St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, V. 5, Nov 1877-Nov 1878 online

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Transcriber's Note:
Footnote B is incomplete due to text missing from original page.

* * * * *



VOL. V. APRIL, 1878. NO. 6.
[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]



Kitty was a pretty little girl, with gray, laughing eyes, and a dimple in
each cheek; but from the time when she first commenced to toddle alone she
began to be dangerously fond of running away from home. Let a door be ajar
ever so little and out pattered the tiny feet into the streets of the
crowded city and all sorts of dangers. Papa and mamma had long
consultations of what should be done to correct this fault, while Aunt
Martha, looking over her spectacles, timidly suggested a little birch tea;
but mamma would not listen to that. Kitty was too small for any such
bitter dose yet, and papa, who rather admired Aunt Martha's suggestion,
declared finally that his wife must settle the matter herself - he "didn't
know how to train a girl."

So Kitty, left to an indulgent mother, went on her way, and hardly a day
passed but the cry went from cellar to attic, "Kitty is gone!" Nurses
without number came and went; they could never "stand Miss Kitty's strange

The little one had reached her fifth year without any serious injury,
notwithstanding her unfortunate habit, when there came a time of great
anxiety in their home, for her mamma was ill, growing paler and weaker
every day. The physicians suggested a winter in Egypt, and a trip up the
Nile; so, one bright October day, the family, consisting of the father and
mother, with Kitty and her nurse, sailed away from New York in a steamer
bound for Liverpool. Kitty was delighted with the novelty of everything
she saw on this grand trip. She did not once attempt to run away during
the whole of the long journey to Egypt, though all the time, and
especially in Liverpool, Maggie never failed to keep her "under her eye."

On a bright, warm November afternoon they sailed into the harbor of
Alexandria, and Kitty held tightly to Maggie's hand in open-mouthed
astonishment at the novelty of the scene. Vessels of all sizes and
descriptions thronged the harbor, carrying crews from many strange
nations - Arabs with long flowing robes and swarthy skins, black Nubians
and portly Turks, all screaming, apparently at the top of their voices.
Kitty's mamma had read to her little girl some stories from the "Arabian
Nights," and now, as they approached this eastern land, they mingled
curiously in her little brain. They were not long in landing, and as they
drove to the hotel on the Grand Square, Kitty fairly gave herself up to
staring about the streets. Here came a file of tall camels laden with
merchandise, stalking along with silent tread; there rode a fat Turk on a
very small donkey; then followed several ladies riding upon donkeys, and
each wearing the invariable street costume of Egyptian ladies - a black
silk mantle, with a white muslin face-veil which conceals all the features
except the eyes. Kitty admired the Syce men running before the carriages
to clear the way, and as she looked at their spangled vests and white,
long sleeves waving backward while they ran, she inwardly wished it had
been her position in life to be a Syce. What could be more delightful and

Then there were the palm-trees and the water-carriers, with their
goat-skins of water slung over their shoulders, and the bazaars - all most
interesting to our travelers. But Kitty was too young to feel more than a
dim surprise at the objects around her. She knew nothing, of course, of
the history of Alexandria, once the first city in the world, where Euclid
presided over the school in mathematics, and Aristotle studied and gave
instruction. Here stood those vast libraries founded by Ptolemy Soter,
which were subsequently destroyed, and here St. Mark presided over the
church of Africa. Yet all this was unknown to Kitty, who was much more
interested in the good dinner set before her at the hotel, with its
dessert of fresh dates and great luscious grapes, and the comfortable
bed which received her tired little form that night.

"Maggie," said the invalid mother the next morning, "don't let Kitty go
out of your sight. I'm so nervous about her."

"Oh no, mum!" replied Maggie, re-assuringly. "Shure and I'll watch her
like a cat does a mouse," and the good Irish girl kept her word, so that
the two days spent in Alexandria were disturbed by no frights concerning
Kitty. At last they were off again, this time in the cars for Cairo. On,
on they went, villages on either hand, and such funny houses, such as
Kitty had never seen before, and mud hovels with domed roofs, but without
windows and often without doors.

"Shure," said Maggie, eyeing these rude dwelling-places with great
disdain, "it's glad I am that me mother was not an Egyptian, to bring me
up in a poor hoot loike thim."

For a time Kitty gazed wonderingly on the swiftly passing scenes, but by
and by the little head drooped, the eyelids closed, and Maggie took the
sleeping child into her lap, and let her sleep there until they reached
the railroad station at Cairo and stepped out into the din and confusion
of the motley crowd. With a bewildered look Kitty leaned back in the
carriage which conveyed them to the New Hotel, opposite the Esbekiyah
Gardens; then, as they approached the entrance, she looked up at the great
building with its many balconies and columns, and exclaimed: "It looks
just like a big church organ, mamma."

Many exciting days followed before they left for their trip up the Nile.
The bright sunshine of that cloudless sky appeared to revive the invalid.
It seemed, she said, as if she could feel it warm in her lungs and heart,
and she brightened so in the change that they all gathered hope and
courage, and went about on merry little trips to the many objects of
interest around Cairo, before their floating home was ready for their
departure. Kitty made friends of everybody; and had funny pantomime
conversations with the Arab waiter who took charge of their rooms,
examining curiously the long blue robe which he wore, and the red fez with
its black tassel on his head. "It's awful funny," she said, "to see people
calling the waiters by clapping their hands instead of ringing a bell; I
think it's a very strange country!" So saying she would walk up and down
the long rooms with her hands folded behind her as she had seen her papa

Such donkey rides as Kitty and her papa had over the hard, smooth road
leading to the pyramids, with the long shadows of the acacias before them!
And then, how she teased him to buy a donkey for her to take to America!
But he only smiled in reply, saying, in true Arab fashion, "Bookrer"

They spent one day in the bazaars buying all sorts of beautiful sashes, in
brilliant colors, of Turkish embroidery. One bore the Sultan's name in the
Turkish language, worked with gold threads, and another had the motto,
"God is good," worked in blue and silver. Then there were shawls
"perfectly lovely," said the little New York girl, boxes of sandal-wood
that she longed to be smelling of continually, a pair of slippers and a
gold-embroidered smoking cap to be taken home to Uncle Harry, and a
beautiful cloak and table-cover for Aunt Martha.

But, alas! this visit awoke Kitty's long-slumbering propensity, and she
determined to watch for a good opportunity and go alone to that wonderful
bazaar. The opportunity soon came. It was just after breakfast. Maggie had
gone to the laundry with some of Kitty's white dresses. Papa was talking
with a French gentleman about New York, while mamma was yet sleeping.
"What a splendid chance!" whispered Kitty, and catching up her sailor hat
she sped away through a side entrance and down the Mouski, which is the
Broadway of Cairo. It is a narrow, crowded street, with tall houses, every
story projecting a little over the one under it, so that if you should
lean from a window of the upper floor you might shake hands with your
opposite neighbor. Kitty's bump of locality was pretty well developed, and
she found the way to the bazaar without any trouble. In her chubby hand
was clasped a little gold five-franc piece, which had been given her the
previous day, and visions of glittering treasures which should be bought
with that tiny gold piece floated before her eyes. She hurried on by the
quaint fountains which are placed at the corners of the bazaars, to cheer
those water-worshiping people, and soon found herself amid the charms and
mysteries of the bazaar, and in front of the little shops like
bow-windows, with their owners sitting cross-legged in the midst of their
goods, smoking and waiting indifferently for a customer. Walking toward
one of these turbaned merchants, Kitty said, with a queer attempt at
dignity, "Please show me some shawls."

But this clearly spoken sentence was all lost on the foreign merchant, to
whom English was an unknown language.

"Anni mush ariff," said the man, puffing away at his pipe, and
deliberately settling himself among his cozy cushions, as if for a long
and dreamy nap.

Kitty, of course, did not understand Arabic, and the words, which really
signified, "I don't understand," sounded to her unpracticed ears like "I
am a _sheriff_!" a word which was always associated in the little
runaway's mind with policemen, a class of persons who were to Kitty
objects of tyranny and terror.

"Oh, dear," whispered Kitty, "if he is a sheriff, may be he'll arrest me
and lock me up." So saying she fled from the presence of the astonished
merchant, and darted round a corner through a motley crowd of donkeys,
camels, and beggars blind and maimed. And now, her momentary fright over,
she entered a still more narrow way, where were stalls of glittering
diamonds set in every imaginable form, and gems of all sorts and sizes,
arranged in brilliant order. Kitty forgot everything in her admiration. "I
mean to buy a diamond pin. I just do!" she exclaimed, and, accosting the
man, asked the price of a huge crescent of gems.

"Allah!" cried the man, rousing from his languor. And then, in his own
language, he said to Kitty: "Little lady, where are you going? Are your
papa and mamma gone?"

Kitty looked silently and wonderingly at the kind-hearted merchant a
moment, and then her little mind began to realize that she was among a
strange people who could not understand a word that she might say. The
tears began to come in the gray eyes, and turning, she said, "I will go
home." But which way? Her little head grew bewildered, and, to crown all,
an immense camel stalking along with silent tread nearly stepped on her
little foot. She cried in earnest now, and the merchant kindly lifted her
up beside him on a soft, Turkish rug, right in the midst of the flashing

Quite a crowd had gathered now, listening eagerly while the man pictured
in earnest language the position of the lost child. But none knew little
Kitty; not a soul could speak to her in all that motley crowd of camel
drivers, donkey boys, beggars, milkmen with their goats, merchants and
dark-eyed women wrapped in their mantles and veils. There was none to help
her. Suddenly, out from the crowd came a young Arab boy, one of those
little fellows who carry about with them a vest full of snakes, exhibiting
them for a living in front of hotels and other public places.

"Me know she!" he cried, as his eyes fell on the little girl sitting there
on the rich Turkish carpet, her soft, golden hair floating around her,
more beautiful than all the merchant's gold and jewels.

The boy rapidly addressed the merchant, Kitty catching at the words, and
trying in vain to understand them. They seemed to satisfy the merchant,
however, and then the boy, pushing down a restless snake into its retreat,
advanced to the troubled child.

"You Americano," he said. "Me see you in New Hotel. You want see papa? Me
tek you."

Kitty, started up delighted; but at the sight of that inquisitive snake
making its re-appearance from the boy's pocket, she retreated and sat down
again amid the jewels. The merchant laughed. "She likes my diamonds,
Mahomet, better than your ugly reptiles." Then, taking a little gold ring
set with a small blue turquoise, he placed it on Kitty's first finger and
lifted her off the carpet, calling as he did so to a passing donkey boy,
and giving him some hurried instructions. Kitty smiled her thanks for her
pretty ring, and seeing the snake boy looking fiercely at the donkey boy,
who had lifted her into the saddle, "Come, too," she said, "you can talk,
and this boy can't." So the two boys ran alongside of the donkey, watching
carefully lest the little rider should fall; and very soon they emerged
from the bazaar and were galloping along the Mouski.

Meantime, Kitty's absence had been discovered at the hotel, and great
excitement followed. Her mamma fainted, and Maggie wrung her hands in
anxiety and despair. Her papa alone was cool and collected.

"She has run away so many times," said he, quietly, "that I have no doubt
she will come home safely, as always before."

Nevertheless, he dispatched messengers without number here and there, and
looked anxiously out into the streets for that dear little yellow head he
so loved. It was nearly noon when he saw it - the bright sun glaring down
on the tired little face under the sailor hat. He was going to be very
stern as he lifted his naughty child from the saddle, but she looked so
repentant, putting up her quivering lips for a forgiving kiss, that
somehow his anger fled away and he gave her the pardoning caress. The two
boys were sent away happy, with a generous baksheesh or present, and the
next day Kitty's father sought out the kind-hearted jewel merchant and
bought many a gem from his choice collection. Among them was a locket for
Kitty, in which he then placed his own and her mother's picture.

"Kitty," he said, gravely, as he hung the pretty thing about her neck,
"when you are tempted to do wrong, open this locket, and think how it will
pain two hearts that love you."

"Papa," said the repentant Kitty, "I never will run away again."

And she kept her word. So it came to pass that our little heroine lost her
evil propensity in the Turkish bazaar at Cairo.




You'd never guess what 't was I found
One morning in my basket;
Oh! such a precious, precious gem
For such a funny casket.

Gem, did I say? A wealth of gems:
Sweet eyes of sapphire brightness,
And, 'twixt two lips of coral red,
Pearls dazzling in their whiteness.

And gold was there on waving hair,
And lilies too, and roses
On rounded cheeks, and dimpled chin
And cunningest of noses.

"In here, mamma," the darling cried.
"Look! I'm a little story;
The one you didn't like, you know -
'Prince Bee and Morning Glory.'

"And Rover, he's a jingle, torn
'Cause he went wrong - poor Rover!
But _I_'m real pretty. Wont you take
Me out and write me over?"

I kissed the laughing eyes and mouth.
"My pet, you need not ask it;
No story sweet as you must stay
In mamma's old waste-basket!"



"Oh, look! look! all those pretty little Easter things in the window
already!" exclaimed my little sister one day, as we passed one of the
largest confectionery stores in Stuttgart; and, true enough, though Lent
was but half over, there they were, a pretty show. Eggs, of course, in
quantities and of all sizes, from that of an ostrich to a humming bird's,
made of chocolate or of sugar, and gayly decorated with little ribbons and
pictures. Then there were fat little unfledged chickens, some just
emerging from their shells, some not an inch long, and others large as
life; pure white lambs, with ribbons and bells round their necks;
paste-eggs, with holes at the ends, and, looking through, behold, a
panorama inside! and eggs with roses on one side, which, when blown upon,
emit a musical sound.

[Illustration: AN EASTER CARRIAGE.]

But odder than all these were the goats playing on guitars, or dragging
behind them fairy-like egg-shaped carriages, with little hares gravely
driving; and in others of these carriages were reclining one or two
(generally two) baby hares, or a hare mother rocking her little one in an
egg cradle; there were sugar balloons, in the baskets of which hares
watched over their nests full of eggs; wheelbarrows full of eggs, and
trundled by a hare; and dainty baskets of flowers, with birds perched upon
each handle, peering down into nests of eggs half hidden amidst the
blossoms. When one knows that each nest comes out, and forms the cover to
a box of _bonbons_ neatly concealed underneath, this pretty structure
certainly loses none of its attractiveness.

[Illustration: AN EASTER FANCY.]

In all directions signs of the approaching season begin to appear. Every
old woman in the market-place offers for sale a store of hard-boiled eggs,
smeared over with some highly colored varnish, besides candy chickens,
hares, etc., in abundance. All the various shop windows display pretty
emblematic articles. Besides the sugar and chocolate eggs, there are eggs
of soap and of glass; egg-shaped baskets and reticules; leather eggs,
which really are ladies' companions, and filled with sewing implements;
wooden eggs and porcelain eggs, and even egg-shaped lockets made of solid

It would be difficult to explain why these things appear at Easter, and
what they all mean. The eggs, as every one knows, we have at home, and
where they are in such abundance chickens will not be very far away. For
the lamb and the goat we can find scriptural interpretations, but the
rabbit and the hare - what can they have to do with Easter? Nine persons
out of ten can only answer, "The hares lay the Easter eggs." Queer hares
they must be, indeed, but the children here believe it as devoutly as they
do that the "Christ-kind" brings their Christmas presents, or as our own
little ones do in Santa Claus. No one knows exactly whence came this myth.
Many think it a relic of heathen worship; but a writer named Christoph von
Schmid, in an interesting story for children, suggests this much prettier

[Illustration: AN EASTER CRADLE.]

Many hundred years ago, a good and noble lady, Duchess Rosilinda von
Lindenburg, at a time when a cruel war was devastating the land, was
obliged to fly from her beautiful home accompanied only by her two little
children and one old man-servant.

They found refuge in a small mining village in the mountains, where the
simple but contented and happy inhabitants did what they could for their
comfort, and placed the best of all they had at the disposal of the
wanderers. Nevertheless, their fare was miserable; no meat was ever to be
found, seldom fish, and not even an egg; this last for the very good
reason that there was not a single hen in the village! These useful
domestic fowls, now so common everywhere, were originally brought from the
East, and had not yet found their way to this secluded place. The people
had not even heard of such "strange birds." This troubled the kind
duchess, who well knew the great help they are in housekeeping, and she
determined that the women who had been so kind to her should no longer be
without them.

Accordingly, the next time she sent forth her faithful old servant to try
and gather news of his master and of the progress of the war, she
commissioned him to bring back with him a coop full of fowls. This he did,
to the great surprise of the simple natives, and the village children were
greatly excited a few weeks later at the appearance of a brood of young
chickens. They were so pretty and bright, were covered with such a soft
down, were so open-eyed, and could run about after their mother to pick
up food the very first day, and were altogether such a contrast to the
blind, bald, unfledged, helpless, ugly little birds they sometimes saw in
nests in the hedges, that they could not find words enough to express
their admiration.

The good lady now saved up eggs for some time, then invited all the
housewives of the village to a feast, when she set before them eggs
cooked in a variety of ways. She then taught them how to prepare them for
themselves, and, distributing a number of fowls among them, sent the dames
home grateful and happy.

When Easter approached, she was anxious to arrange some pleasure for the
village children, but had nothing to give them, "not even an apple or a
nut," only some eggs; but that, she concluded, was, after all, an
appropriate offering, "as an egg is the first gift of the reviving
spring." And then it occurred to her to boil them with mosses and roots
that would give them a variety of brilliant colors, "as the earth," said
she, "has just laid aside her white mantle, and decorated herself with
many colors; for the dear God makes the fruit and berries not only good to
eat, but also pleasant to look upon," and the children's pleasure would be
all the greater.

Accordingly, on Easter Sunday, after the church service, all the little
ones of about the age of her own met together in a garden; and, when their
kind hostess had talked to them a while, she led them into a small
neighboring wood. There she told them to make nests of moss, and advised
each to mark well his or her own. All then returned to the garden, where a
feast of milk-soup with eggs and egg-cakes had been prepared. Afterward
they went back to the wood, and found to their great joy in each nest five
beautiful colored eggs, and on one of these a short rhyme was written.

[Illustration: AN EASTER LOAD.]

The surprise and delight of the little ones when they discovered a nest of
the gayly colored treasures, was very great, and one of them exclaimed:

"How wonderful the hens must be that can lay such pretty eggs! How I
should like to see them!"


"Oh! no hens could lay such beautiful eggs," answered a little girl. "I
think it must have been the little hare that sprang out of the juniper
bush when I wanted to build my nest there."

Then all the children laughed together, and said, "The hares lay the
colored eggs. Yes, yes! the dear little hares lay the beautiful eggs!" And
they kept repeating it till they began really to believe it.

Not long afterward the war ended, and Duke Arno von Lindenburg took his
wife and children back to their own palace; but, before leaving, the
Duchess set apart a sum of money to be expended in giving the village
children every Easter a feast of eggs. She instituted the custom also in
her own duchy, and by degrees it spread over the whole country, the eggs
being considered a symbol of redemption or deliverance from sin. The
custom has found its way even to America, but nowhere out of the
_Vaterland_ are the eggs laid by the timid hare.

To this day children living in the country go to the woods just before
Easter, and return with their arms full of twigs and moss, out of which
they build nests and houses, each child carefully marking his own with his
name. They are then hidden behind stones and bushes in the garden, or, if
the weather be cold, in corners, or under furniture in the house. And on
Easter morning what an excitement there is to see what the good little
hare has brought! Not only real eggs boiled and colored, but sugar ones
too, and often wooden ones that open like boxes, disclosing, perhaps, a
pair of new gloves or a bright ribbon. He even sometimes brings hoops and
skipping-ropes, and generally his own effigy in dough or candy is found
trying to scamper away behind the nest.


Then what fun they have playing with the eggs, throwing them in the air
and catching them again, rolling them on the floor, exchanging with each
other, and _knocking_ them! This game is played by two, each child holding
an egg firmly in his hand, so that only the small end appears between the
thumb and forefinger, or under the little finger. The two eggs then are

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Online LibraryVariousSt. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, V. 5, Nov 1877-Nov 1878 → online text (page 1 of 11)