The Young Emigrants; Madelaine Tube; The Boy and the Book; and
Susan Anne Livingston Ridley Sedgwick
Part 1 out of 3
Images of the original pages are available through the Florida
Board of Education, Division of Colleges and Universities,
PALMM Project, 2001. (Preservation and Access for American and
British Children's Literature, 1850-1869.) See
THE YOUNG EMIGRANTS; MADELAINE TUBE; THE BOY AND THE BOOK;
AND THE CRYSTAL PALACE
Charles Scribner, New York, 1851
THE YOUNG EMIGRANTS.
CHAPTER I. Sights at Sea.
CHAPTER II. The New World.
CHAPTER III. A New Home, and a Narrow Escape.
CHAPTER IV. An Intruder.
CHAPTER V. Striving and Thriving.
CHAPTER I. The Broken Cup.
CHAPTER II. A Picture of Poverty.
CHAPTER III. Uneasiness.
CHAPTER IV. Christmas Gifts.
CHAPTER V. Happiness Destroyed.
CHAPTER VI. New Misfortunes.
CHAPTER VII. Trouble Increases.
CHAPTER VIII. The Sale.
CHAPTER IX. When Distress is Greatest, Help is Nearest.
CHAPTER X. The Wonders of the Eye.
CHAPTER XI. The Journey and the Baths.
CHAPTER XII. The Operation.
CHAPTER XIII. The Enjoyment of Sight.
CHAPTER XIV. Conclusion.
THE BOY AND THE BOOK.
PART I. The Boy.
PART II. The Book.
THE CRYSTAL PALACE.
List of Illustrations:
"Camping for the night"
"Fishes with wings"
"Prepared to give battle"
"May God give you a happy Christmas"
"Read to him out of Father Gottlieb's books"
"Hans sprang forward to defend his friend"
THE YOUNG EMIGRANTS
[Illustration: CAMPING FOR THE NIGHT.]
SIGHTS AT SEA
It was a lovely morning towards the end of April, and the blue waves of
the Atlantic Ocean danced merrily in the bright sunlight, as the good
ship _Columbia_, with all her canvass spread, scudded swiftly before the
fresh breeze. She was on her way to the great western world, and on her
deck stood many pale-faced emigrants, whom the mild pleasant day had
brought up from their close dark berths, and who cast mournful looks in
the direction of the land they had left a thousand miles behind them.
But though fathers and mothers were sad, not so the children--the ship's
motion was so steady that they were able to run and play about almost as
well as on land; and the sails, filled full by the favorable wind,
needed so little change that the second mate, whose turn it was to keep
watch, permitted many a scamper, and even a game at hide-and-seek among
the coils of cable, and under the folds of the great sail, which some of
the crew were mending on the deck. Tom and Annie Lee, however, stood
quietly by the bulwarks, holding fast on, as they had promised their
mother that they would, and though longing to join in the fun, they
tried to amuse themselves with watching the foaming waves the swift
vessel left behind, and the awkward porpoises which seemed to be rolling
themselves with delight in the sunny waters.
"For shame, Tom," said his more patient sister, "you know what mother
means? Suppose you should fall overboard!"
"I should be downright glad, I can tell you! I'd have a good swim before
they pulled me out,--aye, and a ride on one of those broad-backed black
gentlemen tumbling about yonder!"
"Oh, Tom!" sighed the gentle little girl, quite shocked at her brother's
bold words, and she turned from him to watch for her father. To her
great content, his head presently appeared above the hatchway.
"You look very dull, Tom," said he as he joined them; "what are you
"Why, father," replied Tom, "I don't want to be standing about, holding
on always, like a baby. I wish mother wouldn't be so afraid of me. She
won't let me run up the rigging, or do anything I like."
"You mean she will not let you break your neck, foolish boy. You know
well, Tom, your mother refuses you no reasonable amusement. Hey, look
there!" As Mr. Lee spoke, a dozen or so of flying fishes rose from the
sea, and fell again within a yard of the ship's side. As the sun shone
on their wet glittering scales, you might have fancied them the broken
bits of a rainbow. Annie clapped her hands and screamed with delight,
and even Tom's sulky face brightened.
"Why, father," cried he, "I never knew before that there were fishes
"These have not exactly wings, though they resemble them," answered Mr.
Lee, "but long fins, with which they raise themselves from the water,
when too closely pursued by their enemies. But I came to call you to
dinner--your mother is waiting. Should it be pleasant to-night, we will
bring her on deck, when George and Willie are in bed, and show her the
"What sights, what sights?" cried both the children at once, but their
father was already on the ladder, and did not reply.
The night was mild and clear, and the bright full moon shone high in the
heavens, when the little Lees came up again with their father and
mother. Tom was no longer the discontented grumbling boy he seemed in
the morning, for though he often spoke thoughtlessly, and murmured
sometimes at his parents' commands, he knew in his heart that all they
wished was for his good, and soon returned to his duty, and recovered
his temper. He was just turned twelve, and considered himself the man of
the family in his father's absence, often frightening poor Annie, who
was a year younger, and of a quiet, timid disposition, by his
declarations of what he "wouldn't mind doing." Little George, who was
seven, admired and respected him exceedingly.
"I promised to show you some sights, this evening," said Mr. Lee, as
they walked slowly up and down the deck, "and is not this ship bounding
over the heaving ocean, with its white sails spread, and its tall masts
bending to the wind, a most striking one? Is it not a great specimen of
man's skill and power? And look above at that starry sky, and that
bright lamp of night which shines so softly down on us,--look at the
dashing waters, whose white crested waves sparkle as they break against
our vessel--are they not wonderful in their beauty?"
"They are indeed beautiful," replied his wife, "and man's work shrinks
into nothing when compared with them! And how fully the sense of our
weakness comes upon us while thus tossing about upon the broad sea. What
a consolation it is to remember, that He who neither slumbereth nor
sleepeth, protects us ever."
"Father," cried Annie, after a short silence, "I do not understand at
all how the captain finds out the way to America. It is so many miles
from any other land! Tom knows all about it, but he says he can't
"Come, come, Tom," said his father, "try; nothing can be done without a
trial; tell us now what you know on the subject."
"Well, father," answered Tom, "the man at the wheel has a compass before
him, and he looks at that, and so knows how to point the ship's head. As
America is in the west, he keeps it pointed to the west."
"Quite right, so far," said his father, "but tell us what a compass is."
"Oh! a compass is a round box, and the bottom is marked with four great
points, called North, South, East, and West; then smaller points between
them; and in the middle is a long needle, balanced, so that it turns
round very easily, and as this needle always points to the North, we can
easily find the South, and East, and West."
"But, father," cried Annie, "why does that needle always point to the
North? my needle only points the way I make it when I sew."
"Your needle, dear Annie, has never been touched by the wonderful stone!
You must know that some few hundred years ago, people discovered that a
mineral called the loadstone, found in iron mines, had the quality of
always pointing to the North, and they found, too, that any iron rubbed
with it would possess the same quality. The needle Tom tells us of has
undergone this operation. Before the invention of the compass, it was
only by watching the stars that sailors could direct their course by
night. Their chief guide was one which always points towards the North
pole, and is therefore called the Pole star. But on a cloudy night, and
in stormy weather, when they could not read their course in the sky,
think what danger they were in! Such a voyage as ours, they could never
have ventured on."
"Listen!" cried Mrs. Lee, "do you know, I fancy I hear the twittering
"Yes, ma'am, and no mistake," said the mate, who was pacing the deck,
near them, wrapped up in a great dreadnaught coat, and occasionally
stopping to look up at the sails, or at the compass, or over the ship's
side; "Mother Carey's chickens are out in good numbers to-night."
"Are they not a sign of rather rough weather, Mr. James?" asked Mr. Lee.
"Why, so some say, sir; but I have heard them night after night in as
smooth a sea and light a wind as you would wish for."
"What a funny name they have," said Annie. "I wonder it they are
"Can we catch them?" asked Tom, eagerly.
"I have caught them," said Mr. James, "but it was many years ago, and
perhaps they have grown wiser; but we can try if you like. Only
remember, no killing; we sailors think it very unlucky!"
"It would be very cruel, because very useless," said Mrs. Lee; "but are
they not also called Stormy Petrels?"
"Yes, ma'am, in books, I believe; but come, Tom, fetch some good strong
cotton, such as your mother sews with, and I will show you how to catch
some of Old Mother Carey's brood."
Off ran Tom, and soon returned with a reel from Annie's work-box; Mr.
James fastened together at one end a number of very long needlefulls,
which he tied to the stern of the vessel, where they were blown about by
the wind in all directions. Tom and Annie were very curious to know how
these flying strands could possibly catch birds, but their father and
mother could not explain, and Mr. James seemed determined to keep the
secret. So they had no alternative but to await the event. As they
leaned over the stern to fasten their threads, they were surprised to
see the frothy waves which the vessel left behind shine with a bright
clear light, and yet the moon cast the great black shadow of the ship
over that part of the sea. Their astonishment was increased, when their
father told them that this luminous appearance was produced by a
countless number of insects, whose bodies gave forth the same kind of
lustre as that of the glow-worm, and Mr. James assured them that he had
seen the whole surface of the ocean, as far as the eye could reach,
glittering with this beautiful light.
"And now, children," said Mrs. Lee, "I think it is bed-time--say good
night to Mr. James."
"And kiss father!" cried Annie, as she jumped at his neck, and was
caught in his ever-ready arms.
The children were beginning to doubt Mr. James's power of catching
Stormy Petrels, when early one morning, as they were dressing, they
heard the three knocks he always gave on the deck when he wanted to show
them something. They hurried up, and to their delight found
him-untwisting the cotton strands from the wings of a brownish-black
bird, which had entangled itself in them during the night.
"Oh! what a funny little thing!" cried Annie; "what black eyes! and what
black legs it has!"
"Is that one of Mother Carey's chickens?" asked Tom; "I thought they
were much larger."
"Yes," replied Mr. James, "this is one of the old lady's fowls, and a
fine one, too; her's are the smallest web-footed birds known. Just feel
how plump it is--almost fat enough for a lamp."
"For a lamp!" cried Tom. "What do you mean, Mr. James?"
"Just what I say. Master Tom. I once touched at the Faroe Islands, and
saw Petrels often used as lamps there. The people draw a wick through
their bodies, which is lighted at the mouth; they are then fixed
upright, and burn beautifully."
"How curious they must look!" said Annie.
"Rather so; but now watch this one running on the deck; it can't fly
unless we help it by a little toss up such as the waves would give it."
The odd-looking little thing, whose eyes, beak, and legs were as black
and bright as jet, ran nimbly but awkwardly up and down, to the great
amusement of the children. Annie made haste to fetch her mother and
father, George, and even Willie, who laughed and clapped his hands, and
cried, "Pretty, pretty!" At length Mr. James thought the stranger had
shown himself quite long enough, so taking it up, he threw it into the
air, and it disappeared over the ship's side. Every one ran to get a
look at it on its restless home, but in vain--it could be seen nowhere.
Mrs. Lee, however, was surprised by the color of the water in which they
were then sailing; it was of a beautiful blue, instead of the dark,
almost black hue it had hitherto appeared: immense quantities of
sea-weed were also floating in it. Mr. James informed her that this
water was called the Gulf Stream; a great current flowing from the Gulf
of Mexico northwards along the coast of America. "In the sea-weed,"
added he, "are many kinds of animals and insects; I will try what I can
find for Georgy." So saying, he seized a boat-hook, and soon succeeded
in hauling up a great piece, from which he picked a crab not much bigger
than a good-sized spider. Georgy nursed it very tenderly until he went
to bed, and, even then, could with difficulty be persuaded to part with
it till morning.
A few days after this, a cry of "Land!" was heard from the mast-head,
and when just before tea the Lee family came on deck it was to watch the
sun set amid clouds of purple and gold, behind the still distant but
distinctly seen shores of the land which was to be their future home. By
the same hour on the following day, the good ship _Columbia_ had
borne them safely across the deep, and was anchored in the beautiful bay
of New York.
THE NEW WORLD.
Mr. Lee was a religious, kind-hearted, sensible man, and his wife as
truly estimable as himself. They both loved their children dearly, and
were unceasing in their efforts to secure their happiness and
prosperity. Still it is possible they would never have thought of
seeking fortune in the wild back-woods of the United States, had it not
been for the repeated entreaties of Mrs. Lee's only brother, John Gale,
an industrious, enterprising young man, who had gone there some four
years before this tale commences. John soon perceived that all his
brother-in-law's exertions in England would never enable him to provide
as well for his children, nor for the old age of himself and wife, as he
could in America. Privations at the outset, and very hard work, would
have, it is true, to be endured; but John believed him and his wife to
be endowed with courage and patience to sustain any trial. He therefore
spared no pains to prevail on them to cross the Atlantic, and settle on
some small farm in one of the western States. He promised his help until
they felt able to do without him, if they would only come. After some
hesitation and deliberation, Mr. Lee determined to follow John's advice.
He therefore gave up his situation as foreman in a large furniture
manufactory in London, sold off all his household goods, and only adding
somewhat to the family stock of clothes, which are cheaper in England
than any where else, he left his native country for the strangers' land,
with but a hundred pounds in his pocket; but with a stout heart, a
willing hand, and a firm reliance on the never-failing protection of
John Gale had made the purchase of two eighty-acre lots for them before
they sailed, and was to meet them at the town nearest to their
destination. They made as short a stay, consequently, as possible, in
New York; and by railways, canal-boat, and steamer, in about a week
arrived at the beautiful city of Cincinnati. As the vessel neared the
wharf, they were gladdened by the sight of a well-known face, which
smiled a heartfelt welcome on them from among the busy crowd which
awaited the landing of the passengers.
"Hurrah!" cried Uncle John, for the face belonged to him, waving his
hat, and quite red with the excitement, and pushing his way; "Hurrah!
here you are! Hurrah!"
Then jumping on board, even before the vessel was safely moored, he
caught his sister in his arms, kissing her most heartily; and when he at
last released her, it was to shake Mr. Lee's hand as if he meant it to
"And where are the children?" cried he. "This Tom! how he is grown! Give
me your hand, my boy! Here is quiet little Annie, I'm sure. Kiss me,
dear! Ah! Master Georgy, that's you, I know, though you did wear
petticoats when I last saw you! Is that the young one? Don't look so
cross, sir! But come along. Where's your baggage? This way, sister--this
way. I'm so glad to see you all again!"
* * * * *
"Uncle John," said Tom, as he and George were walking with their uncle
the day after their arrival, "I never saw so many pigs running about a
town before. I wonder the people let them wallow in the streets so! Just
look at those dirty creatures there."
"Don't insult our free-born, independent swine," cried Uncle John,
laughing. "Those dirty creatures, as you call them, are our scavengers
while alive, and our food, candles, brushes, and I don't know what
besides, when dead! But look, Georgy! what say you to a ride?"
They turned a corner as he spoke, and beheld half a dozen boys mounted
on pigs, which squealed miserably as they trotted along, now in the
gutter, and now on the sidewalk, to the great discomfort of the
pedestrians. George was so moved by the fun, and encouraged by his
uncle's good-natured looks, that letting go his hand, he rushed after a
broad-backed old hog, which, loudly grunting, permitted himself to be
chased some short distance, and then, just as George thought he had
caught him, flopped over in a dirty hole in the gutter, bringing his
pursuer down upon him. The poor little fellow was in a sad condition
when Tom helped him up--his face and clothes covered with mud, and his
"You're strangers here, I guess," said a man who had witnessed the whole
affair, "or you would know that old fellow never lets a boy get on his
back. He's well known all over the city for that trick of his."
George did not recover his spirits during the remainder of the walk, and
was very glad to get home to his mother again, and have his poor swelled
nose tenderly bathed, and his stained clothes changed.
The next few days were busily employed in buying and packing the things
necessary for their future comfort; and Mr. Lee had reason to rejoice
that he had so good a counsellor and assistant as Uncle John. Flour,
Indian meal, molasses, pickled pork, sugar and tea, a couple of rifles,
powder and shot, axes saws, etc., a plough, spades and hoes, a churn,
etc., were the principal items of their purchases; and to convey these,
and the boxes they had brought from England, it was necessary to hire
one of the long, covered wagons of the country. Uncle John had already
bought, at a great bargain, a pair of fine oxen, and a strong ox-cart.
These were a great acquisition. Mrs. Lee was anxious to get a cow and
some poultry; but her brother advised her to wait, as they would be so
great a trouble on the journey, and it was, besides, most probable that
they could be procured from their nearest neighbor--a settler about ten
miles from their place.
Early one bright morning, they started for their new home, the wagon
taking the lead. It was drawn by four strong horses, driven by Mr.
Jones, from whom it had been hired, and contained the best of the goods:
the beds were arranged on the boxes within, so as to form comfortable
seats for Mrs. Lee, Annie, and the two little ones. The ox-cart
followed, guided by Uncle John, assisted by Mr. Lee and Tom, both of
whom were desirous to learn the art of ox-driving, of which they were to
have so much by-and-by. The journey was long and wearisome; and it was
not until the evening of the fifth day after leaving Cincinnati, that
they arrived at Painted Posts--a village about twenty miles distant from
their destination. From this place the road became almost impassible,
and the toil of travelling very disheartening. They were frequently
obliged to make a long circuit to avoid some monster tree which had
fallen just across the track, and to ford streams whose stony beds and
swift-flowing waters presented a fearful aspect. Mr Jones the wagoner
walked nearly all day at the head of the foremost pair of horses, with
his axe in his hand, every now and then taking off a slice of the bark
of the trees as he passed. Annie watched him for some time with great
"What can he do it for?" said she to her mother. "Please ask him,
"We call it blazing the track, Marm," replied Mr. Jones to Mrs. Lee's
inquiry. "You see, in this new country, where there's no sartain road,
we're obliged to mark the trees as we go, if we want to come back the
same way. Now, these 'ere blazed trees will guide me to Painted Posts
without any trouble, when I've left you at your place."
At sunset on the sixth day, they found themselves within five miles of
the end of the journey, happily without having experienced worse than a
good deal of jolting and some occasional frights. As it was impossible
to travel after dark, they camped for the night near a spring on the
road side. A good fire was kindled at the foot of a large tree, the
kettle slung over it by the help of three crossed sticks; and while Mrs.
Lee and Annie got out the provisions for supper, the men and Tom fed and
tethered the horses and oxen close by. When Mr. Jones had done his part
in these duties, he brought from his private stores in the wagon a large
bag and a saucepan.
"I reckon I'll have a mess of hominy to-night," said he. "It's going on
five days since I've had any."
"A mess of hominy," cried Tom; "that does not sound very nice."
"I guess if you tasted it you'd find it nice," answered the wagoner.
"You British don't know anything of the vartues of our corn."
He poured into the saucepan as he spoke a quantity of the Indian corn
grains, coarsely broken, and covering it with water, put it on the fire.
It was soon swelled to twice its former bulk, and looked and smelt very
good. With the addition of a little butter and salt, it made such a
"mess of hominy," as Mr. Jones called it, that few persons would not
have relished. Tom certainly did, as he proved at supper, when the
good-natured wagoner invited all to try it.
The meal was a merry one, notwithstanding the fatigue they had all
experienced during the hard travel of that day--the merrier because of
their anticipated arrival on the morrow at their future home. They all
talked of it, wondering where they should build their house--by the
river (for Uncle John had told them there was one near) or by the wood?
Tom wished for the first, as he thought what fine fishing he might have
at any hour; but Annie preferred the shade of the trees.
"Oh! father," cried she, "I hope there will be as many flowers as I saw
to-day on the road. Such beautiful Rhododendrons! a whole hill covered
with them, all in blossom! And did you see the yellow butterflies?
Mother and I first noticed them when they were resting on a green bank,
and we thought they were primroses until they rose and fluttered off."
"I tell you what, Annie," said Tom, "you'll have to keep a good look-out
after your chickens. There are plenty of hawks about here. I saw one
this afternoon pounce down on a squirrel, and he was carrying it off,
when I shouted with all my might, and he let it drop."
"Oh, Tom! was it hurt?"
"Not it! but hopped away as if nothing had happened."
"You must learn to use your rifle, Tom," remarked Uncle John; "you'll
find it very necessary, as well as useful, in the woods."
"Well, uncle, I'll promise you a dish of broiled squirrels before
October of my own shooting! I intend to practice constantly, if father
will let me."
"If, by 'constantly,' you mean at fitting times," replied Mr. Lee, "I
certainly shall not object. I, too, must endeavor to become somewhat
expert, for in this wild country, where bears and wolves are still
known, it is absolutely necessary to be able to defend oneself and
"I never think of savage animals," said Mrs. Lee, "but of snakes, I must
confess I am very much afraid of them, particularly of rattlesnakes."
"You needn't mind them a bit, Marm," answered Mr. Jones; "they none of
them will strike you, if you don't meddle with them; and as for the
rattlesnake, why, as folks call the lion the king of beasts, I say the
rattlesnake is king of creeping things; he don't come slyly twisting and
crawling, but if you get in his way, gives you sorter warning before he
"Indeed, sister," said Uncle John, "Mr. Jones is right when he tells you
you need not be afraid of them--they are more afraid of us, and besides
are wonderfully easy to kill; a blow with a stick, in the hand of a
child, on or about the head, will render them powerless to do hurt."
"And if you should get a bite, Marm," added Mr. Jones, "the very best
thing you can do is to take a live chicken, split it in two, and lay it
on to the wound: it's a sartain sure cure."
"Why, Annie, if there are many rattlesnakes," cried Tom, laughing, "it
will be worse for your chickens than the hawks!"
"Annie will dream to-night of you, and snakes, and chickens, all in a
jumble, Mr. Jones; but don't you think it is time to prepare our
sleeping-place? It is past eight o'clock, and we must be stirring
After packing up the remains of the supper, Mrs. Lee and the children
retired to their mattresses in the wagon, and the men having put
together a kind of wigwam of branches for themselves, and piled up the
fire, were soon resting from the labors of the day.
The sun had scarcely risen the next morning when our travellers were
prepared for their last day's journey. All was bustle and excitement
with Uncle John and Tom; and Mr. and Mrs. Lee, though quiet, felt an
eager impatience for a sight of their future dwelling-place. And fast
and hard was the beating of their hearts, when after a few hours they
beheld before them their own little possession! Some thirty acres of
rich pasture-land, sloped gently to the margin of a broad stream, which
flowed with a smooth and rapid current, and whose opposite shore gave a
view of a lovely undulating country, bounded by distant mountains, robed
in misty blue. The grand primeval forest nearly enclosed the other three
sides of this vast meadow. It was a beautiful scene, and to Mr. Lee it
almost seemed that he must be dreaming, to look upon it as his own. Deep
and heartfelt was the thanksgiving he silently breathed to the Giver of
all good, that He had brought him to this land of plenty, and given him
such a heritage in the wilderness.
But more than gazing and admiring had to be done that day, so after a
hasty dinner, a sheltered spot was sought for the erection of the
shanties, which were to serve them as sleeping-rooms until the house
should be built. This was soon found, and in a couple of hours two
good-sized ones were made; the walls were formed of interwoven branches,
and the roofs of bark; the fourth side of the men's was to be left open,
as a fire was kept up every night in front of it, to scare away the
wolves, and other wild beasts, should there be any in the neighborhood.
The next morning a council was held as to their future proceedings; to
prepare a house was, of course, a work to be commenced immediately, but
it required some deliberation as to how they should set about it. Mr.
Jones had taken a great liking to the family, and he now proved his
goodwill by declaring that he would "stay awhile, and help them a bit."
But first of all, the goods must be unpacked, and a shed of some kind
made to receive them. This was set about at once, and by dinner time it
was completed, the wagon and cart unloaded, and their contents arranged
as most convenient to Mrs. Lee. The rest of the day was occupied in
chopping down trees for the principal building, and very hard work it
was, especially to Tom, whose young arms and back ached sadly when he
went to bed that night. By the end of a week of this toil, a good number
of logs had been prepared, and Uncle John proposed that he and Tom
should make their way to the settler's, about ten miles distant, and see
if there were any men he could ask to help put up the house, as the
raising of the great logs would prove a slow and laborious task to so
few workmen as they now numbered. He was provided with a pocket-compass,
a rifle, and a good map of the country, and there was no real danger to
be feared, so Mrs. and Mr. Lee readily consented, and accordingly Uncle
John mounted on one of Mr. Jones's horses, and Tom on his father's,
which was one of the four that had drawn the wagon, with a bag of
provisions slung behind him, and an axe to blaze the track, started the
next morning by day-break. Although they were not expected to return
until the next day, the night passed anxiously with the little family,
and it was a joyful relief to them when about three in the afternoon
they heard Tom's well-known halloo from the western wood, and presently
saw him appear, followed by two strangers, and his uncle driving a fine
"Here we are, mother, safe and sound!" exclaimed the boy, as he jumped
from his horse, and ran to kiss her, "and a fine time we've had!"
"We've been successful you see, sister," said Uncle John, who had also
dismounted, and came up with the cow; "Mr. Watson and his son have very
kindly consented to help us; and isn't this a beauty?"
"Indeed, ma'am," said Mr. Watson, shaking her hand heartily, "it's but a
trifling way of showing how well pleased we are to get neighbors. We
have been living some six years out here, and never had a house nearer
than Painted Posts, a good thirty miles off. My wife says she hopes to
be good friends with you, and when you are fairly settled she will come
over. She's English, too, and longs sadly to talk about the old country
with some one just from it."
"It will give me a great deal of pleasure to see her, Mr. Watson,"
replied Mrs. Lee, looking as she felt, very happy at this prospect of
not being quite alone in the wilderness; "and as we shall both meet with
the wish to be good friends, I think there is no fear of our not being
"You'll soon have some chickens, and turkeys, and pigs, mother," said
Tom; "Mrs. Watson has such a number, and she says you shall have some of
the best. And mother, just look what Jem Watson gave me!"
Tom opened the bag which the day before had carried the provisions for
the journey, and to Annie and Georgy's great delight, pulled out a very
pretty little puppy.
"Now, Annie, you shall name him; he's got no name yet. What shall it
The children went away to consult on this important matter, and Mr. Lee,
who had been chopping in the wood, now arriving, welcomed his friendly
neighbor, and thanked him warmly for so readily coming to help them.
"Nonsense," rejoined Mr. Watson; "no need of thanks; you would do the
same for me, or you don't deserve the blessings I see around you. My
maxim, Mr. Gale, is a helping hand and a cheering word for every one who
A NEW HOME, AND A NARROW ESCAPE.
Six weeks afterwards, our young emigrants felt themselves once more at
home. The log-house was finished, and consisted of one large room, which
served as kitchen and parlor, and of three smaller ones for sleeping.
The roof was covered with large pieces of bark; the chinks of the wall
were stopped up with clay; and the chimney and floor were of the same
material, beaten hard and smooth. The windows were as yet but square
openings with shutters, but before winter came, and it is very severe in
Ohio, Mr. Lee meant to put in glazed frames, as glass could be procured
at Painted Posts. The building stood upon the highest rise of the
prairie, and in front flowed the beautiful river, while the thick forest
screened it behind from the cold winds of the north. No trees, however,
were near it, except three fine sycamores, which gave a grateful shade
when the noon-day sun shone bright and hot. Tom had already contrived
seats of twisted branches beneath them, and it was very pleasant to sit
there in the evening and watch the glorious colors of the western sky,
which Annie compared to the changing hues of a pigeon's neck, or the
glancing of the brilliant fire-flies that night brought forth from their
hiding-places under the leaves. A well-fenced yard was at the back of
the dwelling, and enclosed the wood-pile, stable, and hen and
storehouses. A garden had also been commenced around the other three
sides of the house, in which Tom worked, assisted by his sister and
brother, whenever he could be spared from more important labors. He was
indeed an active, industrious boy, and by his example made even little
George useful. Mr. Jones, who had departed as soon as the walls of the
house were raised, used often to say of him, and it was intended as
great praise, "That Tom is a riglar Yankee--a rael go-a-head!"
In doors things also began to look comfortable; it is true they had only
three chairs and one table, but Mr. Lee had knocked together some stools
and a dresser, which the children thought superior to any they had ever
seen; a rack over it held their small stock of crockery, and a few
hanging shelves on the wall were their book-case: cleanliness and
neatness made up for the want of more and better furniture, and
cheerfulness and content were at home in the humble cottage. Annie was a
great help to her mother, and fast learning to be a good housewife. The
poultry was her particular care, and she had already received from Mrs.
Watson a cock, half a dozen hens, and two pairs of fine turkeys, with
many useful directions concerning their management. She would soon
perhaps have lost them all, however, if it had not been for an adventure
which happened to George, and which made her very watchful of them.
He came running home one day smelling so horribly that he was perfectly
intolerable, and the whole house was scented by his clothes.
"Oh, mother!" he cried, "I was playing in the wood, when I saw such a
pretty animal; I thought it was a squirrel at first, or a young fox, and
it seemed so tame that I ran to catch it, but it ran a little way off,
and then stopped and looked back at me--at last, just when I thought I
should get hold of it, it squirted all over me. Oh! it smells so nasty!"
"You may well say that, Georgy," said his uncle; "but it was lucky it
did not squirt into your eyes, or you might have been blinded for life.
That was a skunk, and very likely thinking of paying a visit to the
chickens when you disturbed it. It makes great havoc in a hen-roost,
Annie; and I would advise you to get Tom to make yours safe."
"That I will, this very day," cried Tom; "but, uncle, I never heard of a
skunk before; what kind of a looking thing is it?"
"Rather a pretty animal, Tom, about eighteen inches in length, with a
fine bushy tail as long as its body. Its fur is dark, with a white
stripe down each side. It can be easily tamed, and would serve very well
as a cat in a house, were it not for the disgusting way in which it
shows its anger. The fluid it squirts from under its tail will scent the
whole country round. Even dogs can't bear it."
"I feel quite uncomfortable now from the smell of George's clothes,"
"The worst of it too, is, that you can't get rid of it; no washing will
take it away."
And so it proved; for notwithstanding repeated washing and airings, that
suit of George's was so offensive that he could no longer wear it; and
as everything placed near it was infected, it was at last burnt.
Tom stopped up every cranny of the hen-house which looked in the least
dangerous, with such neatness and skill that his father and uncle were
Annie and George were watching him finish his job, when Uncle John came
up with what looked like a large, green grasshopper, which he had caught
on a sycamore.
"Here, Annie," cried he, "is one of the fellows that make such a
grating, knife-grinding sort of noise every night."
"I thought you said the little tree-toads made it, uncle."
"The tree-toads and the katydids too. This is a katydid, or, perhaps, a
katydidn't; for people say they are divided in opinion, and that as soon
as one party begins to cry 'katydid,' the other shrieks louder still
'katydidn't,' which accounts for the noise they make."
"Oh, uncle! do they really?" cried George.
"You must listen, Georgy," replied his uncle, laughing.
"When we first came here" remarked Tom, "mother could not sleep for the
noise they and the tree-toads made."
"The voice of the tree-toad is very loud for so small a creature, but
the katydid has really no voice at all."
"No voice, uncle?"
"No, Annie; the chirp of all kinds of grasshoppers is produced by their
thighs rubbing against their wing-cases."
"How very curious!" exclaimed the children, and the katydid was examined
with still greater interest before it was released to rejoin its
companions on the sycamore.
* * * * *
"What do you think of our building a boat, Tom?" said his uncle to him,
a few days after he had finished the hen-house. "It seems to me that you
and I could manage it. What do you say?"
"Oh! capital!" cried Tom, with delight; "I'm sure we could! let's begin
"Well, we'll try at any rate. When you have driven out the cows, come to
me at the fences."
"Where there's a will there's a way," was Uncle John's favorite maxim,
and certainly he had reason to believe in the truth of it, for he
succeeded in everything he undertook. The boat was no exception: it was
built in a wonderfully short time, and launched one fine day in the
presence of the assembled family. It was not large enough to hold more
than two persons safely, but as Uncle John said, if it did well, it
would be an encouragement to build another capable of containing the
whole household, and then, what pleasant trips they might take!
The two boat-builders rowed several times a couple of miles up and down
the river in the course of the week, bringing home, after each
excursion, a tolerable supply of cat-fish. This was an acceptable change
in their diet, for, except when Uncle John killed some venison, which
had as yet only happened once, or Tom shot squirrels enough to broil a
dishfull, their usual dinner was salt pork and hominy.
But a couple of miles up and down did not at all satisfy Tom's desire of
exploration; he wanted to see more of the river, and especially to
discover a short cut by water to Mr. Watson's mill. Uncle John hesitated
to give his consent to going any distance until something more was known
of the currents and difficulties of the stream, so the boy determined to
go alone. One day, therefore, when his father and uncle were chopping
fences in the woods, he unmoored the little boat, and rowed off. The
weather was very fine, and the current rippled gently on between the
beautiful banks, which were now darkly wooded, now smiling with green
prairies and sunny flowers. The sweet clear song of the robin, or the
monotonous tapping of the brilliant crimson-headed woodpecker, alone
broke the stillness of the scene; and after a time, Tom, somewhat
wearied and heated by the exertion of rowing, felt inclined to yield to
the spirit of rest which breathed around. So he laid aside his oars, and
let the boat drift idly on while he refreshed himself with the cold meat
and bread he had provided for the occasion. The current gradually became
stronger, the banks grew rocky and steep--soon large masses of stone
appeared scattered in the river's bed, and the waters dashed noisily
past. Tom roused up at length, and began to wish that he had not
ventured so far; he seized the oars to return, but too late--his single
strength could no longer direct the laboring boat, now hurried along by
the rushing stream. The banks rose steeper--the river narrowed--the
hoarse sound of falling waters was heard, and Tom saw with despair that
he was approaching a terrific cataract. There seemed no escape from
destruction--there was no hope of help from human hand. The boy looked
around with a pale cheek, but brave heart--one chance yet remained to
save him from certain death--one chance alone! A black and rugged rock,
around which the waters madly leaped and broke, parted the current some
feet from the direction in which his little vessel was impelled;--if he
could reach it, he would be saved! As he approached it he stood
up;--could he make such a fearful leap?--he sat down again, and tried to
calculate calmly the distance and his powers. He drew near the
rock--still nearer--one moment more, and his only chance of life would
be gone forever! He sprang upon the edge of the boat, and, leaping from
it with all the strength of despair, fell, clinging with a death-grasp,
to the projections of the wet and slippery stone, while the boat,
whirling round and round by the impulse, dashed onwards and disappeared!
For some time Tom dared not raise his head; he felt too bewildered, too
terrified by the danger he had escaped, to comprehend perfectly his
present situation. At length he sat up, and endeavored to collect his
thoughts, and determine what next he should do. The river-bank rose
almost perpendicularly full twenty feet; no straggling vine, by whose
help he might have clambered up, fell from it, and the foaming torrent
rushing between it and him, rendered any attempt to scale it, without
some aid from above, utterly impossible. He must, then, call for help;
but who was there to hear him in this wild place--.and how could he make
himself heard above the din of the raging waters which surrounded him?
He was nigh despairing again, when he remembered the whistle with which
he used to call the pigs, and which he always carried about him; he took
it from his pocket, and blew a long, shrill cry--it rose high above all
the roar and tumult of the cataract, and his failing hope and courage
"Dick," said Jem Watson to his elder brother, as they were shooting
squirrels that afternoon in the woods, about three miles from home, "did
you hear that whistle just now?"
"A whistle! No; whereabouts?"
"It seemed to come from the Fall; but who should be there! father's at
home, isn't he?"
"Yes, father's at home. But, hark! I hear it now! Who can it be?--let's
The young man ran off, followed by Jem, and they were soon on the cliff
above poor Tom, who sat wearily looking upwards. "Tom Lee!" they both
cried in a breath, as his pale face met their eyes.
"Why, Tom! how came you there?" called Jem.
"Don't stand bawling, Jem," said his brother; "he'd rather tell you up
here than where he is, I'll be bound! Cut off home as fast as you can,
and tell father to come and bring a rope--that one hanging over my tool
chest. Now be off--that poor fellow looks almost at death's door
Jem needed no second telling, but was out of sight in a moment, while
Dick stayed near the cliff, that Tom might be encouraged by the sight of
a friend. He had not to wait long; in little more than an hour Mr.
Watson and Jem arrived with the rope, and after some trouble they
contrived to pull the wet and shivering boy up in safety. They hastened
with him to the farm, where Mrs. Watson made him change his dripping
clothes for a suit of Jem's, and take some very welcome refreshment,
after which she hurried his return home, knowing from her own mother's
heart how dreadful must be the anxiety of Mr. and Mrs. Lee, ignorant as
they were as to what had become of their son.
It was near sunset when Dick started on horseback, with Tom behind him,
for the ten mile journey through the forest. They had proceeded about
two-thirds of the distance, and had lighted one of the splinters of
turpentine pine they had brought for torches, when they heard a shot.
Dick answered it by another, and a loud halloo! and presently a light
appeared through the trees approaching them. As it came near, Tom
recognised his father and uncle, who had scoured the woods around the
log-house in search of him, and were now on their way to Mr. Watson's,
hoping almost against hope to find him there.
It would be vain to attempt to describe the tenderness lavished on the
truant that night by the happy family, or repeat the many grateful words
spoken to Dick. All the pain that the thoughtless boy had caused was
forgotten in joy for his safety. "You should have remembered, Tom, how
unhappy your absence without our permission would make your mother and
me. How often, my son, have I said to you that--
"Evil is wrought from want of thought,
As well as want of heart."
These were the only reproving words his father's full heart could utter,
but Tom felt them; and when all knelt together before retiring to rest,
to give humble and hearty thanks for the blessings of the past
day--while each heart poured forth its gratitude for the especial mercy
that had been granted--his prayed also for power to resist temptation.
"I wonder what is the matter with Snap," cried George one evening about
a week after, as the family were at tea; "he sits there looking at that
corner as if he was quite frightened; I've watched him such a time,
"Oh yes, father, do look!" cried Annie; "he sees something between that
box and the wall, I'm sure!"
"Hi! hi! good dog! at him!" shouted Tom, trying to incite the dog to
seize the object, whatever it might be. Snap's eyes sparkled and he ran
forwards, but as quickly drew back again, with every sign of intense
fear. At the same moment a mingled sound, as of the rattling of dried
peas and hissing, was heard from the spot. "A snake!" cried Uncle John,
jumping up from the table, and seizing a stout stick which was at hand,
while Mrs. Lee, at the word, catching Willie in her arms, and dragging
George, retreated to the farthest part of the room, followed by Annie.
As the box was carefully drawn away, the hissing and rattling became
louder, and presently a large rattlesnake glided out with raised head
and threatening jaws, and made for the door. Snap stood near the
entrance, as if transfixed by fear, his tail between his legs, and
trembling in every limb. Uncle John aimed a blow, but the irritated
reptile darting forwards bit the poor dog in the throat. Before,
however, Snap's yelp of agony had died away, the stick fell on the
creature's head, and it lay there lifeless.
"He's done for!" cried Tom, triumphantly.
"Yes, and so I fear is Snap, too," said his father; "poor fellow!"
"Can't we do anything for him, Uncle?" asked Tom, anxiously.
"Nothing that I know of--there is but one antidote, it is said, and that
is the rattlesnake weed,--the Indians believe it to be a certain cure
for the bite, but I don't know it by sight."
Mrs. Lee now ventured forward to look for a moment at the still writhing
snake, and Tom then dragged it out of the house; but before throwing it
away, he cut off the rattle, which was very curious. It consisted of
thin, hard, hollow bones, linked together, somewhat resembling the
curb-chain of a bridle, and rattling at the slightest motion. Uncle John
showed him how to ascertain the age of the reptile. The extreme end,
called the button, is all it has until three years old; after that age a
link is added every year. As the snake they had just killed had thirteen
links, besides the button, it must have been sixteen years old; it
measured four feet in length, and was about as thick as a man's arm.
The unfortunate dog died after three or four hours' great suffering, and
was buried the next day at the foot of a tree in the forest. His loss
was especially felt by George, who busied himself for some hours in
raising a little mound over the grave, and then fencing it round, as a
mark of esteem, he said, for a friend.
Meanwhile the summer was slipping fast away, and October came, bringing
with it cool weather and changing leaves. The woods soon looked like
great gardens, filled with giant flowers. The maple became a vivid
scarlet, the chestnut orange, the oak a rich red brown, and the hickory
and tall locust were variegated with a deep green and delicate yellow.
Luxuriant vines, laden with clusters of ripe grapes, twined around and
festooned the trees to their summits, while the ground beneath was
strewn with the hard-shelled hickory-nut and sweet mealy chestnut, which
pattered down in thousands with the falling leaves.
It was at day-break on one of the brightest and mildest mornings of this
delightful season, that the family were awakened by the shouts of Tom,
who was already up and out of doors, setting the pigs, which were his
particular charge, free for their daily rambles in the forest.
"Oh, Uncle John!" he cried, running in for his gun, "do get up: there
are such lots of pigeons about! Flock upon flock! you can hardly see the
Every one hastily dressed and rushed out--it was indeed a wonderful
sight which presented itself. The heavens seemed alive with pigeons on
their way from the cold north to more temperate climates; they flew,
too, so low, that by standing on the log-house roof one might have
struck them to the earth with a pole. Millions must have passed already,
when there approached a dense cloud of the birds, which seemed to
stretch in length and breadth as far as eye could reach. It formed a
regular even column--a dark solid living mass, following in a straight
undeviating flight the guidance of its leader. The sight was so exciting
that Mr. Lee and Uncle John ran for their rifles as Tom had done, and
opened a destructive fire as it passed over.
The ground was soon covered with the victims, and the sportsmen still
seemed intent on killing, as if they thought only of destroying as many
as possible of the crowded birds, when Mrs. Lee called to them to
"There are more of the pretty creatures already slain," she said, "than
we can eat,--it is a shocking waste of life!"
"And see, Tom," cried his sister, "the poor things are not dead, only
wounded and in pain!"
They all instantly ceased firing, and Mr. Lee looked on the bleeding
birds scattered around, with the regretful feeling that he had bought a
few minutes' amusement at a great expense of suffering. Uncle John and
Tom, however, only thought of pigeon-pies, and went to work to put the
sufferers out of their misery, and prepare them for cooking.
A few days after this memorable morning, the children and Uncle John set
out for a regular nutting excursion; Annie had made great bags for their
gatherings, and Mrs. Lee provided a fine pigeon-pie for their dinner;
Tom took charge of it, his sister of Georgy, and Uncle John carried his
constant companion on a ramble--his good rifle. By noon they had gone
more than three miles into the depths of the forest; their bags were
nearly filled, and Tom began to grumble at the weight of the pie, so
that when they reached a pleasant open spot near a spring, it was at
once decided that they should dine there. They spread their little store
on the ground, adding to it some bunches of grapes from the vines
around, and then sat down with excellent appetites and the merriest of
"I am never tired of watching the squirrels!" cried Annie, who had been
looking for some time at the lively little animals scampering in the
trees; "just look what funny little things those are!"
"The young ones are just old enough now to eat the nuts and berries,"
replied Uncle John; "see how they are feasting!"
"Where do they live, uncle; in a hole?" asked George.
"Oh, George! where are your eyes!" cried his brother; "look up there;
don't you see the little mud and twig cabins at the very top of the
tree! those are their nests!"
"I once read an interesting story," remarked Uncle John, "of a squirrel
that tried to kill himself; would you like to hear it?"
"Oh yes, uncle!" they all cried in a breath.
"Well, this squirrel was very ill-treated by his companions; they used
to scratch and bite him, and jump on him till they were tired, while he
never offered to resist, but cried in the most heart-rending manner. One
young squirrel, however, was his secret friend, and whenever an
opportunity offered of doing it without being seen, would bring him nuts
and fruits. This friend was detected one day by the others, who rushed
in dozens to punish him, but he succeeded in escaping from them by
jumping to the highest perch of the tree, where none could follow him.
The poor outcast, meanwhile, seemingly heart-broken by this last
misfortune, went slowly to the river's side, ascended a tree which stood
by, and with a wild scream jumped from it into the rushing waters!"
"Oh, uncle! what a melancholy story," cried Anne, quite touched by the
"But wait, dear; our wretched squirrel did not perish this time, he was
saved by a gentleman who had seen the whole affair, and who took him
home and tamed him. He was an affectionate little creature, and never
attempted to return to the woods, although left quite free. His end was
a sad one at last; he was killed by a rattlesnake!"
"Oh, horrid!" cried George, "that was worse than drowning."
"So I think, Georgy. But isn't it time for us to move homewards? Wash
the dish, Annie, at the spring, and Tom shall bag it again."
It was nearly dark when they reached the log-house, tired with their
long walk, and the weight of their full bags, but in great spirits
nevertheless, for they brought back a prize in an immense wild turkey,
which Uncle John had shot on the return march. They had seen a great
many of these beautiful birds during the day, but none near enough to
shoot; at last a gang of some twenty ran across the path close to them,
and the ready rifle secured the finest. Uncle John carried it by the
neck, slung over his shoulder, and so stretched, it measured full six
feet from the tip of the beak to the claws. The plumage of its wings and
spreading tail was of a rich, glossy brown, barred with black, and its
head and neck shone with a brilliant metallic lustre.
The nutting party were very glad to get to bed that night, especially
George, who was more foot-sore than he liked to confess. Before saying
good-night, they agreed to rise very early the next morning, to spread
their chestnuts in the sun, as Uncle John had told them it would improve
their sweetness exceedingly, besides making them better for storing
during the winter. A great change in the weather took place, however,
during the night; a cutting north-easterly wind and rain set in, and
continued with little intermission for nearly a week. When bright, clear
days returned, the country showed that winter was approaching rapidly.
Uncle John took advantage of a call Dick Watson made at the log-house
with his team, to accompany him to Painted Posts to buy glass for the
windows. On their return, Dick stayed a couple of days to help with the
job, which was not finished before it was needed, for they had begun to
feel the cold very sensibly, notwithstanding the great wood fire they
* * * * *
The Indian summer--a delightful week in the beginning of November, when
the air is mild and still, and a beautiful blueish mist floats in the
atmosphere, through which the landscape is seen as through a veil of
gossamer--had come and gone, and a slight flurry of snow had covered the
ground with a white mantle, when one morning a great squealing was heard
from the pen in which the pigs were now kept.
"What can be the matter there?" said Mrs. Lee, "they are not fighting, I
"I'll go and see, mother," said Tom, running out. A moment after his
voice was heard shouting, "a bear! a bear!" and he was seen running
towards the prairie, armed with a rail which he had picked up in the
yard. When Mr. Lee and Uncle John rushed after him with their rifles, he
was gaining fast on a huge black bear, which had just paid a visit to
the hog-pen, and was now trotting off to the woods with a squalling
victim. "Stop, stop, Tom!" cried his father; but Tom was too excited to
hear or see anything but the object of his pursuit; he ran on, and soon
got near enough to make his rail sound on the bear's hard head. But
though Tom was a strong, big fellow for his years, he was no match for
an American bear, which is not so easily settled, and so Bruin seemed
determined to let him know; he immediately dropped the pig with a growl,
and erecting himself on his hind legs, prepared to give battle. Tom
tried to keep him off with the rail, but a bear is a good fencer, and a
few strokes of his great paws soon left the boy without defence. The
deadly hug of the angry animal seemed unavoidable, when a shot from
Uncle John, which sent a bullet through the left eye into the very
brain, stretched the bear lifeless on the snow.
"If it hadn't been for you I should have had a squeeze, uncle!" cried
"You're a thoughtless, foolish boy, Tom!" said his uncle; "who but you,
I wonder, would have run after a bear with nothing but a rail!"
"He is indeed a thoughtless boy," said his father, "but I hope a
grateful one; you have most probably saved his life!"
"Uncle knows I am grateful, I'm sure," said Tom, "I needn't tell him!"
"It's a fine beast, and fat as butter," remarked Uncle John, feeling its
sides as he spoke, "yet he must have been hungry, fond as a bear is of
pork, to venture so near a house by daylight!"
"What a warm fur!" observed Mr. Lee, "just feel how thick the hair is!"
"But what can we do with such a mountain of flesh and fat?" asked Tom.
"We can't eat it, and we've no dogs."
"O, we'll eat it fast enough!" replied his uncle; "a bear ham is a
delicacy, I assure you."
"I think we may as well set about skinning and cutting it up for curing
at once, as we have little to do to-day. What say you, John?"
"Yes, we had better; but we must do the business here, for the skin
would be quite spoiled were we to attempt to drag the carcase into the
yard, though it would be more convenient to have it there. We can take
the hams and fur, and leave the rest."
"What a busy day this has been," said Tom, that evening, when he and his
sister had finished the reading and writing lessons their father gave
them every night; "what with helping to catch the bear, and then to skin
and cut him up, and dinner and tea, and reading and writing, I've not
had a spare moment."
"As to helping to catch the bear," said his father, laughing, "you may
leave that out of the catalogue of your occupations."
"Not at all, father; for, if I hadn't gone to see what was the matter,
he would have walked off with the pig, and no one the wiser."
"Oh, certainly, Tom helped!" cried his uncle; "and his mother helped,
too, for, you remember, she wondered what was the matter in the
"I don't mind your fun, uncle," said Tom; "I shall shoot a bear myself
"I'm glad that, if the poor bear was to come, it came to-day rather than
to-morrow, for to-morrow will be Sunday," remarked Annie; "the week has
seemed so short to me!"
"So it has to me," said her brother; "the weeks seem to fly fast."
"Because you are always occupied," observed Mr. Lee; "time is long and
tedious only with the idle. What a blessing work is; it adds in every
way to the happiness of life!--it is good for the mind, and good for the
"I used to think it very disagreeable, I remember!"
"You have grown wiser as well as older, Tom, during the past year," said
"If I only do so every year, mother!"
"If you do, Tom, you will indeed be a happy man, for the ways of wisdom
are ways of pleasantness;--but it must be time for your usual wash."
"Aye, so it is! I believe I like the Saturday night wash almost as well
as the Sunday rest. One seems to feel better, as well as cleaner, after
* * * * *
Sunday, in the family of the emigrants, was generally happy; even the
very youngest seemed to be influenced by the spirit of peace that
breathed around on that holy day. No loud boisterous voice, no jeering
laugh was ever heard; a subdued, composed, yet cheerful manner, marked
the enjoyment of rest from the fatigues of the past well-spent six days
of labor, while the earnest remembrance of their Maker, the eager desire
and striving to learn and to do their duty to Him and to each other,
made the commencement of each new week as profitable as it was welcome.
The recollection, too, of the land they had left was more tender on this
quiet day, and past joys and trials were often recalled with a kind of
melancholy pleasure, sometimes with an almost regretful feeling that the
scenes in which they had laughed and toiled should know them no longer.
The green fields--the hawthorn hedges--the cottages and the little
gardens, gay with the rose and the hollyhock--the ivy-grown village
church--all were remembered and talked of in love--seeming ever more
beautiful as memory dwelt on them. They acknowledged with thankfulness
the blessings of their present lot--they looked forward hopefully to the
future--but, oh! how deeply they felt that the far-off island, the land
of their birth, could never be forgotten!
Here in the woods, where no church was near, when the never-omitted
morning prayer was ended, Mr. Lee read aloud some good plain discourse,
and explained those passages the children had not perfectly understood;
the evening was spent in listening to interesting portions of the sacred
history, and in instructive and pleasant conversation. Before retiring
to rest, all voices joined in some sweet hymn of praise, and then, with
hearts softened by the touching sounds, and purified by the blessed
influences of a day so passed, they slept the calm, untroubled sleep of
innocence, to awaken on the morrow strengthened and refreshed, to obey
once more the Divine command--"Six days shalt thou labor."
STRIVING AND THRIVING.
Ten years after the settlement and incidents related in the preceding
chapters, it would have been difficult to recognise the log-cabin in the
substantial farm-house that occupied its place. The forest which once so
nearly enclosed it was gone, or only to be traced here and there in a
few decaying stumps, or the gray ruins of girdled trees which yet
resisted wind and weather. The meadow land was covered with grazing
sheep and cattle, the yard filled with stacks of hay and fodder, and
large convenient barns and stables stood where the little out-houses,
which once sufficed to accommodate all the emigrants' gear, had formerly
been; corn fields, and orchards of peaches and apples surrounded the
dwelling, which, with its flowergrown piazza and gay garden, presented a
pretty picture of peace and plenty.
But these changes had only been wrought by slow degrees and hard work,
nor had they been unaccompanied by many trials and disappointments.
Crops had failed, or been destroyed, when promising a bountiful harvest,
by fierce storms of rain and wind; and once the woods had caught fire,
and spread desolation over the country. Prompt exertions saved the
house, but the labors of the year had been lost, and the corn-fields
ready for the harvest, and the rich pastures left black and smoking.
Nor was the neighboring country less changed and improved: the narrow
blazed tracks which had formerly led to Mr. Watson's and to Painted
Posts had widened into well-travelled roads; and clearings visible on
hill-sides in the distance, and frequent columns of curling smoke rising
above the far-off tree-tops, gave evidence of the habitations of men,
and that our emigrants were no longer alone in the wilderness.
Change had also been busy with the family, as well as with their home
and its surroundings. Mr. and Mrs. Lee showed least its power; for
though ten years older, the time had passed too prosperously on the
whole to leave many wrinkles on their cheerful, contented faces. But
some of the children were children no longer. Tom, now a fine young man
of twenty-two, had married Jem Watson's sister Katie, and settled on a
small lot which lay on the banks of the river just below the Fall that
had once been so nearly fatal to him. Taking advantage of the facilities
offered by the situation for a mill, he had raised one near the rapids,
and as the neighborhood became more populous, he found increasing
profit, as well as employment, and was quickly becoming a thriving
miller. Uncle John, still good-natured and light-hearted, had
established himself near him on a comfortable farm, with a wife he had
brought from Cincinnati, and who was as cheerful as himself, and the
cleverest housewife of the whole country round. They had a little son
and daughter, one four, the other two years old, who were the delight
and pride of their parents. "Bub," or "Bubby," as boys are familiarly
called in the United States, could already mount a horse, call in the
pigs, and sing Yankee Doodle as well, his father declared, as he could
himself; while "Sissy" nursed her rag-doll, and lulled it to sleep, in
her tiny rocking-chair, with as much tenderness and patience as a larger
woman. They were wonderful children! Uncle John said.
The kind and gentle Annie had grown up, beloved by all who knew her, and
Jem Watson had often thought what a good wife she would make, and what a
happy house that would be of which she was mistress, before he summoned
courage to ask her to be his. When she consented, he believed himself
the most fortunate man in Ohio. But she would not leave her mother quite
alone, with her many household cares, and therefore it was determined
that though the marriage should take place in the autumn, she should not
move to Jem's house until George, who had taken his elder brother's
place in helping his father, should be old enough to bring home a wife
to undertake his sister's duties. Jem, meanwhile was to cultivate and
improve the eighty-acre lot his father had purchased for him within six
miles of Painted Posts, a place which was rapidly increasing, and
already offered a profitable market to the neighboring farmers, more
especially as a railway now passed within two miles.
We shall have mentioned all our old friends when we add that the baby
Willy had become just such another thoughtless daring boy as Tom had
been at his age, and that Dick Watson was established in Cincinnati, now
called the "Queen of the West," as a pork merchant, and was getting rich
The maize, or Indian corn, had attained its ripest hue, and been plucked
from the dry stems, which had been deprived of their leaves as soon as
the ear was fully formed, that nothing might screen the sun's hottest
rays from the grain, and the golden-colored pumpkins which had been
planted between the rows, that no land might be wasted, even left to
ripen alone amid the withering corn-stalks. The neighbors from far and
near had visited each other's houses in turn, for the "Husking frolic,"
when all joined to strip from the ear the long leaves in which it was
wrapped, and which were to be stacked as fodder for the sheep and
cattle. The apples had been sliced and dried in the sun, and then strung
and suspended in festoons from the kitchen ceiling, the pumpkins had at
last been gathered in and stored in great piles in the barn--all
provision for winter pies,--and the fall, as the Americans call the
autumn, from the falling of the leaf, was drawing to a close when
Annie's wedding-day arrived.
The Watson and the Lee families were so much respected by their
neighbors, that when Tom was married, a year before, and now, also, all
seemed to think that they could not sufficiently show their good will,
unless they overwhelmed them with whatever might be thought most likely
to please in the way of dainties. For a day or two before, the bearer of
some present might have been seen each hour at the Lees' door.
"Please, Mrs. Lee, mother sends her compliments, and a pot of first-rate
quince preserves," said one.
"I've just run over with some real sweet maple, Mr. Lee," cried another.
"I reckon it's better sugar than you've tasted yet!"
Annie and her mother began to wonder how such an abundance of good
things as poured in upon them could ever be disposed of.
Breakfast had scarcely been cleared away on the morning of the appointed
day, when Tom and Katie came trotting to the door in their light wagon.
They had scarcely alighted when Uncle John arrived, driving up with his
wife and children. "Only just ahead of us, Tom!" he cried, as he jumped
out, and ran up the steps to kiss Annie. "Bless you, my girl!"
"I am so glad you are all come," said Annie, with a smiling, blushing
face. "Mother is so busy, and wishing so for Aunt Abby and Katie!"
"Aye, they're two good ones for setting things to rights!" cried Uncle
John; "but I say, Annie, we met a party of red ladies and gentlemen
"What do you mean, uncle?"
"Why, half a dozen Indians, with their squaws and papooses are on the
road, and I told them to stop here, and I would trade with them--so get
something for them to eat, will you?"
The travellers soon made their appearance; a strange-looking set of
red-skinned, black-eyed Indians, wrapped in dirty, many-colored
blankets. The men were hard-featured, and degraded in their bearing, not
at all resembling the description we have received of their warlike
ancestors, before the fatal "fire water," as they call rum, had become
known to them; but some of the women had a soft, melancholy expression
of countenance, which was very pleasing. They carried their babies,
which were bandaged from head to foot, so that they could not move a
limb, in a kind of pouch behind; the little dark faces peeped over the
mothers' shoulders, and looked contented and happy.
The party stopped at the gate, and all the family went out to inspect
the articles of their own manufacture, which the Indians humbly offered
for sale. These consisted of baskets ornamented with porcupine quills,
moccasins of deer-skin, and boxes of birch bark. Mrs. Lee's and Aunt
Abby's heart bled for the way-worn looking mothers and their patient
babes; they relieved their feelings, however, by making them eat as much
as they would. Uncle John and Tom were glad to buy some of the pretty
toys for wedding presents, and after an hour's stay the party resumed
"Those Indians always make me feel sad," remarked Uncle John when they
were gone; "a poor disinherited race they are,--homeless in the broad
land which once belonged to their fathers!"
"It is a melancholy thought at first, certainly," replied Mr. Lee; "but
if you reflect awhile you will find consolation. There are many towns
which were founded by persons still living, whose inhabitants already
outnumber all the hunter tribes which once possessed the forest; and
surely the industry of civilization is to be preferred to the wild rule
of the savage!"
"You are right," said Uncle John, with a sigh; "but still I must be
sorry for the Indians!"
The Watsons arrived shortly after, and every one was busy, though, as
Mrs. Lee often said laughingly, no one did anything but Aunt Abby, and
she was indefatigable. Soon after dinner the neighbors began to
assemble, and when the minister from Painted Posts arrived, the ceremony
which united the young couple was performed in the neat little parlor of
the farm-house. At six o'clock an immense tea-table was spread with all
the luxuries of the American back-woods;--there were huge dishes of hot
butter-milk rolls, and heaps of sweet cake (so called from its being in
great part composed of molasses)--and plum cakes, and curiously twisted
nut-cakes--and plates of thin shaven smoked beef, of new made cheese and
butter--and there were pies of pumpkin, peach, and apple, with dishes of
preserves and pickles. The snow-white table-cloth was scarcely visible,
so abundant was the entertainment which covered it. After this feast,
the evening passed in merry games among the young people, while the
elders looked on and laughed, or formed little groups for conversation,
of which, indeed, the remembrance of former weddings was the principal
Mr. Watson and Mr. Lee, now doubly connected through their children, sat
together a little apart, recalling, as they talked, the various trials
of their first experience of the wilderness, and comparing the present
with the past.
"Who would have anticipated such a scene as this," remarked the latter,
"when you and Dick came to help us build the log-house?"
"And yet it has come to pass by most simple means," replied Mr.
Watson,--"industry and perseverance. These qualities, as we are now old
enough to know, will gain a home and its comforts in any part of the
world,--in our native land as well as here, although too many doubt the
fact. Yet there are times when a man in the crowded communities of
Europe sees no refuge but in emigration. When such is the case, he must
make up his mind to leave behind the faults and the follies which have
there hindered his well-being. If he cannot do this he will be as poor
and discontented here as in England. You and I have reason, my friend,
to be grateful that the Providence which guided us hither, gave us
courage to bear patiently the dangers and privations which must be
conquered before a home and prosperity can be won by the Emigrant."
and Her Blind Brother
A Christmas Story for Young People
[Illustration: "May God give you a happy Christmas."]
THE BROKEN CUP.
"Come! boys," said Master Teuzer, a potter of Dresden, to his work
people, who had just finished their breakfast, consisting of coffee and
black bread, "Come! to work."
He stood up; the work people did the same, and went into the adjoining
work-shop, where each of them placed himself at a bench.
"Who is knocking at the door?" said the Master, interrupting the silence
which reigned. "Come in there!" he added in a rough tone. The door
opened, and a little girl entered, saluted him timidly, and remained
standing on the threshold. The clock had not yet struck five,
nevertheless the fair hair of the little girl, who was about ten years
old, had already been nicely combed, and every part of her dress,
although poor, was neat and in order, her cheeks and hands were of that
rosy color which is produced by the habit of washing in cold water.
Master Teuzer observed all this with secret satisfaction, he looked
kindly at the timid child. "Ah, my little one, so early, and already up,
are you then of opinion that the morning is best for work? It is well,
my child, and appears to agree with you--you are as fresh as a rose of
the morning. Well; what have you brought me?"
The little girl took from her apron, which she held up, a china cup,
broken into two pieces--"I only wished to ask you," said she, in a sad
voice, "if you can mend this cup so that the crack will not be seen."
Teuzer examined the pieces attentively, they were of fine china, and
ornamented with painted flowers. "So that one must not see the crack,"
he repeated, "it will be difficult--but we will try." So saying, he laid
the pieces on one side, and returned to his work. But the little girl,
looking much disappointed, said, "Ah, sir, have the kindness to mend the
cup immediately, I will wait until it is done."
The potter and his workmen began to laugh; "then," said the former, "you
will have long enough to wait, for after being cemented, the cup must be
baked. It will be three days before I heat the furnace again, and it
will be five before you can have your cup."
The child looked disappointed, and Teuzer continued, "Ah, I see why you
are up so early--your mother does not know that you have broken the cup,
and you wanted to have it mended before she is awake. I am right I
see--go then and tell your mother the exact truth--that will be best,
will it not?"
The little girl said "Yes," in a low voice, and went away.
Very early on the following morning the child returned.
"I told you," said Teuzer, frowning, "that you could not have your cup
for five days."
"It is not for that I have come," replied the child, "but I have brought
you something else to mend,"--and she took from her apron the pieces of
a brown jar.
Teuzer laughed again, and said, "We can do nothing with this--you think
it is china because it is glazed, but it is from the Waldenburg pottery,
and quite a different clay from ours. It would be a fine thing indeed if
we could mend all the broken jars in Dresden, we should then be soon
obliged to shut up shop, and eat dry bread--throw away the pieces,
The little girl turned pale, "The jar is not ours," she said, crying,
"it belongs to Mrs. Abendroth, who sent us some broth."
"I am sorry for it," replied Teuzer, "but you must be more careful in
using other people's things."
"It was not my fault," said the child--"my poor mother has the
rheumatism in her hands, and cannot hold anything firmly--and she let it
fall. Have you jars of this kind, and how much would one of this size
Teuzer felt moved with compassion, "I have a few in the warehouse," he
answered, "but they are three times as dear as the common ones."
He went to look for one to make a present to the little girl, but on his
return, chancing to glance into her apron, he saw a little paper parcel.
"What have you there," he asked, "coffee or sugar?"
The little girl hesitated a moment. She was almost afraid to tell him
what she had in her apron. She thought he might possibly suspect that
she had been taking something which did not belong to her. Still, she
hesitated but a moment. She felt that she was honest, and she saw no
good reason why he should doubt her honesty. So she said,
"It is seed for our canary, our pretty Jacot. He is a dear little
creature, and he has had nothing to eat for a long time. How glad he
will be to get it."
"Oh, seed for a bird," said Teuzer, slowly; and putting down the jar he
was about to give her, he returned to his work, saying to himself, "if
you can afford to keep a bird you can pay me for my goods. Yes, yes,
people are often _so_ poor, _so_ poor, and when one comes to
inquire, they keep dogs, cats, or birds; and yet they will ask for
So the little girl had to go away without the jar; however, she returned
at the end of four days for her cup. The crack could scarcely be
perceived, and Teuzer asked sixpence for mending it. The little girl
searched in her pocket, without being able to find more than four-pence.
"It wants two-pence," said she, timidly, and looking beseechingly at the
potter, who replied, dryly, "I see: well, you will bring it to me on the
first opportunity," he then gave her the cup, and she slipped away quite
"Now I have got rid of her," said Teuzer, to his men, "we shall see no
more of her here."
But to his surprise, she returned in two days bringing the two-pence.
"It is well," said he to her, "it is well to be so honest, had you not
returned, I knew neither where you lived, nor your name. Who are your
"My father is dead, he was a painter, we live at No. 47 South Lane, and
my name is Madelaine Tube."
"Your father was a painter, and perhaps you can paint also, and better
too, than my apprentice that you see there with his great mouth open,
instead of painting his plates?"
The boy, looking quite frightened, took up his pencil and became red as
fire, while Madelaine examined his work.
"Come here, Madelaine," said Teuzer, "and make him ashamed, by painting
Madelaine obeyed timidly. Even if she had performed her task
badly--Teuzer would certainly have praised her to humiliate his
apprentice; but this was not the case. With a firm and practised hand,
the child drew some blue ornaments upon the white ground of the plate.
Without saying a word, Teuzer went to his warehouse, and returned with a
Waldenburg jar which he gave to the little girl. "Take it," said he, "it
was intended for you some days since. One who although so little and so
young as you are, is already so clover, can well afford to keep a bird.
If you like to paint my plates and other little things you shall be well
Madelaine was delighted, her face shone with joy; she gladly consented
to this proposal, and having thanked Master Teuzer, skipped away
carrying her jar.
A PICTURE OF POVERTY.
Madame Tube, the mother of Madelaine, was a great sufferer from
rheumatism. Severe pain had kept her awake almost the whole night; but
towards morning a heavy sleep gave her some relief, and prevented her
hearing the crowing of a cock in a neighboring yard, which usually
disturbed her: Madelaine, however, heard it well, and making as little
noise as possible, she rose from her miserable bed.
It was still quite dark in the little room, yet as Madelaine was very
tidy, she easily found her clothes, put them on quickly, and going very
gently into a narrow yard in front of this wretched room she washed her
face, hands, and neck, at the fountain. Perceiving on her return that
her mother still slept, she knelt down and repeated her morning prayer,
with great attention, then taking up the stocking she was knitting,
worked diligently at it until the daylight came feebly in at the little
window, when, putting her knitting aside, she lighted the fire in the
stove and began to prepare breakfast.
"The smoke suffocates me," said Madame Tube, as she awoke coughing.
"Good morning, dear mother," said Madelaine affectionately, "the wood is
damp and the stove full of cracks, but I will try if I cannot stop the
smoke." She then took some clay which she had ready wetted in a broken
cup, and endeavored to stop the large cracks in the stove, which was of
"Raise me a little," said the mother. Madelaine hastened to her--she put
her arms round the child's neck, who had to exert all her strength to
raise her. Madame Tube, whose constant suffering had made her fretful,
said, in a complaining tone, "Where does this terrible draught come
from, is the window open there?"
Madelaine examined it: "Ah," said she, "the rain has loosened the paper
I had pasted to the broken pane, I will cover it up." She then placed an
old oil painting against it, which looked as if it had often served the
"Is the coffee ready?" asked Madame Tube.
"Very soon," replied Madelaine: "only think, dear mother, I have had
some very good beef bones given to me, with which I can make you some
nice soup, and the cook at the hotel has promised to keep the
coffee-grounds for me every day, so we can have some _real_ coffee
this morning, instead of the carrot drink."
"But why are you going about without shoes," said her mother to
Madelaine, "you will take cold on the damp stones? Why do you not put on
your shoes, I say?"
"Do not be angry, dear mother, I must be careful--the soles are already
thin, _so_ thin--like paper."
"Alas! what will become of us?" said Madame Tube.
"Do not fret, dearest mother, I can already earn a little at good Master
Teuzer's, and besides, God who is so very good will not abandon us."
"It is true," replied the mother, "but we have waited long."
"When the need is greatest, help is nearest," rejoined Madelaine.
"Is Raphael not yet awake?" asked Madame Tube.
Something was at this moment heard to move in the dark-corner behind the
stove, and soon after a little boy, half-dressed, came out softly, and
feeling his way. Madelaine advanced towards him, and kissing him with
much affection, said, "Good morning, my Raphael."
The little boy returned her caress, and then asked anxiously, "What is
the matter with Jacot? he does not sing!"
"It is too dark still," said Madelaine, "he is not awake."
Madame Tube said, in a displeased voice, "Yes, yes, his bird makes him
forget every thing, even to say good morning to his mother."
"Do not be angry," answered the little boy as he approached the bed, "I
did not know that you were awake, dear mother, and I dreamed such a sad
dream--that some one had taken away our Jacot--and I was so _very_
unhappy, forgive me, dear mother"--and saying this, he kissed her
Meanwhile Madelaine had placed the mended cup and two others upon the
table--then taking from her basket a penny loaf, she said, smiling, "The
baker at the corner gave me that yesterday evening, because I helped his
Christine to sweep the shop. It is true it is rather stale, but we can
soon soften it in our coffee--and I have milk too, we want nothing but
She drew the table close to her mother's bedside, and the little family
ate their poor breakfast with pleasure.
Take example from them ye rich ones of this world, who when you have
every luxury spread before you, are nevertheless often dissatisfied.
Madelaine, joyous from the consciousness of having done her duty, amused
even her suffering mother by her prattle. Thus the time passed quickly
by, when suddenly a beautiful canary, yellow as gold, roused himself in
his narrow cage and sent forth a loud and melodious song.
"Jacot, my Jacot!" cried Raphael, delighted.
His mother said, "The bird recalls us to our duty,--_he_ praises
his Creator before he breakfasts"--and with a weak and trembling voice
she began, "May my first thoughts on this day be of praise to thee, O
Lord!" Kneeling down, the two children joined her as she repeated her
morning prayer, with deep devotion.
At last it grew light in the little room. Madelaine took a needle and
thread and began to mend her frock. Raphael felt about for a heap of
little pieces of silk, which he began to unravel. Both children were
silent, for their mother had taken up a book. After about an hour thus
spent, a loud knocking was heard at the door, and almost before
Madelaine could say "Come in," the door opened and a man entered, who
was so much surprised at the darkness of the room, that at first he
could see nothing. Looking quite embarrassed, he asked, "Is it here that
Madame Tube lives?"
"Ah, it is good Mr. Teuzer, mother, who has come to see us," said
Madame Tube tried, but in vain, to rise to salute him. As for Raphael,
he ran to hide behind the stove.
"Well," said Master Teuzer to Madelaine, "I thought you were very ill,
for I have not seen you these four days. Where have you been?"
Madelaine looked quite astonished, and said, "I have been at your house,
sir, and told your apprentice to excuse me to you, because my mother had
a fresh attack of rheumatism, and could not spare me."
"What a naughty boy, he has never told me one word of it. When I go home
I will punish him severely. This then is your mother? She suffers from
rheumatism, you say? Sad malady! but this room is a perfect dungeon,
enough to kill a strong man. Poor people! The stove smokes,
too--wretched stove that it is, made before the flood, I should think. I
must speak to the landlord; it is inexcusable to let such a hole for any
one to live in."
Whilst examining the stove, Master Teuzer had almost fallen over
Raphael, who was sitting behind it unravelling some pieces of silk:
"What!" he exclaimed, "some one else? My little fellow, you will lose
your sight in this Egyptian darkness."
Madelaine sighed, and Madame Tube said in a voice of deep grief, "He has
lost it already."
Teuzer started! "Bl--blind, did you say?" he stammered, and quite
shocked, he led the poor boy to the light--"Look at me, my child," he
"I cannot see you," spoke Raphael, softly as he turned his blind eyes
There is something very touching in such a look. Teuzer was deeply
moved, and turned away as if to examine the stove but in reality to hide
the tears which filled his eyes--"What a misfortune," he said at last,
"and you have not told me of this, Madelaine. Has he been long blind?"
"Since his second year," replied Madame Tube.
"How did it happen?" asked Teuzer.
"We do not know; we perceived it when too late to have anything done;
and in a short time he became quite blind."
"My boy," inquired Teuzer, "do you remember anything of the brightness
of the sun, the blue of the sky, or the face of thy mother?"
Raphael shook his head slowly, and with a pensive air.
"You know nothing, then, of the beauty of the spring--the colors of the
flowers--the whiteness of the snow--the--?"
Here the mother made a sign to Master Teuzer, who, seeing the boy look
very sorrowful, ceased his lamentations, and said, "What is there, then,
that gives you pleasure, my poor boy?"
Raphael's face brightened up, as he answered,--"Oh! I am very happy when
my mother is pleased with me--when Madelaine caresses me--and when I
hear my Jacot sing."
Teuzer reflected a moment--"You are happier, although blind, than
thousands who possess all their faculties. You can hear the kind and
gentle voices of your mother and sister--can tell them of your wants and
sorrows--sure of finding affection and sympathy in their hearts. Compare
yourself, then, my boy with those less happy than yourself; but above
all, raise your heart to Him who has promised to be a Father of the
fatherless, for he will never forsake you." Thus saying, he slipped some
money into Raphael's hand, and took leave of the poor family, who
blessed this benevolent man.
Soon after the departure of Master Teuzer, the landlord arrived: he
spoke roughly to the poor woman. "How is this? How dare you send that
potter to me? Did I force you to take this room? If it does not suit
you, why do you not leave it? The stove has lasted for thirty years, and
I certainly shall not buy a new one for you."
On hearing these invectives, Raphael had hidden behind his mother's bed.
Madelaine trembled, and dare not pronounce a word. But Madame Tube,
extending her hands and trying to rise, cried, "Oh! Mr. Duller, I am
quite innocent; I never thought of complaining of my room; I know but
too well that poor people cannot expect to lodge like princes. Master
Tenzer has been used to better stoves, but I am contented if the tiles
do not fall upon our heads."
These words softened the landlord a little. "If it is so," said he, "I
shall know how to treat this Master Tenzer if he comes again to meddle
with things which do not concern him; he preached me a sermon upon your
misery, and on the duty of assisting so poor a family. I am satisfied if
he chooses to help you, for I shall have the better security for my
rent. I have also called to inform you that an inspector of the poor
will call to inquire into your circumstances. I know they are none of
the best; but do not let him see the canary-bird, for then he will do
nothing for you. But stay--the bird pleases me, I will give you
half-a-crown for it--you had better sell it, for then you will have one
less to feed."
At these words, Raphael could not conceal his grief--his sobs were heard
from behind, the bed--but the hard-hearted landlord took up the cage, as
if the matter was settled.
Madame Tube, moved by the grief of her blind child, answered in a
decided tone, "No, Mr. Duller, I will not sell the bird, it is the joy
of my Raphael; only think what it is to be _blind_--to see nothing,
absolutely nothing, of the beautiful creation of God! All creation, all
the riches of nature belong to those who see; as for the blind, their
enjoyments are only those passing ones of taste and harmony. I can give
nothing but dry bread, potatoes, and water, to my blind child--the song
of his bird is his only enjoyment. Be comforted, my Raphael," she said,
turning to the weeping boy, "I will not sell your favorite."
"As you please," rejoined the landlord angrily; "my intention was good,"
and muttering to himself, he went away.
A few hours afterwards, a man knocked, and announced himself as the
inspector. He found the situation of the family truly miserable;
inquired into all their circumstances, and satisfied himself that their
distress was not occasioned by any misconduct on their part. But the
bird was again the stumbling-stone. He said he could not consent to give
the money subscribed for the poor of the town to those who would spend
some of it in buying seed for a canary-bird. All that he could do was to
get Madelaine admitted to the free-school. Since her husband's death,
Madame Tube had been unable to pay for sending her little girl to
school, so she was much pleased at this offer, and thanked the inspector
cordially. From that time Madelaine went to school, but gladly availed
herself of every holiday, to go to paint at Master Teuzer's.
Several months passed away, and Christmas was approaching; but with that
period came more trials to the poor family. Their rent would then become
due, and Madame Tube, owing to her long illness, had been unable to earn
anything towards it. What little Madelaine gained at Teuzer's, was only
sufficient to buy food of the poorest description. The severe season had
added much to their sufferings; and they looked forward with great
anxiety lest the landlord should turn them out in the snow, if they were
unable to pay him.
Master Teuzer was preparing for the approaching Christmas fair a great
quantity of little articles for children. This gave Madelaine plenty of
employment; and thus, those things which would contribute to the
amusement of other children, were to her a source of gain, and of the
purest and best gratification, for she hoped to earn enough to pay her
mother's rent. With this view, she devoted her mornings to working at
Master Tenzer's, instead of going to school. Her absence would, no
doubt, have been excused, had she gone to her teacher and mentioned the
reason of her staying away, but by neglecting to do so, Madelaine
committed a fault, the consequences of which were very serious.
The most diligent and best conducted children of the free-school
received rewards two days before Christmas, in the large schoolroom,
where numbers of ladies assembled, bringing different gifts for the poor
children, and rejoicing at the sight of their happiness. Madelaine knew
that she should not be of the number of those who received rewards, for
she had not been long enough at school. She felt no envy or ill-temper
on this account, but wished greatly to see the other children enjoying
themselves; and in the afternoon she said to her brother, "Come, my
Raphael, let us go to the fair together, and afterwards to the school;
it is not good for you to sit in the house always, and although you
cannot see, yet you can hear the sound of happy voices, the bells of the
sledges, the hymns of the children, and then I will describe to you
exactly all the beautiful things in the booths, the wind-mills that turn
round, the rocking-horses, the gingerbread men, and quantities of other
pretty things. Come, my Raphael." His mother also encouraged the poor
boy to go with his sister; so having washed his face, neatly parted his
hair, and arranged his poor but carefully darned clothes as tidily as
possible, Madelaine took his hand, and led him out. The cold air brought
a slight color into his pale cheeks, and the cheerful sounds raised his
spirits, a contented smile lighted up his features, which generally wore
an expression of suffering. He listened with pleasure to the animated
descriptions of his sister, and willingly agreed to accompany her to the
school. As they approached it, a long procession of happy-looking
children passed them; several of those in Madelaine's class nodded to
her, and one of them separating herself from the others, ran up to
Madelaine, and said hastily, "Is it true, Madelaine, that you have
stayed away from school without leave for six days? An apprentice told
our teacher, and he is very angry with you."
Madelaine was going to explain, but the little girl had joined her
companions. She felt much grieved, and longed to be able to tell all to
her teacher; she looked up anxiously at the high windows which were now
lighting up brilliantly. Numbers of people were arriving on foot, and in
carriages, hastening in to witness the happy scene. She only, with her
poor blind brother, was rudely pushed back by the guards. Poor Raphael
began to feel the cold painfully, and Madelaine perceiving that his
hands were benumbed, untied her apron, and rolled them up in it.
Seeing this, a poor fruit woman, whose stall was near, said, "You are
Back to Full Books