The Children's Portion
Author: Various
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Of course, Charlie, Selwyn, and Ned wouldn't cry, that was "too babyish;" but they had to wink very hard at one time to avert such a disgrace, and just at the last, when no one was looking, they threw dignity to the winds, and heartily kissed each other good-bye.

"Write just as soon as you get over," cried Ned, as he ran down the gangway.

"We will, indeed we will!" the boys answered, eagerly. Then the gangway was drawn on board, the engine began to move, and the big ship steamed away from the pier in fine style, with flags flying and handkerchiefs fluttering.

Mrs. Kingsley was confined to her berth for nearly all of the voyage, but the rest of the family remained in excellent health and spirits, and the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

When about three days out the ship passed near enough to an iceberg for the passengers to distinguish distinctly its castle-like outline, and to feel the chill it gave to the air.

Our two boys were such courteous, kindly little gentlemen that all who came in contact with them liked them, and returned to them the same measure that they gave. The captain even took them on the "bridge," a favor which was not accorded to any other boy or girl on board. And what with visiting the engine-room, waiting on mamma and sister Agatha, walking and talking with papa, sitting in their steamer-chairs, and paying proper attention to the good things which were served four or five times a day, Charlie and Selwyn found that the time fairly flew away. Selwyn had brought "An American Boy in London" to read aloud to Charlie, but there were so many other interesting things to occupy their attention that only one chapter was accomplished.

On the afternoon of the seventh day after leaving New York, the Majestic steamed up to the Liverpool dock, and a few hours later the Kingsleys found themselves comfortably settled in a railroad carriage en route for London. It was late when they arrived in the great metropolis, and every one was glad enough to get to the hotel and to rest as quickly as possible.

Early the next morning Uncle Geoffrey Barrington came to carry off the entire family to his big house in Portland Place. Here he declared they should remain during their stay in London, and as he had a charming wife and grown-up daughter, who devoted themselves to Mrs. Kingsley and sister Agatha, and a son about Charlie's age, who was full of fun and friendliness, all parties found themselves well satisfied with the arrangement.

Uncle Geof was one of the judges of the Queen's Bench, and a very busy man, so he could not always go about with his American relatives; but Dr. Kingsley was well acquainted with London, and therefore able to escort his party to all the places of interest. I only wish I had time to tell you of all the delightful trips they took, and all the interesting things they saw in this fascinating old city. Visits to the Tower, the Houses of Parliament, where they heard "Big Ben" strike the hour—and Westminster Abbey with its illustrious dead; excursions to Windsor and the Crystal Palace; sails down the Thames, and dinners and teas at Richmond and Kew Gardens, driving home by moonlight! How the boys did enjoy it all, and what long letters went home to America addressed to Master Edward Petry!

All this sight-seeing took up many days; three weeks slipped by before anybody realized it, and Dr. Kingsley was talking of a trip to the Continent, when a little incident occurred of which I must tell you.

Rex and his American cousins had become the best of friends. He knew all about their pretty home in Orange, about Ned and the rabbits, Fritz, the bicycling, and the tennis playing, while they in their turn took the deepest interest in his country and Eton experiences. They took "bus" rides together, and played jokes on the pompous footman, whom Charlie had nicknamed the "S. C." (Superb Creature).

One morning Rex and our two boys went to Justice Barrington's chambers. There they expected to find Dr. Kingsley, but when they arrived only Jarvis, the solemn-faced old servitor, met them. He showed them into the inner room and left them to their own devices, saying that "his ludship and the reverend doctor" would, no doubt, soon be in.

The room was very dark; three sides were covered with uninteresting-looking law books, and after gazing out of the window, which overlooked a quiet little church-yard where the monuments and headstones were falling into decay, the three boys were at a loss what to do with themselves. Charlie and Selwyn would have liked a walk about the neighborhood, but Reginald demurred. "It's a horrid bore being shut up here," he admitted frankly, "but papa might return while we were out, and I'm not sure that he would like to find us away. I wish I could think of some way to amuse you. Oh, I know—we were talking about barristers' robes the other day; I'll show you papa's gown and wig. I know where Jarvis keeps them. Wouldn't you like to see them?"

"Indeed we should," responded the American boys. So, after hunting for the key, Rex opened what he called a "cupboard" (though Charlie and Selwyn thought it a closet), where hung a long black silk robe, very similar in style to those worn by our bishops in America. This he brought out; next, from a flat wooden box, which looked very old and black, he drew a large, white, curly wig. The boys looked at these with eager interest. "These are like what are worn in the Houses of Parliament," said Charlie. "What a funny idea to wear such a dress."

"I think it's a very nice idea," Rex answered, quickly. "I assure you the judges and the barristers look very imposing in their robes and wigs."

"I expect to be a lawyer one of these days; wouldn't I astonish the American public if I appeared in such a costume?" said Charlie, laughing. "I wonder how I'd look in it?"

"Try it on and see," suggested Rex.

"Oh, do, do, Charlie! it'll be such fun!" pleaded Selwyn. So, nothing loth, Charlie slipped on the long black silk robe, then Rex and Selwyn arranged the thin white muslin bands at his throat, and settled the big white wig on his head. His soft, dark hair was brushed well off his face so that not a lock escaped from beneath the wig, and when he put on a pair of Uncle Geof's spectacles, which lay conveniently near, the boys were convulsed with laughter at his appearance.

"Good-day, your 'ludship,'" said Rex, with a mocking bow; "will your 'ludship' hold court to-day?"

"Yes, let's have court and try a prisoner," cried Charlie, who began to feel rather proud of his unusual appearance. "You don't mind, do you, Rex?"

"Why, no! I think it'll be no end of fun," was the merry reply. "One of us could be the prisoner, and the other the barrister who defends him. I'd better be the barrister, because I know more about English law than Selwyn does. And the furniture'll have to be the other counsel and the gentlemen of the jury. Sit over there, Charlie, near that railing, and we'll make believe it's the bar. The only trouble is the barrister will have no gown and wig. Isn't it a pity?"

"Let's take the table cover," suggested Selwyn, which was immediately acted upon. With their combined efforts, amid much laughter, it was draped about Rex's shoulders in a fashion very nearly approaching the graceful style of a North American Indian's blanket. A Russian bath towel, which they also found in the closet, was arranged on his head for a wig; then Selwyn was placed behind a chair which was supposed to be the prisoner's box, the judge took his place, and court opened.

The ceremony differed from any previously known in judicial experience, and bursts of merry laughter disturbed the dignity of the learned judge and counsel, to say nothing of the prisoner.

"The prisoner at the bar, your 'ludship,'" began the counsel, striving to steady his voice, "has stolen a—a—a—what shall I say you have stolen?" addressing Selwyn in a stage whisper.

"Tom, Tom, the piper's son, Stole a pig, And away did run; The pig was eat, And Tom was beat, And Tom went roaring Down the street,"

sang the prisoner, in a sweet little voice.

"Your 'ludship,' singing is contempt of court; you will please fine the prisoner at the bar," said the counsel, regardless of the fact that the prisoner was supposed to be his client.

"Silence, both of you!" cried the judge, with impartial justice, rapping his desk sharply with a brass paper-cutter. "Now, Mr. Barrister, state the case." Then, in an aside, "Wasn't that well said?"

"The prisoner has stolen a pig, your 'ludship,'" said the counsel. "He admits it, but as the animal has been eaten—"

"And the prisoner has been beaten," put in the incorrigible Selwyn.

"And the prisoner is a stranger in a strange land," continued Rex, ignoring the irrelevant remark, "a most noble and learned American—ahem!—what sentence, your 'ludship,' shall be passed upon him?"

"Hum, hum!" said his "ludship," resting his cheek on his hand meditatively, trying to assume the expression which he had seen sometimes on papa's face when he and Selwyn were under consideration for some childish offence.

"The court waits, your 'ludship,'" remarked the counsel, throwing a paper ball at the judge.

"Silence!" again shouted the judge, rapping vigorously. "The sentence is this: the prisoner shall stand on his head for two seconds, then recite a piece of poetry, and then—in the course of a week—leave the country."

"Your 'ludship' will please sign the sentence and we will submit it to the jury," suggested the learned counsel, who, as you will perceive, had rather peculiar ideas about court formula.

"What shall I sign?" asked his "ludship."

"Anything," said Rex. "Those papers all look like old things—quick! I think I hear Jarvis coming. Sign the one in your hand. Just write Geoffrey Addison Barrington. It's only for fun, you know."

He caught up a dingy-looking document, opened it, and, thrusting the pen which was in his "ludship's" hand into the ink, he and the prisoner at the bar crowded up to see the signature which Charlie wrote as he had been told to do, in a distinct schoolboy's hand. He had barely crossed the "t" and dotted the last "i" when they heard a step, and scurrying into the cupboard, they saw Jarvis come in, take something from the desk, and go out without a glance in their direction. As the door closed behind him it opened again to admit Justice Barrington and Dr. Kingsley.

"Where are they?" asked Uncle Geof, peering about the dark room as if the boys might be hidden behind some table or chair.

"Boys," called the doctor, "where are you?"

Then they walked out—such a funny-looking trio! Rex's table-cover robe floated behind him, and the style of his wig was certainly unique. Selwyn had brought away on his coat a goodly share of the dust of the cupboard. His brown hair stood on end, and his blue eyes were shining with excitement. But his "ludship" brought down the house. He came forth holding up his long gown on each side, his bands were almost under his left ear, his wig was on one side, and his glasses awry! The contrast between his magisterial garb and his round young face and merry hazel eyes was too much for the gravity of the two gentlemen. With a glance at each other they burst into a long, hearty laugh, in which the boys joined.

A little later, the gown and wig having been restored to their proper places by the much scandalized Jarvis, the party returned to Portland Square. And none of the boys thought of mentioning that Charlie had signed a document with his uncle's name, which he had not read.

A few days after this Dr. Kingsley and his family left England for the Continent, taking Rex with them, and not until September did they return to London for a short visit before sailing for America.

"I have an account to settle with you, Master Charlie," said Uncle Geoffrey, the first evening, when they were all assembled in the drawing-room. "Do you recollect a certain visit to my chambers when you represented a judge of the Queen's Bench?"

Charlie, Selwyn and Rex looked at each other, laughed, and nodded.

"Do you remember signing a paper?" asked the justice.

"Yes," said Charlie; "but it was an old dingy-looking one—we didn't read it—I just signed it for fun."

"I told Charlie to put your name to it," broke in Rex, eagerly. "Is anything wrong, papa?"

"I will tell you the story and you shall judge for yourself," said the justice, smiling. "As it happened, the paper Charlie signed was not an old one. It was in reference to removing an orphan boy from one guardianship to another. He is about as old as Charlie, and it appears that the first guardian ill-treated the little fellow under the guise of kindness, being only intent on gain. When the paper which 'his ludship,'" with a deep bow in Charlie's direction—"signed arrived, the boy was delighted, and he thoroughly enjoys the excellent home he is now in. Imagine my surprise when a letter reached me thanking me for my wise decision. I could not understand it, as I thought I knew the paper in reference to it was lying on my desk waiting its turn. You may well laugh, you young rogues."

"How did you find out?" asked Charlie, divided between contrition and a desire to enjoy the joke.

"Jarvis and I traced it out. I paid a visit to Wales and put the signature of the original Barrington to the document. The present guardian of the boy declares the little fellow's disposition would have been completely ruined if he had remained much longer under his former guardian's care, and I am afraid, in the ordinary course of the law, which moves slowly, it would have been some time before the matter could have been attended to. So you have done that much good to a fellow-boy. Only be careful in the future, dear lad, to read a document before signing it, for carelessness in that direction might not always end as well as it has in this instance. What puzzles me is how you came to take that particular paper when so many others lay about; it was but one chance in a million."

"'A chance—the eternal God that chance did guide,'" quoted Dr. Kingsley, in his quiet, gentle voice.

"What lots we'll have to tell Ned! O boys, do let's cheer!" cried Selwyn eagerly, springing to his feet. "Here goes—three cheers for Uncle Geof and dear papa, and a big, big 'tiger' for his 'ludship!'"


Once upon a time the Emperor of Rome had a beautiful daughter named Constance. She was so fair to look on, that far and wide, she was spoken of as "the beautiful princess." But, better than that, she was so good and so saintly that everybody in her father's dominions loved her, and often they forgot to call her "the beautiful princess," but called her instead, "Constance the good."

All the merchants who came thither to buy and sell goods, carried away to other countries accounts of Constance, her beauty, and her holiness. One day there came to Rome some merchants from Syria, with shiploads of cloths of gold, and satins rich in hue, and all kinds of spicery, which they would sell in the Roman markets. While they abode here, the fame of Constance came to their ears, and they sometimes saw her lovely face as she went about the city among the poor and suffering, and were so pleased with the sight that they could talk of nothing else when they returned home; so that, after a while, their reports came to the ear of the Soldan of Syria, their ruler, and he sent to the merchants to hear from their lips all about the fair Roman maiden.

As soon as he heard this story, this Soldan began secretly to love the fair picture which his fancy painted of the good Constance, and he shut himself up to think off her, and to study how he could gain her for his own.

At length he sent to all his wise men, and called them together in council.

"You have heard," he said to them, "of the beauty and goodness of the Roman princess. I desire her for my wife. So cast about quickly for some way by which I may win her."

Then all the wise men were horrified; because Constance was a Christian, while the Syrians believed in Mohammed as their sacred prophet. One wise man thought the Soldan had been bewitched by some fatal love-charm brought from Rome. Another explained that some of the stars in the heavens were out of place, and had been making great mischief among the planets which governed the life of the Soldan. One had one explanation and one another, but to all the Soldan only answered,—"All these words avail nothing. I shall die if I may not have Constance for my wife."

One of the wise men then said plainly,—"But the Emperor of Rome will not give his daughter to any but a Christian."

When the Soldan heard that he cried joyfully: "O, if that is all, I will straight-way turn Christian, and all my kingdom with me."

So they sent an ambassador to the Emperor to know if he would give his daughter to the Soldan of Syria, if he and all his people would turn Christian. And the Emperor, who was very devout, and thought he ought to use all means to spread his religion, answered that he would.

So poor little Constance, like a white lamb chosen for a sacrifice, was made ready to go to Syria. A fine ship was prepared, and with a treasure for her dowry, beautiful clothes, and hosts of attendants, she was put on board.

She herself was pale with grief and weeping at parting from her home and her own dear mother. But she was so pious and devoted that she was willing to go if it would make Syria a good Christian land. So, as cheerfully as she could, she set sail.

Now the Soldan had a very wicked mother, who was all the time angry in her heart that the Soldan had become a Christian. Before Constance arrived in Syria she called together all the lords in the kingdom whom she knew to be friendly to him. She told them of a plot she had made to kill the Soldan and all those who changed their religion with him, as soon as the bride bad come. They all agreed to this dreadful plot, and then the old Soldaness went smiling and bland, to the Soldan's palace.

"My dear son," she said, "at last I am resolved to become a Christian; I am surprised I have been blind so long to the beauty of this new faith. And, in token of our agreement about it, I pray you will honor me by attending with your bride at a great feast which I shall make for you."

The Soldan was overjoyed to see his mother so amiable. He knelt at her feet and kissed her hand, saying,—"Now, my dear mother, my happiness is full, since you are reconciled to this marriage. And Constance and I will gladly come to your feast."

Then the hideous old hag went away, nodding and mumbling,—"Aha! Mistress Constance, white as they call you, you shall be dyed so red that all the water in your church font shall not wash you clean again!"

Constance came soon after, and there was great feasting and merry-making, and the Soldan was very happy.

Then the Soldaness gave her great feast, and while they sat at the table, her soldiers came in and killed the Soldan and all the lords who were friendly to him, and slaughtered so many that the banquet hall swam ankle deep in blood.

But they did not slay Constance. Instead, they bore her to the sea and put her on board her ship all alone, with provisions for a long journey, and then set her adrift on the wide waters.

So she sailed on, drifting past many shores, out into the limitless ocean, borne on by the billows, seeing the day dawn and the sun set, and never meeting living creature. All alone on a wide ocean! drifting down into soft southern seas where the warm winds always blew, then driving up into frozen waters where green, glittering icebergs sailed solemnly past the ship, so near, it seemed as if they would crush the frail bark to atoms.

So for three long years, day and night, winter and summer, this lonely ship went on, till at length the winds cast it on the English shores.

As soon as the ship stranded, the governor of the town, with his wife and a great crowd of people, came to see this strange vessel. They were all charmed with the sweet face of Constance, and Dame Hennegilde, the governor's wife, on the instant loved her as her life. So this noble couple took her home and made much of her. But Constance was so mazed with the peril she had passed that she could scarcely remember who she was or whence she came, and could answer naught to all their questionings.

While she lived with the good Hennegilde, a young knight began to love her, and sued for her love in return. But he was so wicked that Constance would not heed him. This made him very angry. He swore in his heart that he would have revenge. He waited until one night when the governor was absent, and going into the room where Dame Hennegilde lay, with Constance sleeping in the same chamber, this wicked knight killed the good lady. Then he put the dripping knife into the hand of Constance, and smeared her face and clothes with blood, that it might appear she had done the deed.

When the governor returned and saw this dreadful sight, he knew not what to think. Yet, even then, he could not believe Constance was guilty. He carried her before the king to be judged. This king, Alla, was very tender and good, and when he saw Constance standing in the midst of the people, with her frightened eyes looking appealing from one to another like a wounded deer who is chased to its death, his heart was moved with pity.

The governor and all his people told how Constance had loved the murdered lady, and what holy words she had taught. All except the real murderer, who kept declaring she was the guilty one, believed her innocent.

The king asked her, "Have you any champion who could fight for you?"

At this Constance, falling on her knees, cried out that she had no champion but God, and prayed that He would defend her innocence.

"Now," cried the king, "bring the holy book which was brought from Brittany by my fathers, and let the knight swear upon it that the maiden is guilty."

So they brought the book of the Gospels, and the knight kissed it, but as soon as he began to take the oath he was felled down as by a terrible blow, and his neck was found broken and his eyes burst from his head. Before them all, in great agony, he died, confessing his guilt and the innocence of Constance.

King Alla had been much moved by the beauty of Constance and her innocent looks, and now she was proved guiltless, all his heart went out to her. And when he asked her to become his queen she gladly consented, for she loved him because he had pitied and helped her. They were soon married amidst the great rejoicing of the people, and the king and all the land became converted to the Christian faith.

This king also had a mother, named Donegilde, an old heatheness, no less cruel than the mother of the Soldan. She hated Constance because she had been made queen though for fear of her son's wrath she dared not molest her.

After his honeymoon, King Alla went northward to do battle with the Scots, who were his foemen, leaving his wife in charge of a bishop and the good governor, the husband of the murdered Hennegilde. While he was absent heaven sent Constance a beautiful little son, whom she named Maurice.

As soon as the babe was born, the governor sent a messenger to the king with a letter telling him of his good fortune. Now it happened this messenger was a courtier, who wished to keep on good terms with all the royal family. So, as soon as he got the letter, he went to Donegilde, the king's mother, and asked her if she had any message to send her son.

Donegilde was very courteous and begged him to wait till next morning, while she got her message ready. She plied the man with wine and strong liquor till evening, when he slept so fast that nothing could wake him. While he was asleep she opened his letters and read all that the governor had written. Then this wicked old woman wrote to Alla that his wife Constance was a witch who had bewitched him and all his people, but now her true character became plain, and she had given birth to a horrible, fiend-like creature, who, she said, was his son. This she put in place of the governor's letter, and dispatched the messenger at dawn.

King Alla was nearly heart-broken when he read these bad tidings, but he wrote back to wait all things till he returned, and to harm neither Constance nor her son. Back rode the messenger to Donegilde once again. She played her tricks over again and got him sound asleep. Then she took the king's letter and put one in its place commanding the governor to put Constance and her child aboard the ship in which she came to these shores and set her afloat.

The good governor could hardly believe his eyes when he read these orders, and the tears ran over his cheeks for grief. But he dared not disobey what he supposed was the command of his king and master, so he made the vessel ready and went and told Constance what he must do.

She, poor soul, was almost struck dumb with grief. Then, kneeling before the governor, she cried, with many tears,—

"If I must go again on the cruel seas, at least this poor little innocent, who has done no evil, may be spared. Keep my poor baby till his father comes back, and perchance he will take pity on him."

But the governor dared not consent, and Constance must go to the ship, carrying her babe in her arms. Through the street she walked, the people following her with tears, she with eyes fixed on heaven and the infant sobbing on her bosom. Thus she went on board ship and drifted away again.

Now, for another season, she went about at the mercy of winds and waves, in icy waters where winds whistled through the frozen rigging, and down into tropical seas where she lay becalmed for months in the glassy water. Then fresh breezes would spring up and drive her this way or that, as they listed. But this time she had her babe for comfort, and he grew to be a child near five years old before she was rescued. And this is the way it happened. When the Emperor of Rome heard of the deeds the cruel Soldaness had done, and how his daughter's husband had been slain, he sent an army to Syria, and all these years they had besieged the royal city till it was burnt and destroyed. Now the fleet, returning to Rome, met the ship in which Constance sailed, and they fetched her and her child to her native country. The senator who commanded the fleet was her uncle, but he knew her not, and she did not make herself known. He took her into his own house, and her aunt, the senator's wife, loved her greatly, never guessing she was her own princess and kinswoman.

When King Alla got back from his war with the Scots and heard how Constance had been sent away, he was very angry; but when he questioned and found the letter which had been sent him was false, and that Constance had borne him a beautiful boy, he knew not what to think. When the governor showed him the letter with his own seal which directed that his wife and child should be sent away, he knew there was some hidden wickedness in all this. He forced the messenger to tell where he had carried the letters, and he confessed he had slept two nights at the castle of Donegilde.

So it all came out, and the king, in a passion of rage, slew his mother, and then shut himself up in his castle to give way to grief.

After a time he began to repent his deed, because he remembered it was contrary to the gentle teachings of the faith Constance had taught him. In his penitence he resolved to go to Rome on a pilgrimage to atone for his sin. So in his pilgrim dress he set out for the great empire.

Now when it was heard in Rome that the great Alla from the North-land had come thither on a Christian pilgrimage, all the noble Romans vied to do him honor. Among others, the senator with whom Constance abode invited him to a great banquet which he made for him. While Alla sat at this feast, his eyes were constantly fixed upon a beautiful boy, one of the senator's pages, who stood near and filled their goblets with wine. At length he said to his host,—"Pray tell me, whence came the boy who serves you? Who is he, and do his father and mother live in the country?"

"A mother he has," answered the senator: "so holy a woman never was seen. But if he has a father I cannot tell you." Then he went on and told the king of Constance, and how she was found with this bey, her child, on the pathless sea.

Alla was overjoyed in his heart, for he knew then that this child was his own son. Immediately they sent for Constance to come thither. As soon as she saw her husband, she uttered a cry and fell into a deep swoon. When she was recovered she looked reproachfully at Alla, for she supposed it was by his order she had been so ruthlessly sent from his kingdom. But when, with many tears of pity for her misfortunes, King Alla told her how he had grieved for her, and how long he had suffered thus, she was convinced.

Then they embraced each other, and were so happy that no other happiness, except that of heavenly spirits, could ever equal theirs.

After this, she made herself known to the Emperor, her father, who had great rejoicing over his long-lost daughter, whom he had thought dead. For many weeks Rome was full of feasting, and merry-making, and happiness. These being over, King Alla, with his dear wife, returned to his kingdom of England, where they lived in great happiness all the rest of their days.



Painfully toiled the camels over the burning sands of Arabia. Weary and thirsty were they, for they had not for days had herbage to crop, or water to drink, as they trod, mile after mile, the barren waste, where the sands glowed red like a fiery sea. And weary were the riders, exhausted with toil and heat, for they dared not stop to rest. The water which they carried with them was almost spent; some of the skins which had held it flapped empty against the sides of the camels, and too well the travelers knew that if they loitered on their way, all must perish of thirst.

Amongst the travelers in that caravan was a Persian, Sadi by name, a tall, strong man, with black beard, and fierce, dark eye. He urged his tired camel to the side of that of the foremost Arab, the leader and guide of the rest, and after pointing fiercely toward one of the travelers a little behind him, thus he spake:

"Dost thou know that yon Syrian Yusef is a dog of a Christian, a kaffir?" (Kaffir—unbeliever—is a name of contempt given by Moslems, the followers of the false Prophet, to those who worship our Lord.)

"I know that the hakeem (doctor) never calls on the name of the Prophet," was the stern reply.

"Dost thou know," continued Sadi, "that Yusef rides the best camel in the caravan, and has the fullest water-skin, and has shawls and merchandise with him?"

The leader cast a covetous glance toward the poor Syrian traveler, who was generally called the hakeem because of the medicines which he gave, and the many cures which he wrought.

"He has no friends here," said the wicked Sadi; "if he were cast from his camel and left here to die, there would be none to inquire after his fate; for who cares what becomes of a dog of a kaffir?"

I will not further repeat the cruel counsels of this bad man, but I will give the reason for the deadly hatred which he bore toward the poor hakeem. Yusef had defended the cause of a widow whom Sadi had tried to defraud; and Sadi's dishonesty being found out, he had been punished with stripes, which he had but too well deserved. Therefore did he seek to ruin the man who had brought just punishment on him, therefore he resolved to destroy Yusef by inducing his Arab comrades to leave him to die in the desert.

Sadi had, alas! little difficulty in persuading the Arabs that it was no great sin to rob and desert a Christian. Just as the fiery sun was sinking over the sands, Yusef, who was suspecting treachery, but knew not how to escape from it, was rudely dragged off his camel, stripped of the best part of his clothes, and, in spite of his earnest entreaties, left to die in the terrible waste. It would have been less cruel to slay him at once.

"Oh! leave me at least water—water!" exclaimed the poor victim of malice and hatred.

"We'll leave you nothing but your own worthless drugs, hakeem!—take that!" cried Sadi, as he flung at Yusef's head a tin case containing a few of his medicines.

Then bending down from Yusef's camel, which he himself had mounted, Sadi hissed out between his clenched teeth, "Thou hast wronged me—I have repaid thee, Christian! this is a Moslem's revenge!"

They had gone, the last camel had disappeared from the view of Yusef; darkness was falling around, and he remained to suffer alone, to die alone, amidst those scorching-sands! The Syrian's first feeling was that of despair, as he stood gazing in the direction of the caravan which he could no longer see. Then Yusef lifted up his eyes to the sky above him: in its now darkened expanse shone the calm evening star, like a drop of pure light.

Yusef, in thinking over his situation, felt thankful that he had not been deprived of his camel in an earlier part of his journey, when he was in the midst of the desert. He hoped that he was not very far from its border, and resolved, guided by the stars, to walk as far as his strength would permit, in the faint hope of reaching a well, and the habitations of men. It was a great relief to him that the burning glare of day was over: had the sun been still blazing over his head, he must soon have sunk and fainted by the way. Yusef picked up the small case of medicines which Sadi in mockery had flung at him; he doubted whether to burden himself with it, yet was unwilling to leave it behind. "I am not likely to live to make use of this, and yet—who knows?" said Yusef to himself, as, with the case in his hand, he painfully struggled on over the wide expanse of dreary desert. "I will make what efforts I can to preserve the life which God has given."

Struggling against extreme exhaustion, his limbs almost sinking under his weight, Yusef pressed on his way, till a glowing red line in the east showed where the blazing sun would soon rise. What was his eager hope and joy on seeing that red line broken by some dark pointed objects that appeared rise out of the sand. New strength seemed given to the weary man, for now his ear caught the welcome sound of the bark of a dog, and then the bleating of sheep.

"God be praised!" exclaimed Yusef, "I, am near the abodes of men!"

Exerting all his powers, the Syrian, made one great effort to reach the black tents which he now saw distinctly in broad daylight, and which he knew must belong to some tribe of wandering Bedouin Arabs: he tottered on for a hundred yards, and then sank exhausted on the sand.

But the Bedouins had seen the poor, solitary stranger, and as hospitality is one of their leading virtues, some of these wild sons of the desert now hastened toward Yusef. They raised him, they held to his parched lips a most delicious draught of rich camel's milk. The Syrian felt as if he were drinking in new life, and was so much revived by what he had taken, that he was able to accompany his preservers to the black goat's-hair tent of their Sheik or chief, an elderly man of noble aspect, who welcomed the stranger kindly.

Yusef had not been long in that tent before he found that he had not only been guided to a place of safety, but to the very place where his presence was needed. The sound of low moans made him turn his eyes toward a dark corner of the tent. There lay the only son of the Sheik, dangerously ill, and, as the Bedouins believed, dying. Already all their rough, simple remedies had been tried on the youth, but tried in vain. With stern grief the Sheik listened to the moans of pain that burst from the suffering lad and wrung the heart of the father.

The Syrian asked leave to examine the youth, and was soon at his side. Yusef very soon perceived that the Bedouin's case was not hopeless,—that God's blessing on the hakeem's skill might in a few days effect a wonderful change. He offered to try what his art and medicines could do. The Sheik caught at the last hope held out to him of preserving the life of his son. The Bedouins gathered round, and watched with keen interest the measures which were at once taken by the stranger hakeem to effect the cure of the lad.

Yusef's success was beyond his hopes. The medicine which he gave afforded speedy relief from pain, and within an hour the young Bedouin had sunk into a deep and refreshing sleep. His slumber lasted long, and he awoke quite free from fever, though of course some days elapsed before his strength was fully restored.

Great was the gratitude of Azim, the Sheik, for the cure of his only son; and great was the admiration of the simple Bedouins for the skill of the wondrous hakeem. Yusef soon had plenty of patients. The sons of the desert now looked upon the poor deserted stranger as one sent to them by heaven; and Yusef himself felt that his own plans had been defeated, his own course changed by wisdom and love. He had intended, as a medical missionary, to fix his abode in some Arabian town: he had been directed instead to the tents of the Bedouin Arabs. The wild tribe soon learned to reverence and love him, and listen to his words. Azim supplied him with a tent, a horse, a rich striped mantle, and all that the Syrian's wants required. Yusef found that he could be happy as well as useful in his wild desert home.

One day, after months had elapsed, Yusef rode forth with Azim and two of his Bedouins, to visit a distant encampment of part of the tribe. They carried with them spear and gun, water, and a small supply of provisions. The party had not proceeded far when Azim pointed to a train of camels that were disappearing in the distance. "Yonder go pilgrims to Mecca," he said: "long and weary is the journey before them; the path which they take will be marked by the bones of camels that fall and perish by the way."

"Methinks by yon sand-mound," observed Yusef, "I see an object that looks at this distance like a pilgrim stretched on the waste."

"Some traveler may have fallen sick," said the Sheik, "and be left on the sand to die."

The words made Yusef at once set spurs to his horse: having himself so narrowly escaped a dreadful death in the desert, he naturally felt strong pity for any one in danger of meeting so terrible a fate. Azim galloped after Yusef, and having the fleeter horse outstripped him, as they approached the spot on which lay stretched the form of a man, apparently dead.

As soon as Azim reached the pilgrim he sprang from his horse, laid his gun down on the sand, and, taking a skin-bottle of water which hung at his saddle bow, proceeded to pour some down the throat of the man, who gave signs of returning life.

Yusef almost instantly joined him; but what were the feelings of the Syrian when in the pale, wasted features of the sufferer before him he recognized those of Sadi, his deadly, merciless foe!

"Let me hold the skin-bottle, Sheik!" exclaimed Yusef; "let the draught of cold water be from my hand." The Syrian remembered the command, "If thine enemy thirst, give him drink."

Sadi was too ill to be conscious of anything passing around him; but he drank with feverish eagerness, as if his thirst could never be slaked.

"How shall we bear him hence?" said the Sheik; "my journey cannot be delayed."

"Go on thy journey, O Sheik," replied Yusef; "I will return to the tents with this man, if thou but help me to place him on my horse. He shall share my tent and my cup,—he shall be to me as a brother."

"Dost thou know him?" inquired the Sheik.

"Ay, well I know him," the Syrian replied.

Sadi was gently placed on the horse, for it would have been death to remain long unsheltered on the sand. Yusef walked beside the horse, with difficulty supporting the drooping form of Sadi, which would otherwise soon have fallen to the ground. The journey on foot was very exhausting to Yusef, who could scarcely sustain the weight of the helpless Sadi. Thankful was the Syrian hakeem when they reached the Bedouin tents.

Then Sadi was placed on the mat which had served Yusef for a bed. Yusef himself passed the night without rest, watching at the sufferer's side. Most carefully did the hakeem nurse his enemy through a raging fever. Yusef spared no effort of skill, shrank from no painful exertion, to save the life of the man who had nearly destroyed his own!

On the third day the fever abated; on the evening of that day Sadi suddenly opened his eyes, and, for the first time since his illness, recognized Yusef, who had, as he believed, perished months before in the desert.

"Has the dead come to life?" exclaimed the trembling Sadi, fixing upon Yusef a wild and terrified gaze; "has the injured returned for vengeance?"

"Nay, my brother," replied Yusef soothingly; "let us not recall the past, or recall it but to bless Him who has preserved us both from death."

Tears dimmed the dark eyes of Sadi; he grasped the kind hand which Yusef held out. "I have deeply wronged thee," he faltered forth; "how can I receive all this kindness at thy hand?"

A gentle smile passed over the lips of Yusef; he remembered the cruel words once uttered by Sadi, and made reply: "If thou hast wronged me, thus I repay thee: Moslem, this is a Christian's revenge!"


Once upon a time, near a large wood, there lived a woodcutter and his wife, who had only one child, a little girl three years old; but they were so poor that they had scarcely food sufficient for every day in the week, and often they were puzzled to know what they should get to eat. One morning the woodcutter went into the wood to work, full of care, and, as he chopped the trees, there stood before him a tall and beautiful woman, having a crown of shining stars upon her head, who thus addressed him:

"I am the Guardian Angel of every Christian child; thou art poor and needy; bring me thy child, and I will take her with me. I will be her mother, and henceforth she shall be under my care." The woodcutter consented, and calling his child gave her to the Angel, who carried her to the land of Happiness. There everything went happily; she ate sweet bread and drank pure milk; her clothes were gold, and her playfellows were beautiful children. When she became fourteen years old, the Guardian Angel called her to her side and said, "My dear child, I have a long journey for thee. Take these keys of the thirteen doors of the land of Happiness; twelve of them thou mayest open, and behold the glories therein; but the thirteenth, to which this little key belongs, thou art forbidden to open. Beware! if thou dost disobey, harm will befall thee."

The maiden promised to be obedient, and, when the Guardian Angel was gone, began her visits to the mansions of Happiness. Every day one door was unclosed, until she had seen all the twelve. In each mansion there sat an angel, surrounded by a bright light. The maiden rejoiced at the glory, and the child who accompanied her rejoiced with her. Now the forbidden door alone remained. A great desire possessed the maiden to know what was hidden there; and she said to the child, "I will not quite open it, nor will I go in, but I will only unlock the door so that we may peep through the chink." "No, no," said the child; "that will be a sin. The Guardian Angel has forbidden it, and misfortune would soon fall upon us."

At this the maiden was silent, but the desire still remained in her heart, and tormented her continually, so that she had no peace. One day, however, all the children were away, and she thought, "Now I am alone and can peep in, no one will know what I do;" so she found the keys, and, taking them in her hand, placed the right one in the lock and turned it round. Then the door sprang open, and she saw three angels sitting on a throne, surrounded by a great light. The maiden remained a little while standing in astonishment; and then, putting her finger in the light, she drew it back and it was turned into gold. Then great alarm seized her, and, shutting the door hastily, she ran away. But her fear only increased more and more, and her heart beat so violently that she thought it would burst; the gold also on her finger would not come off, although she washed it and rubbed it with all her strength.

Not long afterward the Guardian Angel came, back from her journey, and calling the maiden to her, demanded the keys of the mansion. As she delivered them up, the Angel looked in her face and asked, "Hast thou opened the thirteenth door?"—"No," answered the maiden.

Then the Angel laid her hand upon the maiden's heart, and felt how violently it was beating; and she knew that her command had been disregarded, and that the child had opened the door. Then she asked again, "Hast thou opened the thirteenth door?"—"No," said the maiden, for the second time.

Then the Angel perceived that the child's finger had become golden from touching the light, and she knew that the child was guilty; and she asked her for the third time, "Hast thou opened the thirteenth door?"—"No," said the maiden again.

Then the Guardian Angel replied, "Thou hast not obeyed me, nor done my bidding; therefore thou art no longer worthy to remain among good children."

And the maiden sank down in a deep sleep, and when she awoke she found herself in the midst of a wilderness. She wished to call out, but she had lost her voice. Then she sprang up, and tried to run away; but wherever she turned thick bushes held her back, so that she could not escape. In the deserted spot in which she was now enclosed, there stood an old hollow tree; this was her dwelling-place. In this place she slept by night, and when it rained and blew she found shelter within it. Roots and wild berries were her food, and she sought for them as far as she could reach. In the autumn she collected the leaves of the trees, and laid them in her hole; and when the frost and snow of the winter came, she clothed herself with them, for her clothes had dropped into rags. But during the sunshine she sat outside the tree, and her long hair fell down on all sides and covered her like a mantle. Thus she remained a long time experiencing the misery and poverty of the world.

But, once, when the trees had become green again, the King of the country was hunting in the forest, and as a bird flew into the bushes which surrounded the wood, he dismounted, and, tearing the brushwood aside, cut a path for himself with his sword. When he had at last made his way through, he saw a beautiful maiden, who was clothed from head to foot with her own golden locks, sitting under the tree. He stood in silence, and looked at her for some time in astonishment; at last he said, "Child, how came you into this wilderness?" But the maiden answered not, for she had become dumb. Then the King asked, "Will you go with me to my castle?" At that she nodded her head, and the King, taking her in his arms, put her on his horse and rode away home. Then he gave her beautiful clothing, and everything in abundance. Still she could not speak; but her beauty was so great, and so won upon the King's heart, that after a little while he married her.

When about a year had passed away, the Queen brought a son into the world, and in that night, while lying alone in her bed the Guardian Angel appeared to her and said:

"Wilt thou tell the truth and confess that thou didst unlock the forbidden door? For then will I open thy mouth and give thee again the power of speech; but if thou remainest obstinate in thy sin then will I take from thee thy new-born babe."

And the power to answer was given to her, but she remained hardened, and said, "No, I did not open the door;" and at those words the Guardian Angel took the child out of her arms and disappeared with him.

The next morning, when the child was not to be seen, a murmur arose among the people, that their Queen was a murderess, who had destroyed her only son; but, although she heard everything, she could say nothing. But the King did not believe the ill report because of his great love for her.

About a year afterward another son was born, and on the night of his birth the Guardian Angel again appeared, and asked, "Wilt thou confess that thou didst open the forbidden door? Then will I restore to thee thy son, and give thee the power of speech; but if thou hardenest thyself in thy sin, then will I take this new-born babe also with me."

Then the Queen answered again, "No, I did not open the door;" so the Angel took the second child out of her arms and bore him away. On the morrow, when the infant could not be found, the people said openly that the Queen had slain him, and the King's councillors advised that she should be brought to trial. But the King's affection was still so great that he would not believe it, and he commanded his councillors never again to mention the report on pain of death.

The next year a beautiful little girl was born, and for the third time the Guardian Angel appeared and said to the Queen, "Follow me;" and, taking her by the hand, she led her to the kingdom of Happiness, and showed to her the two other children, who were playing merrily. The Queen rejoiced at the sight, and the Angel said, "Is thy heart not yet softened? If thou wilt confess that thou didst unlock the forbidden door, then will I restore to thee both thy sons." But the Queen again answered, "No, I did not open it;" and at these words she sank upon the earth, and her third child was taken from her.

When this was rumored abroad the next day, all the people exclaimed, "The Queen is a murderess; she must be condemned;" and the King could not this time repulse his councillors. Thereupon a trial was held, and since the Queen could make no good answer or defence, she was condemned to die upon a funeral pile. The wood was collected; she was bound to the stake, and the fire was lighted all around her. Then the iron pride of her heart began to soften, and she was moved to repentance; and she thought, "Could I but now, before my death, confess that I opened the door!" And her tongue was loosened, and she cried aloud, "Thou good Angel, I confess." At these words the rain descended from heaven and extinguished the fire; then a great light shone above, and the Angel appeared and descended upon the earth, and by her side were the Queen's two sons, one on her right hand and the other on her left, and in her arms she bore the new-born babe. Then the Angel restored to the Queen her three children, and loosening her tongue promised her great happiness and said, "Whoeverwill repent and confess their sins, they shall be forgiven."



I was riding on the train through the eastern section of North Carolina. Nothing can be flatter than that portion of the country, unless it be the religious experience of some people. The rain was pouring down fast, and, for a person so inclined, not a better day and place for the blues could be found. Looking out of the car windows brought nothing more interesting to view than pine trees, bony mules and razor-back hogs. Groups of men, white and black, gathered at each station to see the train arrive and depart. Each passenger that entered brought in more damp, moisture and blues.

Two men at last came in and took the seat in front of me. Shortly after, one of them took a bottle from his pocket, pulled the cork, and handed the bottle to his companion. He took a drink, and the smell of liquor filled the car. Then the first one took a drink, and back and forth the bottle passed, until at last it was empty and they were full. Then one of them commenced swearing, and such blasphemy I never heard in all my life. It made the very air blue—women shrank back, while the heads of men were uplifted to see where the stream of profanity came from. It went on for some time, until I began talking to myself. I always did like to talk to a sensible man.

"Henry, that man belongs to the devil."

"There is no doubt about that," I replied.

"He is not ashamed of it."

"Not a bit ashamed."

"Whom do you belong to?"

"I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Are you glad or sorry?"

"I am glad—very glad."

"Who in the car knows that man belongs to the devil?"

"Everybody knows that, for he has not kept it a secret."

"Who in the car knows you belong to the Lord Jesus?"

"Why, no one knows it, for you see I am a stranger around here."

"Are you willing they should know whom you belong to?"

"Yes; I am willing."

"Very well, will you let them know it?"

I thought a moment and then said, "By the help of my Master I will."

Then straightening up and taking a good breath, I began singing in a voice that could be heard by all in the car:

There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.

Before I had finished the first verse and chorus, the passengers had crowded down around me, and the blasphemer had turned round and looked at me with a face resembling a thunder cloud. As I finished the chorus, he said:

"What are you doing?"

"I am singing," I replied.

"Well," said he, "any fool can understand that."

"I am glad you understand it."

"What are you singing?"

"I am singing the religion of the Lord Jesus."

"Well, you quit."

"Quit what?"

"Quit singing your religion on the cars."

"I guess not," I replied, "I don't belong to the Quit family; my name is Mead. For the last half hour you have been standing by your master; now for the next half hour I am going to stand up for my Master."

"Who is my master?"

"The devil is your master—while Christ is mine. I am as proud of my Master as you are of yours. Now I am going to have my turn, if the passengers don't object."

A chorus of voices cried out: "Sing on, stranger, we like that."

I sung on, and as the next verse was finished, the blasphemer turned his face away, and I saw nothing of him after that but the back of his head, and that was the handsomest part of him. He left the train soon after, and I am glad to say I've never seen him since. Song after song followed, and I soon had other voices to help me. When the song service ended, an old man came to me, put out his hand, and said, "Sir, I owe you thanks and a confession."

"Thanks for what?"

"Thanks for rebuking that blasphemer."

"Don't thank me for that, but give thanks to my Master. I try to stand up for Him wherever I am. What about the confession?"

"I am in my eighty-third year. I have been a preacher of the Gospel for over sixty years. When I heard that man swearing so, I wanted to rebuke him. I rose from my seat two or three times, to do so, but my courage failed. I have not much longer to live, but never again will I refuse to show my colors anywhere."



She did—I am sorry to record it, but she did—Letty Bascombe salted her pie-crust with a great, big tear.

Not that she had none of the other salt, nor that she intended to do it, but, all of a sudden, a big tear, oh, as big as the end of your thumb, if you are a little, little girl, ran zigzag across her cheek down to her chin, and, before she could wipe it off, a sudden, sharp sob took her unawares and, plump, right into the pastry, went this big fat tear. Of course, if you are even a little girl you must know that it is as useless to hunt for tears in pie-crust as it is to "hunt for a needle in a hay-stack." So Letty did not even try to recover her lost property. But it had one good effect, it made her laugh, and, between you and me (I tell this to you as a secret), Letty, like every other girl, little or big, fat or thin, was much pleasanter to look upon when she smiled than when she cried. But she didn't smile for that. Oh, dear, no. She smiled because she couldn't help it. She was a good-natured, sweet-tempered little puss, most times, and possessed of a very sunny disposition. "Why did she salt her pie-crust with tears, then?" I hear you ask. Ah, "Why?" And wait till I tell you. The most curious part of it all was that it was a Thanksgiving crust. There, now. The worst is out. A common, every-day, week-a-day pie, or even a Sunday pie, would be bad enough, but a Thanksgiving pie of all things. Why, everybody is happy at Thanksgiving.

Well, not quite everybody, it seems, because if that was so Letty wouldn't be crying.

Now let me tell you why poor Letty Bascombe, with her sunny temper, cried on this day while she was making pies.

You see, she was only fifteen, and when one is fifteen, and there is fun going on that one can't be in, it is very trying, to say the least. Not that tears help it the least in the world, no, indeed. In fact, tears at such times always make matters worse.

Well, she was only fifteen, as I was saying, and, instead of going with the family into town, she had to stay home and make pies.

Now the family were no relation to her. She was only Mrs. Mason's "help." Eighteen months ago Letty's mother (a widow) had died. Her brother had gone away off to a large city, and she had come to Mrs. Mason's to live. Mrs. Mason was as kind as she could be to her, but you know one must feel "blue" at times when one has lost all but one relative in the world, and that one is a dear brother who is way, way off, even if one is surrounded by the kindest friends.

So now, tell me, don't you think Letty had something to shed tears about?

"I j-just c-can't help it. I'm not one bit 'thankful' this Thanksgiving, and I'm not going to pretend I am. So there. And here I am making nasty pies, when everybody else has gone to town having a good time. No, I'm not one bit thankful, so there, and I feel as if turkey and cranberries and pumpkin pie would choke me."

But after Letty "had her cry out" she felt better, and in a little while her nimble fingers had finished her work and she was ready for a little amusement. This amusement she concluded to find by taking a little walk to the end of the garden. The garden ended abruptly in a ravine, and it was a source of unfailing delight to go down there and, from a secure position, see the trains go thundering by.

In fifteen minutes the train would be along and then she would go back. Idly gazing down from her secure height, her eye was suddenly caught by something creeping along the ground. Letty's keen sight at once decided this to be a man—a man with a log in his hand. This log he carefully adjusted across the track.

"What a very curious—" began Letty. But her exclamation was cut short by the awful intuition that the man meant to wreck the on-coming train.

All thought of private sorrow fled in an instant. What could she do? What must she do, for save the train she must, of course. Who else was there to do it? And oh, such a little time to do it in. To go around by the path would take a half-hour. To climb down the side of the ravine would be madness. Suddenly her mind was illuminated. Yes, she could do that, and like the wind she was up at the house and back again, only this time she steered for a spot a hundred rods up, just the other side of the curve.

In a trice she had whipped off her scarlet balmoral, the balmoral she hated so, and had attached to it one end of the hundred feet of rope she had brought from the house.

Could she do it? Could she crawl out on that branch there and hold that danger signal down in front of the train?

She shuddered and covered her face with her hands. O, no, no, she never could do it. Suppose she should fall off or the limb break. But she wouldn't fall, she mustn't fall. Hark! There is the engine. If she is going to save the train there is no time for further delay. With a prayer for guidance and protection, slowly, oh so slowly, that it seemed hours before she got there, Letty crawled out to the branch and dangled below her, across the track, her flag of danger. She could not see what was going on, because she dared not look down. So, looking constantly up (and, children, believe me, "looking up" is one of the best things you can do when in danger or trouble), and sending a silent wordless petition for the safety of the train, Letty held her precarious post. Hark, it is slowing up. Her balmoral has been seen and the train is saved. The tension over, she cautiously turned and crawled slowly back to land, and then dropped in a dead faint. Recovering, however, she went slowly up to the house, trembling and sick and shivering with the cold from the loss of the warm skirt hanging on the clothes-line down in the ravine.

Relaxed and limp she sat down in the big rocker before the kitchen stove, a confused mass of thoughts racing through her head. Dazed and excited, she hardly knew how time was passing until she heard the sound of wheels.

"O, Letty, the funniest thing—" shouted Laura, bursting into the kitchen.

"Wait, let me tell," interrupted Jamie. "Why, Letty, somebody's hung—"

"Somebody hung," exclaimed Letty, in horror. "Why, Laura Mason, how dare you say that was funny?"

"I didn't—" began Laura, indignantly, but here Mrs. Mason interfered with a "Sh-sh-sh, children, mercy, goodness, you nearly drive me wild. Here. Laura, take mother's bonnet and shawl up-stairs.

"Here, Jamie, take my boots and bring me my slippers. I'm that tired I don't know what to do with myself. Goodness, but it feels good to get home. The strangest thing's happened, Letty. The afternoon express was coming into town this afternoon, and, when it was about two miles out, all of a sudden the engineer saw a red flannel petticoat hanging right down in the middle of the track, hanging by a clothes-line, mind, from the limb of a tree. He thought at first it was a joke, but changed his mind and thought he'd look further, and would you believe it, he found a great, big log across the track. If the train had come on that I guess there'd been more grief than Thanksgiving in this neighborhood to-morrow."

Mrs. Mason had said all this along in one steady strain, while she was walking round the room putting away her parcels.

Getting no response, she turned to look at Letty for the first time. "Why goodness! The girl has fainted. What on earth do you suppose is the matter with her?

"Jamie, come quick. Get me some water.

"There," when the restorative had had the desired effect. "Why, what ailed you, Letty? You weren't sick when I went away. Bless me! I hope you ain't going to be sick, and such a surprise as we've got for you, too, out in the barn. But there. If that isn't just like me. I didn't mean to tell you yet."

"Why, mother, mother," exclaimed Father Mason excitedly as he rushed into the room. "Somebody's just come from the village with this," flourishing Letty's skirt wildly around, "and they say the train was stopped right back of our house."

"For the land's sake, Job! Well, if that ain't our Letty's red balmoral. How did it—is that the—Letty, was it you?" she finished up rather disjointedly.

Letty nodded, unable to speak just then.

"Well, who'd 'a' thought it. So you saved the train! Do tell us all about it."

"Mother, don't you think we'd better wait a bit till she looks a mite stronger," suggested kind-hearted Job Mason.

"Well, I don't know but you're right, but I'm clean beat out. Don't you think, Job, that we might bring Letty's surprise—but there's the surprise walking in from the barn of itself. Tired of waiting, likely as not."

"Yes, Letty," broke in Laurie. "Did you know your brother had come home and that you saved his life this afternoon with that old red skirt of yours?" So the mischief was out at last, and though the excitement and everything nearly killed Letty, it didn't quite, or I don't think I would have undertaken to tell this story. I don't like sad Thanksgiving stories. Not that there aren't any; I only say I don't like them, that's all.

Well, sitting in her brother's lap—(what, fifteen years old?)—yes, sitting in her brother's lap, she had to tell over and over again all she thought and felt that afternoon, and to hear over and over again what a dreadful time they had keeping the secret from her. How they were so afraid that she would find out that they expected to meet her brother—how he had been so anxious that she should not be told lest by some accident he shouldn't arrive, and then she would be bitterly disappointed and her Thanksgiving spoiled.

Accident! Letty shuddered each time that they reached that part of the story, for she thought how nearly the accident had happened, and as she knelt to say her prayers that night it was with a penitent heart that she remembered how she had felt in the morning, and she had added fervently, "Dear Lord, I thank Thee for this beautiful Thanksgiving."



One of the nobles of King Arthur's court had grievously transgressed the laws of chivalry and knightly honor, and for this cause had he been condemned to suffer death. Great sorrow reigned among all the lords and dames, and Queen Guinevere, on bent knees, had sued the king's pardon for the recreant knight. At length, after many entreaties, Arthur's generous heart relented, and he gave the doomed life into the queen's hands to do with it as she willed.

Then Guinevere, delighted at the success of her suit with her royal husband, sent for the knight to appear before her, in her own bower, where she sat among the ladies of her chamber.

When the knight, who was called Sir Ulric, had reached the royal lady's presence, he would have thrown himself at her feet with many thanks for the dear boon which she had caused the king to grant him. But she motioned him to listen to what she had to say, before she would receive his gratitude.

"Defer all thanks, Sir Knight," said the queen, "until first I state to thee the conditions on which thou yet holdest thy life. It is granted thee to be free of death, if within one year and a day from this present thou art able to declare to me what of earthly things all women like the best. If in that time thou canst tell, past all dispute, what this thing be, thou shalt have thy life and freedom. Otherwise, on my queenly honor, thou diest, as the king had first decreed."

When the knight heard this he was filled with consternation and dismay too great for words. At once in his heart he accused the king of cruelty in permitting him to drag out a miserable existence for a whole year in endeavoring to fulfill a condition which in his thoughts he at once resolved to be impossible. For who could decide upon what would please all ladies best, when it was agreed by all wise men that no two of the uncertain sex would ever fix upon one and the same thing?

With these desponding thoughts Sir Ulric went out of the queen's presence, and prepared to travel abroad over the country, if perchance by inquiring far and wide he might find out the answer which would save his life.

From house to house and from town to town traveled Sir Ulric, asking maid and matron, young or old, the same question. But never, from any two, did he receive a like answer. Some told him that women best loved fine clothes; some that they loved rich living; some loved their children best; others desired most to be loved; and some loved best to be considered free from curiosity, which, since Eve, had been said to be a woman's chief vice. But among all, no answers were alike, and at each the knight's heart sank in despair, and he seemed as if he followed and ignis fatuus which each day led him farther and farther from the truth.

One day, as he rode through a pleasant wood, the knight alighted and sat himself down under a tree to rest, and bewail his unhappy lot. Sitting here, in a loud voice he accused his unfriendly stars that they had brought him into so sad a state. While he spoke thus, he looked up and beheld an old woman, wrapped in a heavy mantle, standing beside him. Sir Ulric thought he had never seen so hideous a hag as she who now stood gazing at him. She was wrinkled and toothless, and bent with age. One eye was shut, and in the other was a leer so horrible that he feared her some uncanny creature of the wood, and crossed himself as he looked on her.

"Good knight," said the old crone, before he could arise to leave her sight, "tell me, I pray thee, what hard thing ye seek. I am old, and have had much wisdom. It may happen that I can help you out of the great trouble into which you have come."

The knight, in spite of her loathsomeness, felt a ray of hope at this offer, and in a few words told her what he was seeking.

As soon as she had heard, the old creature burst into so loud a laugh that between laughing and mumbling Sir Ulric feared she would choke herself before she found breath to answer him.

"You are but a poor hand at riddles," she said at length, "if you cannot guess what is so simple. Let me but whisper two words in your ear, and you shall be able to tell the queen what neither she nor her ladies nor any woman in all the kingdom shall be able to deny. But I give my aid on one condition,—that if I be right in what I tell, you shall grant me one boon, whatever I ask, if the same be in your power."

The knight gladly consented, and on this the old hag whispered in his ear two little words, which caused him to leap upon his horse with great joy and set out directly for the queen's court.

When he had arrived there, and given notice of his readiness to answer her, Guinevere held a great meeting in her chief hall, of all the ladies in the kingdom. Thither came old and young, wife, maid and widow, to decide if Sir Ulric answered aright.

The queen was placed on a high throne as judge if what he said be the truth, and all present waited eagerly for his time to speak. When, therefore, it was demanded of him what he had to say, all ears stretched to hear his answer.

"Noble lady," said the knight, when he saw all eyes and ears intent upon him, "I have sought far and wide the answer you desired. And I find that the thing of all the world which pleaseth women best, is to have their own way in all things."

When the knight had made this answer in a clear and manly voice, which was heard all over the audience chamber, there was much flutter and commotion among all the women present, and many were at first inclined to gainsay him. But Queen Guinevere questioned all thoroughly, and gave fair judgment, and at the end declared that the knight had solved the question, and there was no woman there who did not confess that he spoke aright.

On this Ulric received his life freely, and was preparing to go out in great joy, when suddenly as he turned to go, he saw in his way the little old woman to whom he owed the answer which had bought his life. At sight of her, more hideous than ever, among the beauty of the court ladies, who looked at her in horror of her ugliness, the knight's heart sank again. Before he could speak she demanded of him her boon.

"What would you ask of me?" said Ulric, fearfully.

"My boon is only this," answered the hag, "that in return for thy life, which my wit has preserved to thee, thou shalt make me thy true and loving wife."

Sir Ulric was filled with horror, and would gladly have given all his goods and his lands to escape such a union. But not anything would the old crone take in exchange for his fair self; and the queen and all the court agreeing that she had the right to enforce her request, which he had promised on his knightly honor, he was at last obliged to yield and make her his wife.

Never in all King Arthur's court were sadder nuptials than these. No feasting, no joy, but only gloom and heaviness, which, spreading itself from the wretched Sir Ulric, infected all the court. Many a fair dame pitied him sorely, and not a knight but thanked his gracious stars that he did not stand in the like ill fortune.

After the wedding ceremonies, as Ulric sat alone in his chamber, very heavy-hearted and sad, his aged bride entered and sat down hear him. But he turned his back upon her, resolving that now she was his wife, he would have no more speech with her.

While he sat thus inattentive, she began to speak with him, and in spite of his indifference, Sir Ulric could but confess that her voice was passing sweet, and her words full of wit and sense. In a long discourse she painted to him the advantage of having a bride who from very gratitude would always be most faithful and loving. She instanced from history and song all those who by beauty had been betrayed, and by youth had been led into folly. At last she said:—

"Now, my sweet lord, I pray thee tell me this. Would you rather I should be as I am, and be to you a true and humble wife, wise in judgment, subject in all things to your will, or young and foolish, and apt to betray your counsels. Choose now betwixt the two."

Then the knight, who had listened in much wonder to the wisdom with which she spoke, and had pondered over her words while speaking, could not help being moved by the beauty of her conversation, which surpassed the beauty of any woman's face which he had ever seen. Under this spell he answered her:—

"Indeed I am content to choose you even as you are. Be as you will. A man could have no better guidance than the will of so sensible a wife."

On this his bride uttered a glad cry.

"Look around upon me, my good lord," she said; "since you are willing to yield to my will in this, behold that I am not only wise, but young and fair also. The enchantment, which held me thus aged and deformed, till I could find a knight who in spite of my ugliness would marry me, and would be content to yield to my will, is forever removed. Now, I am your fair, as well as your loving wife."

Turning around, the knight beheld a lady sweet and young, more lovely in her looks than Guinevere herself. With happy tears she related how the enchantments had been wrought which held her in the form of an ancient hag until he had helped to remove the spell. And from that time forth they lived in great content, each happy to yield equally to each other in all things.



"Black yer boots, mister? Shine 'em up—only a nickel." Such were the cries that greeted me from half a dozen boot-blacks as I came through the ferry gates with my boots loaded down with New Jersey mud. Never did barnacles stick to the bottom of a vessel more tenaciously, or politician hold on to office with a tighter grip, than did that mud cling to my boots. And never did flies scent a barrel of sugar more quickly than that horde of boot-blacks discovered my mud-laden extremities. They swooped down upon me with their piercing cries, until many of my fellow-passengers gazed on my boots with looks that seemed to rebuke me for my temerity in daring to bring such a large amount of soil to add to the already over-stocked supply of the city. My very boots seemed to plead with me to let one of those boys relieve them of the load that weighed them down. But, behold my dilemma—six persistent, lusty, vociferous boys clamoring for one job, while I, as arbiter, must deal out elation to one boy, and dejection to the five.

"Silence! Fall into line for inspection!" Behold my brigade, standing in line, and no two of them alike in size, feature or dress. All looked eager, and five of them looked at my boots and pointed their index fingers at the same objects. The sixth boy held up his head in a manly way and looked me in the eye. I looked him over and was affected in two ways. His clothes touched my funny bone and made me laugh before I knew it. If those pants had been made for that boy, then since that time there had been a great growth in that boy or a great shrinkage in the pants. But, if the pants were several sizes too small and fit him too little, the coat was several sizes too large and fit him too much, so that his garments gave him the appearance of being a small child from his waist down, and an old man from his waist up. The laugh that came as my sense of humor was touched, instantly ceased as I saw the flush that came to the boy's face. The other five boys wanted to get at my boots, but this one had got at my heart, and I made up my mind he should get at my boots as well, and straightway made known my decision. This at once brought forth a volley of jibes and jeers and cutting remarks. "Oh, 'His Royal Highness' gets the job, and he will be prouder and meaner than ever, he will. Say, mister, he's too proud to live, he is. He thinks he owns the earth, he does."

The flush deepened on the boy's face, and I drove his assailants away ere I let him begin his work.

"Now, my boy, take your time, and you shall have extra pay for the job; pardon me for laughing at you; don't mind those boys, but tell me why they call you 'His Royal Highness?'"

He gazed up in my face a moment with a hungry look, and I said, "You can trust me."

"Well, sir, they thinks I'm proud and stuck-up, 'cause I won't pitch pennies and play 'craps' with 'em, and they says I'm stingy and trying to own the earth, 'cause I won't chew tobacco and drink beer, or buy the stuff for 'em. They says my father must be a king, for I wears such fashionable clothes, and puts on so many airs, but that I run away from home 'cause I wanted to boss my father and be king myself. So they calls me 'His Royal Highness.'"

There was a tremble in his voice as he paused a moment, and then he continued:

"If I ever had a father, I never seen him, and if, I had a mother, I wish someone would tell me who she was. How can a feller be proud and stuck-up who ain't got no father and no mother, and no name only Joe? They calls me stingy 'cause I'm saving all the money I can, but I ain't saving it for myself—I'm saving it for Jessie."

"Is Jessie your sister?" I asked.

"No, sir; I ain't got no relatives."

"Perhaps, then, she is your sweetheart," I said.

Again he looked up in my face and said very earnestly, "Did you ever know a boot-black without any name to have an angel for a sweetheart?"

His eyes were full of tears, and I made no answer, though I might have told him I had found a boot-black who had a big, warm heart even if he had no sweetheart. Very abruptly he said:

"You came over on the boat; what kind of a land is it over across the river?"

"It is very pleasant in the country," I replied.

"Is it a land of pure delight, where saints immortal reign?"

Having just come from New Jersey where the infamous race track, and the more infamous rum-traffic legalized by law, would sink the whole State in the Atlantic Ocean, if it were not that it had a life preserver in Ocean Grove, I was hardly prepared to vouch for it being that kind of a land.

"Why do you ask that?" I said.

"Because I hear Jessie sing about it so much, and when I asked her about it, she said it's a land where there's green fields, and flowers that don't wither, and rivers of delight, and where the sun always shines, and she wants to go there so much. I hasn't told anybody about it before, but I eats as little as I can and gets along with these clothes what made you laugh at me, and I'm saving up my money to take Jessie to that land of pure delight just as soon as I gets enough. Does yer know where that land is?"

"I think I do, my boy, but you haven't told me yet who Jessie is."

"Jessie's an angel, but she's sick. She, lives up in a room in the tenement, and I lives in the garret near by. She ain't got no father, and her mother don't get much work, for she can't go out to work and take care of Jessie, too. She cries a good deal when Jessie don't see her, 'cause she thinks she is going to lose Jessie, but over in that land of pure delight, Jessie says nobody is sick, and everybody who goes there gets well right away, and, oh sir, I wants to take Jessie there just as soon as I can. I takes her a flower every night, and then I just sits and looks at her face, until my heart gets warmer and warmer, and do yer think I could come out of such a place and then swear and drink, and chew tobacco, and pitch pennies, and tell lies? I tells Jessie how the boys calls me 'His Royal Highness,' and she tells me I musn't mind it, and I musn't get mad, but just attend to my work. And—and—and, oh sir, I wanted to tell somebody all this, for I always tries to look bright when I goes in to see Jessie, and not let her know I am fretting about anything; but I does want to take Jessie to the land where flowers always bloom and people are always well. That's so little for me to do after all the good that's come to me from knowing Jessie. But, I begs yer pardon for keeping yer so long, and I thanks yer for letting me tell yer about Jessie."

Ah, the boys named him better than they knew, for here was a prince in truth, and despite his rags "His Royal Highness" was a more befitting name than Joe.

"Where does Jessie live, my boy?"

"Oh, sir, yer isn't going to take Jessie to that land of pure delight, and spoil all my pleasure. I does want to do it myself. Yer won't be so mean as that, after listening to what I've been telling yer, will yer?"

"Not I, my boy, not I. Just let me go and see Jessie and her mother, and whatever I can do for them, I'll do it through you."

A little persuasion, and then "His Royal Highness" and I made our way to the tenement and began climbing the stairs. We had gone up five flights and were mounting the sixth, when the boy stopped suddenly and motioned for me to listen. The voice of a woman reached my ear—a voice with deep grief in every tone—saying, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble." A pause—then a sob—and the voice wailing rather than singing:

Other refuge have I none, Hangs my helpless soul on Thee; Leave, oh, leave me not alone, Still support and comfort me. All my trust on Thee is stayed, All my help from Thee I bring, Cover my defenceless head, With the shadow of Thy wing.

The boy grasped my hand a moment—gasped out "That's Jessie's mother, something's happened"—and then bounded up the stairs and into the room. I followed him and found sure enough something had happened, for Jessie had gone to the land of pure delight, and the mother stood weeping beside her dead. On the face of Jessie lingered a smile, for she was well at last. In her hand was a pure white rosebud, the last flower Joe had carried to her the evening before. Her last message to him was that she had gone to the land of pure delight, and for him to be sure and follow her there.

I draw the curtain over the boy's grief. His savings bought the coffin in which Jessie was laid under the green sod. Where "His Royal Highness" is, must for the present remain a secret between Joe and myself. His face and his feet are turned toward the land of pure delight. His heart is there already. You have his story, and it may help you to remember that some paupers wear fine linen and broadcloth, while here and there a prince is to be found clothed in rags.


Many years ago, in a lovely country of Italy, shut in by Alpine mountains, there lived a noble young duke, who was lord over all the land. He was one of a long line of good princes, and his people loved him dearly. They had only one fault to find with him, for he made good laws, and ruled them tenderly; but alas! he would not marry. So his people feared he would not leave any son to inherit his dukedom. Every morning his wise counsellors asked him if he had made up his mind on the subject of marriage, and every morning the young duke heard them patiently; and as soon as they had spoken, he answered, "I am thinking of marriage, my lords; but this is a matter which requires much thought."

Then he called for his black hunting-steed and held up his gloved hand for his white falcon to come and alight upon his wrist, and off he galloped to the hunt, of which he was passionately fond, and which absorbed all the time that was not occupied with the cares of his government.

But after a while, his counsellors insisted on being answered more fully.

"Most dear prince," urged they, "only fancy what a dreadful thing it would be if you should be taken from your loving people, and leave no one in your place. What fighting, and confusion, and anarchy there would be over your grave! All this could never happen, if you had a sweet wife, who would bring you, from God, a noble son, to grow up to be your successor."

The morning on which they urged this so strongly, Duke Walter stood on the steps of his palace, in his hunting-suit of green velvet, with his beautiful falcon perched on his wrist, while a page in waiting stood by holding his horse. Suddenly he faced about, and looked full at his advisers.

"What you say is very wise," he answered. "To-day I am going to follow your advice. This is my wedding-day."

Here all the counsellors stared at each other with round eyes.

"Only you must promise me one thing," continued the duke. "Whoever I marry, be she duchess or beggar, old or young, ugly or handsome, not one of you must find fault with her, but welcome her as my wife, and your honored lady."

All the courtiers, recovering from their surprise, cried out, "We will; we promise."

Thereupon, all the court who were standing about gave a loud cheer; and the little page, who held the horse's bridle, tossed up his cap, and turned two double somersaults on the pavement of the court-yard. Then the duke leaped into his saddle, humming a song of how King Cophetua wooed a beggar maid; tootle-te-tootle went the huntsmens' bugles; clampety-clamp went the horses' hoofs on the stones, and out into the green forest galloped the royal hunt.

Now, in the farther border of the wood was a little hut which the hunting-train passed by daily. In this little cottage lived an old basketmaker named Janiculo, with his only daughter Griselda, the child of his old age. He had also a son Laureo, who was a poor scholar in Padua, studying hard to get money enough to make himself a priest. But Laureo was nearly always away, and Griselda took care of her father, kept the house, and wove baskets with her slender, nimble fingers, to sell in the town close by.

I cannot tell you in words of the loveliness of Griselda. She was as pure as the dew which gemmed the forest, as sweet-voiced as the birds, as light-footed and timid as the deer which started at the hunters' coming. Then her heart was so tender and good, she was so meek and gentle, that to love her was of itself a blessing; and to be in her presence was like basking in the beams of the May sun.

This morning she and her father sat under the tree by their cottage door, as the hunting-train passed by. They were weaving baskets; and, as they worked, they sang together.

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