Part 1 out of 3
Robert Rowe, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
With some account of their ways, innocent, crafty, angelic,
impish, witching and impulsive; also a partial record of their
actions during ten days of their existence
By JOHN HABBERTON
The first cause, so far as it can be determined, of the existence
of this book may be found in the following letter, written by my
only married sister, and received by me, Harry Burton, salesman of
white goods, bachelor, aged twenty-eight, and received just as I
was trying to decide where I should Spend a fortnight's vacation:--
"HILLCREST, June 15, 1875.
"DEAR HARRY:--Remembering that you are always complaining that you
never have a chance to read, and knowing that you won't get it
this summer, if you spend your vacation among people of your own
set, I write to ask you to come up here. I admit that I am not
wholly disinterested in inviting you. The truth is, Tom and I are
invited to spend a fortnight with my old schoolmate, Alice Wayne,
who, you know, is the dearest girl in the world, though you DIDN'T
obey me and marry her before Frank Wayne appeared. Well, we're
dying to go, for Alice and Frank live in splendid style; but as
they haven't included our children in their invitation, and have
no children of their own, we must leave Budge and Toddie at home.
I've no doubt they'll be perfectly safe, for my girl is a jewel,
and devoted to the children, but I would feel a great deal easier
if there was a man in the house. Besides, there's the silver, and
burglars are less likely to break into a house where there's a
savage-looking man. (Never mind about thanking me for the
compliment.) If YOU'LL only come up, my mind will be completely at
rest. The children won't give you the slightest trouble; they're
the best children in the world--everybody says so.
"Tom has plenty of cigars, I know, for the money I should have had
for a new suit went to pay his cigar-man. He has some new claret,
too, that HE goes into ecstasies over, though _I_ can't tell it
from the vilest black ink, except by the color. Our horses are in
splendid condition, and so is the garden--you see I don't forget
your old passion for flowers. And, last and best, there never were
so many handsome girls at Hillcrest as there are among the summer
boarders already here; the girls you already are acquainted with
here will see that you meet all the newer acquisitions.
"Reply by telegraph right away. "Of course you'll say 'Yes.' "In
great haste, your loving
P. S. You shall have our own chamber; it catches every breeze, and
commands the finest views. The children's room communicates with
it; so, if anything SHOULD happen to the darlings at night, you'd
be sure to hear them."
"Just the thing!" I ejaculated. Five minutes later I had
telegraphed Helen my acceptance of her invitation, and had
mentally selected books enough to busy me during a dozen
vacations. Without sharing Helen's belief that her boys were the
best ones in the world, I knew them well enough to feel assured
that they would not give me any annoyance. There were two of them,
since Baby Phil died last fall; Budge, the elder, was five years
of age, and had generally, during my flying visits to Helen, worn
a shy, serious, meditative, noble face, with great, pure,
penetrating eyes, that made me almost fear their stare. Tom
declared he was a born philanthropist or prophet, and Helen made
so free with Miss Muloch's lines as to sing:--
"Ah, the day that THOU goest a-wooing,
Budgie, my boy!"
Toddie had seen but three summers, and was a happy little know-
nothing, with a head full of tangled yellow hair, and a very
pretty fancy for finding out sunbeams and dancing in them. I had
long envied Tom his horses, his garden, his house and his
location, and the idea of controlling them for a fortnight was
particularly delightful. Tom's taste in cigars and claret I had
always respected, while the lady inhabitants of Hillcrest were,
according to my memory, much like those of every other suburban
village, the fairest of their sex.
Three days later I made the hour and a half trip between New York
and Hillcrest, and hired a hackman to drive me over to Tom's. Half
a mile from my brother-in-law's residence, our horses shied
violently, and the driver, after talking freely to them, turned to
me and remarked:--
"That was one of the 'Imps.'"
"What was?" I asked.
"That little cuss that scared the hosses. There he is, now,
holdin' up that piece of brushwood. 'Twould be just like his
cheek, now, to ask me to let him ride. Here he comes, runnin'.
Wonder where t'other is?--they most generally travel together. We
call 'em the Imps, about these parts, because they're so uncommon
likely at mischief. Always skeerin' hosses, or chasin' cows, or
frightenin' chickens. Nice enough father an' mother, too--queer,
how young ones do turn out."
As he spoke, the offending youth came panting beside our carriage,
and in a very dirty sailor-suit, and under a broad-brimmed straw
hat, with one stocking about his ankle, and two shoes, averaging
about two buttons each, I recognized my nephew, Budge! About the
same time there emerged from the bushes by the roadside a smaller
boy in a green gingham dress, a ruffle which might once have been
white, dirty stockings, blue slippers worn through at the toes,
and an old-fashioned straw-turban. Thrusting into the dust of the
road a branch from a bush, and shouting, "Here's my grass-cutter!"
he ran toward us enveloped in a "pillar of cloud," which might
have served the purpose of Israel in Egypt. When he paused and the
dust had somewhat subsided, I beheld the unmistakable lineaments
of the child Toddie!
"They're--my nephews," I gasped.
"What!" exclaimed the driver. "By gracious! I forgot you were
going to Colonel Lawrence's! I didn't tell anything but the truth
about 'em, though; they're smart enough, an' good enough, as boys
go; but they'll never die of the complaint that children has in
"Budge," said I, with all the sternness I could command, "do you
The searching eyes of the embryo prophet and philanthropist
scanned me for a moment, then their owner replied:--
"Yes; you're Uncle Harry. Did you bring us anything?"
"Bring us anything?" echoed Toddie.
"I wish I could have brought you some big whippings," said I, with
great severity of manner, "for behaving so badly. Get into this
"Come on, Tod," shouted Budge, although Toddie's farther ear was
not a yard from Budge's mouth. "Uncle Harry's going to take us
"Going to take us riding!" echoed Toddie, with the air of one in a
reverie; both the echo and the reverie I soon learned were
characteristics of Toddie.
As they clambered into the carriage I noticed that each one
carried a very dirty towel, knotted in the center into what is
known as a slip-noose knot, drawn very tight. After some moments
of disgusted contemplation of these rags, without being in the
least able to comprehend their purpose, I asked Budge what those
towels were for.
"They're not towels--they're dollies," promptly answered my
"Goodness!" I exclaimed. "I should think your mother could buy you
respectable dolls, and not let you appear in public with those
"We don't like buyed dollies," explained Budge. "These dollies is
lovely; mine's name is Mary, an' Toddie's is Marfa."
"Marfa?" I queried.
"Yes; don't you know about
"Marfa and Mary's jus' gone along
To ring dem charmin' bells,
that them Jubilee sings about?"
"Oh, Martha, you mean?"
"Yes, Marfa--that's what I say. Toddie's dolly's got brown eyes,
an' my dolly's got blue eyes."
"I want to shee yours watch," remarked Toddie, snatching at my
chain, and rolling into my lap.
"Oh--oo--ee, so do I," shouted Budge, hastening to occupy one
knee, and IN TRANSITU wiping his shoes on my trousers and the
skirts of my coat. Each imp put an arm about me to steady himself,
as I produced my three-hundred-dollar time-keeper and showed them
"I want to see the wheels go round," said Budge.
"Want to shee wheels go wound," echoed Toddie.
"No; I can't open my watch where there's so much dust," I said.
"What for?" inquired Budge.
"Want to shee the wheels go wound," repeated Toddie.
"The dust gets inside the watch and spoils it," I explained.
"Want to shee the wheels go wound," said Toddie, once more.
"I tell you I can't, Toddie," said I, with considerable asperity.
"Dust spoils watches."
The innocent gray eyes looked up wonderingly, the dirty, but
pretty lips parted slightly, and Toddie murmured:--
"Want to shee the wheels go wound."
I abruptly closed my watch and put it into my pocket. Instantly
Toddie's lower lip commenced to turn outward, and continued to do
so until I seriously feared the bony portion of his chin would be
exposed to view. Then his lower jaw dropped, and he cried:--
"Ah--h--h--h--h--h--want--to--shee--the wheels--go wou--OUND."
"Charles" (Charles is his baptismal name),--"Charles," I
exclaimed with some anger, "stop that noise this instant! Do you
"Then stop it."
"Wants to shee--"
"Toddie, I've got some candy in my trunk, but I won't give you a
bit if you don't stop that infernal noise."
"Well, I wants to shee wheels go wound. Ah--ah--h--h--h--h!"
"Toddie, dear, don't cry so. Here's some ladies coming in a
carriage; you wouldn't let THEM see you crying, would you? You
shall see the wheels go round as soon as we get home."
A carriage containing a couple of ladies was rapidly approaching,
as Toddie again raised his voice.
"Ah--h--h--wants to shee wheels--"
Madly I snatched my watch from my pocket, opened the case, and
exposed the works to view. The other carriage was meeting ours,
and I dropped my head to avoid meeting the glance of the unknown
occupants, for my few moments of contact with my dreadful nephews
had made me feel inexpressibly unneat. Suddenly the carriage with
the ladies stopped. I heard my own name spoken, and raising my
head quickly (encountering Budge's bullet head EN ROUTE to the
serious disarrangement of my hat), I looked into the other
carriage. There, erect, fresh, neat, composed, bright-eyed, fair-
faced, smiling and observant,--she would have been all this, even
if the angel of the resurrection had just sounded his dreadful
trump,--sat Miss Alice Mayton, a lady who, for about a year, I had
been adoring from afar.
"When did YOU arrive, Mr. Burton?" she asked, "and how long have
you been officiating as child's companion? You're certainly a
happy-looking trio--so unconventional. I hate to see children all
dressed up and stiff as little manikins, when they go out to ride.
And you look as if you had been having SUCH a good time with
"I--I assure you, Miss Mayton," said I, "that my experience has
been the exact reverse of a pleasant one. If King Herod were yet
alive I'd volunteer as an executioner, and engage to deliver two
interesting corpses at a moment's notice."
"You dreadful wretch!" exclaimed the lady. "Mother, let me make
you acquainted with Mr. Burton,--Helen Lawrence's brother. How is
your sister, Mr. Burton?"
"I don't know," I replied; "she has gone with her husband on a
fortnight's visit to Captain and Mrs. Wayne, and I've been silly
enough to promise to have an eye to the place while they're away."
"Why, how delightful!" exclaimed Miss Mayton. "SUCH horses! SUCH
flowers! SUCH a cook!"
"And such children," said I, glaring suggestively at the imps, and
rescuing from Toddie a handkerchief which he had extracted from my
pocket, and was waving to the breeze.
"Why, they're the best children in the world. Helen told me so the
first time I met her this season! Children will be children, you
know. We had three little cousins with us last summer, and I'm
sure they made me look years older than I really am."
"How young you must be, then, Miss Mayton!" said I. I suppose I
looked at her as if I meant what I said, for, although she
inclined her head and said, "Oh, thank you," she didn't seem to
turn my compliment off in her usual invulnerable style. Nothing
happening in the course of conversation ever discomposed Alice
Mayton for more than a hundred seconds, however, so she soon
recovered her usual expression and self-command, as her next
remark fully indicated.
"I believe you arranged the floral decorations at the St.
Zephaniah's Fair, last winter, Mr. Burton? 'Twas the most tasteful
display of the season. I don't wish to give any hints, but at Mrs.
Clarkson's, where we're boarding, there's not a flower in the
whole garden. I break the Tenth Commandment dreadfully every time
I pass Colonel Lawrence's garden. Good-by, Mr. Burton."
"Ah, thank you; I shall be delighted. Good-by."
"Of course you'll call," said Miss Mayton, as her carriage
started,--"it's dreadfully stupid here--no men except on Sundays."
I bowed assent. In the contemplation of all the shy possibilities
which my short chat with Miss Mayton had suggested, I had quite
forgotten my dusty clothing and the two living causes thereof.
While in Miss Mayton's presence the imps had preserved perfect
silence, but now their tongues were loosened.
"Uncle Harry," said Budge, "do you know how to make whistles?"
"Ucken Hawwy," murmured Toddie, "does you love dat lady?"
"No, Toddie, of course not."
"Then you's baddy man, an' de Lord won't let you go to heaven if
you don't love peoples."
"Yes, Budge," I answered hastily, "I do know how to make whistles,
and you shall have one."
"Lord don't like mans what don't love peoples," reiterated Toddie.
"All right, Toddie," said I. "I'll see if I can't please the Lord
some way. Driver, whip up, won't you? I'm in a hurry to turn these
youngsters over to the girl, and ask her to drop them into the
I found Helen had made every possible arrangement for my comfort.
Her room commanded exquisite views of mountain-slope and valley,
and even the fact that the imps' bedroom adjoined mine gave me
comfort, for I thought of the pleasure of contemplating them while
they were asleep, and beyond the power of tormenting their deluded
At the supper-table Budge and Toddie appeared cleanly clothed in
their rightful faces. Budge seated himself at the table; Toddie
pushed back his high-chair, climbed into it, and shouted:
"Put my legs under ze tabo."
Rightfully construing this remark as a request to be moved to the
table, I fulfilled his desire. The girl poured tea for me and milk
for the children, and retired; and then I remembered, to my
dismay, that Helen never had a servant in the dining-room except
upon grand occasions, her idea being that servants retail to their
friends the cream of the private conversation of the family
circle. In principle I agreed with her, but the penalty of the
practical application, with these two little cormorants on my
hands, was greater suffering than any I had ever been called upon
to endure for principle's sake; but there was no help for it. I
resignedly rapped on the table, bowed my head, said, "From what we
are about to receive, the Lord make us thankful," and asked Budge
whether he ate bread or biscuit.
"Why, we ain't asked no blessin' yet," said he.
"Yes, I did, Budge," said I. "Didn't you hear me?"
"Do you mean what you said just now?"
"Oh, I don't think that was no blessin' at all. Papa never says
that kind of a blessin'."
"What does papa say, may I ask?" I inquired, with becoming
"Why, papa says, 'Our Father, we thank thee for this food;
mercifully remember with us all the hungry and needy to-day, for
Christ's sake, Amen.' That's what he says."
"It means the same thing, Budge."
"_I_ don't think it does; and Toddie didn't have no time to say
HIS blessin'. I don't think the Lord'll like it if you do it that
"Yes, he will, old boy; he knows what people mean."
"Well, how can he tell what Toddie means if Toddie can't say
"Wantsh to shay my blessin'," whined Toddie.
It was enough; my single encounter with Toddie had taught me to
respect the young gentleman's force of character. So again I bowed
my head, and repeated what Budge had reported as "papa's
blessin'," Budge kindly prompting me where my memory failed. The
moment I began, Toddie commenced to jabber rapidly and aloud, and
the instant the "Amen" was pronounced he raised his head and
remarked with evident satisfaction:--
"I shed my blessin' TWO timesh."
And Budge said gravely:--
"NOW I guess we are all right."
The supper was an exquisite one, but the appetites of those
dreadful children effectually prevented my enjoying the repast. I
hastily retired, called the girl, and instructed, her to see that
the children had enough to eat, and were put to bed immediately
after; then I lit a cigar and strolled into the garden. The roses
were just in bloom, the air was full of the perfume of
honeysuckles, the rhododendrons had not disappeared, while I saw
promise of the early unfolding of many other pet flowers of mine.
I confess that I took a careful survey of the garden to see how
fine a bouquet I might make for Miss Mayton, and was so abundantly
satisfied with the material before me that I longed to begin the
work at once, but that it would seem too hasty for true gentility.
So I paced the paths, my hands behind my back, and my face well
hidden by fragrant clouds of smoke, and went into wondering and
reveries. I wondered if there was any sense in the language of
flowers, of which I had occasionally seen mention made by silly
writers; I wished I had learned it if it had any meaning; I
wondered if Miss Mayton understood it. At any rate, I fancied I
could arrange flowers to the taste of any lady whose face I had
ever seen; and for Alice Mayton I would make something so superb
that her face could not help lighting up when she beheld it. I
imagined just how her bluish-gray eyes would brighten, her cheeks
would redden,--not with sentiment, not a bit of it; but with
genuine pleasure,--how her strong lips would part slightly and
disclose sweet lines not displayed when she held her features well
in hand. I--I, a clear-headed, driving, successful salesman of
white goods--actually wished I might be divested of all
nineteenth-century abilities and characteristics, and be one of
those fairies that only silly girls and crazy poets think of, and
might, unseen, behold the meeting of my flowers with this highly
cultivated specimen of the only sort of flowers our cities
produce. What flower did she most resemble? A lily?--no; too--not
exactly too bold, but too--too, well, I couldn't think of the
word, but clearly it wasn't bold. A rose! Certainly, not like
those glorious but blazing remontants, nor yet like the shy,
delicate, ethereal tea-roses with their tender suggestions of
color. Like this perfect Gloire de Dijon, perhaps; strong,
vigorous, self-asserting, among its more delicate sisterhood; yet
shapely, perfect in outline and development, exquisite, enchanting
in its never fully-analyzed tints, yet compelling the admiration
of every one, and recalling its admirers again and again by the
unspoken appeal of its own perfection--its unvarying radiance.
"Ah--h--h--h--ee--ee--ee--ee--ee--oo--oo--oo--oo" came from the
window over my head. Then came a shout of--"Uncle Harry!" in a
voice I recognized as that of Budge. I made no reply: there are
moments when the soul is full of utterances unfit to be heard by
childish ears. "Uncle Har-RAY!" repeated Budge. Then I heard a
window-blind open, and Budge exclaiming:--
"Uncle Harry, we want you to come and tell us stories."
I turned my eyes upward quickly, and was about to send a savage
negative in the same direction, when I saw in the window a face
unknown and yet remembered. Could those great, wistful eyes, that
angelic mouth, that spiritual expression, belong to my nephew
Budge? Yes, it must be--certainly that super-celestial nose and
those enormous ears never belonged to any one else. I turned
abruptly, and entered the house, and was received at the head of
the stairway by two little figures in white, the larger of which
"We want you tell us stories--papa always does nights."
"Very well, jump into bed--what kind of stories do you like?"
"Oh, 'bout Jonah," said Budge.
"'Bout Jonah," echoed Toddie.
"Well, Jonah was out in the sun one day and a gourd-vine grew up
all of a sudden, and made it nice and shady for him, and then it
all faded as quick as it came."
A dead silence prevailed for a moment, and then Budge indignantly
"That ain't Jonah a bit--_I_ know 'bout Jonah."
"Oh, you do, do you?" said I. "Then maybe you'll be so good as to
"If you know about Jonah, tell me the story; I'd really enjoy
listening to it."
"Well," said Budge, "once upon a time the Lord told Jonah to go to
Nineveh and tell the people they was all bad. But Jonah didn't
want to go, so he went on a boat that was going to Joppa. And then
there was a big storm, an' it rained an' blowed and the big waves
went as high as a house. An' the sailors thought there must be
somebody on the boat that the Lord didn't like. An' Jonah said he
guessed HE was the man. So they picked him up and froed him in the
ocean, an' I don't think it was well for 'em to do that after
Jonah told the troof. An' a big whale was comin' along, and he was
awful hungry, cos the little fishes what he likes to eat all went
down to the bottom of the ocean when it began to storm, and whales
can't go to the bottom of the ocean, cos they have to come up to
breeve, an' little fishes don't. An' Jonah found 'twas all dark
inside the whale, and there wasn't any fire there, an' it was all
wet, and he couldn't take off his clothes to dry, cos there wasn't
no place to hang 'em, an' there wasn't no windows to look out of,
nor nothin' to eat, nor nothin' nor nothin' nor nothin.' So he
asked the Lord to let Mm out, an' the Lord was sorry for him, an'
he made the whale go up close to the land, an' Jonah jumped right
out of his mouth, an' WASN'T he glad? An' then he went to Nineveh,
an' done what the Lord told him to, and he ought to have done it
in the first place if he had known what was good for him."
"Done first payshe, know what's dood for him," asserted Toddie, in
support of his brother's assertion. "Tell us 'nudder story."
"Oh, no, sing us a song," suggested Budge.
"Shing us shong," echoed Toddie.
I searched my mind for a song, but the only one which came
promptly was "M'Appari," several bars of which I gave my juvenile
audience, when Budge interrupted me, saying:--
"I don't think that's a very good song."
"Why not, Budge?"
"Cos I don't. I don't know a word what you're talking 'bout."
"Shing 'bout 'Glory, glory, hallelulyah,'" suggested Toddie, and I
meekly obeyed. The old air has a wonderful influence over me. I
heard it in western camp-meetings and negro-cabins when I was a
boy; I saw the 22d Massachusetts march down Broadway, singing the
same air during the rush to the front during the early days of the
war; I have heard it sung by warrior tongues in nearly every
Southern State; I heard it roared by three hundred good old Hunker
Democrats as they escorted New York's first colored regiment to
their place of embarkation; my old brigade sang it softly, but
with a swing that was terrible in its earnestness, as they lay
behind their stacks of arms just before going to action; I have
heard it played over the grave of many a dead comrade; the semi-
mutinous--the cavalry became peaceful and patriotic again as their
band-master played the old air after having asked permission to
try HIS hand on them; it is the same that burst forth
spontaneously in our barracks, on that glorious morning when we
learned that the war was over, and it was sung, with words adapted
to the occasion, by some good rebel friends of mine, on our first
social meeting after the war. All these recollections came
hurrying into my mind as I sang, and probably excited me beyond my
knowledge, for Budge suddenly remarked:--
"Don't sing that all day, Uncle Harry; you sing so loud, it hurts
"Beg your pardon, Budge," said I. "Good-night."
"Why, Uncle Harry, are you going? You didn't hear us say our
prayers,--papa always does."
"Oh! Well, go ahead."
"You must say yours first," said Budge; "that's the way papa
"Very well," said I, and I repeated St. Chrysostom's prayer, from
the Episcopal service. I had hardly said "Amen," when Budge
"My papa don't say any of them things at all; I don't think that's
a very good prayer,"
"Well, you say a good prayer, Budge."
"Allright." Budge shut his eyes, dropped his voice to the most
perfect tone of supplication, while his face seemed fit for a
sleeping angel, then he said:--
"Dear Lord, we thank you for lettin' us have a good time to-day,
an' we hope all the little boys everywhere have had good times
too. We pray you to take care of us an' everybody else to-night,
an' don't let 'em have any trouble. Oh, yes, an' Uncle Harry's got
some candy in his trunk, cos he said so in the carriage,--we thank
you for lettin' Uncle Harry come to see us, an' we hope he's got
LOTS of candy--lots an' piles. An' we pray you to take good care
of all the poor little boys and girls that haven't got any papas
an' mammas an' Uncle Harrys an' candy an' beds to sleep in. An'
take us all to Heaven when we die, for Christ's sake. Amen. Now
give us the candy, Uncle Harry."
"Hush, Budge; don't Toddie say any prayers?"
"Oh yes; go on, Tod."
Toddie closed his eyes, wriggled, twisted, breathed hard and
quick, acting generally as if prayers were principally a matter of
physical exertion. At last he began:--
"Dee Lord, not make me sho bad, an' besh mamma, an' papa, an'
Budgie, and doppity, [Footnote: Grandmother.] an' both boggies,
[Footnote: Grandfathers.] an' all good people in dish house, and
everybody else, an' my dolly. A--a--amen!"
"Now give us the candy," said Budge, with the usual echo from
I hastily extracted the candy from my trunk, gave some to each
boy, the recipients fairly shrieking with delight, and once more
"Oh, you didn't give us any pennies," said Budge. "Papa gives us
some to put in our banks, every nights."
"Well, I haven't got any now--wait until to-morrow."
"Then we want drinks."
"I'll let Maggie bring you drink."
"Want my dolly," murmured Toddie.
I found the knotted towels, took the dirty things up gingerly and
threw them upon the bed.
"Now want to shee wheels go wound," said Toddie.
I hurried out of the room and slammed the door. I looked at my
watch--it was half-past eight; I had spent an hour and a half with
those dreadful children. They WERE funny to be sure--I found
myself laughing in spite of my indignation. Still, if they were to
monopolize my time as they had already done, when was I to do my
reading? Taking Fiske's "Cosmic Philosophy" from my trunk I
descended to the back parlor, lit a cigar and a student-lamp, and
began to read. I had not fairly commenced when I heard a patter of
small feet, and saw my elder nephew before me. There was sorrowful
protestation in every line of his countenance, as he exclaimed:--
"You didn't say 'Good-by' nor 'God bless you' nor anything."
"God bless you."
"God bless you."
Budge seemed waiting for something else. At last he said:--
"Papa says, 'God bless everybody.'"
"Well, God bless everybody."
"God bless everybody," responded Budge, and turned silently and
"Bless your tormenting honest little heart," I said to myself; "if
men trusted God as you do your papa, how little business there'd
be for preachers to do."
The night was a perfect one. The pure fresh air, the perfume of
the flowers, the music of the insect choir in the trees and
shrubbery--the very season itself seemed to forbid my reading
philosophy, so I laid Fiske aside, delighted myself with a few
rare bits from Paul Hayne's new volume of poems, read a few
chapters of "One Summer," and finally sauntered off to bed. My
nephews were slumbering sweetly; it seemed impossible that the
pure, exquisite, angelic faces before me belonged to my tormentors
of a few hours before. As I lay on my couch I could see the dark
shadow and rugged crest of the mountain; above it, the silver
stars against the blue, and below it the rival lights of the
fireflies against the dark background formed by the mountain
itself. No rumbling of wheels tormented me, nor any of the
thousand noises that fill city air with the spirit of unrest, and
I fell into a wonder almost indignant that sensible, comfortable,
loving beings could live in horrible New York, while such
delightful rural homes were so near at hand. Then Alice Mayton
came into my mind, and then a customer; later, stars and
trademarks, and bouquets, and dirty nephews, and fireflies and bad
accounts, and railway tickets, and candy and Herbert Spencer,
mixed themselves confusingly in my mind. Then a vision of a proud
angel, in the most fashionable attire and a modern carriage, came
and banished them all by its perfect radiance, and I was sinking
in the most blissful unconsciousness--
"Sh--h--h!" I hissed.
The warning was heeded, and I soon relapsed into oblivion.
"Toddie, do you want uncle to whip you?"
"Then lie still."
"Well, Ize lost my dolly, an' I tant find her anywhere."
"Well, I'll find her for you in the morning."
"Oo--oo--ee--I wants my dolly."
"Well, I tell you I'll find her for you in the morning."
"I want her NOW--oo--oo--"
"You can't have her now, so you can go to sleep."
Springing madly to my feet, I started for the offender's room. I
encountered a door ajar by the way, my forehead being first to
discover it. I ground my teeth, lit a candle, and said something--
no matter what.
"Oh, you said a bad swear!" ejaculated Toddie. "You won't go to
heaven when you die."
"Neither will you, if you howl like a little, demon all night. Are
you going to be quiet, now?"
"Yesh, but I wants my dolly."
"_I_ don't know where your dolly is--do you suppose I'm going to
search this entire house for that confounded dolly?"
"'TAIN'T 'founded. I wants my dolly." "I don't know where it is;
you don't think I stole your dolly, do you?"
"Well, I wants it, in de bed wif me."
"Charles," said I, "when you arise in morning, I hope your doll
will be found. At present, however, you must be resigned and go to
sleep. I'll cover you up nicely;" here I began to rearrange the
bed-clothing, when the fateful dolly, source of all my woes,
tumbled out of them. Toddie clutched it, his whole face lighting
up with affectionate delight, and he screamed:--
"Oh, dare is my dee dolly: tum to your own papa, dolly, an' I'll
And that ridiculous child was so completely satisfied by his
outlay of affection that my own indignation gave place to genuine
artistic pleasure. One CAN tire of even beautiful pictures,
though, when he is not fully awake, and is holding a candle in a
draught of air; so I covered my nephews and returned to my own
room, where I mused upon the contradictoriness of childhood until
I fell asleep.
In the morning I was awakened very early by the light streaming in
the window, the blinds of which I had left open the night before.
The air was alive with bird-songs, and the eastern sky was
flushing with tints which no painter's canvas ever caught. But
ante-sunrise skies and songs are not fit subjects for the
continued contemplation of men who read until midnight; so I
hastily closed the blinds, drew the shade, dropped the curtains
and lay down again, dreamily thanking heaven that I was to fall
asleep to such exquisite music. I am sure that I mentally forgave
all my enemies as I dropped off into a most delicious doze, but
the sudden realization that a light hand was passing over my cheek
roused me to savage anger in an instant. I sprang up, and saw
Budge shrink timidly away from my bedside.
"I was only a-lovin' you, cos you was good, and brought us candy.
Papa lets us love him whenever we want to--every morning he does."
"As early as this?" demanded I.
"Yes, just as soon as we can see, if we want to."
Poor Tom! I never COULD comprehend why with a good wife, a
comfortable income, and a clear conscience, he need always look
thin and worn--worse than he ever did in Virginia woods or
Louisiana swamps. But now I knew all. And yet, what could one do?
That child's eyes and voice, and his expression, which exceeded in
sweetness that of any of the angels I had ever imagined,--that
child could coax a man to do more self-forgetting deeds than the
shortening of his precious sleeping-hours amounted to. In fact, he
was fast divesting me of my rightful sleepiness, so I kissed him
"Run to bed, now, dear old fellow, and let uncle go to sleep
again. After breakfast, I'll make you a whistle."
"Oh, will you?" The angel turned into a boy at once. "Yes; now run
"A LOUD whistle--a real loud one?"
"Yes, but not if you don't go right back to bed."
The sound of little footsteps receded as I turned over and closed
my eyes. Speedily the bird-song seemed to grow fainter; my
thoughts dropped to pieces; I seemed to be floating on fleecy
clouds, in company with hundreds of cherubs with Budge's features
May the Lord forget the prayer I put up just then!
"I'll discipline you, my fine little boy," thought I. "Perhaps, if
I let you shriek your abominable little throat hoarse, you'll
learn better than to torment your uncle, that was just getting
ready to love you dearly."
"Howl, away, you little imp," thought I. "You've got me wide
awake, and your lungs may suffer for it." Suddenly I heard,
although in sleepy tones, and with a lazy drawl, some words which
appalled me. The murmurer was Toddie:--
"Budge!" I shouted, in the desperation of my dread lest Toddie,
too, might wake up, "what DO you want?"
"Uncle Harry, what kind of wood are you going to make the whistle
"I won't make any at all--I'll cut a big stick and give you a
sound whipping with it, for not keeping quiet, as I told you to."'
"Why, Uncle Harry, papa don't whip us with sticks--he spanks us."
Heavens! Papa! papa! papa! Was I never to have done with this
eternal quotation of "papa"? I was horrified to find myself
gradually conceiving a dire hatred of my excellent brother-in-law.
One thing was certain, at any rate: sleep was no longer possible;
so I hastily dressed, and went into the garden. Among the beauty
and the fragrance of the flowers, and in the delicious morning
air, I succeeded in regaining my temper, and was delighted, on
answering the breakfast-bell, two hours later, to have Budge
accost me with:--
"Why, Uncle Harry, where was you? We looked all over the house for
you, and couldn't find a speck of you."
The breakfast was an excellent one. I afterward learned that
Helen, dear old girl, had herself prepared a bill of fare for
every meal I should take in the house. As the table talk of myself
and nephews was not such as could do harm by being repeated, I
requested Maggie, the servant, to wait upon the children, and I
accompanied my request with a small treasury note. Relieved, thus,
of all responsibility for the dreadful appetites of my nephews, I
did full justice to the repast, and even regarded with some
interest and amusement the industry of Budge and Toddie with their
tiny forks and spoons. They ate rapidly for a while, but soon
their appetites weakened and their tongues were unloosed.
"Ocken Hawwy," remarked Toddie, "daysh an awfoo funny chunt up
'tairs--awfoo BIG chunt. I show it you after brepspup."
"Toddie's a silly little boy," said Budge; "he always says
brepspup for brekbux." [Footnote: Breakfast.]
"Oh! What does he mean by chunt, Budge?"
"I GUESS he means trunk," replied my oldest nephew.
Recollections of my childish delight in rummaging an old trunk--it
seems a century ago that I did it--caused me to smile
sympathetically at Toddie, to his apparent great delight. How
delightful it is to strike a sympathetic chord in child-nature,
thought I; how quickly the infant eye comprehends the look which
precedes the verbal expression of an idea! Dear Toddie! for years
we might sit at one table, careless of each other's words, but the
casual mention of one of thy delights has suddenly brought our
souls into that sweetest of all human communions--that one which
doubtless bound the Master himself to that apostle who was
otherwise apparently the weakest among the chosen twelve. "An
awfoo funny chunt" seemed to annihilate suddenly all differences
of age, condition and experience between the wee boy and myself,
A direful thought struck me. I dashed up-stairs and into my room.
Yes, he DID mean my trunk. _I_ could see nothing funny about it--
quite the contrary. The bond of sympathy between my nephew and
myself was suddenly broken. Looking at the matter from the
comparative distance which a few weeks have placed between that
day and this, I can see that I was unable to consider the scene
before me with a calm and unprejudiced mind. I am now satisfied
that the sudden birth and hasty decease of my sympathy with Toddie
were striking instances of human inconsistency. My soul had gone
out to his because he loved to rummage in trunks, and because I
imagined he loved to see the monument of incongruous material
which resulted from such an operation; the scene before me showed
clearly that I had rightly divined my nephew's nature. And yet my
selfish instincts hastened to obscure my soul's vision, and to
prevent that joy which should ensue when "Faith is lost in full
My trunk had contained nearly everything, for while a campaigner I
had learned to reduce packing to an exact science. Now, had there
been an atom of pride in my composition I might have glorified
myself, for it certainly seemed as if the heap upon the floor
could never have come out of a single trunk. Clearly, Toddie was
more of a general connoisseur than an amateur in packing. The
method of his work I quickly discerned, and the discovery threw
some light upon the size of the heap in front of my trunk. A
dress-hat and its case, when their natural relationship is
dissolved, occupy nearly twice as much space as before, even if
the former contains a blacking-box not usually kept in it, and the
latter contains a few cigars soaking in bay rum. The same might be
said of a portable dressing-case and its contents, bought for me
in Vienna by a brother ex-soldier, and designed by an old
continental campaigner to be perfection itself. The straps which
prevented the cover from falling entirely back had been cut,
broken or parted in some way, and in its hollow lay my dresscoat,
tightly rolled up. Snatching it up with a violent exclamation, and
unrolling it, there dropped from it--one of those infernal dolls.
At the same time a howl was sounded from the doorway.
"You tookted my dolly out of her cradle--I want to wock my
"You young scoundrel," I screamed--yes, howled, I was so enraged--
"I've a great mind to cut your throat this minute. What do you
mean by meddling with my trunk?"
"I--doe--know." Outward turned Toddie's lower lip; I believe the
sight of it would move a Bengal tiger to pity, but no such thought
occurred to me just then.
"What made you do it?"
Just then a terrific roar arose from the garden. Looking out, I
saw Budge with a bleeding finger upon one hand, and my razor in
the other; he afterward explained he had been making a boat, and
that knife was bad to him. To apply adhesive plaster to the cut
was the work of but a minute, and I had barely completed this
surgical operation when Tom's gardener-coachman appeared and
handed me a letter. It was addressed in Helen's well-known hand,
and read as follows (the passages in brackets were my own
"BLOOMDALE, June 21, 1875.
"DEAR HARRY:--I'm very happy in the thought that you are with my
darling children, and, although I'm having a lovely time here, I
often wish I was with you. [Ump--so do I.] I want you to know the
little treasures real well. [Thank you, but I don't think I care
to extend the acquaintanceship farther than is absolutely
necessary.] It seems to me so unnatural that relatives know so
little of those of their own blood, and especially of the innocent
little spirits whose existence is almost unheeded. [Not when
there's unlocked trunks standing about, sis.]
"Now I want to ask a favor of you. When we were boys and girls at
home, you used to talk perfect oceans about physiognomy, and
phrenology, and unerring signs of character. I thought it was all
nonsense then, but if you believe any of it NOW, I wish you'd
study the children, and give me your well-considered opinion of
them. [Perfect demons, ma'am; imps, rascals, born to be hung--
both of them.]
"I can't get over the feeling that dear Budge is born for
something grand. [Grand nuisance.] He is sometimes so thoughtful
and so absorbed, that I almost fear the result of disturbing him;
then, he has that faculty of perseverance which seems to be the
on|y thing some men have lacked to make them great. [He certainly
has it; he exemplified it while I was trying to get to sleep this
"Toddie is going to make a poet or a musician or an artist.
[That's so; all abominable scamps take to some artistic pursuit as
an excuse for loafing.] His fancies take hold of him very
strongly. [They do--they do; "shee wheels go wound," for
instance.] He has not Budgie's sublime earnestness, but he doesn't
need it; the irresistible force with which he is drawn toward
whatever is beautiful compensates for the lack. [Ah--perhaps that
explains his operation with my trunk.] But I want your OWN
opinion, for I know you make more careful distinction in character
than I do.
"Delighting myself with the idea that I deserve most of the credit
for the lots of reading you will have done by this time, and
hoping I shall soon have a line telling me how my darlings are, I
am as ever, "Your loving sister, "HELEN."
Seldom have I been so roused by a letter as I was by this one, and
never did I promise myself more genuine pleasure in writing a
reply. I determined that it should be a masterpiece of analysis
and of calm yet forcible expression of opinion.
Upon one step, at any rate, I was positively determined. Calling
the girl, I asked her where the key was that locked the door
between my room and the children.
"Please, sir, Toddie threw it down the well."
"Is there a locksmith in the village?"
"No, sir; the nearest one is at Paterson."
"Is there a screwdriver in the house?"
"Bring it to me, and tell the coachman to get ready at once to
drive me to Paterson."
The screwdriver was brought, and with it I removed the lock, got
into the carriage, and told the driver to take me to Paterson by
the hill-road--one of the most beautiful roads in America.
"Paterson!" exclaimed Budge. "Oh, there's a candy-store in that
town, come on, Toddie."
"Will you?" thought I, snatching the whip and giving the horses a
cut. "Not if _I_ can help it. The idea of having such a drive
spoiled by the clatter of SUCH a couple!"
Away went the horses, and up rose a piercing shriek and a terrible
roar. It seemed that both children must have been mortally hurt,
and I looked out hastily, only to see Budge and Toddie running
after the carriage, and crying pitifully. It was too pitiful,--I
could not have proceeded without them, even if they had been
afflicted with small-pox. The driver stopped of his own accord,--
he seemed to know the children's ways and their results,--and I
helped Budge and Toddie in, meekly hoping that the eye of
Providence was upon me, and that so self-sacrificing an act would
be duly passed to my credit. As we reached the hill-road, my
kindness to my nephews seemed to assume, greater proportions, for
the view before me was inexpressibly beautiful. The air was
perfectly clear, and across two score towns I saw the great
metropolis itself, the silent city of Greenwood beyond it, the
bay, the narrows, the sound, the two silvery rivers lying between
me and the Palisades, and even, across and to the south of
Brooklyn, the ocean itself. Wonderful effects of light and shadow,
picturesque masses, composed of detached buildings so far distant
that they seemed huddled together; grim factories turned to
beautiful palaces by the dazzling reflection of sunlight from
their window-panes; great ships seeming in the distance to be toy-
boats floating idly;--with no sign of life perceptible, the whole
scene recalled the fairy stories, read in my youthful days, of
enchanted cities, and the illusion was greatly strengthened by the
dragon-like shape of the roof of New York's new post-office, lying
in the center of everything, and seeming to brood over all.
Ah, that was what I expected!
"I always think that looks like heaven."
"Why, all that,--from here over to that other sky way back there
behind everything, I mean. And I think THAT (here he pointed
toward what probably was a photographer's roof-light)--that place
where it's so shiny, is where God stays."
Bless the child! The scene had suggested only elfindom to ME, and
yet I prided myself on my quick sense of artistic effects.
"An' over there where that awful bright LITTLE speck is,"
continued Budge, "that's where dear little brother Phillie is;
whenever I look over there, I see him putting his hand out."
"Dee 'ittle Phillie went to s'eep in a box and the Lord took him
to heaven," murmured Toddie, putting together all he had seen and
heard of death. Then he raised his voice, and exclaimed:--
"Ocken Hawwy, you know what Iz'he goin' do when I be's big man?
Iz'he goin' to have hosses and tarridge, an' Iz'he goin' to wide
over all ze chees an' all ze houses, an' all ze world an'
evvyfing. An' whole lots of little birdies is comin' in my
tarridge an' sing songs to me, an' you can come too if you want
to, an' we'll have ICE-cream an' 'trawberries, an' see 'ittle
fishes swimmin' down in ze water, an' we'll get a g'eat big house
that's all p'itty on the outshide an' all p'itty on the inshide,
and it'll all be ours and we'll do just evvyfing we want to."
"Toddy, you're an idealist."
"AIN'T a 'dealisht."
"Toddy's a goosey-gander," remarked Budge, with great gravity.
"Uncle Harry, do you think heaven's as nice as that place over
"Yes, Budge, a great deal nicer."
"Then why don't we die an' go there? I don't want to go on livin'
forever an' ever. I don't see why we don't die right away; I think
we've lived enough of days."
"The Lord wants us to live until we get good and strong and smart,
and do a great deal of good before we die, old fellow--that's why
we don't die right away."
"Well, I want to see dear little Phillie, an' if the Lord won't
let him come down here, I think he might let me die an' go to
heaven. Little Phillie always laughed when I jumped for him. Uncle
Harry, angels has wings, don't they?"
"Some people think they have, old boy."
"Well, I know they DON'T, cos if Phillie had wings, I know he'd
fly right down here an' see me. So they don't."
"But maybe he has to go somewhere else, Budge, or maybe he comes
and you can't see him. We can't see angels with OUR eyes, you
"Then what made the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace see one?
Their eyes was just like ours, wasn't they? I don't care; I want
to see dear little Phillie AWFUL much. Uncle Harry, if I went to
heaven, do you know what I'd do?"
"What WOULD you do, Budge?"
"Why, after I saw little Phillie, I'd go right up to the Lord an'
give him a great big hug."
"What for, Budge?"
"Oh, cos he lets us have nice times, an' gave me my mama an' papa,
an' Phillie--but he took him away again--an' Toddie, but Toddie's
a dreadful bad boy sometimes, though."
"Very true, Budge," said I, remembering my trunk and the object of
"Uncle Harry, did you ever see the Lord?"
"No, Budge; he has been very close to me a good many times, but I
never saw him."
"Well, _I_ have; I see him every time I look up in the sky, and
there ain't nobody 'with me."
The driver crossed himself and whispered, "He's foriver a-sayin'
that, an' be the powers, I belave him. Sometimes ye'd think that
the howly saints thimselves was a-sphak-in' whin that bye gits to
goin' on that way." It WAS wonderful. Budge's countenance seemed
too pure to be of the earth as he continued to express his ideas
of the better land and its denizens. As for Toddie, his tongue was
going incessantly, although in a tone scarcely audible; but when I
chanced to catch his expressions, they were so droll and fanciful,
that I took him upon my lap that I might hear him more distinctly.
I even detected myself in the act of examining the mental draft of
my proposed letter to Helen, and of being ashamed of it. But
neither Toddie's fancy nor Budge's spirituality caused me to
forget the principal object of my ride. I found a locksmith and
left the lock to be fitted with a key; then we drove to the Falls.
Both boys discharged volleys of questions as we stood by the
gorge, and the fact that the roar of the falling water prevented
me from hearing them did not cause them to relax their efforts in
the least. I walked to the hotel for a cigar, taking the children
with me. I certainly spent no more than three minutes in selecting
and lighting a cigar, and asking the barkeeper a few questions
about the Falls; but when I turned, the children were missing, nor
could I see them in any direction. Suddenly before my eyes arose
from the nearer brink of the gorge two yellowish disks, which I
recognized as the hats of my nephews; then I saw between the disks
and me two small figures lying upon the ground. I was afraid to
shout, for fear of scaring them, if they happened to hear me, I
bounded across the grass, industriously raving and praying by
turns. They were lying on their stomachs and looking over the edge
of the cliff. I approached them on tip-toe, threw myself upon the
ground, and grasped a foot of each child.
"Oh, Uncle Harry!" screamed Budge in my ear, as I dragged him
close to me, kissing and shaking him alternately, "I hunged over
more than Toddie did."
"Well, I--I--I--I--I--I--I hunged over a good deal, ANY how," said
Toddie, in self-defense.
That afternoon I devoted to making a bouquet for Miss Mayton, and
a most delightful occupation I found it. It was no florist's
bouquet, composed of only a few kinds of flowers, wired upon
sticks, and arranged according to geometric pattern. I used many a
rare flower, too shy of bloom to recommend itself to florists; I
combined tints almost as numerous as the flowers were, and
perfumes to which city bouquets are utter strangers. Arranging
flowers is a favorite pastime of mine, but upon this particular
occasion I enjoyed my work more than I had ever done before. Not
that I was in love with Miss Mayton; a man may honestly and
strongly admire a handsome, brilliant woman without being in love
with her; he can delight himself in trying to give her pleasure,
without feeling it necessary that she shall give him herself in
return. Since I arrived at years of discretion, I have always
smiled sarcastically at the mention of the generosity of men who
were in love; they have seemed to me rather to be asking an
immense price for what they offered. I had no such feeling toward
Miss Mayton. There have been heathens who have offered gifts to
goddesses out of pure adoration and without any idea of ever
having the exclusive companionship of their favorite divinities. I
never offered Miss Mayton any attention which did not put me into
closer sympathy with these same great-souled old Pagans, and with
such Christians as follow their good example. With each new grace
my bouquet took on, my pleasure and satisfaction increased at the
thought of how SHE would enjoy the completed evidence of my taste.
At length it was finished, but my delight suddenly became clouded
by the dreadful thought, "What will folks say?" Had we been in New
York instead of Hillcrest, no one but the florist, his messenger,
the lady and myself would know if I sent a bouquet to Miss Mayton;
but in Hillcrest, with its several hundred native-born gossips and
its acquaintance of everybody with everybody else and their
affairs, I feared talk. Upon the discretion of Mike, the coachman,
I could safely rely; I had already confidentially conveyed sundry
bits of fractional currency to him, and informed him of one of the
parties at our store whose family Mike had known in Old Erin; but
every one knew where Mike was employed; every one knew--
mysterious, unseen and swift are the ways of communication in the
country!--that I was the only gentleman at present residing at
Colonel Lawrence's. Ah!--I had it. I had seen in one of the
library-drawers a small pasteboard box, shaped like a band-box--
doubtless THAT would hold it. I found the box--it was of just the
size I needed. I dropped my card into the bottom,--no danger of a
lady not finding the card accompanying a gift of flowers,--neatly
fitted the bouquet in the center of the box, and went in search of
Mike. He winked cheeringly as I explained the nature of his
errand, and he whispered:--
"I'll do it as clane as a whistle, yer honor. Mistress Clarkson's
cook an' mesilf understhand each other, an' I'm used to goin' up
the back way. Dhivil a man can see but the angels, an' they won't
"Very well, Mike; here's a dollar for you; you'll find the box on
the hat-rack in the hall."
Half an hour later, while I sat in my chamber window, reading, I
beheld Mike, cleanly shaved, dressed and brushed, swinging up the
road, with my box balanced on one of his enormous hands. With a
head full of pleasing fancies, I went down to supper. My new
friends were unusually good. Their ride seemed to have toned down
their boisterousness and elevated their little souls; their
appetites exhibited no diminution of force, but they talked but
little, and all that they said was smart, funny, or startling--so
much so that when, after supper, they invited me to put them to
bed, I gladly accepted the invitation. Toddie disappeared
somewhere, and came back very disconsolate.
"Can't find my dolly's k'adle," he whined.
"Never mind, old pet," said I, soothingly. "Uncle will ride you on
"But I WANT my dolly's k'adle," said he, piteously rolling out his
I remembered my experience when Toddie wanted to "shee wheels go
wound," and I trembled.
"Toddie," said I, in a tone so persuasive that it would be worth
thousands a year to me, as a salesman, if I could only command it
at will; "Toddie, don't you want to ride on uncle's back?"
"No: want my dolly's k'adle."
"Don't you want me to tell you a story?"
For a moment Toddie's face indicated a terrible internal conflict
between old Adam and mother Eve, but curiosity finally overpowered
natural depravity, and Toddie murmured:--
"What shall I tell you about?"
"He means Noah an' the ark," exclaimed Budge.
"Datsh what _I_ shay--Nawndeark," declared Toddie.
"Well," said I, hastily refreshing my memory by picking up the
Bible,--for Helen, like most people, is pretty sure to forget to
pack her Bible when she runs away from home for a few days,--
"well, once it rained forty days and nights, and everybody was
drowned from the face of the earth excepting Noah, a righteous
man, who was saved, with all his family, in an ark which the Lord
commanded him to build."
"Uncle Harry," said Budge, after contemplating me with open eyes
and mouth for at least two minutes after I had finished, "do you
think that's Noah?"
"Certainly, Budge; here's the whole story in the Bible."
"Well, _I_ don't think it's Noah one single bit," said he, with
"I'm. beginning to think we read different Bibles, Budge; but
let's hear YOUR version."
"Tell ME about Noah, if you know so much about him."
"I will, if you want me to. Once the Lord felt so uncomfortable
cos folks was bad that he was sorry he ever made anybody, or any
world or anything. But Noah wasn't bad--the Lord liked him first-
rate, so he told Noah to build a big ark, and then the Lord would
make it rain so everybody should be drownded but Noah an' his
little boys an' girls, an' doggies an' pussies an' mama-cows an'
little-boy-cows an' little-girl-cows an' hosses an' everything--
they'd go in the ark an' wouldn't get wetted a bit, when it
rained. An' Noah took lots of things to eat in the ark--cookies,
an' milk, an' oatmeal, an' strawberries, an' porgies, an'--oh,
yes; an' plum-puddin's an' pumpkin-pies. But Noah didn't want
everybody to get drownded, so he talked to folks an' said, 'It's
goin' to rain AWFUL pretty soon; you'd better be good, an' then
the Lord'll let you come into my ark.' An' they jus' said, 'Oh, if
it rains we'll go in the house till it stops;' an' other folks
said, 'WE ain't afraid of rain--we've got an umbrella.' An' some
more said, they wasn't goin' to be afraid of just a rain. But it
DID rain though, an' folks went in their houses, an' the water
came in, an' they went up-stairs, an' the water came up there, an'
they got on the tops of the houses, an' up in big trees, an' up in
mountains, an' the water went after 'em everywhere an' drownded
everybody, only just except Noah and the people in the ark. An' it
rained forty days an' nights, an' then it stopped, an' Noah got
out of the ark, an' he and his little boys an' girls went wherever
they wanted to, and everything in the world was all theirs; there
wasn't anybody to tell 'em to go home, nor no Kindergarten schools
to go to, nor no bad boys to fight 'em, nor nothin'. Now tell us
I determined that I would not again attempt to repeat portions of
the Scripture narrative--my experience in that direction had not
been encouraging. I ventured upon a war story.
"Do you know what the war was?" I asked, by way of reconnoissance.
"Oh, yes," said Budge; "papa was there, an' he's got a sword;
don't you see it, hangin' up there?"
Yes, I saw it, and the difference between the terrible field where
last I saw Tom's sword in action, and this quiet room where it now
hung, forced me into a reverie from which I was aroused by Budge
"Ain't you goin' to tell us one?"
"Oh, yes, Budge. One day while the war was going on, there was a
whole lot of soldiers going along a road, and they were as hungry
as they could be; they hadn't had anything to eat that day."
"Why didn't they go into the houses, and the people they was
hungry? That's what _I_ do when I goes along roads."
"Because the people in that country didn't like them; the brothers
and papas and husbands of those people were soldiers, too; but
they didn't like the soldiers I told you about first, and they
wanted to kill them."
"I don't think they were a bit nice," said Budge, with
"Well, the first soldiers wanted to kill THEM, Budge."
"Then they was ALL bad, to want to kill each other."
"Oh, no, they weren't; there were a great many real good men on
Poor Budge looked sadly puzzled, as he had an excellent right to
do, since the wisest and best men are sorely perplexed by the
nature of warlike feeling.
"Both parties of soldiers were on horseback," I continued, "and
they were near each other, and when they saw each other they made
their horses run fast, and the bugles blew, and the soldiers all
took their swords out to kill each other with, when just then a
little boy, who had been out in the woods to pick berries for his
mama, tried to run across the road, and caught his toe some way,
and fell down, and cried. Then somebody hallooed 'Halt!' very
loud, and all the horses on one side stopped, and then somebody
else hallooed 'Halt!' and a lot of bugles blew, and every horse on
the other; side stopped, and one soldier jumped off his horse, and
picked up the little boy--he was only about as big as you, Budge--
and tried to comfort him; and then a soldier from the other side
came up to look at him, and then more soldiers came from both
sides to look at him; and when he got better and walked home, the
soldiers all rode away, because they didn't feel like fighting
"Oh, Uncle Harry! I think it was an AWFUL good soldier that got
off his horse to take care of that poor little boy."
"Do you, Budge? Who do you think it was?"
"It was your papa."
"Oh--h--h--h--h!" If Tom could have but seen the expression upon
his boy's face as he prolonged this exclamation, his loss of one
of the grandest chances a cavalry officer ever had would not have
seemed so great to him as it had done for years. He seemed to take
in the story in all its bearings, and his great eyes grew in depth
as they took on the far-away look which seemed too earnest for the
strength of an earthly being to support.
But Toddie,--he who a fond mama thought endowed with art sense,--
Toddie had throughout my recital the air of a man who was musing
on some affair of his own, and Budge's exclamation had hardly died
away, when Toddie commenced to wave aloud an extravaganza wholly
"When _I_ was a soldier," he remarked, very gravely, "I had a coat
an' a hat on, an' a muff an' a little knake [Footnote: Snake:
tippet.] wound my neck to keep me warm, an' it wained, an' hailed,
an' 'tormed, an' I felt bad, so I whallowed a sword an' burned me
all down dead."
"And how did you get here?" I asked, with interest proportioned to
the importance of Toddie's last clause.
"Oh, I got up from the burn-down dead, an' COMED right here. An' I
want my dolly's k'adle."
Oh persistent little dragon! If you were of age, what a fortune
you might make in business!
"Uncle Harry, I wish my papa would come home right away," said
"I want to love him for bein' so good to that poor little boy in
"Ocken Hawwy, I wants my dolly's k'adle, tause my dolly's in it,
an' I want to shee her;" thus spake Toddie.
"Don't you think the Lord loved my papa awful much for doin' that
sweet thing, Uncle Harry?" asked Budge.
"Yes, old fellow, I feel sure that he did."
"Lord lovesh my papa vewy much, so I love ze Lord vewy much,"
remarked Toddie. "An' I wants my dolly's k'adle an' my dolly."
"Toddie, I don't know where either of them are--I can't find them
now--DO wait until morning, then Uncle Harry will look for them."
"I don't see how the Lord can get along in heaven without my papa,
Uncle Harry," said Budge.
"Lord takesh papa to heaven, an' Budgie an' me, an' we'll go
walkin' an' see ze Lord, an' play wif ze angels' wings, an' hazh
good timsh, an' never have to go to bed at all, at all."
Pure hearted little innocents! compared with older people whom we
endure, how great thy faith and how few thy faults! How superior
A knock at the door interrupted me. "Come in!" I shouted.
In stepped Mike, with an air of the greatest secrecy, handed me a
letter and the identical box in which I had sent the flowers to
Miss Mayton. What COULD it mean? I hastily opened the envelope,
and at the same time Toddie shrieked:--
"Oh, darsh my dolly's k'adle--dare 'tish!" snatched and opened the
box, and displayed--his doll! My heart sickened, and did NOT
regain its strength during the perusal of the following note:--
"Miss Mayton herewith returns to Mr. Burton the package which just
arrived, with his card. She recognizes the contents as a portion
of the apparent property of one of Burton's nephews, but is unable
to understand why it should have been sent to her. "June 20,
"Toddie," I roared, as my younger nephew caressed his loathsome
doll, and murmured endearing words to it, "where did you get that
"On the hat-wack," replied the youth, with perfect fearlessness;
"I keeps it in ze book-case djawer, an' somebody took it 'way an'
put nasty ole flowers in it."
"Where are those flowers?" I demanded.
Toddie looked up with considerable surprise but promptly replied:--
"I froed 'em away--don't want no ole flowers in my dolly's k'adle.
That's ze way she wocks--see!" And this horrible little destroyer
of human hopes rolled that box back and forth with the most utter
unconcern, as he spoke endearing words to the substitute for my
To say that I looked at Toddie reprovingly is to express my
feelings in the most inadequate language, but of language in which
to express my feelings to Toddie. I could find absolutely none.
Within two or three short moments I had discovered how very
anxious I really was to merit Miss Mayton's regard, and how very
different was the regard I wanted from that which I had previously
hoped might be accorded me. It seemed too ridiculous to be true
that I, who had for years had dozens of charming lady
acquaintances, and yet had always maintained my common sense and
self-control; I, who had always considered it unmanly for a man to
specially interest himself in ANY lady until he had an income of
five thousand a year; I who had skilfully, and many times, argued,
that life-attachments, or attempts thereat, which were made
without a careful preliminary study of the mental characteristics
of the partner desired, was the most unpardonable folly,--I had
transgressed every one of my own rules, and, as if to mock me for
any pretended wisdom and care, my weakness was made known to me by
a three-year-old marplot and a hideous rag-doll!
That merciful and ennobling dispensation by which Providence
enables us to temper the severity of our own sufferings by
alleviating those of others, came soon to my rescue. Under my
stern glance Toddie gradually lost interest in his doll and its
cradle, and began to thrust forth and outward his piteous lower
lip and to weep copiously.
"Dee Lord, not make me sho bad," he cried through his tears. I
doubt his having had any very clear idea of what he was saying, or
whom he was addressing; but had the publican of whose prayer
Toddie made so fair a paraphrase worn such a face when he offered
his famous petition, it could not have been denied for a moment.
Toddie even retired to a corner and hid his face in self-imposed
"Never mind, Toddie," said I, sadly; "you didn't mean to do it, I
"I wantsh to love you," sobbed Toddie.
"Well, come here, you poor little fellow," said I, opening my
arms, and wondering whether 'twas not after contemplation of some
such sinner that good Bishop Tegner wrote:--
"Depths of love are atonement's depths, for love is atonement"
Toddie came to my arms, shed tears freely upon my shirt-front, and
finally, after heaving a very long sigh, remarked:--
"Wantsh YOU to love ME"
I complied with his request. Theoretically, I had long believed
that the higher wisdom of the Creator was most frequently
expressed through the medium of his most innocent creations.
Surely here was a confirmation of my theory, for who else had ever
practically taught me the duty of the injured one toward his
offender? I kissed Toddie and petted him, and at length succeeded
in quieting him; his little face, in spite of much dirt and many
tear-stains, was upturned with more of beauty in it than it ever
held when its owner was full of joy; he looked earnestly,
confidingly, into my eyes, and I congratulated myself upon the
perfection of my forgiving spirit, when Toddie suddenly
re-exhibited to me my old unregenerate nature, and the
incompleteness of my forgiveness, by saying:--
"Kish my dolly, too."
I obeyed. My forgiveness was made complete, but so was my
humiliation. I abruptly closed our interview. We exchanged "God
bless you's," according to Budge's instructions of the previous
night, and at least one of the participants in this devotional
exercise hoped the petitions made by the other were distinctly
heard. Then I dropped into an easy-chair in the library, and fell
to thinking. I found myself really and seriously troubled by the
results of Toddie's operation with my bouquet. I might explain the
matter to Miss Mayton--I undoubtedly could, for she was too
sensible a woman to be easily offended merely by a ridiculous
mistake, caused by a child. But she would laugh at ME--how could
she help it?--and to be laughed at by Miss Mayton was a something
the mere thought of which tormented me in a manner that made me
fairly ashamed of myself. Like every other young man among young
men, I had been the butt of many a rough joke, and had borne them
without wincing; it seemed cowardly and contemptible that I should
be so sensitive under the mere thought of laughter which would
probably be heard by no one but Miss Mayton herself. But the
laughter of a mere acquaintance is likely to lessen respect for
the person laughed at. Heavens! the thought was unendurable! At
any rate, I must write an early apology. When I was correspondent
for the house with which I am now salesman I reclaimed many an old
customer who had wandered off--certainly I might hope by a well-
written letter to regain in Miss Mayton's respect whatever
position I had lost. I hastily drafted a letter, corrected it
carefully, copied it in due form, and forwarded it by the faithful
Michael. Then I tried to read, but without the least success. For
hours I paced the piazza and consumed cigars; when at last I
retired it was with many ideas, hopes, fears, and fancies which
had never before been mine. True to my trust, I looked into my
nephews' room; there lay the boys, in postures more graceful than
any which brush or chisel have ever reproduced. Toddie, in
particular, wore so lovely an expression that I could not refrain
from kissing him. But I was none the less careful to make use of
my new key, and to lock my other door also.
The next day was the Sabbath. Believing fully in the binding force
and worldly wisdom of the Fourth Commandment, so far as it refers
to rest, I have conscientiously trained myself to sleep two hours
later on the morning of the holy day than I ever allowed myself to
do on business days. But having inherited, besides a New England
conscience, a New England abhorrence of waste, I regularly sit up
two hours later on Saturday nights than on any others; and the
night preceding this particular Sabbath was no exception to the
rule, as the reader may imagine from the foregoing recital. At
about 5.30 A. M., however, I became conscious that my nephews were
not in accord, with me on the Sinaitic law. They were not only
awake, but were disputing vigorously, and, seemingly, very loudly,
for I heard their words very distinctly. With sleepy condescension
I endeavored to ignore these noisy irreverents, but I was suddenly
moved to a belief in the doctrine of vicarious atonement, for a
flying body, with more momentum than weight, struck me upon the
not prominent bridge of my nose, and speedily and with unnecessary
force accommodated itself to the outline of my eyes. After a
moment spent in anguish, and in wondering how the missive came
through closed doors and windows, I discovered that my pain had
been caused by one of the dolls, which, from its extreme
uncleanness, I suspected belonged to Toddie; I also discovered
that the door between the rooms was open.
"Who threw that doll?" I shouted, sternly. There came no response.
"Do you hear?" I roared.
"What is it, Uncle Harry?" asked Budge, with most exquisitely
"Who threw that doll?"
"I say, who threw that doll?"
"Why, nobody did it."
"Toddie, who threw that doll?"
"Budge did," replied Toddie in muffled tones, suggestive of a
brotherly hand laid forcibly over a pair of small lips.
"Budge, what did you do it for?"
"Why--why--I--because--why, you see--because, why, Toddie froo his
dolly in my mouth; some of her hair went in, any how, an' I didn't
want his dolly in my mouth, so I sent it back to him, an' the foot
of the bed didn't stick up enough, so it went from the door to
your bed--that's what for."
The explanation seemed to bear marks of genuineness, albiet the
pain of my eye was not alleviated thereby, while the exertion
expended in eliciting the information had so thoroughly awakened
me that further sleep was out of the question. Besides, the open
door,--had a burglar been in the room? No; my watch and pocketbook
were undisturbed. "Budge, who opened that door?"
After some hesitation, as if wondering who really did it, Budge
"How did you do it?"
"Why, you see we wanted a drink, an' the door was fast, so we got
out the window on the parazzo roof, an' comed in your window."
(Here a slight pause.) "An' 'twas fun. An' then we unlocked the
door, an' comed back."
Then I should be compelled to lock my window-blinds--or theirs,
and this in the summer season, too! Oh, if Helen could have but
passed the house as that white-robed procession had filed along
the piazza-roof! I lay pondering over the vast amount of unused
ingenuity that was locked up in millions of children, or employed
only to work misery among unsuspecting adults, when I heard light
footfalls at my bedside, and saw a small shape with a grave face
approach and remark:--
"I wants to come in your bed."
"What for, Toddie?"
"To fwolic; papa always fwolics us Sunday mornin's. Tum, Budgie,
Ocken Hawwy's doin' to fwolic us."
Budge replied by shrieking with delight, tumbling out of bed, and
hurrying to that side of my bed not already occupied by Toddie.
Then those two little savages sounded the onslaught and advanced
precipitately upon me. Sometimes, during the course of my life, I
have had day-dreams which I have told to no one. Among these has
been one--not now so distinct as it was before my four years of
campaigning--of one day meeting in deadly combat the painted
Indian of the plains; of listening undismayed to his frightful
war-whoop, and of exemplifying in my own person the inevitable
result of the pale-face's superior intelligence. But upon this
particular Sunday morning I relinquished this idea informally, but
forever. Before the advance of these diminutive warriors I quailed
contemptibly, and their battle-cry sent more terror to my soul
than that member ever experienced from the well-remembered rebel
yell. According to Toddie, I was going to "fwolic" THEM; but from
the first they took the whole business into their own little but
effective hands. Toddie pronounced my knees, collectively a-horsie
"bonnie," and bestrode them, laughing gleefully at my efforts to
unseat him, and holding himself in position by digging his pudgy
fingers into whatever portions of my anatomy he could most easily
seize. Budge shouted, "I want a horsie, too!" and seated himself
upon my chest. "This is the way the horsie goes," explained he, as
he slowly rocked himself backward and forward. I began to realize
how my brother-in-law, who had once been a fine gymnast, had
become so flat-chested. Just then Budge's face assumed a more
spirited expression, his eyes opened wide and lightened up, and,
shouting, "This the way the horsie TROTS," he stood upright, threw
up his feet, and dropped his forty-three avoirdupois pounds
forcibly upon my lungs. He repeated this operation several times
before I fully recovered from the shock conveyed by his combined
impudence and weight; but pain finally brought my senses back, and
with a wild plunge I unseated my demoniac riders and gained a
clear space in the middle of the floor.
"Ah--h--h--h--h--h--h," screamed Toddie, "I wants to wide horshie
"Boo--oo--oo--oo--," roared Budge, "I think you're real mean. I
don't love you at all."
Regardless alike of Toddie's desires, of Budge's opinion, and the
cessation of his regard, I performed a hasty toilet.
Notnwithstanding my lost rest, savagely thanked the Lord for
Sunday; at church, at least, I could be free from my tormentors.
At the breakfast-table both boys invited themselves to accompany
me to the sanctuary, but I declined without thanks. To take them
might be to assist somewhat in teaching them one of the best of
habits, but I strongly doubted whether the severest Providence
would consider it my duty to endure the probable consequences of
such an attempt. Besides I MIGHT meet Miss Mayton. I both hoped
and feared I might, and I could not, endure the thought of
appearing before her with the causes of my pleasant REMEMBRANCE.
Budge protested and Toddie wept, but I remained firm, although I
was so willing to gratify their reasonable desires that I took
them out for a long ante-service walk. While enjoying this little
trip I delighted the children by killing a snake and spoiling a
slender cane at the same time, my own sole consolation coming from
the discovery that the remains of the staff were sufficient to
make a cane for Budge. While returning to the house and preparing
for church I entered into a solemn agreement with Budge, who was
usually recognized as the head of this fraternal partnership.
Budge contracted, for himself and brother, to make no attempts to
enter my room; to refrain from fighting; to raise loose dirt only
with a shovel, and to convey it to its destination by means other
than their own hats and aprons; to pick no flowers; to open no
water-faucets; to refer all disagreements to the cook, as
arbitrator, and to build no houses of the new books which I had
stacked upon the library table. In consideration of the promised
faithful observance of these conditions I agreed that Budge should
be allowed to come alone to Sabbath school, which convened
directly after morning service, he to start only after Maggie had
pronounced him duly cleansed and clothed. As Toddie was daily kept
in bed from eleven to one, I felt that I might safely worship
without distracting fears, for Budge could not alone, and in a
single hour, become guilty of any particular sin. The church at
Hillcrest had many more seats than members, and as but few summer
visitors had yet appeared in the town, I was conscious of being
industriously stared at by the native members of the congregation.
This was of itself discomfort enough, but not all to which I was
destined, for the usher conducted me quite near to the altar, and
showed me into a pew whose only other occupant was Miss Mayton! Of
course the lady did not recognize me--she was too carefully bred
to do anything of the sort in church, and I spent ten
uncomfortable minutes in mentally abusing the customs of good
society. The beginning of the service partially ended my
uneasiness, for I had no hymn-book,--the pew contained none,--so
Miss Mayton kindly offered me a share in her own. And yet so
faultlessly perfect and stranger-like was her manner that I
wondered whether her action might not have been prompted merely by
a sense of Christian duty; had I been the Khan of Tartary she
could not have been more polite and frigid. The music to the first
hymn was an air I had never heard before, so I stumbled miserably
through the tenor, although Miss Mayton rendered the soprano
without a single false note. The sermon was longer than I was in
the habit of listening to, and I was frequently conscious of not
listening at all. As for my position and appearance, neither ever
seemed so insignificant as they did throughout the entire service.
The minister reached "And finally, dear brethren," with my earnest
prayers for a successful and speedy finale. It seemed to me that
the congregation sympathized with me, for there was a general
rustle behind me as these words were spoken. It soon became
evident, however, that the hearers were moved by some other
feeling, for I heard a profound titter or two behind me. Even Miss
Mayton turned her head with more alacrity than was consistent with
that grace which usually characterized her motions, and the
minister himself made a pause of unusual length. I turned in my
seat, and saw my nephew Budge, dressed in his best, his head
irreverently covered, and his new cane swinging in the most
stylish manner. He paused at each pew, carefully surveyed its
occupants, seemed to fail in finding the object of his search, but
continued his efforts in spite of my endeavors to catch his eye.
Finally, he recognized a family acquaintance, and to him he
unburdened his bosom by remarking, in tones easily heard
throughout the church:--
"I want to find my uncle."
Just then he caught my eye, smiled rapturously, hurried to me and
laid his rascally soft cheek confidingly against mine, while an
audible sensation pervaded the church. What to do or say to him I
scarcely knew; but my quandary was turned to wonder, as Miss
Mayton, her face full of ill-repressed mirth, but her eyes full of
tenderness, drew the little scamp close to her, and Mssed him
soundly. At the same instant, the minister, not without some
little hesitation, said, "Let us pray." I hastily bowed my head,
glad of a chance to hide my face; but as I stole a glance at the
cause of this irreligious disturbance, I caught Miss Mayton's eye.
She was laughing so violently that the contagion was unavoidable,
and I laughed all the harder as I felt that one mischievous boy
had undone the mischief caused by another.
After the benediction, Budge was the recipient of a great deal of
attention, during the confusion of which I embraced the
opportunity to say to Miss Mayton:--
"Do you still sustain my sister in her opinion of my nephews, Miss
"I think they're too funny for anything," replied the lady, with
great enthusiasm. "I DO wish you would bring them to call upon me.
I'm longing to see an ORIGINAL young gentleman."
"Thank you," said I. "And I'll have Toddie bring a bouquet by way
"Do," she replied, as I allowed her to pass from the pew. The word
was an insignificant one, but it made me happy once more.
"You see, Uncle Harry," exclaimed Budge, as we left the church
together, "the Sunday-school wasn't open yet, an' I wanted to hear
if they'd sing again in church; so I came in, an' you wasn't in
papa's seat, an' I knew you was SOMEwhere, so I LOOKED for you."
"Bless you," thought I, snatching him into my arms as if to hurry
him into Sabbath school, but really to give him a kiss of grateful
affection, "you did right--EXACTLY right."
My Sunday dinner was unexceptional in point of quantity and
quality, and a bottle of my brother-in-law's claret proved to be
most excellent; yet a certain uneasiness of mind prevented my
enjoying the meal as thoroughly as under other circumstances I
might have done. My uneasiness came of a mingled sense of
responsibility and ignorance. I felt that it was the proper thing
for me to see that my nephews spent the day with some sense of the
requirements and duties of the Sabbath; but how I was to bring it
about, I hardly knew. The boys, were too small to have Bible-
lessons administered to them, and they were too lively to be kept
quiet by any ordinary means. After a great deal of thought, I
determined to consult the children themselves, and try to learn
what their parents' custom had been.
"Budge," said I, "what do you do Sundays when your papa and mama
are home? What do they read to you,--what do they talk about?"
"Oh, they swing us--lots!" said Budge, with brightening eyes.
"An' zey takes us to get jacks," observed Toddie.
"Oh, yes!" exclaimed Budge; "jacks-in-the-pulpit--don't you know?"
"Hum--ye--es; I do remember some such thing in my youthful days.
They grow where there's plenty of mud, don't they?"
"Yes, an' there's a brook there, an' ferns, an' birch-bark, an' if
you don't look out you'll tumble into the brook when you go to get
"An' we goes to Hawksnest Rock," piped Toddie, "an' papa carries
us up on his back when we gets tired."
"An' he makes us whistles," said Budge.
"Budge," said I, rather hastily, "enough. In the language of the
"'These earthly pleasures I resign,'
and I'm rather astonished that your papa hasn't taught you to do
likewise. Don't he ever read to you?"
"Oh, yes," cried Budge, clapping his hands, as a happy thought
struck him. "He gets down the Bible--the great BIG Bible, you
know--an' we all lay on the floor, an' he reads us stories out of
it. There's David, an' Noah, an' when Christ was a little boy, an'
Joseph, an' turnbackPharo'sannyhallelujah--"
"TurnbackPharo'sarmyhallelujah," repeated Budge. "Don't you know
how Moses held out his cane over the Red Sea, an' the water went
way up one side, an' way up the other side, and all the Isrulites
went across? It's just the same thing as
DROWNoldPharo'sarmyhallelujah--don't you know?"
"Budge," said I, "I suspect you of having heard the Jubilee
"Oh, and papa and mama sings us all those Jubilee songs--there's
'Swing Low,' an' 'Roll Jordan,' an' 'Steal Away,' an' 'My Way's
Cloudy,' an' 'Get on Board, Childuns,' an' lots. An' you can sing
us every one of 'em."
"An' papa takes us in the woods, an' makesh us canes," said
"Yes," said Budge, "and where there's new houses buildin', he
takes us up ladders."
"Has he any way of putting an extension on the afternoon?" I
"I don't know what that is," said Budge, "but he puts an India-
rubber blanket on the grass, and then we all lie down an' make
b'lieve we're soldiers asleep. Only sometimes when we wake up papa
stays asleep, an' mama won't let us wake him. I don't think that's
a very nice play."
"Well, I think Bible stories are nicer than anything else, don't
Budge seemed somewhat in doubt. "I think swingin' is nicer," said
he--"oh, no;--let's get some jacks--I'LL tell you what!--make us
whistles an' we can blow on 'em while we're goin' to get the
jacks. Toddie, dear, wouldn't YOU like jacks and whistles?"
"Yesh--an' swingin'--an' birch--an' wantsh to go to Hawksnesh
Rock," answered Toddie.
"Let's have Bible stories first," said I. "The Lord mightn't like
it if you didn't learn anything good to-day."
"Well," said Budge, with the regulation religious-matter-of-duty-
face, "let's. I guess I like 'bout Joseph best."
"Tell us 'bout Bliaff," suggested Toddie.
"Oh, no, Tod," remonstrated Budge; "Joseph's coat was just as
bloody as Goliath's head was." Then Budge turned to me and
explained that "all Tod likes Goliath for is 'cause when his head
was cut off it was all bloody." And then Toddie--the airy sprite
whom his mother described as being irresistibly drawn to whatever
was beautiful--Toddie glared upon me as a butcher's apprentice
might stare at a doomed lamb, and remarked:--
"Bliaff's head was all bluggy, an' David's sword was all bluggy--
bluggy as everyfing."
I hastily breathed a small prayer, opened the Bible, turned to the
story of Joseph, and audibly condensed it as I read:--
"Joseph was a good little boy whose papa loved him very dearly.
But his brothers didn't like him. And they sold him, to go to
Egypt. And he was very smart, and told the people what their
dreams meant, and he got to be a great man. And his brothers went
to Egypt to buy corn, and Joseph sold them some, and then he let
them know who he was. And he sent them home to bring their papa to
Egypt, and then they all lived there together."
"That ain't it," remarked Toddie, with the air of a man who felt
himself to be unjustly treated. "Is it, Budge?"
"Oh, no," said Budge, "you didn't read it good a bit; I'LL tell
you how it is. Once there was a little boy named Joseph, an' he
had eleven budders--they was AWFUL eleven budders. An' his papa
gave him a new coat, an' his budders hadn't nothin' but their old
jackets to wear. An' one day he was carryin' 'em their dinner, an'
they put him in a deep, dark hole, but they didn't put his nice
new coat in--they killed a kid, an' dipped the coat--just think of
doin' that to a nice new coat--they dipped it in the kid's blood,