The Baldwin Library
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THE TRINITY FLOWER
AND OTHER STORIES
"'GIVE THIS TO THY MASTER. IT IS THE ROOT OF THE
E D I T H A S E R I E S
JULIANA HORATIA EWING
With Illustrations by
AMY M. SACKER.
H. M. CALDWELL CO.
PUBLISHERS v< '\'<
NEW YORK Q( BOSTON
BY JOSEPH KNIGHT COMPANY
I. THE TRINITY FLOWER. I
II. SNAP-DRAGONS, A TALE OF CHRISTMAS
III. TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS 71
" 'GIVE THIS TO THY MASTER. IT IS THE ROOT OF
THE TRINITY FLOWER '" .. Froltispiece
"HE OVERHEARD TWO BOYS DISPUTING ABOUT THE
" IN TWO SUCCESSIVE YEARS HAVE THE APPLES BEEN
STOLEN '" 6
" I PRAY THEE, SEND SUNSHINE, THAT IT MAY
BLOSSOM SPEEDILY I18
"AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS HE LINGERED
"A TALL, SANDY, ENERGETIC YOUNG MAN, WHO
CARRIED HIS OWN BAG FROM THE RAILWAY" 47
"'THEN YOU LIKE MUSIC SAID THE HOT TEMPERED
"THE HOT-TEMPERED GENTLEMAN WARMED HIS
COAT TAILS AT THE YULE LOG" 55
"'PUT YOUR LOVELY BLACK NOSE IN MY LAP'" 72
"'THIS WOULD TEMPT ME TO THINK YOUR MAMMA
A VERY FOOLISH PERSON '" 77
THE TRINITY FLOWER
THE TRINITY FLOWER
Break 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 her-
mit, who dwelt in a cell, which he had fashioned
for himself from a natural cave in the side of a
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 GOD. 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 TRINITY FLOWER.
the plat which he had reclaimed from the waste
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 another; 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 Winter 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:
I pray you, good people, to make it known
that he who robs these crabs, robs not me alone,
which is dishonest, but the sick, which is in-
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
And yet once more the crab-apples were
The following evening, as the hermit sat on
the side of the hill, he overheard two boys dis-
puting about the theft.
It 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
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
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-tiptoe, 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
Tush cried his comrade. They are the
four winds; and when they whistle, down falls
the ripest. But others can shake beside the
winds, as I 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
But as he turned to go home he said: "The
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
thief was not far away when thou stoodst near.
Nevertheless, I will have patience. It needs not
that I should go to seek thee, for what saith the
Scripture? Thy 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 people in the village.
And one day, as he passed a certain house, he
heard moans from within, and entering, he saw
lying upon the bed a boy who tossed and moaned
in fever, and cried out miserably that his throat
was parched and burning. And when the her-
mit 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
confection 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.
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
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,
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
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 her-
mit 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,
Of what avail is it to drive me from thee,
since I am resolved to serve thee, even as Sam-
uel served Eli, and Timothy ministered unto St.
But the hermit said: My rule is to live
alone, and without companions; wherefore be-
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 hermit was inside, the boy
came into the garden, and gathered 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:
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
"Thou hast done well, and I thank thee; but
now begone," he only answered:
"What avails it, when I am resolved to serve
So at last there came a day when the hermit
said: "It may be that it is ordained; wherefore
abide, my Son."
And the boy answered: "Even so, for I am
resolved to serve thee."
Thus he remained. And thenceforward the
hermit'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
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
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 accus-
tomed remedies, for he knew the names and vir-
tues 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 flowers; 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 GOD 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
poverty and solitude with joy, in the service of
GOD and man, yet so bitter was blindness to
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
him, that he bewailed the loss of his sight, with
a grief that never lessened.
"For," said he, "if it had pleased our Lord
to send me any other affliction, such as a con-
tinual 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
I beseech Thee take away my blindness, as
Thou didst heal Thy servant the son of
And as the boy and he sorted herbs, he
Is 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
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
Son. I meant not that herb. But, alas! Is
there no remedy 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 him.
Now, one morning, as the boy came up from
the village, the hermit met him, groping pain-
fully with his hands, but with joy in his counte-
nance, 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 fol-
"1 dreamed, and behold I stood in the gar-
den -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 beside
me said, Here, my Son.' And I cried to thee,
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
'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.
"It 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
Trillium erythrocarpum. North America.
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
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 I have
need of thee, And the flower will come yet,
and then I shall see."
And all day long the old man murmured to
himself: "Then I shall see."
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
just stretching out my hand for some, when I
"There are no palms there, my Father," said
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
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
yew beyond the rosemary-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,
Have I not seen it, even in a vision ? cried
the hermit. "Thou wilt say next that all the
borders are not set with heartsease, 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 heartsease 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 heartsease, 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
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
"Weep not, my dear Son. And I pray thee,
pardon me that I spoke harshly to thee. For
indeed I am ill-tempered by reason of my in-
firmities; and as for thee, GOD will reward thee
for thy goodness to me, as I never can. More-
over, 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 ever-
lasting flowers, the like of which I never saw
before, 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:
I cannot lie to thee. There are no ever-
lasting flowers. It is the flowers of the thyme
in which the bees are rioting. And in the
hedge bottom there creepeth the bitter-sweet."
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
morning there came to the garden gate a man
in pilgrim's weeds; and when he saw the boy
16 THE TRINITY FLOWER.
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,
"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 can-
not deceive thee methought it was the Angel
Then the hermit mused; and, after a little
space, he answered :
It was then also that I saw him. I remem-
ber now. Nevertheless, let us plant the root,
and abide what GOD 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 yet! "
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
But the hermit replied : My Son, I repent
me that I have not been patient under affliction.
Morever, I have set thee an ill example, in that
I have murmured at that which GOD-Who
knowest best ordained for me."
And when the boy oftimes repeated, "Thou
shalt yet see, the hermit answered, "If GOD
will. When GOD will. As GOD will."
And when he said the prayers for the Hours,
he no longer added what he had added before-
time, but evermore repeated: If THOU wilt.
When THOU wilt. As THOU 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 con-
tinually of the heartsease, 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,
THE TRINITY 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
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
boy came to the hermit and said: "The bud is
almost breaking, my Father. To-morrow thou
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 for-
gave him. And, as they unwillingly parted, the
hermit said: I pray thee, dear Son, to remem-
ber that, though late, I conformed myself to the
will of GOD."
Saying which, the hermit went to 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 her-
mit had said, it was white, and stained with
crimson as with blood.
Then the boy shed tears of joy, and he
THE TRINITY FLOWER.
plucked the flower and ran into the hermit's cell,
where the hermit lay very still upon his couch.
And the boy said :"I will 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
Now before sunrise, whilst it was yet early,
he was awakened by the voice of the hermit cry-
ing, 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 : "Isee now! 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 be-
yond the rosemary-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
THE TRINITY FLOWER. 21
paths on which the hermit's feet had left no
prints, and cherished 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 TALE OF CHRISTMAS EVE
A TALE OF CHRISTMAS EVE
MR. AND MRS. SKRATDJ.
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 follow-
ing peculiarity: They seldom seriously quar-
relled, but they never agreed about anything.
It is hard to say whether it were more painful
for their friends to hear them constantly contra-
dicting each other, or gratifying to discover that
it "meant nothing," and was "only their way."
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 statements, and opposing each
other's opinions, which, though mutually under-
stood and allowed for in private, was most try-
ing to the bystanders in public. If one related
an anecdote, the other would break in with half
a dozen corrections of trivial details of no inter-
est or importance to any one, 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 sev-
eral 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
"Why, my dear Mr. Skratdj, you said your-
self the weather had not been so promising for
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 unim-
portant trifles," he added, with a comprehensive
smile round the dinner-table; "her thoughts
are very properly absorbed by the more impor-
tant 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 quite as forgetful
and inaccurate as I am. And I don't think my
memory is at all a bad one."
You forgot the dinner-hour when we were
going out to dine last week, nevertheless," said
"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 din-
ner, my dear." *
"The letter was addressed to you," said Mr.
"I sent it to you by Jemima," said Mrs.
"I 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 burning a letter of invitation before
the day, for one is certain to forget."
I've no doubt you always do say it," Mr.
Skratdj remarked, with a smile, "but I certainly
never remember 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 conver-
sation, 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 disappearing 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 whatever 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 occasionally unhappy,
but now she and her husband understood each
other, and, having agreed to differ, they, unfor-
tunately, agreed also to differ in public.
Indeed, it was the bystanders 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 inter-
fere with each other's conversation, contradict-
ing 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 bowl
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 bystanders certainly had the worst
of it. Those who were near wished themselves
anywhere else, especially when appealed to.
Those who were at a distance did not mind so
much. A domestic squabble at a certain distance
is interesting, like an engagement viewed from a
point beyond the range of guns. In such a po-
sition one may some day be placed oneself!
Moreover, it gives a touch of excitement 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 themselves.
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 sealskin jacket
yesterday, when it wasn't half as cold as it is
today," said Mr. Skratdj.
My dear William Why, the children were
shivering the whole day, and the wind was in the
Due east, Mrs. Skratdj."
I know by the smoke, said Mrs. Skratdj,
softly, but decidedly.
I fancy I can tell an east wind when I feel
it," said Mr. Skratdj, jocosely, to the company.
I told Jemima to look at the weathercock,"
murmured Mrs. Skratdj.
I don't care a fig for Jemima," said her hus-
On another occasion Mrs. Skratdj and a lady
friend were conversing.
S"We met him at the Smiths'- a
gentlemanlike, agreeable man, about forty," said
Mrs. Skratdj, in reference to some matter inter-
esting to both ladies.
Not a day over thirty-five," said Mr.
Skratdj, from behind his newspaper.
"Why, my dear William, his hair's gray,"
said Mrs. Skratdj.
Plenty of men are gray at thirty," said Mr.
Skratdj. "I knew a man who was gray at
Well, forty or thirty-five, it does n't much
matter," said Mrs. Skratdj, about to resume her
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 difference to me, I know;" and
with a jocular air Mr. Skratdj departed, and
Mrs. Skratdj had the rest of the ancedote her
THE LITTLE SKRATDJS.
THE Spirit of Contradiction finds a place in
most nurseries, though to a very varying degree
in different ones. Children snap and snarl by
nature, like young puppies ; and most of us can
remember taking part in some such spirited dia-
logues as the following :
I will." "You daren 't."
You can't." I dare."
( "You shall." I 'll tell Mamma."
( "I won't." "" I 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 confessed that the lesson would not
have come with a good grace from either of them,
since they snapped and snarled between them-
selves as much or more than their children in
The two elders were the leaders in the nursery
squabbles. Between these, a boy and a girl, a
ceaseless 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
It began at breakfast, if not sooner.
"You've taken my chair."
It 's not your chair."
You know it's the one I like, and it was in
"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 was n't."
"I can, if I like."
"Well, was it?"
"I sha' n't tell you."
"Ah that shows it was n't."
"No, it does n't."
"Yes, it does."
Etc., etc., etc.
The direction of their daily walks was a fruit-
ful 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."
"I 'm sure we're not. We've not been
there for ever so long."
"Oh, what a story! We were there on
Wednesday. 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."
I 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 did n't, Papa."
No, I did n'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-man-
nered little girl. You 're getting very trouble-
some, Polly, and I shall have to send you to
school, where you'll be kept in order. Go
where your brother wishes at once."
For Polly and her brother had 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 frac-
tious 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
If you don't give it me back directly, I '11
tell about your eating the two magnum-bonums
in the kitchen garden on Sunday," said Master
Harry, on one occasion.
"' Telltale tit!
Your tongue shall be slit,
And every dog in the town shall have a little bit,'"
quoted his sister.
Ah! You've called me a telltale. Now
I '11 go and tell papa. You got into a fine scrape
.for calling me names the other day."
"Go, then! I don't care."
"You would n't like me to go, I know."
"You dare n't. That's what it is."
"Then why don't you ?"
Oh, I am going; but you '11 see what will be
the end of it."
Polly, however, had her own reasons for re-
maining stolid, and Harry started. But when
he reached the landing he paused. Mr. Skratdj
had especially announced that morning that he
did not wish to be disturbed, 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 magnanimous air,
"I don't want to get you into a scrape, Polly.
If you 'll beg my pardon I won't go."
"I 'm sure I sha' n't," said Polly, who was
equally well informed as to the position of affairs
at headquarters. "Go, if you dare."
"I won't if you want me not," said Harry,
discreetly 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 appeared through the banisters,
and Polly's sharp tongue goaded him on.
"Ah! I see you. You're stopping. You
dare n't go.'.'
I 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.
Did n't I tell you I was not to be disturbed
this morning? What an extraor-"
But Harry had shut the door, and withdrawn
Once outside, he returned to the nursery with
dignified steps, and an air of apparent satisfac-
tion, saying :
"You're to give me the bricks, please."
"Who says so?"
"Why, who should say so? Where have I
"I don't know, and I don't care."
"I 've been to Papa. There "
"Did he say I was to give up the bricks ?"
"I 've told you."
"No, you 've not."
I sha' n't tell you any more."
"Then I '11 go to Papa and ask."
Go by all means."
I won't if you '11 tell me truly."
I sha' n't tell you anything. Go and ask, if
you dare," said Harry, only too glad to have the
Polly's expedition met with the same fate, and
"AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS HE LINGERED AGAIN."
she attempted to cover her retreat in a similar
"Ah! you did n't tell."
"I don't believe you asked Papa."
"Don't you ? Very well !"
"Well, did you ?"
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 interference.
Difference of sex gave point to many of these
nursery squabbles, as it so often does to domes-
"Boys never will do what they're asked,"
Polly would complain.
"Girls ask such unreasonable things," was
Not half so unreasonable as the things you
Ah! that's a different thing! Women have
got to do what men tell them, whether it's rea-
sonable or not."
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 principle. And when I get a wife, I '11
take care I make her do what I tell her. But
you '11 have to obey your husband when you get
I won't have a husband, and then I can do
as I like."
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
And so they went on, ad infinitum, with
ceaseless arguments that proved nothing and
convinced nobody, and a continual stream of
contradiction that just fell short of downright
Indeed, there was a kind of snapping even less
near to a dispute than in the cases just men-
tioned. 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 :
"I'll give you a Christmas box. Which ear
will you have it on?"
"I won't stand it."
Pray take a chair."
You 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 caricature of what they did themselves.
But they often said, "We can't think how it is
the children are always squabbling! "
THE SKRATDJS' DOG AND THE HOT-TEM-
IT 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
harsh things in the pantry, and kept up a per-
ennial 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 visitors whatsoever.
The moment any one 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 visitor 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 butcher'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 Progress.'" 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
christening mugs, on this occasion; and Mr. and
Mrs. Skratdj dispute who it was who discour,
aged reliance on Snap's warning to the present
One Christmas time, a certain hot-tempered
gentleman 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 gentle-
man 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, sensi-
ble, well-behaved dogs of his own, and was
greatly disgusted with Snap's conduct. Never-
theless he spoke kindly to him; and Snap, who
had had many a bit from his 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
Yap! 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 squeal-
ing to the kitchen. And he never barked at
that gentleman again.
If the gentleman disapproved of Snap's con-
duct, he still less liked the continual snapping
of the Skratdj fam-
ily themselves. He
was an old friend
of Mr. and Mrs.
and knew that they
were really happy
together, and that
it was only a bad
habit which made
other. It was in
allusion to their real
affection for each
other, and their per-
that he called them
the "Snapping Tur-
When the war of
words waxed hottest
at the dinner-table
between his host o .s.t
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 snap-
ping 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 sauciness 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 contradicting his sister's re-
marks, to which she retorted; and the usual
snap-dialogue went on as usual.
Then you like music ? said the 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 ?"
"I 'm not always crying over it."
"Yes, you are."
No, I'm not. I only cry sometimes, when
I stick fast."
Your music must be very sticky, for you're
always stuck fast."
Hold your tongue !" said the hot-tempered
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 gentleman 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 consequence.
It's no use speaking," said the hot-tempered
gentleman, 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 be-
cause he was obliged to respect and obey him;
and all the children welcomed him boisterously
when he arrived that Christmas which we have
spoken of in connection with his attack on
It was on the morning of Christmas 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 horseradish for the beef;
who, stepping backwards, trod upon the 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-tem-
pered 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,
And Harry came up to him.
Show me your tongue, Harry," said he.
"What for?" said Harry; "you're not a
Do as I tell you," said the hot-tempered
gentleman; 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 gen-
tleman looked gloomier still, and shook his
"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
But the hot-tempered gentleman went slowly
out of the room without answering; passing his
hands through his hair, and saying, "Ah!
hum !" and nodding with an air of grave fore-
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 asked.
No cried the children with alarm. "Are
If ever you find them becoming forked,"
said the gentleman in solemn tones, "let me
With which he departed, gravely shaking his
In the afternoon the children attacked him
"Do tell us what's the matter with our
"You were snapping and squabbling just as
usual this morning," said the hot tempered
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 ?"
"I'm very much afraid," said the hot tem-
pered gentleman, in solemn, measured tones,
" that you are both of you fast going -
Dogs ?" suggested Harry, who was learned
in cant expressions.
"Dogs! said the hot- tempered gentleman,
driving his hands through his hair. Bless your
life, no Nothing half so pleasant! (That is,
unless all dogs were like Snap, which mercifully
they a-e not.) No, my sad fear is, that you are
both of you rapidly going to the Snap-
And not another word would the hot-tem-
pered gentleman 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 welcome cakes, and furmety, and punch.
And when furmety somewhat palled upon the
taste (and it must be admitted to boast more
sentiment than flavor as a Christmas dish), the
Yule candles were blown out and both the
spirits and the palates of the party were stimu-
lated by the mysterious and pungent pleasures
Then, as the hot-tempered gentleman warmed
his coat tails at the Yule 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
"THE HOT-TEMPERED GENTLEMAN WARMED HIS
COAT TAILS AT THE YULE LOG."
snatched from hand to hand, scattering frag-
ments of flame hither and thither. The children
shouted as the fiery sweetmeats burnt away the
mawpish taste of the furmety. Mr. Skratdj
cried that they were spoiling the carpet; Mrs.
Skratdj complained 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 re-
called an old speech of Mr. Skratdj on the sub-
ject of wearing one's nice things for the benefit
of one's family and not reserving them for
visitors. 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 dis-
puted as to the credit for courage and the
amount of raisins due to each. Snap barked
furiously 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 St At it! At it 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 rep-
artee, 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.
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
"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."
"No, it's not," said Harry.
"Well, almost. It would be better if it were
quite out. Now come. It's dangerous for a boy
like you to be alone with the Snap-Dragons
Fiddlesticks !" said Harry.
"Go your own way, then! said the hot-tem-
pered gentleman; and he bounced out of the
room, and Harry was left alone.
DANCING WITH THE DRAGONS.
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 fortunate 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. Lobsters 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-Dra-
How they leaped about They were forever
leaping 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
Zoological 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
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 awhile.
"I 'm glad you think it funny," said Harry,
"That's right. Snap away!" sneered the
Dragon. "You 're a perfect treasure. They '11
take you in with them the third round."
"Not those creatures ? cried Harry.
"Yes, those creatures. And if I had n't lost
my bark, I 'd be the first to lead you off," said
the Dragon. Oh, the game will exactly suit
"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 any-
body speaks to you, you must snap in return.
I need not explain what snapping is. You know.
If any one 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."
I dare say it suits you capitally," said Harry;
" but I 'm sure we should n'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
Vesuvius cried Harry.
Yes, Vesuvius. We come from Italy orig-
inally, you know. Our skins are the color of
the Bay of Naples. We live on dry 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 meet-
ing last year. So many human beings, and how
they can snap It was a choice party. So very
select. We always have plenty of saucy children,
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
insulting the public instead of to learning the
postal regulations, three cabmen and two 'fares,'
two young shop-girls from a Berlin wool shop
in a town where there was no competition, four
commercial travellers, six landladies, six Old
Bailey lawyers, several 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 fight-
ing for good seats in church."
Dear me said Harry.
If 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 come 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. Besides barking, they snapped and
wrangled with each other; and in this Harry
must join also.
"Pleasant, is n't it ? said one of the blue
"Not at all," snapped Harry.
"That's your bad taste," snapped the blue
"No, it's not! snapped Harry.
"Then it's pride and perverseness. You
want your hair combing."
Oh, please don't! shrieked Harry, forget-
ting himself. On which the Dragon clawed a
handful of hair out of his head, and Harry
screamed, and the blue Dragons barked and
That made your hair curl, did n't it ?" asked
another 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," re-
torted the Dragon.
"Keep it to yourself, then," snapped Harry.
I 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 so 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 an end. 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 thinking with joy that he was the last, when
the clock in the hall gave that whirring sound
which 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
clawful 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 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 com-
pletely as the brandy.
Harry was cured of snapping. He had had
quite enough of it for a lifetime, and the catch
contradictions 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 an-
swers 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."
Harry and Polly snubbed the little ones "
when they snapped, and utterly discountenanced
snapping in the nursery. The example and ad-
monitions of elder children are a powerful instru-
ment of nursery discipline, and before long
there was not a sharp tongue among all the
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.
TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S
TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S
"OH, Toby, my dear old Toby, you portly
and princely Pug !
You know it 's bad for you to lie in the fen-
der 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 '11 count your great velvet wrinkles, and com-
fort 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 tricks.
72 TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY S TRICKS.
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 and down stairs. I learnt that last
holidays from my brother.
"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
TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS. 73
"And I learnt to wrinkle my forehead, and
squeeze up my eyes, and make faces with my
lips by imitating the strange doctor who attended
us when we were ill.
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 '1l stay there, and remember
you can't squint properly and keep your eye on
the weathercock at the same time to see how it
"But boys are so mean! -and I catch stam-
mering from his school friend Tut-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
"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
74 TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS.
grow up like our pretty great-great-grand-
Do you know her, dear Toby? I don't
think you do. I don't think you ever look at
pictures, intelligent as you are!
"It'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
I should very much like to be like her when
I grow up to that age; mother says she was
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."
TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS. 75
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!
I am, as your respected Father truly ob-
serves, 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 be-
lieve myself to be perfect in every feature.
And when my ears are just joined over my
forehead like a black velvet cap, I'm reckoned
the living likeness of a late eminent divine and
once popular preacher.
Did your great-great-grandmamma ever take
a prize at a show ? But let that pass the real
question is this :
How is it that what I am most highly com-
mended for, should in your case be taken
Why am I reckoned the best and cleverest
of dogs? Because I've picked up tricks so
quickly ever since I was a pup.
76 TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS.
And if I could n't wrinkle my forehead and
poke out my chin, and grimace at the judges,
do you suppose I should ever have been Class
Pug. First Prize Champion and Gold Cup ?
We have one thing in common I do not
find it easy to sit up.
But I learned it, and so will you. I can't
imagine worse manners than to put one's tongue
in one's cheek; as a rule, I hang mine gracefully
out on one side.
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
I 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 door.
I lie flat on the floor at the word of com-
mand-in short, I've as many tricks as you
have, and every one of them counts to my
TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS. ?7
"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 ex-
perience and the solidity of my judgment--
this would tempt me to think your mamma a
very foolish person, and to advise you to disobey
her; but I do not, Little Missis, for I know
That if you belong to good and kind people,
78 TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS.
it is well to let them train you up in the way in
which they think you should go.
Your excellent parents trained me to tricks;
and very senseless some of them seemed, I
But I 've 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 govern-
ment 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 learn mine, long ago;
And we may all live to see you yet -' Class
Young Lady. First Prize. Gold Medal-of a
TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS. )79
"Oh, Toby, my dear old Toby, you wise and
"Don't struggle off yet, stay on my knee for
a bit, you '11 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 '11 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.
I 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 to grunt, but
I know you don't mean it.
"I 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'11 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.
80 TINY'S TRICKS AND TOBY'S TRICKS.
"I know they're not fit to be seen, but she
says they would soon become better.
"I 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 (on both legs) before the picture, and con-
fess it to great-great-grandmamma.
"Just fancy if I've no tricks left this time
next year, Toby! Won't that show how clever
we are ?
"I for trying so hard to do what I 'm told, and
you for being so wise that people will say-
'That sensible pug cured that silly little girl
when not even her mother could mend her.'
S-- Ah Bad dog Where are you slink-
ing off to ? Oh, Toby, darling do, do take a
little of your own good advice, and try to cure
yourself of lying in the fender "