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Alcott
My boys



REFERENCE

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"As there was nobody to see, he just sat down and cried as hard as Dotty

herself."

The above picture is one of twenty-seven ichich illustrate

THE NEW-YEAR'S BARGAIN.

BY SUSAN COOLIDGE.

The author of this book must soon be exalted in the hearts of children by
the side of Miss Alcott : for it is as original, as quaint, and as charming: as
any tiling of " Aunt Jo's," though totally different in character and style.
Max and Thekla, the hero and heroine, live in the famous Black Forest.
Wandering in the woods one day, they came across an old man who was
making some images. This old man was Father Time, and the images were
the twelve months. He had a jar full of sand, the ' sands of time," and
Max put some of it in his pocket, when old Father Time wasn't looking, and
carried it home.

This stealing from Time caused a great commotion, though Max con-
tended that u Time belongs to us all ; " but it resulted in a " Bargain," which
the book will tell you all about.

"The New- Year's Bargain" is an elegant volume, bound in cloth, gilt
and black-lettered, and sells for $2.00.

ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, Boston.



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Eight o'clock ;

The postman's knock !

Five letters for Papa ;

One for Lou,

And none for you.
And three for dear Mamma.

SING-SONG. A Book of Original New Nursery Rhymes, by Miss ROSSETTI,
contains one hundred and twenty songs, and an illustration to each fong
by AUTHUR HUGHES. One elegant square 8vo, bound in cloth, black
and gilt lettered. Price, $2.00.

POSIES FOR CHILDREN- A Book of Verse, selected by Mrs. ANNA C.
LOWELL. Square 16mo. Price, 75 cents.

MAX AND MAURICE, A Youthful History, translated by Rev. CHARLES
T. BUOOKS, is one of the drollest works ever made. It is immensely
popular with young and old. Fully illustrated. Price, $1.25.

PUCK'S NIGHTLY PRANKS. Illustrated with Silhouette Pictures,
by PAUL KUNEWKA. Fancy covers. Price, 50 cents.

ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,

Boston.




" Sing, Tessa ; sing ! " cried Tommo, twanging away with all his might. PAGE 47.



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"The memory of those thirteen pink ta'\\s has haunted me ever since." -PAGE 9.



AUNT Jo's SCRAP-BAG.



MY BOYS, ETC.




BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT,

AUTHOB OP "LITTLE WOMEN," "AN OLD-FASHIONED QIBL.'V "LITTLE MEN,"

" HOSPITAL SKETCHES."



BOSTON:

ROBERTS BROTHERS.
1872.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by

LOUISA M. ALCOTT,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.



CAMBRIDGE:
PRESS OF JOHN WILSON AND SON.



PROPERTY OF THE
CITY QF ?'EW YORK

A ronn^*7 Ch



PREFACE.



A S grandmothers rummage their piece-bags
and bundles in search of gay odds and
ends to make gifts with which to fill the little
stockings that hang all in a row on Christmas
Eve, so I have gathered together some stories,
old and new, to amuse the large family that has
so rapidly and beautifully grown up about me.

I hope that when they promenade in night-
caps and gowns to rifle the plump stockings,
the little " dears " will utter an " Oh ! " of pleas-
ure, and give a prance of satisfaction, as they
pull out this -small gift from Aunt Jo's scrap-
bag.

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS,
1871-72.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

MY BOYS -

TESSA'S SURPRISES OK

.. oO

Buzz ... ..Q

.... Oo

THE CHILDREN'S JOKE .... g7

DANDELION gj^

MADAM CLUCK, AND HER FAMILY .... ioo

A CURIOUS CALL m

TILLY'S CHRISTMAS ..*... 123

MY LITTLE GENTLEMAN 134

BACK WINDOWS 148

f

LITTLE MARIE OF LEHON 158

MY MAY-DAY AMONG CURIOUS BIRDS AND BEASTS 176

OUR LITTLE NEWSBOY 186

PATTY'S PATCHWORK. . . 193



MISS LOUISA M, ALCOTT'S

RECENT NEW WORKS.



LITTLE WOMEN. PART FIRST.
LITTLE WOMEN. PART SECOND.
AN OLD-FASHIONED GIRL.
LITTLE MEN.

HOSPITAL SKETCHES AND CAMP AND FIRE
SIDE STORIES.



It is quite safe to say that the author of " Little Women " is, to-
day, the literary idol of the American fireside. Within three years
her books have achieved an unparalleled success, delighting and in-
structing legions of readers.

!1P~ All of Miss Alcotfs RECENT NEW WORKS icithout excep-
tion, have our name on their title-pages' as her authorized publishers.

They are now hound in a new style of binding, to distinguish
them from imitations, and maybe had, put up in a nent box, labelled
" Little Women Library," the five volumes, price, $7.50; or, separ-
ately, $1.50 each.

ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,

Boston.



AUKT JO'S SCKAP-BAG.




MY BOYS.

that I have been unusually fortunate
in my knowledge of a choice and pleasing
variety of this least appreciated portion of the human
race, I have a fancy to record some of my experi-
ences, hoping that it may awaken an interest in
other minds, and cause other people to cultivate the
delightful, but too often neglected boys, who now
run to waste, so to speak.

I have often wondered what they thought of the
peculiar treatment they receive, even at the hands
of their nearest friends. While they are rosy, roly-
poly little fellows they are petted and praised,
adorned and adored, till it is a miracle that they are
not utterly ruined. But the moment they outgrow,
their babyhood their trials begin, and they are re-



2 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

garcled as nuisances till they are twenty-one, when
they are again received into favor.

Yet that very time of neglect is the period when
they most need all manner of helps, and ought to have
them. I like boys and oysters raw ; so, though good
manners are always pleasing, I don't mind the rough
outside burr which repels most people, and perhaps
that is the reason why the burrs open and let me see
the soft lining and taste the sweet nut hidden inside.

My first well-beloved boy was a certain Frank, to
whom I clung at the age of seven with a devotion
which I fear he did not appreciate. There were six
girls in the house, but I would have nothing to say
to them, preferring to tag after Frank, and perfectly
happy when he allowed me to play with him. I
regret to say that the small youth was something
of a tyrant, and one of his favorite amusements was
trying to make me cry by slapping my hands with
books, hoop-sticks, shoes, any thing that came along
capable of giving a good stinging blow. I believe I
endured these marks of friendship with the fortitude
of a young Indian, and felt fully repaid for a blistered



MY BOYS. 3

palm by hearing Frank tell the other boys " She 's a
brave little thing, and you can't make her cry."

My chief joy was in romping with him in the long
galleries of a piano manufactory behind our house.
What bliss it was to mount one of the cars on which
the workmen rolled heavy loads from room to room,
and to go thundering down the inclined planes, re-
gardless of the crash that usually awaited us at the
bottom ! If I could have played foot-ball on the
Common with my Frank and Billy Babcock, life
could have offered me no greater joy at that period.
As the prejudices of society forbid this sport, I
revenged myself by driving hoop all around the mall
without stopping, which the boys could not do.

I can remember certain happy evenings, when we
snuggled in sofa corners and planned tricks and ate
stolen goodies, and sometimes Frank would put his
curly head in my lap and let me stroke it w T hen he
was tired. What the girls did I don't recollect;
their domestic plays were not to my taste, and the
only figure that stands out from the dimness of the
past is that jolly boy with a twinkling eye. This



4 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

memory would be quite radiant but for one sad
thing, a deed that cut me to the soul then, and
which I have never quite forgiven in all these years.

On one occasion I did something very naughty,
and when called up for judgment fled to the dining-
room, locked the door, and from my stronghold
defied the whole world. I could have made my own
terms, for it was near dinner-time and the family
must eat ; but, alas, for the treachery of the human
heart ! Frank betrayed me. He climbed in at the
window, unlocked the door, and delivered me up to
the foe. Nay, he even defended the base act, and
helped bear the struggling culprit to imprisonment.
That nearly broke my heart, for I believed he would
stand by me as staunchly as I always stood by him.
It was a sad blow, and I couldn't love or trust him
any more. Peanuts and candy, ginger-snaps and
car-rides were unavailing; even foot-ball could not
reunite the broken 'friendship, and to this day I
recollect the pang that entered my little heart when
I lost my faith in the loyalty of my first boy.

The second attachment was of quite a different



MY BOYS. 5

sort, and had a happier ending. At the mature age
often, I left home for my first visit to a family of gay
and kindly people in well, why not say right
out ? Providence. There were no children, and at
first I did not mind this, as every one petted me,
especially one of the yonng men named Christopher.
So kind and patient, yet so merry was this good
Christy that I took him for my private and partic-
ular boy, and loved him dearly, for he got me out
of innumerable scrapes, and never was tired of
amusing the restless little girl who kept the family
in a fever of anxiety by her pranks. He never
laughed at her mishaps and mistakes, never played
tricks upon her like a certain William who composed
the most trying nicknames, and wickedly goaded the
wild visitor into all manner of naughtiness. Christy
stood up for her through every thing ; let her ride
the cows, feed the pigs, bang on the piano, and race
all over the spice mill, feasting on cinnamon and
cloves; brought her down from housetops and fished
her out of brooks ; never scolded, and never seemed
tired of the troublesome friendship of little Tor-
ment.



6 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

In a week I had exhausted every amusement and
was desperately homesick. It has always been my
opinion that I should have been speedily restored
to the bosom of my family but for Christy, and but
for him I should assuredly have ran away before
the second week was out. He kept me, and in the
hour of my disgrace stood by me like a man and
a brother.

One afternoon, inspired by a spirit of benevolence,
enthusiastic but short-sighted, I collected several
poor children in the barn and regaled them on cake
and figs, helping myself freely to the treasures of
the pantry without asking leave, meaning to explain
afterward. Being discovered before the supplies
were entirely exhausted, the patience of the long-
suffering matron gave out, and I was ordered up to
the garret to reflect upon my sins, and the pleasing
prospect of being sent home with the character of
the worst child ever known.

My sufferings were deep as I sat upon a fuzzy
little trunk all alone in the dull garret, thinking how
hard it was to do right, and wondering why I was



MY BOYS. 1

scolded for feeding the poor when we were expressly
bidden to do so. I felt myself an outcast, and be-
wailed the disgrace I had brought upon my family.
Nobody could possibly love such a bad child ; and
if the mice were to come and eat me then and there,
a la Bishop Hatto, it would only be a relief to
my friends. At this dark moment I heard Christy
say below, " She meant it kindly, so I wouldn't
mind, Fanny;" and then up came my boy full of
sympathy and comfort. Seeing the tragic expression
of my face, he said not a word, but, sitting down in
an old chair, took me on his knee and held me close
and quietly, letting the action speak for itself. It
did most eloquently; for the kind arm seemed to
take me back from that dreadful exile, and the
friendly face to assure me without words that I had
not sinned beyond forgiveness.

I had not shed a tear before, but now I cried
tempestuously, and clung to him like a shipwrecked
little mariner in a storm. Neither spoke, but he
held me fast and let me cry myself to sleep ; for,
when the shower was over, a pensive peace fell upon



8 % AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

me, and the dim old garret seemed not a prison, but
a haven of refuge, since my boy came to share it
with me. How' long I slept I don't know, but it
must have been an hour, at least; yet my good
Christy never stirred, only waited patiently till I
woke up in the twilight and was not afraid because
he was there. He took me down as meek as a
mouse, and kept me by him all that trying evening,
screening me from jokes, rebukes, and sober looks ;
and when I went to bed he came up to kiss me, and
to assure me that this awful circumstance should
not be reported at home. This took a load off my
heart, and I remember fervently thanking him, and
telling him I never would forget it.

I never have, though he died long ago, and others
have probably forgotten all about the naughty prank.
I often longed to ask him how he knew the surest
way to win a child's heart by the patience, sympa-
thy, and tender little acts that have kept his memory
green for nearly thirty years.

Cy was a comrade after my own heart, and for a
summer or two we kept the neighborhood in a fer-



MY BOYS. 9

ment by our adventures and hair-breadth escapes.
I think I never knew a boy so full of mischief, and
my opportunities of judging have been manifold.
He did not get into scrapes himself, but possessed a
splendid talent for deluding others into them, and
then morally remarking, " There, I told you so ! ' :
His way of saying " You dars'nt do this or that,"
was like fire to powder ; and why I still live in the
possession of all my limbs and senses is a miracle to
those who know my youthful friendship with Cy.
It was he who incited me to jump off of the highest
beam in the barn to be borne home on a board with
a pair of sprained ankles. It was he who dared me
to rub my eyes with red peppers, and then sympa-
thizingly led me home blind and roaring with pain.
It was he who solemnly assured me that all the little
pigs would die in agony if their tails were not cut
off, and won me to hold thirteen little squealers
while the operation was performed. Those thirteen
innocent pink tails haunt me yet, and the memory
of that deed has given me a truly Jewish aversion
to pork.



10 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

I did not know him long, but he was a kindred
soul, and must have a place in my list of boys. He
is a big, brown man now, and having done his part
in the war, is at work on his farm. We meet some-
times, and though we try to be dignified and proper,
it is quite impossible ; there is a sly twinkle in Cy's
eye that upsets my gravity, and we always burst out
laughing at the memory of our early frolics.

My Augustus ! oh, my Augustus ! my first little
lover, and the most romantic of my boys. At
fifteen I met this charming youth, and thought I had
found my fate. It was at a spelling school in a little
country town where I, as a stranger and visitor from
the city, was an object of interest. Painfully con-
scious of this fact, I sat in a corner trying to look
easy and - elegant, with a large red bow under my
chin, and a carnelian ring in full view. Among the
boys and girls who frolicked about me, I saw one
lad of seventeen with " large blue eyes, a noble
brow, and a beautiful straight nose," as I described
him in a letter to my sister. This attractive youth
had a certain air of refinement and ease of manner



MY BOYS. 11

that the others lacked ; and when I found he was the
minister's son, I felt that I might admire him without
loss of dignity. " Imagine my sensations," as Miss
Burney's Evelina says, when this boy came and talked
to me, a little bashfully at first, but soon quite freely,
and invited me to a huckleberry party next day. I
had observed that he was one of the best spellers.
I also observed that his language was quite elegant ;
he even quoted Byron, and rolled his eyes in a most
engaging manner, not to mention that he asked who
gave me my ring, and said he depended on escorting
me to the berry pasture.

Dear me, how interesting it was ! and when I found
myself, next day, sitting under a tree in the sunny
field (full of boys and girls, all more or less lover-
ing), with the amiable Augustus at my feet, gallantly
supplying me with bushes to strip while we talked
about books and poetry, I really felt as if I had got
into a novel, and enjoyed it immensely. I believe a
dim idea that Gus was sentimental hovered in my
mind, but I would not encourage it, though I laughed
in my sleeve when he was spouting Latin for my



12 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

benefit, and was uncertain whether to box his ears
or simper later in the day, when he languished over
the gate, and said he thought chestnut hair the love-
liest in the world.

Poor, dear boy! how innocent and soft-hearted and
full of splendid dreams he was, and what deliciously
romantic times we had floating on the pond, while
the frogs sung to his accordion, as he tried to say
unutterable things with his honest blue eyes. It
makes me shiver now to think of the mosquitoes
and the damp; but it was Pauline and Claude Mel-
notte then, and when I went home we promised to
be true to one another, and write every week during
the year he was away at school.

We parted, not in tears by any means ; that sort
of nonsense comes later, when the romance is less
childish, but quite jolly and comfortable, and I
hastened to pour forth the thrilling tale to my faith-
ful sister, who approved of the match, being a per-
fect " mush of sentiment " herself.

I fear it was not a very ardent flame, however, for
Gus did not write every week, and I did not care a



MY BOYS. 13



bit ; nevertheless, I kept his picture and gave it a
sentimental sigh when I happened to think of it,
while he sent messages now and then, and devoted
himself to his studies like an ambitious boy as he
was. I hardly expected to see him again, but soon
after the year was out, to my great surprise he
called. I was so fluttered by the appearance of his
card that I rather lost my head, and did such a silly
thing that it makes me laugh even now. He liked
chestnut hair, and, pulling out my combs, I rushed
down, theatrically dishevelled, hoping to impress my
lover with my ardor and my charms.

I expected to find little Gus ; but, to my great con-
fusion, a tall being with a beaver in his hand rose to
meet me, looking so big and handsome and generally
imposing, that I could not recover myself for several
minutes, and mentally wailed for my combs, feeling
like an untidy simpleton.

I don't know whether he thought me a little
cracked or not, but he was very friendly and pleas-
ant, and told me his plans, and hoped I would make
another visit, and smoothed his beaver, and let me



14 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

see his tail-coat, and behaved himself like a dear,
conceited, clever boy. He did not allude to our
love-passages, being shy, and I blessed him for it ;
for really, I don't know what rash thing I might have
done under the exciting circumstances. Just as he
was going, however, he forgot his cherished hat for
a minute, put out both hands, and said heartily, with
his old boyish laugh,

" Now you will come, and we'll go boating and
berrying, and all the rest of it again, won't we ? "

The blue eyes were full of fun and feeling, too, I
fancied, as I blushingly retired behind my locks and
gave the promise. But I never went, and never saw
my little lover any more, for in a few weeks he was
dead of a fever, brought on by too much study,
and so ended the sad history of my fourth boy.

After this, for many years, I was a boyless being ;
but was so busy I did not feel my destitute condi-
tion till I went to the hospital during the war,
and found my little sergeant. His story has been
told elsewhere, but the sequel to it is a pleasant one,
for Baby B. still writes to me now and then, asks



MY BOYS. 15

advice about his future, and gladdens me with good
news of his success as a business man in Kansas.

As if to atone for the former dearth, a sudden
shower of most superior boys fell upon me, $fter I
recovered from my campaign. Some of the very
best sort it was my fortune to know and like, real
gentlemen, yet boys still, and jolly times they had,
stirring up the quiet old town with their energetic
society.

There was W., a stout, amiable youth, who would
stand in the middle of a strawberry patch, with his
hands in his pockets, and let us feed him luxuri-
ously. B., a delightful scapegrace, who came once
a week to confess his sins, beat his breast in despair,
vow awful vows of repentance, and then cheer-
fully depart, to break every one of them in the next
twenty-four hours. S. the gentle-hearted giant;
J. the dandy ; sober, sensible B. ; and E., the young
knight without reproach or fear.

But my especial boy of the batch was A., proud
and cold and shy to other people, sad and serious
sometimes when his good heart and tender con-



16 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-DAG.

science showed him his short-comings, but so grate-
ful for sympathy and a kind word.

I could not get at him as easily as I could the
other Jads, but, thanks to Dickens, I found him out
at last.

We played Dolphus and Sophy Tetterby in the
" Haunted Man," at one of the school festivals ; and
during the rehearsals I discovered that my Dolphus
was permit the expression, oh, well-bred readers !
a trump. What fun we had, to be sure, acting
the droll and pathetic scenes together, with a swarm
of little Tetterbys skirmishing about us ! From that
time he has been my Dolphus and I his Sophy, and

9

my yellow-haired laddie don't forget me, though he
has a younger Sophy now, and some small Tetter-
bys of his own. He writes just the same affectionate
letters as he used to do, though I, less faithful, am
too busy to answer them.

But the best and dearest of all my flock was
my Polish boy, Ladislas Wisniewski, two hic-
coughs and a sneeze will give you the name per-
fectly. Six years ago, as I went down to my early



MY BOYS. 17

breakfast at our Pension in Vevey, I saw that a
stranger had arrived. He was a tall youth, of
eighteen or twenty, with a thin, intelligent face, and
the charmingly polite manners of a foreigner. As

h

the other boarders came in, one by one, they left the
door open, and a draught of cold autumn air blew in
from the stone corridor, making the new comer
cough, shiver, and cast wistful glances toward the
warm corner by the stove. My place was there,
and the heat often oppressed me, so I was glad of an
opportunity to move.

A word to Madame Vodoz effected the change ;
and at dinner I was rewarded by a grateful smile
from the poor fellow, as he nestled into his warm
seat, after a pause of surprise and a flush of pleasure
at the small kindness from a stranger. We were
too far apart io talk much, but, as he filled his glass,
the Pole bowed to me, and said low in French,
" I drink the good health to Mademoiselle."
I returned the wish, but he shook his head with a
sudden shadow on his face, as if the words meant
more than mere compliment to him.

2



18 AUNT JO'S SCRAP-BAG.

"That boy is sick and needs care. I must see to
him," said I to myself, as I met him in the afternoon,
and observed the military look of his blue and white
suit, as he touched his cap and smiled pleasantly. I
have a weakness for brave boys in blue, and having
discovered that he had been in the late Polish Revo-
lution, my heart wanned to him at once.

That evening he came to me in the salon, and
expressed his thanks in the prettiest broken English
I ever heard. So simple, frank, and grateful was he
that a few words of interest won his little story from
him, and in half an hour we were friends. With
his fellow-students he had fought through the last
outbreak, had suifered imprisonment and hardship
rather than submit, had lost many friends, his for-
tune and his health, and at twenty, lonely, poor,
and ill, was trying bravely to cure the malady which
seemed fatal.

" If I recover myself of this affair in the chest,
I teach the music to acquire my bread in this so
hospitable country. At Paris, my friends, all two,
find a refuge, and I go to them in spring if I die



MY BOYS. 19

not here. Yes, it is solitary, and my memories are
not gay, but I have my work, and the good God
remains always to me, so I content myself with
much hope, and I wait."

Such genuine piety and courage increased my
respect and regard immensely, and a few minutes
later he added to both by one of the little acts that
show character better than words.


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