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Produced by Annie McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S



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Tuesday, September 28, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
$1.50 per Year, in Advance.

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In one corner of the Bois de Boulogne is a pretty zoological garden
known as the Jardin d'Acclimatation. The Bois de Boulogne is the
pleasure-ground of Paris, and is one of the most beautiful parks in the
world. It comprises about twenty-five hundred acres of majestic forests
and open grassy meadows, through which flow picturesque streams,
tumbling over rocky cliffs in glistening cascades, or spreading out into
broad tranquil lakes, upon which float numbers of gay pleasure-boats
filled on sunny summer afternoons with crowds of happy children.

But the place where the children are happiest is the Jardin
d'Acclimatation. There are no savage beasts here to frighten the little
ones with their roaring and growling. The lions and tigers and hyenas
are miles away, safe in their strong cages in the Jardin des Plantes, on
the other side of the big city of Paris; and in this charming spot are
gathered only those members of the great animal kingdom which in one way
or another are useful to man.

The Jardin d'Acclimatation has been in existence about twenty-five
years. In 1854 a society was formed in Paris for the purpose of bringing
to France, from all parts of the world, beasts, birds, fishes, and other
living things, which in their native countries were in any way
serviceable, and to make every effort to accustom them to the climate
and soil of France. The city of Paris ceded to the society a space of
about forty acres in a quiet corner of the great park, and the
preparation of the ground for the reception of its strange inhabitants
was begun at once. The ponds were dug out and enlarged, the meadows were
sodded with fresh, rich grass, spacious stalls were built, and a big
kennel for dogs, aviaries for birds, aquaria for fish, and a silk-worm
nursery, were all made ready. A large greenhouse was also erected for
the cultivation of foreign plants. Here the animals were not brought
simply to be kept on exhibition, but they were made as comfortable and
as much at home as possible.

On pleasant afternoons troops of children with their mammas or nurses
crowd the walks and avenues of the Jardin d'Acclimatation. Here, in a
comfortable airy kennel, are dogs from all parts of the world, some of
them great noble fellows, who allow the little folks to fondle and
stroke them. On a miniature mountain of artificial rock-work troops of
goats and mouflons - a species of mountain sheep - clamber about, as much
at home as if in their far-away native mountains. Under a group of
fir-trees a lot of reindeer are taking an afternoon nap, lost in dreams
of their home in the distant North. Grazing peacefully on the broad
meadows are antelopes, gazelles, and all kinds of deer; and yaks from
Tartary, llamas from the great South American plains, Thibet oxen, and
cattle of all kinds are browsing in their particular feeding grounds.

In a pretty sunny corner is a neat little chalet inclosed in a yard
filled with fresh herbage. A cozy little home indeed, and there, peering
inquisitively through the open door, is one of the owners of this
mansion - a funny kangaroo, standing as firmly on its haunches as if it
scorned the idea of being classed among the quadrupeds.

What is whinnying and galloping about on that meadow? A whole crowd of
ponies! Ponies from Siam, from Java, shaggy little Shetlands, quaggas
and dauws from Africa, all feeding and frolicking together, and there,
in the door of his stall, stands a sulky little zebra. He is a very
bad-tempered little animal, and evidently something has gone wrong, and
he "won't play." In a neighboring paddock is a gnu, the curious horned
horse of South Africa. The children are uncertain whether to call it a
horse, a buffalo, or a deer, and the creature itself appears a little
doubtful as to which character it can rightfully assume.

One of the few animals kept in cages is the guepard, or hunting leopard.
The guepard, a graceful, spotted creature, is very useful to hunters in
India. It is not a savage animal, and when taken young is very easily
trained to work for its master. It is led hooded to the chase, and only
when the game is near is the hood removed. The guepard then springs upon
the prey, and holds it fast until the hunter comes to dispatch it. The
guepard in the Jardin d'Acclimatation is very affectionate toward its
keeper, and purrs like a big cat when he strokes its silky head, but it
is safer for children to keep their little hands away from it.

In pens provided with little ponds are intelligent seals and families of
otters, with their elegant fur coats always clean and in order; and down
by the shore of the stream and the large lake a loud chattering is made
by the numerous web-footed creatures and long-legged waders. Here are
ducks from Barbary and the American tropics, wild-geese from every
clime, and swimming gracefully and silently in the clear water are
swans - black, gray, and white - that glide up to the summer-houses on the
bank, and eat bread and cake from the children's hands.

Among the tall water-grasses at one end of the lake is a group of
pelicans, motionless, their long bills resting on their breasts. They
look very gloomy, as if refusing to be comforted for the loss of their
native fishing grounds in the wild African swamps.

Promenading in a spacious park are whole troops of ostriches, their
small heads lifted high in the air, and their beautiful feathers blowing
gracefully in the wind. Be careful, or they will dart their long necks
through the paling and steal all your luncheon, or perhaps even the
pretty locket from your chain, for anything from a piece of plum-cake to
a cobble-stone is food for this voracious bird. A poor soldier, whose
sole possession was the cross of honor which he wore on the breast of
his coat, was once watching the ostriches in the Jardin d'Acclimatation,
when a bird suddenly darted at him, seized his cross in its beak, and
swallowed it. The soldier went to the superintendent of the garden and
entered a bitter complaint; but the feathered thief was not arrested,
and the soldier never recovered his treasure.

What a rush and crowd of children on the avenue! No wonder, for there is
a pretty barouche, to which is harnessed a large ostrich, which marches
up and down, drawing its load as easily as if it were a span of goats or
a Shetland pony, instead of a bird.

There are so many beautiful birds in the aviaries, so many odd fowls in
the poultry-house, and strange fish in the aquaria, that it is
impossible to see them all in one day, and the best thing to do now is
to rest on a seat in the cool shade of the vast conservatory, among
strange and beautiful plants from all parts of the world. And on every
holiday the happy children say, "We will go to the Jardin
d'Acclimatation, where there is so much to enjoy, and so much to learn."



Last month I spent several weeks at a farm within sight of the White
Mountains. One morning the boy Frank came in with a basket of sweet-corn
on his arm, and a bad scowl on his countenance.

"What is the matter, Frank?" inquired his mother, coming from the

Indignation was personified in him, as he answered, "Them pigs has been
in my corn."

"I hadn't heard that the pigs had been out. Did they do much harm?"

"Yes, they spoiled a peck of corn, sure; broke the ears half off, and
some all off. Rubbed 'em all in the dirt, and only ate half the corn.
Left 'most all one side. They didn't know enough to pull the husks clear

Just then the hired man came in, and Frank repeated his complaint of the

"They hain't been out of their yard for a week, I know. I heard some
'coons yellin' over in the woods back of the orchard last night. I guess
them's the critters that's been in your corn piece."

"S'pose they'll come again to-night?" inquired the boy, every trace of
displeasure vanishing.

"Likely 's not. They 'most always do when they get a good bite, and
don't get scared."

"I'll fix 'em to-night," said the boy, with a broad smile at the
anticipated sport.

Twilight found Frank sitting patiently on a large pumpkin in the edge of
his corn piece, gun in hand, watching for the 'coons. An hour later his
patience was gone, and the 'coons hadn't come - at least he had no notice
of their coming. As he started from his rolling seat a slight sound in
the midst of the corn put him on the alert. He walked softly along
beside the outer row, stopping frequently to listen, until he could
distinctly hear the rustling of the corn leaves, and even the sound of
gnawing corn from the cob. His heart beat fast with excitement as he
became assured of the presence of a family of raccoons, and he held his
gun ready to pop over the first one that showed itself. There were
slight sounds of rustling and gnawing in several places, but they all
ceased, one after another, as Frank came near. He listened, but there
was nothing to be heard. Then he went to the other side of the piece to
cut off their retreat from the woods. He came cautiously up between the
corn rows to the midst of the piece, but no 'coon was there.

"Pity they will eat their suppers in the dark," muttered Frank, to
relieve his vexation at the disappointment.

He returned slowly to the house, and went up to his room, where he sat
down and read awhile. After an hour or more he became too sleepy to
read; so he laid aside his book, put out the light, and popped into bed.
Just as he was falling asleep he heard several cries over in the woods.
They were half whistle, half scream - a sort of squeal. He sprang up in
bed to listen. The cries ceased, and for several minutes all was
silence. Then there arose a succession of screams, much nearer, and in a
different voice. It was interrupted and broken. It seemed something
between the squeal of a pig and the cry of a child.

Frank said to his father the next morning that "it sounded as if it was
a young one, and the mother was cuffing it and driving it back. At any
rate, the last of the cries sounded as if the little 'coon had turned,
and was going away."

"Very likely," said his father; "the little 'coon was probably hungry
for the rest of his supper, and was going back to the corn sooner than
the old 'coon thought was prudent."

Frank heard no more of the 'coons, and soon went to sleep, but in the
morning he found that more corn had been spoiled than in the first
night. The 'coons had only run off to come back again, and begin their
depredations in a new place. He therefore came to the conclusion that he
must watch all night, and every night, if at all.

The hired man told how some boys where he worked once caught a 'coon by
setting a trap at the hole in a board fence near the corn piece. There
was a wall beside the woods not far from Frank's corn, and there were a
plenty of holes in it, but which particular hole the 'coons came through
nobody could tell.


"I'll find out," said Frank. He went to a sand-bank with the
wheelbarrow, and shovelled in a load of sand. This he spread at the
bottom of every large hole, and on the rocks at every low place in the
wall. In the morning he walked along there, and the foot-prints in the
sand showed where the path of the 'coons crossed the wall. There he set
his steel-trap, and another which he borrowed of a neighbor. In the
morning he went over to see what had happened. One trap was sprung, and
held a few hairs; the other trap had disappeared. It didn't go off
alone, Frank thought; but it had a long stick fastened to its chain that
would be sure to catch in the bushes before it went far. He sprang over
the wall, and peeped round among the knolls and bushes. Suddenly, as he
went around a clump of little spruces, a chain rattled, and a
brownish-gray creature, "'most as big as a bear," as Frank afterward
said, sprang at him, with a sharp, snarling growl, and mouth wide open.
The sight was too much for Frank's nerves, and set them in such a tremor
that he ran away. When he came in sight of his corn he began to grow
angry, and his courage came up again. He now got him a larger stick than
he had first carried, and set out for the animal again. He had
considered that, after all, it could be only a 'coon, though bears had
been heard of in the corn fields further north. Frank and the corn-eater
now met again face to face, and for a few seconds there was a lively
battle, in which mingled the snarling of the 'coon, the rattling of the
chain, and the blows of the stick. At length the 'coon lay still, and
Frank stood guard over him with a broken stick. The next day he ate a
slice of roast 'coon for dinner with great relish.

The traps were set again for the next night, but never a 'coon was in
them in the morning. The cunning fellows evidently considered the place
too dangerous, and chose another entrance. Anyway, the corn was still
going away fast. Frank feared that he wouldn't have enough to fill his
contract with the canning factory unless the family in the house, or the
other family in the woods, left off eating. Something must be done. At
length Frank bought a dog. He made a nice kennel for him in the middle
of the corn field, and tied him there at night. Just after Frank had
fallen into a sound sleep the dog woke him up with his barking. Frank
went out, but could find nothing. The dog woke him twice more that
night, but he didn't trouble himself to leave his bed again. In the
morning he found that the 'coons had destroyed as much corn as before,
but it was all about the edges. The next night they ventured a little
nearer the kennel. The following night the dog was left in the kennel
loose. Probably when the 'coons came he made a charge upon them, and
they turned upon him and drove him away, for he was only a little young
one. He took refuge in the wood-house, where he barked furiously for an
hour or more, and then in occasional brief spells all the
night - whenever he woke enough to remember the 'coons. After this Frank
gave up the defense of the corn, but began to gather it nightly as fast
as the ears were sufficiently full. At length he cut the corn and took
it into the barn, excepting a single bunch. About this bunch he sunk
traps in the ground, and threw hay-seed over them, and placed nice ears
of sweet-corn beside them. The next morning he had another 'coon. The
other trap was sprung also, but it held nothing but a little tuft of
long gray fur. That sly fellow had again sat down on the trencher. From
this time the 'coons troubled Frank's corn no more, having found other
fields where there was more corn and fewer traps. Frank's final conflict
with the 'coons was late in the autumn, when the leaves were nearly gone
from the trees, and the ripe beech-nuts were beginning to drop. He had
fired all his ammunition away at gray squirrels the day before, except a
little powder; but a meeting of crows in the adjoining woods incited his
sporting proclivities, and he loaded his gun, putting in peas for shot,
and started for the locality of the noisy birds. They cawed a little
louder when they discovered the intruder, then began in a straggling
manner to fly away. So when Frank arrived at the scene of the meeting it
had adjourned. Looking about in the trees to see if by chance a single
crow might still be lingering, a slight movement in a tall maple met his

"Biggest gray squirrel ever I saw," muttered the boy, raising his gun.
The position was not a good one for a shot, as the head, which had been
thrust out over a large branch close to the trunk was now withdrawn, so
that only the end of the nose was visible. Close beside this branch was
another, and between the two a large surface of gray fur was exposed.

"I'll send him some peas for dinner," thought Frank, and fired. He heard
the peas rattle against the hard bark of the tree, but no gray squirrel
came down or went up that he could see. When the smoke cleared away, a
black nose was thrust out over the branch, and two keen eyes were
visible, peering down at the sportsman, as much as to say, "I like peas
for dinner, little boy, but don't take 'em that way."

"That's no squirrel," thought Frank. "I believe it's a 'coon - sure as a
gun. And I haven't got a thing to shoot him with."

He thought of putting his knife into his gun for a bullet, but it proved
too large. Then he looked for some coarse gravel, but did not find any.
Feeling in all his pockets, his fingers clutched a board nail.

"Ah, that's the thing! We'll see, Mr. 'Coon, if you care any more for
board nails than you do for peas."

Loading his gun again, he dropped in the nail instead of a knife for a
bullet. He took careful aim again at the spot of fur between the
branches, and fired. The 'coon was more than surprised this time, and he
certainly forgot to look before he leaped, or he never would have sprung
right out ten feet from the tree, with nothing between him and the
ground, thirty or forty feet below. He struck all rounded up in a bunch,
like a big ball, bouncing up two or three feet from the ground. Frank
started toward the animal, thinking, "Well, that fall's knocked the life
out of him."

He never was more mistaken. When he stepped toward him, the 'coon got
upon his feet at once, and offered battle. Frank now used his gun in
another manner, seizing it by the barrel, and turning it into a war
club. There ensued some lively dodging on the part of the 'coon; but at
length he was hit slightly, when he turned and ran for the nearest tree.
This happened to be a beech, in whose hard, smooth bark his claws would
not hold. He slipped down, and as Frank came up, turned and made a dash
for the boy's legs. Frank met him with a blow of the gun on the head, at
which the 'coon dropped down, apparently lifeless. Another such blow
would have finished him; but Frank was unwilling to give it, for the
last one had cracked his gun-stock. So he shouldered the gun, took the
'coon up by the hinder legs, and started for home. Before he got there
the 'coon had come to his senses again, and made Frank pretty lively
work to keep his own legs safe. As soon as he could find a good stake
Frank dropped his dangerous burden, and before the 'coon could run away,
he was stunned by a blow of the stake.

With this victory the war between Frank and the 'coons ended for the
season. He had been obliged to buy some corn of a neighbor in order to
fill his contract with the canning factory; but the 'coon-skins sold for
enough to make up the money.

[Illustration: "COME ON!"]

[Begun in No. 46 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, September 14.]






The boys at Mr. Morton's select school were not the only people in
Laketon who were curious about Paul Grayson. Although the men and women
had daily duties like those of men and women elsewhere, they found a
great deal of time in which to think and talk about other people and
their affairs. So all the boys who attended the school were interrogated
so often about their new comrade, that they finally came to consider
themselves as being in some way a part of the mystery.

Mr. Morton, who had opened his school only several weeks before the
appearance of Grayson, was himself unknown at Laketon until that spring,
when, after an unsuccessful attempt to be made principal of the grammar
school, he had hired the upper floor of what once had been a store
building, and opened a school on his own account. He had introduced
himself by letters that the school trustees, and Mr. Merivale, pastor of
one of the village churches, considered very good; but now that
Grayson's appearance was explained only by the teacher's statement that
the boy was son of an old school friend who now was a widower, some of
the trustees wished they were able to remember the names and addresses
appended to the letters that the new teacher had presented. Sam
Wardwell's father having learned from Mr. Morton where last he had
taught, went so far as to write to the wholesale merchants with whom he
dealt, in New York, for the name of some customer in Mr. Morton's former
town; but even by making the most of this roundabout method of inquiry
he only learned that the teacher had been highly respected, although
nothing was known of his antecedents.

With one of the town theories on the subject of Mr. Morton and Paul
Grayson the boys entirely disagreed: this was that the teacher and the
boy were father and son.

"I don't think grown people are so very smart, after all," said Sam
Wardwell, one day, as the boys who were not playing lounged in the shade
of the school building and chatted. "They talk about Grayson being Mr.
Morton's son. Why, who ever saw Grayson look a bit afraid of the

"Nobody," replied Ned Johnston, and no one contradicted him, although
Bert Sharp suggested that there were other boys in the world who were
not afraid of their fathers - himself, for instance.

"Then you ought to be," said Benny Mallow. Benny looked off at nothing
in particular for a moment, and then continued, "I wish I had a father
to be afraid of."

There was a short silence after this, for as no other boy in the group
had lost a father, no one knew exactly what to say; besides, a big tear
began to trickle down Benny's face, and all the boys saw it, although
Benny dropped his head as much as possible. Finally, however, Ned
Johnston stealthily patted Benny on the back, and then Sam Wardwell,
taking a fine winter apple from his pocket, broke it in two, and
extended half of it, with the remark, "Halves, Benny."

Benny said, "Thank you," and seemed to take a great deal of comfort out
of that piece of apple, while the other boys, who knew how fond Sam was
of all things good to eat, were so impressed by his generosity that none
of them asked for the core of the half that Sam was stowing away for
himself. Indeed, Ned Johnston was so affected that he at once agreed to
a barter - often proposed by Sam and as often declined - of his Centennial
medal for a rather old bass-line with a choice sinker.

Before the same hour of the next day, however, nearly every boy who
attended Mr. Morton's school was wicked enough to wish to be in just
exactly Benny Mallow's position, so far as fathers were concerned. This
sudden change of feeling was not caused by anything that Laketon fathers
had done, but through fear of what they might do. As no two boys agreed
upon a statement of just how this difference of sentiment occurred, the
author is obliged to tell the story in his own words.

Usually the boys hurried away from the neighborhood of the school as
soon as possible after dismissal in the afternoon, but during the last
recess of the day on which the above-recorded conversation occurred Will
Palmer and Charley Gunter completed a series of a hundred games of
marbles, and had the strange fortune to end exactly even. The match had
already attracted a great deal of attention in the school - so much so
that boys who took sides without thinking had foolishly made a great
many bets on the result, and a deputation of these informed the players
that it would be only the fair thing to play the deciding game that
afternoon after school, so that boys who had bet part or all of their
property might know how they stood. Will and Charley expressed no
objection; indeed, each was so anxious to prove himself the best player
that in his anxiety he made many blunders during the afternoon

As soon as the school was dismissed, the boys hurried into the yard,
while Grayson, who had lately seen as much of marble-playing as he cared
to, strolled off for a walk. The marble ring was quickly scratched on
the ground, and the players began work. But the boys did not take as
much interest in the game as they had expected to, for a rival
attraction had unexpectedly appeared on the ground since recess: two
rival attractions, more properly speaking, or perhaps three, for in a
shady corner sat an organ-grinder, on the ground in front of him was an
organ, and on top of this sat a monkey. Now to city boys more than ten

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Young People, September 28, 1880 → online text (page 1 of 4)