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Types of Children's Literature by Edited by Walter Barnes

Part 9 out of 11

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no power to disobey me."

"I have not, indeed," answered Ferdinand; and not knowing that
it was by magic that he was deprived of all power of resistance, he
was astonished to find himself so strangely compelled to follow
Prospero: looking back on Miranda as long as he could see her, he said,
as he went after Prospero into the cave, "My spirits are all bound
up, as if I were in a dream; but this man's threats, and the weakness
which I feel, would seem light to me if from my prison I
might once a day behold this fair maid."

Prospero kept Ferdinand not long confined within his cell: he
soon brought out his prisoner, and set him a severe task to perform,
taking care to let his daughter know the hard labor he had imposed
on him, and then pretending to go into his study, he secretly
watched them both.

Prospero had commanded Ferdinand to pile up some heavy logs
of wood. King's sons not being much used to laborious work,
Miranda soon after found her lover almost dying with fatigue.
"Alas!" said she, "do not work so hard; my father is at his
studies, he is safe for these three hours; pray rest yourself."

"O my dear lady!" said Ferdinand, "I dare not. I must finish
my task before I take any rest."

"If you will sit down," said Miranda, "I will carry your logs the
while." But this Ferdinand would by no means agree to. Instead
of a help Miranda became a hindrance, for they began a long
conversation, so that the business of log-carrying went on very

Prospero, who had enjoined Ferdinand this task merely as a trial
of his love, was not at his books, as his daughter supposed, but
was standing by them invisible, to overhear what they said.

Ferdinand inquired her name, which she told, saying it was
against her father's express command she did so.

Prospero only smiled, at this first instance of his daughter's
disobedience, for having by his magic art caused his daughter to
fall in love so suddenly, he was not angry that she showed her
love by forgetting to obey his commands. And he listened well
pleased to a long speech of Ferdinand's, in which he professed
to love her above all the ladies he ever saw.

In answer to his praises of her beauty, which he said exceeded all
the women in the world, she replied, "I do not remember the face
of any woman, nor have I seen any more men than you, my good
friend, and my dear father. How features are abroad, I know not;
but, believe me, sir, I would not wish any companion in the world
but you, nor can my imagination form any shape but yours that I
could like. But, sir, I fear I talk to you too freely, and that
my father's precepts I forget."

At this Prospero smiled, and nodded his head, as much as to
say, "This goes on exactly as I could wish; my girl will be queen
of Naples."

And then Ferdinand, in another fine long speech (for young
princes speak in courtly phrases), told the innocent Miranda he was
heir to the crown of Naples, and that she should be his queen.

"Ah! sir," said she, "I am a fool to weep at what I am glad of.
I will answer you in plain and holy innocence. I am your wife if
you will marry me."

Prospero prevented Ferdinand's thanks by appearing visible before

"Fear nothing, my child," said he, "I have overheard and
approve of all you have said. And, Ferdinand, if I have too severely
used you, I will make you rich amends by giving you my daughter.
All your vexations were but trials of your love, and you have
nobly stood the test. Then as my gift, which your true love has
worthily purchased, take my daughter, and do not smile that I boast
she is above all praise." He then, telling them that he had business
that required his presence, desired that they would sit down and
talk together until he returned; and this command Miranda seemed
not at all disposed to disobey.

When Prospero left them, he called his spirit Ariel, who quickly
appeared before him, eager to relate what he had done with Prospero's
brother and the king of Naples. Ariel said he had left them
almost out of their senses with fear, at the strange things he had
caused them to see and hear. When fatigued with wandering about,
and famished for want of food, he had suddenly set before them
a delicious banquet, and then, just as they were going to eat, he
appeared visible before them in the shape of a harpy, a voracious
monster with wings, and the feast vanished away. Then, to their
utter amazement, this seeming harpy spoke to them, reminding them
of their cruelty in driving Prospero from his dukedom, and leaving
him and his infant daughter to perish in the sea, saying, that
for this cause these terrors were suffered to afflict them.

The king of Naples and Antonio the false brother repented
the injustice they had done to Prospero; and Ariel told his master
that he was certain their penitence was sincere, and that he, though
a spirit, could not but pity them.

"Then bring them hither, Ariel," said Prospero: "if you, who
are but a spirit, feel for their distress, shall not I, who am a
human being like themselves, have compassion on them? Bring them
quickly, my dainty Ariel."

Ariel soon returned with the king, Antonio, and old Gonzalo in
their train, who had followed him, wondering at the wild music
he played in the air to draw them on to his master's presence.
This Gonzalo was the same who had so kindly provided Prospero
formerly with books and provisions, when his wicked brother left
him, as he thought, to perish in an open boat in the sea.

Grief and terror had so stupefied their senses that they did not
know Prospero. He first discovered himself to the good old Gonzalo,
calling him the preserver of his life; and then his brother and
the king knew that he was the injured Prospero.

Antonio, with tears and sad words of sorrow and true repentance,
implored his brother's forgiveness; and the king expressed his
sincere remorse for having assisted Antonio to depose his brother,
and Prospero forgave them; and, upon their engaging to restore his
dukedom, he said to the king of Naples, "I have a gift in store
for you, too;" and opening a door, showed him his son Ferdinand
playing at chess with Miranda.

Nothing could exceed the joy of the father and the son at this
unexpected meeting, for they each thought the other drowned in
the storm.

"O wonder!" said Miranda, "what noble creatures these are!
It must surely be a brave world that has such people in it."

The king of Naples was almost as much astonished at the beauty
and excellent graces of the young Miranda as his son had been.
"Who is this maid?" said he; "she seems the goddess that has
parted us, and brought us thus together." "No, sir," answered
Ferdinand, smiling to find his father had fallen into the same
mistake that he had done when he first saw Miranda, "she is a mortal,
but by immortal Providence she is mine; I chose her when I could
not ask you, my father, for your consent, not thinking you were
alive. She is the daughter to this Prospero, who is the famous duke
of Milan, of whose renown I have heard so much, but never saw him
till now; of him I have received a new life; he has made himself
to me a second father, giving me this dear lady."

"Then I must be her father," said the king; "but oh! how oddly
will it sound, that I must ask my child forgiveness."

"No more of that," said Prospero: "let us not remember our
troubles past, since they so happily have ended." And then Prospero
embraced his brother, and again assured him of his forgiveness;
and said that a wise, overruling Providence had permitted that
he should be driven from his poor dukedom of Milan, that his
daughter might inherit the crown of Naples, for that by their
meeting in this desert island, it had happened that the king's son
had loved Miranda.

These kind words which Prospero spoke, meaning to comfort his
brother, so rilled Antonio with shame and remorse that he wept
and was unable to speak; and the kind old Gonzalo wept to see
this joyful reconciliation, and prayed for blessings on the young

Prospero now told them that their ship was safe in the harbor,
and the sailors all on board her, and that he and his daughter
would accompany them home the next morning. "In the meantime,"
says he, "partake of such refreshments as my poor cave affords;
and for your evening's entertainment I will relate the history
of my life from my first landing in this desert island." He then
called for Caliban to prepare some food, and set the cave in order;
and the company were astonished at the uncouth form and the savage
appearance of this ugly monster, who (Prospero said) was the
only attendant he had to wait upon him.

Before Prospero left the island, he dismissed Ariel from his service,
to the great joy of that lively little spirit, who, though he had
been a faithful servant to his master, was always longing to enjoy
his free liberty, to wander uncontrolled in the air, like a wild bird,
under green trees, among pleasant fruits and sweet-smelling flowers.
"My quaint Ariel," said Prospero to the little sprite when he
made him free, "I shall miss you; yet you shall have your freedom."
"Thank you, my dear master," said Ariel; "but give me leave to attend
your ship home with prosperous gales, before you bid farewell to the
assistance of your faithful spirit; and then, master, when I am free,
how merrily shall I live!" Here Ariel sung this pretty song:

"Where the bee sucks, there sack I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough."

Prospero then buried deep in the earth his magical books and
wand, for he was resolved never more to make use of the magic
art And having thus overcome his enemies, and being reconciled
to his brother and the king of Naples, nothing now remained to
complete his happiness but to revisit his native land, to take possession
of his dukedom, and to witness the happy nuptials of his
daughter Miranda and Prince Ferdinand, which the king said should
be instantly celebrated with great splendor on their return to Naples.
At which place, under the safe convoy of the spirit Ariel, they, after
a pleasant voyage, soon arrived.



Maria Edgeworth

Rosamond, a little girl of about seven years old, was walking with
her mother in the streets of London. As she passed along, she
looked in at the windows of several shops, and she saw a great
variety of different sorts of things, of which she did not know the
use, or even the names. She wished to stop to look at them; but
there was a great number of people in the streets, and a great many
carts and carriages and wheelbarrows, and she was afraid to let go
her mother's hand.

"Oh! mother, how happy I should be," said she, as she passed a
toy-shop, "if I had all these pretty things!"

"What, all! Do you wish for them all, Rosamond?"

"Yes, mamma, all."

As she spoke, they came to a milliner's shop; the windows were
hung with ribbons, and lace, and festoons of artificial flowers.

"Oh! mamma, what beautiful roses! Won't you buy some of

"No, my dear."


"Because I don't want them, my dear."

They went a little farther, and they came to another shop, which
caught Rosamond's eye. It was a jeweler's shop; and there were a
great many pretty baubles, ranged in drawers behind glass.

"Mamma, you'll buy some of these?"

"Which of them, Rosamond?"

"Which? I don't know which; but any of them, for they are all

"Yes, they are all pretty; but of what use would they be to

"Use! Oh, I'm sure you could find some use or other, if you
would only buy them first."

"But I would rather find out the use first."

Rosamond was very sorry that her mother wanted nothing. Presently,
however, they came to a shop, which appeared to her far
more beautiful than the rest. It was a chemist's shop; but she did
not know that.

"Oh, mother! oh!" cried she, pulling her mother's hand.
"Look! look! blue, green, red, yellow, and purple! Oh, mamma,
what beautiful things! Won't you buy some of these?"

Still her mother answered as before, "What use would they be to
me, Rosamond?"

"You might put flowers in them, mamma, and they would look
so pretty on the chimney-piece. I wish I had one of them."

"You have a flower-vase," said her mother; "and that is not for

"But I could use it for a flower-vase, mamma, you know."

"Perhaps if you were to see it nearer, if you were to examine it,
you might be disappointed."

"No, indeed; I'm sure I should not. I should like it exceedingly."

Rosamond kept her head turned to look at the purple vase till she
could see it no longer.

"Then, mother," said she, after a pause, "perhaps you have no

"Yes, I have."

"Dear me! if I had money, I would buy roses, and boxes, and
purple flower-pots, and everything." Rosamond was obliged to
pause in the midst of her speech.

"Oh, mamma, would you stop a minute for me? I have got a
stone in my shoe; it hurts me very much."

"How comes there to be a stone in your shoe?"

"Because of this great hole, mamma--it comes in there: my
shoes are quite worn out; I wish you'd be so very good as to give me
another pair."

"Nay, Rosamond, but I have not money enough to buy shoes,
and flower-pots, and boxes, and everything."

Rosamond thought that was a great pity. But now her foot, which
had been hurt by the stone, began to give her so much pain that she
was obliged to hop every other step, and she could think of nothing
else. They came to a shoemaker's shop soon afterwards.

"There! there! mamma, there are shoes--there are little shoes
that would just fit me; and you know shoes would be really of use
to me."

"Yes, so they would, Rosamond. Come in."

She followed her mother into the shop.

Mr. Sole, the shoemaker, had a great many customers, and his
shop was full, so they were obliged to wait.

"Well, Rosamond," said her mother, "you don't think this shop
so pretty as the rest?"

"No, not nearly; it's black and dark, and there are nothing but
shoes all round; and besides, there's a very disagreeable smell."

"That smell is the smell of new leather."

"Is it? Oh!" said Rosamond, looking round, "there is a pair
of little shoes; they'll just fit me, I'm sure."

"Perhaps they might, but you cannot be sure till you have tried
them on, any more than you can be quite sure that you should like
the purple vase _exceedingly_, till you have examined it more

"Why, I don't know about the shoes, certainly, till I've tried; but,
mamma, I'm quite sure I should like the flower-pot."

"Well, which would you rather have, that jar, or a pair of shoes?
I will buy either for you."

"Dear mamma, thank you--but if you could buy both?"

"No, not both."

"Then the jar, if you please."

"But I should tell you that I shall not give you another pair of
shoes this month."

"This month! that's a very long time indeed. You can't think
how these hurt me. I believe I'd better have the new shoes--but
yet, that purple flower-pot--Oh, indeed, mamma, these shoes are
not so very, very bad; I think I might wear them a little longer;
and the month will soon be over: I can make them last to the end of
the month, can't I? Don't you think so, mamma?"

"Nay, my dear, I want you to think for yourself: you will have
time enough to consider about it whilst I speak to Mr. Sole about my

Mr. Sole was by this time at leisure; and whilst her mother was
speaking to him, Rosamond stood in profound meditation, with one
shoe on, and the other in her hand.

"Well, my dear, have you decided?"

"Mamma!--yes--I believe. If you please--I should like the
flower-pot; that is, if you won't think me very silly, mamma."

"Why, as to that, I can't promise you, Rosamond; but when you
are to judge for yourself, you should choose what will make you the
happiest; and then it would not signify who thought you silly."

"Then, mamma, if that's all, I'm sure the flower-pot would make
me the happiest," said she, putting on her old shoe again; "so I
choose the flower-pot."

"Very well, you shall have it: clasp your shoe and come home."

Rosamond clasped her shoe, and ran after her mother: it was not
long before the shoe came down at the heel, and many times was she
obliged to stop, to take the stones out of her shoe, and often was
she obliged to hop with pain; but still the thoughts of the purple
flower-pot prevailed, and she persisted in her choice.

When they came to the shop with the large window, Rosamond
felt her joy redouble, upon hearing her mother desire the servant,
who was with them, to buy the purple jar, and bring it home. He
had other commissions, so he did not return with them. Rosamond,
as soon as she got in, ran to gather all her own flowers, which she
had in a corner of her mother's garden.

"I'm afraid they'll be dead before the flower-pot comes, Rosamond,"
said her mother to her, when she was coming in with the
flowers in her lap.

"No, indeed, mamma, it will come home very soon, I dare say;
and shan't I be very happy putting them into the purple flower-pot?"

"I hope so, my dear."

The servant was much longer returning home than Rosamond had expected;
but at length he came, and brought with him the long-wished-for jar.
The moment it was set down upon the table, Rosamond ran up with an
exclamation of joy.

"I may have it now, mamma?"

"Yes, my dear, it is yours."

Rosamond poured the flowers from her lap upon the carpet, and
seized the purple flower-pot. "Oh, dear mother!" cried she, as
soon as she had taken off the top, "but there's something dark in it
--it smells very disagreeable: what is in it? I didn't want this
black stuff."

"Nor I neither, my dear."

"But what shall I do with it, mamma?"

"That I cannot tell."

"But it will be of no use to me, mamma."

"That I can't help."

"But I must pour it out, and fill the flower-pot with water."

"That's as you please, my dear."

"Will you lend me a bowl to pour it into, mamma?"

"That was more than I promised you, my dear; but I will lend
you a bowl."

The bowl was produced, and Rosamond proceeded to empty the
purple vase. But what was her surprise and disappointment, when it
was entirely empty, to find that it was no longer a _purple_ vase!
It was a plain white glass jar, which had appeared to have that
beautiful color merely from the liquor with which it had been filled.

Little Rosamond burst into tears.

"Why should you cry, my dear?" said her mother; "it will be
of as much use to you now as ever for a flower-vase."

"But it won't look so pretty on the chimney-piece. I am sure, if I
had known that it was not really purple, I should not have wished
to have it so much."

"But didn't I tell you that you had not examined it, and that
perhaps you would be disappointed?"

"And so I am disappointed indeed. I wish I had believed you
beforehand. Now I had much rather have the shoes, for I shall not
be able to walk all this month: even walking home that little way
hurt me exceedingly. Mamma, I'll give you the flower-pot back
again, and that purple stuff and all, if you'll only give me the

"No, Rosamond, you must abide by your own choice; and now the
best thing you can possibly do is to bear your disappointment with

"I will bear it as well as I can," said Rosamond, wiping her eyes,
and she began slowly and sorrowfully to fill the vase with flowers.

But Rosamond's disappointment did not end here: many were the
difficulties and distresses into which her imprudent choice brought
her before the end of the month. Every day her shoes grew worse
and worse, till at last she could neither run, dance, jump, nor walk
in them. Whenever Rosamond was called to see anything, she was
pulling up her shoes at the heels, and was sure to be too late. Whenever
her mother was going out to walk, she could not take Rosamond
with her, for Rosamond had no soles to her shoes; and at
length, on the very last day of the month, it happened that her father
proposed to take her and her brother to a glass-house which she had
long wished to see. She was very happy; but, when she was quite
ready, had her hat and gloves on, and was making haste downstairs
to her brother and father, who were waiting at the hall door for her,
the shoe dropped off; she put it on again in a great hurry; but, as
she was going across the hall, her father turned round.

"Why are you walking slipshod? no one must walk slipshod with
me. Why, Rosamond," said he, looking at her shoes with disgust,
"I thought that you were always neat. Go, I cannot take you with

Rosamond colored and retired. "Oh, mamma," said she, as she
took off her hat, "how I wish that I had chosen the shoes! they
would have been of so much more use to me than that jar: however,
I am sure--no, not quite sure--but I hope I shall be wiser another


Dr. John Aiken and Mrs. Anna Letitia Barbauld

It was Sunday morning. All the bells were ringing for church,
and the streets were filled with people moving in all directions.
Here, numbers of well-dressed persons and a long train of charity
children were thronging in at the wide doors of a large, handsome
church. There, a smaller number, almost equally gay in dress, were
entering an elegant meeting-house. Up one alley, a Roman Catholic
congregation was turning into their retired chapel, every one crossing
himself with a finger dipped in holy water, as he went in. The
opposite side of the street was covered with a train of Quakers,
distinguished by their plain and neat attire and sedate aspect, who
walked without ceremony into a room as plain as themselves, and
took their seats, the men on one side, and the women on the other,
in silence. A spacious building was filled with an overflowing
crowd of Methodists, most of them meanly habited, but decent and
serious in demeanor; while a small society of Baptists in the
neighborhood quietly occupied their humble place of assembly.

Presently the different services began. The churches resounded
with the solemn organ, and with the indistinct murmurs of a large
body of people following the minister in responsive prayers. From
the meeting were heard the slow psalm, and the single voice of
the leader of their devotions. The Roman Catholic chapel was enlivened
by strains of music, the tinkling of a small bell, and a perpetual
change of service and ceremonial. A profound silence and
unvarying look and posture announced the self-recollection and mental
devotion of the Quakers.

Mr. Ambrose led his son Edwin round all these different assemblies
as a spectator. Edwin viewed everything with great attention,
and was often impatient to inquire of his father the meaning of
what he saw; but Mr. Ambrose would not suffer him to disturb
any of the congregations even by a whisper. When they had gone
through the whole, Edwin found a great number of questions to put
to his father, who explained everything to him in the best manner
he could. At length says Edwin:

"But why cannot all these people agree to go to the same place,
and worship God the same way?"

"And why should they agree?" replied his father. "Do not you
see that people differ in a hundred other things? Do they all dress
alike, and eat and drink alike, and keep the same hours, and use the
same diversions?"

"Ay--but those are things in which they have a right to do as
they please."

"And they have a right, too, to worship God as they please. It
is their own business, and concerns none but themselves."

"But has not God ordered particular ways of worshiping him?"

"He has directed the mind and spirit with which he is to be worshiped,
but not the particular form and manner. That is left for
every one to choose, according as suits his temper and opinions. All
these people like their own way best, and why should they leave it
for the choice of another? Religion is one of the things in which
_mankind were made to differ_."

The several congregations now began to be dismissed, and the street was
again overspread with persons of all the different sects, going
promiscuously to their respective homes. It chanced that a poor man
fell down in the street in a fit of apoplexy, and lay for dead. His
wife and children stood round him crying and lamenting in the bitterest
distress. The beholders immediately flocked round, and, with looks and
expressions of the warmest compassion, gave their help. A Churchman
raised the man from the ground by lifting him under the arms, while a
Dissenter held his head and wiped his face with his handkerchief. A
Roman Catholic lady took out her smelling-bottle, and assiduously
applied it to his nose. A Methodist ran for a doctor. A Quaker
supported and comforted the woman; and a Baptist took care of the

Edwin and his father were among the spectators. "Here," said
Mr. Ambrose, "is a thing in which _mankind were made to agree_."


Dr. John Aiken and Mrs. Anna Letitia Barbauld

"Well, Robert, where have you been walking this afternoon?"
said Mr. Andrews to one of his pupils at the close of a holiday.

_R_. I have been, sir, to Broom Heath, and so around by the
windmill upon Camp Mount, and home through the meadows by the
river side.

_Mr. A_. Well, that's a pleasant round.

_R_. I thought it very dull, sir; I scarcely met with a single
person. I had rather by half have gone along the turnpike road.

_Mr. A_. Why, if seeing men and horses is your object, you would,
indeed, be better entertained on the high road. But did you see William?

_R_. We set out together, but he lagged behind in the lane, so I
walked on, and left him.

_Mr. A_. That was a pity. He would have been company for

_R_. O, he is so tedious, always stopping to look at this thing
and that! I had rather walk alone. I dare say he is not got home

_Mr. A_. Here he comes. Well, William, where have you been?

_W_. O, sir, the pleasantest walk! I went all over Broom Heath,
and so up to the mill at the top of the hill, and then down among
the green meadows by the side of the river.

_Mr. A_. Why, that is just the round Robert has been taking, and
he complains of its dullness, and prefers the high road.

_W_. I wonder at that. I am sure I hardly took a step that did
not delight me, and I brought home my handkerchief full of

_Mr. A_. Suppose, then, you give us some account of what amused
you so much. I fancy it will be as new to Robert as to me.

_W_. I will, sir. The lane leading to the heath, you know, is
close and sandy, so I did not mind it much, but made the best of my
way. However, I spied a curious thing enough in the hedge. It was an
old crab-tree, out of which grew a great bunch of something green,
quite different from the tree itself. Here is a branch of it.

_Mr. A_. Ah! this is mistletoe, a plant of great fame for the
use made of it by the Druids of old in their religious rites and
incantations. It bears a very slimy white berry, of which birdlime
may be made, whence its Latin name of _viscus_, It is one of
those plants which do not grow in the ground by a root of their own,
but fix themselves upon other plants; whence they have been humorously
styled parasitical, as being hangers-on or dependants. It was the
mistletoe of the oak that the Druids particularly honored.

_W_. A little further on I saw a green woodpecker fly to a tree,
and run up the trunk like a cat.

_Mr. A_. That was to seek for insects in the bark, on which they
live. They bore holes with their strong bills for that purpose, and
do much damage to the trees by it.

_W_. What beautiful birds they are!

_Mr. A_. Yes; they have been called from their color and size,
the English parrot.

_W_. When I got upon the open heath, how charming it was! The
air seemed so fresh, and the prospect on every side so free and
unbounded! Then it was all covered with gay flowers, many of which
I had never observed before. There were at least three kinds of
heath (I have got them in my handkerchief here), and gorse, and
broom, and bell-flower, and many others of all colors, that I will
beg you presently to tell me the names of.

_Mr. A_. That I will readily.

_W_. I saw, too, several birds that were new to me. There was
a pretty grayish one, of the size of a lark, that was hopping about
some great stones; and when he flew he showed a great deal of white
above his tail.

_Mr. A_. That was a wheat-ear. They are reckoned very delicious
birds to eat, and frequent the open downs in Sussex, and some other
counties, in great numbers.

_W_. There was a flock of lapwings upon a marshy part of the
heath, that amused me much. As I came near them, some of them
kept flying round and round just over my head, and crying "pewit"
so distinctly one might almost fancy they spoke. I thought I should
have caught one of them, for he flew as if one of his wings was
broken, and often tumbled close to the ground; but, as I came near,
he always made a shift to get away.

_Mr. A_. Ha, ha! you were finely taken in, then! This was all an
artifice of the bird's to entice you away from its nest; for they
build upon the bare ground, and their nests would easily be observed,
did they not draw off the attention of intruders by their loud
cries and counterfeit lameness.

_W_. I wish I had known that, for he led me a long chase, often
over shoes in water. However, it was the cause of my falling in with
an old man and a boy who were cutting and piling up turf for fuel,
and I had a good deal of talk with them about the manner of preparing
the turf, and the price it sells at. They gave me, too, a
creature I never saw before,--a young viper, which they had just
killed, together with its dam. I have seen several common snakes,
but this is thicker in proportion and of a darker color than they are.

_Mr. A_. True. Vipers frequent those turfy boggy grounds, and I
have known several turf-cutters bitten by them.

_W_. They are very venomous, are they not?

_Mr. A_. Enough so to make their wounds painful and dangerous,
though they seldom prove fatal.

_W_. Well--I then took my course up to the windmill on the
mount. I climbed up the steps of the mill in order to get a better
view of the country round. What an extensive prospect! I counted
fifteen church steeples, and I saw several gentlemen's houses peeping
out from the midst of green woods and plantations; and I could
trace the windings of the river all along the low grounds, till it was
lost behind a ridge of hills. But I'll tell you what I mean to do,
sir, if you will give me leave.

_Mr. A_. What is that?

_W_. I will go again, and take with me Carey's county map, by
which I shall probably be able to make out most of the places.

_Mr. A_. You shall have it, and I will go with you, and take my
pocket spying-glass.

_W_. I shall be very glad of that. Well--a thought struck me,
that as the hill is called Camp Mount, there might probably be some
remains of ditches and mounds with which I have read that camps
were surrounded. And I really believe I discovered something of
that sort running round one side of the mount.

_Mr. A_. Very likely you might. I know antiquaries have described
such remains as existing there, which some suppose to be
Roman, others Danish. We will examine them further, when we

_W_. From the hill I went straight down to the meadows below,
and walked on the side of a brook that runs into the river. It was
all bordered with reeds and flags, and tall flowering plants, quite
different from those I had seen on the heath. As I was getting
down the bank co reach one of them, I heard something plunge into
the water near me. It was a large water-rat, and I saw it swim
over to the other side, and go into its hole. There were a great
many large dragon-flies all about the stream. I caught one of the
finest, and have him here in a leaf. But how I longed to catch a
bird that I saw hovering over the water, and every now and then
darting down into it! It was all over a mixture of the most beautiful
green and blue, with some orange color. It was somewhat less
than a thrush, and had a large head and bill, and a short tail.

_Mr. A_. I can tell you what that bird was--a kingfisher, the
celebrated halcyon of the ancients, about which so many tales are
told. It lives on fish, which it catches in the manner you saw. It
builds in holes in the banks, and is a shy, retired bird, never to be
seen far from the stream where it inhabits.

_W_. I must try to get another sight of him, for I never saw a bird
that pleased me so much. Well--I followed this little brook till
it entered the river, and then took the path that runs along the bank.
On the opposite side I observed several little birds running along the
shore, and making a piping noise. They were brown and white, and
about as big as a snipe.

_Mr. A_. I suppose they were sandpipers, one of the numerous
family of birds that get their living by wading among the shallows,
and picking up worms and insects.

W. There were a great many swallows, too, sporting upon the
surface of the water, that entertained me with their motions. Sometimes
they dashed into the stream; sometimes they pursued one another
so quick, that the eye could scarcely follow them. In one
place, where a high, steep sandbank rose directly above the river, I
observed many of them go in and out of holes with which the bank
was bored full.

_Mr. A_. Those were sand martins, the smallest of our species of
swallows. They are of a mouse-color above, and white beneath.
They make their nests and bring up their young in these holes, which
run a great depth, and by their situation are secure from all

_W_. A little further on I saw a man in a boat, who was catching
eels in an odd way. He had a long pole, with broad iron prongs at
the end, just like Neptune's trident, only there were five instead of
three. This he pushed straight down among the mud, in the deepest
parts of the river, and fetched up the eels, sticking between the

_Mr. A_. I have seen this method. It is called spearing of eels.

_W_. While I was looking at him, a heron came flying over my
head, with his large flagging wings. He lit at the next turn of the
river, and I crept softly behind the bank to watch his motions. He
had waded into the water as far as his long legs would carry him,
and was standing with his neck drawn in, looking intently on the
stream. Presently he darted his long bill as quick as lightning into
the water, and drew out a fish, which he swallowed. I saw him
catch another in the same manner. He then took alarm at some
noise I made, and flew away slowly to a wood at some distance,
where he alighted.

_Mr. A_. Probably his nest was there, for herons build upon the
loftiest trees they can find, and sometimes in society together, like
rooks. Formerly, when these birds were valued for the amusement
of hawking, many gentlemen had their heronries, and a few are still

_W_. I think they are the largest wild birds we have.

_Mr. A_. They are of a great length and spread of wing, but their
bodies are comparatively small.

_W_. I then turned homeward across the meadows, where I stopped
awhile to look at a large flock of starlings, which kept flying about
at no great distance. I could not tell at first what to make of them;
for they rose all together from the ground as thick as a swarm of
bees, and formed themselves into a kind of black cloud, hovering
over the field. After taking a short round, they settled again, and
presently rose again in the same manner. I dare say there were
hundreds of them.

_Mr. A_. Perhaps so; for in the fenny countries their flocks are
so numerous, as to break down whole acres of reeds by settling on
them. This disposition of starlings to fly in close swarms was observed
even by Homer, who compares the foe flying from one of his heroes to a
_cloud_ of stares retiring dismayed at the approach of the hawk.

_W_. After I had left the meadows, I crossed the corn-fields in
the way to our house, and passed close by a deep marle pit. Looking
into it, I saw in one of the sides a cluster of what I took to be
shells; and upon going down, I picked up a clod of marle, which
was quite full of them; but how sea-shells could get there, I cannot

_Mr. A_. I do not wonder at your surprise, since many philosophers
have been much perplexed to account for the same appearance. It is not
uncommon to find great quantities of shells and relics of marine
animals even in the bowels of high mountains, very remote from the sea.
They are certainly proofs that the earth was once in a very different
state from what it is at present; but in what manner and how long ago
these changes took place can only be guessed at.

_W_. I got to the high field next our house just as the sun was
setting, and I stood looking at it till it was quite lost. What a
glorious sight! The clouds were tinged purple and crimson and
yellow of all shades and hues, and the clear sky varied from blue to
a fine green at the horizon. But how large the sun appears just as it
sets! I think it seems twice as big as when it is overhead.

_Mr. A_. It does so; and you may probably have observed the
same apparent enlargement of the moon at its rising.

_W_. I have; but pray what is the reason of this?

_Mr. A_. It is an optical deception, depending upon principles
which I cannot well explain to you till you know more of that
branch of science. But what a number of new ideas this afternoon's
walk has afforded you! I do not wonder that you found it
amusing; it has been very instructive, too. Did _you_ see nothing
of all these sights, Robert?

_R_. I saw some of them, but I did not take particular notice of

_Mr. A_. Why not?

_R_. I don't know. I did not care about them, and I made the
best of my way home.

_Mr. A_. That would have been right if you had been sent of a
message; but as you only walked for amusement, it would have been
wiser to have sought out as many sources of it as possible. But so
it is--one man walks through the world with his eyes open, and
another with them shut; and upon this difference depends all the
superiority of knowledge the one acquires above the other. I have
known sailors, who had been in all the quarters of the world, and
could tell you nothing but the signs of the tippling-houses they
frequented in different ports, and the price and quality of the liquor.
On the other hand, a Franklin could not cross the Channel, without
making some observations useful to mankind. While many a vacant,
thoughtless youth is whirled throughout Europe without gaining
a single idea worth crossing a street for, the observing eye and
inquiring mind find matter of improvement and delight in every
ramble in town or country. Do _you_, then, William, continue to
make use of your eyes; and _you_, Robert, learn that eyes were
given you to use.



John Brown

Four-and-thirty years ago, Bob Ainslie and I were coming up Infirmary
Street from the High School, our heads together, and our arms
intertwisted, as only lovers and boys know how, or why.

When we got to the top of the street, and turned north, we espied a
crowd at the Tron Church. "A dog-fight!" shouted Bob, and was off; and
so was I, both of us all but praying that it might not be over before
we got up! And is not this boy-nature? and human nature too? and don't
we all wish a house on fire not to be out before we see it? Dogs like
fighting; old Isaac says they "delight" in it, and for the best of all
reasons; and boys are not cruel because they like to see the fight.
They see three of the great cardinal virtues of dog or man--courage,
endurance, and skill--in intense action. This is very different from a
love of making dogs fight, and enjoying, and aggravating, and making
gain by their pluck. A boy--be he ever so fond himself of fighting, if
he be a good boy, hates and despises all this, but he would have run
off with Bob and me fast enough; it is a natural, and a not wicked
interest, that all boys and men have in witnessing intense energy in

Does any curious and finely-ignorant woman wish to know how Bob's eye
at a glance announced a dog-fight to his brain? He did not, he could
not see the dogs fighting; it was a flash of an inference, a rapid
induction. The crowd round a couple of dogs fighting, is a crowd
masculine mainly, with an occasional active, compassionate woman
fluttering wildly round the outside, and using her tongue and her hands
freely upon the men, as so many "brutes"; it is a crowd annular,
compact, and mobile; a crowd centripetal, having its eyes and its heads
all bent downwards and inwards, to one common focus.

Well, Bob and I are up, and find it is not over: a small thoroughbred,
white bull-terrier is busy throttling a large shepherd's dog,
unaccustomed to war, but not to be trifled with. They are hard at it;
the scientific little fellow doing his work in great style, his
pastoral enemy fighting wildly, but with the sharpest of teeth and a
great courage. Science and breeding, however, soon had their own; the
Game Chicken, as the premature Bob called him, working his way up, took
his final grip of poor Yarrow's throat,--and he lay gasping and done
for. His master, a brown, handsome, big young shepherd from Tweedsmuir,
would have liked to have knocked down any man, would "drink up Esil, or
eat a crocodile," for that part, if he had a chance: it was no use
kicking the little dog; that would only make him hold the closer. Many
were the means shouted out in mouthfuls, of the best possible ways of
ending it. "Water!" but there was none near, and many cried for it who
might have got it from the well at Blackfriars Wynd. "Bite the tail!"
and a large, vague, benevolent, middle-aged man, more desirous than
wise, with some struggle got the bushy end of _Yarrow's_ tail into
his ample mouth, and bit it with all his might. This was more than
enough for the much-enduring, much perspiring shepherd, who, with a
gleam of joy over his broad visage, delivered a terrific facer upon our
large, vague, benevolent, middle-aged friend,--who went down like a

Still the Chicken holds; death not far off. "Snuff! a pinch of snuff!"
observed a calm, highly-dressed young buck, with an eyeglass in his
eye. "Snuff, indeed!" growled the angry crowd, affronted and glaring.
"Snuff, a pinch of snuff!" again observes the buck, but with more
urgency; whereon were produced several open boxes, and from a mull
which may have been at Culloden, he took a pinch, knelt down, and
presented it to the nose of the Chicken. The laws of physiology and of
snuff take their course; the Chicken sneezes, and Yarrow is free!

The young pastoral giant stalks off with Yarrow in his arms,--
comforting him.

But the Bull Terrier's blood is up, and his soul unsatisfied; he grips
the first dog he meets, and discovering she is not a dog, in Homeric
phrase, he makes a brief sort of amende, and is off. The boys, with Bob
and me at their head, are after him: down Niddry Street he goes, bent
on mischief; up the Cowgate like an arrow--Bob and I, and our small
men, panting behind.

There, under the single arch of the South Bridge, is a huge mastiff,
sauntering down the middle of the causeway, as if with his hands in his
pockets: he is old, gray, brindled, as big as a little Highland bull,
and has the Shakespearian dewlaps shaking as he goes.

The Chicken makes straight at him, and fastens on his throat. To our
astonishment, the great creature does nothing but stand still, hold
himself up, and roar--yes, roar; a long, serious, remonstrative roar.
How is this? Bob and I are up to them. _He is muzzled!_

The bailies had proclaimed a general muzzling, and his master, studying
strength and economy mainly, had encompassed his huge jaws in a homemade
apparatus, constructed out of the leather of some ancient
_breechin_. His mouth was open as far as it could; his lips curled
up in rage--a sort of terrible grin; his teeth gleaming, ready, from
out the darkness; the strap across his mouth tense as a bowstring; his
whole frame stiff with indignation and surprise; his roar asking us all
round, "Did you ever see the like of this?" He looked a statue of anger
and astonishment, done in Aberdeen granite.

We soon had a crowd: the Chicken held on. "A knife!" cried Bob; and a
cobbler gave him his knife: you know the kind of knife, worn away
obliquely to a point, and always keen. I put its edge to the tense
leather; it ran before it; and then!--one sudden jerk of that enormous
head, a sort of dirty mist about his mouth, no noise,--and the bright
and fierce little fellow is dropped, limp and dead. A solemn pause:
this was more than any of us had bargained for. I turned the little
fellow over, and saw he was quite dead: the mastiff had taken him by
the small of the back like a rat, and broken it.

He looked down at his victim appeased, ashamed, and amazed; snuffed him
all over; stared at him, and taking a sudden thought, turned round and
trotted off. Bob took the dead dog up, and said, "John, we'll bury him
after tea." "Yes," said I, and was off after the mastiff. He made up
the Cowgate at a rapid swing; he had forgotten some engagement. He
turned up the Candlemaker Row, and stopped at the Harrow Inn.

There was a carrier's cart ready to start, and a keen, thin, impatient,
black-a-vised little man, his hand at his gray horse's head, looking
about angrily for something. "Rab, ye thief!" said he, aiming a kick at
my great friend, who drew cringing up, and avoiding the heavy shoe with
more agility than dignity, and watching his master's eye, slunk
dismayed under the cart,--his ears down, and as much as he had of tail
down too.

What a man this must be--thought I--to whom my tremendous hero turns
tail! The carrier saw the muzzle hanging, cut and useless, from his
neck, and I eagerly told him the story, which Bob and I always thought,
and still think, Homer, or King David, or Sir Walter, alone were worthy
to rehearse. The severe little man was mitigated, and condescended to
say, "Rab, ma man, puir Rabbie,"--whereupon the stump of a tail rose
up, the ears were cocked, the eyes filled, and were comforted; the two
friends were reconciled. "Hupp!" and a stroke of the whip were given to
Jess; and off went the three.

Bob and I buried the Game Chicken that night (we had not much of a tea)
in the back-green of his house in Melville Street, No. 17, with
considerable gravity and silence; and being at the time in the Iliad,
and, like all boys, Trojans, we of course called him Hector.

* * * * *

Six years have passed,--a long time for a boy and a dog: Bob Ainslie is
off to the wars; I am a medical student, and clerk at Minto House

Rab I saw almost every week, on the Wednesday; and we had much pleasant
intimacy. I found the way to his heart by frequent scratching of his
huge head, and an occasional bone. When I did not notice him he would
plant himself straight before me, and stand wagging that bud of a tail,
and looking up, with his head a little to the one side. His master I
occasionally saw; he used to call me "Maister John," but was laconic as
any Spartan.

One fine October afternoon, I was leaving the hospital, when I saw the
large gate open, and in walked Rab, with that great and easy saunter of
his. He looked as if taking general possession of the place; like the
Duke of Wellington entering a subdued city, satiated with victory and
peace. After him came Jess, now white from age, with her cart; and in
it a woman carefully wrapped up,--the carrier leading the horse
anxiously, and looking back. When he saw me, James (for his name was
James Noble) made a curt and grotesque "boo," and said, "Maister John,
this is the mistress; she's got a trouble in her breest--some kind o'
an income we're thinkin'."

By this time I saw the woman's face; she was sitting on a sack filled
with straw, her husband's plaid round her, and his big-coat, with its
large white metal buttons, over her feet.

I never saw a more unforgetable face--pale, serious, _lonely_
[Footnote: It is not easy giving this look by one word; it was
expressive of her being so much of her life alone.] delicate, sweet,
without being at all what we call fine. She looked sixty, and had on a
mutch, white as snow, with its black ribbon; her silvery, smooth hair
setting off her dark-gray eyes--eyes such as one sees only twice or
thrice in a lifetime, full of suffering, full also of the overcoming of
it: her eyebrows

"Black brows, they say,
Become some women best, so that there be not
Too much hair there, _but in a semicircle,
Or a half-moon made with a pen."
--A Winter's Tale_

black and delicate, and her mouth firm, patient, and contented, which
few mouths ever are.

As I have said, I never saw a more beautiful countenance, or one more
subdued to settled quiet. "Ailie," said James, "this is Maister John,
the young doctor; Rab's freend, ye ken. We often speak aboot you,
doctor." She smiled, and made a movement, but said nothing; and
prepared to come down, putting her plaid aside and rising. Had Solomon,
in all his glory, been handing down the Queen of Sheba at his palace
gate, he could not have done it more daintily, more tenderly, more like
a gentleman, than did James the Howgate carrier, when he lifted down
Ailie his wife. The contrast of his small, swarthy, weather-beaten,
keen, worldly face to hers--pale, subdued, and beautiful--was something
wonderful. Rab looked on concerned and puzzled, but ready for anything
that might turn up,--were it to strangle the nurse, the porter, or even
me. Ailie and he seemed great friends.

"As I was sayin', she's got a kind o' trouble in her breest, doctor;
wull ye tak' a look at it?" We walked into the consulting-room, all
four; Rab grim and comic, willing to be happy and confidential if cause
could be shown, willing also to be the reverse, on the same terms.
Ailie sat down, undid her open gown and her lawn handkerchief round her
neck, and, without a word, showed me her right breast. I looked at and
examined it carefully,--she and James watching me, and Rab eyeing all
three. What could I say? there it was, that had once been so soft, so
shapely, so white, so gracious and bountiful, so "full of all blessed
conditions,"--hard as a stone, a center of horrid pain, making that
pale face, with its gray, lucid, reasonable eyes, and its sweet
resolved mouth, express the full measure of suffering overcome. Why was
that gentle, modest, sweet woman, clean and lovable, condemned by God
to bear such a burden?

I got her away to bed. "May Rab and me bide?" said James. "_You_
may; and Rab, if he will behave himself." "I'se warrant he's do that,
doctor"; and in slunk the faithful beast. I wish you could have seen
him. There are no such dogs now. He belonged to a lost tribe. As I have
said, he was brindle, and gray like Rubislaw granite, his hair short,
hard, and close, like a lion's; his body thick set, like a little bull--
a sort of compressed Hercules of a dog. He must have been ninety
pounds' weight, at the least; he had a large blunt head, his muzzle
black as night, his mouth blacker than any night, a tooth or two--being
all he had--gleaming out of his jaws of darkness. His head was scarred
with the records of old wounds, a sort of series of fields of battle
all over it; one eye out, one ear cropped as close as was Archbishop
Leighton's father's; the remaining eye had the power of two; and above
it, and in constant communication with it, Was a tattered rag of an ear
which was forever unfurling itself, like an old flag; and then that bud
of a tail, about one inch long, if it could in any sense be said to be
long, being as broad as long--the mobility, the instantaneousness of
that bud were very funny and surprising, and its expressive twinklings
and winkings, the intercommunications between the eye, the ear, and it,
were of the oddest and swiftest.

Rab had the dignity and simplicity of great size; and having fought his
way all along the road to absolute supremacy, he was as mighty in his
own line as Julius Caesar or the Duke of Wellington, and had the
gravity [Footnote: A Highland game-keeper, when asked why a certain
terrier, of singular pluck, was so much more solemn than the other
dogs, said, "Oh, Sir, life's full o' sairiousness to him--he just never
can get enuff o' fechtin'."] of all great fighters.

You must have often observed the likeness of certain men to certain
animals, and of certain dogs to men. Now, I never looked at Rab without
thinking of the great Baptist preacher, Andrew Fuller. [Footnote:
Fuller was, in early life, when a farmer lad at Soham, famous as a
boxer; not quarrelsome, but not without "the stern delight" a man of
strength and courage feels in their exercise. Dr. Charles Stewart, of
Dunearn, whose rare gifts and graces as a physician, a divine, a
scholar, and a gentleman, live only in the memory of those few who knew
and survive him, liked to tell how Mr. Fuller used to say, that when he
was in the pulpit, and saw a _buirdly_ man come along the passage,
he would instinctively draw himself up, measure his imaginary
antagonist, and forecast how he would deal with him, his hands
meanwhile condensing into fists, and tending to "square." He must have
been a hard hitter if he boxed as he preached--what "The Fancy" would
call "an ugly customer."] The same large, heavy menacing, combative
somber, honest countenance, the same deep inevitable eye, the same
look,--as of thunder asleep, but ready,--neither a dog nor a man to be
trifled with.

Next day, my master, the surgeon, examined Ailie. There was no doubt it
must kill her, and soon. It could be removed--it might never return--it
would give her speedy relief--she should have it done. She curtsied,
looked at James, and said, "When?" "Tomorrow," said the kind surgeon--a
man of few words. She and James and Rab and I retired. I noticed that
he and she spoke little, but seemed to anticipate everything in each
other. The following day, at noon, the students came in hurrying up the
great stair. At the first landing-place, on a small well-known
blackboard, was a bit of paper fastened by wafers, and many remains of
old wafers beside it. On the paper were the words,--"An operation
today.--J. B. _Clerk_."

Up ran the youths, eager to secure good places: in they crowded, full
of interest and talk. "What's the case?" "Which side is it?"

Don't think them heartless; they are neither better nor worse than you
or I; they get over their professional horrors, and into their proper
work; and in them pity, as an _emotion_, ending in itself or at
best in tears and a long-drawn breath, lessens,--while pity as a
_motive_ is quickened, and gains power and purpose. It is well for
poor human nature that it is so.

The operating theater is crowded; much talk and fun, and all the
cordiality and stir of youth. The surgeon with his staff of assistants
is there. In comes Ailie: one look at her quiets and abates the eager
students. That beautiful old woman is too much for them; they sit down,
and are dumb, and gaze at her. These rough boys feel the power of her
presence. She walks in quickly, but without haste; dressed in her
mutch, her neckerchief, her white dimity short-gown, her black
bombazine petticoat, showing her white worsted stockings and her
carpet-shoes. Behind her was James with Rab. James sat down in the
distance, and took that huge and noble head between his knees. Rab
looked perplexed and dangerous; forever cocking his ear and dropping it
as fast.

Ailie stepped up on a seat, and laid herself on the table, as her
friend the surgeon told her; arranged herself, gave a rapid look at
James, shut her eyes, rested herself on me, and took my hand. The
operation was at once begun; it was necessarily slow; and chloroform--
one of God's best gifts to his suffering children--was then unknown.
The surgeon did his work. The pale face showed its pain, but was still
and silent. Rab's soul was working within him; he saw that something
strange was going on,--blood flowing from his mistress, and she
suffering; his ragged ear was up, and importunate; he growled and gave
now and then a sharp impatient yelp; he would have liked to have done
something to that man. But James had him firm, and gave him a
_glower_ from time to time, and an intimation of a possible kick;--
all the better for James, it kept his eye and his mind off Ailie.

It is over: she is dressed, steps gently and decently down from the
table, looks for James; then turning to the surgeon and the students,
she curtsies,--and in a low, clear voice, begs their pardon if she has
behaved ill. The students--all of us--wept like children; the surgeon
happed her up carefully,--and, resting on James and me, Ailie went to
her room. Rab following. We put her to bed. James took off his heavy
shoes, crammed with tackets, heel-capt and toe-capt, and put them
carefully under the table, saying, "Maister John, I'm for nane o' yer
strynge nurse bodies for Ailie. I'll be her nurse, and I'll gang aboot
on my stockin' soles as canny as pussy." And so he did; and handy and
clever, and swift and tender as any woman, was that horny-handed,
snell, peremptory little man. Everything she got he gave her: he seldom
slept; and often I saw his small shrewd eyes out of the darkness, fixed
on her. As before, they spoke little.

Rab behaved well, never moving, showing us how meek and gentle he could
be, and occasionally, in his sleep, letting us know that he was
demolishing some adversary. He took a walk with me every day, generally
to the Candlemaker Row; but he was somber and mild; declined doing
battle, though some fit cases offered, and indeed submitted to sundry
indignities; and was always very ready to turn, and came faster back,
and trotted up the stair with much lightness, and went straight to that

Jess, the mare, had been sent, with her weather-worn cart, to Howgate,
and had doubtless her own dim and placid meditations and confusions, on
the absence of her master and Rab, and her unnatural freedom from the
road and her cart.

For some days Ailie did well. The wound healed "by the first
intention"; for as James said, "Oor Ailie's skin's ower clean to beil."
The students came in quiet and anxious, and surrounded her bed. She
said she liked to see their young, honest faces. The surgeon dressed
her, and spoke to her in his own short kind way, pitying her through
his eyes, Rab and James outside the circle,--Rab being now reconciled,
and even cordial, and having made up his mind that as yet nobody
required worrying, but, as you may suppose, _semper paratus_.

So far well: but, four days after the operation, my patient had a
sudden and long shivering, a "groosin'," as she called it. I saw her
soon after; her eyes were too bright, her cheek colored; she was
restless, and ashamed of being so; the balance was lost; mischief had
begun. On looking at the wound, a blush of red told the secret: her
pulse was rapid, her breathing anxious and quick, she wasn't herself,
as she said, and was vexed at her restlessness. We tried what we could.
James did everything, was everywhere; never in the way, never out of
it; Rab subsided under the table into a dark place, and was motionless,
all but his eye, which followed every one. Ailie got worse; began to
wander in her mind, gently; was more demonstrative in her ways to
James, rapid in her questions, and sharp at times. He was vexed, and
said, "She was never that way afore, no, never." For a time she knew
her head was wrong, and was always asking our pardon--the dear gentle
old woman: then delirium set in strong, without pause. Her brain gave
way, and then came that terrible spectacle,

"The intellectual power, through words and things,
Went sounding on, a dim and perilous way;"

she sang bits of old songs and Psalms, stopping suddenly, mingling the
Psalms of David, and the diviner words of his Son and Lord, with homely
odds and ends and scraps of ballads.

Nothing more touching, or in a sense more strangely beautiful, did I
ever witness. Her tremulous, rapid, affectionate, eager Scotch voice,--
the swift, aimless, bewildered mind, the baffled utterance, the bright
and perilous eye; some wild words, some household cares, something for
James, the names of the dead, Rab called rapidly and in a "fremyt"
voice, and he starting up, surprised, and slinking off as if he were to
blame somehow, or had been dreaming he heard. Many eager questions and
beseechings which James and I could make nothing of, and on which she
seemed to set her all, and then sink back ununderstood. It was very
sad, but better than many things that are not called sad. James hovered
about, put out and miserable, but active and exact as ever; read to
her, when there was a lull, short bits from the Psalms, prose and
meter, chanting the latter in his own rude and serious way, showing
great knowledge of the fit words, bearing up like a man, and doting
over her as his "ain Ailie." "Ailie, ma woman!" "Ma ain bonnie wee

The end was drawing on: the golden bowl was breaking; the silver cord
was fast being loosed--that _animula, blandula, vagula, hospes,
comesque_, was about to flee. The body and the soul--companions
for sixty years--were being sundered, and taking leave. She was
walking, alone, through the valley of that shadow, into which one day
we must all enter,--and yet she was not alone, for we know whose rod
and staff were comforting her.

One night she had fallen quiet, and as we hoped, asleep; her eyes were
shut. We put down the gas, and sat watching her. Suddenly she sat up in
bed, and taking a bed-gown which was lying on it rolled up, she held it
eagerly to her breast,--to the right side. We could see her eyes bright
with a surprising tenderness and joy, bending over this bundle of
clothes. She held it as a woman holds her sucking child; opening out
her night-gown impatiently, and holding it close, and brooding over it,
and murmuring foolish little words, as over one whom his mother
comforteth, and who sucks and is satisfied. It was pitiful and strange
to see her wasted dying look, keen and yet vague--her immense love.

"Preserve me!" groaned James, giving way. And then she rocked back and
forward, as if to make it sleep, hushing it, and wasting on it her
infinite fondness. "Wae's me, doctor; I declare she's thinkin' it's
that bairn." "What bairn?" "The only bairn we ever had; our wee Mysie,
and she's in the Kingdom forty years and mair." It was plainly true:
the pain in the breast, telling its urgent story to a bewildered,
ruined brain, was misread and mistaken; it suggested to her the
uneasiness of a breast full of milk, and then the child; and so again
once more they were together, and she had her ain wee Mysie in her

This was the close. She sank rapidly: the delirium left her; but, as
she whispered, she was "clean silly"; it was the lightening before the
final darkness. After having for some time lain still--her eyes shut,
she said, "James!" He came close to her, and lifting up her calm,
clear, beautiful eyes, she gave him a long look, turned to me kindly
but shortly, looked for Rab but could not see him, then turned to her
husband again, as if she would never leave off looking, shut her eyes
and composed herself. She lay for some time breathing quick, and passed
away so gently, that when we thought she was gone, James, in his
old-fashioned way, held the mirror to her face. After a long pause, one
small spot of dimness was breathed out; it vanished away, and never
returned, leaving the blank clear darkness without a stain. "What is
our life? it is even a vapor, which appeareth for a little time, and
then vanisheth away."

Rab all this time had been full awake and motionless: he came forward
beside us: Ailie's hand which James had held, was hanging down, it was
soaked with his tears; Rab licked it all over carefully, looked at her,
and returned to his place under the table.

James and I sat, I don't know how long, but for some time,--saying
nothing; he started up abruptly, and with some noise went to the table,
and putting his right fore and middle fingers each into a shoe, pulled
them out, and put them on, breaking one of the leather latchets, and
muttering in anger, "I never did the like o' that fore!"

I believe he never did; nor after either. "Rab!" he said roughly, and
pointing with his thumb to the bottom of the bed. Rab leapt up, and
settled himself; his head and eye to the dead face. "Maister John,
ye'll wait for me," said the carrier; and disappeared in the darkness,
thundering downstairs in his heavy shoes. I ran to a front window:
there he was, already round the house, and out at the gate, fleeing
like a shadow.

I was afraid about him, and yet not afraid; so I sat down beside Rab,
and being wearied, fell asleep. I awoke from a sudden noise outside. It
was November, and there had been a heavy fall of snow. Rab was _in
statu quo_; he heard the noise too, and plainly knew it, but never
moved. I looked out; and there, at the gate, in the dim morning--for
the sun was not up, was Jess and the cart,--a cloud of steam rising
from the old mare. I did not see James; he was already at the door, and
came up the stairs and met me. It was less than three hours since he
left, and he must have posted out--who knows how?--to Howgate, full
nine miles off; yoked Jess, and driven her astonished into town. He had
an armful of blankets, and was streaming with perspiration. He nodded
to me, spread out on the floor two pairs of clean old blankets having
at their corners, "A. G., 1794," in large letters in red worsted. These
were the initials of Alison Grĉme, and James may have looked in at her
from without--himself unseen but not unthought of--when he was "wat,
wat, and weary," and after having walked many a mile over the hills,
may have seen her sitting, while "a' the lave were sleepin'," and by
the firelight working her name on the blankets, for her ain James's

He motioned Rab down, and taking his wife in his arms, laid her in the
blankets, and happed her carefully and firmly up, leaving the face
uncovered; and then lifting her, he nodded again sharply to me, and
with a resolved but utterly miserable face, strode along the passage,
and downstairs, followed by Rab. I followed with a light; but he didn't
need it. I went out, holding stupidly the candle in my hand in the calm
frosty air; we were soon at the gate. I could have helped him, but I
saw he was not to be meddled with, and he was strong, and did not need
it. He laid her down as tenderly, as safely, as he had lifted her out
ten days before--as tenderly as when he had her first in his arms when
she was only "A. G."--sorted her, leaving that beautiful sealed face
open to the heavens; and then taking Jess by the head, he moved away.
He did not notice me, neither did Rab, who presided behind the cart.

I stood till they passed through the long shadow of the College, and
turned up Nicolson Street. I heard the solitary cart sound through the
streets, and die away and come again; and I returned, thinking of that
company going up Libberton Brae, then along Roslin Muir, the morning
light touching the Pentlands, and making them like on-looking ghosts;
then down the hill through Auchindinny woods, past "haunted
Woodhouselee"; and as daybreak came sweeping up the bleak Lammermuirs,
and fell on his own door, the company would stop, and James would take
the key, and lift Ailie up again, laying her on her own bed, and,
having put Jess up, would return with Rab and shut the door.

James buried his wife, with his neighbors mourning, Rab watching the
proceedings from a distance. It was snow, and that black ragged hole
would look strange in the midst of the swelling spotless cushion of
white. James looked after everything; then rather suddenly fell ill,
and took to bed; was insensible when the doctor came, and soon died. A
sort of low fever was prevailing in the village, and his want of sleep,
his exhaustion, and his misery, made him apt to take it. The grave was
not difficult to reopen. A fresh fall of snow had again made all things
white and smooth. Rab once more looked on, and slunk home to the

And what of Rab? I asked for him next week at the new carrier who got
the goodwill of James's business, and was now master of Jess and her
cart. "How's Rab?" He put me off, and said rather rudely, "What's
_your_ business wi' the dowg?" I was not to be so put off.
"Where's Rab?" He, getting confused and red, and intermeddling with his
hair, said, "'Deed, sir, Rab's deid." "Dead! what did he die of?"
"Weel, sir," said he, getting redder, "he didna exactly dee; he was
killed. I had to brain him wi' a rack-pin; there was nae doin' wi' him.
He lay in the treviss wi' the mear, and wadna come oot. I tempit him
wi' kail and meat, but he wad tak' naething, and keepit me frae feedin'
the beast, and he was aye gur gurrin', and grup gruppin' me by the
legs. I was laith to mak' awa wi' the auld dowg, his like wasna atween
this and Thornhill,--but, 'deed, sir, I could do naething else." I
believed him. Fit end for Rab, quick and complete. His teeth and his
friends gone, why should he keep the peace, and be civil?

He was buried in the braeface, near the burn, the children of the
village, his companions, who used to make very free with him and sit on
his ample stomach, as he lay half asleep at the door in the sun,
watching the solemnity.


Olive Thorne Miller


One of the most interesting birds who ever lived in my Bird Room was a
blue jay named Jakie. He was full of business from morning till night,
scarcely ever a moment still.

Poor little fellow! He had been stolen from the nest before he could
fly, and reared in a house, long before he was given to me. Of course
he could not be set free, for he did not know how to take care of

Jays are very active birds, and being shut up in a room, my blue jay
had to find things to do, to keep himself busy. If he had been allowed
to grow up out of doors, he would have found plenty to do, planting
acorns and nuts, nesting, and bringing up families.

Sometimes the things he did in the house were what we call mischief
because they annoy us, such as hammering the woodwork to pieces,
tearing bits out of the leaves of books, working holes in chair seats,
or pounding a cardboard box to pieces. But how is a poor little bird to
know what is mischief?

Many things which Jakie did were very funny. For instance, he made it
his business to clear up the room. When he had more food than he could
eat at the moment, he did not leave it around, but put it away
carefully,--not in the garbage pail, for that was not in the room, but
in some safe nook where it did not offend the eye. Sometimes it was
behind the tray in his cage, or among the books on the shelf. The
places he liked best were about me,--in the fold of a ruffle or the
loop of a bow on my dress, and sometimes in the side of my slipper. The
very choicest place of all was in my loosely bound hair. That of course
I could not allow, and I had to keep a very close watch of him for fear
I might have a bit of bread or meat thrust among my locks. In his
clearing up he always went carefully over the floor, picking up pins or
any little thing he could find, and I often dropped burnt matches,
buttons, and other small things to give him something to do. These he
would pick up and put nicely away.

Pins, Jakie took lengthwise in his beak, and at first I thought he had
swallowed them, till I saw him hunt up a proper place to hide them. The
place he chose was between the leaves of a book. He would push a pin
far in out of sight, and then go after another. A match he always tried
to put in a crack, under the baseboard, between the breadths of
matting, or under my rockers. He first placed it, and then tried to
hammer it out of sight. He could seldom get it in far enough to suit
him, and this worried him. Then he would take it out and try another

Once the blue jay found a good match, of the parlor match variety. He
put it between the breadths of matting, and then began to pound on it
as usual. Pretty soon he hit the unburnt end and it went off with a
loud crack, as parlor matches do. Poor Jakie jumped two feet into the
air, nearly frightened out of his wits; and I was frightened, too, for
I feared he might set the house on fire.

Often when I got up from my chair a shower of the bird's playthings
would fall from his various hiding-places about my dress,-nails,
matches, shoe-buttons, bread-crumbs, and other things. Then he had to
begin his work all over again.

Jakie liked a small ball or a marble. His game was to give it a hard
peck and see it roll. If it rolled away from him, he ran after it and
pecked again; but sometimes it rolled toward him, and then he bounded
into the air as if he thought it would bite. And what was funny, he was
always offended at this conduct of the ball, and went off sulky for a

He was a timid little fellow. Wind or storm outside the windows made
him wild. He would fly around the room, squawking at the top of his
voice; and the horrible tin horns the boys liked to blow at
Thanksgiving and Christmas drove him frantic. Once I brought a
Christmas tree into the room to please the birds, and all were
delighted with it except my poor little blue jay, who was much afraid
of it. Think of the sadness of a bird being afraid of a tree!


Jakie had decided opinions about people who came into the room to see
me, or to see the birds. At some persons he would squawk every moment.
Others he saluted with a queer cry like "Ob-ble! ob-ble! ob-ble!" Once
when a lady came in with a baby, he fixed his eyes on that infant with
a savage look as if he would like to peck it, and jumped back and forth
in his cage, panting, but perfectly quiet.

Jakie was very devoted to me. He always greeted me with a low, sweet
chatter, with wings quivering, and if he were out of the cage he would
come on the back of my chair and touch my cheek or lips very gently
with his beak, or offer me a bit of food if he had any; and to me
alone, when no one else was near, he sang a low, exquisite song. I
afterwards heard a similar song sung by a wild blue jay to his mate
while she was sitting, and so I knew that my dear little captive had
given me his sweetest--his love song.

One of Jakie's amusements was dancing across the back of a tall chair,
taking funny little steps, coming down hard, "jouncing" his body, and
whistling as loud as he could. He would keep up this funny performance
as long as anybody would stand before him and pretend to dance, too.

My jay was fond of a sensation. One of his dearast bits of fun was to
drive the birds into a panic. This he did by flying furiously around
the room, feathers rustling, and squawking as loud as he could. He
usually managed to fly just over the head of each bird, and as he came
like a catapult, every one flew before him, so that in a minute the
room was full of birds flying madly about trying to get out of his way.
This gave him great pleasure.

Wild blue jays, too, like to stir up their neighbors. A friend told me
of a small party of blue jays that she saw playing this kind of a joke
on a flock of birds of several kinds, robins, catbirds, thrashers, and
others. These birds were gathering the cherries on the top branches of
a big cherry tree. The jays sat quietly on another tree till the cherry
eaters were very busy eating. Then suddenly the mischievous blue rogues
would all rise together and fly at them, as my pet did at the birds in
the room. It had the same effect on the wild birds; they all flew in a
panic. Then the joking jays would return to their tree and wait till
their victims forgot their fear and came straggling back to the
cherries, when they repeated the fun.

Once a grasshopper got into the Bird Room, probably brought in clinging
to some one's dress in the way grasshoppers do. Jakie was in his cage,
but he noticed the stranger instantly, and I opened the door for him.
He went at once to look at the grasshopper, and when it hopped he was
so startled that he hopped, too. Then he picked the insect up, but he
did not know what to do with it, so he dropped it again. Again the
grasshopper jumped directly up, and again the jay did the same. This
they did over and over, till every one was tired laughing at them. It
looked as if they were trying to see who could jump the higher.

There was another bird in the room, however, who knew what grasshoppers
were good for. He was an orchard oriole, and after looking on for a
while, he came down and carried off the hopper to eat. The jay did not
like to lose his plaything; he ran after the thief, and stood on the
floor giving low cries and looking on while the oriole on a chair was
eating the dead grasshopper. When the oriole happened to drop it,
Jakie--who had got a new idea of what to do with grasshoppers--snatched
it up and carried it under a chair and finished it.

I could tell many more stories about my bird, but I have told them
before in one of my "grown-up" books, so I will not repeat them here.


William J. Long

This is the rest of the story, just as I saw it, of the little fawns
that I found under the mossy log by the brook. There were two of them,
you remember; and though they looked alike at first glance, I soon
found out that there is just as much difference in fawns as there is in
folks. Eyes, faces, dispositions, characters,--in all things they were
as unlike as the virgins of the parable. One of them was wise, and the
other was very foolish. The one was a follower, a learner; he never
forgot his second lesson, to follow the white flag. The other followed
from the first only his own willful head and feet, and discovered too
late that obedience is life. Until the bear found him, I have no doubt
he was thinking, in his own dumb, foolish way, that obedience is only
for the weak and ignorant, and that government is only an unfair
advantage which all the wilderness mothers take to keep little wild
things from doing as they please.

The wise old mother took them both away when she knew I had found them,
and hid them in a deeper solitude of the big woods, nearer the lake,
where she could the sooner reach them from her feeding grounds. For
days after the wonderful discovery I used to go in the early morning or
the late afternoon, while mother deer are away feeding along the
watercourses, and search the dingle from one end to the other, hoping
to find the little ones again and win their confidence. But they were
not there; and I took to watching instead a family of mink that lived
in a den under a root, and a big owl that always slept in the same
hemlock. Then, one day when a flock of partridges led me out of the
wild berry bushes into a cool green island of the burned lands, I ran
plump upon the deer and her fawns lying all together under a fallen
treetop, dozing away the heat of the day.

They did not see me, but were only scared into action as a branch, upon
which I stood looking for my partridges, gave way beneath my feet and
let me down with a great crash under the fallen tree. There, looking
out, I could see them perfectly, while Kookooskoos himself could hardly
have seen me. At the first crack they all jumped like Jack-in-a-box
when you touch his spring. The mother put up her white flag--which is
the snowy underside of her useful tail, and shows like a beacon by day
or night--and bounded away with a hoarse _Ka-a-a-a-h!_ of warning.
One of the little ones followed her on the instant, jumping squarely in
his mother's tracks, his own little white flag flying to guide any that
might come after him. But the second fawn ran off at a tangent, and
stopped in a moment to stare and whistle and stamp his tiny, foot in an
odd mixture of curiosity and defiance. The mother had to circle back
twice before he followed her, at last, unwillingly. As she stole back
each time, her tail was down and wiggling nervously--which is the sure
sign, when you see it, that some scent of you is floating off through
the woods and telling its warning into the deer's keen nostrils. But
when she jumped away the white flag was straight up, flashing in the
very face of her foolish fawn, telling him as plain as any language
what sign he must follow if he would escape danger and avoid breaking
his legs in the tangled underbrush.

I did not understand till long afterwards, when I had watched the fawns
many times, how important is this latter suggestion. One who follows a
frightened deer and sees or hears him go bounding off at breakneck pace
over loose rocks and broken trees and tangled underbrush; rising swift
on one side of a windfall without knowing what lies on the other side
till he is already falling; driving like an arrow over ground where you
must follow like a snail, lest you wrench a foot or break an ankle,--
finds himself asking with unanswered wonder how any deer can live half
a season in the wilderness without breaking all his legs. And when you
run upon a deer at night and hear him go smashing off in the darkness
at the same reckless speed, over a tangled blow-down, perhaps, through
which you can barely force your way by daylight, then you realize
suddenly that the most wonderful part of a deer's education shows
itself, not in keen eyes or trumpet ears, or in his finely trained
nose, more sensitive a hundred times than any barometer, but in his
forgotten feet, which seem to have eyes and nerves and brains packed
into their hard shells instead of the senseless matter you see there.

Watch the doe yonder as she bounds away, wig-wagging her heedless
little one to follow. She is thinking only of him; and now you see her
feet free to take care of themselves. As she rises over the big
windfall, they hang from the ankle joints, limp as a glove out of which
the hand has been drawn, yet seeming to wait and watch. One hoof
touches a twig; like lightning it spreads and drops, after running for
the smallest fraction of a second along the obstacle to know whether to
relax or stiffen, or rise or fall to meet it. Just before she strikes
the ground on the down plunge, see the wonderful hind hoofs sweep
themselves forward, surveying the ground by touch, and bracing
themselves, in a fraction of time so small that the eye cannot follow,
for the shock of what lies beneath them, whether rock or rotten wood or
yielding moss. The fore feet have followed the quick eyes above, and
shoot straight and sure to their landing; but the hind hoofs must find
the spot for themselves as they come down and, almost ere they find it,
brace themselves again for the push of the mighty muscles above.

Once only I found where a fawn with untrained feet had broken its leg;
and once I heard of a wounded buck, driven to death by dogs, that had
fallen in the same way never to rise again. Those were rare cases. The
marvel is that it does not happen to every deer that fear drives
through the wilderness.

And that is another reason why the fawns must learn to obey a wiser
head than their own. Till their little feet are educated, the mother
must choose the way for them; and a wise fawn will jump squarely in her
tracks. That explains also why deer, even after they are full grown,
will often walk in single file, a half-dozen of them sometimes
following a wise leader, stepping in his tracks and leaving but a
single trail. It is partly, perhaps, to fool their old enemy, the wolf,
and their new enemy, the man, by hiding the weakling's trail in the
stride and hoof mark of a big buck; but it shows also the old habit,
and the training which begins when the fawns first learn to follow the

After that second discovery I used to go in the afternoon to a point on
the lake nearest the fawns' hiding-place, and wait in my canoe for the
mother to come out and show me where she had left her little ones. As
they grew, and the drain upon her increased from their feeding, she
seemed always half starved. Waiting in my canoe I would hear the
crackle of brush, as she trotted straight down to the lake almost
heedlessly, and see her plunge through the fringe of bushes that
bordered the water. With scarcely a look or a sniff to be sure the
coast was clear, she would jump for the lily pads. Sometimes the canoe
was in plain sight; but she gave no heed as she tore up the juicy buds
and stems, and swallowed them with the appetite of a famished wolf.
Then I would paddle away and, taking my direction from her trail as she
came, hunt diligently for the fawns until I found them.

This last happened only two or three times. The little ones were
already wild; they had forgotten all about our first meeting, and when
I showed myself, or cracked a twig too near them, they would promptly
bolt into the brush. One always ran straight away, his white flag
flying to show that he remembered his lesson; the other went off
zigzag, stopping at every angle of his run to look back and question me
with his eyes and ears.

There was only one way in which such disobedience could end. I saw it
plainly enough one afternoon, when, had I been one of the fierce
prowlers of the wilderness, the little fellow's history would have
stopped short under the paw of Upweekis, the shadowy lynx of the burned
lands. It was late afternoon when I came over a ridge, following a deer
path on my way to the lake, and looked down into a long, narrow valley
filled with berry bushes, and with a few fire-blasted trees standing
here and there to point out the perfect loneliness and desolation of
the place.

Just below me a deer was feeding hungrily, only her hind quarters
showing out of the underbrush. I watched her awhile, then dropped on
all fours and began to creep towards her, to see how near I could get
and what new trait I might discover. But at the first motion (I had
stood at first like an old stump on the ridge) a fawn that had
evidently been watching me all the time from his hiding sprang into
sight with a sharp whistle of warning. The doe threw up her head,
looking straight at me as if she had understood more from the signal
than I had thought possible. There was not an instant's hesitation or
searching. Her eyes went direct to me, as if the fawn's cry had said:
"Behind you, mother, in the path by the second gray rock!" Then she
jumped away, shooting up the opposite hill over roots and rocks as if
thrown by steel springs, blowing hoarsely at every jump, and followed
in splendid style by her watchful little one.

At the first snort of danger there was a rush in the underbrush near
where she had stood, and a second fawn sprang into sight. I knew him
instantly--the heedless one--and knew also that he had neglected too
long the matter of following the flag. He was confused, frightened,
chuckle-headed now; he came darting up the deer path in the wrong
direction, straight towards me, to within two jumps, before he noticed
the man kneeling in the path before him and watching him quietly.

At the startling discovery he stopped short, seeming to shrink smaller
and smaller before my eyes. Then he edged sidewise to a great stump,
hid himself among the roots, and stood stock-still,--a beautiful
picture of innocence and curiosity, framed in the rough brown roots of
the spruce stump. It was his first teaching to hide and be still. Just
as he needed it most, he had forgotten absolutely the second lesson.

We watched each other full five minutes without moving an eyelash. Then
his first lesson ebbed away. He sidled out into the path again, came
towards me two dainty, halting steps, and stamped prettily with his
left fore foot. He was a young buck, and had that trick of stamping
without any instruction. It is an old, old ruse to make you move, to
startle you by the sound and threatening motion into showing who you
are and what are your intentions.

But still the man did not move; the fawn grew frightened at his own
boldness and ran away down the path. Far up the opposite hill I heard
the mother calling him. But he heeded not; he wanted to find out things
for himself. There he was in the path again, watching me. I took out my
handkerchief and waved it gently; at which great marvel he trotted
back, stopping anon to look and stamp his little foot, to show me that
he was not afraid.

"Brave little chap, I like you," I thought, my heart going out to him
as he stood there with his soft eyes and beautiful face, stamping his
little foot. "But what," my thoughts went on, "had happened to you ere
now, had a bear or lucivee lifted his head over the ridge? Next month,
alas! the law will be off; then there will be hunters in these woods,
some of whom leave their hearts, with their wives and children, behind
them. You can't trust them, believe me, little chap. Your mother is
right; you can't trust them."

The night was coming swiftly. The mother's call, growing ever more
anxious, more insistent, swept over the darkening hillside. "Perhaps,"
I thought, with sudden twinges and alarms of conscience, "perhaps I set
you all wrong, little chap, in giving you the taste of salt that day,
and teaching you to trust things that meet you in the wilderness." That
is generally the way when we meddle with Mother Nature, who has her own
good reasons for doing things as she does. "But no! there were two of
you under the old log that day; and the other,--he's up there with his
mother now, where you ought to be,--he knows that old laws are safer
than new thoughts, especially new thoughts in the heads of foolish
youngsters. You are all wrong, little chap, for all your pretty
curiosity, and the stamp of your little foot that quite wins my heart.
Perhaps I am to blame, after all; anyway, I'll teach you better now."

At the thought I picked up a large stone and sent it crashing, jumping,
tearing down the hillside straight at him. All his bravado vanished
like a wink. Up went his flag, and away he went over the logs and rocks
of the great hillside; where presently I heard his mother running in a
great circle till she found him with her nose, thanks to the wood wires
and the wind's messages, and led him away out of danger.

One who lives for a few weeks in the wilderness, with eyes and ears
open, soon finds that, instead of the lawlessness and blind chance
which seem to hold sway there, he lives in the midst of law and order--
an order of things much older than that to which he is accustomed, with
which it is not well to interfere. I was uneasy, following the little
deer path through the twilight stillness; and my uneasiness was not
decreased when I found on a log, within fifty yards of the spot where
the fawn first appeared, the signs of a big lucivee, with plenty of
fawn's hair and fine-cracked bones to tell me what he had eaten for his
midnight dinner.

Down at the lower end of the same deer path, where it stopped at the
lake to let the wild things drink, was a little brook. Outside the
mouth of this brook, among the rocks, was a deep pool; and in the pool
lived some big trout. I was there one night, some two weeks later,
trying to catch some of the big trout for my next breakfast.

Those were wise fish. It was of no use to angle for them by day any
more. They knew all the flies in my book; could tell the new Jenny Lind
from the old Bumble Bee before it struck the water; and seemed to know
perfectly, both by instinct and experience, that they were all frauds,
which might as well be called Jenny Bee and Bumble Lind for any sweet
reasonableness that was in them. Besides all this, the water was warm;
the trout were logy and would not rise.

By night, however, the case was different. A few of the trout would
leave the pool and prowl along the shores in shallow water to see what
tidbits the darkness might bring, in the shape of night bugs and
careless piping frogs and sleepy minnows. Then, if you built a fire on
the beach and cast a white-winged fly across the path of the firelight,
you would sometimes get a big one.

It was fascinating sport always, whether the trout were rising or not.
One had to fish with his ears, and keep most of his wits in his hand,
ready to strike quick and hard when the moment came, after an hour of
casting. Half the time you would not see your fish at all, but only
hear the savage plunge as he swirled down with your fly. At other
times, as you struck sharply at the plunge, your fly would come back to
you, or tangle itself up in unseen snags; and far out, where the verge
of the firelight rippled away into the darkness, you would see a sharp
wave-wedge shooting away, which told you that your trout was only a
musquash. Swimming quietly by, he had seen you and your fire, and
slapped his tail down hard on the water to make you jump. That is a way
Musquash has in the night, so that he can make up his mind what queer
thing you are and what you are doing.

All the while, as you fish, the great dark woods stand close about you,
silent, listening. The air is full of scents and odors that steal
abroad only by night, while the air is dew-laden. Strange cries, calls,
squeaks, rustlings run along the hillside, or float in from the water,
or drop down from the air overhead, to make you guess and wonder what
wood folk are abroad at such unseemly hours, and what they are about.
So that it is good to fish by night, as well as by day, and go home
with heart and head full, even though your creel be empty.

I was standing very still by my fire, waiting for a big trout that had
risen and missed my fly to regain his confidence, when I heard cautious
rustlings in the brush behind me. I turned instantly, and there were
two great glowing spots, the eyes of a deer, flashing out of the dark
woods. A swift rustle, and two more coals glow lower down, flashing and
scintillating with strange colors; and then two more; and I know that
the doe and her fawns are there, stopped and fascinated on their way to
drink by the great wonder of the light, and by the witchery of the
dancing shadows that rush up at timid wild things, as if to frighten
them, but only jump over them and back again, as if inviting them to
join the silent play.

I knelt down quietly beside my fire, slipping on a great roll of birch
bark which blazed up brightly, filling the woods with light. There,
under a spruce, where a dark shadow had been a moment agone, stood the
mother, her eyes all ablaze with the wonder of the light; now staring
steadfastly into the fire; now starting nervously, with low questioning
snorts, as a troop of shadows ran up to play hop-scotch with the little
ones, which stood close behind her, one on either side.

A moment only it lasted. Then one fawn--I knew the heedless one, even
in the firelight, by his face and by his bright-dappled Joseph's coat--
came straight towards me, stopping to stare with flashing eyes when the
fire jumped up, and then to stamp his little foot at the shadows to
show them that he was not afraid.

The mother called him anxiously; but still he came on, stamping
prettily. She grew uneasy, trotting back and forth in a half circle,
warning, calling, pleading. Then, as he came between her and the fire,
and his little shadow stretched away up the hill where she was, showing
how far away he was from her and how near the light, she broke away
from its fascination with an immense effort: _Ka-a-a-h! ka-a-a-h!_
the hoarse cry rang through the startled woods like a pistol shot; and
she bounded away, her white flag shining like a wave crest in the night
to guide her little ones.

The second fawn followed her instantly; but the heedless one barely
swung his head to see where she was going, and then came on towards the
light, staring and stamping in foolish wonder.

I watched him a little while, fascinated myself by his beauty, his
dainty motions, his soft ears with a bright oval of light about them,
his wonderful eyes glowing like burning rainbows kindled by the
firelight. Far behind him the mother's cry ran back and forth along the
hillside. Suddenly it changed; a danger note leaped into it; and again
I heard the call to follow and the crash of brush as she leaped away. I
remembered the lynx and the sad little history written on the log
above. As the quickest way of saving the foolish youngster, I kicked my
fire to pieces and walked out toward him. Then, as the wonder vanished
in darkness and the scent of the man poured up to him on the lake's
breath, the little fellow bounded away--alas! straight up the deer
path, at right angles to the course his mother had taken a moment

Five minutes later I heard the mother calling a strange note in the
direction he had taken, and went up the deer path very quietly to
investigate. At the top of the ridge, where the path dropped away into
a dark narrow valley with dense underbrush on either side, I heard the
fawn answering her, below me among the big trees, and knew instantly
that something had happened. He called continuously, a plaintive cry of
distress, in the black darkness of the spruces. The mother ran around
him in a great circle, calling him to come; while he lay helpless in
the same spot, telling her he could not, and that she must come to him.
So the cries went back and forth in the listening night,--_Hoo-wuh_,
"come here." _Bla-a-a, blr-r-t_, "I can't; come here." _Ka-a-a-h,
ka-a-a-h!_ "danger, follow!"--and then the crash of brush as she
rushed away followed by the second fawn, whom she must save, though she
abandoned the heedless one to prowlers of the night.

It was clear enough what had happened. The cries of the wilderness all
have their meaning, if one but knows how to interpret them. Running
through the dark woods his untrained feet had missed their landing, and
he lay now under some rough windfall, with a broken leg to remind him
of the lesson he had neglected so long.

I was stealing along towards him, feeling my way among the trees in the
darkness, stopping every moment to listen to his cry to guide me, when
a heavy rustle came creeping down the hill and passed close before me.
Something, perhaps, in the sound--a heavy, though almost noiseless,
onward push which only one creature in the woods can possibly make--
something, perhaps, in a faint new odor in the moist air told me
instantly that keener ears than mine had heard the cry; that Mooween
the bear had left his blueberry patch, and was stalking the heedless
fawn, whom he knew, by the hearing of his ears, to have become
separated from his watchful mother in the darkness.

I regained the path silently--though Mooween heeds nothing when his
game is afoot--and ran back to the canoe for my rifle. Ordinarily a
bear is timid as a rabbit; but I had never met one so late at night
before, and knew not how he would act should I take his game away.
Besides, there is everything in the feeling with which one approaches
an animal. If one comes timidly, doubtfully, the animal knows it; and
if one comes swift, silent, resolute, with his power gripped tight, and
the hammer back, and a forefinger resting lightly on the trigger guard,
the animal knows it too, you may depend. Anyway, they always act as if
they knew, and you may safely follow the rule that, whatever your
feeling is, whether fear or doubt or confidence, the large and
dangerous animals will sense it instantly and adopt the opposite
feeling for their rule of action. That is the way I have always found
it in the wilderness. I met a bear once on a narrow path--but I must
tell about that elsewhere.

The cries had ceased; the woods were all dark and silent when I came
back. I went as swiftly as possible--without heed or caution; for
whatever crackling I made the bear would attribute to the desperate
mother--to the spot where I had turned back. Thence I went on
cautiously, taking my bearings from one great tree on the ridge that
lifted its bulk against the sky; slower and slower, till, just this
side of a great windfall, a twig cracked sharply under my foot. It was
answered instantly by a grunt and a jump beyond the windfall--and then
the crashing rush of a bear up the hill, carrying something that caught
and swished loudly on the bushes as it passed, till the sounds vanished
in a faint rustle far away, and the woods were still again.

All night long, from my tent over beyond an arm of the big lake, I
heard the mother calling at intervals. She seemed to be running back
and forth along the ridge, above where the tragedy had occurred. Her
nose told her of the bear and the man; but what awful thing they were
doing with her little one she knew not. Fear and questioning were in
the calls that floated down the ridge and across the water to my little

At daylight I went back to the spot. I found without trouble where the
fawn had fallen; the moss told mutely of his struggle; and a stain or
two showed where Mooween grabbed him. The rest was a plain trail of
crushed moss and bent grass and stained leaves, and a tuft of soft hair
here and there on the jagged ends of knots in the old windfalls. So the
trail hurried up the hill into a wild rough country where it was of no
use to follow.

As I climbed the last ridge on my way back to the lake, I heard

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