of which she had been
led by Miss Crocker's logical, suggestive, and
masterly presentation of the subject in the school
course. Her ability and steadiness of working-
power, as well as singleness of aim, attracted the
attention of Horace Mann, who was about forming
the nucleus of Antioch College; and he suc-
ceeded in gaining her as one of his promised New-
England recruits. She had attended very little to
Latin, and went to work at once to prepare for
the classical requirements of a college examination.
This she did with such phenomenal rapidity, that
in six weeks she had fitted herself for what was
probably equivalent to a Harvard entrance exami-
nation in Latin. She went to Antioch, and taught
as well as studied for a while, until her health
gave way entirely; and she was prostrate for years
with brain and spine disorders. Of course this
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 17
put an end to her college career; and on her
recovery she opened her little school in her own
house, which she held together until her final
illness, and to which she devoted her thoughts
and energies, her endowments and attainments,
as well as her prodigal devotion and love.
The success of "The Seven Little Sisters" was
a great pleasure to her, partly because her dear
mother and friends were so thoroughly satisfied
with it. Her mother always wished that Jane
would give her time more exclusively to writing,
especially as new outlines of literary work were
constantly aroused in her active brain. She wrote
several stories which were careful studies in natu-
ral science, and which appeared in some of the
magazines. I am sure they would be well worth
collecting. She had her plan of Each and All"
long in her mind before elaborating, and it crystal-
lized by actual contact with the needs and intel-
lectual instincts of her little classes. In fact,
all her books grew, like a plant, from within out-
wards; they were born in the nursery of the
schoolroom, and nurtured by the suggestions of
the children's interest, thus blooming in the gar.
18 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
den of a true and natural education. The last
book she wrote, Ten Boys who lived on the Road
from Long Ago to Now," she had had in her
mind for years. This little book she dedicated to
a son of her sister Margaret. I am sure she gave
me an outline of the plan fully ten years before
she wrote it out. The subject of her mental work
lay in her mind, growing, gathering to itself nour-
ishment, and organizing itself consciously or un-
consciously by all the forces of her unresting
brain and all the channels of her study, until it
sprung from her pen complete at a stroke. She
wrote good English, of course, and would never
sentimentalize, but went directly at the pith of
the matter; and, if she had few thoughts on a
subject, she made but few words. I don't think
she did much by way of revising or recasting after
her thought was once committed to paper. I
think she wrote it as she would have said it,
always with an imaginary child before her, to
whose intelligence and sympathy it was addressed.
Her habit of mind was to complete a thought
before any attempt to convey it to others. This
made her a very helpful and clear teacher and
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 19
leader. She seemed always to have considered
carefully any thing she talked about, and gave her
opinion with a deliberation and clear conviction
which affected others as a verdict, and made her
an oracle to a great many kinds of people. All
her plans were thoroughly shaped before execu-
tion; all her work was true, finished, and con-
scientious in every department. She did a great
deal of quiet, systematic thinking from her early
school-days onward, and was never satisfied until
she completed the act of thought by expression
and manifestation in some way for the advantage
of others. The last time I saw her, which was
for less than five minutes accorded me by her
nurse during her last' illness, she spoke of a new
plan of literary work which she had in mind, and
although she attempted no delineation of it, said
she was thinking it out whenever she felt that it
was safe for her to think. Her active brain never
ceased its plans for others, for working toward the
illumination of the mind, the purification of the
soul, and the elevation and broadening of all
the ideals of life. I remember her sitting, ab-
sorbed in reflection, at the setting of the sun every
20 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
evening while we were at the House Beautiful of
the Peabodys' at West Newton; or, when at home,
gazing every night, before retiring, from her own
house-top, standing at her watchtower to com-
mune with the starry heavens, and receive that
exaltation of spirit which is communicated when
we yield ourselves to the "essentially religious."
(I use this phrase, because it delighted her so
when I repeated it to her as the saying of a child
in looking at the stars.)
No one ever felt a twinge of jealousy in Jane's
easy supremacy; she never made a fuss about it,
although I think she had no mock modesty in the
matter. She accepted the situation which her
uniform correctness of judgment assured to her,
while she always accorded generous praise and
deference to those who excelled her in depart-
ments where she made no pretence of superiority.
There were some occasions when her idea of
I We spent nearly all our time at West Newton in a little cottage on
the hill, where Miss Elizabeth Peabody, with her saintly mother and
father, made a paradise of love and refinement and ideal culture for us,
and where we often met the Hawthornes and Manns; and we shall never
be able to measure the wealth of intangible mental and spiritual influence
which we received therefrom.
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 21
duty differed from a conventional one, perhaps
from that of some of her near friends; but no one
ever doubted her strict dealing with herself, or
her sigleness of motive. She did not feel the
need of turning to any other conscience than her
own for support or enlightenment, and was inflexi-
ble and unwavering in any course she deemed
right. She never apologized for herself in any
way, or referred a matter of her own experience
or sole responsibility to another for decision;
neither did she seem to feel the need of expressed
sympathy in any private loss or trial. Her phi-
losophy of life, her faith, or her temperament
seemed equal to every exigency of disappointment
or suffering. She generally kept her personal
trials hidden within her own heart, and recovered
from every selfish pain by the elastic vigor of her
power for unselfish devotion to the good of others.
She said that happiness was to have an unselfish
work to do, and the power to do it.
It has been said that Jane's only fault was that
she was too good. I think she carried her unself-
ishness too often to a short-sighted excess, break-
ing down her health, and thus abridging her
22 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
opportunities for more permanent advantage to
those whom she would have died to serve; but it
was solely on her own responsibility, and in con-
sequence of her accumulative energy of tempera-
ment, that made her unconscious of the strain
until too late.
Her brain was constitutionally sensitive and
almost abnormally active; and she more than once
overtaxed it by too continuous study, or by a
disregard of its laws of health, or by a stupendous
multiplicity of cares, some of which it would have
been wiser to leave to others. She took every-
body's burdens to carry herself. She was absorbed
in the affairs of those she loved, of her home
circle, of her sisters' families, and of many a needy
one whom she adopted into her solicitude. She
was thoroughly fond of children, and of all that
they say and do, and would work her fingers off
for them, or nurse them day and night. Her
sisters' children were as if they had been her own,
and she revelled in all their wonderful manifesta-
tions and development. Her friends' children she
always cared deeply for, and was hungry for their
wise and funny remarks, or any hint of their indi-
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 23
viduality. Many of these things she remembered
longer than the mothers themselves, and took the
most thorough satisfaction in recounting.
I have often visited her school, and it seemed
like a home with a mother in it. There we took
sweet counsel together, as if we had come to the
house of God in company; for our methods were
identical, and a day in her school was a day in
mine. We invariably agreed as to the ends of
the work, and how to reach them; for we under-
stood each other perfectly in that field of art.
I wish I could show her life with all its con-
stituent factors of ancestry, home, and surround-
ings; for they were so inherent in her thoughts
and feelings that you could hardly separate her
from them in your consideration. But that is
impossible. Disinterested benevolence was the
native air of the house into which she was born,
and she was an embodiment of that idea. To
devote herself to some poor outcast, to reform a
distorted soul, to give all she had to the most
abject, to do all she could for the despised and
rejected, -this was her craving and absorbing
desire. I remember some comical instances of
24 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
the pursuance of this self-abnegation, where the
returns were, to say the least, disappointing; but
she was never discouraged. It would be easy to
name many who received a life-long stimulus and
aid at her hands, either intellectual or moral. She
had much to do with the development of some
remarkable careers, as well as with the regenera-
tion of many poor and abandoned souls.
She was in the lives of her dear ones, and they
in hers, to a very unusual degree; and her life-
threads are twined inextricably in theirs forever.
She was a complete woman, brain, will, affec-
tions, all, to the greatest extent, active and unself-
ish; her character was a harmony of many strong
and diverse elements; her conscience was a great
rock upon which her whole nature rested; her
hands were deft and cunning; her ingenious brain
was like a master mechanic at expedients; and in
executive and administrative power, as well as in
device and comprehension, she was a marvel. If
she had faults, they are indistinguishable in the
brightness and solidity of her whole character.
She was ready to move into her place in any
sphere, and adjust herself to any work God
MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS. 25
should give her to do. She must be happy,
and shedding happiness, wherever she is; for
that is an inseparable quality and function of her
She passed calmly out of this life, and lay at
rest in her own home, in that dear room so full of
memories of her presence, with flowers to deck
her bed, and many of her dearest friends around
her; while the verses which her beloved sister
Caroline had selected seemed easily to speak with
Jane's own voice, as they read, -
Prepare the house, kind friends; drape it and deck it
With leaves and blossoms fair;
Throw open doors and windows, and call hither
The sunshine and soft air.
Let all the house, from floor to ceiling, look
Its noblest and its best;
For it may chance that soon may come to me
A most imperial guest.
A prouder visitor than ever yet
Has crossed my threshold o'er,
One wearing royal sceptre and a crown
Shall enter at my door;
26 MEMORIAL OF MISS JANE ANDREWS.
Shall deign, perchance, sit at my board an hour,
And break with me my bread;
Suffer, perchance, this night my honored roof
Shelter his kingly head.
And if, ere comes the sun again, he bid me
Arise without delay,
And follow him a journey to his kingdom
Unknown and far away;
And in the gray light of the dawning morn
We pass from out my door,
My guest and I, silent, without farewell,
And to return no more, -
Weep not, kind friends, I pray; not with vain tears
Let your glad eyes grow dim;
Remember that my house was all prepared,
And that I welcomed him.
THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
THE BALL ITSELF.
DEAR children, I have heard of a wonderful
ball, which floats in the sweet blue air, and has
little soft white clouds about it, as it swims
There are many charming and astonishing
things to be told of this ball, and some of them
you shall hear.
In the first place, you must know that it is a
very big ball; far bigger than the great soft. ball,
of bright colors, that little Charley plays with on
the floor, -yes, indeed; and bigger than cousin
Frank's largest football, that he brought home
from college in the spring; bigger, too, than that
fine round globe in the schoolroom, that Emma
28 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
turns about so carefully, while she twists her
bright face all into wrinkles as she searches for
Afghanistan or the Bosphorus Straits. Long
names, indeed; they sound quite grand from her
little mouth, but they mean nothing to you and
Let me tell you about my ball. It is so large
that trees can grow on it; so large that cattle can
graze, and wild beasts roam, upon it; so large that
men and women can live on it, and little children
too, -as you already know, if you have read the
titlepage of this book. In some places it is soft
and green, like the long meadow between the
hills, where the grass was so high last summer
that we almost lost Marnie when she lay down to
roll in it; in some parts it is covered with tall and
thick forests, where you might wander like the
"babes in the wood," nor ever find your way out;
then, again, it is steep and rough, covered with
great hills, much higher than that high one
behind the schoolhouse, so high that when you
look up ever so far you can't see the tops of
them; but in some parts there are no hills at all,
and quiet little ponds of blue water, where the
THE BALL ITSELF.
white water-lilies grow, and silvery fishes play
among their long stems. Bell knows, for she has
been among the lilies in a boat with papa.
Now, if we look on another side of the ball, we
shall see no ponds, but something very dreary.
I am afraid you won't like it. A great plain of
sand, sand like that on the seashore, only here
there is no sea, -and the sand stretches away
farther than you can see, on every side; there are
no trees, and the sunshine beats down, almost
burning whatever is beneath it.
Perhaps you think this would be a grand place
to build sand-houses. One of the little sisters
lives here; and, when you read of her, you will
know what she thinks about it. Always the one
who has tried it knows best.
Look at one more side of my ball, as it turns
around. Jack Frost must have spent all his long-
est winter nights here, for see what a palace of
ice he has built for himself. Brave men have
gone to those lonely places, to come back and tell
us about them ; and, alas! some heroes have not
returned, but have lain down there to perish of
cold and hunger. Doesn't it look cold, the clear
THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
blue ice, almost as blue as the air? And look at
the snow drifts upon drifts, and the air filled with
feathery flakes even now.
We won't look at this side longer, but we shall
come back again to see Agoonack in her little
sledge. Don't turn over yet to find the story:
we shall come to it all in good time.
Now, what do you think of my ball, so white
and cold, so soft and green, so quiet and blue, so
dreary and rough, as it floats along in the sweet
blue air, with the flocks of white clouds about it ?
I will tell you one thing more. The wise men
have said that this earth on which we live is noth-
ing more nor less than just such a ball. Of this
we shall know when we are older and wiser, -but
here is the little brown baby waiting for us.
THE LITTLE BROWN BABY,
THE YOUNGEST OF THE
FAR away in the warm country lives a little
brown baby; she has a brown face, little brown
hands and fingers, brown body, arms, and legs,
and even her little toes are also brown.
And this baby wears no little frock nor apron,
no little petticoat, nor even stockings and shoes,
- nothing at all but a string of beads round her
neck, as you wear your coral; for the sun shines
very warmly there, and she needs no clothes to
keep her from the cold.
Her hair is straight and black, hanging softly
down each side of her small brown face; nothing
at all like Bell's golden curls, or Marnie's sunny
Would you like to know how she lives among
the flowers and the birds ?
32 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
She rolls in the long soft grass, where the gold-
colored snakes are at play; she watches the young
monkeys chattering and swinging among the
trees, hung by the tail; she chases the splendid
green parrots that fly among the trees; and she
drinks the sweet milk of the cocoanut from a
round cup made of its shell.
When night comes, the mother takes her baby
and tosses her up into the little swinging bed in
the tree, which her father made for her from the
twisting vine that climbs among the branches.
And the wind blows and rocks the little bed; and
the mother sits at the foot of the tree singing a
mild sweet song, and this brown baby falls asleep.
Then the stars come out and peep through the
leaves at her. The birds, too, are all asleep in the
tree; the mother-bird spreading her wings over
the young ones in the nest, and the father-bird
sitting on a twig close by with his head under his
wing. Even the chattering monkey has curled
himself up for the night.
Soon the large round moon comes up. She, too,
must look into the swinging bed, and shine upon
the closed eyes of the'little brown baby. She is
THE LITTLE BROWN BABY.
very gentle, and sends her soft light among the
branches and thick green leaves, kissing tenderly
the small brown feet, and the crest on the head
of the mother-bird, who opens one eye and looks
quickly about to see if any harm is coming to the
young ones. The bright little stars, too, twinkle
down through the shadows to bless the sleeping
child. All this while the wind blows and rocks the
little bed, singing also a low song through the trees;
for the brown mother has fallen asleep herself, and
left the night-wind to take care of her baby.
So the night moves on, until, all at once, the
rosy dawn breaks over the earth ; the birds lift up
their heads, and sing and sing; the great round
sun springs up, and, shining into the tree, lifts the
shut lids of the brown baby's eyes. She rolls
over and falls into her mother's arms, who dips
her into the pretty running brook for a bath, and
rolls her in the grass to dry, and then she may
play among the birds and flowers all day long; for
they are like merry brothers and sisters to the
happy child, and she plays with them on the bosom
of the round earth, which seems to love them all
like a mother.
34 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
This is the little brown baby. Do you love
her? Do you think you would know her if you
should meet her some day ?
A funny little brown sister. Are all of them
We will see, for here comes Agoonack and her
AGOONACK, THE ESQUIMAU SISTER,
AND HOW SHE LIVED THROUGH THE
WHAT is this odd-looking mound of stone? It
looks like the great brick oven that used to be in
our old kitchen, where, when I was a little girl, I
saw the fine large loaves of bread and the pies
and puddings pushed carefully in with a long, flat
shovel, or drawn out with the same when the heat
had browned them nicely.
Is this an oven standing out here alone in the
You will laugh when I tell you that it is not an
oven, but a house; and here lives little Agoonack.
Do you see that low opening, close to the
ground? That is the door; but one must creep
on hands and knees to enter. There is another
smaller hole above the door: it is the window. It
has no glass, as ours do; only a thin covering of
36 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
something which Agoonack's father took from
the inside of a seal, and her mother stretched
over the window-hole, to keep out the cold and to
let in a little light.
Here lives our little girl; not as the brown
baby does, among the trees and the flowers, but
far up in the cold countries, amid snow and ice.
If we look off now, over the ice, we shall see
a funny little clumsy thing, running along as fast
as its short, stout legs will permit, trying to keep
up with its mother. You would hardly know it
to be a little girl, but might rather call it a white
bear's cub; it is so oddly dressed in the white,
shaggy coat of the bear which its father killed
last month. But this is really Agoonack; and
you can see her round, fat, greasy little face, if you
throw back the white jumper-hood which covers
her head. Shall I tell you what clothes she
Not at all like yours, you will say; but, when
one lives in cold countries, one must dress accord-
First, she has socks, soft and warm; but not
knit of the white yarn with which mamma knits
AGOONACK, THE ESQUIMAU SISTER. 37
yours. Her mamma has sewed them from the
skins of birds, with the soft down upon them
to keep the small brown feet very warm. Over
these come her moccasons of sealskin.
If you have been on the seashore, perhaps you
know the seals that are sometimes seen swim-
ming in the sea, holding up their brown heads,
which look much like dogs' heads, wet and drip-
The seals love best to live in the seas of the
cold countries : here they are, huddled together
on the sloping rocky shores, or swimming about
under the ice, thousands and thousands of silver-
gray coated creatures; gentle seal-mothers and
brave fathers with all their pretty seal-babies.
And here the Esquimaux (for that is the name by
which we call these people of the cold countries)
hunt them, eat them for dinner, and make warm
clothes of their skins. So, as I told you, Agoo-
nack has sealskin boots.
Next she wears leggings, or trousers, of white
bear-skin, very rough and shaggy; and a little
jacket or frock, called a jumper, of the same.
This jumper has a hood, made like the little red
38 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
riding-hoods, which I dare say you have all seen.
Pull the hood up over the short, black hair,
letting it almost hide the fat, round fade, and you
have Agoonack dressed.
Is this her best dress, do you think?
Certainly it is her best, because she has no
other; and when she goes into the house But
I think I won't tell you that yet, for there is
something more to be seen outside.
Agoonack and her mother are coming home to
dinner, but there is no sun shining on the snow
to make it sparkle. It is dark like night, and the
stars shine clear and steady like silver lamps in
the sky; and far off, between the great icy peaks,
strange lights are dancing, shooting long rosy
flames far into the sky, or marching in troops as
if each light had a life of its own, and all were
marching together along the dark, quiet sky.
Now they move slowly and solemnly, with no
noise, and in regular, steady file ; then they rush
all together, flame into golden and rosy streamers,
and mount far above the cold, icy mountain peaks
that glitter in their light ; and we hear a sharp
sound like, Dsah dsah! and the ice glows with
AGOONACK, THE ESQUIMAU SISTER. 39
the warm color, and the splendor shines on the
little white-hooded girl as she trots beside her
It is far more beautiful than the fireworks on
Fourth of July. Sometimes we see a little of it
here, and we say there are northern lights, and
we sit at the window watching all the evening to
see them march and turn and flash; but in the
cold countries they are far more brilliant than any
we have seen.
It is Agoonack's birthday, and there is a pres-
ent for her before the door of the house. I will
make you a picture -
of it. It is a sled,"
you exclaim. Yes, a
sled; but quite unlike
yours. In the far-away cold countries no trees
grow: so her father had no wood; and he took
the bones of the walrus and the whale, and bound
them together with strips of sealskin, and he has
built this pretty sled for his little daughter's birth-
It has a back to lean against and hold by; for
the child will go over some very rough places, and
40 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
might easily fall from it. And then, you see, if she
fell, it would be no easy matter to jump up again
and climb back to her seat; for the little sled
would have run away from her before she should
have time to pick herself up. How could it run ?
Yes, that is the wonderful thing about it; for
when her father made the sled he said to himself,
"By the time this is finished, the two little brown
dogs will be old enough to draw it, and Agoonack
shall have them; for she is a princess, the daughter
of a great chief."
Now you can see, that, with two such brisk little
dogs as the brown puppies harnessed to the sled,
Agoonack must keep her seat firmly, that she may
not roll over into the snow and let the dogs run
away with it.
You can imagine what gay frolics she has with
her brother who runs at her side, or how she
laughs and shouts to see him drive his bone ball
with his bone bat or hockey, skimming it over the
Now we will creep into the low house with the
child and her mother, and see how they-live.
Outside .t is very cold, colder than you have
AGOONACK, THE ESQUIMAU SISTER. 41
ever known it to be in the coldest winter's day;
but inside it is warm, even very hot. And the first
thing Agoonack and her mother do is to take off
their clothes; for here it is as warm as the place
where the brown baby lives, who needs no clothes.
It isn't the sunshine that makes it warm, for
you remember I told you it was as dark as night.
There is no furnace in the cellar; indeed, there is
no cellar, neither is there a stove. But all this
heat comes from a sort of lamp, with long wicks
of moss, and plenty of walrus fat to burn. It
warms the small house, which has but one room,
and over it the mother hangs a shallow dish in
which she cooks soup; but most of the meat is
eaten raw, cut into long strips, and eaten much as
one might eat a stick of candy.
They have no bread, no crackers, no apples, nor
potatoes; nothing but meat, and sometimes the
milk of the reindeer, for there are no cows in
the far, cold northern countries. But the reindeer
gives them a great deal: he is their horse as well
as their cow; his skin and his flesh, his bones and
horns, are useful when he is dead; and while he
lives he is their kind, gentle, and patient friend.
42 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
There is some one else in the hut when Agoo-
nack comes home; a little dark ball, rolled up on
one corner of the stone platform which is built
all around three sides of the house, serving for
seats, beds, and table. This rolled-up ball unrolls
itself, tumbles off the seat, and runs to meet
them. It is Sip-su, the baby brother of Agoo-
nack, a round little boy, who rides sometimes,
when the weather is not too cold, in the hood of
his mother's jumper, hanging at her back, and
peering out from his warm nestling-place over the
long icy plain to watch for his father's return
from the bear-hunt.
When the men come home dragging the great
Nannook, as they call the bear, there is a merry
feast. They crowd together in the hut, bringing
in a great block of snow, which they put over the
lamp-fire to melt into water; and then they cut
long strips of bear's meat, and laugh and eat and
sing, as they tell the long story of the hunt of
Nannook, and the seals they have seen, and the
foot-tracks of the reindeer they have met in the
Perhaps the day will come when pale, tired
AGOONACK, THE ESQUIMAU SISTER. 43
travellers will come to their sheltering home, and
tell them wonderful stories, and share their
warmth for a while, till they can gain strength
to go on their journey again.
Perhaps while they are so merry there al-
together a very great snowstorm will come and
cover the little house, so that they cannot get out
for several days. When the storm ends, they dig
out the low doorway, and creep again into the
starlight ; and Agoonack slips into her warm
clothes, and runs out for Jack Frost to kiss her
cheeks, and leave roses wherever his lips touch.
If it is very cold indeed, she must stay in; or
Jack Frost will give her no roses, but a cold,
This is the way Agoonack lives through the
long darkness. But I have to tell you more of
her in another chapter, and you will find it is not
always dark in the cold Northern countries.
HOW AGOONACK LIVES THROUGH
THE LONG SUNSHINE.
IT is almost noon one day when Agoonack's
mother wraps the little girl in her shaggy clothes,
and climbs with her a high hill, promising a pleas-
ant sight when they shall have reached the top.
It is the sun, the beautiful, bright, round sun,
which shines and smiles at them for a minute,
and then slips away again below the far frozen
They haven't seen him for many months, and
now they rejoice,- for the next day he comes
again and stays longer, and the next, and the
next, and every day longer and longer, until at
last he moves above them in one great, bright
circle, and does not even go away at all at night.
His warm rays melt the snow, and awaken the
few little hardy flowers that can grow in this
short summer. The icy coat breaks away from
HOW AGOOVACK LIVES.
the clear running water, and great flocks of birds,
with soft white plumage, come, like a snowstorm
of great feathery flakes, and settle among the
black rocks along the seashore. Here they lay
their eggs in the many safe little corners and
shelves of the rock; and here they circle about
in the sunshine, while the Esquimau boys make
ready their long-handled nets, and creep and
climb out upon the ledges of rock, and, holding
up the net as the birds fly by, catch a netful to
carry home for supper.
The sun shines all day long, and all night long,
too; and yet he can't melt all the highest snow-
drifts, where the boys are playing bat-and-ball, -
long bones for sticks, and an odd little round one
for a ball.
It is a merry life they all live while the sun-
shine stays; for they know the long, dark winter
is coming, when they can no longer climb among
the birds, nor play ball among the drifts.
The seals swim by in the clear water, and the
walrus and her young one are at play, and, best of
all, the good reindeer has come; for the sun has
uncovered the crisp moss upon which he feeds,
46 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
and he is roaming through the valleys where it
grows among the rocks.
The old men sit on the rocks, in the sunshine,
and laugh and sing, and tell long stories of the
whale and the seal, and the great white whale,
that many years ago, when Agoonack's father was
a child, came swimming down from the far north,
a where they look for the northern lights, swim-
ming and diving through the broken ice; and they
watched her in wonder, and no one would throw a
harpoon at this white lady of the Greenland seas,
for her visit was a good omen, promising a mild
Little Agoonack comes from her play to crouch
among the rocky ledges and listen to the stories.
She has no books; and, if she had, she couldn't
read them. Neither could her father or mother
read to her: their stories are told and sung, but
never written. But she is a cheerful and contented
little girl, and tries to help her dear friends ; and
sometimes she wonders a great while by herself
about what the pale stranger told them.
And now, day by day, the sun is slipping away
from them; gone for a few minutes to-day; to-
HOW AGOONACK LIVES.
morrow it will stay away a few more, until at last
there are many hours of rosy twilight, and few,
very few, of clear sunshine.
But the children are happy: they do not dread
the winter, but they hope the tired travellers have
reached their homes; and Agoonack wants, oh, so
much! to see them and help them once more.
The father will hunt again, and the mother will
tend the lamp and keep the house warm; and,
although they will have no sun, the moon and
stars are bright, and they will see again the
streamers of the great northern light.
Would you like to live in the cold countries,
with their long darkness and long sunshine?
It is very cold, to be sure ; but there are happy
children there, and kind fathers and mothers, and
the merriest sliding on the very best of ice and
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE
IT is almost sunset; and Abdel Hassan has
come out to the door of his tent to enjoy the
breeze, which is growing cooler after the day's
terrible heat. The round, red sun hangs low over
the sand; it will be gone in five minutes more.
The tent-door is turned away from the sun, and
Abdel Hassan sees only the rosy glow of its light
on the hills in the distance which looked so purple
all day. He sits very still, and his earnest eyes
are fixed on those distant hills. He does not
move or speak when the tent-door is again pushed
aside, and his two children, Alee and Gemila,
come out with their little mats and seat them-
selves also on the sand. You see the dear chil-
dren in the picture. How glad they are of the long,
cool shadows, and the tall feathery palms how
pleasant to hear the camels drink, and to drink
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 49
themselves at the deep well, when they have car-
ried some fresh water in a cup to their silent
father! He only sends up blue circles of smoke
from his long pipe as he sits there, cross-legged,
on a mat of rich carpet. He never sat in a chair,
and, indeed, never saw one in his life. His chairs
are mats; and his house is, as you have heard, a
Do you know what a tent is ?
I always liked tents, and thought I should enjoy
living in one; and when I was a little girl, on
many a stormy clay when we couldn't go to school,
I played with my sisters at living in tents. We
would take a small clothes-horse and tip it down
upon its sides, half open; then, covering it with
shawls, we crept in, and were happy enough for
the rest of the afternoon. I tell you this, that
you may also play tents some day, if you haven't
The tent of Gemila's father is, however, quite
different from ours. Two or three long poles hold
it up, and over them hangs a cloth made of goat's-
hair, or sometimes sheepskins, which are thick
enough to keep out either heat or cold. The ends
50 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
of the cloth are fastened down by pegs driven
into the sand, or the strong wind coming might
blow the tent away. The tent-cloth pushes back
like a curtain for the door. Inside, a wriite cloth
stretched across divides this strange house into
two rooms; one is for the men, the other for the
women and children. In the tent there is no fur-
niture like ours; nothing but mats, and low cush-
ions called divans; not even a table from which
to eat, nor a bed to sleep upon. But the mats and
the shawls are very gorgeous and costly, and we
are very proud when we can buy any like them for
our parlors. And, by the way, I must tell you
that these people have been asleep all through
the heat of the day, the time when you would
have been coming home from school, eating your
dinner, and going back to school again. They
closed the tent-door to keep out the terrible blaze
of the sun, stretched themselves on the mats, and
slept until just now, when the night-wind began
Now they can sit outside the tent and enjoy the
evening; and the mother brings out dates and
little hard cakes of bread, with plenty of butter
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERiT. 51
made from goat's milk. The tall, dark servant-
woman, with loose blue cotton dress and bare
feet, milks a camel; and they all take their supper,
or dinner perhaps I had better call it. They have
no plates, nor do they sit together to eat. The
father eats by himself : when he has finished, the
mother and children take the dates and bread
which he leaves. We could teach them better
manners, we think; but they could teach us to
be hospitable and courteous, and more polite
to strangers than we are.
When all is finished, you see there are no
dishes to be washed and put away.
The stars have come out; and from the great
arch of the sky they look down on the broad
sands, the lonely rocks, the palm-trees, and the
tents. Oh, they are so bright, so steady, and so
silent, in that great, lonely place, where no noise
is heard! no sounds of people or of birds or
animals, excepting the sleepy groaning of a camel,
or the low song that little Alee is singing to his
sister, as they lie upon their backs on the sand,
and watch the slow, grand movement of the stars
that are always journeying towards the west.
52 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
Night is very beautiful in the desert; for this
is the desert, where Abdel Hassan the Arab
lives. His country is that part of our round ball
where the yellow sands stretch farther than eye
can see; and there are no wide rivers, no thick
forests, and no snow-covered hills. The day is too
bright and too hot: but the night he loves ; it is
He falls asleep at last out under the stars, and,
since he has been sleeping so long in the day.
time, can well afford to be awake very early in
the morning: so, while the stars still shine, and
there is only one little yellow line of light in the
east, he calls his wife, children, and servants, and
in a few minutes all is bustle and preparation;
for to-day they must take down the tent, and
move, with all the camels and goats, many miles
away. For the summer heat has nearly dried up
the water of their little spring under the palm-
trees, and the grass that grew there is also en-
tirely gone; and one cannot live without water to
drink, particularly in the desert, nor can the
goats and camels live without grass.
Now, it would be a very bad thing for us, if
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 53
some day all the water in our wells and springs
and ponds should dry up, and all the grass on
our pleasant pastures and hills should wither
What should we do? Should we have to pack
all our clothes, our books, our furniture and food,
and move away to some other place where there
were both water and grass, and then build new
houses? Oh, how much trouble it would give us!
No doubt the children would think it great fun;
but as they grew older they would have no pleas-
ant home to remember, with all that makes
"sweet home so dear.
And now you will see how much better it is
for Gemila's father than if he lived in a house.
In a very few minutes the tent is taken down;
the tent-poles are tied together, the covering is
rolled up with the pegs and strings which fastened
it, and it is all ready to put up again whenever
they choose to stop. As there is no furniture to
carry, the mats and cushions only are to be rolled
together and tied; and now Achmet, the old
servant, brings a tall yellow camel.
Did you ever see a camel? I hope you have
54 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
some time seen a living one in a menagerie; but,
if you haven't, perhaps you have seen a picture
of the awkward-looking animal with a great hump
upon his back, a long neck, and head thrust for-
ward. A boy told me the other day, that, when
the camel had been long without food, he ate his
hump: he meant that the flesh and fat of the
hump helped to nourish him when he had no
Achmet speaks to the camel, and he immedi-
ately kneels upon the sand, while the man loads
him with the tent-poles and covering; after which
he gets up, moves on a little way, to make room
for another to come up, kneel, and be loaded with
mats, cushions, and bags of dates.
Then comes a third; and while he kneels,
another servant comes from the spring, bringing
a great bag made of camel's-skin, and filled with
water. Two of these bags are hung upon the
camel, one on each side. This is the water for
all these people to drink for four days, while they
travel through a sandy, rocky country, where
there are no springs or wells. I am afraid the
water will not taste very fresh after it has been
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 55
kept so long in leather bags ; but they have noth-
ing else to carry it in, and, besides, they are used
to it, and don't mind the taste.
Here are smaller bags, made of goat's-skin, and
filled with milk; and when all these things are
arranged, which is soon done, they are ready to
start, although it is still long before sunrise.
The camels have been drinking at the spring,
and have left only a little muddy water, like that
in our street-gutters; but the goats must have
this, or none at all.
And now Abdel Hassan springs upon his beau-
tiful black horse, that has such slender legs and
swift feet, and places himself at the head of this
long troop of men and women, camels and goats.
The women are riding upon the camels, and so
are the children; while the servants and camel-
drivers walk barefooted over the yellow sand.
It would seem very strange to you to be
perched up so high on a camel's back, but Gemila
is quite accustomed to it. When she was very
little, her mother often hung a basket beside her
on the camel, and carried her baby in it: but now
she is a great girl, full six years old; and when
56 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
the camel kneels, and her mother takes her place,
the child can spring on in front, with one hand
upon the camel's rough hump, and ride safely
and pleasantly hour after hour. Good, patient
camels God has fitted them exactly to be of the
utmost help to the people in that desert country.
Gemila for this often blesses and thanks Him
whom she calls Allah.
All this morning they ride, first in the bright
starlight; but soon the stars become faint and dim
in the stronger rosy light that is spreading over
the whole sky, and suddenly the little girl sees
stretching far before her the long shadow of the
camels, and she knows that the sun is up : for we
never see shadows when the sun is not up, unless
it is by candlelight or moonlight. The shadows
stretch out very far before them, for the sun is
behind. When you are out walking very early in
the morning, with the sun behind you, see how
the shadow of even such a little girl as you will
reach across the whole street; and you can ima-
gine that such great creatures as camels would
make even much longer shadows.
Gemila watches them, and sees, too, how the
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 57
white patches of sand flush in the morning light;
and she looks back where far behind are the tops
of their palm-trees, like great tufted fans, standing
dark against the yellow sky.
She is not sorry to leave that old home. She
has had many homes already, young as she is, and
will have many more as long as she lives. The
whole desert is her home; it is very wide and
large, and sometimes she lives in one part, some-
times in another.
As the sun gets higher, it begins to grow very
hot. The father arranges the folds of his great
white turban, a shawl with many folds, twisted
round his head to keep off the oppressive heat.
The servants put on their white fringed handker-
chiefs, falling over the head and down upon the
neck, and held in place by a little cord tied round
the head. It is not like a bonnet or hat, but one
of the very best things to protect the desert trav-
ellers from the sun. The children, too, cover
their heads in the same way, and Gemila no longer
looks out to see what is passing: the sun is too
bright; it would hurt her eyes, and make her head
ache. She shuts her eyes and falls half asleep,
58 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
sitting there high upon the camel's back. But, if
she could look out, there would be nothing to
see but what she has seen many and many times
before, great plains of sand or pebbles, and
sometimes high, bare rocks; not a tree to be
seen, and far off against the sky, the low purple
They move on in the heat, and are all silent.
It is almost noon now; and Abdel Hassan stops,
leaps from his horse, and strikes his spear into the
ground. The camel-drivers stop, the camels stop
and kneel, Gemila and Alee and their mother dis-
mount. The servants build up again the tent
which they took down in the morning; and, after
drinking water from the leather bags, the family
are soon under its shelter, asleep on their mats,
while the camels and servants have crept into the
shadow of some rocks and 'in down in the sand.
The beautiful black horse is in the tent with his
master; he is treated like a child, petted and fed
by all the family, caressed and kissed by the chil-
dren. Here they rest until the heat of the day
has past; but before sunset they have eaten their
dates and bread, loaded again the camels, and are
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 59
moving, with the beautiful black horse and his
rider at the head.
They ride until the stars are out, and after, but
stop for a few hours' rest in the night, to begin
the next day as they began this. Gemila still
rides upon the camel; and I can easily understand
that she prays to Allah with a full heart under the
shining stars so clear and far, and that at the call
to prayer in the early dawn her pretty little veiled
head is bent in true love and worship. But I
must tell you what she sees soon after sunrise on
this second morning. Across the sand, a long
way before them, something with very long legs
is running, almost flying. She knows well what
it is, for she has often seen them before; and she
calls to one of the servants, "See, there is the
ostrich !" and she claps her hands with delight.
The ostrich is a great bird, with very long legs
and small wings; and as legs are to run with, and
wings to fly with, of course he can run better
than he can fly. But he spreads his short wings
while running, and they are like little sails, and
help him along quite wonderfully; so that he runs
much faster than any horse can.
60 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
Although he runs so swiftly, he is sometimes
caught in a very odd way. I will tell you how.
He is a large bird, but he is a very silly one;
and, when he is tired of running, he will hide his
head in the sand, thinking that because he can
see no one he can't be seen himself. Then the
swift-footed Arab horses can overtake him; and
the men can get his beautiful feathers, which you
must have often seen, for ladies wear them in
All this about the ostrich. Don't forget it, my
little girl: sometime you may see one, and will be
glad that you know what kind of a fellow he is.
The ostrich which Gemila sees is too far away
to be caught; besides, it will not be best to turn
aside from the track which is leading them to a
new spring. But one of the men trots forward
on his camel, looking to this side and to that as he
rides; and at last our little girl, who is watching,
sees his camel kneel, and sees him jump off and
stoop in the sand. When they reach the place,
they find a sort of great nest, hollowed a little in
the sand; and in it are great eggs, almost as big
as your head. The mother ostrich has left them
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 61
there. She is not like other mother-birds, that
set upon the eggs to keep them warm; but she
leaves them in the hot sand, and the sun keeps
them warm; and by and by the little ostriches will
begin to chip the shell, and creep out into the
The ostrich eggs are good to eat. You eat your
one egg for breakfast, but one of these big eggs
will make breakfast for the whole family. And
that is why Gemila clapped her hands when she
saw the ostrich : she thought the men would find
the nest, and have fresh eggs for a day or two.
This day passes like the last: they meet no
one, not a single man or woman; and they move
steadily on towards the sunset. In the morning
again they are up and away under the starlight;
and this day is a happy one for the children, and,
indeed, for all.
The morning star is yet shining, low, large, and
bright, when our watchful little girl's dark eyes
can see a row of black dots on the sand,--so
small you might think them nothing but flies;
but Gemila knows better. They only look small
because they are far away; they are really men
62 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
and camels, and horses too, as she will soon see
when they come nearer. A whole troop of them;
as many as a hundred camels, loaded with great
packages of cloths and shawls for turbans, carpets
and rich spices, and the beautiful red and green
morocco, of which, when I was a little girl, we
sometimes had shoes made, but we see it oftener
now on the covers of books.
All these things belong to the Sheik Hassein.
He has been to the great cities to buy them, and
now he is carrying them across the desert to sell
again. He himself rides at the head of his com-
pany on a magnificent brown horse; and his dress
is so grand and gay, that it shines in the morning
light quite splendidly. A great shawl with golden
fringes is twisted about his head for a turban; and
he wears, instead of a coat, a tunic broadly striped
with crimson and yellow, while a loose flowing
scarlet robe falls from his shoulders. His face is
dark, and his eyes keen and bright; but little of
his straight black hair hangs below the fringes
of his turban; but his beard is long and dark, and
he really looks very magnificent sitting upon his
fine horse, in the full morning sunlight.
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 63
Abdel Hassan rides forward to meet him, and
the children from behind watch with great
Abdel Hassan takes the hand of the sheik,
presses it to his lips and forehead, and says,
"Peace be with you."
Do you see how different this is from the hand-
shakings and How-do-you-do's" of the gentle-
men whom we know! Many grand compliments
are offered from one to another, and they are very
polite and respectful. Our manners would seem
very poor beside theirs.
Then follows a long talk, and the smoking of
pipes; while the servants make coffee, and serve
it in little cups.
Hassein tells Abdel Hassan of the wells of
fresh water which he left but one's day's journey
behind him, and he tells of the rich cities he has
visited. Abdel Hassan gives him dates and salt
in exchange for cloth for a turban, and a brown
cotton dress for his little daughter.
It is not often that one meets men in the
desert, and this day will long be remembered by
64 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
The next night, before sunset, they can see the
green feathery tops of the palm-trees before them.
The palms have no branches, but only great clus-
ters of fern-like leaves at the top of the tree,
under which grow the sweet dates.
Near those palm-trees will be Gemila's home
for a little while, for here they will find grass and
a spring. The camels smell the water, and begin
to trot fast; the goats leap along over the sand,
and the barefooted men hasten to keep up with
In an hour more the tent is pitched under the
palm-trees, and all have refreshed themselves
with the cool, clear water.
And now I must tell you that the camels have
had nothing to drink since they left the old
home. The camel has a deep bag below his
throat, which he fills with water enough to last
four or five days: so he can travel in the desert
as long as that, and sometimes longer, without
drinking again. Yet I believe the camels are
as glad as the children to come to the fresh
Gemila thinks so at night, as she stands under
GEMILA, THE CHILD OF THE DESERT. 65
the starlight, patting her good camel Simel, and
kissing his great lips.
The black goats, with long silky ears, are
already cropping the grass. The father sits again
at the tent-door, and smokes his long pipe; the
children bury their bare feet in the sand, and
heap it into little mounds about them; while the
mother is bringing out the dates and the bread
It is an easy thing for them to move: they are
already at home again. But although they have
so few cares, we do not wish ourselves in their
place; for we love the home of our childhood,
" be it ever so humble," better than roaming like
But all the time I haven't told you how Gemila
looks, nor what clothes she wears. Her face is
dark; she has a little straight nose, full lips, and
dark, earnest eyes ; her dark hair will be braided
when it is long enough. On her arms and her
ankles are gilded bracelets and anklets, and she
wears a brown cotton dress loosely hanging half-
way to the bare, slender ankles. On her head
the white fringed handkerchief, of which I told
66 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
you, hangs like a little veil. Her face is pleasant,
and when she smiles her white teeth shine be-
tween her parted lips.
She is the child of the desert, and she loves
her desert home.
I think she would hardly be happy to live in a
house, eat from a table, and sleep in a little bed
like yours. She would grow restless and weary
if she should live so long and so quietly in one
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN.
I WANT you to look at the picture on the
opposite page. It is a little deer: its name is
the chamois. Do you see what delicate horns it
has, and what slender legs, and how it seems to
stand on that bit of rock, and turn its head to look
in your face ?
Last summer I saw a little chamois like that,
and just as small: it was not alive, but cut or
carved of wood, such a graceful, pretty little
plaything as one does not meet every day.
Would you like to know who made it, and
where it came from ?
It was made in the mountain country, by the
brother of my good Jeannette, the little Swiss
Here among the high mountains she lives with
her father, mother, and brothers; and far up
08 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
among those high snowy peaks, which are seen
behind the house, the chamois live, many of them
together, eating the tender grass and little pink-
colored flowers, and leaping and springing away
over the ice and snow when they see the men
coming up to hunt them.
I will tell you by and by how it happened that
Jeannette's tall brother Joseph carved this tiny
chamois from wood. But first you must know
about this small house upon the great hills, and
how they live up there so near the blue sky.
One would think it might be easier for a child
to be good and pure so far up among the quiet
hills, and that there God would seem to come
close to the spirit, even of a little girl or boy.
On the sides of the mountains tall trees are
growing; pine and fir trees, which are green in
winter as well as in summer. If you go into the
woods in winter, you will find that almost all
the trees have dropped their pretty green leaves
upon the ground, and are standing cold and naked
in the winter wind; but the pines and the firs
keep on their warm green clothes all the year
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN. 69
It was many years ago, before Jeannette was
born, that her father came to the mountains with
his sharp axe and cut down some of the fir-trees.
Other men helped him; and they cut the great
trees into strong logs and boards, and built of
them the house of which I have told you. Now
he will have a good home of his own, for as long
as he likes to live there; and to it will come his
wife and children as God shall send them, to
nestle among the hills.
Then he went down to the little town at the
foot of the mountain, and when he came back, he
was leading a brown long-eared donkey; and upon
that donkey sat a rosy-cheeked young woman
with smiling brown eyes, and long braids of brown
hair hanging below a little green hat set on one
side of her head, while beautiful rose-colored
carnations peeped from beneath it on the other
side. Who was this ? It wasn't Jeannette: you
know I told you this was before she was born.
Can you guess, or must I tell you that it was the
little girl's mother ? She had come up the moun-
tain for the first time to her new home, -the
house built of the fir and the pine, where after
70 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
awhile were born Jeannette's two tall brothers,
and at last Jeanette herself.
It was a good place to be born in. When she
was a baby she used to lie on the short, sweet
grass before the doorstep, and watch the cows and
the goats feeding, and clap her little hands to see
how rosy the sunset made the snow that shone on
the tops of those high peaks. And the next
summer, when she could run alone, she picked
the blue-eyed gentians, thrusting her small fingers
between their fringed eyelids, and begging them
to open and look at little Jean; and she stained
her wee hands among the strawberries, and
pricked them with the thorns of the long rasp-
berry-vines, when she went with her mother in
the afternoon to pick the sweet fruit for supper.
Ah, she was a happy little thing! Many a fall
she got over the stones or among the brown
moss, and many a time the clean frock that she
wore was dyed red with the crushed berries ; but
oh, how pleasant it was to find them in great
patches on the mountain-side, where the kind sun
had warmed them into such delicious life! I
have seen the children run out of school to pick
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN. 71
such sweet wild strawberries, all the recess-time,
up in the fields of Maine; and how happy they
were with their little stained fingers as they came
back at the call of the bell !
In the black bog-mud grew the Alpen roses,
and her mother said, Do not go there, my little
daughter: it is too muddy for you." But at
night, when her brother came home from the
chamois hunt, he took off his tall, pointed hat,
and showed his little sister the long spray of
roses twisted round it, which he had brought for
her. He could go in the mud with his thick
boots, you know, and never mind it.
Here they live alone upon the mountain : there
are no near neighbors. At evening they can see
the blue smoke curling from the chimney of one
house that stands behind that sunny green slope,
a hundred yards from their door; and they can
always look down upon the many houses of the
town below, where the mother lived when she
Many times has Jeannette wondered how the
people lived down there, so many together;
and where their cows could feed; and whether
72 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
there were any little girls like herself, and if they
picked berries, and had such a dear old black
nanny-goat as hers, that gave milk for her supper,
and now had two little black kids, its babies.
She didn't know about those little children in
Maine, and that they have little kids and goats, as
well as sweet red berries, to make the days pass
She wanted to go down and see some day; and
her father promised, that, when she was a great
girl, she should go down with him on market-
days, to sell the goat's-milk cheeses and the sweet
butter that her mother made.
When the cows and goats have eaten all the
grass near the house, her father drives them
before him up farther among the mountains,
where more grass is growing, and there he stays
with. them many weeks; he does not even come
home at night, but sleeps in a small hut among
the rocks; where, too, he keeps the large clean
milk-pails, and the little one-legged stool upon
which he sits at morning and night to milk the
cows and goats.
When the pails are full, the butter is to be
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN. 73
made, and the cheese; and he works while the
animals feed. The cows have little bells tied to
their necks, that he may hear and find them,
should they stray too far.
Many times, when he is away, does his little
daughter at home listen, listen, while she sits be-
fore the door, to hear the distant tinkling of the
cow-bells. She is a loving little daughter; and
she thinks of her father so far away alone, and
wishes he was coming home to eat some of the
sweet strawberries and cream for supper.
Last summer some travellers came to the house.
They stopped at the door and asked for milk: the
mother brought them brimming bowlsfull, and the
shy little girl crept up behind her mother with
her birch-bark baskets of berries. The gentlemen
took them, and thanked her; and one told of his
own little Mary, at home, far away over the great
sea. Jeannette often thinks of her, and wonders
whether her papa has gone home to her.
While the gentlemen talked, Jeannette's brother
Joseph sat upon the broad stone door-step and
listened. Presently one gentleman, turning to
him, asked if he would come with them over the
74 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
mountain to lead the way; for there are many
wild places, and high, steep rocks, and they feared
to get lost.
Joseph sprang up from his low seat, and said he
would go; brought his tall hat and his mountain-
staff, like a long, strong cane, with a sharp iron at
the end, which he can stick into the snow or ice,
if there is danger of slipping; and they went
merrily on their way, over the green grass, over
the rocks, far up among the snow and ice, and
the frozen streams and rivers that pour down the
Joseph was brave and gay: he led the way,
singing aloud until the echoes answered from
every hill-side. It makes one happy to sing; and
when we are busy and happy we sing without
thinking of it, as the birds do. When every thing
is bright and beautiful in nature around us, we
feel like singing aloud, and praising God who made
the earth so beautiful; then the earth also seems
to sing of God who made it, and the echo seems
like its answer of praise. Did you ever hear the
echo, the voice that seems to come from a hill or
a house far away, repeating whatever you may
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN. 75
say? Among the mountains the echoes answer
each other again and again. Jeannette has often
That night, while the mother and her little girl
were eating their supper, the gentlemen came
back again, bringing Joseph with them. He could
not walk now, nor spring from rock to rock with
his Alpen staff: he had fallen and broken his leg,
and he must lie still for many days. But he could
keep a cheerful face, and still sing his merry
songs; and as he grew better, and could sit out
again on the broad bench beside the door, he took
his knife and pieces of fine wood, and carved
beautiful things, first a spoon for his little
sister, with gentians on the handle; then a nice
bowl, with a pretty strawberry-vine carved all
about the edge. And from this bowl, and with this
spoon, she ate her supper every night, -sweet
milk, with the dry cakes of rye bread broken into
it, and sometimes the red strawberries. I know
his little sister loved him dearly, and thanked him
in her heart every time she used the pretty things.
How dearly a sister and brother can love each
76 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
Then he made other things, -knives, forks, and
plates; and at last one day he sharpened his knife
very sharp, chose a very nice, delicate piece of
wood, and carved this beautiful chamois, just like
a living one, only so small. My cousin, who was
travelling there, bought it and brought it home.
When the summer had passed, the father came
down from the high pastures; the butter and
cheese making was over, and the autumn work
was yet to be done. Do you want to know what
the autumn work was, and how Jeannette could
help about it ? I will tell you. You must know
that a little way down the mountain-side is a
grove of chestnut-trees. Did you ever see the
chestnut-trees ? They grow in our woods, and on
the shores of some ponds. In the spring they are
covered with long yellowish blossoms, and all
through the hot summer those blossoms are at
work turning into sweet chestnuts, wrapped safely
in round, thorny balls, which will prick your
fingers sadly if you don't take care. But, when
the frost of the autumn nights comes, it cracks
open the prickly ball, and shows a shining brown
nut inside; then, if we are careful, we may pull
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN. 77
off the covering, and take out the nut. Some-
times, indeed, there are two, three, or four nuts in
one shell; I have found them so myself.
Now, the autumn work, which I said I would
tell you about, is to gather these chestnuts and
store them away, some to be eaten, boiled, or
roasted by the bright fire in the cold winter days
that are coming; and some to be nicely packed in
great bags, and carried on the donkey down to the
town to be sold. The boys of New England, too,
know what good fun it is to gather nuts in the
fall, and spread them over the garret floor to dry,
and at last to crack and eat them by the winter
hearth. So when the father says one night at
supper-time, "It is growing cold: I think there
will be a frost to-night," Jeannette knows very
well what to do; and she dances away right early
in the evening to her little bed, which is made in
a wooden box built up against the side of the
wall, and falls asleep to dream about the chestnut
wood, and the squirrels, and the little brook that
leaps and springs from rock to rock down under
the tall, dark trees.
She has gone to bed early, that she may wake
78 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
with the first daylight; and she is out of bed in a
minute when she hears her father's cheerful call
in the morning, "Come, children, it is time to be
Their dinner is packed in a large basket. The
donkey stands ready before the door, with great
empty bags hanging at each side; and they go
merrily over the crisp white frost to the chestnut-
trees. How the frost has opened the burrs He
has done more than half their work for them
already. How they laugh and sing and shout to
each other as they gather the smooth brown nuts,
filling their baskets, and running to pour them
into the great bags! It is merry autumn work.
The sun looks down upon them through the yel-
low leaves, and the rocks give them mossy seats;
while here and there comes a bird or a squirrel to
see what these strange people are doing in their
Jeannette declares that the chestnut days are
the best in the year. Perhaps she is right. I am
sure I should enjoy them; shouldn't you? She
really helps, although she is but a little girl; and
her father says at night that his little Jean is a
THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN MAIDEN. 79
dear, good child. It makes her very happy. She
thinks of what he has said while she undresses at
night, unbraiding her hair, and unlacing her little
blue bodice with its great white sleeves ; and she
goes peacefully to sleep, to dream again of the
merry autumn days. And while she dreams good
angels must be near her; for she said her sweet
and reverent prayer on her knees, with a full and
thankful heart to the All-Father who gave her so
She is our little mountain sister. The moun-
tain life is a fresh and happy one. I should like
to stay with this little sister a long, long time.
THE STORY OF PEN-SE.
DEAR children, have you ever watched the sun.
set ? If you live in the country, I am almost sure
you have many times delighted yourselves with
the gold and rosy clouds. But those of you who
live in the city do not often have the opportunity:
the high houses and narrow streets shut out so
much of the sky.
I am so happy as to live in the country; and let
me tell you where I go to see the sun set.
The house in which I live has some dark, narrow
garret stairs leading from the third story into a
small garret under the roof; and many and many
a time do I go up these narrow stairs, and again
up to the scuttle-window in the roof, open it, and
seat myself on the top step or on the roof itself.
Here I can look over the house-tops, and even
over the tree-tops, seeing many things of which I
THE STORY OF PEN-SE.
may perhaps tell you at some time; but to-night
we are to look at the sunset.
Can you play that you are up here with me,
looking past the houses, past the elm-trees and
the low hills that seem so far away, to where the
sun hangs low, like a great red ball, so bright that
we can hardly look at it? Watch it with me.
Now a little part has disappeared; now it is half
gone, and in a minute more we see nothing but
the train of bright clouds it has left behind.
Where did it go ?
It seemed to slip down over the edge of the
world. To-morrow morning, if you are up early,
you will see it come back again on the other side.
As it goes away from us to-night, it is coming to
somebody who lives far away, round the other side
of the world. While we had the sunshine, she had
night; and now, when night is coming to us, it is
morning for her.
I think men have always felt like following the
sun to the unknown West, beyond its golden gate
of setting day, and perhaps that has led many a
wanderer on his path of discovery. Let us follow
the sun over the rolling earth.
82 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
The sun has gone; shall we go, too, and take a
peep round there to see who is having morning
The long, bright sunbeams are sliding over the
tossing ocean, and sparkling on the blue water of
a river upon which are hundreds of boats. The
boats are not like those which we see here, with
white sails or long oars. They are clumsy, square
looking things, without sails, and they have little
sheds or houses built upon them. We will look
into one, and see what is to be seen.
There is something like a little yard built all
around this boat; in it are ducks more ducks
than you can well count. This is their bedroom,
where they sleep at night; but now it is morning,
and they are all stirring, waddling about as well
as they can in the crowd, and quacking with most
noisy voices. They are waking up Kang-hy, their
riister, who lives in the middle of the boat; and
out he comes from the door of his odd house,
and out comes little Pen-se, his daughter, who
likes to see the ducks go for their breakfast.
The father opens a gate or door in the basket-
work fence of the ducks' house; and they all crowd
THE STORY OF PEN-SE.
and hurry to reach the water again, after staying
all night shut up in this cage. There they go,
tumbling and diving. Each must have a thorough
bath first of all; then the old drake leads the way,
and they swim off in the bright water along the
shore for a hundred yards, and then among the
marshes, where they will feed all day, and come
back at night when they hear the shrill whistle of
Kang-hy calling them to come home and go to bed.
Pen-se and her father will go in to breakfast
now, under the bamboo roof which slides over the
middle part of the boat, or can be pushed back if
they desire. As Kang-hy turns to go in, and
takes off his bamboo hat, the sun shines on his
bare, shaved head, where only one lock of hair is
left, that is braided into a long, thick tail, and
hangs far down his back. He is very proud of it,
and nothing would induce him to have it cut off.
Now it hangs down over his loose blue nankeen
jacket; but, when he goes to work, he will twist it
round upon the crown of his head, and tuck the
end under the coil to keep it out of the way.
Isn't this a funny way for a man to wear his hair?
Pen-se has hers still in little soft curls; but by and
84 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
by it will be braided, and at last fastened up into
a high knot on the top of her head, as her mother's
is. Her little brother Lin already has his head
shaved almost bare, and waits impatiently for the
time when his single lock of hair will be long
enough to braid.
When I was a child, it was a very rare thing to
see people such as these in our own land; but
now we are quite familiar with these odd ways of
dressing, and. our streets have many of these
funny names on their signs.
Shall we look in to see them at breakfast ? Tea
for the children as well as for the father and
mother. They have no milk, and do not like to
drink water: so they take many cups of tea every
day. And here, too, are their bowls of rice upon
the table, but no spoons or forks with which to
eat it. Pen-se, however, does not need spoon or
fork : she takes two small, smooth sticks, and, lift-
ing the bowl to her mouth, uses the sticks like a
little shovel. You would spill the rice, and soil
your dress, if you should try to do so; but these
children know no other way, and they have learned
to do it quite carefully.
THE STORY OF PEN-SE.
The sticks are called chop-sticks; and up in the
great house on the hill, where Pen-se went to
carry fish, lives a little lady who has beautiful
pearl chop-sticks, and wears roses in her hair.
Pen-se often thinks of her, and wishes she might
go again to carry the fish, and see some of the
beautiful things in that garden with the high
walls. Perhaps you have in your own house or in
your schoolroom pictures of some of the pretty
things that may have been there, little children
and ladies dressed in flowery gowns, with fans in
their hands, tea-tables and pretty dishes, a great
many lovely flowers and beautiful birds.
But now she must not stop to think. Breakfast
is over, and the father must go on shore to his
work, carrying tea-boxes to the store of a great
merchant. Lin, too, goes to his work, of which I
will by and by tell you; and even Pen-se and her
little sister, young as they are, must go with their
mother, who has a tanka-boat in which she carries
fresh fruit and vegetables to the big ships which
are lying off shore. The two little girls can help
at the oars, while the mother steers to guide the
86 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
I wish I could tell you how pleasant it is out on
the river this bright morning. A hundred boats
are moving; the ducks and geese have all gone up
the stream; the people who live in the boats have
breakfasted, and the fishermen have come out to
their work. This is Lin's work. He works with
his uncle Chow; and already his blue trousers are
stripped above his knees, and he stands on the
wet fishing-raft watching some brown birds: sud-
denly one of them plunges into the water, and
brings up a fish in its yellow bill. Lin takes it
out, and sends the bird for another; and such in-
dustrious fishermen are the brown cormorants,
that they keep Lin and his uncle busy all the
morning, until the two large baskets are filled
with fish, and then the cormorants niay catch for
Lin brings his bamboo pole, rests it across his
shoulders, hangs one basket on each end, and goes
up into the town to sell his fish. 4ere it was that
Pen-se went on that happy day wfen"she saw the
little lady in the house on the hill, and she has
not forgotten the wonders of that day in the
THE STORY OF PEN-SE.
The gay sign-posts in front of the shops, with
colors flying; the busy workmen, -tinkers mend-
ing or making their wares; blacksmiths with all
their tools set up at the corners of the streets;
barbers with grave faces, intently braiding the
long hair of their customers; water-carriers with
deep water-buckets hung from a bamboo pole, like
Lin's fish-baskets; the soldiers in their paper hel-
mets, wadded gowns, and quilted petticoats, with
long, clumsy guns over their shoulders; and
learned scholars in brown gowns, blue bordered,
and golden birds on their caps. The high officers,
cousins to the emperor, have the sacred yellow
girdle round their waists, and very long braided
tails hanging below their small caps. Here and
there you may see a high, narrow box, resting on
poles, carried.by two men. It is the only kind of
carriage which you will see in these streets, and
in it is a lady going out to take the air; although
I am sadly afraid she gets but little, shut up there
in her box. I would rather be like Pen-se, a poor,
hard-working little girl, with a fresh life on the
river, and a hard mat spread for her bed in the
boat at night. How would you like to live in a
88 THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
boat on a pleasant river with the ducks and geese ?
I think you would have a very jolly time, rocked
to sleep by the tide, and watched over by the
dancing boat-lights. But this poor lady couldn't
walk, or enjoy much, if she were allowed. Shall
I tell you why ? When she was a very little girl,
smaller than you are, smaller than Pen-se is now,
her soft baby feet were bound up tightly, the toes
turned and pressed under, and the poor little foot
cramped so that she could scarcely stand. This
was done that her feet might never grow large :
for in this country, on the other side of the world,
one is considered very beautiful who has small
feet; and now that she is a grown lady, as old per-
haps as your mamma, she wears such little shoes
you would think them too small for yourself. It
is true they are very pretty shoes, made of bright
colored satin, and worked all over with gold and
silver thread, and they have beautiful white soles
of rice-paper; and the poor lady looks down at
them, and says to herself proudly, "Only three
inches long." And forgetting how much the band-
ages pained her, and not thinking how sad it is
only to be able to hobble about a little, instead of
THE STORY OF PEN-SE.
running and leaping as children should, she binds
up the feet of Lou, her dear little daughter, in the
great house on the hill, and makes her a poor,
helpless child; not so happy, with all her flower-
gardens, gold and silver fish, and beautiful gold-
feathered birds, as Pen-se with her broad, bare
feet, and comfortable, fat little toes, as she stands
in the wet tanka-boat, helping her mother wash it
with river-water, while the leather shoes of both
of them lie high and dry on the edge of the wharf
until the wet work is done.
But we are forgetting Lin, who has carried his
fish up into the town to sell. Here is a whole
street, where nothing is sold but food. I should
call it Market Street, and I dare say they do the
same in a way of their own.
What will all these busy people have for dinner
Fat bear's-paws, brought from the dark forest
fifty miles away, -these will do for that comfort-
able looking mandarin with the red ball on the
top of his cap. I think he has eaten something
of the same kind before. A bird's-nest soup for
my lady in the great house on the hill; bird's
THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
nests brought from the rocks where the waves
dash, and the birds feel themselves very safe.
But "such a delicious soup!" said Madam Faw-
Choo; and Yang-lo, her son, sent the fisherman
again to the black rocks for more.
What will the soldiers have, -the officer who
wears thick satin boots, and doesn't look much
like fighting in his gay silk dress ? A stew of fat
puppies for him, and only boiled rats for the
porter who carries the heavy tea-boxes. But
there is tea for all, and rice too, as much as they
desire; and, although I shouldn't care to be in-
vited to dine with any of them, I don't doubt they
enjoy the food very much.
In the midst of all this buying and selling, Lin
sells his fish, some to the English gentleman, and
some to the grave-faced man in the blue gown;
and he goes happily home to his own dinner in
the boat. Rice again, and fried mice, and the
merry face and small, slanting black eyes of his
little sister to greet him. After dinner his father
has a pipe to smoke, before he goes again to his
work. After all, why not eat puppies and mice
as well as calves and turtles and oysters ? and as
THE STORY OF PEN-SE.
for bird's-nest soup, I should think it quite as
good as chicken-pie. It is only custom that
makes any difference.
So pass the days of our child Pen-se, who lives
on the great river which men call the child of the
ocean. But it was not always so. She was born
among the hills where the tea grows with its
glossy, myrtle-like leaves, and white fragrant blos-
soms. When the tea-plants were in bloom, Pen-se
first saw the light; and when she was hardly more
than a baby she trotted behind her father, while
he gathered the leaves, dried and rolled them, and
then packed them in square boxes to come in
ships across the ocean for your papa and mine to
Here, too, grew the mulberry-trees, with their
purple fruit and white; and Pen-se learned to
know and to love the little worms that eat the
mulberry-leaves, and then spin for themselves a
silken shell, and fall into a long sleep inside of it.
She watched her mother spin off the fine silk and
make it into neat skeins, and once she rode on
her mother's back to market to sell it. You could
gather mulberry-leaves, and set up these little
THE SEVEN LITTLE SISTERS.
silk-worm boxes on the window-sill of your school-
room. I have seen silk and flax and cotton all
growing in a pleasant schoolroom, to show the
scholars of what linen and silk and cotton are
Now those days are all past. She can hardly
remember them, she was so little then; and she
has learned to be happy in her new home on the
river, where they came when the fire burned their
house, and the tea-plants and the mulberry-trees
were taken by other men.
Sometimes at night, after the day's work is
over, the ducks have come home, and the stars
have come out, she sits at the door of the boat-
house, and watches the great bright fireflies over
the marshes, and thinks of the blue lake Syhoo,
covered with lilies, where gilded boats are sailing,
and the people seem so happy.
Up in the high-walled garden of the great
house on the hill, the night-moths have spread
their broad, soft wings, and are flitting among the
flowers, and the little girl with the small feet
lies on her silken bed, half asleep. She, too,
thinks of the lake and the lilies; but she knows