[Illustration: HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE AN ILLUSTRATED WEEKLY.]
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VOL. II.--NO. 72. PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. PRICE FOUR CENTS.
Tuesday, March 15, 1881. Copyright, 1881, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.
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[Illustration: THE FIRST LESSON.]
[Begun in No. 58 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, December 7.]
OR, TEN WEEKS WITH A CIRCUS.
BY JAMES OTIS.
MR. CASTLE TEACHES TOBY TO RIDE.
When Toby got within sight of the ring, he was astonished at what he saw. A horse with a broad wooden saddle was being led slowly around the ring; Mr. Castle was standing on one side, with a long whip in his hand, and on the tent pole, which stood in the centre of the ring, was a long arm, from which dangled a leathern belt on a long rope that was carried through the end of the arm, and run down to the base of the pole.
Toby knew well enough why the horse, the whip, and the man were there, but this wooden projection from the tent pole, which looked so much like a gallows, he could not understand at all.
"Come, now," said Mr. Castle, cracking his whip ominously as Toby came in sight, "why weren't you here before?"
"Mr. Lord just sent me in," said Toby, not expecting that his excuse would be received, for they never had been since he had arrived at the height of his ambition by joining the circus.
"Then I'll make Mr. Job understand that I am to have my full hour of your time, and if I don't get it, there'll be trouble between us."
It would have pleased Toby very well to have had Mr. Castle go out with his long whip just then and make trouble for Mr. Lord; but Mr. Castle had not the time to spare, because of the trouble which he was about to make for Toby, and that he commenced on at once.
"Well, get in here, and don't waste any more time," he said, sharply.
Toby looked around curiously for a moment, and not understanding exactly what he was expected to get in and do, asked, "What shall I do?"
"Pull off your boots, coat, and vest."
Since there was no other course than to learn to ride, Toby wisely concluded that the best thing he could do would be to obey this new master without question; and he began to take his clothes off with as much alacrity as if learning to ride was the one thing upon which he had long set his heart.
Mr. Castle was evidently accustomed to prompt obedience, for he not only took it as a matter of course, but endeavored to hurry Toby in his work of undressing.
With his desire to please, and urged by Mr. Castle's words and the ominous shaking of his whip, Toby's preparations were soon made, and he stood before his instructor clad only in his shirt, trousers, and stockings.
The horse was led around to where he stood, and when Mr. Castle held out his hand to help him to mount, Toby jumped up quickly without aid, thereby making a good impression at the start as a willing lad.
"Now," said the instructor, as he pulled down the leathern belt which hung from the rope, and fastened it around Toby's waist, "stand up in the saddle, and try to stand there. You can't fall, because the rope will keep you up, even if the horse goes out from under you; but it isn't hard work to keep on if you mind what you are about, and if you don't, this whip will help you. Now stand up."
Toby did as he was bidden, and as the horse was led at a walk, and as he had the long bridle to aid him in keeping his footing, he had no difficulty in standing during the time that the horse went once around the ring; but that was all.
Mr. Castle seemed to think that this was preparation enough for the boy to be able to understand how to ride, and he started the horse into a canter. As might have been expected, Toby lost his balance, the horse went on ahead, and he was left dangling at the end of the rope, very much like a crab that has just been caught by the means of a pole and line.
Toby kicked, waved his hands, and floundered about generally, but all to no purpose, until the horse came round again, and then he made frantic efforts to regain his footing, which efforts were aided--or perhaps it would be more proper to say retarded--by the long lash of Mr. Castle's whip, that played around his legs with merciless severity.
"Stand up! stand up!" cried his instructor, as Toby reeled first to one side and then to the other, now standing erect in the saddle, and now dangling at the end of the rope, with the horse almost out from under him.
This command seemed almost needless, as it was exactly what Toby was trying to do; but as it was given, he struggled all the harder, until it seemed to him that the more he tried, the less did he succeed.
And this first lesson progressed in about the same way until the hour was over, save that now and then Mr. Castle would give him some good advice, but oftener he would twist the long lash of that whip around the boy's legs with such force that Toby believed the skin had been taken entirely off.
It may have been a relief to Mr. Castle when that first lesson was concluded, and it certainly was to Toby, for he had had all the teaching in horsemanship that he wanted, and he thought, with deepest sorrow, that this would be of daily occurrence during all the time he remained with the circus.
As he went out of the tent he stopped to speak with his friend the old monkey, and his troubles seemed to have increased when he stood in front of the cage calling "Mr. Stubbs! Mr. Stubbs!" and the old fellow would not even come down from off the lofty perch where he was engaged in monkey gymnastics with several younger companions. It seemed to him, as he afterward told Ben, "as if Mr. Stubbs had gone back on him because he knew that he was in trouble."
When he went toward the booth, Mr. Lord looked at him around the corner of the canvas--for it seemed to Toby that his employer could look around a square corner with much greater ease than he could straight ahead--with a disagreeable leer in his eye, as though he enjoyed the misery which he knew his little clerk had just undergone.
"Can you ride yet?" he asked, mockingly, as Toby stepped behind the counter to attend to his regular line of business.
Toby made no reply, for he knew that the question was only asked sarcastically, and not through any desire for information. In a few moments Mr. Lord left him to attend to the booth alone, and went into the tent, where Toby rightly conjectured he had gone to question Mr. Castle upon the result of the lesson just given.
That night old Ben asked him how he had got on while under the teaching of Mr. Castle, and Toby, knowing that the question was asked because of the real interest which Ben had in his welfare, replied,
"If I was tryin' to learn how to swing round the ring, strapped to a rope, I should say that I got along first-rate; but I don't know much about the horse, for I was only on his back a little while at a time."
"You'll get over that soon," said old Ben, patronizingly, as he patted him on the back. "You remember my words, now; I say that you've got it in you, an' if you've a mind to take hold an' try to learn, you'll come out on the top of the heap yet, an' be one of the smartest riders they've got in this show."
"I don't want to be a rider," said Toby, sadly: "I only want to get back home once more, an' then you'll see how much it'll take to get me away again."
"Well," said Ben, quietly, "be that as it may, while you're here the best thing you can do is to take hold an' get ahead just as fast as you can; it'll make it a mighty sight easier for you while you're with the show, and it won't spoil any of your chances for runnin' away whenever the time comes."
Toby fully appreciated the truth of that remark, and he assured Ben that he should do all in his power to profit by the instruction given, and to please this new master who had been placed over him.
And with this promise, he lay back on the seat and went to sleep, not to awaken until the preparations were being made for the entrée into the next town, and Mr. Lord's harsh voice had cried out his name, with no gentle tone, several times.
Toby's first lesson with Mr. Castle was the most pleasant one he had; for after the boy had once been into the ring, his master seemed to expect that he could do everything which he was told to do, and when he failed in any little particular, the long lash of the whip would go curling around his legs or arms, until the little fellow's body and limbs were nearly covered with the blue and black stripes.
For three lessons only was the wooden upright used to keep him from falling; after that he was forced to ride standing erect on the broad wooden saddle, or pad, as it is properly called, and whenever he lost his balance and fell, there was no question asked as to whether or not he had hurt himself, but he was mercilessly cut with the whip.
Messrs. Lord and Jacobs gained very much by comparison with Mr. Castle in Toby's mind. He had thought that his lot could not be harder than it was with them; but when he had experienced the pains of two or three of Mr. Castle's lessons in horsemanship, he thought that he would stay with the candy venders all the season cheerfully rather than take six more lessons of Mr. Castle.
Night after night he fell asleep from the sheer exhaustion of crying, as he had been pouring out his woes in the old monkey's ears, and laying his plans to run away. Now, more than ever, was he anxious to get away, and yet each day was taking him farther from home, and consequently necessitating a larger amount of money with which to start. As old Ben did not give him as much sympathy as Toby thought he ought to give--for the old man, while he would not allow Mr. Job Lord to strike the boy if he was near, thought it a necessary portion of the education for Mr. Castle to lash him all he had a mind to--he poured out all his troubles in the old monkey's ears, and kept him with him from the time he ceased work at night until he was obliged to commence again in the morning.
The skeleton and his wife thought Toby's lot a hard one, and tried by every means in their power to cheer the poor boy. Neither one of them could say to Mr. Castle what they had said to Mr. Lord, for the rider was a far different sort of a person, and one whom they would not be allowed to interfere with in any way. Therefore poor Toby was obliged to bear his troubles and his whippings as best he might, with only the thought to cheer him of the time when he could leave them all by running away.
But despite all his troubles, Toby learned to ride faster than his teacher had expected he would, and in three weeks he found little or no difficulty in standing erect while his horse went around the ring at his fastest gait. After that had been accomplished, his progress was more rapid, and he gave promise of becoming a very good rider--a fact which pleased both Mr. Castle and Mr. Lord very much, as they fancied that in another year Toby would be the source of a very good income to them.
The proprietor of the circus took considerable interest in Toby's instruction, and promised Mr. Castle that Mademoiselle Jeannette and Toby should do an act together in the performance just as soon as the latter was sufficiently advanced. The boy's costume had been changed after he could ride without falling off, and now while he was in the ring he wore the same as that used by the regular performers.
The little girl had, after it was announced that she and Toby were to perform together, been an attentive observer during the hour that Toby was under Mr. Castle's direction, and she gave him many suggestions that were far more valuable, and quicker to be acted upon, than those given by the teacher himself.
"To-morrow you two will go through the exercise together," said Mr. Castle to Toby and Ella, at the close of one of Toby's lessons, after he had become so skillful that he could stand with ease on the pad, and even advanced so far that he could jump through a hoop without falling more than twice out of three times.
The little girl appeared highly delighted by this information, and expressed her joy.
"It will be real nice," she said to Toby, after Mr. Castle had left them alone. "I can help you lots, and it won't be very long before we can do an act all by ourselves in the performance, and then won't the people clap their hands when we come in?"
"It'll be better for you to-morrow than it will for me," said Toby, rubbing his legs sorrowfully, still feeling the sting of the whip. "You see, Mr. Castle won't dare to whip you, an' he'll make it all count on me, 'cause he knows Mr. Lord likes to have him whip me."
"But I sha'n't make any mistake," said Ella, confidently, "and so you won't have to be whipped on my account, and while I am on the horse you can't be whipped, for he couldn't do it without whipping me, so you see you won't get only half as much."
Toby brightened up a little under the influence of this argument; but his countenance fell again, as he thought that his chances for getting away from the circus were growing less each day.
"You see, I want to get back to Uncle Dan'l an' Guilford," he said, confidentially; "I don't want to stay here a single minute."
Ella opened her eyes wide in astonishment, as she cried: "Don't want to stay here? Why don't you go home, then?"
"'Cause Job Lord won't let me," said Toby, wondering if it was possible that his little companion did not know exactly what sort of a man his master was.
Then he told her, after making her give him all kinds of promises, including the ceremony of crossing her throat, that she would never tell a single soul, that he had had many thoughts, and had formed all kinds of plans for running away. He told her about losing his money, about his friendship for the skeleton and the fat lady, and at last he confided in her that he was intending to take the old monkey with him when he should make the attempt.
She listened with the closest attention, and when he told her that his little hoard had now reached the sum of seven dollars and ten cents, almost as much as he had before, she said, eagerly: "I've got three little gold dollars in my trunk, an' you shall have them all; they're my very own, for mamma gave them to me to do just what I wanted to with them. But I don't see how you can take Mr. Stubbs with you, for that would be stealing."
"No, it wouldn't, neither," said Toby, stoutly. "Wasn't he give to me to do just as I wanted to with? an' didn't the boss say he was all mine?"
"Oh, I'd forgotten that," said Ella, thoughtfully; "I suppose you can take him; but he'll be awfully in the way, won't he?"
"No," said Toby, anxious to say a good word for his pet; "he always does just as I want him to, an' when I tell him what I'm tryin' to do, he'll be as good as anything. But I can't take your dollars."
"'Cause that wouldn't be right for a boy to let a girl littler than himself help him; I'll wait till I get money enough of my own, an' then I'll go."
"But I want you to take my money too; I want you to have it."
"No, I can't take it," said Toby, shaking his head resolutely, as he put the golden temptation from him, and then, as a happy thought occurred to him, he said, quickly: "I tell you what to do with your dollars: you keep them till you grow up to be a woman, an' when I'm a man I'll come, an' then we'll buy a circus of our own. I think, perhaps, I'd like to be with a circus if I owned one myself. We'll have lots of money then, an' we can do just what we want to."
This idea seemed to please the little girl, and the two began to lay all sorts of plans for that time when they should be man and woman, have lots of money, and be able to do just as they wanted to.
They had been sitting on the edge of the newly made ring while they were talking, and before they had half finished making plans for the future one of the attendants came in to put things to order, and they were obliged to leave their seats, she going to the hotel to get ready for the afternoon's performance, and Toby to try to do such work as Mr. Job Lord had laid out for him.
Just ten weeks from the time Toby had first joined the circus, Mr. Castle informed him and Ella that they were to appear in public on the following day. They had been practicing daily, and Toby had become so skillful that both Mr. Castle and Mr. Lord saw that the time had come when he could be made to earn some money for them.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
THE YOUNG VIOLINIST.
BY GUSTAVE KOBBÉ.
[Illustration: EUGENIO MAURICIO DENGREMONT.]
Mauricio Dengremont, whose portrait is here given, is only fourteen years old; but he has been playing the violin for eight years or more, and is now one of the best violinists living. He knew the A B C of music at an age when most boys have hardly had a glimpse at the A B C in their spelling-book. His musical talent, like that of many famous musicians, showed itself early in his life. Mozart, we are told, struck correct chords on the clavichord--as they called the pianos used in his days--when he was two years old, and when he was four, he wrote little melodies which sound very prettily. Mauricio Dengremont's fondness for music was observed at the same early age. His father led an orchestra in Rio de Janeiro, and played the violin, and when he was playing at home, little Mauricio, who was four years old, would sit at his feet and listen, and he could not be induced to join in the sports of other children as long as his father was practicing. Then already he asked to be taught, but he was laughed at, and told he was too young to learn. But he would not be put off, and kept coming to his father and asking for lessons on the violin. At last, when he was six years old--the same age at which Mendelssohn began to learn the piano--his father bought him a toy violin for twenty cents, and thought he would give him a lesson, just to see if he was in earnest. Before that, however, he told him how hard he would have to work if he wanted to be a musician. But Mauricio said he didn't mind working, he wanted to learn the violin just as soon as he could. Fancy the father's surprise when he found during the first lesson that Mauricio played his notes correctly and clearly.
The boy made such wonderful progress that after a few lessons a larger violin was bought for him. In a few weeks he could play the scales, and in ten months he was practicing difficult pieces, one of which he performed in public fourteen months after his first lesson. Soon afterward he travelled with his father in South America, giving concerts. In Montevideo and Buenos Ayres he played so well that the orchestras there presented him each with a gold medal. These youthful triumphs were very much like those of Mozart; and in the midst of them, Mauricio, like Mozart, remained a child in his feelings and behavior. Mozart was so innocent that after one of his performances at court, when he slipped on the polished floor, and was lifted up by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, he said that he would marry her as soon as he was old enough. In the same way Mauricio's manners remained unchanged, though he was brought before the public when so young. Off the concert stage he remained a child, playing with children, and sharing in their pastime when he was not practicing. Only a short time ago, immediately after his arrival here, his first appearance had to be postponed because he had caught cold playing with snow-balls; and again he was prevented from being at a concert because he had been eating too much candy.
The success of Mauricio's concerts in South America attracted the notice of Dom Pedro, the Emperor of Brazil, and he was asked to play before his Imperial Highness. Dom Pedro was so pleased with the boy's performance that he gave him a beautiful medal, and promised to give him a good sum of money every year, so that he could go to Paris and take lessons of the famous violin-player Léonard. Dengremont's father accepted the offer, and soon afterward he took the boy to Europe. Mauricio staid in Paris until two or three years ago, when he began to travel and give concerts. Everywhere he played he met with great success. People came to his concerts in great crowds, and applauded him loudly; for he won their hearts with his beautiful playing and modest behavior. In one of the German cities he played a piece by Spohr when the composer's widow was one of the listeners. Spohr himself was a very famous violinist, but the widow said that Dengremont played the piece better than her husband could have done, and gave him a piece of music in her husband's handwriting.
Dengremont has been in this country only a short time, but he has already made a good name for himself. Almost every one who has heard him admires the rapidity and delicacy of his playing, and the grace with which he handles the bow. All this he does in a manner which would be remarkable for a man of great talent, who had been studying the violin ever since he was able to hold the instrument, and yet he is not at all conceited. He does not think he has nothing more to learn. On the contrary, he will go to Paris in the spring, and study again with Léonard for six months. After that he will give concerts in Russia.
To young people Mauricio Dengremont's career is a fine example. Of course he has greater talent for music than hundreds of others. But it is not his talent only to which he owes his early fame. It is owing as well to his devotion to his art, his willingness to work, and his modesty, which makes him feel that there is still room for him to improve.
[Illustration: THE POOR LITTLE FROG ESCAPES FROM HIS ENEMIES.--DRAWN BY W. F. BEARD.]
WHAT ONE POOR LITTLE FROG FOUND OUT.
A very young frog--very young indeed, scarcely out of tails (that is to say, out of tadpolehood)--with a very great ambition and ordinary ability, set out one morning with the purpose of seeing the world, and by night-fall bringing back something to astonish the pool. "For," said he to himself, "I am such a close observer, that I shall be sure to observe and bring back correct reports of many strange things passed by in stupid indifference by these commonplace old speckle-backs, who, no doubt, neglect daily golden opportunities for storing their minds with useful information, but who see nothing and know nothing but worms, ants, beetles, and other insects and small animals to put in their ample stomachs."
So saying, he leaped away gayly, but with eyes open and on the sharp look-out, almost at the very start. "For," said he, "the most common things possess a new interest when shown in a new light by the hand of genius, and the ordinary things of one locality become objects of curiosity in another where they are not found. Thus I could astonish vain man, could I speak his jargon, with accounts of many things familiar to my sight by daily contact in the bottom of the pool, but which seldom or never meet his eyes."
So he journeyed on, well pleased with himself and what he thought his life's mission, carefully eying every object in his way, lest some one of interest should escape his notice. At length a great thistle came within his gaze. "There," said he, "is something worth investigating." After looking at it attentively at a little distance, that he might fix all its _points_ in his mind, he approached for a closer study. Said he, "I must not forget to ascertain if this strange plant--for plant it undoubtedly is--has any peculiar odor; for that is very important." Thus saying, he thrust his inquisitive nose against the prickers, which brought him to the conclusion that he had carried the investigation quite far enough; and storing this experience away in his memory for future use, he went on his way, a little wiser, but no happier, for it does not add to happiness to have our conceit pricked out, as it were, by sharp experience.
Now a half-brick partly buried in the mud caught his curious eye. "That's a singular rock," said he. "What a remarkable color it has! so regular, too, in its form; it has also a peculiar texture"--as he put his hand-like forepaw upon it.
Just at this moment he thought he heard something behind him, and turning to see what, his terrified eye caught the dread form of an idle, barefooted boy, also in search of adventure, though not for the instruction of others, or even himself, as was the little frog's grand motive, but merely for the amusement of the moment.
Young as his frogship was, he knew well enough what boys were, and made off for his life with all possible speed.
It would, perhaps, have been wiser if he had remained perfectly quiet, as in all probability the careless boy would not have observed him; but as the boy seemed bearing right down upon him, the sight was too dreadful for his nerves, and he sprang forward with desperate leaps, which, of course, attracted the urchin's attention, and with a shout of delight he bounded off in pursuit. Hastily clutching the "curious rock"--half-brick--he aimed to give the frog's head an external application of this object of interest, and, I must say, with almost fatal precision. With great nicety of calculation, he threw the brick where he felt the frog would be when the brick got there. His estimate was uncomfortably close, the little frog thought, as the brick just grazed his protruding eye. He winked, dodged back, and started in another direction with wild leaps.
As the boy went for the rolling brick for another throw the frog hid himself in a tuft of clover, and though terribly nervous when the urchin came very near his hiding-place--at length actually kicked the bunch of clover in his search for him--he summoned all his fortitude, and remained perfectly quiet, knowing that to be his only safety.
Soon, to his unspeakable relief, the cruel boy gave it up, and went whistling on his careless way in search of other adventures.
The thoroughly frightened frog prudently waited, nor ventured out until the boy had quite vanished in the distance. While he still lay in his hiding-place a curious creature wriggled past, in beautiful sheeny coat that glistened in the sunlight, and quite delighted him. He made no motion, however, though he did not much fear this harmless-looking creature; still, as the supple thing constantly darted out a double tongue, he felt it more prudent to observe in silence.
When this creature had also gone quite out of sight, he again moved on his journey, it must be confessed, with less self-confidence and more caution.
But a little while of safe travelling was, however, enough to cause the two sentiments to change places again--prudence lessened, and confidence grew: and this would have cost him his life had it not been his good fortune to be on the land side of a beautiful white crane, which he very much admired, as he stood fixedly gazing into the waters of a sluggish stream. He hopped very near, in his ignorant delight, wondering what the magnificent creature was, and what could be his reflections as he fixed his gaze so intently in the amber water. "Something grand, no doubt!" He did not feel called upon to address him, however, which was lucky again, since this "splendid bird" was looking for just such fellows as he, but never suspected one of being so near him in the field.
At length our leaping student of nature tired even of his admiration of this beautiful bird, and leaped on his journey again in search of other objects of scientific interest, one of which he soon found in the person of another curious bird, also with long legs, and not very unlike in form the one he had just seen, though not near so beautiful.
His general color was a dull brown, varied and mottled with several shades of the same, from light yellowish to dark spots, and in parts, such as the crest, back of the neck, etc., deepening to a jetty black. His neck, though, did not appear long, like that of the white bird, but his head seemed as near the body as a chicken's; when some noise or motion in the water, however, attracted his attention, it shot out like a telescope, as long in proportion as the other's, though the comparison of the telescope was not froggie's. He knew nothing of such a thing; the figure suggested to his mind was a snail's eye.
He also bestowed some admiration upon this fellow, and passed on, still unconscious that he was in dangerous proximity to a mortal foe.
Now as he ascended quite a little hillock, high enough for him to overlook the fields, he was surprised to see that the very stream upon the margin of which the two strange birds had stood was the one near which was his native pool; in fact, upon this stream the inhabitants of his pond depended for fresh supplies of water to replenish the waste by evaporation, when it occasionally overflowed its banks in times of freshets.
He knew the locality by a great rock, which he knew to be near his pond, and found, too, with some satisfaction, that he was much nearer home than he would have thought from the distance travelled. He had taken a circuitous route, as did the stream, before reaching the great rock. Using this stone as a landmark, he saw that a straight line to it would be comparatively a short-cut back again.
This discovery was not unpleasant either, for not only his journey, but his researches as well, began to grow wearisome. Now as he remembered the events of the day, his adventures, and the strange sights he had seen, and the discoveries he had made, his heart swelled with pride when he thought what astonishment it would create when he brought them all back, as it were, to the banks of the pool.
Settling this comfortably in his mind, he glanced about again, as a traveller takes a farewell look at a strange land he is about leaving. But now he made the additional discovery that a grove just before him was the "forest," as he believed it, he had seen many times in the distance while sitting on the banks of the pool.
Gazing into its dark recesses, he became suddenly aware of two great yellow-rimmed eyes peering out of its sombre depths. Cold chills ran over him. His thirst for knowledge, which his mother, in her croaking way, called idle curiosity, got the better of his fears, however, as he became satisfied that he himself was not the object of those eyes' attention, if indeed anything in particular was, and he began again his usual wise speculations. "What an eye!" said he. "I remember once, while lying at the bottom of the pool, to have seen the full moon rising, while a round leaf upon the brink intervening, darkened the centre, leaving a yellowish rim; that eye reminds me of it. To whom or what can it belong, I wonder? Let me see: surrounded by feathers?--yes, feathers! Well, feathers are only worn by birds, therefore the owner of that eye _must_ be a bird, that's clear; and that's pretty good logic, too, I flatter myself."
He was right; the owner of the eye was a bird--an owl; and scarcely had he "flattered" himself, when he became conscious that now he was the object of attention by those terrible eyes. Losing no time, he turned toward the rock, made several desperate leaps in quick succession before he felt the shadow of the great wings, though he heard no sound, for the flight of owls is as noiseless almost as that of thistle-down.
Fortunately, again (he was a lucky frog), it was a sunny afternoon, and the light rather strong for the owls' eyes (by this time another had joined her mate); so, dodging here and there, he managed to elude them, always making toward home, however, followed blindly by the owls. Nor was this all: the tall birds, attracted by the commotion, seeing him dodging through the grass, joined in the pursuit. The snake he had seen also made bold to follow with wide-open jaws to devour him, and creatures of every kind--ducks, more cranes, even a pelican--came from all quarters, and pursued him to the very brink of the pool.
So numerous were they, indeed, that they obstructed each other's way. Meantime the little frog was making the best use of the time, lessening the distance at every bound. But even a race for life must have an end, either in disaster to the pursued or disappointment to the pursuers, and just at the moment when the wide-open beak of the admired white crane was about to close upon him, with all the other eager open jaws close following, our adventurous student splashed into the waters of the pond.
As he settled, exhausted, in the soft mud at the bottom of the pond, stirring up a cloud, as it were, his little brothers and sisters, still in the polliwig state, wriggled around him with anxious inquiry, and staid old croakers, in coats of green and brown, and mottled trousers, looked with amazement from him to the bank, where still lingered the excited throng of his hungry pursuers.
Not a word to the many questions asked could he reply, but stared out from his muddy security in dazed speechlessness upon the horrid throng of snapping beaks and jaws he had just escaped. He experienced a feeling of pleasure upon seeing a disappointed owl pick up a disappointed snake, and wing his noiseless way back toward the copse, followed by his mate. Then the disappointed crane fastened upon another snake, and arose like a white cloud, with his squirming victim in his strong beak. After considerable quacking, snapping, and hissing, one after another of his ferocious foes rose upon the wing, and went his way; the bank was cleared, peace and quiet reigned again.
Our traveller was again asked for an account of his adventures. When he came to speak of the "strange plant," a laugh from under the yellow vest of "Old Spots" greeted his ear. And "Old Spots" (they called him "Spots" on account of his strongly mottled green coat) curtly observed that a little sharp experience seemed to simplify matters much, and a prick in the nose to help an inquiring mind to a speedy conclusion. "But," said he, more seriously, "a closer scrutiny would hardly have failed to reveal to the eye so important a feature as prickers on a thistle, without the necessity of thrusting them into one's very nose."
The story of the boy and the brick was allowed to pass without remark from the older inhabitants of the pool, probably because the little frog, in this instance, had managed the case as well as any one could have done.
When he spoke of the tall bird in plumage of shining white, the comment was, "The white crane! one of the deadliest foes of our race!" The brown bird, he was informed, was the bittern, commonly called "stake-driver," "fly-up-the-creek," etc., also a mortal foe.
When he made rather careless mention of the glistening snake, the old frogs shuddered as they informed him that of all their enemies this was most to be dreaded, because of its stealthy way of creeping upon its victim unawares through the grass, fastening its fangs upon him, and sometimes taking hours to swallow its prey, which all the while remained alive, in painful and agonized certainty of his slow-approaching death.
The owls, they said, were less to be dreaded than any of his pursuers; they were not particularly fond of frogs, would as soon have a snake, and much preferred mice.
In short, every bird, reptile, and object of peculiar interest, as well as localities, with all their characteristics, seemed so familiar to these recently despised "old croakers," that the little frog hardly knew whether to be most astonished or humiliated at the discovery of this unboasted knowledge in the possession of his elders, and could but admit to himself that it was the only discovery of any importance he had made through the day, since all the others, it seemed, were no discoveries at all.
A FOOLISH RABBIT.
BY R. K. MUNKITTRICK.
A meditative rabbit once Within a brake sat thinking Why he and all his timid kind Are always sadly winking.
He told his story to a wren, There in the fragrant grasses. The wren replied, "Your eyes are weak; Pray try a pair of glasses."
The rabbit smiled, and took the hint, And early in the morning The wren observed a dainty pair His pleasant face adorning.
To show the animals the change, He went into a clearing; But when they saw the wild effect, They all set up a jeering.
His reasoning was long and loud And eloquent. Thereafter The animals with one accord Fell down and rolled with laughter.
And now he ever hides from view Within the woodland passes, And winks the more for having tried To wear a pair of glasses.
LOUIS XVII. IN THE TEMPLE PRISON.
On the 29th of March, 1785, was born at the palace of Versailles, near Paris, the most unfortunate of children. Louis Charles was the second son of Louis XVI., King of France, and Marie Antoinette, his Queen, and the royal infant seemed destined to know in life only the greatest luxury and ease. He grew up a fair, graceful boy, his hair light, and falling in curls upon his shoulders, his eyes blue, his form and features regular, and he very soon began to show a quick, sensitive, intelligent mind. When he was about four years old his elder brother died, leaving him a little dog named Moufflet. He left him, too, heir to the throne of France, the Dauphin, as the eldest son of the French Kings was called, and Louis Charles was to be master of all the wide dominions of his ancestors. He was marked by a strong love for his parents, and particularly his mother, the graceful Marie Antoinette. The royal family consisted of the King and Queen, the King's sister, Madame Élisabeth, and two children--the Princess Marie Thérèse, who was some years older than Louis, and the Dauphin. They seemed very happy together in the splendid palace at Versailles. Louis cultivated a small plot of ground, or a garden, where he raised flowers, and presented them to his mother. Every morning, in their season, the child would bring a bouquet to the fair Queen, who fully returned his tender love. His aunt, Madame Élisabeth, was always kind and good, and his sister, the Princess, watched over him with affectionate care.
But suddenly the whole family were overwhelmed by a succession of misfortunes. The French Revolution began; the foreign kings invaded France; and the French people looked upon their own royal rulers with suspicion, and even hatred, because they thought they had called in the foreign armies. Marie Antoinette was the most unpopular of all. Paris was filled with terrible disorders. One day a great crowd of savage men and women came out to the palace of Versailles, and insisted that the King and his family should come to Paris. He was obliged to yield. The great coach was ordered, the whole royal family were led almost as captives to the city, and were lodged in the midst of the enraged people, in the palace of the Tuileries. At first they were not badly treated. Louis had brought his dog Moufflet with him, and was even allowed to cultivate a small garden, where he still raised flowers, and gave them to his sad, terrified mother. Dreadful scenes and massacres now took place in Paris. Louis was shown by his mother to the people, wearing a red bonnet and the tricolor; but every moment seemed to increase their danger. At last the King (June, 1791) resolved to make his escape out of France; and one night Louis was called up, half asleep, and dressed in disguise as a little girl. The poor child was too young to understand his danger; and when his sister asked him what he thought they were going to do, said it must be "to act a comedy." They opened a gate in the palace, went down into the silent street at midnight, wandered in the darkness over the Pont Royal, at last found the carriage prepared for them, and escaped from the city. Had they made haste they might have reached the frontier and safety; but they were overtaken, seized, and brought back to Paris the prisoners of a savage mob.
[Illustration: THE ROYAL PRISONERS IN THE TEMPLE.]
Soon after, amidst scenes of massacre and horror, they were all taken to the Temple (an ancient prison), and shut up in a tower. Here they remained many months, exposed to the most terrible insults, scantily fed, and looking for death every moment. But the King employed his time in teaching his son Louis to read Racine and Corneille, and endeavoring to prepare him for a useful life. At last he was himself taken out, tried before a revolutionary tribunal, sentenced to die (January, 1793), and his head was cut off. Next, Marie Antoinette was taken away from her family to a solitary prison, and at last was brought to the guillotine. Her hair had turned white, and her face was rigid with suffering. But as she mounted the scaffold she showed no sign of fear. Madame Élisabeth, the most innocent and amiable of her race, was also executed.
The young Prince, now King of France by descent, was left alone, shut up in his prison at the Temple, and guarded by the horrible men who had tormented his mother and father. It was the custom of these wretches to terrify their prisoners by threats, insults, and every malicious art. Louis Charles was placed under the care of the infamous Simon, a monster of cruelty. He was left entirely alone. No kind friend came to soften the sorrows of his lot. Night and day passed over him in his miserable cell without a joy or hope. His mind had become prematurely active amidst his sorrows; he knew, no doubt, the fate of his parents and relations. Simon endeavored to teach him to hate his mother, and the young Prince would never afterward speak to his horrible jailer. He would rather be alone in the darkest night in the fearful cell than see the countenance of his foe. For a long time before his death he remained utterly silent, refusing to speak, and living in dumb misery. The Reign of Terror prevailed in Paris; Robespierre and his murderers filled it with horror, and the Dauphin was left to perish in his solitary cell. He was now nearly ten years old, but he still preserved his strange silence, and seemed like a dumb and idiotic child.
Next Robespierre perished, and Louis might have been better treated. But his long confinement and the filth and horrors of his prison had brought on a severe illness. He wasted away. Dr. Desault, a famous physician, was sent to attend him, but died a short time afterward. Louis, it is said, still remained silent and speechless. He died on the 8th of June, 1795, in his solitary cell, alone, without a friend.
Such was the sad doom of Louis XVII., King of France. The annals of the poor offer no fate so miserable as that of this descendant of the proudest and most powerful of European monarchs. By some writers it is asserted that Louis escaped from his imprisonment, that a child deaf and dumb was substituted for him, and that the King, or Dauphin, died in obscurity in some part of Europe or America. But the legend is improbable, and Louis XVII. sleeps, no doubt, in the cemetery where he was laid at Paris.
BY LILLIAS C. DAVIDSON.
Twenty-one pearls!--no, twenty-two; thirteen in the B, and nine in the V of the monogram, besides the six little nails with heads of real diamonds! Beata had never seen such a locket, no, not even in a shop window, and to have had it for her very own for four whole days, and not be able so much as to wear it!
It had come on Christmas-day--come in a little case all packed with cotton-wool, and lined with silver paper--a case which Beata's fingers could hardly open, they shook so with excitement and eagerness; and it came all the way from Germany and her German godmother, Madame Von Thausandmal.
"A beautiful locket, certainly, my dear," said Mrs. Vyner, Beata's mamma, in confidence, to Beata's papa, when locket and case, and Beata--rosy and joyful and proud--had all vanished with a rush out of mamma's pretty blue morning-room. "But so utterly unsuitable to a child! What can Helga von Thausandmal have been thinking of to send her such a thing? Of course it was exceedingly kind of her, but I'm afraid it will turn Beata's head, and it won't be the least use to her for years to come."
"Why not, eh?" asked the Squire, who was deep in the morning paper, and perhaps wasn't attending as he might have been. "I thought it pretty enough."
"It's lovely; that's just it. It's too bad to tantalize her with a thing she can't wear, and no properly brought up little girls wear such jewelry; even if they did, I should not let Beata do anything so silly and improper. No; it must be put away for her till she is eighteen, and 'comes out.' Poor child! I won't take it away for a week or two; it would be cruel; but go it must. Why couldn't Helga have sent her some books, or a doll, or anything sensible?"
But of all this Beata heard not a word, and her cup of bliss seemed as if it would run over. Such a locket! as grand as a grown-up young lady's, and for her very own! She had shown it at least three times over to every servant in the house, down to Elizabeth Jane, the kitchen-maid, who had won Beata's genuine respect by her "Law, miss, if it ain't fit for a duchess at the very least!" and she only sighed to think her governess had gone home for the holidays, and could not see it for a whole fortnight.
But now a little shadow, like a small cloud, had come over the sunshine. What was the good of a locket, and such a locket as Beata's, if other people didn't see and admire? And how could they see it, if it were not worn? And what chance had she to wear it?
To be sure, the house was full of visitors, who had come the very day after Christmas, and Rex and she went down to dessert every night, and into the drawing-room for half an hour afterward; but somehow Beata never quite ventured to suggest "Locket," as nurse dressed her in her well-worn little frock of black velvet, and tied her plain red silk sash; indeed, she rather fancied she could see nurse's face if she did; and as to wearing it to church on Sunday--well, even Beata's little head could dimly understand somehow that God's house wasn't the place for finery and display; and so--
"But now, to-day, there _is_ a chance," she thought, with a gasp which was half exultation and half pure fright at her own daring; for Rex and she were going skating.
Down in the park at Dene Hall there is a beautiful little lake, where the wild fowl swim in summer, and where Beata and Rex were wont to paddle about in a flat-bottomed boat, a "tub," Rex called it. But now the water was covered with firm smooth ice, and the ladies and gentlemen staying at the Hall had gone down there to skate, and Cousin Cecil had promised to look after the children if they might come too; and Beata was tempted.
Rex was shouting from the hall. Without another pause the locket was out of its case, slipped on a ribbon, and the ribbon tied round Beata's neck. Was it dread of Rex's scorn or of mamma's observation that made Beata slip it under her little fur boa as she ran down the old oaken stairs?
"Rex, you've no overcoat," she said, as they hurried together through the snow, which lay like a soft white blanket over garden and park. That hidden locket filled her mind so full that she must speak about it, and she artfully began to talk about dress, to work the conversation round to that beloved topic. But all in vain.
"Overcoat!" echoed Rex, in high disdain, swinging Beata's dainty little skates and his own together. "Who wants an overcoat? The Spartans never wore 'em."
"But then you're not a Spartan."
"Wish I was." Rex was beginning ancient history, and had a Grecian craze just now. "Never mind, I mean to harden just as if I was;" but he couldn't help a shiver all the same.
Beata tried again. "Doesn't the snow look like pearls, Rex?"
"Can't say I see it. Oh, you're thinking about that swell locket of yours. Now in Sparta they never allowed them to wear bosh like that."
"Then Sparta was a stupid place," began Beata, hotly; but they came round the corner by the lake, and the sight there put everything else out of both their minds.
Such a pretty sight! Ice as smooth and clear as sweeping could make it; white banks of snow gleaming like a wreath about it; crowds of gayly dressed ladies and knickerbockered gentlemen skimming about, or being pushed in chairs; the ring of a hundred skates keeping time to the band that was playing in the rustic boat-house; and another crowd of people, but not gayly dressed, standing and looking on at it all.
"What a rabble!" said Beata. "These aren't only village people and servants; some of them look like gypsies. Look at that woman in the red shawl--she's a tramp."
But here, skating down to them with a pretty grace, her sweet face glowing above her warm furs, came Cousin Cecil, and just behind her the fair mustache of Captain Strangways, the children's firm friend; and after that there could be nothing but delight.
To skate between Cousin Cecil and Captain Strangways, holding a hand of each, seemed to Beata the summit of human felicity. Rex, still Spartan even in his pleasures, preferred to stagger about alone. Beata forgot to try and pretend she was grown up.
All at once she remembered, with a shock of remorse, that Captain Strangways had never seen the wonderful locket. What an omission! Her hand went up under her fur boa to bring that neglected ornament into its proper position; then stopped short. The thin little bit of blue ribbon dangled aimless there, to be sure, but there was no locket.
I don't think Beata will ever forget that moment, if she lives to be an old woman. Her face looked almost gray as she turned it up speechlessly to Cousin Cecil's wondering gaze.
"My locket! oh, my locket!" she managed to gasp.
"Your locket, dear? Why, what's the matter? Oh, Beata, you don't mean to say you wore it?"
"Oh yes, I did, I did; and now it's gone."
Cousin Cecil looked very grave indeed. "Oh, Beata!" was all she said, but it was worse than any words almost.
"Oh, do let's find it; do look--do, do!"
"We'll look; but as to finding it--" But Cousin Cecil broke off short. There was a scream from the other end of the lake, where the village boys and girls had made a slide--a shrill, sharp cry--and a little tiny boy, such a ragged, wretched mite, lay flat upon the hard cold ice. Captain Strangways started to go, but Cecil was there first. She was down upon her knees, and had the wee dirty face on her arm, before he could reach her side, for he was heavier and slower than she. She looked up with a serious face as he bent down to her.
"Poor little mite! I am afraid he's hurt. He was too small to slide. I must get him home this minute. Where does he live?"
"Please, miss, down to Bill Green's; they're a-lodgin'. Please, miss, they're tramps; that was his ma that's just gone, her in the red shawl there," rose in a hubbub of voices.
"Oh, poor wee man! I'll take him home."
"Pray, Miss Vyner, let me," said Captain Strangways, struggling with his skates.
"Oh no, please don't: I'd rather. It's only a step. He isn't heavy. No, please. If you'll take the children home for me, I won't be long."
"But you must not go alone, and it's almost dusk."
"Jim shall go with me," and she beckoned to a stable-boy in the crowd. "Indeed, Captain Strangways, I would much rather you did not come, really;" and reluctantly he stooped and unfastened her skates, and stood watching her as she passed quickly down toward the village, with Jim in attendance, and the little child in her arms.
"It's all right, really," said Rex, trying to cut a double S, and failing signally. "Don't you know Cousin Cecil is doctor to half the village?"
"And oh!" said a tearful voice, "could you help me to look for my locket?"
"By all means," said the kind young soldier, and they set to work with a will, but without success; no locket was to be seen.
"I'll tell you what, Beata," said Rex, as the fading light warned them to join the group starting homeward, "it's no go. We'll tell Adams, and get him to set the gardeners and stablemen to work early in the morning, but you can't see your own nose now. I believe the woman in the red shawl boned it. Don't cry; you know the Spartans--"
But there was a sob as they turned away, and even Captain Strangways's comforting hand-clasp could not quite console poor Beata.
Everybody was having afternoon tea when they reached home. The great square hall, with its polished walls and rafters, was all aglow with the light from the great wood fire on the old stone hearth. There was a pleasant clatter of tea-spoons, and a most appetizing aroma of hot tea and muffins, and a great deal of chattering and soft laughter from the ladies in their low easy-chairs, and the gentlemen who were handing tea-cups. Captain Strangways secured a very big carved chair on the outside of the circle, and the children nestled down close to him on the tiger-skin rug. It was only the holiday-time that gained them this distinguished honor of taking tea down stairs, instead of in the school-room. But Beata did not feel grown up at all; she was far too busy mourning over the lost locket, and thinking of the confession that would have to be made to mamma by-and-by. Rex was very silent too, but he was busy with the muffins. I don't know whether they had muffins in Sparta, but on that subject he said not a word.
The laughter and the tea-drinking went on, but no Cousin Cecil appeared. Captain Strangways had twice gone over to look out at the deepening darkness, and each time he came back looking graver, when all at once the great hall door opened softly, there was a sudden rush of cold air, and in came Cecil, very gently and quietly.
Captain Strangways was on his feet, had unfastened her fur cloak, placed her in the big chair, and brought her a cup of tea, before Rex had swallowed the mouthful of muffin upon which he was engaged. When his speech returned to him, however, he asked, with un-Spartanlike eagerness,
"Well, and how's the little chap?"
"Better now, dear, but he was really hurt." Then, leaning forward, "Look here, Beata," she said, very seriously, and dropped something into her lap.
Beata started up with a little cry, "My locket! oh, my locket!"
"Then I do believe that old red shawl stole it, after all. Has she gone to prison?"
"Oh, hush, Rex! Listen, children: what sort of a home do you think I took that poor little man to? Nothing but the shed behind Green's smithy; no fire, no bed but straw, no food. He had cut his head, but I soon bound that up, and then--oh, how can I tell you?--his mother, that poor pale creature in the red shawl, came up to me, just as I was coming away, and with tears and sobs she gave me this. She said she saw it fall, and picked it up in hopes of a reward, and then--and then she thought of the food it would buy for her miserable little starving babies (there were two more in the shed), and oh, children, _she meant to keep it_!"
There was a moment's silence.
"Then why--why did she give it to you?" said a somewhat husky voice: perhaps the hardening process had given Rex cold.
"She said, when I brought the little boy home, she couldn't do it. She said--and I believe it is true--that it is the first time in her life she took what wasn't hers, and it was only the starving babies, and the sight of the glittering locket, that tempted her. Oh, Beata dear, don't you see now what it is to wear things that may put temptation in other people's way?"
Something as bright as the diamond nails glistened on the locket on Beata's lap.
"I'll tell mamma every bit about it," she murmured, with drooping head, "and ask her to take it away, and never let me even see it till I'm grown up."
"Yes; and, Beata"--and Cousin Cecil's voice sank so low that no one else could hear--"when you say, 'Lead us not into temptation,' to-night, ask to be kept from ever tempting anybody else, and think of poor little Tom's mother, won't you?"
"But, I say, cousin"--Rex was a little husky still--"are they all starving and shivering down there now?"
"Oh no; Mrs. Green has taken them in for the night, and Jim has just gone back with some hot soup and other things for them, and to-morrow we must settle more. I'm sure Uncle George will help."
"And Beata's and my pocket-money--at least what's left after Christmas and all those chocolates we bought the other day. Now, Beata, I hope you'll give up wearing lockets and tomfoolery like that. In Sparta--"
"Have another muffin, Rex, my boy?" said Captain Strangways; and Rex's valuable items of information respecting that classic land were lost to the general public--at least as far as that occasion was concerned.
If all the wealth on earth could be To one man given, still would not he Be rich as I. O'er land and sea I scatter gold. I fill the air With precious specks. Ay! everywhere I of my treasure give a share, And yet have countless stores to spare.
[Begun in HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE No. 66, February 1.]
BY MRS. W. J. HAYS,
AUTHOR OF "PRINCESS IDLEWAYS," ETC.
FAREWELL TO THE CITY.
A day or two later, Phil, wrapped in shawls, was carried by Joe to a carriage, and the carriage rolled away to a wharf where puffed numerous steamboats; and here he was taken on board one of the river-steamers, and safely placed in the midst of a heap of pillows on deck, where he could see all the busy life about him--see the newspaper boys and the orange women, and the hurrying hacks and the great teams, and all the stir and tumult of the city's busiest hours. Miss Schuyler, in her cool gray suit, was on one side of him, and Lisa, looking tranquil and thoroughly glad and grateful, on the other, and Joe, just the happiest darky in the world, sat at his feet ready to take charge of all and everything.
They sailed and they sailed, away from the city and its many roofs, from the factory chimneys and the steeples, from the cloud of smoke which hung between the sky and house-tops, until they came to the hills and dales of pasture-lands and villages. Then they landed, and were whirled away in the cars, and Phil enjoyed it all, even the fatigue which made him sleep; and Joe carried him about as if he were a baby.
It was quite dark when, after a drive over a rather rough road, they reached the lake-side cottage which was Miss Schuyler's summer home, and Phil was glad to be put in bed, for the old pain had begun again.
When he opened his eyes the next morning, it was with a strange feeling of wonder at his new surroundings. Birds were twittering out-of-doors, and there was a soft lapping of water on the shore. The green boughs of a cherry-tree almost brushed against the window-panes. He was no longer in his old garret room, but in a pretty apartment, with bunches of rose-buds on the walls, and scent-bottles on the toilet table, and muslin curtains, and a bright carpet, and pretty book-shelves, and brackets, and lovely child-faces in the engravings; and on a broad table was a little easel, and a paint-box, and drawing-paper; and here too was his old box with the violin strings.
"Oh," said Phil, softly, "I wonder if heaven is any better than this!"
He had closed his eyes as he said it, and went over his usual morning prayer of thankfulness; and when he opened his eyes, there was Lisa with his breakfast tray--poached eggs and toast and a goblet of milk.
"Lisa, Lisa, is not this too nice for anything?" asked Phil.
"Yes, indeed, dear, it is nice. Miss Schuyler says you must hurry and get strong, so that you can make the acquaintance of the hens that laid these eggs for you, and the cow whose milk is to do you so much good."
"What is the cow's name, Lisa?"
"I don't know," said Lisa.
"It is Daisy," said Miss Schuyler, coming in to say good-morning. "She's a lovely little Alderney, and her milk is like cream. Oh, you will soon be strong enough to row my boat for me."
"A boat!--have you a boat?"
"Yes, and you are going out on the lake in her this very morning."
"It is just too much happiness, Miss Schuyler."
"Well, we will not overpower you. For a day or two you must rest, and do nothing but breathe the sweet air. I have to be busy getting things in order and looking after my garden. Lisa will take her work on the piazza, and you can lie in one of the easy-chairs. Joe is to wait on you, and do a little weeding, and keep the paths in order, and bail out the boat; and the old man seems to be very much at home already. So that is the order of the day. Now good-by, and don't do too much thinking."
[Illustration: ON THE LAKE.]
"One moment, Miss Schuyler; do you believe in fairies?"
"Just a little," said Miss Schuyler, with a quizzical smile.
"Well, I believe in them," said Phil, "and I think you are one of the best of them."
"Oh no, I am very human, dear Phil, as you will find out. And now I must go look after my strawberry beds. Good-by."
"Good-by," said Phil, waving her a kiss. "Only think, Lisa, we will actually see strawberries growing! It is quite fairy-land for me."
After that he was carried down to the easy-chair on the piazza, where he could see the lawn sloping down to the lake, and watch the birds lighting on the rim of a vase full of daisies and running vines. He could see that the cottage was low and broad, and painted in two shades of brown; that there were arbors covered with grapevines on one side, and on the other he knew there were flower beds and fruit trees, for every once in a while Miss Rachel was to be seen emerging from there in a broad straw flat, and with buckskin gloves, trailing long bits of string or boughs of green stuff, with scissors and trowel and watering-can.
Lisa had her work-basket, and with deft fingers and a little under-tone of psalmody was fashioning a pretty summer garment. Then Miss Rachel came and tossed a basketful of early roses and syringa down beside Phil, and put a little table beside him, with some slender glass vases and a pitcher of water, and asked him to arrange the flowers for her. This he was glad to do, and made the bunches up as prettily as his nice taste suggested. But he was really wearied with great happiness. It was all so new, so charming, every sense was so satisfied, that at last he closed his eyes and slept.
It seemed to him only a little while, but when he opened his eyes again, Lisa was beside him with his dinner; and after dinner he slept again, and when he wakened the lawn was in shadow, and the sun low in the sky, and the birds were twittering and seeking their nests, and Miss Rachel was telling Joe to put cushions in the boat, the _Flyaway_; and presently Phil found himself floating gently on the lovely water of the lake, and the cottage and lawn and arbors were looking like a pretty bit of landscape he had seen in books.
He dipped his fingers in the clear water, and looked down at the pebbly bottom, and listened to the even dip of the oars, as old Joe rowed farther out from shore.
"It must be fairy-land," thought Phil, but he said nothing; he was too happy to talk. And so the day ended, the first day in the country.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
Bow! wow! wow! You'd better run; I'm just the dog to spoil your fun; I'll tear your dresses, and bite your heels, Till every one of you shrieks and squeals. So, there! I've scared them well, I must say; But I'm very glad that they ran away; It wouldn't have been such jolly fun, If they had made me turn tail and run.
Six chimney-sweeps, each black as a crow, Had a big fight with a man of snow. They beat him to pieces because he was white, And had a triumphant feast that night. Their dishes were blackbirds and crows, 'tis said, Chimney-soot pudding and charcoal bread. And they swallowed a dozen bottles of ink, Being very choice in their meat and drink.
Here, you little monkey, you, I want to see you play with Lu; She's such a pretty little miss, Shake hands with her, and give a kiss. _Won't!_
Why not, when Lulu wants to play, And asks in such a pretty way? _Can't!_ Why not, you little sauce-box, say? _Sha'n't!_
Here's a dainty little tree, With its spreading leaves so free; It's so pretty, that I will Keep it on my window-sill.
[Illustration: OUR POST-OFFICE BOX]
RATON, NEW MEXICO.
My brother and sisters and myself live at Chicorica Park. It is a very pretty place, situated in the Raton Mountains. We have had parties of as many as three hundred Indians hunting in our cañon at once, but it is a year and a half now since we have seen any. We have a good many deer here. Seven have been killed since Christmas, but one was carried off by a mountain lion.
We like HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE very much, especially the Jimmy Brown stories, and "Toby Tyler." We are all English children, and have never lived anywhere in America except in New Mexico. Our pets are dogs and cats and a colt. We like the colt best of all.
We have had some very heavy snow-storms, and the cañon has been impassable several times this winter, so we have not received YOUNG PEOPLE very regularly. I am twelve years old.
G. KERCHEVAL M.
* * * * *
CLIFTON HEIGHTS, PENNSYLVANIA.
I like the life of Lafayette which was published in YOUNG PEOPLE so much! I have the lives of generals in my history, but the way they are written in YOUNG PEOPLE is so much more interesting! I wish the paper was published twice a week, it seems so long to wait to hear how Toby Tyler gets along. On Wednesday morning it is "Hallo! has YOUNG PEOPLE come?" all over our house. Mamma says it is a great blessing. We think the little girl with her first muff in the picture in No. 68 is so sweet and chubby and baby-like, that if she was alive we should just love her to death.
I have a dog named Major, who sits up on his hind-legs and hangs down his fore-paws pitifully, as if they were broken, and some people think they really are; but Major only does it to beg for candy. He has many friends, and sometimes they bring him sticks of candy all the way from Philadelphia.
It has been so cold here this winter that some of our sparrows fell to the ground half frozen. We brought them into the house, and when they got warm we opened the window and let them fly away.
* * * * *
I am six years old. I began to take YOUNG PEOPLE on the first of January, and I like it ever so much. I learned the little poem in No. 66 about the strawberry vines, and how the snowy blanket covered their saucy little heads. I speak it for grandma, and she says it is beautiful.
Christmas papa gave me a beautiful little stove, all nickel-plated. I bake pies and cake and other nice things for my little friends and myself to eat.
My uncle brought me a doll from New York city, and my other uncle gave me a little trunk to put her clothes in.
* * * * *
I wish YOUNG PEOPLE came every day instead of once a week. I was so sorry when "Mildred's Bargain" was finished! but I like the other stories ever so much, especially "Toby Tyler." I read all the letters in the Post-office Box, and wish I could see all the boys and girls who write them. The little girl away down in Texas who wrote about the first snow has no idea how much fun we Northern children have coasting on the snow crust, sometimes over drifts eight and ten feet deep.
Last Friday I spoke "Lily's Ball," the poem in No. 67 of YOUNG PEOPLE, at my school, and next week I am going to speak "My First Muff," in No. 68.
* * * * *
NEW YORK CITY.
I think Toby Tyler is a great boy. We used to have a monkey named Jack. Every night he would put a shawl over his head and go to sleep. Sometimes he would hold the kitten in his arms and try to put her to sleep. He would get on our pig's back, and hold on to his ears, and ride all around, and he would ride horseback to the village. When any one went out, he would watch to see if any candy were brought home, and if it was, he would stand on his hind-legs and put out his paw until the paper was opened. I am almost eight years old.
WILLIE K. T.
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HOUSTON, TEXAS, _February_ 22, 1881.
I wish to notify correspondents that I have exchanged to the full extent of my collection, and I beg them not to write to me any more.
H. C. YANCEY.
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FOREST LAKE, PENNSYLVANIA.
My papa promised me YOUNG PEOPLE as soon as I could read it myself. I tried very hard after that, and last November, on my seventh birthday, sure enough it came. I don't believe any little boy enjoys it more than I do. I must tell you of one thing it has done for me. I was always afraid to be left alone, especially after dark. After reading the story in No. 55 about the little girl who broke herself of being so timid, I went every night from garret to cellar all alone after dark, and now I am not afraid to go anywhere in the house, even if it is very dark.
I have a little brother named Harry. I love him very much. He likes the pictures in YOUNG PEOPLE as much as I do. I think Jimmy Brown is jolly.
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SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS.
I have two mocking-birds for pets. They whistle so pretty! I am going to have a pretty flower garden this summer. Spring is here (February 16), and the peach-trees are budding, and everybody is making gardens.
I like all the stories in YOUNG PEOPLE. I always laugh so hard when mamma reads Jimmy Brown to me! I wish he would send another story.
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_February_ 24, 1881.
I have no more pure white coral left, but I have a piece with a little red in it which I will send to a boy who sent me a specimen of ore, if he will kindly send me his address again.
I would like to send "Wee Tot" a piece of red coral from the Red Sea, if she will send me some ocean curiosities and her address.
SALLIE KELLEY, Kleine St., East Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Fred Glasier, of Adams, Massachusetts, regrets being unable to make a return for some favors he has received, as the addresses, although given, were so illegible that he could not decipher them. Addresses should always be written distinctly. The Post-office Box is often compelled to neglect exchanges which are pretty and suitable, because the address is as mysterious as the hieroglyphics on our Egyptian obelisk.
* * * * *
Last year my father gave me a Columbia bicycle. We have a bicycle club here, with about twenty members, of which I am one. Our suit is brown corduroy, with red stockings. The cap is like the suit.
I would like to exchange some of the first American pennies and halfpennies, for foreign coins.
ARTHUR C. KETCHAM, Care of William P. Ketcham. P. O. Box 10, Yonkers, N. Y.
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I will exchange bayberry-tallow, for peacock coal, or postage stamps from Cape of Good Hope or Barbadoes.
A. M. FORMAN, 116 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Bayberry-tallow is greenish in color, and is obtained by boiling the berries of the bayberry, or wax myrtle (_Myrica cerifera_). This shrub, which is very aromatic, grows in great abundance all along the Atlantic coast. It is found in such quantities in some localities of Long Island that the gathering of the berries and the manufacture of tallow for candles amount to an extensive local industry.
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I have taken YOUNG PEOPLE since the first copy. My brother has bound it with strings, and it makes a very pretty volume.
I have often answered correspondents, always receiving, in exchange for foreign stamps, articles of equal value.
I have nearly two thousand duplicates of foreign stamps, which I will exchange for other foreign stamps, or for stamps of United States departments. I will also exchange postmarks for anything interesting.
JOHN THOMAS, 3420 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, Penn.
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My mamma says she will make a pretty flower out of any little girl's hair, or her mamma's, in exchange for curious shells, minerals, or a genuine Indian bow and arrow. A bunch of hair from one to two feet long and as thick as a goose quill will make a pretty flower.
ADELLA P. LIPPINCOTT, New Hope, Bucks County, Penn.
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I have four Chilian stamps, which I would like to exchange for other South American stamps. I have made a man with a basket on his back from Wiggle 17, which I send.
EDWARD H. PALMER, 44 Schiffleutstaden, Strasburg, Germany.
Your Wiggle is excellent, and we are very sorry it arrived too late to be printed with others.
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I have noticed in the exchanges there are many who want birds' eggs. It does not seem quite right to me, because if we take all the eggs, we destroy all the birds. I will exchange shells and pebbles from Lake Erie, for any curiosity except birds' eggs.
JESSIE G. SMITH, 327 West Fourth Street, Erie, Penn.
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The following exchanges are also offered by correspondents:
Postmarks and stamps of all kinds.
GEORGE LINSCOTT, Holton, Jackson County, Kansas.
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Twenty-five postmarks, for five stamps from any country except Europe, Canada, and the United States.
F. S. and B. S., P. O. Box 582, Lansing, Mich.
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Dried ferns from the highest peaks of the Alleghanies, for pieces of silk for a quilt.
LUCY SHARP, P. O. Box 73, Bridgeton, N. J.
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SAMMY BEANS, 103 East Seventy-ninth Street, New York City.
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Postmarks or stamps, for stamps.
JEROME G. EDDY, Lock Box 111, Geneva, N. Y.
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A piece of Irish peat, for soil and seed from the far West or South, especially cotton seed, or for a piece of lava.
D. ALLAN WEBER, Searsport, Waldo County, Maine.
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N. S. SCHWARZ, 105 East Seventy-ninth Street, New York City.
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Postage stamps and postmarks, for stamps.
WILLIAM M. BEAMAN, U. S. Naval Asylum, Philadelphia, Penn.
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A Canadian coin, for five Montenegro stamps.
CHARLIE HUBBARD, 30 Pearl Street, New Haven, Conn.
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Shells, for Indian relics.
AARON KING, 80 Ellison Street, Paterson, N. J.
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Texas moss, flints, insects, woods, pressed flowers, and other natural curiosities, for foreign postage stamps, woods, Indian arrow-heads, and all kinds of minerals.
J. S. and WILLIE G. DAVIS, Care of J. T. Davis, P. O. Box 122, Groesbeck, Limestone County, Texas.
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Postmarks, for stamps, curiosities, or minerals. Ten postmarks, for one rare stamp; or twenty, for a good curiosity.
CHARLIE NICHOLS, 288 Lafayette Street, Bridgeport, Conn.
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Postage stamps, for stamps, minerals or coins.
RALPH L. EMERSON, P. O. Box 105, Brookline, Mass.
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Postage stamps, for the same, or pressed wild flowers.
FRED CHENEY, 41 Fort Avenue, Boston, Mass.
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Foreign postage stamps.
HENRY PAYNE, Mankato, Minn.
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Stamps, for coins.
A SUBSCRIBER OF "YOUNG PEOPLE," First National Bank, Bay City, Mich.
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A small piece of sulphate of iron, for foreign postage stamps.
HARRY W. TOWNLEY, Sayreville, N. J.
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Stamps, for coins.
W. T. CRANE, 124 Washington Street, Hoboken, N. J.
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Stamps, for anything suitable for a museum.
D. G. BARNETT, 406 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.
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German postage stamps, for other foreign stamps.
ARTHUR E. CAMPBELL, 222 Prospect Avenue, Milwaukee, Wis.
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Five postmarks, for one foreign stamp.
GUY F. BARKER, St Albans, Franklin County, Vt.
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Rare postmarks (Illinois especially) and postage stamps, for foreign and old issues of United States stamps.
MANNING A. LOGAN, 812 Twelfth Street, N. W., Washington, D. C.
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Three varieties of internal revenue stamps, for foreign stamps, minerals, or curiosities.
EDWIN E. SLOSSON, Sabetha, Nemaha County, Kansas.
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United States and foreign postage stamps, for stamps from Hamburg, Mexico, and Japan.
HARRY C. BREARLEY, 180 Charlotte Avenue, Detroit, Mich.
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Postage stamps, for specimens of gold, silver, copper, or tin ore.
ALLY B. HALLIDAY, 406 West Forty-third Street, New York City.
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Minerals, fossils, shells, and Indian relics (a large collection of the latter), for minerals, shells, and seaweed. Only good specimens desired.
ED GOHL, 7 South Third Street, Harrisburg, Penn.
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Stones from Connecticut, Texas, and Mississippi, also cotton as it comes from the field, for foreign postage stamps.
JAMES MCKENNA, 4 West Street, Bridgeport, Conn.
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A Norwegian halfpenny, date 1867, two Cape of Good Hope stamps, and a flint an inch long, for Indian arrow-heads and petrified wood.
GEORGE E. PRINGLE, Hastings, Minn.
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Shells from the Indian and Pacific oceans, for fossils of animals or plants.
HENRY W. HAND, Green Creek, Cape May County, N. J.
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Foreign postage stamps, for Indian relics and curiosities.
FLAVEL S. MINES, Kirkwood Hotel, Kirkwood, St. Louis County, Mo.
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Postmarks, postage and revenue stamps, and monograms, for postage and revenue stamps.
K. G. EASTON, West Berkeley, Cal.
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Thirty foreign stamps, for five stamps of the following countries: Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Cape of Good Hope, Hong-Kong.
H. L. J., Lock Box 721, Granville, Licking County, Ohio.
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Postmarks, for stamps.
JAMES G. BARBOUR, 25 Fulton Street, Pittsburgh, Penn.
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Twenty-eight old coins, for any curiosity or Indian relics. A good Indian bow and a few arrows especially desired.
A SUBSCRIBER OF "YOUNG PEOPLE," P. O. Box 930, Rushford, Fillmore Co., Minn.
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A few shells from Calcutta, India, for ocean curiosities, or any pretty thing for a collection. Mosses and pressed ferns especially desired. Flower seeds also exchanged.
ELLA STULL, Greenville, Darke County, Ohio.
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Ten foreign postage stamps, for an Indian arrow-head, or two stamps from the Cape of Good Hope.
FREEMAN WOODBRIDGE, Care of Dr. J. Woodbridge, New Brunswick. N. J.
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Postmarks and Canadian postage stamps, for shells from the Pacific and Southern coasts, or other curiosities. Correspondents will please label specimens.
MISS M. FRANK LE COUNT, South Norwalk, Conn.
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Stones from the Arkansas River, cotton as it comes from the field, cotton seed, postmarks, and scales of the alligator gar-fish, for United States or foreign coins. Correspondents will please label coins.
COLLECTOR, care of Postmaster, Heckatoo, Lincoln County, Ark.
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Old United States and foreign postage stamps, for coins and minerals.
GUSTAVUS SCHAEMBER, 159 Prince Street, New York City.
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Ten Pennsylvania postmarks, for the same number of any other State or Territory, or Canada.
CLIFF C. GARRISON, Brookville, Jefferson County, Penn.
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Twenty-five postmarks, for five rare postage stamps.
R. C. WILLIAMS, JUN., 240 Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.
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A stone from Pennsylvania, for one from any other State; or postmarks, for foreign stamps--Chinese especially desired.
WALTER J. WELLS, Oswayo, Potter County, Penn.
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An ounce of the soil of New York, for the same from any other State. Western soil particularly desired.
ERNEST S. GREEN, 123 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
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Sea-shells, for foreign postage stamps.
C. H. TUCKER, 63 Cass Avenue, Corner of Adams, Detroit, Mich.
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Fragments of figured pottery from sites of ancient Mohawk Indian villages, for Indian relics from other localities.
R. C. HALL, Canajoharie, Montgomery County, N. Y.
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Stones from the shore of Lake Erie, for stones or ores from other localities, or foreign postage stamps.
FRANK W. FULLKERSON, 78 Sawtell Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
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European, Chinese, and Japanese postage stamps, for minerals.
CLARENCE HENNE, 39 Frelinghuysen Avenue, Newark, N. J.
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Latest issues of German, French, and Italian postage stamps, and curiosities, for curiosities.
L. H. TROTTER, 22 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, Penn.
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Postmarks, for fossils and minerals.
FLETCHER M. NOE, 165 North Alabama Street, Indianapolis, Ind.
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Foreign postage stamps, for foreign stamps, minerals, or fossils.
HARRY S. JEANES, 521 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Penn.
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Postage stamps, postmarks, minerals, shells, wood, feathers, or any Texas curiosity, for copper or zinc ore, ocean curiosities, or anything suitable for a museum.
FRANK D. DAVIS, Groesbeck, Texas.
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United States War Department stamps, for foreign stamps.
MONTGOMERY M. TAYLOR, Newport Barracks, Newport, Ky.
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Coins, for an Indian tomahawk or pipe, shells, minerals, coins, or other curiosities.
ALFRED W. KERR, 22 Crescent Avenue, Bridgeport, Conn.
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G. H.--"The Story of George Washington" ran through ten numbers of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, Vol. I., beginning in No. 24, April 13, and ending in No. 33, June 15.
* * * * *
CLEMENT L. AND VIRGINIA H. P.--In 1872, Captain Lawson, an Englishman, accompanied by a band of natives, explored the island of Papua, or New Guinea. In the published account of his travels mention is made of Mount Hercules, which, according to his measurements, is 32,783 feet above the sea-level, or over 3000 feet higher than Mount Everest. Captain Lawson's statement has not yet been verified by farther scientific investigation, and the latest geographies and encyclopædias continue to name Mount Everest as the highest known peak on the earth's surface.
* * * * *
MINNIE G.--A Brazilian silver milreis, or one thousand reis, is worth about fifty-one cents, United States currency. The face value of a ten-reis postage stamp is about half a cent.--Cancelled stamps are commonly used in exchange by our correspondents, as new ones are difficult to obtain, especially those of foreign countries.
* * * * *
A. A. Y. C.--The cost of material for sail-boat described in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 66 is about fifteen dollars. For the other information you require, go to the foot of Court Street, Brooklyn, in which city you live, and talk with the boatmen and boat-builders there.
* * * * *
J. M.--A new boat like the one you describe will cost from seventy-five to one hundred dollars. You may be able to obtain one second-hand in good condition for half that sum. The expense of starting a club would depend entirely upon the outlay to which the members mutually agree. It might be confined to the price of your boat and rowing suits, and the rent of some place to store your boat.
* * * * *
JOHN T.--A note from Mr. Casey, containing his address and a kind offer to reply to correspondents, was printed in the Post-office Box of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE No. 61.
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WILLIE B. S.--When the Colonial Congress was in session in Philadelphia in 1774 a motion was made to open the proceedings with prayer. It was opposed on the ground that as the members belonged to different denominations, they would be unable to join in the same act of worship. But Mr. Samuel Adams, who was a strict Presbyterian, said he could listen to a prayer from a gentleman of piety and virtue who was at the same time a friend to his country, and named Mr. Jacob Duché, an Episcopal clergyman of Philadelphia, as such a person. The motion was then passed, and Mr. Duché appeared the next morning, and officiated with great fervor. He subsequently became a traitor to his country, and even attempted to persuade Washington to desert to the British.
* * * * *
WALTER S. D.--The two New York firms that carry and distribute mail matter within the limits of the city of New York are Boyd's Dispatch and Hussey's Dispatch. They claim this right in virtue of a special privilege given them many years ago by the city government. Whatever this right may be in theory, it certainly holds good in practice, for the general government has tried time and time again to break up these concerns, but without avail.
* * * * *
PUZZLES FROM YOUNG CONTRIBUTORS.
My first in quill, not in pen. My second in duck, not in hen. My third in river, not in lake. My fourth in biscuit, not in cake. My fifth in soon, not in late. The capital I of a foreign state, Upon whose shore by night and day The Pacific dashes in foam and spray.
* * * * *
1. Rain to snow. 2. Rags to silk. 3. Mill to cent. 4. Sin to woe. 5. Sold to lost. 6. Line to cord. 7. Nay to yea. 8. Glue to mend.
FRANK L. L.
* * * * *
Cities and Countries.--1. Here is a new portfolio for Carrie. 2. Ponto led Oliver to the stream. 3. I shall see Charles to-night. 4. Helen and Anna may go to the fair.
M. L. H.
5. He is no liar, men; I am the culprit. 6. Madam, as custodian of the library, I must forbid you to remove books. 7. I gave orders that he be set to work immediately. 8. Her picture was set in diamonds.
Trees.--9. Did you know that Will owns a horse? 10. This pin equals an iron bar in strength. 11. We heard the croak of a raven. 12. Steam-engines propel many boats. 13. It appeared to me that he was false. 14. Philip, each one of your sums is wrong. 15. The plumes of Crécy round him waved.
Birds and Beasts.--16. His rib is broken. 17. How did that occur, Lewis? 18. He muttered words none could understand. 19. Jim and Caspar rowed us over the river.
20. I abhor seeing you in that dress. 21. Behind them came Lucy, all in white. 22. Would you like to be a Russian? 23. Dover is the capital of Delaware. 24. The medicine is more bitter now than it was at first. 25. The fairy's wand is broken.
EMILY and CLARA.
26. Isaac, row faster! 27. The lobsters nip Essie's fingers. 28. Seth rushed in and told them.
* * * * *
My first is a troublesome insect. My second might be applied to every boy and girl during dinner-time. My whole consumes my first.
* * * * *
In cold, not in heat. In shoe, not in feet. In flutter, not in flaunt. In wish, not in want. In stone, not in brick. In hen, not in chick. In rough, not in kind. In thought, not in mind. To gather my whole on an autumn day For country boys is sport and play.
LENA S. F.
* * * * *
ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN No. 69.
S P A I N P A R T A R T I T N
Across.--1. Stork. 2. Sport. 3. Heron. 4. Civil. 5. Drain. 6. Dregs. 7. Refer. 8. Flint. 9. Oasis. 10. Sword. 11. Freak. 12. Spare. 13. Dross. Zigzags--Spring flowers.
M P A R F A C E T P A N A C E A M A C A R O N I C R E C O V E R T E N E T A I R C
* * * * *
Correct answers to puzzles have been received from Jessie A. Allen, H. V. B., Bessie Bolton, Laura Brick, Charles H. Cole, Alice Cantine, Lulu C., W. Chase, R. O. Chester, "Dawley Boys," Harry H. Dickinson, L. Jay E., Lena S. Fox, "L. U. Stral," William A. Lewis, Howard B. Lent, Adella R. Lippincott, C. H. McBride, "Philo S. Opher," Willy Rochester, D. J. Reinhart, Frank W. Smith, Gilbert P. Salters, "Starry Flag," Dora N. Taylor, W. I. Trotter, "Ed. I. Torial," Willie F. Woolard, Edith M. Wetmore, Annie Wheeler, "Young Solver."
HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE.
SINGLE COPIES, 4 cents; ONE SUBSCRIPTION, one year, $1.50; FIVE SUBSCRIPTIONS, one year, $7.00--_payable in advance, postage free_.
The Volumes of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE commence with the first Number in November of each year.
Subscriptions may begin with any Number. When no time is specified, it will be understood that the subscriber desires to commence with the Number issued after the receipt of the order.
Remittances should be made by POST-OFFICE MONEY-ORDER OR DRAFT, to avoid risk of loss.
HARPER & BROTHERS, Franklin Square, N. Y.
BY HELEN P. STRONG.
Every boy and girl knows the mysteries of the "cat's-cradle"--of course you do, as well as you know your "Aina, maina, mona, mite"--but do you know that the "cat's-cradle" does not begin to exhaust the possibilities of a piece of string? "Indian-box" mysteries and "inexhaustible hats" are not to be compared with it for simplicity of contrivance. Given a piece of string a yard long, and ten nimble fingers (counting thumbs), and you have all the apparatus needed to astonish your friends for a whole evening. I hope the accompanying illustrations and description will be sufficient to give you the secret of one of these wonderful string tricks. And now you shall be enlightened as to the
[Illustration: FIG. 1.]
Secure a piece of strong cord a yard in length, and having tied the ends firmly together, pass the double end through your button-hole, and a thumb through each loop, as in Fig. 1. Now slip the little finger of your _left_ hand under the lower string of the loop which passes over the _right_ thumb, and the little finger of the _right_ hand under the lower string of the loop which passes over the _left_ thumb, separating the hands as in Fig. 2. Now comes the mystery. A quick movement of both hands, without releasing the string from either thumbs or little fingers, will give the effect of a tangle which can only be extricated by cutting the string or the button-hole. You add to the illusion by sawing a little on the button-hole to direct the attention to the impossibility of loosening the string at that point; then suddenly, without letting go either hand, you present the string-free from the button-hole though still securely tied.
[Illustration: FIG. 2.]
The secret lies in this: if you look carefully at Fig. 2, you will discover that the little finger of one hand and the thumb of the other are really holding the same loop; so you have only to retain your hold at these points, letting the rest go, to draw the string out of the button-hole with freedom.
But you may find it rather difficult at first to make the proper thumb and finger act quickly and in unison, apart from the twin brother of each; for thumbs, and also little fingers, are like twin children, and, unless well trained, one always wants to do what the other does. But you will succeed if you think very hard for a moment, for that is the way the mind makes naughty hands and feet obey her commands.
THE LOSING BAG.
Little Harry Careless Was always losing things-- Shoes and hats, and slates and books, Pencils, marbles, strings-- Till at last his mother Took a faded flag (A great, enormous one it was) And made of it a bag.
"Now, my careless Harry," Said she, with a kiss, "When you feel like losing things, Pop them into this." "That I will," cried Harry, Happy as a king; And since he's had the losing bag He's never lost a thing.
[Illustration: "HOLD YOUR GIRAFFE, SIR?"]
[Illustration: THE GIRAFFE IS HELD.]