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Walter the money-belt.

Walter counted the notes and gold, and was glad to find the contents
untouched. Seppi rose to his feet meanwhile, but stood looking to the
ground in shame and fear.

Walter, feeling compassion for him, begged that he might be let off; and
Mr. Seymour consented.

Seppi was overjoyed at being let off so easily. He had not dared to
expect that Walter would have taken his part, and felt really thankful
that his first great crime had not met with a severe and terrible
punishment. With earnestness in his tone, he thanked his former
companion, and with unaffected emotion assured him solemnly that he
would never again stretch out his hand to that which did not belong to
him.

He kissed Walter's hand and moistened it with his tears, and was gone.

"Now," said Mr. Seymour, "I think we must set off toward Paris, if we
are to get there to-night."

After a long journey, the travellers reached the French metropolis; and
Walter repaired with Mr. Seymour to one of the best hotels, where, in a
soft and luxurious bed, he soon forgot the toil and anxiety of the day,
and slept sounder than he had ever done in his life.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]




THE WEASEL AND THE FROGS.


"I think the weasel is a mean, wicked murderer," said Harry, as he came
rushing into his mother's room, his face flushed and his little fists
clinched tight together: "My white rabbit lies all in a little dead heap
in his house, and Mike, the gardener, says the weasel has killed him. He
saw it prowling round the barn last night, and why he didn't set a trap
and catch it I don't see."

Mamma put aside her sewing, and went to comfort Harry, who began to cry
bitterly for the loss of his pet.

"Poor Bunny!" said mamma; "he should not have been left out when Mr.
Weasel was around. But we will buy another Bunny, two Bunnies, a white
one and a black one, and they shall have a nice little house in the
wood-shed, where no weasel can find them."

[Illustration: WEASEL AND FROGS - THE INTERRUPTED CONCERT.]

Harry brightened up at once at the prospect of having two Bunnies, while
mamma said: "Now let us talk a little about the weasel. It is not so
much to be blamed, after all, for killing Bunny, for it was born with
the instinct to catch rabbits and squirrels, rats, mice, and many other
small animals, as well as chickens and birds of all kinds. Weasels are
very sly little beasts, although if captured when very young they can be
tamed, and taught to eat out of their master's hand. If you will listen,
and not cry any more, I will tell you what I saw and heard one summer
afternoon over by the pond in the meadow. You know it is a very small
pond, and that afternoon the water was so still that it looked like a
glass eye in the midst of the great green meadow. I sat down on the bank
to rest, and to watch the reflection of the bushes and tall
water-grasses which overhung the pond. Suddenly the surface of the water
was disturbed by a hundred circling ripples, in the centre of which
appeared a small dark spot. As I watched, these dark spots became
visible all over the pond. The sun was setting, and the beautiful summer
twilight coming on, and it was so still it seemed as if Nature and all
her pretty minstrels were fast asleep. All at once I heard a hoarse
voice, which seemed at my very feet. 'Chu-lunk, chu-lunk, chu-lunk,' it
said. It must have been the chorister calling his frog chorus together
for their evening song, for in a moment a multitude of voices were
answering from the long grasses, the bushes, the water - indeed, the
whole neighborhood, a moment before so quiet, was alive with little frog
people. They evidently had some cause of complaint against a very wicked
person, as my little Harry has just now, for I distinctly heard one say,
'Stole a rabbit, stole a rabbit;' while another answered, 'I saw him do
it, I saw him do it.' Then the whole chorus burst out,'We'll pull him
in, we'll pull him in.' 'Plump, plump, plump,' added one voice more
revengeful than all the rest. I sat very still, waiting to see what was
to be pulled plump into the water. I did not have long to wait, but I
fancy things took a turn contrary to the one desired by the frog people.
There was a sudden rustling in the bushes, a sharp, quick sound like the
springing of a cat. The chorus was still in an instant, but the entire
shore of the little pond was covered with rushing, springing, jumping
frogs. Pell-mell they tumbled over each other in headlong race for the
water, to escape their cruel enemy, which now appeared, and showed
himself to be a slender little weasel. He darted here and there among
the helpless frogs, which made no attempts to 'pull him in,' but bent
their whole efforts toward self-preservation. At length, seizing a fat
frog in his mouth, the weasel turned and disappeared noiselessly among
the bushes. Peace reigned once more, but the little frog people had all
jumped into the water, and not a voice was heard protesting or uttering
farther threats."

"And did the weasel get more than one poor little frog, mamma?" asked
Harry.

"No, he carried off only one frog," replied mamma; "but he killed
several more, which he left lying dead in the grass. I dug a hole in the
mud with a sharp stick and buried them, so that their companions should
not find them when they ventured on shore again."

"Well," said Harry, after thinking a few moments, "now I guess I'll go
and bury my poor dead rabbit."




[Begun in No. 5 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, Dec. 2.]

THE HISTORY OF PHOTOGEN AND NYCTERIS.

A Day and Night Mährchen.

BY GEORGE MACDONALD.


XI. - THE SUNSET.

[Illustration: "LIKE A SWIFT SHADOW IT SPED OVER THE GRASS."]

Knowing nothing of darkness, or stars, or moon, Photogen spent his days
in hunting. On a great white horse he swept over the grassy plains,
glorying in the sun, fighting the wind, and killing the buffaloes. One
morning, when he happened to be on the ground a little earlier than
usual, and before his attendants, he caught sight of an animal unknown
to him, stealing from a hollow into which the sun rays had not yet
reached. Like a swift shadow it sped over the grass, slinking southward
to the forest. He gave chase, noted the body of a buffalo it had half
eaten, and pursued it the harder. But with great leaps and bounds the
creature shot farther and farther ahead of him, and vanished. Turning,
therefore, defeated, he met Fargu, who had been following him as fast as
his horse could carry him.

"What animal was that, Fargu?" he asked. "How he did run!"

Fargu answered he might be a leopard, but he rather thought, from his
pace and look, that he was a young lion.

"What a coward he must be!" said Photogen.

"Don't be too sure of that," rejoined Fargu. "He is one of the creatures
the sun makes uncomfortable. As soon as the sun is down he will be brave
enough."

He had scarcely said it when he repented; nor did he regret it the less
when he found that Photogen made no reply. But, alas! said was said.

"Then," said Photogen to himself, "that contemptible beast is one of the
terrors of sundown, of which Madam Watho spoke."

He hunted all day, but not with his usual spirit. He did not ride so
hard, and did not kill one buffalo. Fargu, to his dismay, observed also
that he took every pretext for moving farther south, nearer to the
forest. But all at once, the sun now sinking in the west, he seemed to
change his mind, for he turned his horse's head, and rode home so fast
that the rest could not keep him in sight. When they arrived, they found
his horse in the stable, and concluded that he had gone into the castle.
But he had, in truth, set out again by the back of it. Crossing the
river a good way up the valley, he reascended to the ground they had
left, and just before sunset reached the skirts of the forest.

The level orb shone straight in between the bare stems, and saying to
himself he could not fail to find the beast, he rushed into the wood.
But even as he entered, he turned and looked to the west. The rim of the
red sun was touching the horizon, all jagged with broken hills. "Now,"
said Photogen, "we shall see;" but he said it in the face of a darkness
he had not proved. The moment the sun began to sink among the spikes and
saw-edges, with a kind of sudden flap at his heart, a fear inexplicable
laid hold of the youth; and as he had never felt anything of the kind
before, the very fear itself terrified him. As the sun sank, it rose
like the shadow of the world, and grew deeper and darker. He could not
even think what it might be, so utterly did it enfeeble him. When the
last flaming cimeter-edge of the sun went out like a lamp, his horror
seemed to blossom into very madness. Like the closing lids of an
eye - for there was no twilight, and this night no moon - the terror and
the darkness rushed together, and he knew them for one. He was no longer
the man he had known, or rather thought himself. The courage he had had
was in no sense his own; he had only had courage, not been courageous;
it had left him, and he could scarcely stand - certainly not stand
straight, for not one of his joints could he make stiff or keep from
trembling. He was but a spark of the sun, in himself nothing.

The beast was behind him - stealing upon him! He turned. All was dark in
the wood, but to his fancy the darkness here and there broke into pairs
of green eyes, and he had not the power even to raise his bow-hand from
his side. In the strength of despair he strove to rouse courage enough,
not to fight - that he did not even desire - but to run. Courage to flee
home was all he could even imagine, and it would not come. But what he
had not was ignominiously given him. A cry in the wood, half a screech,
half a growl, sent him running like a boar-wounded cur. It was not even
himself that ran, it was the fear that had come alive in his legs: he
did not know that they moved. But as he ran he grew able to run - gained
courage at least to be a coward. The stars gave a little light. Over the
grass he sped, and nothing followed him. "How fallen, how changed," from
the youth who had climbed the hill as the sun went down! A mere contempt
of himself, the self that contemned was a coward with the self it
contemned! There lay the shapeless black of a buffalo, humped upon the
grass: he made a wide circuit, and swept on like a shadow driven in the
wind. For the wind had arisen, and added to his terror: it blew from
behind him. He reached the brow of the valley, and shot down the steep
descent like a falling star. Instantly the whole upper country behind
him arose and pursued him! The wind came howling after him, filled with
screams, shrieks, yells, roars, laughter, and chattering, as if all the
animals of the forest were careering with it. In his ears was a
trampling rush, the thunder of the hoofs of the cattle, in career from
every quarter of the wide plains to the brow of the hill above him! He
fled straight for the castle, scarcely with breath enough to pant.

As he reached the bottom of the valley, the moon peered up over its
edge. He had never seen the moon before - except in the daytime, when he
had taken her for a thin bright cloud. She was a fresh terror to him - so
ghostly! so ghastly! so grewsome! - so knowing as she looked over the top
of her garden wall upon the world outside! That was the night itself!
the darkness alive - and after him! the horror of horrors coming down the
sky to curdle his blood, and turn his brain to a cinder! He gave a sob,
and made straight for the river, where it ran between the two walls, at
the bottom of the garden. He plunged in, struggled through, clambered up
the bank, and fell senseless on the grass.


XII. - THE GARDEN.

Although Nycteris took care not to stay out long at a time, and used
every precaution, she could hardly have escaped discovery so long, had
it not been that the strange attacks to which Watho was subject had been
more frequent of late, and had at last settled into an illness which
kept her to her bed. But whether from an access of caution, or from
suspicion, Falca, having now to be much with her mistress both day and
night, took it at length into her head to fasten the door as often as
she went out by her usual place of exit; so that one night, when
Nycteris pushed, she found, to her surprise and dismay, that the wall
pushed her again, and would not let her through; nor with all her
searching could she discover wherein lay the cause of the change. Then
first she felt the pressure of her prison walls, and turning, half in
despair, groped her way to the picture where she had once seen Falca
disappear. There she soon found the spot by pressing upon which the wall
yielded. It let her through into a sort of cellar, where was a glimmer
of light from a sky whose blue was paled by the moon. From the cellar
she got into a long passage, into which the moon was shining, and came
to a door. She managed to open it, and, to her great joy, found herself
in _the other place_, not on the top of the wall, however, but in the
garden she had longed to enter. Noiseless as a fluffy moth she flitted
away into the covert of the trees and shrubs, her bare feet welcomed by
the softest of carpets, which, by the very touch, her feet knew to be
alive, whence it came that it was so sweet and friendly to them. A soft
little wind was out among the trees, running now here, now there, like a
child that had got its will. She went dancing over the grass, looking
behind her at her shadow as she went. At first she had taken it for a
little black creature that made game of her, but when she perceived that
it was only where she kept the moon away, and that every tree, however
great and grand a creature, had also one of these strange attendants,
she soon learned not to mind it, and by-and-by it became the source of
as much amusement to her as to any kitten its tail. It was long before
she was quite at home with the trees, however. At one time they seemed
to disapprove of her; at another, not even to know she was there, and to
be altogether taken up with their own business. Suddenly, as she went
from one to another of them, looking up with awe at the murmuring
mystery of their branches and leaves, she spied one a little way off
which was very different from all the rest. It was white, and dark, and
sparkling, and spread like a palm - a small slender palm, without much
head; and it grew very fast, and sang as it grew. But it never grew any
bigger, for just as fast as she could see it growing, it kept falling to
pieces. When she got close to it, she discovered it was a water
tree - made of just such water as she washed with, only it was alive, of
course, like the river - a different sort of water from that, doubtless,
seeing the one crept swiftly along the floor, and the other shot
straight up, and fell, and swallowed itself, and rose again. She put her
feet into the marble basin, which was the flower-pot in which it grew.
It was full of real water, living and cool - so nice, for the night was
hot.

But the flowers! ah, the flowers! she was friends with them from the
very first. What wonderful creatures they were! - and so kind and
beautiful - always sending out such colors and such scents - red scent,
and white scent, and yellow scent - for the other creatures! The one that
was invisible and everywhere took such a quantity of their scents, and
carried it away! yet they did not seem to mind. It was their talk, to
show they were alive, and not painted like those on the walls of her
rooms, and on the carpets.

She wandered along down the garden until she reached the river. Unable
then to get any further - for she was a little afraid, and justly, of the
swift watery serpent - she dropped on the grassy bank, dipped her feet in
the water, and felt it running and pushing against them. For a long time
she sat thus, and her bliss seemed complete, as she gazed at the river,
and watched the broken picture of the great lamp overhead, moving up one
side of the roof to go down the other.


XIII. - SOMETHING QUITE NEW.

A beautiful moth brushed across the great blue eyes of Nycteris. She
sprang to her feet to follow it, not in the spirit of the hunter, but of
the lover. Her heart - like every heart, if only its fallen sides were
cleared away - was an inexhaustible fountain of love: she loved
everything she saw. But as she followed the moth, she caught sight of
something lying on the bank of the river, and not yet having learned to
be afraid of anything, ran straight to see what it was. Reaching it, she
stood amazed. Another girl like herself! But what a strange-looking
girl! - so curiously dressed, too! - and not able to move! Was she dead?
Filled suddenly with pity, she sat down, lifted Photogen's head, laid it
on her lap, and began stroking his face. Her warm hands brought him to
himself. He opened his black eyes, out of which had gone all the fire,
and looked up with a strange sound of fear - half moan, half gasp. But
when he saw her face he drew a deep breath, and lay motionless - gazing
at her: those blue marvels above him, like a better sky, seemed to side
with courage and assuage his terror. At length, in a trembling, awed
voice, and a half-whisper, he said, "Who are you?"

"I am Nycteris," she answered.

"You are a creature of the darkness, and love the night," he said, his
fear beginning to move again.

"I may be a creature of the darkness," she replied. "I hardly know what
you mean. But I do not love the night. I love the day - with all my
heart; and I sleep all the night long."

"How can that be?" said Photogen, rising on his elbow, but dropping his
head on her lap again the moment he saw the moon - "how can it be," he
repeated, "when I see your eyes there wide-awake?"

She only smiled and stroked him, for she did not understand him, and
thought he did not know what he was saying.

"Was it a dream, then?" resumed Photogen, rubbing his eyes. But with
that his memory came clear, and he shuddered, and cried, "Oh, horrible!
horrible! to be turned all at once into a coward! - a shameful,
contemptible, disgraceful coward! I am ashamed - ashamed - and _so_
frightened! It is all so frightful!"

[TO BE CONTINUED.]




IN LUCK.

BY MRS. ZADEL B. GUSTAFSON.


Lily De Koven was in luck. Luck, you know, is a word which stands for
that which comes to you without your having done anything to get it for
yourself; and as she had never done anything to bring about such
results, I call it the good luck of little Lily De Koven that she had
been born in a lovely home, to kind parents, and was growing up with all
the most pleasant things of life around her. She had a little maid to
braid her pretty yellow hair, lace her dainty boots, go up stairs and
down stairs, or stay in her little lady's chamber dressing and making
over the dresses of Lily's family of dolls.

One day, when Lily was not very well, and was lying in bed propped up by
the pillows, her maid came in with a new doll, larger and handsomer than
all the others.

Lily received the new doll calmly, for if it did not suit her she knew
she could have another, so she had no cause for excitement. She looked
it over carefully, touched the spring which made its eyes roll, drew off
one of its tiny silk shoes and stockings, passed her hand over the lace
train.

"I'll keep it," said Lily; "and now you bring me the whole family."

When all her dolls, little and big - all of them had been handsome in
their day, but some of them were a little the worse for wear - were laid
on the bed, she put the new one, with curling yellow hair almost exactly
like her own, on the pillow beside her, and took up the others one by
one.

"You can throw this one away," she said at last, holding out one which
had a broken arm, and was leaking sawdust at the elbow; "I don't want
but twelve children, anyway."

When her maid went out, Lily looked at her new doll, touched its hair
and rich costume, but there was not any wonder in it for her; there had
never been a time when she had not had as pretty dolls as money could
buy; so Lily sighed and fell asleep almost immediately. Now Lily's maid
left the disgraced doll on a chair in the kitchen, and there Mary the
cook found it. It had on a pretty muslin dress and sash, and nice
embroidered underwear, just like any fashionable young lady. It was
Christmas week, and Mary had bought a doll to give to her little niece
on Christmas-day, and seeing at once what a treasure this costume would
be, she took it off, did it up as fresh as new, and made the doll she
had bought look quite like a princess in it. So the old broken-armed
doll had not a rag left of its former glory. But luck sometimes comes
even to dolls.

Three days later, early in the cold morning, a little girl stood
ankle-deep in the new-fallen snow in front of the grand house where Lily
De Koven with her twelve waxen children lived.

This little girl was Biddy O'Dolan, and Biddy O'Dolan was in luck on
this cold morning.

She had on nothing that you would call clothes; she had on _duds_. She
had no parents and no home. She had some straw in a cellar, where other
children who wore duds slept at night on other bunches of straw. She was
a rag-picker and an ash girl, and sometimes was very hungry, and
sometimes was beaten by other poor hungry wretches, who, because they
were miserable, wanted to hurt somebody - not knowing any better - and so
beat Biddy O'Dolan because there was no one to interfere. In spite of
all these things, Biddy was sometimes merry, which I think is wonderful.

[Illustration: "BIDDY HELD IT OUT IN A KIND OF STUPEFIED DELIGHT."]

On this cold morning, in front of the wide stone steps of Lily De
Koven's home, Biddy had found an ash can, and, poking over the ashes,
had found and pulled out the very broken-armed doll which Lily had
ordered to be thrown away, which Mary the cook had stripped of its fine
robes, and which had last of all been swept up and put in the ash
barrel, and so had come to the lowest possible condition of a once rich
doll. Biddy held it out, and looked straight before her for a moment,
at nothing in particular, in a kind of stupefied delight; for a doll,
even such a doll as this, had never been in her little cramped, purple
hands before. Then suddenly she tucked it in her breast, drew her dingy
sacque around it tight, caught up her rag bag, and with a scared glance
at the windows of Lily's fine home, she ran down the street.

Her heart beat so that it was like a little hammer striking quick blows
against the breast of the doll. Biddy had never had anything to love,
and from the moment she had got this doll hidden in her bosom she loved
it, and I think she was in good luck to have found something which could
bring her this dear feeling. And as for the doll, in its proudest days
it had never been loved, and now, when forlorn and cast out, it had
found a warm heart, and had come, if it could only have known it, into
the best luck of its whole life.

I should like to tell you the whole story of Biddy O'Dolan - of what she
did for the doll, and what the doll did for her; but to-day I want to
call your attention to something else, and if you will heed my wish, I
will heed yours, and soon tell you the rest of Biddy's story.

The good things that come to us have a way - which you will notice if you
are observant - of seeming to connect themselves together in a circle of
sweet thoughts and hopes, just as our friends might join hands and make
a ring around us.

It was so with Biddy that day. As she ran on with her doll she was
constantly thinking of something which she had hardly thought of since
it had happened two years before. It was this: Biddy had been run over
by a horse and cart, and carried, much hurt, to one of the New York
hospitals for children. There she had been tenderly cared for, which was
a great mystery to Biddy, and on Christmas morning she had waked up to
find beautiful fresh Christmas greens on the wall at the foot of her
little cot and around the window, and a lady standing in this window,
while a little girl held out to Biddy a bunch of flowers that smelled as
sweet as a whole summer garden.

Biddy had not understood the meaning of these things; she had only
wearily noticed that the little girl was pretty, and not at all like
her, and that the flowers and greens were "jolly." That day, when she
fled with her doll, she thought of the hospital; and though she did not
understand any better than before why there should be such great
difference in the lives of little children, she for the first time felt
that the lady and her little girl had been kind, had been sorry for her.


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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Young People, December 16, 1879 → online text (page 2 of 3)