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Produced by Annie McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S



* * * * *


Tuesday, April 20, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50
per Year, in Advance.

* * * * *




The kite fever visited Hagarstown every year, and caught all the boys
over five before it subsided. It generally crept in slowly, a boy and a
kite at a time; but this year it came as if a big wind brought it.

Yesterday there had been three kites up at one time in the main street,
and Squire Jones's pony had been scared into a canter. The Squire, and
Mrs. Jones, and the three Misses Jones, and Aunt Hephzibah had all been
in the carry-all at the time, and they had all screamed when the pony
began to canter. So the Squire had told the boys he "could not have any
more of that dangerous nonsense in the streets," and they had all come
out to Dr. Gay's pasture, on the side-hill, to-day, and they had eight
kites among them.

"Sim Vedder's coming, boys," said Parley Hooker. "He's been making a

"He?" exclaimed Joe Myers. "He's a grown-up man. What does he know about

"There he comes now, anyway."

They all turned toward the bars and looked, for not one of them had sent
up his kite yet.

"Oh, what a kite!"

"It's as tall as he is."

"No, it isn't. He's carrying it on his shoulder."

"It's just an awful kite."

Sim Vedder was the man who worked for Dr. Gay, and he was as thin as a
fence rail. So was his face, and his hooked nose had a queer twist in it
half way to the point.

He was coming with what looked like an enormous kite trying all the
while to get away from him.

All the boys wanted to ask questions, but they didn't know exactly what
to ask, so they kept still.

"Kiting, are you? Well, just you let me look at your kites, and then you
may look at mine. One at a time, now. Keep back. Make that kite
yourself, Parley?"

"Yes, I made it."

"Had plenty of wood around your house, I guess. Your sticks are bigger
than mine, and your kite is only two feet high, and mine's five. Look at

He turned the back of his kite toward them as he spoke, and they saw
that the frame-work of it was made of a number of very slender slips of
what looked like ash or hickory wood.

"Mine's made of pine," said Parley. "And yours'll break, too."

"No, it won't. Well, maybe yours'll fly. Set it agoing. There's plenty
of wind."

Parley obeyed, and, mainly because there was indeed a good deal of wind,
his heavy-made kite began to go up.

"Joe," said Sim Vedder, "hand me that kite of yours."

"Mine's a di'mond. I don't know how to make any other."

"Do you suppose it'll stand steady, with those fore-bands so close
together? No, it won't. Up with it, and see how it'll wiggle. Bob Jones,
is that yours?"

The third kite was meekly handed to him, for the more the boys stared at
Sim's big kite, the more they believed he knew what he was talking

"It isn't a bad kite, but those fore-bands are crossed too low. It'll
dive all over."

"There's plenty of tail, Sim. It can't dive."

"Tail! - and a bunch of May-weed at the end of it! How's a kite of that
size to lift it all? I'll show you," replied Sim.

He was unfastening the fore-bands as he spoke, and now he crossed them
again over his little finger, and moved them along till the kite swung
under them, almost level.

"That'll do. Now I'll tie 'em hard, and you can cut off your May-weed.
There'll be tail enough without it. When I was in China - "

"Was you ever in China?"

"Yes, I was. That was when I was a sailor. I saw kites enough there.
They spend money on 'em, just as we do on horses; make 'em of all shapes
and sizes. Don't need any tails."

"Kites without tails?"

"Well, some of 'em have, and some of 'em haven't. It's a knack in the
making of 'em. I've seen one like a dragon, and another like a big
snake, and they floated perfectly. Only a thin silk string, either."

"String's got to be strong enough to hold a kite," said Parley Hooker.
"Look at yours."

"Yes, mine's strong; it's made of fine hemp. But it isn't any heavier
than yours. What do you want of a rope, with a kite of that size?"

"It isn't a rope."

"It's too heavy, though. Besides, you've tied pieces together with big
knots in them. You can't send up any travellers."

"What's that?"

"I'll show you. Some call 'em messengers."

Just then Parley exclaimed, "Sim! Sim! mine's broke! it's coming down!"

"Broke right in the middle, where you notched your big sticks together."

"Just where it needs to be strongest," said Joe, knowingly.

"No, it doesn't. Look at mine."

It was the biggest kite they had ever seen, and it came down square at
the bottom; but it was not a great deal wider than Parley's. The curious
part of it was the cross-sticks and fore-bands. What did he need of so

"So many?" said Sim. "Why, the bands take the strain of the wind. If you
put it all on the sticks, they'd bend or break. Don't you see? There's a
band tied every two inches, and they all come together out here in the
centre knot. It just balances on that."

"Your tail's a light one."

"It's long enough, and it spreads enough to catch the wind. It isn't the
mere weight you want in a tail, if your kite's balanced. The wind blows
against the tail as hard as anywhere else."

"Won't yours ever dive?"

"Of course it will, with a cross puff of wind; but it'll come right up
again. That won't happen very often. I'll send her up. You wait and

The other kites were all up now, except Parley's broken one, and most of
them were cutting queer antics, because, as Sim explained, their
fore-bands were tied wrong, and their tails "did not fit them."

"The Chinese could teach us. But, the way we make kites, there's as much
in the tail as in anything else."

"Oh, but our kites are covered with paper, and you've put some old silk
on yours."

"Of course I have. It isn't much heavier. The Chinese use thin paper
that's as good as silk. It won't wet through."

"Wet? Oh, Sim, it looks as if a storm is coming now."

So it did, and Sim's big kite was going up, up, up very fast, and he was
letting the strong brown string run rapidly off from a sort of reel he
held in his hand.

"Pull in your kites, boys," shouted Parley. "Let's cut for home."

"I want to see Sim fly his."

"You all pull in yours, and we'll go into the cattle shed. It's only a
shower. I can fly mine from the door."

The shed was close at hand, and the door was a wide one. In three
minutes more, just as the first drops came down, there was quite a crowd
of boys behind Sim, as he stood a little inside, and watched his kite.
His reel was almost empty now, and the big kite looked a good deal
smaller than when it started.

"How steady it is!"

"It pulls hard, though."

"There comes the rain."

"Thunder and lightning too."

Sim had fastened his wooden reel against the door-post, on a hook that
was there, but he kept his hand on the string.

"I declare, boys! Feel of that! The string's wet, and it's making a
lightning-rod of itself."

Parley and Joe and Bob, and two or three others, felt of it at once.

"Lightning? Why, Sim," said Bob, "I know better than that. I've had an
electric shock before."

"That's all it is," said Parley.

"Well," replied Sim, "didn't you ever hear of Dr. Franklin? We're doing
just what he did. He discovered electricity with a kite. A wet kite
string was the first lightning-rod there ever was in the world."

"Lightning?" exclaimed Bob. "Don't you bring any in here. I won't touch
it again."

"Did lightning ever strike anybody when he was flying a kite?" asked

"Not that I ever heard of," said Sim. "But it's beginning to pour hard.
I'll reel in my kite till the storm's over."

He unhooked his reel as he spoke, but it was well he took a good strong
hold of it. The wind must have been blowing a gale up where the kite
was, and the string was a very strong one for its size.

"I declare! Why - "

But the next the boys knew, Sim Vedder was out in the rain, with that
kite tugging at him. He would not let go, and he could not stop himself,
and the sloping pasture before him was all down hill. On he went, faster
and faster, till his foot slipped, and down he went full length. He held
on, though, like a good fellow, and there he lay in the wet grass, with
the rain pouring upon him, tugging his best at his big kite.

The wind lulled a little, and Sim began to work his reel. Slowly at
first, then faster; and about the time the rain stopped, the wind almost
died out, and the wonderful kite came in.

"There isn't a stick of it broken," said Sim, triumphantly, "nor a
fore-band. That's because they were made right, and put on so they all
help each other."

"Oh, but ain't you wet!" exclaimed three or four boys at once.

Well, yes; he was, indeed, very wet.



One evening last winter the children called upon their uncle Ned, who is
a sailor, and just home from India, for a story. He willingly granted
their request, and at once proceeded to tell them of a narrow escape he
once made, as follows:

"At the time of the occurrence I was staying at a small village called
Yealah, in India, with a young friend in the civil service, who had a
bungalow there. We used to amuse ourselves picking up shells on the
beach in the cool of the evening, and later, sitting out enjoying the
breeze and smoking our cheroots. One evening, however, our conversation
was interrupted by a herd of buffaloes rushing past us at full speed,
which we imputed to their being chased by a tiger. On the following
morning our surmise proved correct, and we learned that a tiger had
carried off a buffalo within two or three hundred yards of where we had
been sitting on the previous evening. My friend, who was a keen
sportsman, resolved to track the tiger; and I accompanied him, with a
number of natives, who took care to keep at a safe distance in the rear.
Following the broad track through the jungle, we soon arrived at the
spot to which the tiger had dragged his prey, and here we found the
mangled remains of the buffalo, but the tiger had betaken himself
elsewhere to enjoy his siesta after gorging himself. We proceeded on
cautiously; but as the jungle got very thick and tangled, my friend
decided it would be imprudent to proceed any further, and we halted. We
brought the butts of our rifles to the ground, and being of a botanical
turn, I stooped to pick up a flower. At that moment a tremendous roar
echoed through the forest, and seemed to stun me. I staggered a little,
as if from a blow; but recovering myself, grasped my rifle, for I
immediately guessed it was the tiger. My friend, with an exclamation,
'What an escape!' dashed away to the right, and I was about to follow, I
knew not exactly whither, when he made his appearance, to my intense

"His first exclamation was, 'The brute has got away. Just like my luck.'
And then he added, 'What a lucky escape you had!'

"'What do you mean?' said I.

"'Why, don't you know that, as you stooped down to pick the flower, that
tiger sprang at you, and missed you by a few inches?'

"I confess a cold sweat broke out over me, and I inwardly thanked the
Almighty for my providential escape.

"As my story is rather a short one, I will tell you another of a lucky
escape I witnessed; though first I should mention that soon after this
affair my friend paid with his life for the temerity with which he
tracked tigers in the jungle.

"The brig to which I belonged was proceeding from Rangoon, and one
evening, after having come to an anchor abreast of a small inlet just
above Elephant Creek, at the mouth of the Irrawaddy, I accompanied the
skipper and a friend in the boat up the inlet to a small village to
procure a supply of fruit. On our return my companions expressed their
determination to bathe; but as I did not feel inclined to do so, I
seated myself in the stern, and taking out of my pocket one of Scott's
novels, amused myself with reading until they should have completed
their bath.

"About five minutes had elapsed, and the skipper was alone in the water,
when my attention was aroused by shouts and screams from the villagers,
who were hurrying down to the water's edge. Turning round, I saw my
captain, for whom I had no great affection, exerting every muscle to
gain the bank, from which he was still at a considerable distance. Not
seeing anything to account for the hubbub, my first impression was that
a child had fallen into the water, and that he was swimming to the spot
of the accident to save it. In an instant I directed the Lascars to
'give way' with the oars, and seizing the helm, steered as nearly as I
could guess in the direction to which the gestures of the Burmese
appeared to point. Before I reached the point the skipper disappeared
beneath the water; but, full of the preconceived impression, I imagined
that he was diving in search of the child. A few strokes and we were at
the spot, but it was not until the Lascar crew lashed their oars
violently into the water that the truth flashed upon me. It must be an
alligator that was pursuing him; and soon all doubt was removed, when
the master, a few moments later, rose at a short distance from us in a
spot where he could feel the bottom, and ran quickly ashore, his
shoulder bleeding profusely. The whole transaction occupied a very short
time, and the wounded master was conveyed on board the brig with all

"On inquiry I learned that the alligator had been first seen by the
Burmese, who gave instant notice of his approach, as before described,
and the warning was as quickly comprehended by the captain. All his
exertions to escape were, however, unavailing, and he felt himself
seized a little below the shoulder. By a convulsive effort he succeeded
in shaking off his cruel antagonist, and again struck out. The animal,
however, again advanced, and seizing him nearly by the same place,
dragged him under the surface for an instant or two, when the splashing
of the oars compelled him to relax his hold. On examination it proved
that the arm, although severely lacerated, was not so much injured as to
incur the necessity of amputation; and being placed under medical care
at Rangoon, the skipper was soon enabled to resume his duties."

[Begun in No. 19 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, March 9.]


A True Story.




"Have you ever seen a whaler, lad?" asked old Herrick, as Frank came on
deck the next morning. "Well, here's one for you _now_, anyway!"

There, sure enough, on the very edge of the great weed prairie which was
now almost left behind, lay a large vessel, with her sails hanging
loosely against the masts. Alongside of her floated a huge black and
white mass, which a second glance showed to be the carcass of a whale,
while the thick black smoke that rose from between her masts told that
the work of "trying out" the oil was going briskly forward. This was
just the sight for Austin, who, in the long winter evenings at home, had
devoured every account and engraving of the whale-fishery that he could
lay his hands on. He was still gazing, when Herrick touched his arm.

"See them two boats yonder, my boy? They've struck another whale, or my
name ain't Herrick."

The whaler's boats were about three miles off, pulling as if for life
and death. The other end of the line attached to each was under water,
but the disturbance of the surface showed that some large object was in
violent motion below. Suddenly both crews "backed water," while a man
leaped into the bow of each boat, axe in hand, ready to cut the rope
should the whale attempt to drag them under.

The next moment the huge black body broke through the seething foam with
a lash of its tail, which, as Herrick said, "sounded like a church tower
a-fallin' flat on an acre o' planks." In flew the boats, one on each
side, up sprang the harpooners, whiz went the well-aimed weapons, and
the wounded whale, giving a leap that set the whole sea boiling, turned
and came right down upon the _Arizona_, as if taking _it_ for the


Frank turned pale in spite of himself, for the charge of this moving
mountain seemed able to crush the strongest ship like an egg-shell. But
just as it was about to strike the bow, the monster turned again, and
made for the distant whaler, towing the two boats after it with the
speed of a locomotive.

"Bully for you, mates!" shouted a harpooner, as they flew past. "Ye've
turned the critter for us, and now she'll tow us aboard without our
pulling a stroke!"

* * * * *

On the sixteenth night of the voyage, Frank was sitting on the
fore-hatch, admiring the brightness of the moon. Eight bells (8 P.M.)
had just been struck, when the ship's officers were seen crowding
together on the after-deck with an appearance of considerable
excitement. Before any one could guess what was the matter, one of the
men uttered a cry of astonishment, and pointed upward.

[Illustration: THE ECLIPSE.]

The moonlight had become suddenly obscured, not by mist or clouds, but
by a huge circular shadow, which moved steadily across the bright disk,
blotting it out inch by inch.

"It's a 'clipse, that's what it is," said one; "and I heerd Mr. Hawkins
say this minute as some feller ashore, months and months ago, said it ud
come this very day and hour. Queer, ain't it, for any land-lubber to be
so 'cute?"

The darkness steadily increased, till the men could barely see each
other's faces; and with the unnatural gloom, a solemn silence fell upon
one and all. Not a word was spoken, not a sound heard, save the rush of
the steamer through the great waste of black waters. But the return of
the light at length unchained all tongues, and many a quaint comment was
made upon what they had just seen.

"Guess the moon's got one side bright and t'other dark, and when she
slews round, she brings the dark part broadside on."

"Not much, I reckon; it's them wet clouds goin' back'ard and for'ard
over her that spile her polish, same way as the spray rusts our

"Shouldn't wonder; for a book-l'arned feller told me once that the sun
hisself's all black inside, and them spots ye see on him's jist the
black a-showin' through the gildin', like a darky's skin through the
holes in his shirt."

* * * * *

The signs of their approach to land now became unmistakable. The sea
took a greenish tinge; numerous vessels were seen heading the same way
as themselves; and various birds, of a kind never met far from shore,
came fluttering around them. Frank, too much excited to go below,
perched himself in the rigging, and strained his eyes to catch the
earliest glimpse of Europe. But Africa came first, in the shape of the
Tangier Light; nor was it till 4 A.M. that the haze lifted, and a huge
dark mass was seen looming on the port bow, the sight of which made the
boy's heart leap, for it was the Rock of Gibraltar.

[Illustration: THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR.]

As the dawn brightened, all the grand features of the scene came forth
in their full splendor. The long purple range of the African mountains,
ending in the bold headland of Ceuta, far away to the southeast; the
wide blue sweep of the bay, with the dainty little white town of
Algeciras planted on it, like an ivory carving; the flat sandy neck of
"neutral ground" between the Rock and the mainland, with all its
countless memories of war, from the old-world battles of Spaniard and
Saracen to the day when the combined fleets of France and Spain swept it
with the fire of 1800 cannon; the bristling masts of the harbor; the
long gray curve of Europa Point; the mighty fortress itself, with the
narrow eyes of levelled cannon peering watchfully through the terraced
rocks that loomed against the bright morning sky like a thunder-cloud;
the blue Spanish hills, wave beyond wave, melting at last into the warm,
dreamy horizon; and right in front the white houses of Gibraltar,
huddled together along the base of the cliff, as if (to quote old
Herrick) "they'd been playin' snow-sled, and all slid down in a
heap" - all were there.[1]


To get into Gibraltar Harbor is no easy matter; but the _Arizona_,
following in the wake of an English mail-steamer, reached her berth at
last, and had barely cast anchor when she was surrounded by a perfect
fleet of "shore-boats" freighted with oranges, figs, bananas,
cocoa-nuts, monkeys,[2] parrots, and everything else that any sailor
could be expected to buy.

The screams of the parrots, the chattering of the monkeys, the bumping
of the boats against each other, the clatter of the oars, the angry
outcries of the boatmen, in Spanish and broken English, whenever a
monkey or a parrot fell overboard, or a fruit basket got upset, made a
deafening uproar. An English man-of-war, anchored close by, was
similarly beset; and a mischievous sailor had just lassoed a monkey out
of the nearest boat, against which outrage both Jocko and his master
were protesting with all the power of their lungs. Frank lost no time in
buying a stock of oranges, and tossed a quarter to the tall, black-eyed
boatman, whose embroidered jacket, brown handsome face, and round flat
hat with a jaunty cockade on one side of it, made a very striking
picture. The Spaniard rang it on a knife-blade, tested it with a hard
bite from his strong white teeth, and then tied it up in the
handkerchief around his head, with a bow and a "Gracias, senor" (thanks,
sir), worthy of any grandee in Spain.

"What a fine fellow!" cried Frank, enthusiastically.

"Ay, ain't he?" growled an old tar who overheard him. "If I'd a loose
tooth in my head, I'd yank it out 'fore comin' here, for fear some o'
them 'fine fellers' ud steal it!"

"You don't say!"

"Fact; and that's why we never let none on 'em aboard. I guess the old
sayin's true enough, 'The Spanish wines steals all heads, the Spanish
women steals all hearts, and the Spanish men steals everything.'"

The captain, purser, and doctor had gone ashore with the ship's papers;
but to the no small dismay of the crew (who had expected a long stay in
port) a signal was suddenly reported to "up anchor" at once. So the
chain-cable was passed around the capstan, the bars manned (for the
convenient fashion of getting up the anchor by steam was not yet adopted
by the _Arizona_), and to work they went.

The slack of the chain came in easily enough; but to "break" the anchor
out of the mud was a harder matter. Up came more men - up came even the
"trimmers and heavers" from the engine-room; the bars bent with the
pressure of six sturdy fellows apiece, but the anchor never budged. The
perspiration rolled down the bronzed faces of the sailors, and their
brawny chests heaved like bellows with the strain; but all to no

Suddenly a "flaw" of wind made the vessel heel, bringing more pressure
on the chain. The crew made a desperate effort, and seemed about to
conquer, when snap went a bar. The capstan spun back, the men were
dashed along the deck like nine-pins, and one poor fellow, jammed
between the chain and the hawse-pipe, had his hand cut in two as if by
an axe.

"Hello, Yankee Doodle!" shouted a voice from the British ship, "can't
git up yer mud-hook, eh? Shall we send a boy down to lift it for yer?"

Frank's eyes flashed fire at the taunt, and the roar of laughter that
followed. Forgetting everything in the passion of the moment, he sprang
upon the capstan, and shouted:

"Mates, are we going to let that Britisher laugh at us? Not much!
Come - all together; now!"

The excited men answered with a deafening cheer, and bent to their work
like giants. One tremendous heave, and up came the anchor at last. Round
and round they spun, leaping over the cable, which was now coming
rapidly in; and while Frank cheered and waved his cap like a madman,
they ran the anchor up "chock-a-block," just as Captain Gray and his
officers came up the side.



[1] Most engravings of Gibraltar give a very imperfect idea of its
position, which may be best conveyed by representing the Spanish coast
as a door, and the Rock as the knob of its handle. The latter's seaward

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