Harper's Round Table, November 5, 1895 online

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Produced by Annie R. McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S ROUND TABLE]

Copyright, 1895, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All Rights Reserved.

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* * * * *



A Story of the Revolution.




It was the first day of June. The air was balmy with sweet odors, the
sky was clear and blue, and everything that could sing or make a noise
was endeavoring to rejoice. And this was his Britannic Majesty's colony
of New Jersey in the year of grace 1772.

Out of a little valley that separated two lines of thickly wooded hills,
whose sides still gleamed with the fast departing blossoms, ran a
leaping brook. It swirled about the smooth brown stones at the head of a
waterfall, and rushed down into the deep clear pools at the bottom. Then
it did the same thing over and over again, until it slid into the meadow
and beneath a great rough bridge, where it spread out into a goodly
sized pond, on whose farther shore rose the timbers of a well-built dam.
A water-gate and a sluiceway were at one end, and above the trees, a
short distance off to the left, across the meadow, in which some sheep
were feeding, rose a big stone chimney. Out of this chimney the smoke
was pouring and drifting slowly upwards in the still, sunny air.

Now and then a grinding, rumbling noise echoed through the hills to the
southward, which, sad to relate, unlike those to the north, were swept
almost bare of trees, and were dotted with the huts of charcoal-burners.
But the underbrush was doing its best to cover these bare spots with
young green leaves, and the charcoal ovens were still and cold.

Up the brook, just at the verge of the meadow, was the last one of the
deep clear pools, and mingling with the waterfall was the sound of
children's voices. They seemed to be talking all at once, for they could
be heard plainly from the old gray bridge. The bank of the last pool
shelved gently on one side, and on the other ran down into a little
cliff, at the bottom of which the brook scarcely moved, so deep was the
water above the pebbly bottom.

Half-way up the shelving right-hand bank sat a little girl of eleven.
She was making long garlands of oak leaves, pinning them carefully
together with the stems. Her dress was white and trimmed with tattered
lace. She looked as though she had run away from some birthday party,
for no mother (or aunt, for that matter) would allow any little girl to
go out into the woods in such thin slippers. One of her stockings had
fallen down, and was tucked in the ribbons that crossed her ankles, and
held the small slippers from coming off entirely. She had no hat on her
curly head, and her bare arms were sunburned and brown.

Seated at her feet was a boy of thirteen years or there-abouts. He was
hugging his knees and digging his heels at the same time into the soft
earth. He also looked as if he had escaped from a party, like the little
girl, for his short breeches were of sky-blue silk, with great
knee-buckles, and his hair was done up like a little wig and tied with a
big black ribbon. There was a rip in the sleeve of his blue velvet coat,
and the lace about his neck had become twisted and was hanging over one

"I wonder what Uncle Daniel will look like? I trust he will bring us
something fine from England," said the boy. "I'd like to go back there
with him, if he'd take us all."

"Yes, if he'd take us all, and we might get in to the army - eh?" came a
voice from the top of the steep bank opposite.

It was quite startling, the reply was exactly like an echo; but that was
not the strangest part. Flat on the ground lay another boy of thirteen.
If the first had been copied by a maker of wax-works, line for line and
color for color, the two could not have been more alike. In fact, the
only difference was that the second had on pink silk breeches, which
were very much muddied at the knees. He held in his extended hand a
roughly trimmed fishing-pole.

"I feel another nibble," said the boy who had last spoken, leaning
further over the water.

"Yes, there, there!" exclaimed the other on the lower bank. "Now we've
got him!"

There was a swish, and a trout came plashing and twisting into the
sunlight. He had not been very firmly hooked, however, for, after a
short flight through the air, he tumbled almost into the lap of the
little girl.

She gave a laugh, and, dropping her garland, managed to secure the
gasping little fish, together with a handful of grass and leaves.

"Do put him back, William," she said, leaning forward. "He's much too
small. I pray you put him back."

The boy took the trout, and, crawling to the water's edge, set him free,
and laughed as he darted off and hid, wriggling himself under a sunken

At this minute the bushes were parted just behind where the two had been
seated, and a strange figure came into sight.

It was an old colored man. He had on a three-cornered hat, much too
large for his woolly head, and under his arm he carried a bundle of
freshly cut switches. He wore also an old flowered waistcoat that
reached almost to his knees, and hung loosely about his thin figure. The
waistcoat was still quite gaudy, and showed patches here and there of
worn gold lace.

"Mars Willem, I's jes done de bes' I could," said the old darky, with a

The boy looked over the bundle of rods and picked out two of them.

"Cato," he said in an authoritative manner that showed no ill-humor,
"you are a lazy rascal, sir; go back and get me one just as long as this
and just as thin as this one, and straight, too, mark ye."

The old man bowed again, turned around to hide a grin, and went back
into the deep shadows of the trees. When he had gone a little way he

"Said dat jes like his father, Mars David, would hev spoke. 'Cato,
you're a lazy rascal, sir.'" Here the old darky laughed. "I jes wondered
if he'd take one of dem crooked ones; I jes did so. Dem boys is
Frothin'hams plum fro' - hyar me talkin'."

He drew out of his pocket a huge clasp-knife, and, looking carefully to
right and left, went deeper into the wood.

* * * * *

But before going on further with the story, or taking up the immediate
history of the twin Frothinghams, it is best, perhaps, to go back and
tell a little about their family connections, and explain also something
about Stanham Mills, where our story opens on this bright June day.

During the reign of George II. some members of the London Company and a
certain wealthy Lord Stanham had purchased a large tract of land in New
Jersey, just south of the New York boundary-line. It was supposed that a
fortune lay hidden there in the unworked iron-mines.

Looking about for an agent or some persons to represent their interests,
and to take charge of the property, the company's choice had fallen upon
two members of an influential family in England that had colonial
connections - David and Nathaniel Frothingham.

There were three Frothingham brothers in the firm of that name, a firm
that had long been interested in many financial ventures in the
Colonies, and the two younger partners had had some experience in mining
and the handling of large bodies of men.

Upon receiving their appointment to the position of Company managers,
Nathaniel and David had left for America, leaving Daniel, the eldest, to
look after their family interests at the counting-house in London.

This was some fourteen or fifteen years before our story opened.

Both of the younger brothers were married, and brought their wives with
them to share their fortunes in the far-off country. Immediately upon
their arrival they had opened the large Manor-house, that had been
erected for them in a manner regardless of expense upon the Stanham
property, even before a shaft had been sunk in the surrounding hills.

Unfortunately the two ladies of the Manor did not agree at all, and
David and his wife lived in one wing and Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel in the

When the twins came upon the scene, which happened not long after the
arrival in America, there had been great rejoicing; and Mrs. Nathaniel
Frothingham's heart had softened somewhat toward her husband's brother's
wife. She had no children of her own; and she unbent a little from the
position of proud superiority she had assumed, for the aristocratic
Clarissa was the grand-niece of an English earl, and had held her heart
high accordingly. Mrs. David, the young mother, was but the daughter of
a Liverpool merchant. The Frothinghams spent the money that came to them
from England with a lavish but an honest hand. However, up to the time
this story begins there had been no large returns to encourage future

Bounding Stanham Mills to the east and south lay another estate, owned
by four or five wealthy dwellers in the Colonies; it was known as the
Hewes property. Here also had been opened mines, and a foundry even
larger than the Frothingham's was in process of completion.

The eastern boundary-line, as first surveyed by the King's surveyors,
ran close to the entrance of the shaft on Tumble Ridge, the big hill to
the north; so close indeed in some places that the sound of the picks of
the Hewes men could be often heard at work, for the entrance to the
rival shaft was just out of sight across the hill crest, and the
underground works were nearing every day.

It was claimed by the Hewes people that the Frothinghams had already
crossed the boundary-line. Disputes had arisen time and again, and a
feeling of intense dislike had grown up between the neighbors.

One eventful morning, when the twins were but two years old and their
sister Grace a baby, their father had gone down with some workmen in the
rough bucket to the bottom of the largest mine, when a mass of heavy
stone near the top became detached and fell, carrying death and sorrow
into the family at the big white house. Mrs. David had not long
survived her husband, and so the twins and their little sister were
suddenly left orphans.

The children were too young to remember much of their father or their
mother, and under the care of their Aunt Clarissa and Uncle Nathan they
had been allowed to grow up like young wild flowers - much as they

There were no children near them with whom they were allowed to
associate, for the coldness that had existed between the Hewes family
and the Frothinghams had, on the latter's part, grown to the verge of
hatred, and the two mansions were seven miles apart.

Insensibly the boys had imbibed some of the mannerisms of their stern,
hot-tempered uncle, and had been influenced by the airs and affectations
of the proud and haughty Mrs. Frothingham. But their devotion and love
for one another it was almost pathetic to have seen.

If William, who was the elder, thought anything, George seemed to
appreciate it without an expression from his brother, and both fairly
worshipped their little sister Grace. She accompanied them in all but
their longer rambles, and was their comrade in many of their adventures
and misfortunes.

Since they were babies they had been placed more or less under the care
and tutelage of the old colored man, Cato Sloper, and his wife, Polly
Ann. The children loved their aunt and uncle in a certain indefinite
way, but their real affections went out toward their foster-mother and
their faithful black adherent.

With this short excursion into the history of the Frothinghams, we come
back again to the banks of the clear deep pool.

* * * * *

After Cato, the old colored man, had departed, the boy in the blue
breeches called across to the other, who had baited his hook afresh:
"George," he said, "we ought not to have taken Gracie with us this
morning. Aunt Clarissa will be angrier than an old wet hen."

"Won't she? Just fancy!" said the young lady in white, quite demurely.
Then she laughed, quite in tune with the waterfall.

"I dare say Uncle Nathan will give one of us a good licking," said the
boy on the high bank. "And it's my turn, too," he added, dolefully.

"No, 'tisn't," replied the other. "You took mine last time."

"Truly, you're right," returned the boy in pink. "What was it for? I
have forgotten."

"He found we had some of the blasting powder," said William. "We'll need
some more soon, I'm thinking," he added.

What further developments might have occurred just then it is hard to
say, for the young lady in the white dress suddenly suggested a new
train of thought, and the twins took it up at once.

"I'm hungry," she said, "and I don't think Mr. Wyeth and Uncle Daniel
will come along at all. Let's go back to the house. Perhaps Aunt
Clarissa hasn't found out we are gone away yet."

"Not found out!" exclaimed William, in derision. "Bless my stars, and we
in our best clothes!"

"Mr. Wyeth will be along soon, I'll warrant," said his double, from the
bank, "and we will all go up to the house as if nothing were the matter.
Uncle Nathan won't do anything at all until Mr. Wyeth goes, which may
not be for two or three days. Harkee! with Uncle Daniel here, he may
forget. Haven't you noticed how forgetful he has been lately?"

"He never forgets," replied William, thoughtfully; "at least he never
does if Aunt Clarissa is about."

From where the children were they could see the road, and follow it
after it crossed the bridge and commenced to climb the hill. Here and
there it showed very plainly through the trees, and even if a horseman
should escape their observation, the sound of hoofs on the bridge they
could not have missed hearing.

Twice a year Mr. Josiah Wyeth, a New York merchant, rode out on
horseback from Elizabethport to visit Mr. Nathaniel Frothingham.

There was no regular stage line to Stanham Mills, and most of the
purchasing for the estate was done at the town of Paterson, a half-day's
journey. But, rain or shine, the 1st of June found Mr. Josiah Wyeth a
guest at Stanham Manor, and the first of that month and the 1st of
September found the young Frothinghams, all in their best attire, ready
to meet him. Now that the uncle from London, whom they had never seen,
had arrived in New York and was going to accompany Mr. Wyeth, the
excitement was more than doubled.

During the merchant's stay the children were supposed to be on their
best behavior, which really meant that they were allowed to do as they
pleased, provided they kept out of sight and hearing. These visits,
therefore, were quite looked-for events, and, besides, Mr. Wyeth brought
out little trinkets, fish-hooks, sugar-balls, lollipops, and various
attractive sweets in his capacious saddle-bags. He was quite as punctual
as if he only lived next door.

The little girl had resumed her garland-making once more. William had
spread himself out upon the bank, and was watching a busy aimless ant
dodging about the roots of the ferns, and George, with the patience of
the born sportsman, was supporting one hand with the other, and leaning
out again over the water.

For some time no one had spoken. Suddenly there was a deep, rumbling

"Hillo!" said William, starting up. "They're blasting in the shaft on
Tumble Ridge."

"That's so," said George. "I heard Uncle Nathan say that they were
getting pretty close to the Hewes boundary-line."

"There'll be a fine row there some day," said William.

"My! but doesn't Uncle Nathan hate that Mr. Hewes? He says if he was in
England they could hang him for treason, because he talks against the

George laughed. "I'd like to see 'em fight," he answered.

"So should I," said William; "and you and I together could lick Carter
Hewes, if he is bigger than either of us. I suppose he's a rebel too."

Just here there came an interruption, for the waterfall had drawn the
hook under a big flat stone, and there it caught.

"Crickey!" said the boy in the pink breeches. "I'm fast on the bottom."
He stretched out with both hands, and gave a sharp pull on the line.

It all came so suddenly that not one of the three could have foretold
what was going to happen. But the bank gave way, and Master Frothingham
went down head over heels into the deep hole.

Now, strange as it may seem, owing to Aunt Clarissa's fostering care,
neither one of the twins had learned to swim.

The water was very deep, and the fall was eight feet, if an inch, but,
nevertheless, in a moment George's frightened face appeared. He tried to
grasp the bank, but so steep was it his fingers slipped off the smooth
rock, and he sank again, gasping and trying to shriek aloud.

The little girl jumped to her feet, and ran in among the trees, crying
for help with all her little voice. William did not pause for half a
breath. He leaped out from the bank and dashed through the shallow water
towards where one of his brother's arms was waving upon the surface.

Suddenly he went over his own depth, and the tails of his blue velvet
coat were all that could be seen. But he managed to struggle on,
fighting to keep afloat, with all his might, until he caught the arm at
last. George's head once more showed clearly above the water, and then
both boys sank.

Gracie's cries by this time had startled all the echoes up the

"Cato! oh, Cato!" she shrieked. "They're drowning! they're drowning!
Help! help! Oh, help!"

Once more the two heads came up to the air, and one small hand, extended
in a wild grasp toward the bank, caught an overhanging bough and clung
there desperately.



Some weeks ago we published an article on bicycle-riding, and at that
time promised to say something regarding bicycling for girls, which is
so different a question from bicycling for boys that it requires a
separate article.

There has been a discussion going on for some time as to whether it was
a healthy exercise for girls and young women to take up, and many
doctors have given it as their opinion that it was not, on the whole,
advisable. But the practice has become general now, and it is likely
that many more girls will ride this fall and next year than ever before.
Consequently it is useless to advise people not to ride. If any girl
finds that riding is making her feel enervated and tired all the time,
or if in any other way she notices any kind of unpleasant results from
her riding, common-sense and her doctor will tell her to stop; but there
is no reason why a healthy girl, if she begins gradually, should not
learn to ride, and ride well, to the great benefit of her health and

It is only required that she shall observe two or three simple
rules - rules which every athlete who trains theoretically obeys. For
instance, she should remember that, as is the case with most girls in
cities, and often in the country as well, she has not been accustomed to
severe physical exercise, that she would not start out at once to run
five miles without stopping, and in like manner she should not ride ten
miles on a wheel neither the first time nor the thirtieth time. This
seems very simple to read in type, but the fact is that most girls want
to ride fifteen miles as soon as they can get along on a road by

The difficult thing is to stop just _before_ you begin to feel the
slightest sensation of weariness. In these fall days any one can ride
along through the country, and while moving feel invigorated by the
force of the breeze which the movement of the wheel creates. But when
she does stop, the girl suddenly feels "worn out," perhaps a little
dizzy, or at least tired, and rather inclined to get into a car and ride
home, while some one else pushes her wheel along for her. Any girl of
spirit in such a situation immediately makes up her mind that she will
not give in to this feeling of weariness, and that she will ride home
whether she feels tired or not. The result is a bad headache, a doctor,
and perhaps an injunction from her parents not to ride a bicycle again.

There are girls who can ride twenty, forty, or sixty miles in a day, but
this is because they have begun gradually, and increased their distances
by degrees as their bodies got into what is called "good condition." Let
us set down a rule, then, on this subject, and say that the average girl
of fifteen ought not to ride more than five miles, by cyclometer, in any
one day, until she has taken thirty rides within two months - that is to
say, until she has ridden at least once in every two days. Then she
should not exceed ten miles in a day, or at one time, until she has
ridden a bicycle half a year. After this she can estimate about what she
can do without tiring herself, and she can gradually work up to twenty
miles at a time without ever having that fagged feeling which is a sure
sign that the thing has been overdone. So much for the distance.

Now a word as to costume. We are just in the midst of a change in ideas
as to girls' bicycle costumes. No one who has ridden ten times fails to
complain of skirts, be they never so well made. They catch in the rear
wheel. They make a sail to catch all the wind when the wind is blowing
against you, and only a bicyclist knows what a head wind really means.
And finally they are continually in the way.

On the other hand, trousers do not seem just the thing for girls to
wear. Some time we may all come to the regulation knickerbockers for a
bicycle costume, but just at present a girl who wears them appears to be
immodest. As a matter of fact, however, modesty and ladylike behavior do
not depend on the costume, but on the bearing and character of the young
lady herself, and it is only necessary for us to become accustomed to
seeing ladies wearing any kind of a bicycle costume to think it the
proper thing, and probably some kind of bloomers or divided skirt is
more unnoticeable and modest than a skirt which flies about as you ride
along the road. The best thing for a girl then is a divided skirt which
is close fitting, which cannot catch in either wheel or in the gearing
of the bicycle, or the ordinary gymnasium bloomers. Either of these,
especially the latter, is much better from a health point of view, since
a great deal of the strain of forcing the machine ahead is saved by
them. But in time we shall probably have a regular woman's bicycle
costume, which will be a combination of knickerbockers and bloomers, and
then when people once become accustomed to it, they will wonder how
under the sun women ever rode with long skirts.

With the question of the distance you shall ride in a day and the
question of costume settled, it then becomes necessary to discuss the
details of riding. A great many girls and women learn to ride in-doors
in some hall, and the usual method employed is to place a belt with a
handle at each side around the girl's waist. A man walks on either side
of her, and steadies her by grasping either handle on the belt, and she
then struggles on, until, after a number of lessons, she can ride alone.
In the city this may be a good plan, but it is inevitably the result
that after a girl has learned to ride in-doors it becomes practically
necessary for her to learn over again when she first tries the road. The
best method, therefore, if the surroundings admit of it, is to get some
strong person to grasp the rear part of the saddle, and to then steady
you as you move along a smooth road. If this is done half an hour a day
three times on alternate days, any average girl should be able to ride
alone for a short distance.


She will do well not to try to learn to mount until she has become
somewhat proficient in riding, so that she can ride four or five miles
at a time over an average country road. Mounting will then come easy,
whereas at the beginning it is extremely difficult. When sitting on a
bicycle a girl should be in an upright position, practically as when
walking. The saddle should be broad and flat, and, while most of the
weight of her body rests upon the saddle, it is nevertheless true that
she should put as much of her weight upon the pedals as possible: it not
only makes riding and balancing easier, but it distributes her weight
over the machine, both to her own comfort and to the safety of the
wheel. Sitting perfectly upright, she should be able to place the instep
or hollow of her foot between the heel and ball squarely on the pedal

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Round Table, November 5, 1895 → online text (page 1 of 7)