Part 2 out of 3
How to hush stars, yet to waken the Day:
Singing first, lullabies, then, jubilates,
Watching the blue sky where every bird's heart is;
Then, as lamenting the day's fading light,
Down through the twilight, when wearied with flight,
Singing divinely, they breathe out, "good-night!"
Little brown thrushes with birds yellow-breasted
Bright as the sunshine that June roses bring,
Climb up and carol o'er hills silver-crested
Just as the bluebirds do in the spring,
Seeing the bees and the butterflies ranging,
Pointed-winged swallows their sharp shadows changing;
But while some sunset is flooding the sky,
Up through the glory the brown thrushes fly,
Singing divinely, "good-night and good-by!"
BY Mrs. WHITON-STONE.
This tall Giraffe,
Measures ten feet and a half,
And I wonder if his neck
Of rubber is made.
Out of the sun
He thinks he has run
But only his feet
Are in the shade.
THE STORY OF THE EMPTY SLEEVE.
Here, sit ye down alongside of me; I'm getting old and gray;
But something in the paper, boy, has riled my blood today.
To steal a purse is mean enough, the most of men agree;
But stealing reputation seems a meaner thing to me.
A letter in the Herald says some generals allow
That there wa'n't no fight where Lookout rears aloft its shaggy
But this coat sleeve swinging empty here beside me, boy, to-day,
Tells a mighty different story in a mighty different way.
When sunbeams flashed o'er Mission Ridge that bright November
The misty cap on Lookout's crest gave token of a storm;
For grim King Death had draped the mount in grayish, smoky
Its craggy peaks were lost to sight above the fleecy clouds.
Just at the mountain's rocky base we formed in serried lines,
While lightning with its jagged edge played on us from the pines;
The mission ours to storm the pits 'neath Lookout's crest that
We stormed the very "gates of hell" with "Fighting Joe" that day.
The mountain seemed to vomit flames; the boom of heavy guns
Played to Dixie's music, while a treble played the drums:
The eagles waking from their sleep, looked down upon the stars
Slow climbing up the mountain side, with morning's broken bars.
We kept our eyes upon the flag that upward led the way
Until we lost it in the smoke on Lookout side that day;
And then like demons loosed from hell we clambered up the crag,
"Excelsior," our motto, and our mission, "Save the flag."
In answer to the rebel yell we gave a ringing cheer;
We left the rifle-pits behind, the crest loomed upward near;
A light wind playing 'long the peaks just lifted death's gray
We caught the gleam of silver stars just breaking through the
A shattered arm hung at my side that day on Lookout's crag,
And yet I'd give the other now to save the dear old flag.
The regimental roll when called on Lookout's crest that night
Was more than doubled by the roll Death called in realms of
Just as the sun sank slowly down behind the mountain's crest,
When mountain peaks gave back the fire that flamed along the
Swift riding down along the ridge upon a charger white,
Came "Fighting Joe," the hero now of Lookout's famous fight.
He swung his cap as tears of joy slow trickled down his cheek,
And as our cheering died away, the general tried to speak.
He said, "Boys, I'll court-martial you, yes, every man that's
I said to take the rifle pits," we stopped him with a cheer,
"I said to take the rifle pits upon the mountain's edge,
And I'll court-martial you because--because you took the ridge"
Then such a laugh as swept the ridge where late King Death had
And such a cheer as rent the skies, as down our lines he rode!
I'm getting old and feeble, I've not long to live, I know,
But there WAS A FIGHT AT LOOKOUT. I was there with "Fighting
So these generals in the Herald, they may reckon and allow
That there warn't no fight at Lookout on the mountain's shaggy
But this empty coat-sleeve swinging here beside me, boy, to-day
Tells a mighty different tale in a mighty different way.
R. L. CARY, JR.
A race! A race! Which will win,
Thin little Harold or chubby Jim?
Surely not Harold for there he goes
Down so flat
he bumps his nose,
While Jimmy stops short.
The fat little elf,
Says he can't run a race
all by himself.
FACING THE WORLD.
"Glad I am, mother, the holidays are over. It's quite different
going back to school again when one goes to be captain--as I'm
sure to be. Isn't it jolly?"
Mrs. Boyd's face as she smiled back at Donald was not exactly
"jolly." Still, she did smile; and then there came out the
strong likeness often seen between mother and son, even when, as
in this case, the features were very dissimilar. Mrs. Boyd was a
pretty, delicate little English woman: and Donald took after his
father, a big, brawny Scotsman, certainly not pretty, and not
always sweet. Poor man! he had of late years had only too much
to make him sour.
Though she tried to smile and succeeded, the tears were in Mrs.
Boyd's eyes, and her mouth was quivering. But she set it tightly
together, and then she looked more than ever like her son, or
rather, her son looked like her.
He was too eager in his delight to notice her much. "It is
jolly, isn't it, mother? I never thought I'd get to the top of
the school at all, for I'm not near so clever as some of the
fellows. But now I've got my place; and I like it, and I mean to
keep it; you'll be pleased at that, mother?"
"I should have been if--if--" Mrs. Boyd tried to get the words
out and failed, closed her eyes as tight as her mouth for a
minute, then opened them and looked her boy in the face gravely
"It goes to my heart to tell you--I have been waiting to say it
all morning, but, Donald, my dear, you will never go back to
school at all."
"Not go back; when I'm captain! why, you and father both said
that if I got to be that, I should not stop till I was
seventeen--and now I'm only fifteen and a half. O, mother, you
don't mean it! Father couldn't break his word! I may go back!"
Mrs. Boyd shook her head sadly, and then explained as briefly and
calmly as she could the heavy blow which had fallen upon the
father, and, indeed, upon the whole family. Mr. Boyd had long
been troubled with his eyes, about as serious a trouble as could
have befallen a man in his profession--an accountant--as they
call it in Scotland. Lately he had made some serious blunders in
his arithmetic, and his eyesight was so weak that his wife
persuaded him to consult a first-rate Edinburgh oculist, whose
opinion, given only yesterday, after many days of anxious
suspense, was that in a few months he would become incurably
"Blind, poor father blind!" Donald put his hand before his own
eyes. He was too big a boy to cry, or at any rate, to be seen
crying, but it was with a choking voice that he spoke next: "I'll
be his eyes; I'm old enough."
"Yes; in many ways you are, my son," said Mrs. Boyd, who had had
a day and a night to face her sorrow, and knew she must do so
calmly. "But you are not old enough to manage the business; your
father will require to take a partner immediately, which will
reduce our income one-half. Therefore we cannot possibly afford
to send you to school again. The little ones must go, they are
not nearly educated yet, but you are. You will have to face the
world and earn your own living, as soon as ever you can. My poor
"Don't call me poor, mother. I've got you and father and the
rest. And, as you say, I've had a good education so far. And
I'm fifteen and a half, no, fifteen and three-quarters-- almost a
man. I'm not afraid."
"Nor I," said his mother, who had waited a full minute before
Donald could find voice to say all this, and it was at last
stammered out awkwardly and at random. "No; I am not afraid
because my boy has to earn his bread; I had earned mine for years
as a governess when father married me. I began work before I was
sixteen. My son will have to do the same, that is all."
That day the mother and son spoke no more together. It was as
much as they could do to bear their trouble, without talking
about it, and besides, Donald was not a boy to "make a fuss" over
things. He could meet sorrow when it came, that is, the little
of it he had ever known, but he disliked speaking of it, and
perhaps he was right.
So he just "made himself scarce" till bedtime, and never said a
word to anybody until his mother came into the boys' room to bid
them good-night. There were three of them, but all were asleep
except Donald. As his mother bent down to kiss him, he put both
arms round her neck.
"Mother, I'm going to begin to-morrow."
"Begin what, my son?"
"Facing the world, as you said I must. I can't go to school
again, so I mean to try and earn my own living."
"I don't quite know, but I'll try. There are several things I
could be, a clerk--or even a message-boy. I shouldn't like it,
but I'd do anything rather than do nothing."
Mrs. Boyd sat down on the side of the bed. If she felt inclined
to cry she had too much sense to show it. She only took firm
hold of her boy's hand, and waited for him to speak on.
"I've been thinking, mother, I was to have a new suit at
Christmas; will you give it now? And let it be a coat, not a
jacket. I'm tall enough--five feet seven last month, and growing
still; I should look almost a man. Then I would go round to
every office in Edinburgh and ask if they wanted a clerk. I
wouldn't mind taking anything to begin with. And I can write a
decent hand, and I'm not bad at figures; as for my Latin and
Here Donald gulped down a sigh, for he was a capital classic, and
it had been suggested that he should go to Glasgow University and
try for "the Snell" which has sent so many clever young Scotsmen
to Balliol College, Oxford, and thence on to fame and prosperity.
But alas! no college career was now possible to Donald Boyd.
The best he could hope for was to earn a few shillings a week as
a common clerk. He knew this, and so did his mother. But they
never complained. It was no fault of theirs, nor of anybody's.
It was just as they devoutly called it, "The will of God."
"Your Latin and Greek may come in some day, my boy," said Mrs.
Boyd cheerfully. "Good work is never lost. In the meantime,
your plan is a good one, and you shall have your new clothes at
once. Then, do as you think best."
"All right; good-night, mother," said Donald, and in five minutes
more was fast asleep.
But, though he was much given to sleeping of nights--indeed, he
never remembered lying awake for a single hour in his
life--during daytime there never was a more "wide awake" boy than
Donald Boyd. He kept his eyes open to everything, and never let
the "golden minute" slip by him. He never idled about--play he
didn't consider idling (nor do I). And I am bound to confess
that every day until the new clothes came home was scrupulously
spent in cricket, football, and all the other amusements which he
was as good at as he was at his lessons. He wanted "to make the
best of his holidays," he said, knowing well that for him holiday
time as well as school time was now done, and the work of the
world had begun in earnest.
The clothes came home on Saturday night, and he went to church in
them on Sunday, to his little sister's great admiration. Still
greater was their wonder when, on Monday morning, he appeared in
the same suit, looking quite a man, as they unanimously agreed,
and almost before breakfast was done, started off, not saying a
word of where he was going.
He did not come back till the younger ones were all away to bed,
so there was no one to question him, which was fortunate, for
they might not have got very smooth answers. His mother saw
this, and she also forbore. She was not surprised that the
bright, brave face of the morning looked dull and tired, and that
evidently Donald had no good news of the day to tell her.
"I think I'll go to bed," was all he said. "Mother, will you
give me a 'piece' in my pocket to-morrow? One can walk better
when one isn't so desperately hungry."
"Yes, my boy." She kissed him, saw that he was warmed and
fed--he had evidently been on his legs the whole day--then sent
him off to his bed, where she soon heard him delightfully
snoring, oblivious of all his cares.
The same thing went on day after day, for seven days. Sometimes
he told his mother what had happened to him and where he had
been, sometimes not; what was the good of telling? It was always
the same story. Nobody wanted a boy or a man, for Donald,
trusting to his inches and his coat, had applied for man's work
also, but in vain. Mrs. Boyd was not astonished. She knew how
hard it is to get one's foot into ever so small a corner in this
busy world, where ten are always struggling for the place of one.
Still, she also knew that it never does to give in; that one must
leave no stone unturned if one wishes to get work at all. Also
she believed firmly in an axiom of her youth--"Nothing is denied
to well-directed labor." But it must be real hard "labor," and it
must also be "well directed." So, though her heart ached sorely,
as only a mother's can, she never betrayed it, but each morning
sent her boy away with a cheerful face, and each evening received
him with one, which, if less cheerful, was not less sympathetic,
but she never said a word.
At the week's end, in fact, on Sunday morning, as they were
walking to church, Donald said to her: "Mother, my new clothes
haven't been of the slightest good. I've been all over
Edinburgh, to every place I could think of--writers' offices,
merchants' offices, wharves, railway-stations--but it's no use.
Everybody wants to know where I've been before, and I've been
nowhere except to school. I said I was willing to learn, but
nobody will teach me; they say they can't afford it. It is like
keeping a dog, and barking yourself. Which is only too true,"
added Donald, with a heavy sigh.
"May be," said Mrs. Boyd. Yet as she looked up at her son--she
really did look up at him, he was so tall--she felt that if his
honest, intelligent face and manly bearing did not win something
at last, what was the world coming to? "My boy," she said,
"things are very hard for you, but not harder than for others. I
remember once, when I was only a few years older than you,
finding myself with only half a crown in my pocket. To be sure
it was a whole half-crown, for I had paid every half-penny I owed
that morning, but I had no idea where the next half-crown would
come from. However, it did come. I earned two pounds ten, the
very day after that day."
"Did you really, mother?" said Donald, his eyes brightening.
"Then I'll go on. I'll not 'gang awa back to my mither,' as that
old gentleman advised me, who objected to bark himself; a queer,
crabbed old fellow he was too, but he was the only one who asked
my name and address. The rest of them--well, mother, I've stood
a good deal these seven days," Donald added, gulping down
something between a "fuff" of wrath and a sob.
"I am sure you have, my boy."
"But I'll hold on; only you'll have to get my boots mended, and
meantime, I should like to try a new dodge. My bicycle, it lies
in the washing-house; you remember I broke it and you didn't wish
it mended, lest I should break something worse than a wheel,
perhaps. It wasn't worth while risking my life for mere
pleasure, but I want my bicycle now for use. If you let me have
it mended, I can go up and down the country for fifty miles in
search of work--to Falkirk, Linlithgow, or even Glasgow, and I'll
cost you nothing for traveling expenses. Isn't that a bright
She had not the heart to say no, or to suggest that a boy on a
bicycle applying for work was a thing too novel to be eminently
successful. But to get work was at once so essential and so
hopeless, that she would not throw any cold water on Donald's
eagerness and pluck. She hoped too, that, spite of the
eccentricity of the notion, some shrewd, kind-hearted gentleman
might have sense enough to see the honest purpose of the poor lad
who had only himself to depend upon. For his father had now
fallen into a state of depression which made all application to
him for either advice or help worse than useless. And as both he
and Mrs. Boyd had been solitary orphans when they were married,
there were no near relatives of any kind to come to the rescue.
Donald knew, and his mother knew too, that he must shift for
himself, to sink or swim.
So, after two days' rest, which he much needed, the boy went off
again "on his own hook," and his bicycle, which was a degree
better than his legs, he said, as it saves shoe-leather. Also,
he was able to come home pretty regularly at the same hour, which
was a great relief to his mother. But he came home nearly as
tired as ever, and with a despondent look which deepened every
day. Evidently it was just the same story; no work to be had; or
if there was work, it was struggled for by a score of fellows,
with age, character, and experience to back them, and Donald had
none of the three. But he had one quality, the root of all
success in the end, dogged perseverance.
There is a saying, that we British gain our victories, not
because we are never beaten, but because we never will see that
we are beaten, and so go on fighting till we win. "Never say
die," was Donald's word to his mother night after night. But she
knew that those who never SAY die, sometimes DO die, quite
quietly, and she watched with a sore heart her boy growing
thinner and more worn, even though brown as a berry with constant
exposure all day long to wind and weather, for it was now less
autumn than winter.
After a fortnight, Mrs. Boyd made up her mind that this could not
go on any longer, and said so. "Very well," Donald answered,
accepting her decision as he had been in the habit of doing all
his life.--Mrs. Boyd's children knew very well that whatever her
will was, it was sure to be a just and wise will, herself being
the last person she ever thought of.--"Yes, I'll give in, if you
think I ought, for it's only wearing out myself and my clothes to
no good. Only let me have one day more and I'll go as far as
ever I can, perhaps to Dunfermline, or even Glasgow."
She would not forbid, and once more she started him off with a
cheerful face in the twilight of the wet October morning, and sat
all day long in the empty house--for the younger ones were now
all going to school again--thinking sorrowfully of her eldest,
whose merry school days were done forever.
In the dusk of the afternoon a card was brought up to her, with
the message that an old gentleman was waiting below, wishing to
A shudder ran through the poor mother, who, like many another
mother, hated bicycles, and never had an easy mind when Donald
was away on his. The stranger's first word was anything but
"Beg pardon ma'am, but is your name Boyd, and have you a son
called Donald, who went out on a bicycle this morning?"
"Yes, yes! Has anything happened? Tell me quick!"
"I'm not aware, ma'am, that anything has happened," said the old
gentleman. "I saw the lad at light this morning. He seemed to
be managing his machine uncommonly well. I met him at the foot
of a hill near Edinburgh Castle. He had got off and was walking;
so he saw me, and took off his cap. I like respect, especially
in a young fellow towards an old one."
"Did he know you, for I have not that pleasure?" said Mrs. Boyd,
polite, though puzzled. For the old man did not look quite like
a gentleman, and spoke with the strong accent of an uneducated
person, yet he had a kindly expression, and seemed honest and
well-meaning, though decidedly "canny."
"I cannot say he knew me, but he remembered me, which was civil
of him. And then I minded the lad as the one that had come to me
for work a week or two ago, and I took his name and address.
That's your son's writing?" he jumbled out and showed a scrap of
paper. "It's bona fide, isn't it?
"And he really is in search of work? He hasn't run away from
home, or been turned out by his father for misconduct, or
anything of that sort? He isn't a scamp, or a ne'er-do-weel?"
"I hope he doesn't look like it," said Mrs. Boyd, proudly.
"No, ma'am; you're right, he doesn't. He carries his character
in his face which, maybe, is better than in his pocket. It was
that which made me ask his name and address, though I could do
nothing for him."
"Then you were the gentleman who told him you couldn't keep a dog
and bark yourself?" said Mrs. Boyd, amused, and just a shade
"Precisely. Nor can I. It would have been cool impudence in a
lad to come and ask to be taught his work first and then paid for
it, if he hadn't been so very much in earnest that I was rather
sorry for him. I'm inclined to believe, from the talk I had with
him at the foot of the brae to-day, that he is a young dog that
would bark with uncommon little teaching. Material, ma'am, is
what we want. I don't care for its being raw material, if it's
only of the right sort. I've made up my mind to try your boy."
"What did you say, ma'am? But--I beg your pardon."
For he saw that Mrs. Boyd had quite broken down. In truth, the
strain had been so long and so great that this sudden relief was
quite too much for her. She sobbed heartily.
"I ought to beg your pardon," she said at last, "for being so
foolish, but we have had hard times of late."
And then, in a few simple words, she told Donald's whole story.
The old man listened to it in silence. Sometimes he nodded his
head, or beat his chin on his stout stick as he sat; but he made
no comment whatever, except a brief "Thank you, ma'am."
"Now to business," continued he, taking out his watch; "for I'm
due at dinner: and I always keep my appointments, even with
myself. I hope your Donald is a punctual lad?"
"Yes. He promised to be back by dark, and I am sure he will be.
Could you not wait?"
"No. I never wait for anybody; but keep nobody waiting for me.
I'm Bethune & Co., Leith Merchants--practically, old John
Bethune, who began life as a message-boy, and has done pretty
He had, as Mrs. Boyd was well aware. Bethune & Co. was a name so
well known that she could hardly believe in her boy's good luck
in getting into that house in any capacity whatever.
"So all is settled," said Mr. Bethune, rising. "Let him come to
me on Monday morning, and I'll see what he is fit for. He'll
have to start at the very bottom--sweep the office, perhaps--I
did it myself once--and I'll give him--let me see--ten shillings
a week to begin with."
" 'To begin with,' " repeated Mrs. Boyd, gently but firmly; "but
he will soon be worth more. I am sure of that."
"Very well. When I see what stuff he is made of, he shall have a
rise. But I never do things at haphazard; and it's easier going
up than coming down. I'm not a benevolent man, Mrs. Boyd, and
you need not think it. But I've fought the world pretty hard
myself, and I like to help those that are fighting it. Good
evening. Isn't that your son coming round the corner? Well,
he's back exact to his time, at any rate. Tell him I hope he
will be as punctual on Monday morning. Good evening, ma'am."
Now, if this were an imaginary story, I might wind it up by a
delightful denoument of Mr. Bethune's turning out an old friend
of the family, or developing into a new one, and taking such a
fancy to Donald that he immediately gave him a clerkship with a
large salary, and the promise of a partnership on coming of age,
or this worthy gentleman should be an eccentric old bachelor who
immediately adopted that wonderful boy and befriended the whole
But neither of these things, nor anything else remarkable,
happened in the real story, which, as it is literally true,
though told with certain necessary disguises, I prefer to keep to
as closely as I can. Such astonishing bits of "luck" do not
happen in real life, or happen so rarely that one inclines, at
least, to believe very little in either good or ill fortune, as a
matter of chance. There is always something at the back of it
which furnishes a key to the whole. Practically, a man's lot is
of his own making. He may fail, for a while undeservedly, or he
may succeed undeservedly, but, in the long run, time brings its
revenges and its rewards.
As it did to Donald Boyd. He has not been taken into the house
of Bethune & Co., as a partner; and it was long before he became
even a clerk--at least with anything like a high salary. For Mr.
Bethune, so far from being an old bachelor, had a large family to
provide for, and was bringing up several of his sons to his own
business, so there was little room for a stranger. But a young
man who deserves to find room generally does find it, or make it.
And though Donald started at the lowest rung of the ladder, he
may climb to the top yet.
He had "a fair field, and no favor." Indeed, he neither wished
nor asked favor. He determined to stand on his own feet from the
first. He had hard work and few holidays, made mistakes, found
them out and corrected them, got sharp words and bore them,
learnt his own weak points and--not so easily--his strong ones.
Still he did learn them; for, unless you can trust yourself, be
sure nobody else will trust you.
This was Donald's great point. HE WAS TRUSTED. People soon
found out that they might trust him; that he always told the
truth, and never pretended to do more than he could do; but that
which he could do, they might depend upon his doing, punctually,
accurately, carefully, and never leaving off till it was done.
Therefore, though others might be quicker, sharper, more "up to
things" than he, there was no one so reliable, and it soon got to
be a proverb in the office of Bethune & Co.--and other offices,
too--"If you wish a thing done, go to Boyd."
I am bound to say this, for I am painting no imaginary portrait,
but describing an individual who really exists, and who may be
met any day walking about Edinburgh, though his name is not
Donald Boyd, and there is no such firm as Bethune & Co. But the
house he does belong to values the young fellow so highly that
there is little doubt he will rise in it, and rise in every way,
probably to the very top of the tree, and tell his children and
grandchildren the story which, in its main features, I have
recorded here, of how he first began facing the world.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."
We went to the Zoo the Leopard to see,
But found him an unsociable fellow.
He would not look at us or say where he bought
His polka-dot suit of yellow.
ROBERT OF LINCOLN.
Merrily swinging on briar and weed,
Near to the nest of his little dame,
Over the mountain-side or mead,
Robert of Lincoln is telling his name;
Spink, spank, spink;
Snug and safe in that nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers.
Chee, chee, chee.
Robert of Lincoln is gayly dressed.
Wearing a bright black wedding-coat;
White are his shoulders and white his crest,
Hear him calling his merry note:
Spink, spank, spink;
Look, what a nice new coat is mine,
Sure there was never a bird so fine.
Chee, chee, chee.
Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife,
Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
Passing at home a quiet life,
Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
Bob-o'-l ink, bob-o'-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Brood, kind creatures; you need not fear
Thieves and robbers while I am here.
Chee, chee, chee.
Modest and shy as a nun is she,
One weak chirp is her only note,
Braggart and prince of braggarts is he,
Pouring boasts from his little throat:
Spink, spank, spink;
Never was I afraid of man;
Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can.
Chee, chee, chee.
Six white eggs on a bed of hay,
Flecked with purple, a pretty sight!
There as the mother sits all day,
Robert is singing with all his might:
Spink, spank, spink;
Nice good wife, that never goes out,
Keeping house while I frolic about.
Chee, chee, chee.
Soon as the-little ones chip the shell
Six wide mouths are open for food;
Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,
Gathering seed for the hungry brood.
Spink, spank, spink;
This new life is likely to be
Hard for a gay young fellow like me.
Chee, chee, chee.
Robert of Lincoln at length is made
Sober with work, and silent with care;
Off is his holiday garment laid,
Half forgotten that merry air,
Spink, spank, spink;
Nobody knows but my mate and I
Where our nest and our nestlings lie.
Chee, chee, chee.
Summer wanes; the children are grown;
Fun and frolic no more he knows;
Robert of Lincoln's a humdrum crone;
Off he flies, and we sing as he goes:
Spink, spank, spink;
When you can pipe that merry old strain,
Robert of Lincoln, come back again.
Chee, chee, chee.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
Dance a jig,
Dance a Highland Fling;
Dance a Cake-walk,
Give us o Clog,
Or cut a Pigeon's Wing.
U. S. SPELLS US.
My papa's all dressed up to-day;
He never looked so fine;
I thought when I first looked at him
My papa wasn't mine.
He's got a beautiful new suit
The old one was so old--
It's blue, with buttons, oh, so bright,
I guess they must be gold.
And papa's sort o' glad and sort
O' sad--I wonder why;
And ev'ry time she looks at him
It makes my mamma cry.
Who's Uncle Sam? My papa says
That he belongs to him;
But papa's joking, 'cause he knows
My uncle's name is Jim.
My papa just belongs to me
And mamma. And I guess
The folks are blind who cannot see
His buttons marked U. S.
U. S. spells Us. He's ours--and yet
My mamma can't help cry,
And papa tries to smile at me
And can't--I wonder why.
A dancing Bear came down the street;
The children all ran to see the treat;
Said the keeper: "Now, boys, come pay for your fun;
Give me a penny to buy Bruin a bun."
"DIXIE" AND "YANKEE DOODLE."
I was born 'way down in "Dixie,"
Reared beneath the Southern skies,
And they didn't have to teach me
Every "Yankee" to despise.
I was but a country youngster
When I donned a suit of gray,
When I shouldered my old musket,
And marched forth the "Yanks" to slay.
Four long years I fought and suffered,
"Dixie" was my battle cry;
"Dixie" always and forever,
Down in "Dixie" let me die.
And to-night I'm down in "Dixie,"
"Dixie" still so grand and true;
But to-night I am appareled
In a uniform of blue.
And to-night the band is playing;
'Tis not "Dixie's" strains I hear,
But the strains of "Yankee Doodle"
Ring out strong and clear.
Long I listen to the music;
By my side a comrade stands;
He's a "Yank" and I'm a "Rebel,"
But we grasp each other's hands.
Here together we united
'Way down South in "Dixie" stand,
And my comrade whispers softly,
"There's no land like 'Dixie's land.' "
But my eyes are filled with teardrops,
Tears that make my heart feel glad;
And I whisper to my comrade:
" 'Yankee Doodle' ain't so bad."
LAWRENCE PORCHER HEXT.
A game of marbles
We were having one day,
When Baby chanced
to come along that way.
Too little he was
to join our game,
But he pocketed our marbles
just the same.
THE BAREFOOT BOY.
Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan;
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace!
From my heart I give thee joy;
I was once a barefoot boy.
Prince thou art--the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million-dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy,
In the reach of ear and eye:
Outward sunshine, inward joy.
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
O! for boyhood's painless play,
Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor's rules,
Knowledge never learned of schools:
Of the wild bee's morning chase,
Of the wild flower's time and place,
Flight of fowl, and habitude
Of the tenants of the wood;
How the tortoise bears his shell,
How the woodchuck digs his cell,
And the ground-mole sinks his well;
How the robin feeds her young,
How the oriole's nest is hung;
Where the whitest lilies blow,
Where the freshest berries grow,
Where the ground-nut trails its vine,
Where the wood grape's clusters shine;
Of the black wasp's cunning way,
Mason of his walls of clay,
And the architectural plans
Of gray hornet artisans!
For, eschewing books and tasks,
Nature answers all he asks;
Hand in hand with her he walks,
Face to face with her he talks
Part and parcel of her joy.
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
O for boyhood's time of June,
Crowding years in one brief moon,
When all things I heard or saw,
Me, their master, waited for!
I was rich in flowers and trees,
Humming-birds and honey-bees;
For my sport the squirrel played,
Plied the snouted mole his spade;
For my taste the blackberry cone
Purpled over hedge and stone;
Laughed the brook for my delight,
Through the day and through the night;
Whispering at the garden wall,
Talked with me from fall to fall;
Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond,
Mine the walnut slopes beyond,
Mine, on bending orchard trees,
Apples of Hesperides!
Still, as my horizon grew,
Larger grew my riches too,
All the world I saw or knew
Seemed a complex Chinese toy,
Fashioned for a barefoot boy!
O! for festal dainties spread,
Like my bowl of milk and bread,
Pewter spoon and bowl of wood,
On the door-stone, gray and rude!
O'er me, like a regal tent,
Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent:
Purple-curtained, fringed with gold,
Looped in many a wind-swung fold;
While, for music, came the play
Of the pied frogs' orchestra;
And, to light the noisy choir,
Lit the fly his lamp of fire.
I was monarch; pomp and joy
Waited on the barefoot boy.
Cheerily then, my little man!
Live and laugh as boyhood can;
Though the flinty slopes be hard,
Stubble-speared the new-mown sward,
Every morn shall lead thee through
Fresh baptisms of the dew;
Every evening from thy feet
Shall the cool wind kiss the heat;
All too soon those feet must hide
In the prison-cells of pride,
Lose the freedom of the sod,
Like a colt's for work be shod,
Made to tread the mills of toil,
Up and down in ceaseless moil:
Happy if their track be found
Never on forbidden ground;
Happy if they sink not in
Quick and treacherous sands of sin.
Ah! that thou couldst know thy joy,
Ere it passes, barefoot boy!
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
Gallop, gallop! far away.
Pony and I are going today.
Please get out of our way,
Don't ask us to stay;
We'll both come back
Some sunshiny day.
If you were a Russian child you would not watch to see Santa
Klaus come down the chimney; but you would stand by the windows
to catch a peep at poor Babouscka as she hurries by.
Who is Babouscka? Is she Santa Klaus' wife?
No, indeed. She is only a poor little crooked wrinkled old
woman, who comes at Christmas time into everybody's house, who
peeps into every cradle, turns back every coverlid, drops a tear
on the baby's white pillow, and goes away very, very sorrowful.
And not only at Christmas time, but through all the cold winter,
and especially in March, when the wind blows loud, and whistles
and howls and dies away like a sigh, the Russian children hear
the rustling step of the Babouscka. She is always in a hurry.
One hears her running fast along the crowded streets and over the
quiet country fields. She seems to be out of breath and tired,
yet she hurries on.
Whom is she trying to overtake?
She scarcely looks at the little children as they press their
rosy faces against the window pane and whisper to each other, "Is
the Babouscka looking for us?"
No, she will not stop; only on Christmas eve will she come
up-stairs into the nursery and give each little one a present.
You must not think she leaves handsome gifts such as Santa Klaus
brings for you. She does not bring bicycles to the boys or
French dolls to the girls. She does not come in a gay little
sleigh drawn by reindeer, but hobbling along on foot, and she
leans on a crutch. She has her old apron filled with candy and
cheap toys, and the children all love her dearly. They watch to
see her come, and when one hears a rustling, he cries, "Lo! the
Babouscka!" then all others look, but one must turn one's head
very quickly or she vanishes. I never saw her myself.
Best of all, she loves little babies, and often, when the tired
mothers sleep, she bends over their cradles, puts her brown,
wrinkled face close down to the pillow and looks very sharply.
What is she looking for?
Ah, that you can't guess unless you know her sad story.
Long, long ago, a great many yesterdays ago, the Babouscka, who
was even then an old woman, was busy sweeping her little hut.
She lived in the coldest corner of cold Russia, and she lived
alone in a lonely place where four wide roads met. These roads
were at this time white with snow, for it was winter time. In
the summer, when the fields were full of flowers and the air full
of sunshine and singing birds, Babouscka's home did not seem so
very quiet; but in the winter, with only the snowflakes and the
shy snow-birds and the loud wind for company, the little old
woman felt very cheerless. But she was a busy old woman, and as
it was already twilight, and her home but half swept, she felt in
a great hurry to finish her work before bedtime. You must know
the Babouscka was poor and could not afford to do her work by
Presently, down the widest and the lonesomest of the white roads,
there appeared a long train of people coming. They were walking
slowly, and seemed to be asking each other questions as to which
way they should take. As the procession came nearer, and finally
stopped outside the little hut, Babouscka was frightened at the
splendor. There were Three Kings, with crowns on their heads,
and the jewels on the Kings' breastplates sparkled like sunlight.
Their heavy fur cloaks were white with the falling snow-flakes,
and the queer humpy camels on which they rode looked white as
milk in the snow-storm. The harness on the camels was decorated
with gold, and plates of silver adorned the saddles. The
saddle-cloths were of the richest Eastern stuffs, and all the
servants had the dark eyes and hair of an Eastern people.
The slaves carried heavy loads on their backs, and each of the
Three Kings carried a present. One carried a beautiful
transparent jar, and in the fading light Babouscka could see in
it a golden liquid which she knew from its color must be myrrh.
Another had in his hand a richly woven bag, and it seemed to be
heavy, as indeed it was, for it was full of gold. The third had
a stone vase in his hand, and from the rich perfume which filled
the snowy air, one could guess the vase to have been filled with
Babouscka was terribly frightened, so she hid herself in her hut,
and let the servants knock a long time at her door before she
dared open it and answer their questions as to the road they
should take to a far-away town. You know she had never studied a
geography lesson in her life, was old and stupid and scared. She
knew the way across the fields to the nearest village, but she
know nothing else of all the wide world full of cities. The
servants scolded, but the Three Kings spoke kindly to her, and
asked her to accompany them on their journey that she might show
them the way as far as she knew it. They told her, in words so
simple that she could not fail to understand, that they had seen
a Star in the sky and were following it to a little town where a
young Child lay. The snow was in the sky now, and the Star was
lost out of sight.
"Who is the Child?" asked the old woman.
"He is a King, and we go to worship him," they answered. "These
presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh are for Him. When we
find Him we will take the crowns off our heads and lay them at
His feet. Come with us, Babouscka!"
What do you suppose? Shouldn't you have thought the poor little
woman would have been glad to leave her desolate home on the
plains to accompany these Kings on their journey?
But the foolish woman shook her head. No, the night was dark and
cheerless, and her little home was warm and cosy. She looked up
into the sky, and the Star was nowhere to be seen. Besides, she
wanted to put her hut in order--perhaps she would be ready to go
to-morrow. But the Three Kings could not wait; so when
to-morrow's sun rose they were far ahead on their journey. It
seemed like a dream to poor Babouscka, for even the tracks of the
camels' feet were covered by the deep white snow. Everything was
the same as usual; and to make sure that the night's visitors had
not been a fancy, she found her old broom hanging on a peg behind
the door, where she had put it when the servants knocked.
Now that the sun was shining, and she remembered the glitter of
the gold and the smell of the sweet gums and myrrh, she wished
she had gone with the travelers.
And she thought a great deal about the dear Baby the Three Kings
had gone to worship. She had no children of her own-- nobody
loved her--ah, if she had only gone! The more she brooded on the
thought, the more miserable she grew, till the very sight of her
home became hateful to her.
It is a dreadful feeling to realize that one has lost a chance of
happiness. There is a feeling called remorse that can gnaw like
a sharp little tooth. Babouscka felt this little tooth cut into
her heart every time she remembered the visit of the Three Kings.
After a while the thought of the Little Child became her first
thought at waking and her last at night. One day she shut the
door of her house forever, and set out on a long journey. She
had no hope of overtaking the Three Kings, but she longed to find
the Child, that she too might love and worship Him. She asked
every one she met, and some people thought her crazy, but others
gave her kind answers. Have you perhaps guessed that the young
Child whom the Three Kings sought was our Lord himself?
People told Babouscka how He was born in a manger, and many other
things which you children have learned long ago. These answers
puzzled the old dame mightily. She had but one idea in her
ignorant head. The Three Kings had gone to seek a Baby. She
would, if not too late, seek Him too.
She forgot, I am sure, how many long years had gone by. She
looked in vain for the Christ-child in His manger-cradle. She
spent all her little savings in toys and candy so as to make
friends with little children, that they might not run away when
she came hobbling into their nurseries.
Now you know for whom she is sadly seeking when she pushes back
the bed-curtains and bends down over each baby's pillow.
Sometimes, when the old grandmother sits nodding by the fire, and
the bigger children sleep in their beds, old Babouscka comes
hobbling into the room, and whispers softly, "Is the young Child
Ah, no; she has come too late, too late. But the little children
know her and love her. Two thousand years ago she lost the
chance of finding Him. Crooked, wrinkled, old, sick and sorry,
she yet lives on, looking into each baby's face--always
disappointed, always seeking. Will she find Him at last?
Come, Bossy, come Bossy! Here I am with my cup,
Come give me some milk, rich and sweet.
I will pay you well with red clover hay,
The nicest you ever did eat.
Low in the grass and high in the clover,
Starring the green earth over and over,
Now into white waves tossing and breaking,
Like a foaming sea when the wind is waking,
Now standing upright, tall and slender,
Showing their deep hearts' golden splendor;
Garlands of flowers for earth's adorning,
Fresh with the dew of a summer morning;
High on the slope, low in the hollow,
Where eye can reach or foot can follow,
Shining with innocent fearless faces
Out of the depths of lonely places,
Till the glad heart sings their praises
--Here are the daisies!
See them ebbing and flowing,
Like tides with the full moon going;
Spreading their generous largess free
For hand to touch and for eye to see;
In dust of the wayside growing,
On rock-ribbed upland blowing,
By meadow brooklets glancing,
On barren fields a-dancing,
Till the world forgets to burrow and grope,
And rises aloft on the wings of hope;
--Oh! of all posies,
Lilies or roses,
Sweetest or fairest,
Richest or rarest,
That earth in its joy to heaven upraises,
Give me the daisies!
Why? For they glow with the spirit of youth,
Their beautiful eyes have the glory of truth,
Down before all their rich bounty they fling
--Free to the beggar, and free to the king
Loving they stoop to the lowliest ways,
Joyous they brighten the dreariest days;
Under the fringe of their raiment they hide
Scars the gray winter hath opened so wide;
Freely and brightly--
Who can count lightly
Gifts with such generous ardor proffered,
Tokens of love from such full heart's offered,
Or look without glances of joy and delight
At pastures star-covered from morning till night,
When the sunshiny field ablaze is
Your praise is,
That you are like maidens, as maidens should be,
Winsome with freshness, and wholesome to see,
Gifted with beauty, and joy to the eye,
Head lifted daintily--yet not too high--
Sweet with humility, radiant with love,
Generous too as the sunshine above,
Swaying with sympathy, tenderly bent
On hiding the scar and on healing the rent,
Innocent-looking the world in the face,
Yet fearless with nature's own innocent grace,
Full of sweet goodness, yet simple in art,
White in the soul, and pure gold in the heart
--Ah, like unto you should all maidenhood be
Gladsome to know, and most gracious to see;
Like you, my daisies!
M. E. B
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Baked into a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing.
Wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the King?
The King was in the parlor
Counting out his money;
The Queen was in the kitchen
Eating bread and honey;
The maid was in the garden
Hanging up the clothes,
There came a little blackbird
And picked off her nose.
DRIVING HOME THE COWS.
Out of the clover and blue-eyed grass,
He turned them into the river lane;
One after another he let them pass,
Then fastened the meadow bars again.
Along by the willows and over the hill
He patiently followed their sober pace--
The merry whistle for once was still
And something shadowed the sunny face.
Only a boy, and his father had said
He never could let his youngest go,
Two already were lying dead
Under the feet of the trampling foe.
But, after the evening work was done,
And the frogs were loud in the meadow swamp,
Over his shoulder he slung his gun
And stealthily followed the footpath damp.
Across the clover and through the wheat,
With resolute heart and purpose grim,
Though cold was the dew on his hurrying feet,
And the blind bat's flitting startled him.
Thrice since then have the lanes been white
And the orchards sweet with apple bloom,
And now when the cows came back at night
The feeble father drove them home;
For news had come to the lonely farm
That three were lying where two had lain,
And the old man's tremulous, palsied arm
Could never lean on a son's again.
The summer day grew cool and late,
He went for the cows when his work was done,
But down the lane, as he opened the gate,
He saw them coming, one by one.
Brindle and Ebony, Speckle and Bess,
Tossing their horns in the evening wind,
Cropping the buttercups out of the grass,
But who was it following close behind?
Loosely swung in the idle air
The empty sleeve of army blue,
And worn and pale through its crisped hair
Looked out a face that the father knew.
For Southern prisons will sometimes yawn
And yield their dead to life again,
And the day that comes with a cloudy dawn
In golden glory at last may wane.
The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes,
For the hearts must speak when the lips are dumb,
And under the silent evening skies
Together they followed the cattle home.
KATE PUTNAM OSGOOD.
To and fro,
See us go!
Up so high,
Down so low;
Now quite fast,
Now real slow.
This is the way,
THE BABY'S KISS.
AN INCIDENT OF THE CIVIL WAR.
Rough and ready the troopers ride,
Pistol in holster and sword by side;
They have ridden long, they have ridden hard,
They are travel-stained and battle-scarred;
The hard ground shakes with their martial tramp,
And coarse is the laugh of the men of the camp.
They reach the spot where a mother stands
With a baby shaking its little hands,
Laughing aloud at the gallant sight
Of the mounted soldiers, fresh from the fight.
The captain laughs out, "I will give you this,
A bright piece of gold, your baby to kiss."
"My darling's kisses cannot be sold,
But gladly he'll kiss a soldier bold."
He lifts up the babe with a manly grace,
And covers with kisses its smiling face.
Its rosy cheeks and its dimpled charms,
And it crows with delight in the soldier's arms.
"Not all for the captain," the troopers call;
"The baby, we know, has a kiss for all."
To each soldier's breast the baby is pressed
By the strong rough men, and kissed and caressed.
And louder it laughs, and the lady's face
Wears a mother's smile at the fond embrace.
"Just such a kiss," cried one warrior grim,
"When I left my boy I gave to him;"
"And just such a kiss on the parting day,
I gave to my girl as asleep she lay."
Such were the words of these soldiers brave,
And their eyes were moist when the kiss they gave.
"Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?"
"Yes sir, yes sir three bags full;
One for my master and one for my dame,
And one for the little boy who lives in the lane.
Tommy Bangs looks quite smart,
Driving along in his new goat cart,
But Tommy's not one of your selfish boys,
With every baby he shares his joys,
Takes them to ride and lets them drive,
Of course, they like Tommy
The best boy alive.
THE LOST DIAMOND SNUFF BOX.
The grand old kingdom of England, in the course of the mossy
centuries you can count over its head, has had its times of gloom
and depression at dangers that looked near, and its times of
shouting and rejoicing over dangers its brave men have driven
away quite out of sight again.
One of the deepest seasons of gloom was when the French Emperor,
Napoleon, had conquered one country after another, until there
was scarcely anything but England left to attack; and one of the
proudest times of rejoicing was when the "Iron Duke" Wellington,
and the bluff old Prussian, Blucher, met him at Waterloo,
defeated his armies and drove him from the field. There were
bonfires, and bell-ringings then, and from that day onward
England loved and cherished every man who had fought at
Waterloo--from the "Duke" himself down to the plainest private,
every one was a hero and a veteran.
In one of the humblest houses of a proud nobleman's estate, a
low, whitewashed cottage, one of these veterans lived not so very
many years ago. He had fought by his flag in one of the most
gallant regiments until the last hour of the battle, and then had
fallen disabled from active service for the rest of his life.
That did not seem to be of so very great consequence though, just
now; for peace reigned in the land, and with his wife and two
beautiful daughters to love, his battles to think over, and his
pension to provide the bread and coffee, the old soldier was as
happy as the day was long. It made no difference that the bread
and the coffee were both black, and the clothes of the veteran
were coarse and seldom new.
"Ho, Peggy!" he used to say to his wife, "my cloak is as fine as
the one the 'Iron Duke' wore when they carried me past him just
as the French were breaking; and as for the bread, only a veteran
knows how the recollection of victory makes everything taste
But it seemed as if the old soldier's life was going to prove
like his share in that great day at Waterloo--success and victory
till the end had nearly come, and then one shot after another
striking him with troubles, he could never get over.
The first came in the midst of the beautiful summer days, when
the bees droned through the delicious air, the rose-bush was in
full bloom, and the old soldier sat in the cottage door reveling
in it all. A slow, merciless fever rose up through the soft
air--it did not venture near the high ground where the castle
stood, but it crept noiselessly into the whitewashed cottage, one
night, and the soldier's two daughters were stricken down. This
was the beginning of terrible trouble to the veteran of Waterloo.
Not that he minded watching, for he was used to standing sentry
all night, and as for nursing, he had seen plenty in the
hospital; but to see his daughters suffering--that was what he
could not bear!
And worst of all, between medicines and necessaries for the sick,
the three months' pension was quite used up, and when the old
soldier's nursing had pulled through the fierceness of the fever,
there was nothing but black bread left in the house--and black
bread was almost the same as no bread at all to the dainty
appetities the fever had left; and that was what he had to think
of, and think of, as he sat in the cottage door.
"Bah!" said the old soldier, with something more like a groan
than was ever heard from him while his wounds were being dressed,
"I could face all the armies of Napoleon better than this!"
And he sat more and more in the cottage door, as if that could
leave the trouble behind; but it stood staring before him, all
the same, till it almost shut the rosebush and the bees out of
sight. But one morning a tremendous surprise came to him like a
flash out of the sky! He heard the sound of galloping troops,
and he pricked up his ears, for that always made him think of a
"Who goes there?" he cried; but without answering his challenge
the sound came nearer and nearer, and a lackey in full livery
dashed up to the door, and presented him with a note sealed with
the blood-red seal of the castle arms. It was an invitation to
dine at the castle with a company of noblemen and officers of the
army. His lordship, who had also fought at Waterloo, had just
learned that a comrade was living on his estate, and made haste
to do him honor, and secure a famous guest for his dinner party.
The old soldier rose up proudly, and gave the lackey a military
"Tell his lordship," he said, "that I shall report myself at
headquarters, and present my thanks for the honor he has done
The lackey galloped off, and the veteran pushed his chair over
with his wooden leg, and clattered across the cottage floor.
"Ho, Peggy!" he cried, "did I not say that luck comes and trouble
flies if you only face the enemy long enough? This is the
beginning of good things, I tell you! A hero of Waterloo, and
fit to dine with lords and generals, will certainly have other
good fortune coming to him, till he can keep his wife and
daughters like princesses. Just wait a bit and you shall see!"
and he turned hastily away, for his heart came up in his throat
so that he could not speak.
All the rest of that day he sat in the door, brushing and darning
and polishing his stained uniform. It had lain abandoned on the
shelf for many a year, but before night every button was shining
like gold, the scarlet cloth was almost fresh once more, and the
old soldier, wrapped in his faithful cloak, was making his way
joyfully across the heathery moors to the castle quite at the
But when he had fairly reached it, and the servant had shown him
into the drawing-room, his heart almost failed him for a moment.
Such splendor he had never seen before--a thousandth part would
have bought health and happiness for the dear ones he had left
with only his brave goodbye and a fresh rose-bud to comfort them!
However, what with the beautiful ladies of the castle gathering
round him to ask questions about the battle, and with a seat near
his lordship's right hand at dinner, he soon plucked up again,
and began to realize how delightful everything was. But that was
the very thing that almost spoiled the whole again, for when he
saw his plate covered with luxuries and delicacies more than he
could possibly eat, the thought of the black bread he had left at
the cottage brought the tears rushing to his eyes.
But, "Tut!" he said to himself in great dismay, "what an
ungrateful poltroon his lordship will think he has brought here!"
and he managed to brush them off while no one was looking.
It was delicious, though, in spite of everything, and after a
while the wine began to flow--that warmed his very heart-- and
then he heard his lordship calling to a servant to bring him
something from his private desk, saying:
"Gentlemen, I am about to show you the proudest treasure I
possess. This diamond snuff-box was presented to me by the stout
old Blucher himself, in remembrance of service I was able to
perform at Waterloo. Not that I was a whit worthier of it than
the brave fellows under my command--understand that!"
How the diamonds glistened and gleamed as the box was passed from
hand to hand! As if the thickest cluster of stars you ever saw,
could shine out in the midst of a yellow sunset sky, and the
colors of the rainbow could twinkle through them at the same
time! It was superb, but then that was nothing compared to the
glory of receiving it from Blucher!
Then there was more wine and story-telling, and at last some
asked to look at the snuff-box again.
"Has any one the snuff-box at present?" asked his lordship,
rather anxiously, for as he turned to reach it no snuff-box was
to be seen.
No one said "yes," for everyone was sure he had passed it to his
neighbor, and they searched up and down the table with
consternation in their faces, for the snuff-box could not have
disappeared without hands, but to say so was to touch the honor
of gentlemen and soldiers.
At last one of the most famous officers rose from his seat:
"My lord, he said, "a very unlucky accident must have occurred
here. Some one of us must have slipped the box into his pocket
unconsciously, mistaking it for his own. I will take the lead in
searching mine, if the rest of the company will follow!"
"Agreed!" said the rest, and each guest in turn went to the
bottom of one pocket after another, but still no snuff-box, and
the distress of the company increased. The old soldier's turn
came last, and with it came the surprise. With burning cheeks
and arms folded closely across his breast he stood up and
confronted the company like a stag at bay.
"No!" he exclaimed, "no one shall search my pockets! Would you
doubt the honor of a soldier?"
"But we have all done so," said the rest, "and every one knows it
is the merest accident at the most." But the old soldier only
held his arms the tighter, while the color grew deeper in his
face. In his perplexity his lordship thought of another
"We will try another way, gentlemen," he said, "I will order a
basket of bran to be brought, and propose that each one in turn
shall thrust his hand into the bran. No one shall look on, and
if we find the box at last, no one can guess whose hand placed it
It was quickly done, and hand after hand was thrust in, until at
last came the old soldier's turn once more. But he was nowhere
to be seen.
Then, at last the indignation of the company broke forth.
"A soldier, and a hero of Waterloo, and willing to be a thief!"
and with their distress about the affair, and his lordship's
grief at his loss, the evening was entirely spoiled.
Meantime the old soldier, with his faithful cloak wrapped closely
round him once more, was fighting his way through the sharp winds
and over the moors again. But a battle against something a
thousand times sharper and colder was going on in his breast.
"A thief!" he was saying over and over to himself, "me, who
fought close to the side of the 'Iron Duke'! And yet, can I look
one of them in the face and tell him he lies?"
The walk that had been gone over so merrily was a terrible one to
retrace, and when the cottage was reached, instead of the pride
and good luck the poor invalids had been watching for, a gloom
deadlier than the fever followed him in. He sat in the doorway
as he used, but sometimes he hung his head on his breast, and
sometimes started up and walked proudly about, crying--
"Peggy! I say no one shall call me a thief! I am a soldier of
the Iron Duke!"
But they did call him a thief, though, for a very strange thing,
after his lordship had sorrowfully ordered the cottage and little
garden spot to be searched no box was found, and the gloom and
the mystery grew deeper together.
Good nursing could not balance against trouble like this; the
beautiful daughters faded and died, the house was too gloomy to
stay inside, and if he escaped to the door, he had to hear the
"There sits the soldier who stole the Blucher diamonds from his
And as if this was not enough, one day the sound of hoofs was
heard again, and a rider in uniform clattered up to the door
"Comrade, I am sent to tell you that your pension is stopped!
His Majesty cannot count a thief any longer a soldier of his!"
After this the old soldier hardly held up his head at all, and
his hair, that had kept black as a coal all these years, turned
white as the moors when the winter snows lay on them.
"Though that is all the same, Peggy," he used to say, "for it is
winter all the year round with me! If I could only die as the
old year does! That would be the thing!"
But long and merciless as the winter is, spring does come at
last, if we can but live and fight our way through the storms and
One night a cry of fire roused all the country-side. All but the
old soldier. He heard them say the castle was burning, but what
was that to him? Nothing could burn away the remembrance that he
had once been called a thief within its walls! But the next
morning he heard a step--not a horse's hoof this time, but a
strong man walking hastily towards him.
"Where is the veteran of Waterloo?" asked his lordship's voice,
and when the old soldier stepped forward, he threw his arms about
his neck with tears and sobs.
"Comrade," he said, "come up to the castle! The snuff-box is
found, and I want you to stand in the very room where it was lost
while I tell everyone what a great and sorrowful wrong a brave
and honest soldier has suffered at my hands!"
It did not take many words to explain. In the first alarm of
fire the butler had rushed to the plate-closet to save the
"Those goblets from the high shelf! Quick!" he said, to the
footman who was helping him, and with the haste about the goblets
something else came tumbling down.
"The lost diamond snuff-box!" cried the butler. "That stupid
fellow I dismissed the day it disappeared, must have put it there
and forgotten all about it!"
The fire was soon extinguished, but not a wink of sleep could his
lordship get until he could make reparation for the pitiful
mistake about the box; and once more the old soldier made his way
across the moors, even the wooden leg stepping proudly as he went
along, though now and then, as the old feeling came over him, his
white head would droop for a moment again.
The servants stood aside respectfully as he entered the castle,
and they and the other guests of that unlucky day gathered round
him while his lordship told them how the box had been found and
how he could not rest until forgiven by the brave hero he had so
unjustly suspected of wrong.
"And now," said the company, "will you not tell us one thing
more? Why did you refuse to empty your pockets, as all the rest
were willing to do?"
"Because," said the old soldier sorrowfully, "because I WAS a
thief, and I could not bear that anyone should discover it! All
whom I loved best in the world were lying sick at home, starving
for want of the delicacies I could not provide, and I felt as if
my heart would break to see my plate heaped with luxuries while
they had not so much as a taste! I thought a mouthful of what I
did not need might save them, and when no one was looking I
slipped some choice bits from my plate between two pieces of
bread and made way with them into my pocket. I could not let
them be discovered for a soldier is too proud to beg, but oh, my
lord, he can bear being called a thief all his life better than
he can dine sumptuously while there is only black bread at home
for the sick and weak whom he loves!"
Tears came streaming from the old soldier's listeners by this
time, and each vied with the other in heaping honors and gifts in
place of the disgrace suffered so long; but all that was
powerless to make up for the past.
Two good lessons may be learned from the story: Never believe any
one guilty who is not really proved to be so. Never let false
shame keep you from confessing the truth, whether trifling or of
What are the children doing today,
Down on the nursery floor,
That baby laughter and crows of delight
Float through the open door?
Watching Don's top
Making that queer little
This big Reindeer must have run away
From Santa Claus and his Christmas sleigh.
Do you think if I should take him back
A present I would get out of Santa's pack?
THE AMERICAN FLAG.
When freedom from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there.
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white
With streakings of the morning light;
Then from his mansion in the sun,
She called her eagle bearer down,
And gave into his mighty hand
The symbol of her chosen land.
Majestic monarch of the cloud,
Who rears't aloft thy regal form,
To hear the tempest-trumpings loud,
And see the lightning-lances driven,
When strive the warriors of the storm,
And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven--
Child of the sun! to thee is given
To guard the banner of the free,
To hover in the sulphur smoke,
To ward away the battle stroke,
And bid its blendings shine afar,
Like rainbows on the cloud of war,
The harbingers of victory!
Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly,
The sign of hope and triumph high,
When speaks the signal trumpet tone,
And the long line comes gleaming on.
Ere yet the life-blood warm and wet
Has dimmed the glistening bayonet,
Each soldier's eyes shall brightly turn
To where thy sky-born glories burn;
And, as his springing steps advance,
Catch war and vengeance from the glance.
And when the cannon's mouthings loud
Heave in wild wreaths the battle shroud,
And gory sabers rise and fall
Like darts of flame on midnight's pall,
Then shall thy meteor glances glow,
And cowering foes shall sink beneath
Each gallant arm that strikes below
That lovely messenger of death.
Flag of the seas! On ocean wave
Thy stars shall glitter o'er the brave;
When death, careering on the gale,
Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,
And frightened waves rush wildly back
Before the broadside's reeling rack
Each dying wanderer of the sea
Shall look at once to heaven and thee,
And smile to see thy splendors fly
In triumph o'er his closing eye.
Flag of the free heart's hope and home,
By angel hands to valor given;
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven.
Forever float that standard sheet!
Where breathes the foe but falls before us,
With freedom's soil beneath our feet,
And freedom's banner streaming o'er us?
JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE.
We will swing the rope for Baby dear,
So jump, jump, jump!
That you will trip her up I fear,
But jump, jump, jump!
Swing it easy and low,
Steady and slow,
Or down the dear tot will go.
A crafty Fox crept forth one day
And over the hills he scampered away
In search of a fine, fat hen;
But old dog Sport was keeping guard,
When Fox leaped into our chicken yard,
And chased him back to his den.
AUNT POLLY SHEDD'S BRIGADE.
"Something about the Battle of Hampden?" Grandma took off her
spectacles and wiped them reflectively "It seems to me already I
have told you everything worth telling; but there!" in a sudden
burst of recollection, "did I ever tell you about Aunt Polly
Shedd's Brigade? That was quite an affair to those of us that
belonged to it!"
"Oh, no! do tell us about it!" called out the three childish
voices in chorus; and Grandma only waited to knit by the seam
"I've told you all about it so many times that I don't need to
describe again that dreadful morning when the British man-of-war
came up the river and, dropping her anchor just opposite our
little village of Hampden, sent troops ashore to take possession
of the place in the King's name. So what I am going to tell you
now is how, and where, we youngsters spent the three days that
the British occupied our houses. I was about twelve years old at
the time. I remember that it was just as we were getting up from
the breakfast-table that one of our neighbors, Sol Grant, old
General Grant's youngest son, rushed in without knocking, his
face as white as a sheet, and his cap on hind-side before, and
called out hurriedly:
" 'Mr. Swett, if you love your family, for God's sake find a
place of safety for 'em! The British are coming ashore--three
boat-loads of 'em, armed to the teeth--and they won't spare man,
woman nor child!
"Mother's face grew very pale, but she stepped quietly around,
with her baby on her arm, close to where father was standing, and
laid one hand on his arm, while she said, in a firm, clear voice:
"'MY place is with you, Benjamin, but we must think of some place
of safety for the children. Where can they go?'
"Sol was just rushing out of the door as unceremoniously as he
had rushed in, but he stopped when he heard her ask that, long
enough to say:
" 'I forgot to tell you that Aunt Polly Shedd will take all the
children put in her charge out to Old Gubtil's; that's so out of
the way they won't be disturbed, 'specially as the old man's a
"Mother kissed us all round, with a smile on her face that
couldn't quite hide the tears with which her dear eyes were
filled, and as she hastily bundled us in whatever garment came to
hand, she bade us be good children, and make Aunt Polly and the
Gubtils as little trouble as possible. Then we followed father
out-of-doors and into the school-house yard where a score or more
of children were already gathered--still as mice for intense
terror. Aunt Polly, in her big green calash, and a pillow-case
of valuables under one arm, was bustling to and fro, speaking an
encouraging or admonitory word, as the case might be, and wearing
upon her pinched, freckled little face such a reassuring smile
that I soon felt my own courage rise and, dashing back the tears
that had filled my eyes a moment before, I busied myself in
pinning little Sally's blanket more closely about her neck and
setting the faded sunbonnet upon the tangled curls that had not
yet had their customary morning's dressing.
" 'Come, children,' called out Aunt Polly cheerily, 'you're all
here now, and we'll start right off. I'll go ahead, an' all you
little ones had best keep close to me; the bigger ones can come
"Obedient to her order we started, following her steps across the
road by the beeches, and up by the grocery store where a crowd of
excited men were congregated, talking loudly with wild
gesticulations, while farther down, toward the shore, we could
catch glimpses, through the thick morning fog, of the blue
uniforms of our militia company that had been summoned in hot
haste to defend the town. As we filed past, I remember I heard
one of the men on the grocery steps speak:
" 'I tell you they won't leave one stone on another if they get
possession of the town, and they'll impress all the able-bodied
men and all the big boys into the King's service besides.'
"A cold shiver ran over me and I caught so hard at little Sally's
hand that the child cried out with pain, and Aunt Polly said
" 'Hurry up, dears! 'Tain't much more'n a mile out to Gubtil's,
and you'll have a good nice chance to rest after we get there.'
"Just then the martial music of a fife and drum announced the
landing of the enemy's troops, and I tell you it quickened the
lagging footsteps of even the youngest child into a run, and we
just flew, helter-skelter, over the rough, little-used road that
led to the Gubtil farm. Aunt Polly's gentle tones were unheeded.
All she could do was to carry the weakest in her arms over all
the worst places, with a word of cheer, now and then, to some
child who was not too much frightened to heed it.
"What a haven of safety the low, unpainted old farm-house looked
to us, as we rushed, pell-mell, into the dooryard, never
noticing, in our own relief, the ungracious scowl with which the
master and mistress of the house regarded our advent.
"Aunt Polly soon explained matters, taking care to assure the
inhospitable pair that our parents would amply recompense them
for the trouble and expense we must, of course, be to them.
"The farmer held a whispered consultation with his wife, and I
remember well his harsh, loud tones as he came back to Aunt
" 'They'll HAVE to stay, I s'pose; there don't seem no help for
it now. There's pertaters in the cellar, an' they can roast an'
eat what they want. I'll give 'em salt an' what milk an' brown
bread they want, an' that's what they'll have to live on for the
present. As for housin' 'em, the boys can sleep on the hay in
the barn, an' the girls can camp down on rugs an' comforters on
the kitchen floor. that's the best I can do, an' if they ain't
satisfied they can go furder.'
"I remember just how he looked down at the troubled, childish
faces upturned to his own, as if half hoping we might conclude to
wander yet farther away from our imperilled homes; but Aunt Polly
hastened to answer:
" 'Oh, we'll get along nicely with milk for the little ones, and
potatoes and salt for the big boys and girls, and we won't
trouble you any more nor any longer than we can help, Mr.
"She stood upon the door-stone beside him as she spoke, a little,
bent, slightly deformed figure, with a face shrivelled and faded
like a winter-russet apple in spring-time, and a dress patched
and darned till one scarcely could tell what the original was
like, in a striking contrast to the tall, broad-shouldered, hale
old man, whose iron frame had defied the storms of more than
seventy winters; but I remember how he seemed to me a mere pigmy
by the side of the generous, large-hearted woman whose tones and
gestures had a protectiveness, a strength born of love and pity,
that reassured us trembling little fugitives in spite of our
ungracious reception. We felt that Aunt Polly would take care of
us, let what would come.
"The hours dragged slowly away. Aunt Polly told us that the
distant firing meant that our men had not retreated without an
effort to defend the village. When this firing ceased, we began
to watch and hope that some message would come from our fathers
and mothers. But none came. We wondered among our little selves
if they all had been put to death by the British, and even the
oldest among us shed some dreary tears.
"Dan Parsons, who was the biggest boy among us and of an
adventurous turn, went in the gathering twilight gloom down as
near the village as he dared. He came shivering back to us with
such tales of vague horror that our very hearts stopped beating
while we listened.
" 'I crep' along under the shadder of the alders and black-berry
bushes,' he began, ' 'til I got close ter De'con Milleses house.
'Twas as still as death 'round there, but jest as I turned the
corner by the barn I see somethin' gray a-flappin' and
a-flutterin' jest inside the barn door. I stopped, kind o'
wonderin' what it could be, when all at once I thought I should
'a' dropped, for it came over me like a flash that it might be'--
" 'What, what, Dan?' cried a score of frightened voices; and Dan
" 'THE OLD DEACON'S SKULP!'
" 'Oh dear! oh dear!' sobbed the terrified chorus.
"Aunt Polly could do nothing with us; and little Dolly Miles, the
deacon's granddaughter, burst into a series of wild lamentations
that called Farmer Gubtil to the door to know the cause of the
" 'What's all this hullabaloo about?' he asked crossly; and when
he had heard the story he seized Dan and shook him till his teeth
" 'What do you mean by tellin' such stuff an' scarin' these young
ones ter death?' he demanded.
"Dan wriggled himself from his grasp and looked sulkily defiant:
" 'I didn't say 'TWAS that,' he muttered. 'I said it MIGHT be,
an' p'r'aps 'twas; or it might 'a' been the deacon's old mare
switchin' 'er tail ter keep off the flies. I'm sure _I_ don't
know which 'twas. But girls are always a-squealin' at nothin'.'
"And with this parting fling at us tearful ones, Dan turned in
the direction of the barn; but I was too anxious to hear from
father and mother to let him go without a word more. 'Dan,' I
whispered with my hand on his arm, 'did you see or hear anything
of OUR folks?'
" 'No!' was the rather grump reply; 'after what I saw at the
deacon's I didn't want ter ventur' furder, but from there I could
see 'em lightin' fires in the village, an' I don't doubt by this
time that most o' the houses is in flames.'
"With this comforting assurance Dan went off to his bed upon the
haymow, and I crept back into the house and laid my tired head
down upon Aunt Polly's motherly lap, where, between my sobs, I
managed to tell what Dan had told me.
Aunt Polly laid a caressing hand upon my hair: 'La, child,' said
she soothingly, 'don't you worry yourself a bit over Dan Parson's
stories. That boy was BORN to tell stories. The Britishers are
bad enough, but they ain't heathen savages, an' if the town has
surrendered, as I calc'late it has, the settlers will be treated
like prisoners o' war. There won't be no sculpin' nor burnin' o'
houses--no, dear. And now,' giving me a little reassuring pat,
'you're all tired out, an' ought ter be asleep. I'll make up a
bed on this rug with a cushion under your head, an' my big plaid
shawl over you, an' you'll sleep jest as sound as if you was ter
home in your own trundle-bed.'
"Little Sally shared my rug and shawl, and Aunt Polly, gently
refusing the ungracious civility of the old couple, who had
offered her the use of their spare bedroom, after seeing every
little, tired form made as comfortable as possible with quilts
and blankets from the farmwife's stores, laid herself down upon
the floor beside us, after commending herself and us to the God
she loved and trusted, raised her head and spoke to us once more
in her sweet, hopeful, quavering old tones:
" 'Good night, dears! Go to sleep and don't be a bit afraid. I
shouldn't wonder if your folks come for you in the mornin'.'
"What comfort there was in her words! And even the very little
ones, who had never been away from their mothers a night before
in their lives, stopped their low sobbing and nestled down to
sleep, sure that God and Aunt Polly would let no harm come to
"The next day passed slowly and anxiously for us all. From a
stray traveller Aunt Polly learned that the village was still in
the hands of the British and--what was no little comfort to us
--that no violence had been done to the place or its inhabitants.