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But Charlie was neither suspicious nor careful, and, in addition to
leaving the paper about, he had also indorsed it.


Will listened to the inquiries and the comments in silence, not knowing
what to say. Had he been very impulsive, he would have come out
instantly with his suspicions; but he had a habit of reflection, and was
inclined to consider before acting or speaking. At this moment, however,
his thoughts were confused, and finding that his writing was suffering
in consequence, he thrust his pen behind his ear, and sat down on a box
at the office door to see if he could not think himself out of his

He was quite sure that a theft had been committed, and that he had
witnessed it. What should he do? - tell Charlie Graham, have the man
arrested and sent to prison, as he deserved, or keep the matter quiet,
wait, and see how the thing would turn out?

As he sat there in the soft spring morning a little bird perched itself
on a budding bough, and began to chirp. As it turned its head from side
to side, and peeped coyly at him, it reminded him, by one of those
unconscious flights of association, of another bird, which hung in a
gilded cage very near the couch of his invalid mother. He could see the
little warbler doing his best to entertain the weary moments of one who
seldom heard the wild birds, or set her foot in the woods. He could also
see the soft draperies about the window, the climbing ivy and growing
ferns, and the much-used books and work-table, and from all these homely
but precious belongings came uppermost the sweet smile of affection, the
placid face which, in spite of age and sorrow and suffering, had always
so tender a beauty for him. Quickly he turned back to his desk, and
wrote a long letter to his mother. She would set him aright, she would
solve his difficulty. Happy the boy who has such a mother!

Of course he had to wait some time for the answer, and the waiting was
tedious. Charlie gave up the check as lost, and said no more about it,
and Will took so great an aversion to the porter, who he was sure was
the thief, that he hated to come in contact with him. But the mother's
letter was worth waiting for, and Will acted on its advice.

Late one afternoon he wended his way to the narrow street where lived
Grimes, the porter. It was a noisome locality. Will could not help
thinking what a contrast it was to the quiet, clean town where he was
born, and where his mother still lived! These dirty, narrow, crowded
city slums, what wonder that all sorts of crime are born in them!

He found the house, and through the dark wretched stairway at last came
to a door, at which he knocked.

"Come in," was the response.

He entered, stumbling over heaps of unwashed clothing. Two or three
forlorn-looking children were eating at a wretchedly uninviting table in
the midst of these surroundings. A feeble-looking woman was on a bed.

"Is Grimes at home?" asked Will.

"No, sir, he's not; and I beg pardon for letting you come in. My washing
was half done when I was took down with a turn, and Grimes is looking
now for some one to do what I am unable to do."

"Will he soon be in, do you think?"

"Yes, sir; have a chair; he'll be in presently."

"I will wait outside," said Will, glad of the excuse to get out. He
waited in the dim light of a dirty window outside, and wished he had
about a gallon of Cologne water at hand. Soon Grimes came, looking tired
and cross. When he saw Will he grew pale, but asked him, in a smothered
voice, what he wanted.

"I have come to speak about that check of Charlie Graham's," said Will.

Grimes grew red and angry, swore roundly that he knew nothing of it, and
threatened to pitch Will down stairs.

Will very firmly replied that he had seen Grimes take it, and that
unless he was willing to make reparation, his employers would have to be
told of it.

At this the man wavered a little, but still stoutly denied the theft. At
this moment the door, which was ajar, was pushed wider open, and the
woman's head came peering out; then the children followed, but they were
speedily sent down into the street.

Grimes retreated into the room; Will followed, not without some tremors,
but that letter of his mother's was in his pocket.

"Sure and are ye found out?" said the woman, impetuously. "Didn't I tell
you so? didn't I say no good could come of stalin', Grimes, my man?"

Grimes tried to hush her, but she would not listen to him. She had drawn
a shawl about her, and was the picture of woe, with her pale face, her
unkempt hair, and her glittering eyes. She took Will by the hand. "As
you are a gintleman, and the son of a lady, have mercy on Grimes. If
it's the bit of paper ye want, I have it; here it is;" and she drew it
from the folds of her dress. "I knew no good could come of it, and I
would not let him use it, miserable as we are. But spare him, and God
will bless you."

"I have no wish to injure him," said Will, "and my mother thinks if this
is a first offense, and he is at all sorry, I had better not make his
dishonesty known."

Grimes was hanging his head in sullen silence, but at this he raised it
eagerly. "Never in my life before have I taken anything - but you see our
misery. I thought she would be the better for something this money could

"Hush!" said the woman. "I might better die than live by stalin'. You
will forgive him, misther; I know you will; I see it in your kind eyes."

Will promised silence, except to Charlie Graham, to whom he should be
obliged to reveal the theft, as well as to make restitution; and gladly
turned away from this scene of misery.

Charlie and he had a long talk that night. They concluded to abide by
Mrs. Benson's advice.

"It was very wrong as well as silly for me to leave that check where it
could tempt a poor fellow; and if it wasn't for the Adirondacks I'd send
the whole amount to Mrs. Grimes," said Charlie, generously.

"No, that would not be wise," said Will; "but I tell you what, let's
club together and send her some decent food and clothing."

Their kindness was not thrown away. Grimes never repeated the
wrong-doing. With better times came better health and strength for his
wife, and when Will went home for a holiday he took to his mother a bit
of Irish lace, which Mrs. Grimes had begged him to carry to her.


BY W. P. S.

The labor and ingenuity expended in one season by a boy who has any
taste for the water in building rafts, and converting tubs and
packing-boxes into sea-going vessels, would, if well directed, build a
good-sized ship; but, from lack of knowledge and system, the results of
such attempts are generally failures.

After some experience with rafts that _would_ sink, scows that _would_
leak, and other craft that showed a strong preference for floating with
keels in the air, we found in the canvas canoe a boat at once handsome,
speedy, and safe, and capable of a great variety of uses, while the
small cost and easy construction place it within reach of all young

To produce a good canvas boat care and patience are more necessary than
great skill with tools, though it is supposed that the young mechanic
can use his rule correctly, saw to a line, and plane an edge reasonably

The first proceeding in any building operation, after the plans are
decided on, is to make out a "bill of materials" and an "estimate," and
ours will read as follows:

Keel, oak, 1 in. square, by 15 ft. }
long. } Sawed from an oak
10 rib-bands, oak, 1 x 1/4 in., by } board 15 ft. X 6
15 ft. long } in. = 7-1/2 ft. @ 5c.
2 gunwales, oak, 1 x 3/4 in., by }
15 ft. long } $0.38
Keelson, 3 x 1 in., 10 ft. long. } 10 in. pine board
Bow, stern, coaming, and ridge pieces. } .35
Moulds. } 2 pine boards 12 x 1/2 in., 13 ft.
Floor boards, } long = 26 ft.,@ 3c. .78
Paddle, 1-1/4 in. spruce plank, 6-1/2 in. X 13 ft. .25
Canvas, 5 yds., 40 in., @ 45c. 2.25
Canvas deck, 5 yds., 28 in., @ 25c. 1.25
1 package 1 in. No. 7 iron screws. .30
Tacks, nails, and screws. .50
Rubber cloth for apron. .50
Sawing moulds and paddle. .50
Paint. 1.00
- - -

Having all our material ready, it will be best to mark out the different
pieces, and have them all sawed at once by a steam-saw.

Beginning with the bow and stern, we will lay off on one corner of the
ten-inch board a line two feet long, representing the dotted line
_c_ _d_ in Fig. 1.

A line is drawn half an inch from the edge from the point 11 to 12,
making a notch for the end of the keelson; and the two feet are divided
into four parts, and perpendiculars drawn at each point.

Now measure off on the line _a_ _d_ nine and a half inches, giving the
point _a_; on the others three and a quarter inches, an inch, and a
quarter of an inch; then draw a line from _a_ to _c_ through all these

The shape of the inner line is not important, so it may be drawn by eye,
making it thick enough for strength.

As the bow and stern are alike, two of these pieces are needed.

The keelson must be cut from the same board, being three inches wide at
the centre, tapering to one inch at the ends.

To obtain the shapes of the moulds or sections we must enlarge Fig. 4
four times to its full size.

The horizontal lines in the drawing are one-fourth of an inch apart, so
in our large drawing they will be one inch; then taking the line marked
2 (Nos. 1 and 13 require no moulds), we find the distance of the point
_g_ to be one and seven-sixteenths inches from the centre line, so we
make it four times as much, or five and three-fourths inches, and
continue with the other points until we have enough to determine the
line pretty closely, after which we join them with the line _g_ _h_,
giving the shape of one-half of our first mould.

The lines on the right represent the half sections in the fore end of
the boat, and those on the left the after end.

When all are drawn, they should be transferred to the half-inch board,
each mould, however, being a whole and not a half section.

The outline of the paddle being drawn also, all may be taken to a
saw-mill and sawn out, or else they may be sawn by hand with a

Having all cut out, we will first screw the bow and stern to the
keelson, and secure the three pieces on a plank set upright, the upper
edge being curved to fit the keelson, which is a little rockered.

Moulds Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 12 are next notched to fit the
varying widths of the keelson, the first and last also fitting over the
bow and stern; then they are put in place, and the gunwales notched into
them, and also into the bow and stern.

The moulds for Nos. 6, 7, and 8 are sawn from three-quarter-inch oak or
ash, each being in two pieces. The inner edge of No. 6 is shown by the
dotted line K C, Fig. 4, and of Nos. 7 and 8 by _m_ _b_. They are put in
place the same as the others.

Now the rib-bands are planed off and tacked in place, being spaced
amidships as shown in Fig. 4; then the points where they cross the bow
and stern and all the moulds are marked, and notches one inch by
one-fourth of an inch cut to receive them, the edges of the bow and
stern being tapered off at the same time to half an inch; then all the
parts are placed in position again, and fastened with one-inch screws,
except where the keelson joins the bow, stern, and moulds, where one
inch and a half screws are used. Each screw is dipped in white lead
before inserting, and the head afterward puttied over.

The highest point of the deck is at No. 6, where a deck beam is placed,
the shape of it and of the deck at No. 9 being shown in Fig. 4.

The other moulds may be easily shaped by using these as guides; then
pieces two inches wide and three-fourths of an inch thick are notched
into each mould, down the centre of the deck, from No. 6 to the bow, and
from No. 9 to the stern, making a ridge over which the canvas is

A piece of one-inch pine is next set in between Nos. 9 and 6, and
screwed to each, as well as to Nos. 7 and 8 and the gunwales, and
forming the sides of the well.

The frame is now carefully smoothed off, and painted with two coats;
then a floor of half-inch pine is screwed to moulds Nos. 6, 7, and 8.

The canvas, forty inches wide, is first oiled, and then laid on the
frame-work, and tacked along the centre of the keelson from No. 2 to No.
12; then it is tacked lightly to the gunwales; then cut to fit the
curved bow and stern, and tacked, the edges overlapping half an inch,
after which it is stretched tightly over the gunwales, and tacked on the

The deck is of drilling, twenty-eight inches wide, tacked around the
gunwale (a half-round head being screwed over the joint), and turned up
and tacked around the coaming, which is of three-eighth inch pine,
rising an inch and a half above the deck, and screwed to the side
pieces, mould No. 9, and the deck beam at No. 6.

The keel is of straight-grained oak, one inch deep from No. 3 to No. 11,
tapering to one-half by three-eighths of an inch at the ends, and may be
soaked in hot water before bending. When cold, it is screwed to the
keelson and the bow and stern, the canvas under it being painted.

The stretcher for the feet rests against a strip nailed to the floors,
and a small block on each gunwale.

A half-inch hole is bored in bow and stern for the painter.

The paddle is seven feet long, six and a half inches wide, and
three-sixteenths of an inch thick at the edges; the handle being an inch
and a quarter in diameter at the middle, tapering to seven-eighths where
it joins the blades. A rubber ring is slipped over each end to prevent
the water running down. In using, it is grasped about seven inches on
each side of the centre, keeping the hands about the width of the body
apart. The stroke should be as long and steady as possible.

It will be found at first that the boat will rock from side to side in
paddling, and the paddle will throw some spray; but both these faults
disappear with practice, and the boat should be perfectly steady at any
speed. A slight twist as the paddle leaves the water, hard to describe,
but easily found on trial, shakes off all drip.

For an apron, a strip of pine one-quarter by one and a half inches is
fastened to each side of the well by brass straps hooking over the
coaming, shown in Fig. 6.

A piece of rubber cloth is gored to fit around the body, and is tacked
to each side piece, a rubber cord fastened to each strip, and running
around the front of the well, serving to keep it down, and the after
ends being tucked in between the backboard and the body, all falling off
in an upset.

The backboard, Fig. 5, is seventeen inches long, the strips being two
and one-fourth inches wide, and the same distance apart; it swings on
the coaming at the back of the well.

Two coats of paint should be put on, and the paddle varnished.

A deck of half-inch pine, laid from No. 9 to No. 10, under the canvas,
allows the canoeist to sit on deck sometimes in paddling.

In entering the boat, step in the centre (facing the bow), and, with a
hand on each gunwale, drop into the seat.

When not in use the canoe should be sponged out and stored on shore.





[Illustration: THE SYCE ON DUTY.]

One of the most novel and interesting sights which attracts the
traveller's attention when he first arrives in Egypt is the syce running
before the horses as they go through the narrow, closely packed streets.
How the crowd scatters, and the donkey-boys hustle their meek property
out of the way as one of those runners comes bounding along, shouting,
in the strange Arabic tongue, "Clear the way!" The sun shines upon his
velvet vest, glittering with its spangled trimmings, the breeze fills
the large floating sleeves till they wave backward like white wings.
Then on dash the spirited horses, dogs bark, children squeal, beggars
dodge, men swear, and women, holding their face-veil closer, ejaculate

On springs the syce; what cares he for man or beast? while proudly
following rolls the rich equipage, or prances the Arab steed with its
turbaned rider and Oriental robes.

Mahmoud, the subject of this little sketch, was the syce of a rich Pasha
in Cairo; he was a favorite with his master, and everybody loved
him - even the horses would neigh joyfully at his approach, and eat from
his hand as gently as a dog. His life was an easy one, for, being a
favorite, no arduous duties were placed upon him, and his strength was
encouraged and sustained by the master for the swift running which
commands so much admiration. So agile did he become, that no name among
the syce of Egypt was more renowned than that of Mahmoud. Often at the
latticed windows bright eyes of hidden beauties followed him through the
narrow streets, and watched for his coming as he led the way for his
master each morning in his rides. Sometimes they threaded their way
through the crowded bazars amid scenes of the _Arabian Nights_,
breathing wonderful Eastern perfumes, gazing on rare gems and exquisite
embroideries; and again, down the road to the Pyramids, with the soft
air blowing in his face, trees waving overhead, and birds singing
merrily; or, in the blood-red sunset, passing down the Choubra Road, the
fashionable drive of Cairo, with its shade of gnarled old sycamores, and
crowded with conveyances of every description. Sometimes he led the way
for the harem carriage, very proud of the honor.

One morning the Pasha sat in his garden under the blossoming
orange-tree, smoking his chibouque, and talking with his friend the Bey
from Alexandria, whose horse stood in the path champing impatiently at
his bit, and held by his syce, Abdullah, in his gay costume. They talked
of politics, the condition of the country, its financial troubles; they
spoke of their religion and their mosque, of the Suez Canal, the
improvements of the city, the Khedive's new palace, their own
dwelling-places. By-and-by the conversation ran upon their horses and
their favorite syce.

"Abdullah can outrun them all," said the Bey.

"Not so," replied the Pasha; "my Mahmoud is the finest runner in
Cairo - ay, in all Egpyt."

"Sayest thou so?" cried the Bey. "Come and let us test their skill."

"Most surely," answered the Pasha, "and I will give a prize to the boy
who wins."

The news soon spread over Cairo that Mahmoud and Abdullah were to run a
race, the winner to receive a costly girdle of rich embroidery, finished
with a clasp set with gems. Great was the interest, and on the day
appointed crowds assembled to see the race, gathering long before the
competitors appeared.

What a motley group there was! Camels with their riders, stylish
carriages with pretty French children, rosy-cheeked English girls,
Italian singers, American officers and tourists, English lords, wild
desert Arabs, swarthy-faced fellaheen, pistachio and pea-nut dealers,
donkey-boys, beggars, and peddlers. A Turkish band played a quick
reveille. Here they come! The crowd cheers - the signal is given - they
are off! The general sympathy is with Mahmoud, but Abdullah is a strong
fellow, of tremendous muscle, more experience, and mighty will, so that
little Mahmoud has a rival of no mean powers.

Every eye is fixed upon those two figures, side by side, leaping onward
in graceful bounds. Forward they fly, past the cotton field, around the
curved path; but look! - Abdullah is ahead; Mahmoud seems far behind.
The band plays quicker. Abdullah is flying; he will win; he - But no;
Mahmoud is gaining; he nears his rival. Abdullah sees and strains every
nerve, but in vain. Mahmoud swings his light wand over his head, and
shoots by like an arrow. It is over; the goal is reached. Mahmoud has
won, and amid the loud cheers of the crowd the Pasha descends from his
carriage, and places the glittering sash around the victor's waist.
Abdullah approaches, gives his successful rival a hearty salam, which
awakens fresh applause. Somebody scatters a shower of gold coins over
them, and the crowd disperses.

[_By special arrangement with the author, the cards contributed to this
useful series, by W. J. ROLFE, A.M., formerly Head-Master of the
Cambridge High School, will, for the present, first appear in HARPER'S




The English Language.



The inscription on the Soldiers' Monument in Boston, written by the
President of Harvard College, has been much admired. It reads thus:


What is to be said is here said in the simplest way. There is no waste
of words, no attempt at display. It is a model of good English, brief,
clear, and strong. If a school-boy had written it, he would have thought
it a fine chance for using big words. He would have said, "The citizens
of Boston who sacrificed their lives," not "the men who died"; and
"preserved the integrity of the Union," not "kept the Union whole"; and
"erected," not "built." And some men who have written much in newspapers
and books would have made the same mistake of choosing long words where
short ones give the sense as well or better.

A great preacher once said that he made it a rule never to use a word of
three or two syllables when a word of two syllables or one syllable
would convey the thought as well; and the rule is a good one. In reading
we want to get at the sense through the words; and the less power the
mind has to spend on the words, the more it has left for the thought
that lies behind them. Here the simple words that we have known and used
from childhood are the ones that hinder us least. We see through them at
once, and the thought is ours with the least possible labor.

Those who urge the use of simple English often lay stress on choosing
"Saxon" rather than "Classical" words, and it is well to know what this

The English is a mixed language, made up from various sources. Its
history is the history of the English race, and the main facts are

Britain was first peopled, so far as we know, by men of the Celtic (or
Keltic) race, of which the native Irish are types. The names of the
rivers, mountains, and other natural features of the land are mostly
Celtic, just as in this country they are mostly Indian. About fifty
years before the Christian era the Romans conquered Britain, and held it
for about 500 years. They brought in the Latin language; but few traces
of it now remain except in the names of certain towns and cities. The
mass of the people kept their old Celtic tongue. Between the years 450
and 550 A.D. Britain was invaded and conquered by German tribes, chiefly
Angles and Saxons. It now became _Angleland_, or _England_; and the
language became what is called _Anglo-Saxon_, except in the mountains of
Wales and of Scotland, where Celtic is found to this day. In the ninth
and tenth centuries the Danes invaded England, and ruled it for a time,
but they caused no great change in the language. In the year 1066 the
Norman Conquest took place, and William the Conqueror became King of
England. Large numbers of the Norman French came with him, and French
became the language of the court and of the nobility. By degrees our
English language grew out of the blending of the Anglo-Saxon of the
common people and the Norman French of their new rulers, the former
furnishing most of the _grammar_, the latter supplying many of the
_words_. Now the French was of Latin origin, and the English thus got an
important Latin or "Classical" element, which has since been increased

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Young People, April 27, 1880 → online text (page 2 of 4)