Harper's Young People, March 2, 1880 online

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Produced by Annie McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S



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Tuesday, March 2, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per
Year, in Advance.

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I had been travelling in the interior of Africa, in company with a
Portuguese ivory trader, for several weeks, greatly enjoying the wild
and exciting life we were compelled to lead. The exercise had steadied
and braced my nerves, which before setting out were in a shattered
condition from the effects of a severe and long attack of fever.
Constant practice had also made me an expert shot and a successful
hunter. Indeed, if one only knew how to handle a gun, and went to work
with proper precaution, the amazing abundance of animal life everywhere
to be met with could not fail in making him more or less of a sportsman.

In hunting the large game, such as the lion, the elephant, and the
rhinoceros, there was always a spice of danger, and I had in two or
three several instances found myself in positions of extreme peril, from
which nothing but presence of mind or good fortune brought me safely
out. But the danger incurred only lent additional charms to the pursuit;
while a proud feeling of exultation would steal over the heart when,
thinking that an insignificant and feeble man should be more than a
match for such huge creatures in spite of their gigantic strength.

One day, in our several canoes, we were paddling up a broad river; on
either bank stretched an apparently impenetrable forest, many of the
trees of which approached to the very water's edge, while the ends of
creepers fell into, and huge plants actually raised their heads out of,
the river itself. From the branches of the trees curious-looking monkeys
gazed inquisitively at us, chattering to each other as if inquiring what
business we had in invading their domains; numbers of brilliantly
colored birds hovered on the wing, making the air resound with their
varied and peculiar notes; the gentle gazelle would timidly approach to
slake his thirst at the water; the noble lion would stalk out in all his
majesty for the same purpose, while ever and anon, now close to the
canoes, now yards away, a loud snort would startle us, and the huge ugly
head of a hippopotamus would be thrust above the surface.

Journeying thus by water is a pleasant and restful change from the
everlasting tramp, tramp, through the forest, which, although enjoyable,
sometimes becomes a little wearisome. This particular day of which I
speak made the third we had thus progressed without any startling
adventure occurring to interrupt our voyage; it was not, however, to
have so peaceful a close as the other two.

When within some few miles of the spot where we intended camping for the
night, as our larder was low, I told the trader I would land and procure
some fresh meat for supper, and that I would meet him before long at the
trysting-place. My canoe was accordingly directed to the shore. Taking
with me four of the natives, to carry my spare gun and what game I might
shoot, I plunged into the forest.

I did not go very far from the banks of the river, for, as the day was
drawing to a close, I was in hopes of meeting with plenty of game on
their way to the water; so I followed the course of the stream toward
our camping-place.

The sudden plunge from the dazzling brilliancy of the sun to the solemn
gloom of the forest made it almost impossible to see anything clearly
until my eyes got accustomed to the peculiar light; so I was perforce
obliged for a short time to grope my way cautiously along.

My four attendants followed: one, a lad, bearing my spare gun; two armed
with long lances; and the fourth - whom I always called Nacko, and who
was one of the best native hunters I have ever known, active, brave, and
cool in the presence of danger - carrying a gun of his own, which he
could use with something like skill.

Nacko always kept close to my heels, for I think he looked upon himself
as my shield and guardian, and thought his protection necessary to
insure my safety; otherwise I should run into danger, and come to
inevitable grief. His coolness and courage had on more than one critical
occasion aided me very materially.

After a quarter of an hour's trampling through grass and bush and
prickly thorn, a fine deer offered himself as a target to my rifle; he
was on his way to the river, when, hearing our approach, he stopped to
listen, and in so doing turned his shoulder toward me. Lifting my rifle,
I took quick aim, and fired. The noble beast sprang into the air, and
then, falling forward on his knees, gave a few convulsive struggles, and
lay perfectly still.

Leaving two of the natives to convey the carcass to the boat, I pushed
on with the others, hoping to get another shot. I had not proceeded far,
when Nacko expressed his opinion that there were lions in the

"What leads you to think so, Nacko?" I inquired.

Before he could reply there was a rustling in the foliage, and a
graceful gazelle bounded into view, evidently fleeing from some pursuer.
Quick as thought my gun was at my shoulder, and in an instant he was
rolling over.

Then, and only then, I became aware that his pursuer was close at hand,
as the roar of a lion fell upon my ear. I began quickly to reload my
rifle, but before I had rammed down the bullet a large lion sprang on
the body, while a lioness with her half-grown cub followed at his heels.

With his two fore-paws placed on the body of the gazelle, the lion stood
erect, and turned his face in our direction. No sooner did he see us
than he gave utterance to a savage roar, but seemed uncertain what to
do - whether to keep possession of the slaughtered prey or attack the
new. Meanwhile the lioness crouched, growling, down by the side of the
dead body, while the cub licked the blood trickling from the wound.

I never stirred, but kept my eyes fixed upon the lion, telling the lad
with the spare gun to be ready to hand it to me when I should require
it. Nacko stood prepared for what might follow.

For a minute we stood thus. I was unwilling to lose the gazelle, but
hesitated to fire at the lion, for, even should I be fortunate enough to
kill him, there would be the lioness to contend with. I determined to
run the risk.

Taking a steady aim, I fired. The explosion was followed by a terrific
roar. The bullet had not touched a vital part; I had only succeeded in
dangerously wounding him. I had now an angry and formidable foe to

Throwing down my empty rifle, I put my hand behind me to receive the
other from the boy. He was a few steps from me, and before he could
place it within my reach, I saw the lion making ready for the fatal

"Fire, Nacko," I cried, as the animal bounded into the air.

Swift as thought the flame leaped from his barrel. I heard the thud of
the bullet on the body of the lion, but it could not check the impetus
of his spring, and in another moment I was hurled violently to the
ground, and for a moment lay stunned by the shock.

A dead heavy weight upon my body and legs soon brought me back to
consciousness. Opening my eyes, I found my face within an inch or two of
the lion's.

Nacko, seeing me knocked over, had thrown his own gun to the ground and
picked up the spare one, and was now approaching to give the lion his
_coup de grâce_. The animal watched the hunter's motions, but was
unwilling, or too badly wounded, to leave me and attack him.

The bold black approached within six paces of the foe, and aiming behind
his ear, fired. A shuddering quiver ran through the mighty frame; I felt
a sudden relief from the oppressive weight which confined me to the
ground as the lion rolled over, dead.

Nacko assisted me to my feet, running his hands over my body to
ascertain if any bones were broken; but with the exception of several
severe bruises, and a feeling of general soreness all over my body, I
was unhurt. We looked round for the lioness and her cub; they were
nowhere to be seen, and must have decamped during my encounter with the
lion, for which I felt not a little thankful, as I had no wish for
another such encounter.




Mrs. Brown was not quite so bad as her word, for she did not take away
Biddy's doll every night when Biddy could not give her extra pay. Of
course there were many nights when Biddy could not do this, even with
Charley's help. She had, in the first place, to pay for her straw, her
soup, and her bread. Whenever she had earned more than enough for this,
Mrs. Brown had always tried to get it away from her on some pretense or
other. Biddy had a brave heart; she had never been afraid of the rough
old woman, and often had her own way.

If you should use your soft little hands to do coarse and heavy work, it
would not be long before they would get out of shape, and become covered
with a thick skin. They might still be very good and dear little hands
inside, but they would not so quickly feel the softness of mamma's
cheek. All the pleasure of the sense of touch, which you would then find
had been great and of many kinds, would be lost to you. So it was with
Biddy's heart. She had never had any of the little pleasures, the good
times, little hopes and plans, to which all children have a perfect
right. Her hard, friendless, cheerless life had made the outside of
Biddy's brave little heart tough, just as hard, unfit work would toughen
your little hands. But the doll had made a difference to Biddy in every
way. She had done all she could for her doll. She loved it. She had made
it a dress from a piece of her own. She had been beaten again and again
for its sake. Almost more than you would be willing to do for your doll,
is it not? But it had done and was doing a thousand times more for
Biddy, because Biddy had what the doll had _not_ - life.

Mrs. Brown sometimes forgot to torment Biddy about the doll, and at
other times she seemed to feel too stupid and dull to care about it. But
she remembered quite often enough, and got away all Biddy's money, and
gave Biddy many a scare and heart-ache about it. At last the
hard-hearted old woman went too far, as cruel people are pretty sure to
do in the end.

About four months had passed since Biddy first found her doll. The warm
winds, the green buds, and singing-birds of spring had come, when one
night Mrs. Brown took the doll away from Biddy, and told her that unless
she could bring her at least two dollars by the close of the week, she
should never see it again.

That night Biddy lay awake a long while thinking over what she could do.
It was late in the night when she whispered to Charley that she had made
up her mind, and wanted to see him somewhere in the morning, and tell
him her plan. Charley answered that he would watch for her in the Bowery
near a jewelry shop where they had often stopped to look at the pretty
things in the window. He said he would be there about half past eight
o'clock. After this was settled, Biddy fell asleep.

In the morning the children met as they had agreed, and walked slowly
down the Bowery for a block or two, while Biddy told her plan to

"I can't tell ye all I've been thinkin'," said Biddy; "I feels all
stirred up with thinkin', like the soup when Grumpy puts the stick in
it. I never slept at all till I thinked it out as how I'd do jist one

"Yis, yis," said Charley, eagerly.

"I'll find a home for Dolly an' me," said Biddy; "I'll begin an' never
stop till I gits it."

"Ye'll find a home?" asked Charley. He was a good deal puzzled.

"Yis," said Biddy; "I telled ye my mind's made up. I'll look at every
man as I meets, an' I'll ax the first one as I likes the looks of to
take me an' try me. Some of 'em'll be wantin' a girl, _sure_."

Charley continued to look so astonished that Biddy explained: "'Most
every one wants a girl to do chores, an' sweep, an' dust, an' make
fires, an' - an' sich. I've seen lots o' girls no better nor me sweepin'
in the big houses, with cloths on their heads."

"Ye know all them things?" said Charley.

"An' if I don't, can't I be teached?" said Biddy, almost angrily. This
question seemed to make everything quite sure.

"Now I'm goin' to begin," said Biddy.


She darted away, and ran back to the place where she and Charley had
met. Charley slowly followed. He held his unsold papers under his arm,
and stopped by the jewelry window. Biddy had taken her stand on the
corner just opposite. A gentleman with a closed umbrella in his hand,
which he used as a cane, was coming down the Bowery toward them. He did
not seem to notice either of the children; his head was down as if he
was thinking. At the same instant another man, with his Ulster coat
flying back, came swiftly from a cross street, and taking the first
gentleman by the arm, said, so loud that both the children heard it:
"Bless me! if it isn't Phil Kennedy! How odd this is! The first day for
an age when I'm not thinking of and hunting for you, Phil, I find you."

"But I'm very busy; you really must not keep me," said the one called
Phil Kennedy. He smiled as he spoke. Biddy saw the smile. She did not
wait an instant; she stepped up close in front of him. "Does yer missus
be wantin' a girl?"

Both men looked down at her. The man in the Ulster laughed. "Get along,
you little drab!" said he, in the same loud voice as before.

Biddy did not move, or take her eyes from Phil Kennedy's face. The
fingers of her hands were twisting together as on the day when she had
first begged Mrs. Brown for her doll. Biddy did not know she was doing
anything with her hands.

"Be off, I say!" said the man in the Ulster. He spoke very sharply this
time. It was like a blow from a cane.

"Can you read?" said Phil Kennedy to Biddy. He was feeling in his vest
pocket as he asked this question, and drew out a card.

"I knows 'em as can," said Biddy.

He gave her the card. "Get some one to tell you what is on it," said he,
"and come to the place it says - let me see - can you come to-morrow
morning about this time?"

Biddy took the card. "Will _ye_ be there?" said Biddy.

"Yes, my little girl, I will." He smiled at her as he spoke. Biddy
crossed her hands over the bag she carried, and walked away without a

"I see you are just the same," said the man in the Ulster. He looked
vexed. "Who'd believe you'd give that thankless little beggar your card,
while some of your best friends don't know where to find you!"

"Thankfulness is better than politeness," said Phil Kennedy. "She can be
taught to be polite. If you had looked at her, you would have seen that
she thanked me."

The two men then walked away.

Charley had not looked round at Biddy and the gentlemen once. He had
looked steadily into the window, which had on it, in large letters,
"Jewelry and Diamonds." His heart beat very fast; he hardly noticed the
gems that flashed and sparkled in the trays and boxes. But when the men
had passed on, he turned and looked up and down the street, and after a
moment saw Biddy sitting on the lower steps of a wholesale store. He
hurried up to her. Biddy had been crying a little, but her eyes were
shining with hope. She held the card to Charley.

"I axed 'em in there," said she, "an' they telled me as it's the place
where a very nice gentleman have his home, an' it's his name is on it,
too; an' they axed me how ever did _I_ gits _that_ gentleman's card.
An', oh, Charley, do ye thinks as his missus'll be wantin' me? An', oh,
_do_ ye think ye can hook away my dolly from Grumpy?"

Biddy stopped for breath. Charley looked up at the windows of the store,
as if he were trying with all his might to see just how they were made;
then he looked back toward the Bowery again.

"How queer ye look!" said Biddy.

Then for the first time Biddy thought of what Charley might be thinking.
She rose quickly from the steps.

"Here, ye take the card," said she. "I'll mebbe lose 'em, or _she_'ll be
after gittin' it. An' ye shall go with me in the mornin'; an' if I gits
a home, I'll speak for _ye_. Do ye mind that, Charley? They'll be after
wantin' of a boy as much as a girl; an' I can give ye a fust-rate
riccommend, so I can."

Biddy made him take the card, and punched him once or twice to make sure
of his attention.

"Did ye look at him, Charley?" she asked as they walked along. "Did ye
mind the two kind eyes of him? The minute ever he looked at me I warn't
a bit afeard; an' I felt as I could work my fingers to the bone for

Biddy went the next day to the place written on the card Mr. Phil
Kennedy had given her. She teased and coaxed Charley a long time before
she could get him to go with her, for he was very bashful, and hung back
all the way. While she stood at the foot of the steps, looking up to be
sure about the number, Mr. Phil Kennedy himself came to the door, and
called her in. He looked just as kind and smiling as on the day before,
and Biddy bobbed her curly head up and down, to show him how glad she
was. She was so eager that she did not think to say "Good-morning"; but
she cried out, in a glad, piping voice, "Here's Charley, sir; an' the
best boy ye can ever see! If ye wants a boy to take care of the furniss
an' fetch the coal; an' he can run of errants faster nor me; an' he
mended me doll. Charley - "

While Biddy talked she kept making little springs and jumps at Charley,
who kept edging away, so that Biddy was likely to get half way down the
block, when all at once Charley turned, and showed his speed by running
out of sight very quickly indeed. Biddy looked as if she was going to
run after him; but Mr. Phil Kennedy, who stood laughing in his doorway,
called after her, and Biddy came back. He led her through the hall, into
a very pleasant room. There was an open fire, a bright rug in front of
it, a mocking-bird in a cage in the window, and a beautiful lady sitting
in an arm-chair, with her feet on a cushion. The lady was pale; her
hands were thin and white; there were crutches beside her chair; but she
looked as if she were very happy; and when she smiled at Biddy, Biddy
could not have told why she felt as if her heart was filling her whole

"Let her sit here near me, Phil," said the lady. Then, when Biddy was
seated between them, they asked her a great many questions, and Biddy
answered them all as well as she knew how. Both spoke so kindly,
sometimes the lady and sometimes the gentleman, and seemed to care so
much to know all about her, that Biddy took a new interest in her own
story, and told it very well. Like the stories of thousands of other
friendless children, Biddy's story was very simple. She didn't know
where she was born. She had never seen her parents. She didn't know if
she had any brothers or sisters; she did know she had never seen any.
She had never been at school. She had never slept on a real bed only
when she was in the hospital. She had had a "reel good time" in the
hospital. A little girl had given her some flowers. She had a friend;
his name was Charley; and if they wanted a boy to do things, he was the
best boy. He had mended her doll. She wanted a home for her doll. Grumpy
wouldn't let her have her doll; that was why she wanted a home. And if
they would let her bring her doll, she would do all she could, and try
hard to please them.

When Biddy came to the end of her story, Mr. Phil Kennedy said:

"This lady is my sister. She is the only near friend I have in the
world, Biddy. If you come to live with us, we will take good care of
you, and you must take good care of her. She is lame, and can only walk
a very little. You must watch, and learn to save her trouble. She will
teach you the things she wants to have you do, but you must not make her
tell you the same things over and over again."

Biddy sat very still, and when Mr. Kennedy paused, she waited for him to
speak more. He seemed to think for a few minutes very deeply, then he

"After you have learned what you are to do, Biddy, I shall want you to
help me find some other little girl who has no friends, and needs a home
just as you do, and I can perhaps find a home for her too. I have heard
all you have said about Charley. There are reasons why I can not help
him just at this time. But I promise you that I will remember about him,
and will see what I can do for him as soon as I can. Now, Biddy" - and
Mr. Kennedy smiled, with a very merry look - "what wages do you think we
ought to pay you?"

Biddy did not seem to even hear this question, she was so much
interested in the other things Mr. Kennedy had said; and the moment he
stopped speaking she asked if she might really have her doll, and when
they had satisfied her on this point, she told them Charley would bring
it. Then she seemed to suddenly feel how great a change had come in her
life. She jumped down from her chair, looked round the room, her breath
coming quick, then at her new friends.

"Oh, it's _home_ it'll be! An' if ye'll let me begin," she cried, "I'll
try to be so good, so I will!"




BY M. E.

Fast asleep fell Madeline,
Fairy-book held in one hand,
In the other slice of cake -
Slept, and drifted to the land
Where the spirits of the dreams
Many wondrous visions keep -
Visions that are only seen
When the eyes are closed in sleep.

Dreamed the little Madeline
That she was a princess fair,
Beautiful as that proud maid
Famous for her golden hair.
And at splendid feast she sat,
And a prince sat by her side,
Handsome as the prince who won
"Sleeping Beauty" for his bride;

Dreamed a cake - a wedding cake -
She dispensed to courtly throng,
Cutting it with knife of gold,
While the "Blue Bird" sang a song.
Largest piece received the prince,
And he whispered, "This is bliss,"
As he kissed her hand and gave
Ring of diamond with the kiss.

But ere long the dream grew dim,
Feast and courtiers vanished quite,
Diamond ring and lover too
Softly faded from her sight;
And the only prince she saw
(She was once more wide-awake)
Was a little prince of mice
Nibbling at her slice of cake.



We left India in a bag of leather. Dark and narrow it was, but greater
messengers than Postal Cards have to wait a while in darkness before the
time comes for them to tell their message. Flowers have to - so do

Do not think from this that I was lonely. Oh no. I rode next to a grand
Letter in white, and not far from a portly Circular in buff. However, as
he was not of my clasp, I shunned him. The Letter, on the contrary,
charmed me; he seemed so self-contained, so wrapped up in his own
thoughts. Besides, he bore a crest and a monogram and a superscription
to be proud of. He was quite reserved; but before we passed Aden his
angularity had so far worn off that I learned that he was commissioned
to bear a message to a dainty young lady in the southwest of England.
What the message was I could only guess. Letters are not nearly so frank
about such matters as _I_ have been taught to consider proper. Still, it
must have been something very delightful, for one could tell from his
crest and monogram that the Letter had been sent by a person of gentle
blood, and in fact he told me that his master was a handsome young man
in a military coat. Moreover, he said that this young man had given him
a very warm pressure of the hand at parting (which had left a deep
impression on him), and had even touched him lightly to his lips.

Possibly you have never reflected upon the fact that Postal Cards and
Letters have any feelings. But wait. Perhaps one of our race is waiting
at this very moment to undeceive you. After the right one comes along
and tells you his message, you will know thenceforward that we are quite
alive, and have great power over the affections.

Post-office clerks have no sentiment. All along the way they handled us
as rudely as if we had been mere blank pieces of pasteboard. One or two
of them coolly stared at me till I was very red in the face, and then
turned me over and stared again, until I felt as if I were getting read
in my back. I am told that such rudeness is not uncommon. As if this

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Young People, March 2, 1880 → online text (page 1 of 4)