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taught you to call people by their proper titles. In the service of mankind I hold the rank of Fool.

S.–What, ho! without there! Let the trumpets sound!

F.–I beg you will not.

S.–True; you beg: I will not.

F.–But why rob when stealing is more honourable?

S.–Consider the competition.

* * * * *

FOOL.–Sir Cut-throat, how many orphans have you made to-day?

SOLDIER.–The devil an orphan! Have you a family?

F.–Put up your iron; I am the last of my race.

S.–How? No more fools?

F.–Not one, so help me! They have all gone to the wars.

S.–And why, pray, have _you_ not enlisted?

F.–I should be no fool if I knew.

* * * * *

FOOL.–You are somewhat indebted to me.

SOLDIER.–I do not acknowledge your claim. Let us submit the matter to arbitration.

F.–The only arbiter whose decision you respect is on your own side.

S.–You allude to my sword, the most impartial of weapons: it cuts both ways.

F.–And each way is peculiarly objectionable to your opponent.

S.–But for what am I indebted to you?

F.–For existence: the prevalence of me has made you possible.

S.–The benefit is not conspicuous; were it not for your quarrels, I should enjoy a quantity of elegant leisure.

F.–As a clodhopper.

S.–I should at least hop my clods in a humble and Christian spirit; and if some other fellow did did not so hop his–! I say no more.

F.–You have said enough; there would be war.

* * * * *

SOLDIER.–Why wear a cap and bells?

FOOL.–I hasten to crave pardon, and if spared will at once exchange them.

S.–For what?

F.–A helmet and feather.

S.–G “hang a calf-skin on those recreant limbs.”

F.–‘T is only wisdom should be bound in calf.

S.–Why?

F.–Because wisdom is the veal of which folly is the matured beef.

S.–Then folly should be garbed in cow-skin?

F.–Aye, that it might the more speedily appear for what it is–the naked truth.

S.–How should it?

F.–You would soon strip off its hide to make harness and trappings withal. No one thinks how much conquerors owe to cows.

* * * * *

FOOL.–Tell me, hero, what is strategy?

SOLDIER.–The art of laying two knives against one throat.

F.–And what are tactics?

S.–The art of driving them home.

F.–Supermundane lexicographer!

S.–I’ll bust thy crust! (_Attempts to draw his sword, gets it between his legs, and falls along_.)

F. (_from a distance_)–Shall I summon an army, or a sexton? And will you have it of bronze, or marble?

* * * * *

FOOL.–When you have gained a great victory, how much of the glory goes to the horse whose back you bestrode?

SOLDIER.–Nonsense! A horse cannot appreciate glory; he prefers corn.

F.–And this you call non-appreciation! But listen. (_Reads_) “During the Crusades, a part of the armament of a Turkish ship was two hundred serpents.” In the pursuit of glory you are at least not above employing humble auxiliaries. These be curious allies.

S.–What stuff a fool may talk! No true soldier would pit a serpent against a brave enemy. These worms were _sailors_.

F.–A nice distinction, truly! Did you ever, my most acute professor of vivisection, employ your trenchant blade in the splitting of hairs?

S.–I have split masses of them.

* * * * *

FOOL.–Speaking of the Crusades: at the siege of Acre, when a part of the wall had been thrown down by the Christians, the Pisans rushed into the breach, but the greater part of their army being at dinner, they were bloodily repulsed.

SOLDIER.–You appear to have a minute acquaintance with military history.

F.–Yes–being a fool. But was it not a sin and a shame that those feeders should not stir from their porridge to succour their suffering comrades?

S.–Pray why should a man neglect his business to oblige a friend?

F.–But they might have taken and sacked the city.

S.–The selfish gluttons!

* * * * *

SOLDIER.–Your presumption grows intolerable; I’ll hold no further parley with thee.

FOOL.–“Herculean gentleman, I dread thy drubs; pity the lifted whites of both my eyes!”

S.–Then speak no more of the things you do but imperfectly understand.

F.–Such censorship would doom all tongues to silence. But show me wherein my knowledge is deficient.

S.–What is an _abattis_?

F.–Rubbish placed in front of a fort, to keep the rubbish outside from getting at the rubbish inside.

S.–Egad! I’ll part thy hair!

DIVERS TALES.

THE GRATEFUL BEAR.

I hope all my little readers have heard the story of Mr. Androcles and the lion; so I will relate it as nearly as I can remember it, with the caution that Androcles must not be confounded with the lion. If I had a picture representing Androcles with a silk hat, and the lion with a knot in his tail, the two might readily be distinguished; but the artist says he won’t make any such picture, and we must try to get on without.

One day Androcles was gathering truffles in a forest, when he found a lion’s den; and, walking into it, he lay down and slept. It was a custom, in his time, to sleep in lions’ dens when practicable. The lion was absent, inspecting a zoological garden, and did not return until late; but he did return. He was surprised to find a stranger in his menagerie without a ticket; but, supposing him to be some contributor to a comic paper, did not eat him: he was very well satisfied not to be eaten by him. Presently Androcles awoke, wishing he had some seltzer water, or something. (Seltzer water is good after a night’s debauch, and something–it is difficult to say what–is good to begin the new debauch with). Seeing the lion eyeing him, he began hastily to pencil his last will and testament upon the rocky floor of the den. What was his surprise to see the lion advance amicably and extend his right forefoot! Androcles, however, was equal to the occasion: he met the friendly overture with a cordial grasp of the hand, whereat the lion howled–for he had a carpet-tack in his foot. Perceiving that he had made a little mistake, Androcles made such reparation as was in his power by pulling out the tack and putting it in his own foot.

After this the beast could not do too much for him. He went out every morning–carefully locking the door behind him–and returned every evening, bringing in a nice fat baby from an adjacent village, and laying it gratefully at his benefactor’s feet. For the first few days something seemed to have gone wrong with the benefactor’s appetite, but presently he took very kindly to the new diet; and, as he could not get away, he lodged there, rent-free, all the days of his life–which terminated very abruptly one evening when the lion had not met with his usual success in hunting.

All this has very little to do with my story: I throw it in as a classical allusion, to meet the demands of a literary fashion which has its origin in the generous eagerness of writers to give the public more than it pays for. But the story of Androcles was a favourite with the bear whose adventures I am about to relate.

One day this crafty brute carefully inserted a thorn between two of his toes, and limped awkwardly to the farm-house of Dame Pinworthy, a widow, who with two beautiful whelps infested the forest where he resided. He knocked at the open door, sent in his card, and was duly admitted to the presence of the lady, who inquired his purpose. By way of “defining his position” he held up his foot, and snuffled very dolorously. The lady adjusted her spectacles, took the paw in her lap (she, too, had heard the tale of Androcles), and, after a close scrutiny, discovered the thorn, which, as delicately as possible, she extracted, the patient making wry faces and howling dismally the while.

[Illustration]

When it was all over, and she had assured him there was no charge, his gratitude was a passion to observe! He desired to embrace her at once; but this, although a widow of seven years’ standing, she would by no means permit; she said she was not personally averse to hugging, “but what would her dear departed–boo-hoo!–say of it?” This was very absurd, for Mr. Boo-hoo had seven feet of solid earth above him, and it couldn’t make much difference what he said, even supposing he had enough tongue left to say anything, which he had not. However, the polite beast respected her scruples; so the only way in which he could testify his gratitude was by remaining to dinner. They had the housedog for dinner that day, though, from some false notion of hospitable etiquette, the woman and children did not take any.

On the next day, punctually at the same hour, the bear came again with another thorn, and stayed to dinner as before. It was not much of a dinner this time–only the cat, and a roll of stair-carpet, with one or two pieces of sheet music; but true gratitude does not despise even the humblest means of expression. The succeeding day he came as before; but after being relieved of his torment, he found nothing prepared for him. But when he took to thoughtfully licking one of the little girl’s hands, “that answered not with a caress,” the mother thought better of it, and drove in a small heifer.

He now came every day; he was so old a friend that the formality of extracting the thorn was no longer observed; it would have contributed nothing to the good understanding that existed between him and the widow. He thought that three or four instances of Good Samaritanism afforded ample matter for perpetual gratitude. His constant visits were bad for the live stock of the farm; for some kind of beast had to be in readiness each day to furnish forth the usual feast, and this prevented multiplication. Most of the textile fabrics, too, had disappeared; for the appetite of this animal was at the same time cosmopolitan and exacting: it would accept almost anything in the way of _entremets_, but something it would have. A hearthrug, a hall-mat, a cushion, mattress, blanket, shawl, or other article of wearing apparel–anything, in short, that was easy of ingestion was graciously approved. The widow tried him once with a box of coals as dessert to some barn-yard fowls; but this he seemed to regard as a doubtful comestible, seductive to the palate, but obstinate in the stomach. A look at one of the children always brought him something else, no matter what he was then engaged on.

It was suggested to Mrs. Pinworthy that she should poison the bear; but, after trying about a hundredweight of strychnia, arsenic, and Prussic acid, without any effect other than what might be expected from mild tonics, she thought it would not be right to go into toxicology. So the poor Widow Pinworthy went on, patiently enduring the consumption of her cattle, sheep, and hogs, the evaporation of her poultry, and the taking off of her bed linen, until there were left only the clothing of herself and children, some curtains, a sickly lamb, and a pet pigeon. When the bear came for these she ventured to expostulate. In this she was perfectly successful: the animal permitted her to expostulate as long as she liked. Then he ate the lamb and pigeon, took in a dish-cloth or two, and went away just as contentedly as if she had not uttered a word.

Nothing edible now stood between her little daughters and the grave. Her mental agony was painful to her mind; she could scarcely have suffered more without an increase of unhappiness. She was roused to desperation; and next day, when she saw the bear leaping across the fields toward the house, she staggered from her seat and shut the door. It was singular what a difference it made; she always remembered it after that, and wished she had thought of it before.

* * * * *

THE SETTING SACHEM.

‘Twas an Injin chieftain, in feathers all fine, Who stood on the ocean’s rim;
There were numberless leagues of excellent brine– But there wasn’t enough for him.
So he knuckled a thumb in his painted eye, And added a tear to the scant supply.

The surges were breaking with thund’rous voice, The winds were a-shrieking shrill;
This warrior thought that a trifle of noise Was needed to fill the bill.
So he lifted the top of his head off and scowled– Exalted his voice, did this chieftain, and howled!

The sun was aflame in a field of gold That hung o’er the Western Sea;
Bright banners of light were broadly unrolled, As banners of light should be.
But no one was “speaking a piece” to that sun, And therefore this Medicine Man begun:

“O much heap of bright! O big ball of warm! I’ve tracked you from sea to sea!
For the Paleface has been at some pains to inform Me, _you_ are the emblem of _me_.
He says to me, cheerfully: ‘Westward Ho!’ And westward I’ve hoed a most difficult row.

“Since you are the emblem of me, I presume That I am the emblem of you,
And thus, as we’re equals, ‘t is safe to assume, That one great law governs us two.
So now if I set in the ocean with thee, With thee I shall rise again out of the sea.”

His eloquence first, and his logic the last! Such orators die!–and he died:
The trump was against him–his luck bad–he “passed”– And so he “passed out”–with the tide. This Injin is rid of the world with a whim– The world it is rid of his speeches and him.

* * * * *

FEODORA.

Madame Yonsmit was a decayed gentlewoman who carried on her decomposition in a modest wayside cottage in Thuringia. She was an excellent sample of the Thuringian widow, a species not yet extinct, but trying very hard to become so. The same may be said of the whole genus. Madame Yonsmit was quite young, very comely, cultivated, gracious, and pleasing. Her home was a nest of domestic virtues, but she had a daughter who reflected but little credit upon the nest. Feodora was indeed a “bad egg”–a very wicked and ungrateful egg. You could see she was by her face. The girl had the most vicious countenance–it was repulsive! It was a face in which boldness struggled for the supremacy with cunning, and both were thrashed into subjection by avarice. It was this latter virtue in Feodora which kept her mother from having a taxable income.

Feodora’s business was to beg on the highway. It wrung the heart of the honest amiable gentlewoman to have her daughter do this; but the h.a.g. having been reared in luxury, considered labour degrading–which it is–and there was not much to steal in that part of Thuringia. Feodora’s mendicity would have provided an ample fund for their support, but unhappily that ingrate would hardly ever fetch home more than two or three shillings at a time. Goodness knows what she did with the rest.

Vainly the good woman pointed out the sin of coveteousness; vainly she would stand at the cottage door awaiting the child’s return, and begin arguing the point with her the moment she came in sight: the receipts diminished daily until the average was less than tenpence–a sum upon which no born gentlewoman would deign to exist. So it became a matter of some importance to know where Feodora kept her banking account. Madame Yonsmit thought at first she would follow her and see; but although the good lady was as vigorous and sprightly as ever, carrying a crutch more for ornament than use, she abandoned this plan because it did not seem suitable to the dignity of a decayed gentlewoman. She employed a detective.

The foregoing particulars I have from Madame Yonsmit herself; for those immediately subjoining I am indebted to the detective, a skilful officer named Bowstr.

[Illustration]

No sooner had the scraggy old hag communicated her suspicions than the officer knew exactly what to do. He first distributed hand-bills all over the country, stating that a certain person suspected of concealing money had better look sharp. He then went to the Home Secretary, and by not seeking to understate the real difficulties of the case, induced that functionary to offer a reward of a thousand pounds for the arrest of the malefactor. Next he proceeded to a distant town, and took into custody a clergyman who resembled Feodora in respect of wearing shoes. After these formal preliminaries he took up the case with some zeal. He was not at all actuated by a desire to obtain the reward, but by pure love of justice. The thought of securing the girl’s private hoard for himself never for a moment entered his head.

He began to make frequent calls at the widow’s cottage when Feodora was at home, when, by apparently careless conversation, he would endeavour to draw her out; but he was commonly frustrated by her old beast of a mother, who, when the girl’s answers did not suit, would beat her unmercifully. So he took to meeting Feodora on the highway, and giving her coppers carefully marked. For months he kept this up with wonderful self-sacrifice–the girl being a mere uninteresting angel. He met her daily in the roads and forest. His patience never wearied, his vigilance never flagged. Her most careless glances were conscientiously noted, her lightest words treasured up in his memory. Meanwhile (the clergyman having been unjustly acquitted) he arrested everybody he could get his hands on. Matters went on in this way until it was time for the grand _coup_.

The succeeding-particulars I have from the lips of Feodora herself.

When that horrid Bowstr first came to the house Feodora thought he was rather impudent, but said, little about it to her mother–not desiring to have her back broken. She merely avoided him as much as she dared, he was so frightfully ugly. But she managed to endure him until he took to waylaying her on the highway, hanging about her all day, interfering with the customers, and walking home with her at night. Then her dislike deepened into disgust; and but for apprehensions not wholly unconnected with a certain crutch, she would have sent him about his business in short order. More than a thousand million times she told him to be off and leave her alone, but men are such fools–particularly this one.

What made Bowstr exceptionally disagreeable was his shameless habit of making fun of Feodora’s mother, whom he declared crazy as a loon. But the maiden bore everything as well as she could, until one day the nasty thing put his arm about her waist and kissed her before her very face; _then_ she felt–well, it is not clear how she felt, but of one thing she was quite sure: after having such a shame put upon her by this insolent brute, she would never go back under her dear mother’s roof–never. She was too proud for _that_, at any rate. So she ran away with Mr. Bowstr, and married him.

The conclusion of this history I learned for myself.

Upon hearing of her daughter’s desertion Madame Yonsmit went clean daft. She vowed she could bear betrayal, could endure decay, could stand being a widow, would not repine at being left alone in her old age (whenever she should become old), and could patiently submit to the sharper than a serpent’s thanks of having a toothless child generally. But to be a mother-in-law! No, no; that was a plane of degradation to which she positively would _not_ descend. So she employed me to cut her throat. It was the toughest throat I ever cut in all my life.

* * * * *

THE LEGEND OF IMMORTAL TRUTH.

A bear, having spread him a notable feast, Invited a famishing fox to the place.
“I’ve killed me,” quoth he, “an edible beast As ever distended the girdle of priest
With ‘spread of religion,’ or ‘inward grace.’ To my den I conveyed her,
I bled her and flayed her,
I hung up her skin to dry;
Then laid her naked, to keep her cool, On a slab of ice from the frozen pool;
And there we will eat her–you and I.”

The fox accepts, and away they walk, Beguiling the time with courteous talk. You’d ne’er have suspected, to see them smile, The bear was thinking, the blessed while, How, when his guest should be off his guard, With feasting hard,
He’d give him a “wipe” that would spoil his style. You’d never have thought, to see them bow, The fox was reflecting deeply how
He would best proceed, to circumvent His host, and prig
The entire pig–
Or other bird to the same intent.
When Strength and Cunning in love combine, Be sure ‘t is to more than merely dine.

The while these biters ply the lip,
A mile ahead the muse shall skip:
The poet’s purpose she best may serve Inside the den–if she have the nerve.
Behold! laid out in dark recess,
A ghastly goat in stark undress,
Pallid and still on her gelid bed, And indisputably very dead.
Her skin depends from a couple of pins– And here the most singular statement begins; For all at once the butchered beast,
With easy grace for one deceased, Upreared her head,
Looked round, and said,
Very distinctly for one so dead:
“The nights are sharp, and the sheets are thin: I find it uncommonly cold herein!”

[Illustration]

I answer not how this was wrought:
All miracles surpass my thought.
They’re vexing, say you? and dementing? Peace, peace! they’re none of my inventing. But lest too much of mystery
Embarrass this true history,
I’ll not relate how that this goat Stood up and stamped her feet, to inform’em With–what’s the word?–I mean, to warm’em; Nor how she plucked her rough _capote_
From off the pegs where Bruin threw it, And o’er her quaking body drew it;
Nor how each act could so befall:
I’ll only swear she did them all;
Then lingered pensive in the grot, As if she something had forgot,
Till a humble voice and a voice of pride Were heard, in murmurs of love, outside. Then, like a rocket set aflight,
She sprang, and streaked it for the light!

Ten million million years and a day
Have rolled, since these events, away; But still the peasant at fall of night, Belated therenear, is oft affright
By sounds of a phantom bear in flight; A breaking of branches under the hill;
The noise of a going when all is still! And hens asleep on the perch, they say, Cackle sometimes in a startled way,
As if they were dreaming a dream that mocks The lope and whiz of a fleeting fox!

Half we’re taught, and teach to youth, And praise by rote,
Is not, but merely stands for, truth. So of my goat:
She’s merely designed to represent The truth–“immortal” to this extent:
Dead she may be, and skinned–_frappe_– Hid in a dreadful den away;
Prey to the Churches–(any will do, Except the Church of me and you.)
The simplest miracle, even then,
Will get her up and about again.

CONVERTING A PRODIGAL.

Little Johnny was a saving youth–one who from early infancy had cultivated a provident habit. When other little boys were wasting their substance in riotous gingerbread and molasses candy, investing in missionary enterprises which paid no dividends, subscribing to the North Labrador Orphan Fund, and sending capital out of the country gene rally, Johnny would be sticking sixpences into the chimney-pot of a big tin house with “BANK” painted on it in red letters above an illusory door. Or he would put out odd pennies at appalling rates of interest, with his parents, and bank the income. He was never weary of dropping coppers into that insatiable chimney-pot, and leaving them there. In this latter respect he differed notably from his elder brother, Charlie; for, although Charles was fond of banking too, he was addicted to such frequent runs upon the institution with a hatchet, that it kept his parents honourably poor to purchase banks for him; so they were reluctantly compelled to discourage the depositing element in his panicky nature.

Johnny was not above work, either; to him “the dignity of labour” was not a juiceless platitude, as it is to me, but a living, nourishing truth, as satisfying and wholesome as that two sides of a triangle are equal to one side of bacon. He would hold horses for gentlemen who desired to step into a bar to inquire for letters. He would pursue the fleeting pig at the behest of a drover. He would carry water to the lions of a travelling menagerie, or do anything, for gain. He was sharp-witted too: before conveying a drop of comfort to the parching king of beasts, he would stipulate for six-pence instead of the usual free ticket–or “tasting order,” so to speak. He cared not a button for the show.

The first hard work Johnny did of a morning was to look over the house for fugitive pins, needles, hair-pins, matches, and other unconsidered trifles; and if he sometimes found these where nobody had lost them, he made such reparation as was in his power by losing them again where nobody but he could find them. In the course of time, when he had garnered a good many, he would “realize,” and bank the proceeds.

Nor was he weakly superstitious, this Johnny. You could not fool _him_ with the Santa Claus hoax on Christmas Eve: he would lie awake all night, as sceptical as a priest; and along toward morning, getting quietly out of bed, would examine the pendent stockings of the other children, to satisfy himself the predicted presents were not there; and in the morning it always turned out that they were not. Then, when the other children cried because they did not get anything, and the parents affected surprise (as if they really believed in the venerable fiction), Johnny was too manly to utter a whimper: he would simply slip out of the back door, and engage in traffic with affluent orphans; disposing of woolly horses, tin whistles, marbles, tops, dolls, and sugar archangels, at a ruinous discount for cash. He continued these provident courses for nine long years, always banking his accretions with scrupulous care. Everybody predicted he would one day be a merchant prince or a railway king; and some added he would sell his crown to the junk-dealers.

His unthrifty brother, meanwhile, kept growing worse and worse. He was so careless of wealth–so so wastefully extravagant of lucre–that Johnny felt it his duty at times to clandestinely assume control of the fraternal finances, lest the habit of squandering should wreck the fraternal moral sense. It was plain that Charles had entered upon the broad road which leads from the cradle to the workhouse–and that he rather liked the travelling. So profuse was his prodigality that there were grave suspicions as to his method of acquiring what he so openly disbursed. There was but one opinion as to the melancholy termination of his career–a termination which he seemed to regard as eminently desirable. But one day, when the good pastor put it at him in so many words, Charles gave token of some apprehension.

“Do you really think so, sir?” said he, thoughtfully; “ain’t you playin’ it on me?”

“I assure you, Charles,” said the good man, catching a ray of hope from the boy’s dawning seriousness, “you will certainly end your days in a workhouse, unless you speedily abandon your course of extravagance. There is nothing like habit–nothing!”

Charles may have thought that, considering his frequent and lavish contributions to the missionary fund, the parson was rather hard upon him; but he did not say so. He went away in mournful silence, and began pelting a blind beggar with coppers.

One day, when Johnny had been more than usually provident, and Charles proportionately prodigal, their father, having exhausted moral suasion to no apparent purpose, determined to have recourse to a lower order of argument: he would try to win Charles to economy by an appeal to his grosser nature. So he convened the entire family, and,

“Johnny,” said he, “do you think you have much money in your bank? You ought to have saved a considerable sum in nine years.”

Johnny took the alarm in a minute: perhaps there was some barefooted little girl to be endowed with Sunday-school books.

“No,” he answered, reflectively, “I don’t think there can be much. There’s been a good deal of cold weather this winter, and you know how metal shrinks! No-o-o, I’m sure there can’t be only a little.”

“Well, Johnny, you go up and bring down your bank. We’ll see. Perhaps Charles may be right, after all; and it’s not worth while to save money. I don’t want a son of mine to get into a bad habit unless it pays.”

So Johnny travelled reluctantly up to his garret, and went to the corner where his big tin bank-box had sat on a chest undisturbed for years. He had long ago fortified himself against temptation by vowing never to even shake it; for he remembered that formerly when Charles used to shake his, and rattle the coins inside, he always ended by smashing in the roof. Johnny approached his bank, and taking hold of the cornice on either side, braced himself, gave a strong lift upwards, and keeled over upon his back with the edifice atop of him, like one of the figures in a picture of the great Lisbon earthquake! There was but a single coin in it; and that, by an ingenious device, was suspended in the centre, so that every piece popped in at the chimney would clink upon it in passing through Charlie’s little hole into Charlie’s little stocking hanging innocently beneath.

Of course restitution was out of the question; and even Johnny felt that any merely temporal punishment would be weakly inadequate to the demands of justice. But that night, in the dead silence of his chamber, Johnny registered a great and solemn swear that so soon as he could worry together a little capital, he would fling his feeble remaining energies into the spendthrift business. And he did so.

* * * * *

FOUR JACKS AND A KNAVE.

In the “backwoods” of Pennsylvania stood a little mill. The miller appertaining unto this mill was a Pennsylvania Dutchman–a species of animal in which for some centuries _sauerkraut_ has been usurping the place of sense. In Hans Donnerspiel the usurpation was not complete; he still knew enough to go in when it rained, but he did not know enough to stay there after the storm had blown over. Hans was known to a large circle of friends and admirers as about the worst miller in those parts; but as he was the only one, people who quarrelled with an exclusively meat diet continued to patronize him. He was honest, as all stupid people are; but he was careless. So absent-minded was he, that sometimes when grinding somebody’s wheat he would thoughtlessly turn into the “hopper” a bag of rye, a lot of old beer-bottles, or a basket of fish. This made the flour so peculiar, that the people about there never knew what it was to be well a day in all their lives. There were so many local diseases in that vicinity, that a doctor from twenty miles away could not have killed a patient in a week.

Hans meant well; but he had a hobby–a hobby that he did not ride: that does not express it: it rode him. It spurred him so hard, that the poor wretch could not pause a minute to see what he was putting into his mill. This hobby was the purchase of jackasses. He expended all his income in this diversion, and his mill was fairly sinking under its weight of mortgages. He had more jackasses than he had hairs on his head, and, as a rule, they were thinner. He was no mere amateur collector either, but a sharp discriminating _connoisseur_. He would buy a fat globular donkey if he could not do better; but a lank shabby one was the apple of his eye. He rolled such a one, as it were, like a sweet morsel under his tongue.

Hans’s nearest neighbour was a worthless young scamp named Jo Garvey, who lived mainly by hunting and fishing. Jo was a sharp-witted rascal, without a single scruple between, himself and fortune. With a tithe of Hans’s industry he might have been almost anything; but his dense laziness always rose up like a stone wall about him, shutting him in like a toad in a rock. The exact opposite of Hans in almost every respect, he was notably similar in one: he had a hobby. Jo’s hobby was the selling of jackasses.

One day, while Hans’s upper and nether mill-stones were making it lively for a mingled grist of corn, potatoes, and young chickens, he heard Joseph calling outside. Stepping to the door, he saw him holding three halters to which were appended three donkeys.

“I say, Hans,” said he, “here are three fine animals for your stud. I have brought ’em up from the egg, and I know ’em to be first-class. But they ‘re not so big as I expected, and you may have ’em for a sack of oats each.”

Hans was delighted. He had not the least doubt in the world that Joe had stolen them; but it was a fixed principle with him never to let a donkey go away and say he was a hard man to deal with. He at once brought out and delivered the oats. Jo gravely examined the quality, and placing a sack across each animal, calmly led them away.

[Illustration]

When he had gone, it occurred to Hans that he had less oats and no more asses than he had before.

“Tuyfel!” he exclaimed, scratching his pow; “I puy dot yackasses, und I don’t vos god ‘im so mooch as I didn’t haf ‘im before–ain’t it?”

Very much to his comfort it was, therefore, to see Jo come by next day leading the same animals.

“Hi!” he shrieked; “you prings me to my yackasses. You gif me to my broberdy back!”

“Oh, very well, Hans. If you want to crawfish out of a fair bargain, all right. I’ll give you back your donkeys, and you give me back my oats.”

“Yaw, yaw,” assented the mollified miller; “you his von honest shentlemans as I vos efer vent anyvhere. But I don’t god ony more oats, und you moost dake vheat, eh?”

And fetching out three sacks of wheat, he handed them over. Jo was proceeding to lay these upon the backs of the animals; but this was too thin for even Hans.

“Ach! you tief-veller! you leabs dis yackasses in me, und go right avay off; odther I bust your het mid a gloob, don’t it?”

So Joseph was reluctantly constrained to hang the donkeys to a fence. While he did this, Hans was making a desperate attempt to think. Presently he brightened up:

“Yo, how you coom by dot vheat all de dime?”

“Why, old mudhead, you gave it to me for the jacks.”

“Und how you coom by dot oats pooty soon avhile ago?”

“Why, I gave that to you for them,” said Joseph, pressed very hard for a reply.

“Vell, den, you goes vetch me back to dot oats so gwicker as a lamb gedwinkle his dail–hay?”

“All right, Hans. Lend me the donkeys to carry off my wheat, and I ‘ll bring back your oats on ’em.”

Joseph was beginning to despair; but no objection being made, he loaded up the grain, and made off with his docile caravan. In a half-hour he returned with the donkeys, but of course without anything else.

“I zay, Yo, where is dis oats I hear zo mooch dalk aboud still?”

“Oh, curse you and your oats!” growled Jo, with simulated anger. “You make such a fuss about a bargain, I have decided not to trade. Take your old donkeys, and call it square!”

“Den vhere mine vheat is?”

“Now look here, Hans; that wheat is yours, is it?”

“Yaw, yaw.”

“And the donkeys are yours, eh?”

“Yaw, yaw.”

“And the wheat’s been yours all the time, has it?”

“Yaw, yaw.”

“Well, so have the donkeys. I took ’em out of your pasture in the first place. Now what have you got to complain of?”

The Dutchman reflected all over his head with’ his forefinger-nail.

“Gomblain? I no gomblain ven it is all right. I zee now I vos made a mistaken. Coom, dake a drinks.”

Jo left the animals standing, and went inside, where they pledged one another in brimming mugs of beer. Then taking Hans by the hand,

“I am sorry,” said he, “we can’t trade. Perhaps some other day you will be more reasonable. Good bye!”

And Joseph departed leading away the donkeys!

Hans stood for some moments gazing after him with a complacent smile making his fat face ridiculous. Then turning to his mill-stones, he shook his head with an air of intense self-satisfaction:

“Py donner! Dot Yo Garfey bees a geen, shmard yockey, but he gonnot spiel me svoppin’ yackasses!”

* * * * *

DR. DEADWOOD, I PRESUME.

My name is Shandy, and this is the record of my Sentimental Journey. Mr. Ames Jordan Gannett, proprietor’s son of the “York—-,” with which paper I am connected by marriage, sent me a post-card in a sealed envelope, asking me to call at a well-known restaurant in Regent Street. I was then at a well-known restaurant in Houndsditch. I put on my worst and only hat, and went. I found Mr. Gannett, at dinner, eating pease with his knife, in the manner of his countrymen. He opened the conversation, characteristically, thus:

“Where’s Dr. Deadwood?”

After several ineffectual guesses I had a happy thought. I asked him:

“Am I my brother’s bar-keeper?”

Mr. Gannett pondered deeply, with his forefinger alongside his nose. Finally he replied:

“I give it up.”

He continued to eat for some moments in profound silence, as that of a man very much in earnest. Suddenly he resumed:

“Here is a blank cheque, signed. I will send you all my father’s personal property to-morrow. Take this and find Dr. Deadwood. Find him actually if you can, but find him. Away!”

I did as requested; that is, I took the cheque. Having supplied myself with such luxuries as were absolutely necessary, I retired to my lodgings. Upon my table in the centre of the room were spread some clean white sheets of foolscap, and sat a bottle of black ink. It was a good omen: the virgin paper was typical of the unexplored interior of Africa; the sable ink represented the night of barbarism, or the hue of barbarians, indifferently.

Now began the most arduous undertaking mentioned in the “York—-,” I mean in history. Lighting my pipe, and fixing my eye upon the ink and paper, I put my hands behind my back and took my departure from the hearthrug toward the Interior. Language fails me; I throw myself upon the reader’s imagination. Before I had taken two steps, my vision alighted upon the circular of a quack physician, which I had brought home the day before around a bottle of hair-wash. I now saw the words, “Twenty-one fevers!” This prostrated me for I know not how long. Recovering, I took a step forward, when my eyes fastened themselves upon my pen-wiper, worked into the similitude of a tiger. This compelled me to retreat to the hearthrug for reinforcements. The red-and-white dog displayed upon that article turned a deaf ear to my entreaties; nothing would move him.

A torrent of rain now began falling outside, and I knew the roads were impassable; but, chafing with impatience, I resolved upon another advance. Cautiously proceeding _via_ the sofa, my attention fell upon a scrap of newspaper; and, to my unspeakable disappointment, I read:

“The various tribes of the Interior are engaged in a bitter warfare.”

It may have related to America, but I could not afford to hazard all upon a guess. I made a wide _detour_ by way of the coal-scuttle, and skirted painfully along the sideboard. All this consumed so much time that my pipe expired in gloom, and I went back to the hearthrug to get a match off the chimney-piece. Having done so, I stepped over to the table and sat down, taking up the pen and spreading the paper between myself and the ink-bottle. It was late, and something must be done. Writing the familiar word Ujijijijijiji, I caught a neighbourly cockroach, skewered him upon a pin, and fastened him in the centre of the word. At this supreme moment I felt inclined to fall upon his neck and devour him with kisses; but knowing by experience that cockroaches are not good to eat, I restrained my feelings. Lifting my hat, I said:

“Dr. Deadwood, I presume?”

_He did not deny it!_

Seeing he was feeling sick, I gave him a bit of cheese and cheered him up a trifle. After he was well restored,

“Tell me,” said I, “is it true that the Regent’s Canal falls into Lake Michigan, thence running uphill to Omaha, as related by Ptolemy, thence spirally to Melbourne, where it joins the delta of the Ganges and becomes an affluent of the Albert Nicaragua, as Herodotus maintains?”

HE DID NOT DENY IT!

The rest is known to the public.

* * * * *

NUT-CRACKING.

In the city of Algammon resided the Prince Champou, who was madly enamoured of the Lady Capilla. She returned his affection–unopened.

In the matter of back-hair the Lady Capilla was blessed even beyond her deserts. Her natural pigtail was so intolerably long that she employed two pages to look after it when she walked out; the one a few yards behind her, the other at the extreme end of the line. Their names were Dan and Beersheba, respectively.

[Illustration]

Aside from salaries to these dependents, and quite apart from the consideration of macassar, the possession of all this animal filament was financially unprofitable: the hair market was buoyant, and hers represented a large amount of idle capital. And it was otherwise a source of annoyance and irritation; for all the young men of the city were hotly in love with her, and skirmishing for a love-lock. They seldom troubled Dan much, but the outlying Beersheba had an animated time of it. He was subject to constant incursions, and was always in a riot.

The picture I have drawn to illustrate this history shows nothing of all these squabbles. My pen revels in the battle’s din, but my peaceful pencil loves to depict the scenes I know something about.

Although the Lady Capilla was unwilling to reciprocate the passion of Champou the man, she was not averse to quiet interviews with Champou the Prince. In the course of one of these (see my picture), as she sat listening to his carefully-rehearsed and really artistic avowals, with her tail hanging out of the window, she suddenly interrupted him:

“My dear Prince,” said she, “it is all nonsense, you know, to ask for my heart; but I am not mean; you shall have a lock of my hair.”

“Do you think,” replied the Prince, “that I could be so sordid as to accept a single jewel from that glorious crown? I love this hair of yours very dearly, I admit, but only because of its connection with your divine head. Sever that connection, and I should value it no more than I would a tail plucked from its native cow.”

This comparison seems to me a very fine one, but tastes differ, and to the Lady Capilla it seemed quite the reverse. Rising indignantly, she marched away, her queue running in through the window and gradually tapering off the interview, as it were. Prince Champou saw that he had missed his opportunity, and resolved to repair his error. Straightway he forged an order on Beersheba for thirty yards of love-lock. To serve this writ he sent his business partner; for the Prince was wont to beguile his dragging leisure by tonsorial diversions in an obscure quarter of the town. At first Beersheba was sceptical, but when he saw the writing in real ink, his scruples vanished, and he chopped off the amount of souvenir demanded.

Now Champou’s partner was the Court barber, and by the use of a peculiar hair oil which the two of them had concocted, they soon managed to balden the pates of all the male aristocracy of the place. Then, to supply the demand so created, they devised beautiful wigs from the Lady Capilla’s lost tresses, which they sold at a marvellous profit. And so they were enabled to retire from this narrative with good incomes.

It was known that the Lady Capilla, who, since the alleged murder of one Beersheba, had shut herself up like a hermit, or a jack-knife, would re-enter society; and a great ball was given to do her honour. The feauty, bank, and rashion of Algammon had assembled in the Guildhall for that purpose. While the revelry was at its fiercest, the dancing at its loosest, the rooms at their hottest, and the perspiration at spring-tide, there was a sound of wheels outside, begetting an instant hush of expectation within. The dancers ceased to spin, and all the gentlemen crowded about the door. As the Lady Capilla entered, these instinctively fell into two lines, and she passed down the space between, with her little tail behind her. As the end of the latter came into the room, the wigs of the two gentlemen nearest the door leaped off to join their parent stem. In their haste to recover them the two gentlemen bent eagerly forward, knocking their shining pows together with a vehemence that shattered them like egg-shells. The wigs of the next pair were similarly affected; and in seeking to recover them the pair similarly perished. Then, _crack! spat! pash!_–at every step the lady took there were two heads that beat as one. In three minutes there was but a single living male in the room. He was an odd one, who, having a lady opposite him, had merely pitched himself headlong into her stomach, doubling her like a lemon-squeezer.

It was merry to see the Lady Capilla floating through the mazy dance that night, with all those wigs fighting for their old places in her pigtail.

* * * * *

THE MAGICIAN’S LITTLE JOKE.

About the middle of the fifteenth century there dwelt in the Black Forest a pretty but unfashionable young maiden named Simprella Whiskiblote. The first of these names was hers in monopoly; the other she enjoyed in common with her father. Simprella was the most beautiful fifteenth-century girl I ever saw. She had coloured eyes, a complexion, some hair, and two lips very nearly alike, which partially covered a lot of teeth. She was gifted with the complement of legs commonly worn at that period, supporting a body to which were loosely attached, in the manner of her country, as many arms as she had any use for, inasmuch as she was not required to hold baby. But all these charms were only so many objective points for the operations of the paternal cudgel; for this father of hers was a hard, unfeeling man, who had no bowels of compassion for his bludgeon. He would put it to work early, and keep it going all day; and when it was worn out with hard service, instead of rewarding it with steady employment, he would cruelly throw it aside and get a fresh one. It is scarcely to be wondered at that a girl harried in this way should be driven to the insane expedient of falling in love.

Near the neat mud cottage in which Simprella vegetated was a dense wood, extending for miles in various directions, according to the point from which it was viewed. By a method readily understood, it had been so arranged that it was the next easiest thing in the world to get into it, and the very easiest thing in the world to stay there.

In the centre of this labyrinth was a castle of the early promiscuous order of architecture–an order which was until recently much employed in the construction of powder-works, but is now entirely exploded. In this baronial hall lived an eligible single party–a giant so tall he used a step-ladder to put on his hat, and could not put his hands into his pockets without kneeling. He lived entirely alone, and gave himself up to the practice of iniquity, devising prohibitory liquor laws, imposing the income tax, and drinking shilling claret. But, seeing Simprella one day, he bent himself into the form of a horse-shoe magnet to look into her eyes. Whether it was his magnetic attitude acting upon a young heart steeled by adversity, or his chivalric forbearance in not eating her, I know not: I only know that from that moment she became riotously enamoured of him; and the reader may accept either the scientific or the popular explanation, according to the bent of his mind.

She at once asked the giant in marriage, and obtained the consent of his parents by betraying her father into their hands; explaining to them, however, that he was not good to eat, but might be drunk on the premises.

The marriage proved a very happy one, but the household duties of the bride were extremely irksome. It fatigued her to dress the beeves for dinner; it nearly broke her back to black her lord’s boots without any scaffolding. It took her all day to perform any kindly little office for him. But she bore it all uncomplainingly, until one morning he asked her to part his back hair; then the bent sapling of her spirit flew up and hit him in the face. She gathered up some French novels, and retired to a lonely tower to breathe out her soul in unavailing regrets.

One day she saw below her in the forest a dear gazelle, gladding her with its soft black eye. She leaned out of the window, and said _Scat!_ The animal did not move. Then she waved her arms–above described–and said _Shew!_ This time he did not move as much as he did before. Simprella decided he must have a bill against her; so she closed her shutters, drew down the blind, and pinned the curtains together. A moment later she opened them and peeped out. Then she went down to examine his collar, that she might order one like it.

When the gazelle saw Simprella approach, he arose, and, beckoning with his tail, made off slowly into the wood. Then Simprella perceived this was a supernatural gazelle–a variety now extinct, but which then pervaded the Schwarzwald in considerable quantity–sent by some good magician, who owed the giant a grudge, to pilot her out of the forest. Nothing could exceed her joy at this discovery: she whistled a dirge, sang a Latin hymn, and preached a funeral discourse all in one breath. Such were the artless methods by which the full heart in the fifteenth century was compelled to express its gratitute for benefits; the advertising columns of the daily papers were not then open to the benefactor’s pen.

[Illustration]

All would now have been well, but for the fact that it was not. In following her deliverer, Simprella observed that his golden collar was inscribed with the mystic words–HANDS OFF! She tried hard to obey the injunction; she did her level best; she–but why amplify? Simprella was a woman.

No sooner had her fingers touched the slender chain depending from the magic collar, than the poor animal’s eyes emitted twin tears, which coursed silently but firmly down his nose, vacating it more in sorrow than in anger. Then he looked up reproachfully into her face. Those were his first tears–this was his last look. In two minutes by the watch he was blind as a mole!

There is but little more to tell. The giant ate himself to death; the castle mouldered and crumbled into pig-pens; empires rose and fell; kings ascended their thrones, and got down again; mountains grew grey, and rivers bald-headed; suits in chancery were brought and decided, and those from the tailor were paid for; the ages came, like maiden aunts, uninvited, and lingered till they became a bore–and still Simprella, with the magician’s curse upon her, conducted her sightless guide through the interminable wilderness!

To all others the labyrinth had yielded up its clue. The hunter threaded its maze; the woodman plunged confidently into its innermost depths; the peasant child gathered ferns unscared in its sunless dells. But often the child abandoned his botany in terror, the woodman bolted for home, and the hunter’s heart went down into his boots, at the sight of a fair young spectre leading a blind phantom through the silent glades. I saw them there in 1860, while I was gunning. I shot them.

SEAFARING.

My envious rivals have always sought to cast discredit upon the following tale, by affirming that mere unadorned truth does not constitute a work of literary merit. Be it so: I care not what they call it. A rose with any other smell would be as sweet.

In the autumn of 1868 I wanted to go from Sacramento, California, to San Francisco. I at once went to the railway office and bought a ticket, the clerk telling me that would take me there. But when I tried it, it wouldn’t. Vainly I laid it on the railway and sat down upon it: it would not move; and every few minutes an engine would come along and crowd me off the track. I never travelled by so badly managed a line!

I then resolved to go by way of the river, and took passage on a steamboat. The engineer of this boat had once been a candidate for the State Legislature while I was editing a newspaper. Stung to madness by the arguments I had advanced against his election (which consisted mainly in relating how that his cousin was hanged for horse-stealing, and how that his sister had an intolerable squint which a free people could never abide), he had sworn to be revenged. After his defeat I had confessed the charges were false, so far as he personally was concerned, but this did not seem to appease him. He declared he would “get even on me,” and he did: he blew up the boat.

Being thus summarily set ashore, I determined that I would be independent of common carriers destitute of common courtesy. I purchased a wooden box, just large enough to admit one, and not transferable. I lay down in this, double-locked it on the outside, and carrying it to the river, launched it upon the watery waste. The box, I soon discovered, had an hereditary tendency to turn over. I had parted my hair in the middle before embarking, but the precaution was inadequate; it secured not immunity, only impartiality, the box turning over one way as readily as the other. I could counteract this evil only by shifting my tobacco from cheek to cheek, and in this way I got on tolerably well until my navy sprang a leak near the stern.

I now began to wish I had not locked down the cover; I could have got out and walked ashore. But it was childish to give way to foolish regrets; so I lay perfectly quiet, and yelled. Presently I thought of my jack-knife. By this time the ship was so water-logged as to be a little more stable. This enabled me to get the knife from my pocket without upsetting more than six or eight times, and inspired hope. Taking the whittle between my teeth, I turned over upon my stomach, and cut a hole through the bottom near the bow. Turning back again, I awaited the result. Most men would have awaited the result, I think, if they could not have got out. For some time there was no result. The ship was too deeply laden astern, where my feet were, and water will not run up hill unless it is paid to do it. But when I called in all my faculties for a good earnest think, the weight of my intellect turned the scale. It was like a cargo of pig-lead in the forecastle. The water, which for nearly an hour I had kept down by drinking it as it rose about my lips, began to run out at the hole I had scuttled, faster than it could be admitted at the one in the stern; and in a few moments the bottom was so dry you might have lighted a match upon it, if you had been there, and obtained the captain’s permission.

[Illustration]

I was all right now. I had got into San Pablo Bay, where it was all plain sailing. If I could manage to keep off the horizon I should be somewhere before daylight. But a new annoyance was in store for me. The steamboats on these waters are constructed of very frail materials, and whenever one came into collision with my flotilla, she immediately sank. This was most exasperating, for the piercing shrieks of the hapless crews and passengers prevented my getting any sleep. Such disagreeable voices as these people had would have tortured an ear of corn. I felt as if I would like to step out and beat them soft-headed with a club; though of course I had not the heart to do so while the padlock held fast.

The reader, if he is obliging, will remember that there was formerly an obstruction in the harbour of San Francisco, called Blossom Rock, which was some fathoms under water, but not fathoms enough to suit shipmasters. It was removed by an engineer named Von Schmidt. This person bored a hole in it, and sent down some men who gnawed out the whole interior, leaving the rock a mere shell. Into this drawing-room suite were inserted thirty tons of powder, ten barrels of nitro-glycerine, and a woman’s temper. Von Schmidt then put in something explosive, and corked up the opening, leaving a long wire hanging out. When all these preparations were complete, the inhabitants of San Francisco came out to see the fun. They perched thickly upon Telegraph Hill from base to summit; they swarmed innumerable upon the beach; the whole region was black with them. All that day they waited, and came again the next. Again they were disappointed, and again they returned full of hope. For three long weeks they did nothing but squat upon that eminence, looking fixedly at the wrong place. But when it transpired that Von Schmidt had hastily left the State directly he had completed his preparations, leaving the wire floating in the water, in the hope that some electrical eel might swim against it and ignite the explosives, the people began to abate their ardour, and move out of town. They said it might be a good while before a qualified gymnotus would pass that way, although the State Ichthyologer assured them that he had put some eels’ eggs into the head waters of the Sacramento River not two weeks previously. But the country was very beautiful at that time of the year, and the people would not wait. So when the explosion really occurred, there wasn’t anybody in the vicinity to witness it. It was a stupendous explosion all the same, as the unhappy gymnotus discovered to his cost.

Now, I have often thought that if this mighty convulsion had occurred a year or two earlier than it really did, it would have been bad for me as I floated idly past, unconscious of danger. As it was, my little bark was carried out into the broad Pacific, and sank in ten thousand fathoms of the coldest water!–it makes my teeth chatter to relate it!

* * * * *

TONY ROLLO’S CONCLUSION.

To a degree unprecedented in the Rollo family, of Illinois, Antony was an undutiful son. He was so undutiful that he may be said to have been preposterous. There were seven other sons–Antony was the eldest. His younger brothers were a nice, well-behaved bevy of boys as ever you saw. They always attended Sunday School regularly; arriving just before the Doxology (I think Sunday School exercises terminate that way), and sitting in a solemn row on a fence outside, waiting with pious patience for the girls to come forth; then they walked home with them as far as their respective gates. They were an obedient seven, too; they knew well enough the respect due to paternal authority, and when their father told them what was what, and which side up it ought to lie, they never tarried until he had more than picked up a hickory cudgel before tacitly admitting the correctness of the riper judgment. Had the old gentleman commanded the digging of seven graves, and the fabrication of seven board coffins to match, these necessaries would have been provided with unquestioning alacrity.

But Antony, I bleed to state, was of an impractical, pensive turn. He despised industry, scoffed at Sunday-schooling, set up a private standard of morals, and rebelled against natural authority. He wouldn’t be a dutiful son–not for money! He had no natural affections, and loved nothing so well as to sit and think. He was tolerably thoughtful all the time; but with some farming implement in his hand he came out strong. He has been known to take an axe between his knees, and sit on a stump in a “clearing” all day, wrapt in a single continuous meditation. And when interrupted by the interposition of night, or by the superposition of the paternal hickory, he would resume the meditation, next day, precisely where he left off, going on, and on, and on, in one profound and inscrutable think. It was a common remark in the neighbourhood that “If Tony Rollo didn’t let up, he’d think his ridiculous white head off!” And on divers occasions when the old man’s hickory had fallen upon that fleecy globe with unusual ardour, Tony really did think it off–until the continued pain convinced him it was there yet.

You would like to know what Tony was thinking of, all these years. That is what they all wanted to know; but he didn’t seem to tell. When the subject was mentioned he would always try to get away; and if he could not avoid a direct question, he would blush and stammer in so distressing a confusion that the doctor forbade all allusion to the matter, lest the young man should have a convulsion. It was clear enough, however, that the subject of Tony’s meditation was “more than average inter_est_in’,” as his father phrased it; for sometimes he would give it so grave consideration that observers would double their anxiety about the safety of his head, which he seemed in danger of snapping off with solemn nods; and at other times he would laugh immoderately, smiting his thigh or holding his sides in uncontrollable merriment. But it went on without abatement, and without any disclosure; went on until his poor mother’s curiosity had worried her grey hairs in sorrow to the grave; went on until his father, having worn out all the hickory saplings on the place, had made a fair beginning upon the young oaks; went on until all the seven brothers, having married a Sunday-school girl each, had erected comfortable log-houses upon outlying corners of the father-in-legal farms; on, and ever on, until Tony was forty years of age! This appeared to be a turning-point in Tony’s career–at this time a subtle change stole into his life, affecting both his inner and his outer self: he worked less than formerly, and thought a good deal more!

Years afterwards, when the fraternal seven were well-to-do freeholders, with clouds of progeny, making their hearts light and their expenses heavy–when the old homestead was upgrown with rank brambles, and the live-stock long extinct–when the aged father had so fallen into the sere and yellow leaf that he couldn’t hit hard enough to hurt–Tony, the mere shadow of his former self, sat, one evening, in the chimney corner, thinking very hard indeed. His father and three or four skeleton hounds were the only other persons present; the old gentleman quietly shelling a peck of Indian corn given by a grateful neighbour whose cow he had once pulled out of the mire, and the hounds thinking how cheerfully they would have assisted him had Nature kindly made them graminivorous. Suddenly Tony spake.

“Father,” said he, looking straight across the top of the axe-handle which he held between his knees as a mental stimulant, “father, I’ve been thinking of something a good bit lately.”

“Jest thirty-five years, Tony, come next Thanksgiving,” replied the old man, promptly, in a thin asthmatic falsetto. “I recollect your mother used to say it dated from the time your Aunt Hannah was here with the girls.”

“Yes, father, I think it may be a matter of thirty-five years; though it don’t seem so long, does it? But I’ve been thinking harder for the last week or two, and I’m going to speak out.”

Unbounded amazement looked out at the old man’s eyes; his tongue, utterly unprepared for the unexpected contingency, refused its office; a corncob imperfectly denuded dropped from his nerveless hand, and was critically examined, in turn, by the gossamer dogs, hoping against hope. A smoking brand in the fireplace fell suddenly upon a bed of hot coals, where, lacking the fortitude of Guatimozin, it emitted a sputtering protest, followed by a thin flame like a visible agony. In the resulting light Tony’s haggard face shone competitively with a ruddy blush, which spread over his entire scalp, to the imminent danger of firing his flaxen hair.

“Yes, father,” he answered, making a desperate clutch at calmness, but losing his grip, “I’m going to make a clean breast of it this time, for sure! Then you can do what you like about it.”

The paternal organ of speech found sufficient strength to grind out an intimation that the paternal ear was open for business.

“I’ve studied it all over, father; I’ve looked at it from every side; I’ve been through it with a lantern! And I’ve come to the conclusion that, seeing as I’m the oldest, it’s about time I was beginning to think of getting married!”

* * * * *

NO CHARGE FOR ATTENDANCE.

Near the road leading from Deutscherkirche to Lagerhaus may be seen the ruins of a little cottage. It never was a very pretentious pile, but it has a history. About the middle of the last century it was occupied by one Heinrich Schneider, who was a small farmer–so small a farmer his clothes wouldn’t fit him without a good deal of taking-in. But Heinrich Schneider was young. He had a wife, however–most small farmers have when young. They were rather poor: the farm was just large enough to keep them comfortably hungry.

Schneider was not literary in his taste; his sole reading was an old dog’s-eared copy of the “Arabian Nights” done into German, and in that he read nothing but the story of “Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp.” Upon his five hundredth perusal of that he conceived a valuable idea: he would rub _his_ lamp and _corral_ a Genie! So he put a thick leather glove on his right hand, and went to the cupboard to get out the lamp. He had no lamp. But this disappointment, which would have been instantly fatal to a more despondent man, was only an agreeable stimulus to him. He took out an old iron candle-snuffer, and went to work upon that.

Now, iron is very hard; it requires more rubbing than any other metal. I once chafed a Genie out of an anvil, but I was quite weary before I got him all out; the slightest irritation of a leaden water-pipe would have fetched the same Genie out of it like a rat from his hole. But having planted all his poultry, sown his potatoes, and set out his wheat, Heinrich had the whole summer before him, and he was patient; he devoted all his time to compelling the attendance of the Supernatural.

When the autumn came, the good wife reaped the chickens, dug out the apples, plucked the pigs and other cereals; and a wonderfully abundant harvest it was. Schneider’s crops had flourished amazingly. That was because he did not worry them all summer with agricultural implements. One evening when the produce had been stored, Heinrich sat at his fireside operating upon his candle-snuffer with the same simple faith as in the early spring. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and the expected Genie put in an appearance. His advent begot no little surprise in the good couple.

He was a very substantial incarnation, indeed, of the Supernatural. About eight feet in length, extremely fat, thick-limbed, ill-favoured, heavy of movement, and generally unpretty, he did not at first sight impress his new master any too favourably.

However, he was given a stool at the fireside, and Heinrich plied him with a multitude of questions: Where did he come from? whom had he last served? how did he like Aladdin? and did he think _they_ should get on well? To all these queries the Genie returned evasive answers; he was Delphic to the verge of unintelligibility. He would only nod mysteriously, muttering beneath his breath in some unknown tongue, probably Arabic–in which, however, his master thought he could distinguish the words “roast” and “boiled” with significant frequency. This Genie must have served last in the capacity of cook.

[Illustration]

This was a gratifying discovery: for the next four months or so there would be nothing to do about the farm; the Slave could prepare the family meals during the winter, and in the spring go regularly to work. Schneider was too shrewd to risk everything by extravagant demands all at once. He remembered the roc’s egg of the legend, and thought he would proceed with caution. So the good couple brought out their cooking utensils, and by pantomime inducted the Slave into the mystery of their use. They showed him the larder, the cellars, the granary, the chicken-coops, and everything. He appeared interested and intelligent, apprehended the salient points of the situation with marvellous ease, and nodded like he would drop his big head off–did everything but talk.

After this the _frau_ prepared the evening meal, the Genie assisting very satisfactorily, except that his notions of quantity were rather too liberal; perhaps this was natural in one accustomed to palaces and courts. When all was on the table, by way of testing his Slave’s obedience Heinrich sat down at the board and carelessly rubbed the candle-snuffer. The Genie was there in a second! Not only so, but he fell upon the viands with an ardour and sincerity that were alarming. In two minutes he had got away with everything on the table. The rapidity with which that spirit crowded all manner of edibles into his neck was simply shocking!

Having finished his repast he stretched himself before the fire and went to sleep. Heinrich and Barbara were depressed in spirit; they sat up until nearly morning in silence, waiting for the Genie to vanish for the night; but he did not perceptibly vanish any. Moreover, he had not vanished next morning; he had risen with the lark, and was preparing breakfast, having made his estimates upon a basis of most immoderate consumption. To this he soon sat down with the same catholicity of appetite that had distinguished him the previous evening. Having bolted this preposterous breakfast he arrayed his fat face in a sable scowl, beat his master with a stewpan, stretched himself before the fire, and again addressed himself to sleep. Over a furtive and clandestine meal in the larder, Heinrich and Barbara confessed themselves thoroughly heart-sick of the Supernatural.

“I told you so,” said he; “depend upon it, patient industry is a thousand per cent. better than this invisible agency. I will now take the fatal candle-snuffer a mile from here, rub it real hard, fling it aside, and run away.”

But he didn’t. During the night ten feet of snow had fallen. It lay all winter too.

Early the next spring there emerged from that cottage by the wayside the unstable framework of a man dragging through seas of melting snow a tottering female of dejected aspect. Forlorn, crippled, famishing, and discouraged, these melancholy relics held on their way until they came to a cross-roads (all leading to Lagerhaus), where they saw clinging to an upright post the tatter of an old placard. It read as follows:

LOST, strayed, or stolen, from Herr Schaackhofer’s Grand Museum, the celebrated Patagonian Giant, Ugolulah. Height 8 ft. 2 in., elegant figure, handsome, intelligent features, sprightly and vivacious in conversation, of engaging address, temperate in diet, harmless and tractable in disposition. Answers to the nickname of Fritz Sneddeker. Any one returning him to Herr Schaackhofer will receive Seven Thalers Reward, and no questions asked.

It was a tempting offer, but they did not go back for the giant. But he was afterwards discovered sleeping sweetly upon the hearthstone, after a hearty meal of empty barrels and boxes. Being secured he was found to be too fat for egress by the door. So the house was pulled down to let him out; and that is how it happens to be in ruins now.

* * * * *

PERNICKETTY’S FRIGHT.

_”Sssssst!”_

Dan Golby held up his hand to enjoin silence; in a breath we were as quiet as mice. Then it came again, borne upon the night wind from away somewhere in the darkness toward the mountains, across miles of treeless plain–a low, dismal, sobbing sound, like the wail of a strangling child! It was nothing but the howl of a wolf, and a wolf is about the last thing a man who knows the cowardly beast would be afraid of; but there was something so weird and unearthly in this “cry between the silences”–something so banshee-like in its suggestion of the grave–that, old mountaineers that we were, and long familiar with it, we felt an instinctive dread–a dread which was not fear, but only a sense of utter solitude and desolation. There is no sound known to mortal ear that has in it so strange a power upon the imagination as the night-howl of this wretched beast, heard across the dreary wastes of the desert he disgraces.

Involuntarily we drew nearer together, and some one of the party stirred the fire till it sent up a tall flame, widening the black circle shutting us in on all sides. Again rose the faint far cry, and was answered by one fainter and more far in the opposite quarter. Then another, and yet another, struck in–a dozen, a hundred all at once; and in three minutes the whole invisible outer world seemed to consist mainly of wolves, jangled out of tune by some convulsion of nature.

About this time it was a pleasing study to watch the countenance of Old Nick. This party had joined us at Fort Benton, whither he had come on a steamboat, up the Missouri. This was his maiden venture upon the plains, and his habit of querulous faultfinding had, on the first day out, secured him the _sobriquet_ of Old Pernicketty, which the attrition of time had worn down to Old Nick. He knew no more of wolves and other animals than a naturalist, and he was now a trifle frightened. He was crouching beside his saddle and kit, listening with all his soul, his hands suspended before him with divergent fingers, his face ashy pale, and his jaw hanging unconsidered below.

Suddenly Dan Golby, who had been watching him with an amused smile, assumed a grave aspect, listened a moment very intently, and remarked:

“Boys, if I didn’t _know_ those were wolves, I should say we’d better get out of this.”

“Eh?” exclaimed Nick, eagerly; “if you did not know they were _wolves_? Why, what else, and what worse, could they be?”

“Well, there’s an innocent!” replied Dan, winking slyly at the rest of us. “Why, they _might_ be Injuns, of course. Don’t you know, you old bummer, that that’s the way the red devils run a surprise party? Don’t you know that when you hear a parcel of wolves letting on like that, at night, it’s a hundred to one they carry bows and arrows?”

Here one or two old hunters on the opposite side of the fire, who had not caught Dan’s precautionary wink, laughed good-humouredly, and made derisive comments. At this Dan seemed much vexed, and getting up, he strode over to them to argue it out. It was surprising how easily they were brought round to his way of thinking!

By this time Old Nick was thoroughly perturbed. He fidgeted about, examining his rifle and pistols, tightened his belt, and looked in the direction of his horse. His anxiety became so painful that he did not attempt to conceal it. Upon our part, we affected to partially share it. One of us finally asked Dan if he was quite _sure_ they were wolves. Then Dan listened a long time with his ear to the ground, after which he said, hesitatingly:

“Well, no; there’s no such thing as _absolute_ certainty, I suppose; but I _think_ they’re wolves. Still, there’s no harm in being ready for anything–always well to be ready, I suppose.”

Nick needed nothing more; he pounced upon his saddle and bridle, slung them upon his mustang, and had everything snug in less time than it takes to tell it. The rest of the party were far too comfortable to co-operate with Dan to any considerable extent; we contented ourselves with making a show of examining our weapons. All this time the wolves, as is their way when attracted by firelight, were closing in, clamouring like a legion of fiends. If Nick had known that a single pistol-shot would have sent them scampering away for dear life, I presume he would have fired one; as it was, he had Indian on the brain, and just stood by his horse, quaking till his teeth rattled like dice in a box.

“No,” pursued the implacable Dan, “these _can’t_ be Injuns; for if they were, we should, perhaps, hear an owl or two among them. The chiefs sometimes hoot, owl-fashion, just to let the rabble know they’re standing up to the work like men, and to show where they are.”

_”Too-hoo-hoo-hoo-hooaw!”_

It took us all by surprise. Nick made one spring and came down astride his sleepy mustang, with force enough to have crushed a smaller beast. We all rose to our feet, except Jerry Hunker, who was lying flat on his stomach, with his head buried in his arms, and whom we had thought sound asleep. One look at _him_ reassured us as to the “owl” business, and we settled back, each man pretending to his neighbour that he had got up merely for effect upon Nick.

That man was now a sight to see. He sat in his saddle gesticulating wildly, and imploring us to get ready. He trembled like a jelly-fish. He took out his pistols, cocked them, and thrust them so back into the holsters, without knowing what he was about. He cocked his rifle, holding it with the muzzle directed anywhere, but principally our way; grasped his bowie-knife between his teeth, and cut his tongue trying to talk; spurred his nag into the fire, and backed him out across our blankets; and finally sat still, utterly unnerved, while we roared with the laughter we could no longer suppress.

_Hwissss! pft! swt! cheew!_ Bones of Caesar! The arrows flitted and clipt amongst us like a flight of bats! Dan Golby threw a double-summersault, alighting on his head. Dory Durkee went smashing into the fire. Jerry Hunker was pinned to the sod where he lay fast asleep. Such dodging and ducking, and clawing about for weapons I never saw. And such genuine Indian yelling–it chills my marrow to write of it!

Old Nick vanished like a dream; and long before we could find our tools and get to work we heard the desultory reports of his pistols exploding in his holsters, as his pony measured off the darkness between us and safety.

For some fifteen minutes we had tolerable warm work of it, individually, collectively, and miscellaneously; single-handed, and one against a dozen; struggling with painted savages in the firelight, and with one another in the dark; shooting the living, and stabbing the dead; stampeding our horses, and fighting _them_; battling with anything that would battle, and smashing our gunstocks on whatever would not!

When all was done–when we had renovated our fire, collected our horses, and got our dead into position–we sat down to talk it over. As we sat there, cutting up our clothing for bandages, digging the poisoned arrow-heads out of our limbs, readjusting our scalps, or swapping them for such vagrant ones as there was nobody to identify, we could not help smiling to think how we had frightened Old Nick. Dan Golby, who was sinking rapidly, whispered that “it was the one sweet memory he had to sustain and cheer him in crossing the dark river into everlasting f—-.” It is uncertain how Dan would have finished that last word; he may have meant “felicity”–he may have meant “fire.” It is nobody’s business.

* * * * *

JUNIPER.

He was a dwarf, was Juniper. About the time of his birth Nature was executing a large order for prime giants, and had need of all her materials. Juniper infested the wooded interior of Norway, and dwelt in a cave–a miserable hole in which a blind bat in a condition of sempiternal torpor would have declined to hibernate, rent-free. Juniper was such a feeble little wretch, so inoffensive in his way of life, so modest in his demeanour, that every one was disposed to love him like a cousin; there was not enough of him to love like a brother. He, too, was inclined to return the affection; he was too weak to love very hard, but he made the best stagger at it he could. But a singular fatality prevented a perfect communion of soul between him and his neighbours. A strange destiny had thrown its shadow upon him, which made it cool for him in summer. There was a divinity that shaped his ends extremely rough, no matter how he hewed them.

Somewhere in that vicinity lived a monstrous bear–a great hulking obnoxious beast who had no more soul than tail. This rascal had somehow conceived a notion that the appointed function of his existence was the extermination of the dwarf. If you met the latter you might rely with cheerful confidence upon seeing the ferocious brute in eager pursuit of him in less than a minute. No sooner would Juniper fairly accost you, looking timidly over his shoulder the while, than the raging savage would leap out of some contiguous jungle and make after him like a locomotive engine too late for the train. Then poor Juniper would streak it for the nearest crowd of people, diving and dodging amongst their shins with nimble skill, shrieking all the time like a panther. He was as earnest about it as if he had made a bet upon the result of the race. Of course everybody was too busy to stop, but in his blind terror the dwarf would single out some luckless wight–commonly some well-dressed person; Juniper instinctively sought the protection of the aristocracy–getting behind him, ducking between his legs, surrounding him, dancing through him–doing anything to save the paltry flitch of his own bacon. Presently the bear would lose all patience and nip the other fellow. Then, ashamed of losing his temper, he would sneak sullenly away, taking along the body. When he had gone, poor Juniper would fall upon his knees, tearing his beard, pounding his breast, and crying _Mea culpa_ in deep remorse. Afterwards he would pay a visit of condolence to the bereaved relations and offer to pay the funeral expenses; but of course there never were any funeral expenses. Everybody, as before stated, liked the unhappy dwarf, but nobody liked the company he kept, and people were not at home to him as a rule. Whenever he came into a village traffic was temporarily suspended, and he was made the centre of as broad a solitude as could be hastily improvised.

Many were the attempts to capture the terrible beast; hundreds of the country people would assemble to hunt him with guns and dogs. But even the dogs seemed to have an instinctive sense of some occult connection between him and the dwarf, and could never be made to understand that it was the former that was wanted. Directly they were laid on the scent they would forsake it to invest the dwarf’s abode; and it was with much difficulty the pitying huntsmen could induce them to raise the siege. Things went on in this unsatisfactory fashion for years; the population annually decreasing, and Juniper making the most miraculous escapes.

Now there resided in a small village near by, a brace of twins; little orphan girls, named Jalap and Ginseng. Their considerate neighbours had told them such pleasing tales about the bear that they decided to leave the country. So they got their valuables together in a box and set out. They met Juniper! He approached to inform them it was a fine morning, when the great beast of a bear “rose like the steam of rich distilled perfume” from the earth in front of them, and made a mouth at him. Juniper did not run, as might have been expected; he stood for a moment peering into the brute’s cavernous jaws, and then flew! He absented himself with such extraordinary nimbleness that after he was a mile distant his image appeared to be standing there yet; and looking back he saw it himself. Baffled of his dwarf, the bear thought he would make a shift to get on, for the present, with an orphan. So he picked up Jalap by her middle, and thoughtfully withdrew.

[Illustration]

The thankful but disgusted Ginseng continued her emigration, but soon missed the jewel-box, which in their alarm had been dropped and burst asunder. She did not much care for the jewels, but it contained some valuable papers, among them the “Examiner” (a print which once had the misfortune to condemn a book written by the author of this tale) and this she doted on. Returning for her property, she peered cautiously around the angle of a rock, and saw a spectacle that begot in her mind a languid interest. The bear had returned upon a similar mission; he was calmly distending his cheeks with the contents of the broken box. And perched on a rock near at hand sat Juniper waiting for him!

It was natural that a suspicion of collusion between the two should dawn upon that infant’s mind. It did dawn; it brightened and broadened into the perfect day of conviction. It was a revelation to the child. “At that moment,” said she afterwards, “I felt that I could lay my finger on the best-trained bear in Christendom.” But with praiseworthy moderation she controlled herself and didn’t do it; she just stood still and allowed the beast to proceed. Having stored all the jewels in his capacious mouth, he began taking in the valuable papers. First some title-deeds disappeared; then some railway bonds; presently a roll of rent-receipts. All these seemed to be as honey to his tongue; he smiled a smile of tranquil happiness. Finally the newspaper vanished into his face like a wisp of straw drawn into a threshing machine.

Then the brute expanded his mouth with a ludicrous gape, spilling out the jewels, a glittering shower. Then he snapped his jaws like a steel trap afflicted with _tetanus_, and stood on his head awhile. Next he made a feeble endeavour to complicate the relations between his parts–to tie himself into a love-knot. Failing in this he lay flat upon his side, wept, retched, and finally, fashioning his visage into the semblance of sickly grin, gave up the ghost. I don’t know what he died of; I suppose it was hereditary in his family.

The guilty come always to grief. Juniper was arrested, charged with conspiracy to kill, tried, convicted, sentenced to be hanged, and before the sun went down was pardoned. In searching his cavern the police discovered countless human bones, much torn clothing, and a mighty multitude of empty purses. But nothing of any value–not an article of any value. It was a mystery what Juniper had done with his ill-gotten valuables. The police confessed it was a mystery!

* * * * *

FOLLOWING THE SEA.

At the time of “the great earthquake of ’68,” I was at Arica, Peru. I have not a map by me, and am not certain that Arica is not in Chili, but it can’t make much difference; there was earthquake all along there. As nearly as I can remember it occured in August–about the middle of August, 1869 or ’70.

Sam Baxter was with me; I think we had gone from San Francisco to make a railway, or something. On the morning of the ‘quake, Sam and I had gone down to the beach to bathe. We had shed our boots and begun to moult, when there was a slight tremor of the earth, as if the elephant who supports it were pushing upwards, or lying down and getting up again. Next, the surges, which were flattening themselves upon the sand and dragging away such small trifles as they could lay hold of, began racing out seaward, as if they had received a telegraphic dispatch that somebody was not expected to live. This was needless, for _we_ did not expect to live.

When the sea had receded entirely out of sight, we started after it; for it will be remembered we had come to bathe; and bathing without some kind of water is not refreshing in a hot climate. I have heard that bathing in asses’ milk is invigorating, but at that time I had no dealings with other authors. I have had no dealings with them since.

For the first four or five miles the walking was very difficult, although the grade was tolerably steep. The ground was soft, there were tangled forests of sea-weed, old rotting ships, rusty anchors, human skeletons, and a multitude of things to impede the pedestrian. The floundering sharks bit our legs as we toiled past them, and we were constantly slipping down upon the flat fish strewn about like orange-peel on a sidewalk. Sam, too, had stuffed his shirt-front with such a weight of Spanish doubloons from the wreck of an old galleon, that I had to help him across all the worst places. It was very dispiriting.

Presently, away on the western horizon, I saw the sea coming back. It occurred to me then that I did not wish it to come back. A tidal wave is nearly always wet, and I was now a good way from home, with no means of making a fire.

The same was true of Sam, but he did not appear to think of it in that way. He stood quite still a moment with his eyes fixed on the advancing line of water; then turned to me, saying, very earnestly:

“Tell you what, William; I never wanted a ship so bad from the cradle to the grave! I would give m-o-r-e for a ship!–more than for all the railways and turnpikes you could scare up! I’d give more than a hundred, thousand, million dollars! I would–I’d give all I’m worth, and all my Erie shares, for–just–one–little–ship!”

To show how lightly he could part with his wealth, he lifted his shirt out of his trousers, unbosoming himself of his doubloons, which tumbled about his feet, a golden storm.

By this time the tidal wave was close upon us. Call _that_ a wave! It was one solid green wall of water, higher than Niagara Falls, stretching as far as we could see to right and left, without a break in its towering front! It was by no means clear what we ought to do. The moving wall showed no projections by means of which the most daring climber could hope to reach the top. There was no ivy; there were no window-ledges. Stay!–there was the lightning-conductor! No, there wasn’t any lightning-conductor. Of course, not!

Looking despairingly upward, I made a tolerably good beginning at thinking of all the mean actions I had wrought in the flesh, when I saw projecting beyond the crest of the wave a ship’s bowsprit, with a man sitting on it, reading a newspaper! Thank fortune, we were saved!

Falling upon our knees with tearful gratitude, we got up again and ran–ran as fast as we could, I suspect; for now the whole fore-part of the ship bulged through the water directly above our heads, and might lose its balance any moment. If we had only brought along our umbrellas!

I shouted to the man on the bowsprit to drop us a line. He merely replied that his correspondence was already very onerous, and he hadn’t any pen and ink.

Then I told him I wanted to get aboard. He said I would find one on the beach, about three leagues to the south’ard, where the “Nancy Tucker” went ashore.

At these replies I was disheartened. It was not so much that the man withheld assistance, as that he made puns. Presently, however, he folded his newspaper, put it carefully away in his pocket, went and got a line, and let it down to us just as we were about to give up the race. Sam made a lunge at it, and got it–right into his side! For the fiend above had appended a shark-hook to the end of the line–which was _his_ notion of humour. But this was no time for crimination and recrimination. I laid hold of Sam’s legs, the end of the rope was passed about the capstan, and as soon as the men on board had had a little grog, we were hauled up. I can assure you that it was no fine experience to go up in that way, close to the smooth vertical front of water, with the whales tumbling out all round and above us, and the sword-fishes nosing us pointedly with vulgar curiosity.

We had no sooner set foot on deck, and got Sam disengaged from the hook, than the purser stepped up with book and pencil.

“Tickets, gentlemen.”

We told him we hadn’t any tickets, and he ordered us to be set ashore in a boat. It was represented to him that this was quite impossible under the circumstances; but he replied that he had nothing to do with circumstances–did not know anything about circumstances. Nothing would move him till the captain, who was a really kind-hearted man, came on deck and knocked him overboard with a spare topmast. We were now stripped of our clothing, chafed all over with stiff brushes, rolled on our stomachs, wrapped in flannels, laid before a hot stove in the saloon, and strangled with scalding brandy. We had not been wet, nor had we swallowed any sea-water, but the surgeon said this was the proper treatment. I suspect, poor man, he did not often get the opportunity to resuscitate anybody; in fact, he admitted he had not had any such case as ours for years. It is uncertain what he might have done to us if the tender-hearted captain had not thrashed him into his cabin with a knotted hawser, and told us to go on deck.

By this time the ship was passing above the town of Arica, and the sailors were all for’d, sitting on the bulwarks, snapping peas and small shot at the terrified inhabitants flitting through the streets a hundred feet below. These harmless projectiles rattled very merrily upon the upturned boot-soles of the fleeting multitude; but not seeing any fun in this, we were about to go astern and fish a little, when the ship grounded on a hill-top. The captain hove out all the anchors he had about him; and when the water went swirling back to its legal level, taking the town along for company, there we were, in the midst of a charming agricultural country, but at some distance from any sea-port.

At sunrise next morning we were all on deck. Sam sauntered aft to the binnacle, cast his eye carelessly upon the compass, and uttered an ejaculation of astonishment.

“Tell _you_, captain,” he called out, “this has been a direr convulsion of nature than you have any idea. Everything’s been screwed right round. Needle points due south!”

“Why, you cussed lubber!” growled the skipper, moving up and taking a look, “it p’ints d’rectly to labbard, an’ there’s the sun, dead ahead!”

Sam turned and confronted him, with a steady gaze of ineffable contempt.

“Now, who said it wasn’t dead ahead?–tell me _that_. Shows how much _you_ know about earthquakes. ‘Course, I didn’t mean just this continent, nor just this earth: I tell you, the _whole thing’s_ turned!”

* * * * *

A TALE OF SPANISH VENGEANCE.

Don Hemstitch Blodoza was an hidalgo–one of the highest dalgos of old Spain. He had a comfortably picturesque castle on the Guadalquiver, with towers, battlements, and mortages on it; but as it belonged, not to his own creditors, but to those of his bitterest enemy, who inhabited it, Don Hemstitch preferred the forest as a steady residence. He had that curse of Spanish pride which will not permit one to be a burden upon the man who may happen to have massacred all one’s relations, and set a price upon the heads of one’s family generally. He had made a vow never to accept the hospitality of Don Symposio–not if he died for it. So he pervaded the romantic dells, and the sunless jungle was infected with the sound of his guitar. He rose in the morning and laved him in the limpid brooklet; and the beams of the noonday sun fell upon him in the pursuit of diet–

“The thistle’s downy seed his fare,
His drink the morning dew.”

He throve but indifferently upon this meagre regimen, but beyond all other evils a true Spaniard of the poorer sort dreads obesity. During the darkest night of the season he will get up at an absurd hour and stab his best friend in the back rather than grow fat.

It will of course be suspected by the experienced reader that Don Hemstitch did not have any bed. Like the Horatian lines above quoted–

“He perched at will on every spray.”

In translating this tale into the French, M. Victor Hugo will please twig the proper meaning of the word “spray”; I shall be very angry if he make it appear that my hero is a gull.

One morning while Don Hemstitch was dozing upon his leafy couch–not his main couch, but a branch–he was roused from his tranquil nap by the grunting of swine; or, if you like subtle distinctions, by the sound of human voices. Peering cautiously through his bed-hangings, he saw below him at a little distance two of his countrymen in conversation. The fine practised phrenzy of their looks, their excellently rehearsed air of apprehensive secrecy, showed him they were merely conspiring against somebody’s life; and he dismissed the matter from his mind until the mention of his own name recalled his attention. One of the conspirators was urging the other to make one of a joint-stock company for the Don’s assassination; but the more conscientious plotter would not consent.

“The laws of Spain,” said the latter, “with which we have an acquaintance meanly withheld from the attorneys, enjoin that when one man murders another, except for debt, he must make provision for the widow and orphans. I leave it to you if, after the summer’s unprofitable business, we are in a position to assume the care and