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Produced by Annie McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S



* * * * *


Tuesday, June 29, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per
Year, in Advance.

* * * * *

[Illustration: A SOUP EXPLOSION.]

[Begun in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 31, June 1.]




It was a terrific storm. The wind swept down the river, raising a ridge
of white water in its path. The rain came down harder, so the boys
thought, than they had ever seen it come down before, and the glare of
the lightning and the crash of the thunder were frightful.

"What luck it is that we got the tent pitched in time!" exclaimed Joe.
"We're as dry and comfortable here as if we were in a house."

"Pick your blankets up quick, boys," cried Harry. "Here's the water
coming in under the tent."

Joe had boasted a little too soon. The water running down the side of
the hill was making its way in large quantities into the tent. To save
their clothes and blankets the boys had to stand up and hold them in
their arms, which was by no means a pleasant occupation, especially as
the cold rain-water was bathing their feet.

"It can't last long," remarked Tom. "We're all right if the lightning
doesn't strike us."

"Where's the powder?" asked Harry.

"Oh, it's in the flask," replied Joe, "and I've got the flask in my

"So, if the lightning strikes the tent, we'll all be blown up!"
exclaimed Harry. "This is getting more and more pleasant."

The boys were not yet at the end of their troubles. The rain had
loosened the earth, and the tent-pins, of which only four had been used,
could no longer hold the tent. So, while they were talking about the
powder, the tent suddenly blew down, upsetting the boys as it fell, and
burying them under the wet canvas.

"Lie still, fellows," said Tom, as the other boys tried to wriggle out
from under the tent. "We've got to get wet now, anyway; but perhaps, if
we stay as we are, we can manage to keep the blankets dry."

The wet tent felt miserably cold as it clung to their heads and
shoulders, but the boys kept under it, and held their blankets and spare
shirts wrapped tightly in their arms. Luckily the storm was nearly at an
end when the tent blew down, and a few moments later the rain ceased,
and the crew of the _Whitewing_, in a very damp condition, crept out and
congratulated themselves that they had escaped with no worse injury than
a wet skin.

"Where are the rubber blankets?" asked Harry.

"Rolled up with the other blankets," answered everybody.

"It won't do to tell when we get home," remarked Harry, "that instead of
using the water-proof blankets to keep ourselves dry, we used ourselves
to keep the water-proofs dry. It's the most stupid thing we've done yet;
and I'm as bad as anybody else."

"It was a good deal worse to pitch a tent without digging a trench
around it," said Tom. "If I'd dug a trench two inches deep just back of
that tent, not a drop of water would have run into it."

"And I don't think much of the plan of using only four pins to hold a
tent down when a hurricane is coming on," said Joe.

"And I think the least said by a fellow who carries two pounds of powder
in his pocket in a thunder-storm, the better," added Jim.

It took some time to bail the water out of the boat, for the rain and
the spray from the river had half filled it. But the shower had cooled
the air, and the boys were glad to be at work again after their
confinement in the tent. They were soon ready to start; and rowing
easily and steadily, they passed through the Highlands, and reached a
nice camping spot, on the east bank of the river below Poughkeepsie,
before half past five.

This time they selected a place to pitch the tent with great care. It
was easy to find the high-water mark on the shore, and the tent was
pitched a little above it, so as to be safe from a disaster like that of
the previous night. Harry wanted it pitched on the top of a high bank;
but the others insisted that, as long as they were safe from the tide,
there was no need of putting the tent a long distance from the water,
and that they had selected the only spot where they could have a bed of
sand to sleep on.

This important business being settled, supper was the next subject of

"We haven't been as regular about our meals as we ought to be," said
Harry, "but it hasn't been our fault. We'll have a good supper to-night,
at any rate. How would you like some hot turtle soup?"

"Just the thing," said Joe. "The bread is beginning to get a little dry;
but we can soak it in the soup."

"About going for milk," continued Harry; "we ought to arrange that and
the other regular duties. Suppose after this we take turns. One fellow
can pitch the tent, another can go for milk, another can get the
fire-wood, and the other can cook. We can arrange it according to
alphabetical order. For instance, Tom Schuyler pitches the tent
to-night, Jim Sharpe goes for milk, Joe gets the fire-wood, and I cook.
The next time we camp, Jim will pitch the tent, Joe will get the milk, I
will get the wood, and Tom will cook. Is that fair?"

The boys said it was, and they agreed to adopt Harry's proposal. Jim
went off with the milk pail, and when the fire was ready, Harry took a
can of soup and put it on the coals to be heated.

Jim found a house quite near at hand, where he bought two quarts of milk
and a loaf of bread, and was back again at the camp before the soup was
ready. He found the boys lying near the fire, waiting for the soup to
heat and the coffee to boil.

"That soup takes a long time to heat through," said Tom. "There isn't a
bit of steam coming out of it yet."

"How can any steam come out of it when it's soldered up tight?" replied

"You don't mean to tell me that you've put the can on the fire without
punching a hole in the top?"

"Of course I have. What on earth should I punch a hole in it for?"

"Because - " cried Tom, hastily springing up.

But he was interrupted by a report like that of a small cannon: a cloud
of ashes rose over the fire, and a shower of soup fell just where Tom
had been lying.

"That's the reason why," resumed Tom. "The steam has burst the can, and
the soup has gone up."

"We've got another can," said Harry, "and we'll punch a hole in that
one. What an idiot I was not to think of its bursting! It's a good thing
that it didn't hurt us. I should hate to have the newspapers say that we
had been blown up and awfully mangled by soup."

The other can of soup was safely heated, and the boys made a comfortable
supper. They drove a stake in the sand, and fastened the boat's painter
securely to it, and then "turned in."

"No tide to rouse us up to-night, boys," said Harry, as he rolled
himself in his blanket. "I sha'n't wake up till daylight."

"We'd better take an early start," remarked Tom. "We haven't got on very
far, because we started so late this morning. If we get off by six every
morning, we can lie off in the middle of the day, and start again about
three o'clock. It's no fun rowing with the sun right overhead."

"Well, it isn't more than eight o'clock now; and if we take eight hours'
sleep, we can turn out at four o'clock," said Harry. "But who is going
to wake us up? Joe and Jim are sound asleep already, and I'm awful
sleepy myself. I don't believe one of us will wake up before seven
o'clock anyway."

Tom made no answer, for he had dropped asleep while Harry was talking.
The latter thought he must be pretending to sleep, and was just
resolving to tell Tom that it wasn't very polite to refuse to answer a
civil question, when he found himself muttering something about a game
of base-ball, and awoke, with a start, to discover that he could not
possibly keep awake another moment.

The boys slept on. The moon came out, and shone in at the open tent
flap, and the tide rose to high-water mark, but not quite high enough to
reach the tent. By-and-by the wheezing of a tow-boat broke the
stillness, and occasionally a hoarse steam-whistle echoed among the
hills; but the boys slept so soundly that they would not have heard a
locomotive had it whistled its worst within a rod of the tent.

The river had been like a mill-pond since the thunder-storm, but about
midnight a heavy swell rolled in toward the shore. It came on, growing
larger and larger, and rushing up the little beach with a fierce roar,
dashed into the tent and overwhelmed the sleeping boys without the
slightest warning.




"Mamma," said one of my boys to me (they are "grown-up boys," but they
take great pleasure in the weekly arrival of the YOUNG PEOPLE), "why
don't you write a communication to the editor, and tell him how papa
once saw a live toad in a slab of rock that had just been blasted?"

"Perhaps the editor would not believe me," I replied. "It seems a
doubtful point among geologists and naturalists, and he says the fact
has never been certified to by any scientific man."

"Well, wasn't papa a man of science?"

"No; he was a young civil engineer, with only science enough to be
employed on the first surveys and construction of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad. But he is one of the most accurate observers I have ever seen,
and so careful in his statements that, as you know, he relates even a
common fact as cautiously as if he were giving evidence in a court of

"Well, I should like to hear it over again. Tell me the story."

"Your father was, as I said, a young engineer superintending the
construction of the line of road west from Sir John's Run, near Berkeley
Springs, in West Virginia. His men were engaged in blasting a mass of
very hard rock - gneiss, he called it - which ran across the line. Coming
up to where they were at work, immediately after a fresh blast, he found
the block that had just been detached lying on the ground. It was a mass
of stone about as large as the chair you are sitting on; the surface
where it had just been severed from the parent rock was perfectly
smooth, except that about the middle of it appeared a reddish blister,
about the size of half an egg. This attracted your father's notice. He
was curious to see what it could mean, and taking up a hammer that was
lying near, he tapped upon it gently. It cracked like an egg-shell, and
out came a toad, which moved rather feebly, was very weak,
extraordinarily thin, and covered with a sort of red rust. He did not,
however, live more than a few minutes. Whether the blow with the hammer
had hurt him, or whether the fresh air was too much for him, nobody ever
knew. He died, and there being no professional naturalist on the spot,
his body was not preserved. The men of the gang gathered around his
death-bed, and the contractor had some marvellous stories to tell of
things of the kind he had met with in his experience.

"The spot where the toad lay in the slab of rock was probably, your
father thought, about five feet from the surface, but he could not say
with certainty. He was sure there was no fissure or opening in it
communicating with the outer air."

"I should think, mamma, you would be glad the readers of YOUNG PEOPLE
seem to be taking an interest in your friends the toads."

"So I am. I liked and protected them, for the sake of their beautiful
eyes, long before I found out how useful they are in a garden. You
recollect I used to tell you of a lady who had a splendid bed of
mignonette one year, and the next had no mignonette at all, because her
cruel gardener had killed off all the toads?

"A toad's eyes are the only things in nature which could not be
represented without using gold. I fancy that the toad's eyes are the
origin of the superstition about the 'precious jewel in his head.' As to
their being poisonous, as the French peasants say, or making warts, as
the old mammies tell us, that is pure nonsense. I have handled hundreds
of them. Their tongues are as curious as their eyes are beautiful. The
root of the tongue is just behind the under lip, and it folds backward.

"When Mr. Toad sees a fly, he darts his long and active tongue out so
quickly that it is hard to see him do it, and jerks the fly alive down
his wide gullet.

"Do you remember watering Darby and Joan, who have lived twenty years
under our porch, when you were little boys? You thought they seemed to
enjoy a rain so much that you would give them a shower. Poor Darby and
his wife realized the proverb, 'It never rains but it pours.' A gentle,
steady rain was agreeable enough; but you floated them out of house and
home, and I do not think they ever resettled in the same spot.

"There is a charming story about a toad, called Monsieur le Vicomte."


BY M. M.

Now is the time when hither and yon
Our city-people run
Seeking a home. And here, close by,
Is the prettiest under the sun.

So dainty it is, so cozy and fresh,
Its walls in a marvellous way
Are covered all over with tapestry
In yellow and green and gray.

The ceiling is frescoed in light and shade,
And the cottage stands so high
That the view extends to the mountains dim,
Whose peaks are lost in the sky.

No window it has, but an open door
Invites one to sweetest rest;
For my wee house, perched on a swaying elm,
Is only an oriole's nest.



While the children were waiting for the Professor one bright summer
morning, they overheard through the open window little Jennie asking
John Grant, the gardener, "Where do the flowers come from?"

"Why, don't you see?" said he; "they grow up out of the ground."

"How do they grow?" continued the little questioner, whose curiosity was
clearly on the increase.

Before John could collect his wits sufficiently to frame an answer, the
Professor made his appearance with a pretty rose-bud in his hand.

"Will you not tell us," said Gus, "how flowers grow? There's John out
there digging among them all day, but he seems to know nothing about
them, after all."

"Oh yes, he does," said the Professor; "I presume he knows more about
them, in a practical way, than either you or I. He can take care of them
through the winter, and train them, and get them early into bloom, far
better than I could, I am sure. But very likely I know more of what the
books have to say on the subject, and can more readily find words to
express what is called the theory in the case. The growth of plants has
given rise, perhaps you know, to the science of botany."

"Please don't be very scientific," pleaded Gus, "but tell us in a plain
way how they grow."

"Well, let us begin with the seed. In the first place, the sun warms the
ground in which the seed lies buried. Then the seed swells and bursts,
and sends downward a little root; the root drinks in the water from the
soil, and so gets larger, and spreads around; and by-and-by it sends up
a stem above the ground. As soon as the sunlight falls on the little
plant, it gets stronger, and is able to take food as well as drink from
the soil, so as to get its full shape and size and green color."

"Has it a mouth to eat and drink with?" asked Gus, in some doubt.

"Yes, a great many mouths scattered all over the root, or on very little
branches reaching out from it. While it is under-ground in the dark, it
is thirsty, and cares only to drink water; but as soon as it comes up,
and has enjoyed the light and heat of the sun, it begins to get hungry,
and takes in solid food with the water. The fresh air and sunshine
sharpen its appetite, just as they do in our case."

"The little spring flowers seem to come up so suddenly," said Joe, "as
if they did all their growing in one night. We don't see them at all
until they are standing in full bloom."

"It takes them some days to develop and blossom," said the Professor.
"The stem rises slowly from a little point, getting longer and longer,
until it reaches its full size. Shrubs and trees begin in the same way,
mounting upward until they reach their proper height. If you examine the
ground closely, you will find plenty of little plants just peeping out.
Most of them are grass, and keep on about the same as they begin; but
some change very greatly, and take all kinds of shapes and directions.
They soon put out their leaves, one by one, or two by two, along the
stem, short spaces apart. Just above the leaves, in the larger plants,
branches start out, and grow much like the stem, with their own leaves."

"How do the flowers come?" asked Gus.

"Sometimes they grow on a little stem of their own, called a scape, that
springs up separately from the root. But usually the main stem or one of
the branches is changed into a flower-stem. Now suppose we cut this
rose-bud in two, and then I can show you."

"Please, Professor," said May, "don't cut the poor rose-bud. There is a
book down stairs with one in it cut in two."


Gus brings the book, and the Professor exclaims, "That is what I want
exactly. Here are lines pointing to the parts; and now I'll explain
them. You see, S is the sepals."

"What are they?" asked Joe.

"The sepals are the outer covers of the flower. They lie all over and
hide it when it is in the bud, but are folded back when the bud opens.
There are five, which is a very common number for flowers to have. Some
have only two or three, others none at all. The petals are marked L.
They are the gayly colored parts that lie next to the sepals, and inside
of them. Sometimes the petals are separate from each other, and
sometimes all fastened together. They are also called the corolla, which
means a little crown, and are the showiest portion of the flower. Wild
flowers are apt to have only one row of petals, but those cultivated in
gardens often have a large number. The good care that they get has the
effect to make them deck themselves out with more petals, which are the
parts chiefly admired for their brilliancy."

"What are these little threads near the middle?" asked Joe.

"They are called stamens. In the picture they are marked P. Inside of
them, in the very centre, is what are called the pistils, T. Down below
them are the seeds, in the middle of what becomes the fruit, as you have
noticed in an apple or pear, which is somewhat like a rose when ripe,
though very much larger. After the petals have fallen off the rose, the
part that is left gets ripe with the seeds inside, just as if it were an
apple or a pear."

[Illustration: FISHERMAN'S LUCK.]



"What do you say to Ned's taking a ride up to Miss Pamela's to-morrow?"
said Mr. Weatherby to his wife.

"How? All by himself? A ride of twenty miles?"

"On horseback. Yes. Yes. Does that answer your three questions
satisfactorily? Now _I'll_ ask one. Why not?"

"Oh, I suppose there is no objection, only he has never taken such a
long ride alone."

"Why, mother! I, a great fellow of fourteen! Of course I can go - that
is, please let me. What for, father?"

"I have had a little dividend of fifty dollars paid in on Miss Pamela's
morsel of horse-railway stock, and I know she always wants money as soon
as it comes."

"Probably much sooner, poor soul - " said Mrs. Weatherby.

"Unlike most other people, eh, ma'am?" interrupted Mr. Weatherby.

" - and more than ever now, since she has taken those two girls of her
good-for-nothing brother's. If they had been boys, they might have been
some use on her mite of a farm. When I said so to her, she said: 'Yes,
my dear, that's just the reason their mother's family don't want them;
but, you know, girls have to live as well as boys. We're pretty sure of
getting enough to eat, and as for the rest, I believe the Lord will

"Her faith will be rewarded just now," said Mr. Weatherby, "for this is
an unlooked-for dividend. The road has been doing better than usual of

"I'm very glad," said his wife. "I dare say it will be a real godsend to
them all."

"I'll be off early in the morning," said Ned.

"All alone, and carrying money!" said his brother Tom, with an ominous
shake of the head.

Ned _did_ feel a little like a hero as he started on his long ride
through a thinly settled country, and over a road passing through miles
of thick woods. His suggestion that it might be well to carry a revolver
had been smiled at by his father, and frowned down by his mother, and he
had to confess to himself that he felt a little safer without it. His
half-desire for just a trifling adventure was not to be gratified, for
as noon approached he drew near Miss Pamela Plumstone's quaint old
farm-house, and was soon warmly welcomed by that sprightly lady.

"Why, Master Ned, I _am_ delighted! How good of you! Didn't you find the
roads very bad? And how _is_ your mother and the twins? And has your
father quite got over his rheumatism? And when is she going to get out
to see us again?"

"Very well, thank you. Yes, ma'am. No'm. Just as soon as the roads get
settled, she says," said Ned, attempting to answer her rather mixed
questions, as he perceived by her pause that she expected a reply.

"And what a fine big fellow you've grown to be, Master Ned! I _am_
astonished to see how you improve."

Ned fully agreed with her, but modestly refrained from saying so, and
made known his errand. How poor Miss Pamela's face shone!

"Oh, my dears, come here," she cried, running to a door. "Do come here
and see what has come to us."

Ned looked curiously at the two girls who came in answer to her call.
They had become inmates of Miss Pamela's home since his last visit to
her, and he had never seen them before.

"The youngest one looks as if she might be pretty," he said to himself;
"but how funny they do look!"

They did look funny. Miss Pamela's only ideas on the subject of dressing
little girls were drawn from her memories of what she herself had worn
forty years ago. Their pantalets reached almost to their heels, and
their gingham aprons were almost as long, and cut without a gore. Their
hair was drawn tightly back, and braided in two tails, those of the
older one being long and dangly, and of the other short and stubby.

"See here, my dears," again exclaimed Miss Pamela, "here is some money
I didn't expect. Didn't I tell you, Kitty Plumstone, that Providence
would send you some new music somehow? She plays on the piano, Master
Ned; I really do think she is going to make quite a musician. I teach
her myself, you know. I can't play any more because of the stiffness in
my fingers, but Kitty can play 'Days of Absence,' and 'Come, Haste to
the Wedding,' already."

Ned was expressing pleasure at this pleasing proficiency, when Miss
Pamela bustled away with a few words about dinner, which sounded
agreeably to him after his ride.

A long ramble afterward on the farm, in company with the funny-looking
girls, proved them to be as genial and companionable as they could have
been had their dress included all the modern improvements, although Ned,
who was rather critical in such matters, still thought it a pity they
could not have blue streaks on their stockings, ruffles somewhere about
them, and wear their hair loose.

They knew where the late wild flowers and the wild strawberries grew,
and where the birds built their nests. They gathered early cherries, and
promised Ned plenty of nuts if he would come in October. They had tame
squirrels and rabbits penned up in the wonderful old ramshackle building
which did duty as barn, stable, carriage-house, granary, and general
receptacle for all kinds of queer old-fashioned lumber, the
accumulations of many years. They were poultry-fanciers, too, in a small
way; had a tiny duck-pond at one corner of the barn, where the great
sweep of roof sloped down almost to the ground, forming a shed, and they
all climbed upon it, and watched a quacking mother as she introduced her
first brood of downy little yellow lumps to their lawful privileges as
ducklings. And all agreed (the girls and boy, that is) that it was much
nicer to be young ducks than young chickens; and there is no reason to
doubt that the young ducks thought so too, as they realized the delights
of the cold-water system.

But all agreed that nothing came up to the bantams - the proud little
strutting "gamy" (Ned said that) roosters, all bright color and

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Young People, June 29, 1880 → online text (page 1 of 5)