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The Baldun Librar)
" WHAT A HALF-HOUR IT WAS FOR PANSY! "
See 6age 18.
PANSY BILLINGS AND POPSY
Two Stories of Girl Life
(HELEN HUNT JACKSON)
AUTHOR OF "RAMONA," NELLY'S SILVER MINE,"
"BITS OF TALK FOR YOUNG FOLKS,"
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Colonial 1rm s:
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, U. S. A.
I. ARCHIE MCCLOUD'S WOODEN BOX
II. PANSY GOES INTO BUSINESS
I. POPSY's TABLE-CLOTHS
II. POpsY's GRAND JOURNEY
PANSY BILLINGS AND POPSY
ARCHIE McCLOUD'S WOODEN BOX.
PANSY was not her real name. She was bap-
tized Mary Jane, after her mother's oldest sister,
but, from the time she was eight years old, she
was never called anything but Pansy;" and
how that came about, and what it all meant,
both to Pansy herself and her family, it is the
purpose of this story to tell.
Pansy's mother was a widow with three little
children, Pansy, the oldest, Albert, the second,
and Alice, the youngest.
When Pansy's father died, Alice was a little
baby, in the cradle, and Albert could but just
run alone. Pansy was seven, and felt herself
ARCHIE McCLOUD'S WOODEN BOX.
PANSY was not her real name. She was bap-
tized Mary Jane, after her mother's oldest sister,
but, from the time she was eight years old, she
was never called anything but Pansy;" and
how that came about, and what it all meant,
both to Pansy herself and her family, it is the
purpose of this story to tell.
Pansy's mother was a widow with three little
children, Pansy, the oldest, Albert, the second,
and Alice, the youngest.
When Pansy's father died, Alice was a little
baby, in the cradle, and Albert could but just
run alone. Pansy was seven, and felt herself
as old and as important as a grown woman,
because she took so much care of her little
brother and sister. It was droll about the
names of these two children. Before Alice
was born, Albert had always been called Ally.
When Mrs. Billings named the new baby
Alice, she did not think about the natural nick-
name for Alice being the same that they had
already used for Albert, and, the first thing they
knew, they had two "Allys" in the house.
That would never do. As the children grew
up, it would make no end of confusion, so they
fell into the way of calling Albert "Ally-boy,"
to distinguish him from the "Ally" that was a
girl, and before long that came to be supposed
to be his real name. All over the town he was
known as "Ally-boy," which was by no means
a bad name, any more than Pansy was. But,
as Mrs. Billings used to say, anybody, to read
her children's names as they were written in the
big family Bible, would wonder, and never think
that the children answering to the names of
Pansy, Ally-boy, and Ally were the same ones.
Mr. Billings was a teamster. He owned a
good wagon and pair of horses, and those, with
his own strong hands, a good temper, and an
upright character, were, as he often said, his only
"stock in trade." But they proved a very good
stock. He had always plenty of work,-every-
body in the town who wanted work done would
go to Billings first, and not give the job to any-
body else, unless Billings was too busy. This
was what Billings had won for himself, simply
by being always pleasant, prompt, and faithful.
He was an ignorant man, and a stupid one:
knew enough to take care of horses, drive, and
do an errand as he was bid, -no more; but, little
as it was, that was enough to enable him to earn
a living, and be respected by everybody.
In which there is a lesson for all of us, if we
will think about it a minute. It is the same
lesson which Jesus Christ once put into a par-
able; the parable of the lord who, going into a
far country, gave to his different servants differ-
ent sums of money, to one five silver talents,
to another three, to another only one. And
the man who had only one did not think it
worth while to try to do anything with it, it was
so small a sum. And that man, Jesus said,
"was slothful and wicked," and deserved to be
punished. No such verdict as that would ever
be pronounced against Billings. His talent was
a very small one, but he used it faithfully, and
to the utmost; and no doubt when he died he
had his reward in the next world. Even in this
he was remembered and regretted far longer
than many a man who had been richer, cleverer,
and more prominent than he.
It was years before people left off saying,
" How we miss Billings!" "There's nobody
now that can be trusted as we used to trust
When Mrs. Billings found herself alone with
her three little children, she did not know which
way to turn. She had always earned a little
money by washing, and by selling eggs; enough
for her own clothes, and the children's, and now
and then to buy a piece of furniture for the
house; but to earn the entire support for the
family was quite another thing. Her heart
sank within her, as she looked into the three
little faces, now clouded and sorrowful as they
saw the sorrow and anxiety in hers. But she
did not sit idle a minute, or waste any of her
strength in useless fretting.
She went to all her husband's old customers,
and asked them to ask their wives to give her
their fine washing. She also resolved to en-
large her poultry yard, and sell chickens, as well
as eggs. These were the only things she knew
of that she could do.
It went very hard with them for a time, work
was not plenty, and the chicken business very
uncertain; many a day .both mother and chil-
dren were hungry, and had not food enough in
the house to eat. Still, they pulled through,
month after month, and though their clothes
were shabby and their food scanty, they had
the comfort of a home together, and that was
Opposite their little house lived a florist, an
old Scotchman named Archie McCloud. He
was a queer, crotchety old man, but had most
wonderful success with flowers. People came
to him, from far and near, for roses, and carna-
tions, and heliotrope, but most of all for pansies.
Pansies were the old man's delight. There was
not a variety of pansy known which could not
be found in his beds.
It's the flower o' a' flowers," he used to say.
" It's the face o' a sma' cheeld in it; as the Lord
himself' gie us for a pattern. I'd spare a' the
rest o' them, an' abide wi' the parnsy."
When old Archie first noticed the little Bil-
lings girl, with her baby sister in her arms, and
her baby brother toddling behind, standing close
to his fence and looking over at the flowers, he
was not pleased. He was afraid of children.
For they sometimes opened his gate, ran in, and
stole flowers, when he was away. They reached
over the fence and broke off the tops of his
hedges. He hated to see them coming near
his place, much as he loved them for their own
sake. But there was something in this little
girl's face which drew him to her greatly. He
observed that she was always pleasant and af-
fectionate to the baby; and once, when the
baby reached over the fence and made a clutch
at a lauristinus blossom, he saw her give a
gentle tap to the little hand, and say, No, no,
baby. You must not touch a leaf. They're
only to look at." Then his heart warmed to
the child, and he resolved to give her a bou-
quet some day. The very next day, a lady
S stopped at the gate to buy some flowers. The
group of little Billingses were standing near.
As old Archie came out with the flowers in a
newspaper, and handed them to the lady in her
carriage, a beautiful purple pansy slipped out
and fell to the ground, almost under the horses'
feet. Quicker than a flash of lightning the
Billings baby was laid on the ground, and her
little nurse had sprung forward, close to the
horses' heels, snatched the flower, and handed
it up, crying, Here is one that fell out!"
Keep it, little girl," said the lady, smiling
"Oh! thank you!" said Pansy, for so we
must begin to call Mary Jane now, -" thank
you!" and she looked at the flower with such
an ecstasy of delight in her face that the lady
thought to herself, This is no common child,
to love flowers like that." The lady herself
loved flowers better than anything else in the
world; loved them so much that she could not
help instantly liking any one, even a stranger,
who loved them, too.
Give her some more, Archie," she said.
" The child evidently loves them."
Yes, mem, she do indeed. I've observed
her. She's an excellent cheeld, Mrs. Scott,"
and he hastened back into the garden to cut
Pansy had not understood what was said, and
remained lost in admiration and delight, looking
down into the heart of her flower.
Do you like the pansy? said the lady.
Pansy looked up, bewildered at first.
Is that the name of it? she asked.
Dear, dear," thought the lady, to think the
poor little thing never saw a pansy before "
Yes, that's its name," said the lady. It is
a lovely little flower."
It's got a face in it," said Pansy, rapturously,
"just like it was laughing."
Old Archie came up just in time to hear this
speech. His face glowed with pleasure.
Eh, the bonnie bairn. Ye're a parnsy
yersil'! Luik at the parceeption o' the
bairn, mem!" and from that hour old Archie
was Pansy's friend. So, also, was Mrs. Scott.
Though months went by before she and Pansy
were brought together again, she never forgot
the child's face of delight, nor her quick recogni-
tion of the half-elfin laugh stamped on the pansy
petals, and she said to herself, many a time,
" I'll go and look up that child, and give her
some flowers;" but Mrs. Scott was like most
very rich ladies, so full of engagements and
amusements that weeks counted up into months,
without her realizing how fast they were speed-
The next day, when old Archie saw Pansy at
the fence, with her babies, he went over to speak
to her. The first thing that caught his eye was
the purple pansy pinned on the front of her
An' ye're wearing' the parnsy? he said.
Yes, sir," said Pansy. I didn't like to leave
her in the house. I thought she would like to
come out and play with us," and she looked
down into the blossom's face with a glance as
loving as those she gave her little sister. The
old man chuckled.
"An' wha tauld ye 'twas a lassie?" he said.
Pansy stared, perplexed. She was not used to
the Scotch brogue. Archie repeated his ques-
tion in plainer fashion.
Oh, I don't know," said Pansy, I just called
it so. It looks like Ally. Didn't you ever see
the face in it?" she added, innocently, unpin-
ning the flower and holding it up to him. This
time old Archie shook his sides, laughing.
"Ay, ay, bairn," he replied. "They've 's
mony faces 's they've blossoms; I ken 'em a'.
Come in, come in, an' I'll show ye a bonny sight
o' 'em," and he opened the gate wide.
Pansy trembled with pleasure. How she had
longed and yearned to get inside that gate, and
see the gay flower beds nearer at hand!
Oh, thank you, sir," she cried; "might I just
take Ally-boy home and leave him? I can carry
the baby, but I'm afraid Ally-boy will step on
the beds," at which Ally-boy began to cry, and
old Archie said, "No, you needn't take him
home. I'll lead him, and keep him off the
Such a sight was never seen before in that
garden, -three little children, one in arms, be-
ing piloted about by the old Scotchman himself.
And what a half-hour it was for Pansy! Her
cheeks grew crimson with excitement, and she
almost panted for breath, as she went from roses
to carnations, and from carnations to heliotrope,
and so on, till they came to the pansy beds,
which were on the farther side of the garden.
When she saw these, she did not speak a word,
only looked, and looked, and now and then
sighed. The queer old gardener liked her all
the better for this. He hated chatter. When
they got through, he said, "Now, my bairn,
there's na cheeld kens what ye ken o' this place.
An' ye're welcome whenever ye like."
Do you mean, sir, that I'm to come in when
I like ? asked Pansy.
That's it, praceesely," replied old Archie.
"Ye is to be trusted. I've watched ye mony a
time, when ye little thocht it. An' ye've an eye
for the blossoms. Ye can come when ye like."
"Oh, thank you very much," said Pansy,
and her eyes thanked him far more than the
She did not go into the garden, however, for
several days. Old Archie saw her standing, as
usual, at the fence, and looking over, but she
did not go near the gate. This pleased him,
She's na presoomin', the little lassie. A fine
modesty she's got in her wee soul," he said to
himself; "it was a guid name I gave her, when
I ca'ed her for the parnsy. It's the richt name
for her," The next time he spoke to her he
said, Guid-day to ye, little Parnsy," and after
that he never called her anything else. Soon
Ally-boy caught it, and, before long, the baby;
Mrs. Billings did not dislike the sound, and
Pansy herself delighted in it. She began to
have a strange feeling, which she was far too
young to have put in words, or to understand,
as if the pansies were her sisters. Whenever
old Archie asked her of a morning what flower
she would like, as he often did, she always said,
"A pansy, please," and this pleased him more
and more. Sometimes he would try to tempt
her with some other flower. An' winna ye like
a rose the day? or mebbe a pink? "
No, sir, a pansy, please," she would say, and
then he would often add to the pansy the rose,
or the carnation, saying, An' if ye've na use for
this one ye can give it t' the mither."
So Pansy was seldom without one of her
namesake blossoms pinned on her apron. She
would wear it all day, put it in water at night,
and, as if the blossom knew how the child loved
it, it would come out fresh the next morning,
ready to be worn again.
But old Archie was preparing a still greater
pleasure for his little friend. One day he ap-
peared at Mrs. Billings's door, with a long
wooden box in his arms, almost heavier than he
could carry, filled with pansies; a dozen fine,
healthy plants, in full bloom. These were to
be Pansy's own. He set the'box in a sunny
corner of the yard. Pansy was not at home,
which grieved the old man. He wanted to see
the child's face at the first sight of them. But
he did not lose much of its expression, for in
less than a minute after her mother had shown
her the box, and told her it was for her, she had
raced over to the garden, burst open the gate,
and, springing upon Archie, as he was stooping
over a geranium bed, picking off dead leaves,
she nearly threw him down with her impetuous
hug and kiss. She had never kissed him of her
own accord before, but now she hugged him and
kissed, and kissed and hugged, till he was almost
as out of breath as she.
This box was the beginning of a new life for
Pansy. She no longer spent so many hours
standing at the old florist's fence. She liked
her own pansies better than all the gay-colored
flowers to be seen in his beds. The more she
looked at them, the more they seemed to her to
be alive, as she and her brother and sister were
alive. Often she would say to her mother,
" Can't you see how they laugh? This yellow
one, she laughs the most, and the white one;
they are better-natured than the black ones."
She took the best care of them. Not a weed
had a chance to more than show its head in the
box before it was pulled up; never a day passed
that they were not watered, and, if the sun were
too hot at noon, covered up with a thin paper;
old Archie had told her that this would make
the blossoms last longer. He told her, also,
PANSY BILLINGS. 23
about saving the seeds, to plant next year, so as
to get new varieties.
One morning, early in September, Pansy saw
Mrs. Scott's carriage stopping again at the gar-
den gate. In a few moments old Archie came
out, and, seeing Pansy, beckoned to her to come
PANSY GOES INTO BUSINESS.
"HEv ye ony pansies in bloom in the box,
me bairn ?" he asked.
"Oh, yes, lots," said Pansy, wondering why
"Weel, then, rin an' cut all ye'll like to
spare," said Archie. Mrs. Scott, she's wantin'
two hunderd, an' I canna mak' it oot for her."
Pansy flew and cut every one in the box,
not without a pang at losing them, but very
glad to be able to, as she supposed, help old
What was her surprise when, counting the
pansies, carefully, he said, There's fifty o' 'em;
that ull be a dollar for ye, me bairn," and he
put a silver dollar into her hand. She looked
at it and at him, so perplexedly that Mrs.
Scott laughed out.
I did not know that you had an assistant
florist, Mr. McCloud," she said. "This is the
little girl that liked pansies so much, isn't it?
What is your name, dear?"
"They all call me Pansy, now," she said;
"my real name's Mary Jane. But I don't
want the money for the pansies. They're not
my pansies, anyhow. Mr. McCloud only gave
them to me to keep in a box. They're all his,"
and she stretched out her hand towards old
Archie, to give him back the dollar.
"Na! na!" he said. "The siller's yer ain;
haud fast to it. Siller dollars dinna grow on
bushes. It's your ain."
"Oh, yes, Pansy, it is my money, not Mr.
McCloud's," said Mrs. Scott, "and I like very
much to buy pansies of a little girl named
Pansy. Would you like to see what I am
going to do with all these pansies, my dear?"
she added, struck by a sudden fancy.
"Yes, ma'am," said Pansy, timidly.
"Well, jump in on the front seat with the
driver," replied Mrs. Scott, "and I'll take you
home with me and show you."
I'll have to ask my mother, first," said Pansy.
"Jump in, Parnsy, jump in," said old Archie.
" I'll gang ower an' tell it t' the mither."
So Pansy, very happy, but a good deal
frightened, was rolled away in the fine carriage,
to Mrs. Scott's beautiful house. It was the
most beautiful house in the town, and Mrs.
Scott was one of the richest women; as kind
and good, too, as she was rich. As Archie
watched her driving away with Pansy, he
thought to himself:
"It wad na' be strange if it waur the mak-
kin' o' the lassie's fortune, this ride she's get-
Old Archie did not know all that there was
of energy and character in his Pansy's little
breast. She was not destined to be beholden
to any one for the making of her life. She
herself was to be the making of it.
When they reached the house, Mrs. Scott
led Pansy into the dining-room. Here a table
was beautifully set for a dinner-party. The
glass and silver and candlesticks shone so,
that it made Pansy blink her eyes.
In the centre of the table was a great bunch
of feathery white clematis; on each side of this
were dishes of fruit, -peaches and grapes and
"Do you think it is pretty, Pansy?" asked
Pansy could hardly speak.
I think it must look like Aladdin's palace,"
she said, at last.
"Oh, dear, no," laughed Mrs. Scott, not so
fine as that. I'm not going to have any flow-
ers but pansies, to-night," she continued, "and
I'll arrange them now, so you can see how they
will look, and why I want so many."
Then she took Pansy into another room,
where, on a table, were a dozen little narrow,
semicircular dishes, made of tin and painted
green; they were not quite an inch deep, and
less than an inch wide. They were filled with
wet sand. Into this sand Mrs. Scott stuck the
pansies, filling each little dish as full as it
would hold. Then she arranged them on the
table, in and out among the dishes of fruit,
till it looked as if one long wreath of pansies
had been laid on the table-cloth. The tins
were so low they did not show at all. When
it was done, Pansy gave a little scream of
I don't believe there was ever anything so
beautiful in the world before," she said.
At this Mrs. Scott laughed again, but in a
moment more she looked sober. It always
made her sad to be reminded how little the
very poor people in this world can know about
the beautiful things which cost money.
The pansies are the prettiest things of them
all, dear," she replied, and everybody can have
"Yes'm," said Pansy; but in her heart she
thought, The pansies did not look so pretty in
Poverty makes little children wise before their
time, in matters of money. Even while Pansy
was most absorbed in looking at the beautiful
house, and the dinner-table with the pansy
wreaths on it, she never forgot the silver
dollar in her hand. A dollar was a great
deal of money to Pansy. She had never be-
fore had more than five cents at a time. She
knew, too, how much a dollar seemed to her
"Two cents apiece for all my pansies," she
thought. I might have sold them before, if I
had enly known." When she went home, she
gave her mother the dollar. Mrs. Billings was
as astonished as Pansy. She had never thought
before that a flower as common as a pansy could
be worth so much money.
"Why, you've had a dollar's worth of them
many a time before, haven't you, Pansy?" said
"Yes, indeed, lots of times," said Pansy.
" But I've got the seed of all I didn't cut. Mr.
McCloud told me to save it. Next summer we
can have a big bed."
I don't know as Mr. McCloud would like us
to sell them," said Mrs. Billings.
"Oh," said Pansy, crestfallen, "perhaps he
wouldn't. But sometimes he doesn't have as
many as people want. Then he wouldn't care."
The upshot of this conversation, and of one
or two talks that Pansy had with old Archie,
was that next year there was not only a big
pansy bed in Mrs. Billings's yard, but a bed
of carnations, and one of rose-geranium.' Old
Archie was only too glad to help Pansy to earn
a little money, and his own business was so
large he could well afford to help a poor
He taught Pansy, and also her mother, how
to take care of the plants, and make the most
of them. He showed Pansy how to tie up little
buttonhole bouquets with wire; a single carna-
tion and two pansies, with rose-geranium leaves,
made a pretty little bouquet, for which Pansy
got ten cents, and sometimes she sold ten in
Before Pansy knew it, little girl as she was,
she had become a sort of florist in a small way.
Mrs. Scott's friends had all heard about her, and
liked to patronize her. Her name, Pansy, also
helped her. It pleased everybody's fancy; and
everybody was glad to give a lift to such an
industrious little creature. As the years went
on, and she had to spend many hours. each day
in school, it grew to be no small task for her to
keep her flower beds in order, and make all her
plants do their utmost. Each year old Archie
gave her new things, and her beds grew fuller
and fuller. She was always up by daylight, at
work in her garden; and she often worked there
after dark. All this outdoor work kept her
healthy, and by the time she was fifteen she was
as strong and large as most girls at eighteen.
Ally-boy, too, was a fine, hearty boy, and
helped her very much; but he did not love it
as Pansy did. He worked only for the money.
Pansy used to say, sometimes, she wished she
need not sell a single blossom; she loved every
one, and missed every one she cut and sent
How proud old Archie was of her, and her
success, could hardly be told in words. She
did nothing without consulting him; and gradu-
ally it came about that he did few things without
consulting her. She read aloud to him all the
new books and pamphlets he got which related
to the florist business, and there was not a day
that she did not go with him through his hot-
houses and gardens. She called him "uncle
Archie" now, and nothing would have offended
the old man more than to have any one question
the relationship. He was not strong now. No-
body knew his age. It was a weakness of old
Archie's never to tell it; but it must have been
much greater than any one supposed, for all of a
sudden he began to walk very feebly, and to look
like an aged man.
It cut Pansy to the hart to see that, when he
stooped to pick a flower, he could not straighten
up again without a groan, and that day after day
he would sit on the terrace, in the sun, and do
nothing, watching his workmen all day, and find-
ing fault with everything they did.
I'm afraid uncle Archie is failing, mother,"
she said one day. "Do you see how bent he
walks? And he doesn't lift his hand to a spade
or trowel now."
"Yes," replied Mrs. Billings, "he looks ninety,
if he's a day. He can't last long."
The tears filled Pansy's eyes. Putting on her
hat, she went over to the garden. Old Archie
was sitting, languid, in his chair, in the porch of
the little two-roomed cottage where he had lived
all alone for forty years. A new Florist Cata-
logue lay on his knees.
Parnsy," he said, as she came up the path,
"there's a new parnsy we maun ha'! It's a
big braw name they gie it," and he pointed to
the name in the catalogue. An' I'm a-thinkin',
my bairn, o' putting' up a sign 't the place. It's
not had ony name 't it a' these years. I thocht
I'd ca' it the Parnsy Gardens.' Is't na' a guid
name? 'Twould luik well, I'm thinking wi' a
new gate, an' maybe a parnsy or twa painted
abuve the warrds."
"Why, that would be lovely, uncle Archie,"
cried Pansy, delighted with the idea. "That's
just what it ought to be called, but everybody
says there are no such pansies in the whole
country as yours, -"
Not so mony kinds in any ane mon's place,"
interrupted old Archie.
"No, indeed," said Pansy, I was reading
that to you, you know, in that pamphlet, the
other day. Don't you remember, it said that
the finest pansies, and the greatest variety, at
that Horticultural Show, were, as had been
the case for many years, exhibited by Mr. Mc-
The old man nodded, with a look of tender
pride spreading over his face.
"Eh, eh, bairn," he said, "fine warrds a'!
Fine warrds!" Then glancing up at her archly,
he said, "An' the bonniest parnsy o' a' winna
gae to the show!"
Pansy flushed and laughed, and, taking the
old man's hand in hers, said, Don't spoil me,
Na reesk o't," he said, na reesk. Yer na'
While the new sign was being painted, old
Archie seemed more like himself than he had
done for months.
He haunted the painter's shop, and nearly
drove the man crazy by his multiplicity of direc-
tions about the pansies which were to be painted
in the corners of the signboard,--a purple, a
yellow, a black, and a white, all on a green
They were painted over four times before he
would accept them, or allow that they bore the
least resemblance to pansies. At last, more in
despair than in satisfaction, he consented to
let them stand, contenting himself with saying:
I daur say the maist o' mankind 'ud ca' 'em
parnsies," and it was the utmost of commenda-
tion the wearied painter could extract from him.
The new gate and sign fronted Mrs. Billings's
door, and the old man used to sit there by the
hour, contemplating it. It seemed to give him
great delight to read it aloud to Pansy.
"The 'Parnsy Gardens,' do you like the
name, my bairn? The 'Parnsy Gardens.'
Does it na' sound weel? Ay! Ay, it sounds
weel!" and he would gaze at Pansy with a long,
inquiring look of fond affection.
He's named it for you, Pansy, don't you
think so ?" said Mrs. Billings one day.
"No, indeed!" exclaimed Pansy, astonished.
"Why, it's for the pansies! The garden's
always been celebrated for its pansies. I won-
der he did not call it so before."
Mrs. Billings was not convinced, however;
and she was by no means the only one who had
had the thought. It began to be said in the
town that old Archie had named his gardens
after his pet and favorite, Pansy Billings, and
one day somebody jokingly taxed the old man
"An' I might ha' done waur," he answered,
with a slow, shrewd smile. I might ha' done
waur. Ye wad aiblins tell me how a mon 'd do
Very fast uncle Archie failed. Maple leaves
were turning red when the new signboard was
put up; and, before the trees were bare, the
old man had taken to his bed. Pansy or her
mother stayed with him all the time, one by
day, and the other by night. He seemed to
have dismissed from his mind all care about
his affairs, and lay there, like a little child,
peacefully going to sleep. When Pansy would
ask him some questions about the plants, he
would reply, "Weel, weel, bairn, ye ken what
to do; do as ye like! It's a' the same to me
He suffered so little that Pansy could not
believe he was so near his end, and was greatly
surprised one night when her mother said to
her, "Pansy, I don't like to be left alone with
uncle Archie to-night. You'd better stay. You
can lie on the lounge in the kitchen, and if he's
worse I'll call you."
It was near morning when Pansy was
PANSY BILLINGS. 39
waked by her mother's calling, "Come quick,
It was not half a minute before Pansy was by
the bedside, just in time to hear the old man
say, half unconsciously, "Guid bairn! Parnsy
Gardens." They were his last words. In a
moment more the loving, aged heart had ceased
A great surprise was in store for Pansy. By
a will, drawn up only-a'few months before his
death, old Archie had bequeathed to her his
whole property, the Pansy Gardens, the little
house, and a few thousand dollars in the bank.
Pansy was overwhelmed. She could not accus-
tom herself to the idea of it. In her humility,
she at first doubted her ability to carry on the
business; and yet it was the very thing of all
others she had often thought she would choose
As she looked back, she could see that the
plan had been in old Archie's mind for two
years, and that he had been steadily educating
her for it.
It was not long before she found her heart
full of joy in the prospect. Every difficulty was
now smoothed away from her mother's path.
Ally-boy could realize the dream of his life, and
go to college; Alice could go to a good school;
no more poverty for them. With ordinary good
luck, and industrious care, Pansy knew that
she could make the gardens yield a yearly in-
come more than sufficient for their comfort-
The man who had for many years been old
Archie's head gardener begged to be kept on
in his place.
"Indeed, miss, an' if ye'll keep me on, I'll
serve ye as well as ever I served the old man."
And Pansy was thankful to keep him.
So here we leave her at seventeen, florist and
proprietor, in her own right, of a prosperous
business and a good home.
PANSY BILLINGS. 41
And all this had come about from a
Not quite. It had come about, first, from the
dropped pansy, but after that from a little girl's
affectionate good will, good cheer, honesty, and
industry, qualities which never fail, in the
long run, to win.
THE STORY OF A TENNESSEE GIRL
PoPsy was a Tennessee girl. She lived on
a farm, which lay along the banks of a beau-
tiful little stream named Clifty Creek. The
people in that region always said "crik" for
Popsy's father was a stone-mason, but there
was not much work for a stone-mason to do, in
that part of the country, except in the spring
and autumn, and if it had not been for the
farm, there would have been hard times often
in Popsy's house. As it was, they did not
have any luxuries, or any money to spare, and
they all had to work, but they were comfortable,
had plenty to eat, and had a very good time.
There were six of the children,--three boys
and three girls, -and Popsy was the youngest
but one. Her name was Mary, but she was
always called either Pop, or Popsy. I suppose
that must be Tennesseean for Polly, which is
everywhere a common nickname for Mary.
Their house was one story high, built of
sawed logs, -like a log cabin, only higher; and
the logs were covered inside and out by planks
of black walnut wood, all cut and sawed on
This made the inside of the house very
pretty, rough as it was; the walls, floors, and
ceilings, being all of the black walnut boards,
were a beautiful brown color.
A straight stone walk was laid from the
front door down to the gate, and on each side
of this stone walk was a row of trees, ever-
green trees, and a tree the country people
called the lily-of-the-valley tree, because it had
large, purple flowers, shaped like lilies. These
trees were arranged in regular alternation, first
an evergreen, then a lily-of-the-valley tree, and
so on, all the way down; they made a beau-
tiful shade in the summer, and the air was
sweet with the perfume of the great purple
This stone walk was the pride of Popsy's
father's heart. He was far more particular
about its being kept clean than he was about
the floors inside the house. On those, he had
a bad habit of spitting, to his wife's great dis-
gust; but he was never known to spit on the
stone walk; and whenever he had been sitting
in the porch whittling, which he always did
when he got into a brown study about things,
if any of the whittlings flew on the stone walk,
he would immediately go and get the broom
and sweep them off on to the ground. There
they might lie, year in and year out, and it
wouldn't trouble him; but not on the precious
white stone walk. Not a single shaving must
be seen on that.
In each corner of the yard was a big cherry-
tree, and there were rows of peach-trees for a
great distance along the road. Peaches were
as plenty in this part of Tennessee as apples
are in New England. When a traveller stopped
to rest his horse, or to give him water, any-
where along the road, he would generally find
a peach-tree at hand, from which he could pick
all the peaches he wanted.
The kitchen was in a separate house, joined
to the other by a long, covered porch; in a
room opening off the kitchen the negroes slept,
- there were usually three of these. They were
slaves, but they did not belong to Popsy's
father. He was a German, and always said he
would never own a slave. It did not trouble
his conscience, however, to borrow them from
his brother-in-law, who lived about three miles
away, had more slaves than he knew what to
do with, and was always glad to have a few of
them working for their board in any family
where they would be well treated.
So Popsy grew up surrounded by faithful,
affectionate negro women. The whole family
worked together, master, mistress, children,
slaves, all side by side, out-of-doors or indoors,
as it might be, in the tobacco field or sugar
grove, kitchen or dining-room. Except in the
one matter of eating, there were no distinctions
between black and white, employers and slaves,
in hard-working farmers' families in Tennessee,
in those days.
One of the earliest things Popsy could rec-
ollect was working in the tobacco field, by the
side of old "aunt Carline," who showed her
how to "sucker off," as it was called.
To "sucker off" was to pick off from the
tobacco -plants all young shoots, or suckers,
which were growing out of the main stem, and
which would take the strength from the big
leaves. Even a little child only five years old
could do a pretty good day's work at this, after
she had been shown how to do it. It was only
a sort of play.
"Aunt Carline was a very old negro woman.
Her head was so white the children used to
say it looked like a woolly sheep's head. She
had nursed and brought up all Popsy's brothers
and sisters; and as for Popsy herself, she was
hardly out of "aunt Carline's" sight till she
was twelve years old. They all loved the old
negro woman as if she had been their mother;
in fact, they never thought of going to ask their
mother for anything, if "aunt Carline" could be
found. It was strange they loved her so, for
she used to box their ears, right and left, when-
ever they displeased her, and give them many
a hard whipping, when they got into mischief,
or refused to eat the corn dumplings she had
made for their dinner.
There was a big sugar-maple grove two miles
from the house, and in this the children had
great good times every spring, when the sugar-
ing season came round. They had to work
pretty hard, carrying the sap from the trees to
the kettles in which it was to be boiled down
to sugar, but they did not mind the work if
they could have their pay in sugar. Three
times a day, they used to go over to the grove,
and tote sugar-water," as they called it. They
had made out of bent hickory saplings a sort
of yoke, which fitted on the back of the neck;
a pad of sheepskin was put underneath it, where
it rested on the neck, so as to keep it from
chafing the skin, and from each end of this
yoke a bucket was swung; and it made a pretty
picture when the children, four or five of them
at once, came out of the maple wood, with their
yokes on their shoulders, the buckets full of
sap, going carefully, for fear they should spill
a drop. There was another use to which the
sweet sap was put, in farmers' houses in that
country. They boiled in it the twigs of the
spicewood, and made a tea which they thought
tasted quite as good as real tea; and was a
great deal better, for one reason, -that it didn't
cost anything, except the children's time to
gather the bunches of the spicewood twigs,
and the sap.
Popsy's mother never allowed any one hut
herself to superintend the final "stirring off"
of the sugar. She thought nobody else could
do it just right. This was a great occasion;
the children all gathered round the big kettles,
which were hung from crossed poles in a
cleared space on one side of the grove. In
their hands they held out pieces of bark as
long and wide as shingles; as the sugar slowly
thickened, their mother would dip out ladles
full of it and drop it on the pieces of bark.
Then the children danced around, blowing the
bubbling sugar, till it cooled enough for them
to dip their fingers in, and taste it. It was a
grand frolic, and a pretty sight, too, of a bright,
sunny, spring morning.
This was the best of all the things which
came in spring-time.
In the autumn, came another grand frolic
time, -the chestnutting. There was a long,
ridgelike hill, about a mile from the house,
which they called Chestnut Ridge. It was like
a forest of chestnut-trees, thirty acres, thick
grown with chestnuts, and nothing else; old,
gnarled trees, half-bare, and dead, they were so
old; and copses of young trees, all waving
green leaves, too young to bear nuts. Bushels
upon bushels of chestnuts the children gathered
here every autumn. The greater part of the
nuts had to be sold; but that did not spoil
the fun of gathering them, and eating all they
could, as they went along. At last, one year,
their father said, Well, children, you'll have
a new kind of chestnutting this year; you can
walk round among the top boughs and pick
off the nuts."
What could he mean? The children thought
he was joking; but he was not.
"You'll see," he said; and that was all he
would tell them. A few days later, he said,
"Go up to the chestnut wood this afternoon,
children,, and see how many nuts you can get."
After dinner, away they all raced; and sure
enough, when they reached the ridge, there
they saw a dozen great chestnut-trees cut
down, lying on the ground, and they could, as
their father had said, walk round among the
topmost boughs and pick the nuts out of all
the burs that the frost had opened.
At first they thought that this was better
fun than shaking the boughs with a long pole,
and knocking the nuts down; the nuts looked
so pretty, nestling by twos and threes in their
white satin cases, like jewels in a satin-lined
jewel-case, and it was droll work climbing in
and out, among and over the tangled boughs
and branches of the fallen trees. But before
long they began to think that they would
never again gather nuts from these trees, and
that made them sad. They knew almost every
tree in the grove, and they did not want to
lose one. When they heard their father's
plan, they felt still worse. He had made up
his mind to cut down the whole chestnut
grove, and turn the land into flax fields, which
would bring him much more money,-for
chestnuts were so plenty in Tennessee they
were worth very little in market. He promised
to leave a few trees standing, so that the chil-
dren could get some nuts every autumn, but
this did not console them; and it was, after
all, rather a sorrowful "nutting time" they had
that year. Every two or three days, their
father would cut down a new batch of trees,
and the children would go over and pick out
the nuts from the burs, and say good-by to
the trees. Then the trees were sawed and
chopped into firewood, brought over to the
house, and before spring all burned .up, and
that was the end of the chestnut grove.
But you will wonder what all this has to
do with Popsy's table-cloths. Nothing at all;
only I wanted to give a little idea of the sort
of life Popsy led, how she had always had to
work herself, and had seen everybody around
her working. She did not know anything of
any other kind of life, except a working life.
Even the rare pleasures and recreations she
had, she generally paid for beforehand by some
extra piece of work. Once when she was a
little thing, not five years old, she, and the
brother and sister next older than herself, had
a very great treat, a two days' holiday, and
visit to their uncle's who lived three miles
away; and this they earned by a whole day's
work in the tobacco field. One morning their
father said to them:
"If you three youngsters'll sucker off that
whole tobacco patch clean and good, and pick
off every worm that's in the patch, you can
go to your uncle's and stay till Sunday night."
Popsy was then not quite five, her sister
Liddy was seven, and her brother Jim nine.
To go to their uncle's was like going to a
city! there was so much to be seen there: a
big plantation, dozens of negroes, old and
young, a large house with many rooms in it,
and furniture which to them seemed very fine;
and last, not least, a half dozen cousins, boys
and girls, near their own age. The oldest
daughter was twenty, and she had gone into
the silk-worm business. She had a room
built on purpose for her worms, and big glass
windows in the side, through which you could
look in, and watch everything: worms eating
leaves, or spinning themselves up into cocoons,
moths flying about, laying eggs, little piles of
eggs just hatching out into worms not bigger
than pin-heads,-it was like fairyland to the
*children to watch it all. Their cousin had a
spinning-wheel, too, on which she wound off
the silk from the cocoons herself, and she had
made a good deal of money by selling the silk.
It was thought a wonderful thing by all the
people in the region, and Popsy was exceed-
ingly proud of her clever cousin.
How those children did work in that tobacco
patch! Long after Popsy was an old woman,
she remembered it just as vividly as if it had
been yesterday. When they thought it was
all done, they called their father to look at it;
and they stood by, anxiously watching to see
if he would find it all right. Liddy was so
afraid he would not be satisfied, and they would
not get their visit, that the tears rolled down
her cheek as she stood watching, while he
went from hill to hill, examining each plant,
and lifting up the leaves.
"All right, children," he said, "not a sucker
nor a worm to be seen! Be off, now!" and
away they scampered to have their best home-
spun suits put on, the two little girls, clean
sunbonnets, also of homespun calico. They
went barefoot, carrying their shoes in their
hands, to put on when they reached their
uncle's house. It would have been a great
extravagance to have walked the whole three
miles in them. And it was only a penance to
have to put them on at the end of the journey.
Shoes are torture to children that are in the
habit of running barefoot.
This was the sort of life that farmers' chil-
dren lived in Tennessee, thirty years ago. I
dare say it will sound forlorn to most of the
children who read this story; but I can tell
them that they will be very lucky children if
they always enjoy the days in the kind of life
they lead now, as much as Popsy and her
brothers and sisters enjoyed theirs then.
There is one thing that Popsy learned to
do, of which I have not yet told you; and now
I am coming to the table-cloths. She learned
to spin and weave. In those days, farmers'
wives and daughters used to make, with their
own hands, not only all the material for all the
clothes they wore, but all the cotton and linen
they needed for sheets, pillow-cases, towels, and
table-cloths. It is marvellous to read accounts
of the numbers of yards of cloth, woollen, cot-
ton, and linen, which a woman would make in
one year, besides doing all the work of the
house. It seems as if there must have been
more than twenty-four hours to a day, in that
period. Every good housewife prided herself
on having chests full of things she had spun
and woven. Two good woollen or linsey-
woolsey gowns, and two cotton gowns each
year, she made for herself, and for all her girls.
Coats and trousers, also, for the men and the
boys; and coverlets, blankets, sheets, table-
cloths, towels, by the dozen.
Popsy had a maiden aunt, her father's sister,
who lived with them, and seemed to Popsy
never to do anything but spin and weave.
"Aunt Linny" was famous all the country
round about for weaving the finest and most
beautiful patterns in both linen and cotton.
She it was who taught Popsy to sit at the
loom and weave, when she was such a little
thing she could not reach the treadles with her
feet, but had to jump. down off the stool each
time they were to be worked back and forth.
And so it came about that, as Popsy grew up,
her greatest ambition was to weave as fine
linen and cotton as her mother and her aunt
Linny wove. When she saw a flax field, with
its pretty blue flowers all nodding in the sun,
she didn't think, as you or I would, Oh! what
lovely blue flowers! How they smile, and they
are as blue as the sky!" She ran her eye
over the field to see how big it was, and how
much flax could be got out of it for spinning.
One summer, when Popsy was in her thir-
teenth year, as she was roaming over the farm,
she saw in the distance a great stretch of beau-
tiful blue color; she knew at once it must be
a flax field in full flower.
"Oh, whose splendid flax field is that?"
thought Popsy. "I wish it was daddy's!"
(The children in that part of Tennessee always
called their fathers "daddy," never "papa," or
"father.") "I wonder why daddy didn't plant
any flax this year! I'm going over, anyhow, to
find out whose it is." So Popsy trudged along,
till she came to the flax field, and it turned out
to belong to a man she knew very well, "uncle
Eli," as she had always called him, though he
was not a relation of hers. But there are some
men and women who are always called uncle
and aunt, by the whole world; and Eli Hyer
was one of these. He was "uncle Eli Hyer"
to everybody within twenty miles of his farm.
As Popsy stood leaning over the rail fence,
looking with covetous eyes at the flax, uncle
Eli came along.
"Want some posies, Pop?" he said. I'm
a-raisin' it fur seed, but you kin hev a hand-
ful ef yer want 'em. They are pooty, an' no
It never crossed his mind that the child
could be looking so longingly at the field for
any other reason than for the blossoms.
"O uncle Eli!" exclaimed Popsy. "Be ye
only raisin' it for the seed? Ain't your folks
goin' to pull it to spin?"
"No," replied the old man. They ain't
goin' to do no flax spinnin' this year, to my
house. Fur a wonder, the wimmin says they've
got all the linen they want. I'm jest goin' to
take the seed out -er this field. It's a payin'
crop for the seed."
Yes, I know 'tis," said Popsy. "Daddy had
some for seed last year. But we hain't got a
bit on the farm this year."
You hain't ?" exclaimed uncle Eli. Wall,
what was the reason o' that? I never know'd
your folks not to hev flax afore!"
"We, always did, till this summer, but we
hain't got a mite now," answered Popsy; that's
why I was a-lookin' at your'n, an' wishin' we
What on airth do you want with flax, Pop? "
asked uncle Eli, thinking she was a queer little
girl, to care whether her father had one kind of
crop or another in his fields. "What do you
want with flax ? "
Table-cloths," answered Popsy, curtly, purs-
ing up her little mouth with an important
"Table-cloths!" ejaculated uncle Eli Hyer.
"Wall, I declar', Pop, you don't mean to say
yer a-gettin' ready to be married, already!"
Popsy turned scarlet. She was pretty angry
with uncle Eli, but she did not want to vex
him, for she had already made up her mind
to have some of his flax. So she answered,
"Can't a girl make table-cloths without get-
ting married? Aunt Linny's real old, an' she
ain't married; an' she's got a trunk full; per-
fectly beautiful ones,--six o' the three-leaved
Jean pattern; and I know how to weave that's
well's she does."
Uncle Eli put one foot up on the lower rail
of the fence, to steady himself, while he threw
back" his head and laughed.
Wll, Pop," he said, you are a smart young
un, that's a fact! You kin hev this whole field
of flax, to do what you're a mind to with, if
you'll shake out the seed for me fust!"
Bargain!" said Popsy, briskly. Bargain,
uncle Eli. That's jest what I was getting' ready
to ask ye, if I couldn't hev some on't."
How'll ye get it over to your place ?" asked
uncle Eli. "It's right smart o' ways from
"Tote it," replied Popsy, confidently. "That's
no great things."
It's a good half mile," said the old man.
"'Tain't fur," said Popsy, bounding off. I'll
be here in time for the seed. Don't yer go
back on me, now," and she was off like a deer,
in her haste to run and tell her mother of her
Reckon she'll forgit all about it," said uncle
Eli to himself, as he walked away. "She's the
smartest young un Dave Meadows's got in the
whole batch. But totin' green flax a half mile
'ud be hard on them thin shoulders o' hern. I
allow her folks won't thank me for the job, ef
she undertakes it."
Popsy burst breathless into the kitchen where
her mother and old "aunt Carline" were busy
Mammy," she cried, Oh, mammy! uncle
Eli's done given me all the flax in his field."
Her mother turned a bewildered look upon
her. "Whatever does the child mean, now!"
she said. "Air ye crazy, Pop ?"
"Guess not," retorted Popsy. I've got the
promise o' the flax, though, sure; uncle Eli he
was a-raisin' it jest for seed, he said, an' if I'd
git off the seed for him, I might hev all the
flax I wanted. You see ef I don't tote right
smart on't over here, and make me some table-
"I expect yer'll about kill yerself, Pop," said
her mother, languidly; but old "aunt Carline,"
shaking with laughter, said, Pop's smart, she
is. I'll help ye, honey."
"Don't want any help," cried Popsy. I'm
goin' to do it, every mite on't, myself, from fust
to last, an' then they'll be my table-cloths, won't
they? It's table-cloths I'm goin' to make, jest
like aunt Linny's."
This was July. Early in August it would
be time to shake out the seed, and pull the
flax. Many a time, as uncle Eli passed the flax
field, he paused, and looked at it, wondered if
Popsy would hold to her bargain, and laughed
at the recollection of her excited face.
"'Spect you thought I wa'n't a-comin', didn't
yer, now?" sounded in his ears, in a merry,
roguish voice, one day, just as he had been
thinking about Popsy and the flax field. Here
I am, yer see. Where's yer cloths to shake out
them seeds? I'm goin' to begin right now."
He turned, and there stood Popsy, her face
laughing all over at his surprise.
"Wall, Pop, I didn't reely think you'd do it,"
he replied. Be yer folks willing ? "
"I guess so," said Pop, carelessly. I told
'em. Mam said I'd kill myself, she 'spected.
But I'll resk it. I kin stop when I'm beat out."
In good earnest she set to work, shook and
beat out the tiny black seeds on to cloths spread
on the ground, then gathered them up carefully
and put them into wooden buckets.
Then she tugged away at the flax-plants, and
"'I WOULD RUN ALL THE WAY HOME WITH IT,' SAID POPSY."
pulled them up by the roots; threw them down
in big piles,, tied them up into bundles, with
wisps of the flax itself. When she had eight
big bundles, she tied them all together.with a
stout rope she had brought. The two ends of
the rope she knotted together, to hold in front
of her, to steady the load on her shoulders.
Then she sat down on the ground, close to the
big bundle of flax, slipped the noose of the rope
round her neck, pulled the bundle up on her
back, and staggered up to her feet. After she
once got upon her feet, the load did not feel
heavy. She thought to herself, Pooh! this
is nothing! I could run all the way home with
it!" But, before she had gone many rods, she
changed her mind. Every bone and every
muscle in her body ached, and she was glad to
sit down and rest. "Got. too much for one
time!" she said to herself. "Next time I'll
know better; but I'll tote this, or die fur't!"
and she pulled along, with the perspiration
streaming down her forehead, and her cheeks
scarlet. It was a hot August day; and in
Tennessee, August heat is terrible. Every few
rods she had to stop, sit down on the ground,
slip the bundle off her back, and rest a long
"The longest half mile I ever walked," said
Popsy, as at last she threw down her bundle of
flax by the spring, in the rear of her house.
She wanted to have it near the spring, so as to
have plenty of water to put on the flax.
You see, Popsy's work with the flax had only
just begun when she had, as she called it,
"toted" the plants home. There was nearly
a month's work more to be done on it, before
it would be ready to spin.
It took her a week to tote home the quan-
tity of flax she wanted. Every day she carried
one big bundle; and the last day she carried
two. "Aunt Carline" begged to go and help
her bring it, but Popsy would not hear a word
of any help from any one. These were to be
her own table-cloths, from the very ground up
to the last thread.
Now I will try to tell you, as well as I can,
never having seen the process, only having
heard aunt Popsy describe it, what she did with
her flax next. The first thing was to spread it
all out on the ground, in a thin layer, and turn
water over it. Here it had to lie fourteen days,
to rot. If it rained in that time, or if heavy
dews fell at night, so much the better, -that
made less work to be done. If it did not rain,
water must be turned over the flax carefully, as
often as every second or third day. The fine
threads in the stalks would not come out all
right for spinning, if it were not evenly and thor-
oughly wetted. Every morning and evening,
for fourteen days, Popsy went and examined her
flax, to see how it was getting on; and never
once did she forget to turn on the water when
it was needed. At the end of the fortnight it
had all turned a dark color, and was a wet, sod-
Then she took it up, and again tied it in
bundles; this time in small bundles, no larger
than she could easily hold in one hand. These
were put through a machine called the "break."
This machine has six sharp wooden knives,
three above and three below, their edges com-
ing together. Between these sharp edges the
flax was put, and the knives worked up and
down, till the flax was all broken and bruised
into fine shreds.
Next, after the "break," came the swingling-
board." This was a big board, driven firmly
into the ground; the bundles of flax were held
in the left hand, firmly, laid across the top of
this board, and' beaten long and hard with a
huge wooden knife, a foot long; this knife was
called the swingling-knife. By this time, after
all this rotting, breaking, and swinging, the
flax was pretty finely shredded, but not quite
fine enough. One more thing had to be done.
It must be hackled. This was done by drawing
it between two thin, square pieces of wood, set
thick with sharp nails. Popsy thought this the
prettiest work of all; as the flax was drawn back
and forth between these surfaces of sharp iron
points, it became almost as fine as hair, and a
great bunch of it, finely hackled, and ready to
spin, looked like nothing so much as a head of
brown hair, all tangled. When Popsy's flax
was ready for the wheel it was just about the
color of her own hair, and looked, it must be
confessed, very much like it, tangles and all.
Next came the spinning. That was done on
a small wheel, made on purpose for spinning
flax. This also Popsy greatly enjoyed, and was
sorry when it was all done. The weaving was
harder work; and for the use of the linen-loom
she had to wait, and take her chance when no-
body else wanted it. Sometimes she got almost
out of patience waiting. It seemed to her that
her mother and aunt Linny would never be
done their weaving. But she persevered. As
often as they took out a piece of finished linen
from the loom, there was Popsy, all ready, with
her Please let me weave a piece, now," so
pleadingly they could not resist her, even if
their own work did have to wait.
But Popsy's pile of table-cloths grew very
slowly. It was early in October when she
began the first one, and it was the middle
of March when she finished the last, -eleven
big table-cloths, as strong as iron, and of the
prettiest patterns known in the whole country.
After the table-cloths were done, she wove four-
teen big towels, a yard long, with fringe at each
end, four inches long, and knotted, and of these
she was as proud as of the table-cloths.
Uncle Eli" often dropped in, in the course
of the winter, to see her father and mother, and
whenever he found Popsy sitting at the loom he
would tell the story of how she looked the day
he found her leaning over his fence, gazing long-
ingly at the flax field. He seemed never tired
of telling the story over and over, and he would
always add, when he thought Popsy could not
"A smart young un, Mis' Meadows, a power-
ful smart young un, that gal; I allow she'll git
on in life; no fear but what she'll hev anything
she sets out to hev."
All uncle Eli's children were grown up, and
most of them gone away from home; and the
old man's interest in Popsy carried him back
to the days when his own boys and girls were
growing up around him. When Popsy showed
him her store of table-cloths and towels, an idea
occurred to him. He said nothing, but he
chuckled inwardly to think what a pleasure
he could give the child. The next day he was
going to town with a big load of maple sugar,
and the thought that had struck him was this:
Ef I make a good trade out er thet sugar,
I'll jest make the young un a present of a leetle
trunk o' her own, to keep her linen in. It ought
to be hern, allus, an' not go in with the rest."
The sugar sold well, and uncle Eli, with a
smile on his kindly old face, went from shop to
shop, to find the prettiest trunk he could get for
Popsy to keep her table-cloths in. He was very
hard to please, and had seen nearly every small
trunk in the town before he saw the one that
It was narrow and long, with a high, rounding
top, and was covered with -what do you think?
You have none of you ever seen such a trunk;
but thirty years ago they were thought to be
very fine. It was covered with goatskin, with
the hair left on; and this skin was nailed on
with rows of brass-headed nails. The goatskin
was white and brown in spots, more white than
brown, and there was a little scalloped strip of
bright red leather all around the edge of the
lid, that showed when the trunk was shut. On
one end, just below the handle, uncle Eli had
POP printed, in brass-headed nails, just like the
others on the trunk. You could read it as far
as you could see the trunk,--POP! in shining
When he brought this fine trunk 'over, and
gave it to Popsy, she did not know what to
say, she was so astonished. It seemed to her
she had all she needed now to set off into the
world with, eleven table-cloths, fourteen towels,
and such a splendid trunk as that. She could
not thank uncle Eli enough; and she made him
go into her bedroom, to see where she was going
to keep the trunk, standing end out into the
middle of the room, so that the brass-lettered
POP would be in plain sight all the time.
Old aunt Carline was as pleased as Popsy.
"I tell yer, the gal aimed it, she did," she re-
marked, confidentially, to uncle Eli; yer ou'ter
seed her, a-totin' thet flax, an' the sweat jest
a-rollin' off her like a crik; an' she hain't never
let up on it, from thet day to this. She's the
smartest young un ever I nussed."
Then fearing that Popsy had overheard her,
she turned quickly, and added:
Now yer see, Pop, jest as yer mammy allers
telled yer; yer holp yerself an' yer'll git holp.
The Lord he's holp yer, a-puttin' it inter uncle
Eli's head to guv yer this yere box, but he
wouldn't never hev gone done it, ef yer hadn't
holp yerself fust."
POPSY'S GRAND JOURNEY.
WHEN Popsy first looked at her new trunk,
she little dreamed what a long journey it was
destined soon to take. She had heard her
father and mother sometimes talking about sell-
ing the farm, and moving away, but she did
not believe such a thing would really happen.
However, happen it did, and in only a few
months after Popsy got her trunk; and the
first thing she thought, when she found they
were really going, was: "Now my trunk will
be splendid to carry my clothes in."
Uncle Eli Hyer had gone first. It was only
a few weeks after he gave Popsy the trunk
that he had suddenly sold' his farm, and started
with his whole family for Missouri. Before he
went, he came over and had a long talk with
Popsy's father, and tried to persuade him to
go, too. He said there was a better chance
for farming in Missouri than in Tennessee; a
great deal more room, and better land. Mis-
souri, he said, was the finest State in the West;
hogs grew twice as fat there as they did in
When Popsy told me the story of her grand
journey she was an old woman between fifty
and sixty, but she laughed as she recalled this
reason uncle Eli had given for moving to Mis-
I just wondered, then," said she, "if hogs
could be any fatter than ours were; and if
they could, I thought I didn't want to see 'em;
for ours were so fat they couldn't but just turn
over. I never did like hogs; I don't like 'em
now; though, I may say, I haven't ever been
separated from 'em, not since I was a child."
Two of Popsy's brothers also had gone to
Missouri, to work on farms; and they had been
sending back letters, urging their father to sell
out, and come and join them.
"They didn't give daddy any peace," was
Popsy's way of putting it, till he'd written 'em
that he'd sell, the first chance he got."
So it was finally settled; and before mid-
summer the last piece of Mr. Meadows's farm
had been sold. They could not find any one
to take the whole of it; it went in lots; three
hundred acres to one man; three hundred to
another; the farming fields to one, and the
pasture-lands and the timber to another.
There was a great excitement at the time,
throughout the whole region, about moving to
the West. Everybody seemed to have got
suddenly discontented with living in Tennessee.
The news spread from family to family. About
every day the news came that another had
decided to go. It seemed as if the people
were half crazy; some of them about gave
away their farms, to get money enough to go
with. One persuaded another; relatives and
friends did not want to be left behind, and
when the time finally came for starting, the
party, all told, men, women, and children, -
counted up to fifty.
At Mr. Meadows's house, the day before they
were to set off, there was a kind of farewell
feast. All the people who were going to emi-
grate were invited, and all the people who
wanted to bid them good-by; in short, every-
body for forty miles round. It was the biggest
entertainment ever seen in that region. Three
extra negro servants had been cooking night
and day for a week, to get ready for it; pies
and cakes and hams and chickens and turkeys
were literally piled up in stacks more than
could be counted. Some people arrived to
breakfast; some just rode up, alighted for a
few moments, took a cup of coffee and a bit
of cake, and drove away again; some stayed
to dinner; and the greater part stayed till
dark and had a dance, the first time that
there had ever been dancing in the house.
"Just for once," Popsy's father and mother
said. Just for once. There wouldn't ever
be such a time again."
Nobody counted how many people came and
went in the course of the day. Nobody could.
Everybody was too busy. But reckoning as
well as they could, afterwards, they thought
there must have been at least six hundred,
and perhaps seven.
This was Tuesday. The next morning, at
ten o'clock, the party of "movers" gathered
in front of the Shiloh meeting-house to make
their start. That was the place agreed upon,
and the hour of starting was to be nine.
Before seven, the wagons began to appear;
but it was past ten before the last one arrived,
and nearly eleven before the cavalcade moved
off. There were fifty white covered wagons,
mostly drawn by oxen; three comfortable car-
riages for invalids and old people, and a long
procession of horseback riders. Among these
last came Popsy, her sister Lyddy, and brother
Jim. Popsy was so excited and happy she
could hardly sit on her horse. It was a big
yellow horse, named Crusoe, for Robinson
Crusoe, but the whole name proved too long, so
they had dropped the Robinson. Popsy and
her sister wore homespun cotton gowns, and big
sunbonnets made of the same cloth. Popsy's
sunbonnet was generally flapping on her shoul-
ders behind, for if she kept it on her head she
could not see half she wanted to,- Popsy did
not mean to miss seeing a single thing on the
In her pocket she carried a little book with
a pencil tied to it. She had resolved to write
down in this book the name of every town,
river, and mountain she saw. It seemed to
Popsy like seeing the whole world,-to go all
the way from Tennessee to Missouri. She
had never been more than four miles away
from her father's house, and she had never
seen any other sort of life than the life her
own family, and the farmers' families in that
region, led. How things looked in large towns,
and how things were done in what we should
now call comfortable and well-appointed houses,
Popsy had not the least idea. This journey
was going to teach her a great many things.
Mr. Meadows was the leader of the party.
He had the care of all the arrangements; pro-
viding the food for the animals, selecting the
place for camping at night, and determining
the routes they should take.
He must have had a good instinct about
roads, for he never but once, during the whole
six weeks' journey, lost his way, though all he
had to go by was a little old map, which had
few of the roads marked on it. He walked
every step of the way; always a little in ad-
vance of the foremost wagon.
Popsy, on her yellow horse, was here, there,
and everywhere, in the procession. She was
so full of fun and good spirits that she became
a sort of privileged character. Everybody liked
to have her come cantering up, and walk her
horse by the side of the wagons.
Her brother Jim rode a big bay horse. Pop-
sy wanted that horse, but it was not thought
safe for her; it was too high-spirited.
Old Crusoe was the fastest, if he could only
be got to do his best; but he was old, had
lost his ambition, and needed much whipping
before he would show his speed. One day,
however, Popsy had the satisfaction of making
him win in a race with the bay. She had
dared her brother to a mile run for a pound
of candy; and she had won fairly and squarely,
by dint of lashing Crusoe every other second
with a willow switch she had cut.
They were just entering a town, and Jim
made Popsy go into a shop to buy the candy.
He held her horse, outside. The first thing
she saw, when she crossed the threshold, was
a low iron stove with a fire burning in it. She
had never before seen a stove. She did not
know there was such a thing. The sight nearly
took her breath away.
"What's that ?" she exclaimed, pointing to it.
The man in the shop did not understand her.
What's what? he said.
"This thing where ye've got your fire!" said
Popsy, kicking it with her foot. Why don't
you have your fire in a fireplace?"
Then the man laughed at her and told her he
" reckoned she was from Tennessee." At which
Popsy was angry, and said no more.
But when she went out, she said to Jim and
Lyddy, "What do you think they've got in
there? A kind of a mud-turtle, with fire in it."
Which I think was a very good phrase for a child
of thirteen to have hit upon to describe a stove.
This was in Kentucky. Kentucky seemed to
Popsy a beautiful country; such lovely hills and
groves and sparkling streams. She saw many
a place where she wished that they could stop
and build a house and live always.
In the town of Bowling Green, in Kentucky,
she had an adventure with a parrot, which pro-
duced a great impression on her mind.
They had camped, for Sunday, in the out-
skirts of the town, on the edge of a little stream.
They always rested over Sunday, and when they
were not near enough to a town to go in to
church, they had some sort of religious services
in the camp.
On this Sunday, Popsy had strolled away by
herself, without permission, and walked into
town. She was sauntering from street to
street, gazing with eager and anxious eyes at
every thing and every person, when she spied a
huge green and red parrot, in a cage, hanging
in an open window of a room on the first floor
of a sort of restaurant, or eating-house.
The window was so low that the bird was but
little above Popsy's head. She stood stock-still,
lost in admiration at the beautiful creature.
She had never seen any colored pictures of
birds. She had no idea that so gorgeous a bird
was to be seen on the face of the earth. It
almost frightened her, it shone so in the sun,
and its feathers were of so many splendid colors.
But how much more frightened was she when,
after looking at her for a second, the bird opened
its mouth, and, in distinct words, said, "Good-
morning, madam! Go to hell," and after this
a volley of more awful oaths than Popsy had
ever heard in her life. It was a parrot be-
longing to some sailors, who had wickedly
taught it to swear at everybody in this way.
Poor Popsy took to her heels, and ran for dear
life, out of the town, back to the camp, and never
stopped nor took breath till she had reached
her mother's wagon. She made no doubt that
a miracle had been wrought at that moment, to
punish her for having broken the Sabbath, and
run away from camp without leave; and that
she was in danger of experiencing all the curses
which the profane bird had hurled after her.
This lasted her brother Jim for fun till the end
of the journey. In fact, poor Popsy did not hear
the end of it for years; and I do not wonder,
for I think myself it was a very droll thing to
have happened just as it did, on a Sunday,
when Popsy had run away.
The days flew by like a dream, to Popsy.
She thought she would like to spend all her
life journeying in that way. Everything was so
systematically arranged that there was no real
discomfort in the life. They had plenty of pro-
visions in the wagons; barrels of flour and of
salted meat, and kegs of cider. There were
three tents which were set up every night; two
for the women, and one for the men. Many
members of the party made up beds in their
wagons and slept on those. Popsy tried both,
but liked the tents best. Every night there were
built four big fires of logs, and, after the suppers
had been cooked and eaten, everybody gathered
around these log fires, and sang, and told stories,
far into the night.
There were two fiddles in the party, and
several first-rate fiddlers, so they never lacked
Popsy never wanted to go to bed. When the
camp was in a grove she would sometimes select
a tree, whose branches were low enough to be
easily climbed, -she could climb like a wildcat,
- and once up and curled into a crotch, with
her head resting against the trunk, she would
sit by the hour, watching the men moving
about with lanterns, feeding the animals, throw-
ing logs on the fires, and singing, sometimes
negro songs, but oftener religious hymns; for
they were nearly all Methodists. Then, when
all the work was done, and the story-telling
began, it was like fairyland to Popsy. Not
a word escaped her ears, and her great blue
eyes looked black with excitement as she
Once she gave everybody a great scare. It
had grown very late, and, spite of all her inter-
est in the stories and talk, Popsy was sleepy.
Again and again she found herself nodding,
but she could not make up her mind to tear
herself away and go to bed. At last she was
really overpowered by sleep, and her head gave
so violent a nod that she lost her balance, let
go of the branch to which she was holding,
and came down, luckily feet foremost, into the
middle of the group of story-tellers.
They were more frightened even than she;
for they did not know, or had forgotten, that
she was up there, and their first thought was
that it must be some sort of wild animal that
was coming crawling through the branches.
But Popsy's scream soon reassured them. She
alighted on her feet like a cat, jumping up and
down, to get her balance. It's only me," she
said. I missed my hold on the tree."
Ye was asleep, Pop, ye know ye was," cried
her brother Jim.
"No such thing," exclaimed Popsy. How'd
I come down on my feet, if I'd been asleep, I'd
like to know! I wasn't asleep any more'n you
Catch a weasel asleep," said one of the men.
Pop goes the weasel," laughed Jim, at which
Popsy darted back, and, before Jim knew what
had happened to him, had got his head tight
under her right arm, and was giving it a good
sound pummelling, till he was glad to beg for
Don't call me a weasel again, then," she said,
as she marched off as dignifiedly as she knew
Another sight Popsy saw on this journey,
which she never forgot. She was galloping
along on her horse, when she suddenly saw a
man sitting by the roadside, with a big pile of
sticks and old bones in front of him, building
them up into a sort of house, as children build
houses out of corncobs. The man was laugh-
ing to himself, and pointing to the house, as he
laid each fresh stick on the pile. Popsy halted
her horse: What be ye doin' that for ? "
The man looked up at her, and burst into a
loud laugh, still pointing to the sticks and bones,
but made no reply. While she sat. there on
her horse, looking bewilderedly at the man, her
father came up, and reproved her, sharply.
Ain't ye ashamed, Pop," he said, "to stare
so at the poor creature! Come away. It's an
Popsy had never before heard the word idiot;
and she did not in the least know what it
I don't care," she replied, I'm goin' to have
a good look at it," and she waited there till the
greater part of the procession of wagons had
passed her. Then she cantered on, and for half
a mile the fences on both sides of the road were
hung full of old bones and sticks, such as the
man had been playing with. That was the way
he spent all his time, gathering up old bones,
and bits of sticks, tying them on to the fences,
and building them up into towers, which he
knocked down and built over again a dozen
times a day. Even now Popsy did not under-
stand what- the word idiot meant, but she asked
no more questions; and, for years afterward, she
thought an idiot was simply a man who tied
bones on fences.
When they first started on this journey,
Popsy's mother was so feeble that she had to
lie down all the time on a bed in the bottom of
one of the wagons; but, before they had been on
the road three weeks, she was so much better
that she could sit up all day, and walk a little.
There was one woman in the party who had
come very unwillingly. She did not want to
leave Tennessee; and she was so angry at her
husband's having decided, against her wishes, to
make the move, that she, too, lay on a bed in
the bottom of their wagon all the way. She
would not get up at all to help about anything.
She would not look out of the wagon, nor let
anybody see her face, if she could help it. She
slept most of the time; and when she was
awake she cried.
Popsy thought she must be crazy, not to
care anything about seeing the beautiful coun-
try they were travelling through, and all the
interesting people, and things that happened.
Even when the fiddles were playing at night,
and everybody in the whole camp having a good
time, she would not lift her head from her pil-
low, nor speak a word. Her husband, poor
fellow, had a sorry time with her. I think he
must have wished he had stayed at home.
When they got into the southern part of
Illinois, the party broke up, about half of them
deciding to settle there, instead of pushing on to
Both of the fiddles and the two best story-
tellers stayed behind, here, which was a loss
Popsy felt deeply. There was not so much fun
after that; and very often Popsy would be in
bed and sound asleep on a wagon-bottom, in
half an hour after they stopped for the night.
She was growing a little tired and sore from the
saddle, also, and sometimes, in the day-time, she
and her sister would tie their horses behind one
of the wagons, and climb in, on top of the piled
boxes and trunks, and ride there for part of a
day. It was from one of these perched-up seats
inside the wagon that Popsy made a famous
leap to the ground, which might have broken
her neck, but, by great good fortune, did not
hurt her at all.
It was in a farming town in the high lands
in Illinois. The wagon-train had stopped to let
the cattle drink, and Jim came galloping up to