St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. V, August, 1878, No 10. online

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December, 1876.

Sailors, in very ancient times, were without compasses and charts, and
when voyaging guided themselves by studying the situations and motions
of the heavenly bodies. They saw that most of the stars passed up from
the horizon and rose toward the zenith, the point right over head, and
then dropped westward to hide themselves beyond the earth. After a time
they noted some stars which never set, but every night, in fair weather,
were seen at that side where the sun never appears, or, in other words,
were seen at their left side, when their faces were toward the sunrise.
They did not long hesitate how to use these stars. And when, during foul
weather, the sailors were tossed to and fro, these same constant stars,
that again appeared after the storm, indicated to them their true
position, and, as it were, _spoke to them_. This caused them to give
more exact study to the constellations in that same part of the heavens.
None appeared more remarkable than that among which they reckoned seven
of the brightest stars, taking up a large space. Some who watched this
star-group, as it seemed to turn around in the sky, named it the
"Wheel," or "Chariot." The Phoenician pilots called it, sometimes,
"Parrosis," the Indicator, the Rule, or "Callisto," the Deliverance, the
Safety of Sailors. But it was more commonly named "Doubé," signifying
the "speaking constellation," or the "constellation which gives advice."
Now, the word "Doubé" signified also to the Phoenicians a "she-bear,"
and the Greeks are supposed to have received and used the word in its
wrong sense, and to have passed it down to us without correction. This
explanation seems plausible to me; and now, whenever I see the
star-group we call the "Dipper," I think how gladly it was hailed by
poor storm-tossed sailors upon the narrow seas, in the early ages,
before the "lily of the needle pointed to the pole." - Yours truly,

R. A. S.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: The flowers are all in bloom; it looks so pretty.
Here is a little piece of poetry:

Lieutenant G - -
Was lost in the sea,
He was found in the foam,
But he was carried home
To his wife,
Who was the joy of his life,
His lovely brunette,
His idolized pet.
She went to a ball,
And this is all.

I have a little sister named Henrietta, but we call her "Wackie,"
because when she cries she goes "Wackie, wackie, wackie!" I remain, your
constant reader,


Camp Grant, A. T.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am a little army boy. The other day my papa went
down to Mexico, and I went with him. The first day I rode fifty-seven
miles on a mule; the next day, thirty-five miles; and the third day,
forty miles. If you know any boy East, eleven years of age, who can do
that, tell me his name. Lots of Indians out here.


Here is an account of how four enterprising girls from an inland
district spent ten summer days by themselves at the sea-side.


For boys there are all sorts of real camping-out, fishing and hunting
parties, and it's almost enough to set their sisters wild with envy.
Nevertheless, "we girls" - four of us - succeeded one year in having a
deal of holiday enjoyment all by ourselves out of the old sea. This is
how we did it, what sort of place it was, and how we lived:

We engaged a room in a cottage close to the sea, not fifty miles from
Boston. We paid one dollar per day for a medium-sized chamber, with the
privilege of parlor, dining-room, kitchen, kitchen utensils, and china.
Our cottage had fine sea-views from three sides, and roomy balconies all
around, where the salt breezes came up fresh and strong. We had a large
closet for our one trunk, not a Saratoga and not full of finery, for we
had run away from work, company, fashion. We spent whole days in
Balmoral and calico redingotes.

We took with us a few pounds of Graham flour, some fresh eggs, pickles,
tumbler of jelly, plenty of delicately corned beef, - boiled and
pressed, - salt and pepper and French mustard; some tea and coffee and
condensed milk. Fresh vegetables, milk and fruits, could be obtained
from neighbors; and fun it was to be one's own milkmaid and market
merchant; but still more fun to play gypsy and forage for light
driftwood for firing. Then, at a pinch, there were a baker and a
fish-man within easy reach.

The place was quiet, and nobody disturbed us, by day or by night; and it
was delightful to go to sleep, lulled by the music of the waves and
pleasant breeze.

We took turns presiding over the meals of the day, and none but the
day's caterer had any thought or care about that day's bill of fare.

The oldest of our party was "Aunty True," one of the real folks, and a
confirmed Grahamite. The next in age was Helen Chapman, the head and
front of the quartette; a good botanist and geologist, and acquainted
with all manner of things that live in the sea, and from her we had
delightful object lessons fresh from Nature. Next came I, and then Jo,
the youngest of us, a girl of fifteen, ready to run wild on the least
excuse. She was fairly quelled and awe-struck, however, at her first
sight of the sea. "You'll never get me to go into that!" she exclaimed,
fairly shuddering. Yet that very day she was enjoying, bare-foot, the
cool, soft sand, and playing with the foamy wavelets as the tide came
in. But she screamed like an Indian if but invited to plunge beneath the
curling surf. There was every day fresh fun in the water, - we frolicked
like fishes in their own element. And what ludicrous sights we enjoyed
watching the bathers who came from the hotels and
boarding-houses, - whole family parties, big and little!

Our party had fine weather, for in our ten days there was only a half
day of cloud and rain; but it would have been a fresh delight to see the
ocean in a storm.

The last of our pleasures was watching the sun rise out of the sea, a
crimson streak, growing into the great red sun!

C. N. EFF.

Charleston, S. C.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I would like to tell the boys and girls how to make a
pretty little ornament. You take a shell, and bore two holes in each
side, then run a piece of ribbon in each hole with a bow on the top, and
it has a very pretty effect. It can hold knickknacks, or a plant; but if
you want it for a plant, you must bore a hole in the bottom for
drainage. - Your friend,


E. M. - George Washington's wife was called "Lady" Washington out of
respect for her husband's high position as President, at a time when
titles of courtesy were sometimes given to people not of noble rank who
were in authority. The title has always clung to Martha Washington,
partly from custom, and partly also from the great reverence of all
Americans for General Washington and his wife.

Florence Wilcox, M. B., Isabelle Roorbach, and Lillie M. Sutphen sent
answers to E. M.'s question.

Baltimore, Md.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I would like to tell you my experience with wild
mice. Some time ago I spent the summer in the Sierra Nevada range. Our
family had a little cabin right in the woods, built of single boards.
One day our servant went to her valise, which had been left slightly
open; to her surprise, she found, neatly packed away, in one corner, a
small quantity of bird-seed; she at once accused a young friend, who was
staying with us, of having put it there for fun; but the accused pleaded
"not guilty," and the matter began to look mysterious. One day my papa
took down a pair of heavy mining boots, which were hung from the
rafters; he went to put his foot in, and found he couldn't; then he
turned the boot upside down. A lot of bird-seed ran out! The mystery
thickened. Another time a little dish of uncooked rice was left in the
kitchen overnight. The next morning the rice had disappeared. Then we
began to suspect mice, and hunted for the rice. It was three or four
days before we found it, in a box containing sewing materials, on the
top shelf of a cupboard. Then we took the same rice and put it in with
some broken bits of cracker, and tied a string to one of the pieces.
Papa left all on the kitchen floor. It had disappeared the next day,
except the bit with the string; this the wise little mice had not
touched. That night we heard pattering all over the house. Next day we
began to hunt for the rice again; but it was only just before we left
the cabin that we found it. It was in the tray of a trunk; and the end
of the matter was, that the poor mice had all their trouble for nothing.

I am a little girl just nine and a half, and have every number of ST.
NICHOLAS, and have them all bound, and love it dearly. - Yours truly,


A correspondent sends us the following description of what she calls the
"Island of Juan Fernandez," near Paris.

* * * * *

One of the most attractive places for out-door amusement, just outside
of Paris, is a spot fitted out to be a counterpart of the Island of Juan
Fernandez, described by Daniel de Foe in his story of Robinson Crusoe.

After leaving the railroad depot, you enter an omnibus on which are
painted the words "Robinson Crusoe." This leaves you at an arch-way
bearing the curious inscription: "A mimic island of Juan Fernandez, the
abode of Robinson Crusoe, dear to the heart of childhood, and a
reminder of our days of innocence." You pass under this with high hope,
and are not disappointed.

Inside, you find a kind of gypsy camp. Groups of open "summer-houses,"
built of bark, unhewn wood, and moss, are clustered here and there. Some
stand on the earth, others are in grottoes or by shady rocks, and some
are even among the branches of the great trees. All these houses are
meant for resting-places while you are being served with such delicacies
as pleasure-seekers from Paris are wont to require. In each of those
huts, which are in the trees, stands a waiter who draws up the luncheon,
the creams, or ices, in a kind of bucket, which has been filled by
another waiter below. All is done deftly and silently, and you are as
little disturbed as was Elijah by the ravens who waited on him.

The trees in which these houses are built are large old forest-trees,
each strong enough in the fork to hold safely the foundation of a small
cottage; and the winding stairs by which you get up into the tree are
hidden by a leafy drapery of ivy, which covers the trunk also, and hangs
in fluttering festoons from limb to limb.

From one of these comfortable perches you look down upon a lively scene
of foliage, flowers, greensward, gay costumes and frolicking children.
The view is wide, and has many features that would be strange to "dear
old Robinson Crusoe." His cabin is multiplied into a hamlet, and his
hermit life is gone. But you still recognize the place as a modernized
portrait of the island of De Foe's wonderful book. And, as if to furnish
you with a fresh piece of evidence, yonder appears Robinson Crusoe
himself, in his coat of skins, and bearing his musket and huge umbrella.

Instead of Man Friday, Will Atkins, and the rest, you see donkeys
carrying laughing children and led by queer-looking old women. And you
heave a little sigh when you think: "How few of these French boys and
girls really know old Crusoe and his adventures! To them this charming
place has nothing whatever to do with running away to sea, shipwrecks,
cannibals, mutinies, and such things. It is nothing but a new kind of
pleasure-ground to them."

However, everybody feels at home here, and so everybody is happy; for,
after all, looking for happiness is much like the old woman's search for
her spectacles, which all the time are just above her nose.

O dear delightful island, how glad we were to chance upon you right here
in gay, care-free Paris! And what an enchanted day we spent amid your
thousand delights and thronging memories!

C. V. N. C. U.

HERE are two welcome little letters received some time ago from a boy
and girl in Europe:

Nice, France.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am in Europe now, in Nice. I have seen a great deal
already. Nice is a nice place. And it is the only city in the world that
one may call "Nice" always. I can talk French now a little, enough to be
understood. I go to the "Promenade des Anglais" by the sea every
morning, and I like it very much. Nice is situated in the south-eastern
part of France, very near Italy. It once did belong to Italy. It was
given to Napoleon III. as a reward for helping the late king of Italy,
Victor Emanuel II., to the throne of Sardinia. I get the ST. NICHOLAS
sent from home, and like the stories very much. - Your loving subscriber,

(Age 12.)

Nice, France.

DARLING ST. NICHOLAS: I am a little girl seven years old, and I live in
Nice. I enjoy myself very much here, and have a great deal of fun. I
have nothing to do. I like it here very much. There are a great many
mountains here, but now I do not know any more to write. - Your loving


Pittsburgh, Penn.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have never written to you before, but I have
thought about it several times. I live in the east end of the city. I
like your magazine very much, and always read it through. I had a
dispute to-day with a boy friend of mine. It was about the gypsies, who
camp near our place every year. He said that not all people who lived
that way were gypsies; but that only those who were descended from the
Egyptians were so named. I did not agree with him, because, in the first
place, I do not think that they are descended from the Egyptians, and,
in the second place, I think that all people who live in that way are
called gypsies, no matter what country they come from. I must now
close. - Your constant reader,


New York, N. Y.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Did you know that we once had musical watchmen in
this country? Less than fifty years ago, it was quite usual in
Pennsylvania for the watchmen to sing the passing hours during the
night. I suppose the custom was brought over by the Germans, who settled
in the Keystone State. I fancy it must have been sleepy work for the
poor watchman, calling the quiet hours, and adding, as he always did,
his little weather report; at least, he invented a very drowsy,
sing-song sort of tune for it.

In these days of telegraphing, and other scientific improvements, we
should think it a very uncertain, and rather stupid, way to judge of the
weather, to say it was "past ten o'clock on a starry evening," or "a
cloudy evening," or "a frosty morning." Now, we have only to pick up the
morning paper, and consult "Old Probabilities," who nearly always
forecasts truly. But in those times there were no telegraph wires
running the length and breadth of the land, and no Signal Service,
either, so that the regular cry of the watchman may have been held in
high esteem; and, perhaps, the sleepy folk would raise an ear from the
pillow to hear the "probabilities" for the coming day, and lie down
again to arrange business or pleasure accordingly.

A hundred years ago the people of Philadelphia were startled by a
famous cry of a watchman at dead of night, making every one who heard it
wild with joy. It was just after the battle of Yorktown, the last of the
Revolution, when Lord Cornwallis and his army surrendered to Washington.
The bearer of the news of victory, entering Philadelphia, stopped an old
watchman to ask the way to the State House, where Congress was in
session, waiting for news from the army. As soon as the watchman heard
the glad tidings, he started off on his rounds, singing out to his
monotonous tune the remarkable words -

"Past four o'clock, Cornwallis is taken!"

Up flew the windows on all sides, and every ear was strained to catch
the joyful sound. The old bell sent forth a glad peal, houses were
thrown open and illuminated, and the streets were filled with happy
people congratulating one another, paying visits, and drinking toasts;
so that, could but one thousand of the seven thousand British soldiers
captured that day by Washington have entered the city that night, they
might have taken it without a struggle. - Yours very truly,

E. A. S.

St. James House, King's Lynn, Norfolk, England.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: A few days ago my brother and I had a little bazaar
which I should like to tell you about. We had been collecting and making
things for a good long time, so we had nearly forty, most of which we
made ourselves, but some were given to us by friends. I copied some of
the things out of "A Hundred Christmas Presents," in ST. NICHOLAS for
November, 1877. They were very pretty, especially the little
wheelbarrow. We had a little refreshment stall with sweets,
ginger-snaps, etc., and they sold more quickly than anything. We got £1,
1s., a guinea, which we sent to an orphan institution in London.

I like your magazine very much, I do not know which part is the
best. - Yours truly,


Bay Shore, Long Island.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I lived in Germany over four years, so I know
something about it. I should like to tell you about rafts on the Elbe.

They are of several kinds. Some are of boards all ready to be sold,
others of round timber, just cut; another kind is of squared logs, and a
fourth of both logs and boards. As the Elbe is not a rapid river, the
unaided progress of a raft is very slow. So each man on it has a pole
with an iron point on one end, while the other end fits to the shoulder;
and the men pole along most of the time. To each end of the raft there
are fastened three or four oars about twenty feet long; and with these
they steer. The Elbe is so shallow that in the summer time boys walk
through it; but in the spring the snow melting in the mountains at the
river's source (Bohemia) makes freshets which carry off animals, boards,
planks and sometimes houses. Under the arch-ways of the bridge at
Dresden during these freshets, there are suspended large nets, two
corners of each of which are fastened to the railing of the bridge, the
lower side is heavily weighted and dropped, and so the net catches
anything which comes down the stream. - Yours respectfully,


DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I wish that you would tell me how to make skeleton
leaves. I have seen some done just lovely, and so I think that I should
like to try - even if I don't succeed - to make some myself. I am going to
the country this summer to stay quite a long time, and so I shall have a
chance to get a great many different kinds of leaves. - Your constant


Irene's question is answered in Volume III. of ST. NICHOLAS, pages
115 and 116, - the number for December, 1875.

Full-page Illustrations. Published by Lee & Shepard, Boston. In 294
pages of clear type this book gives a cleverly condensed account of the
most interesting events in the life of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese
navigator who first found the way from Europe to India around the Cape
of Good Hope. His daring nobility of character and true and exciting
adventures are presented in such a way as to delight boys and girls, and
yet the romance that cannot be taken from the story is not allowed to
interfere with historical truth. As the first of a series entitled
"Heroes of History," this volume makes a good start in a pleasant and
fruitful field.



The initials and finals name a flower. 1. A fruit. 2. A Shakspearean
character. 3. A neck of land. 4. A spice.



It was 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 to the teacher's 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 me to go
home early, that I escaped the shower.

C. D.


Find for each picture a word, or words, that will correctly describe it,
and then transpose the letters of the descriptive word so as to form
another word, which will answer to the definition given below the


[Illustration: 1. Aromatic kernels of a much used kind.]

[Illustration: 2. Sovereigns.]


1. In martin, not in curlew. 2. A rather showy bird. 3. A very showy
bird. 4. An Oriental animal. 5. In sparrow.

C. O.


1. A wading-bird. 2. A talking-bird. 3. To turn aside. 4. Steadiness of
courage, or fortitude. 5. To go in.

R. K. D.


[Illustration: A three-line quotation from one of Shakspeare's plays.]


The initials name a large country of Asia, and the finals a country of
Europe renowned for its climate.

1. A country of South America. 2. An ancient name for a narrow strait in
South-eastern Europe. 3. A British possession in Asia. 4. A kingdom of
Northern Hindostan. 5. A North American mountain system.



I am a word, with meanings many; To plunge, is just as good as any. With
new head, I'm a piece of money; With other head, I'm "sweet as honey."
Another still, I'm a projection; One more, I sever all connection.
Another change, I'm the teeth to stick in; Another still, I plague your
chicken. One more new head, and I'm to taste; One more, and I discharge
with haste.

I. W. H.



1. May got a tablet for her Christmas. 2. My father walks so fast! 3.
Such air as we breathe in our school-room is hurtful. 4. My brother's
tools are always out of place. 5. What? not going to the party to-night?
6. Vic! Ribbons are out of place on school-girls. 7. _What_ spool-cotton
is the best to use? 8. Boys, stop that racket! 9. Lily made skips going
along to school every day.

C. I. J.


1. In shelf, but not in seat;
2. In food, but not in meat;
3. In slow, but not in fast;
4. In model, but not in cast;
5. In hovel, but not in hut;
6. In almonds, but not in nut.

Read this aright, and you will find
Two Yankee poets will come to mind.

I. E.


In each of the following sentences, fill the first blank, or set of
blanks, with an appropriate word, or set of words, the letters of which
may be transposed to fill the remaining blanks, as often as these blanks

Thus, in No. 1, the first blank may be appropriately filled with the
word "warned." The letters of this word, when transposed once, give
"warden" for the second blank, and, transposed again, "wander" for the

1. Though - - before setting forth, the church - - lost his way and
continued to - - helplessly for some time.

2. If a - - , or even a - - had - - at will through that well-kept
- - , the plants would have been in great - - .

3. If - - grow in the Levantine island of - - , at least - - and - -
are to be found there. This was told me as a - - fact.

4. Neither a precious stone such as a - - , nor a - - - - of pealed
willow, nor even a - - of the sweet-pea vine, is of much account to an
animal so savage as the - - . W.




Within my first, by no breeze stirred,
My second, mirrored, saw my third,
And plucked it, juicy, ripe and red,
From a stray branch just overhead.

A town in India, owned by France,
My whole, might well enrich romance.

J. P. B.


Central, read downward, an implement formerly used in war and the chase.
Horizontals: 1. To sing in solemn measure. 2. Mineral produce. 3. In
administrator. 4. A part of a toothed wheel. 5. An arbor.

C. H. S.


1. Curtail a color, and leave the forehead. 2. Curtail a joiner's tool,
and leave a plot or draught. 3. Curtail a machine tool, and leave an
article used in house-building. 4. Curtail a shrub, and leave warmth. 5.
Curtail another shrub, and leave fog. 6. Curtail an ornament, and leave
a fruit. 7. Curtail a badge of dignity or power, and leave a bird. 8.
Curtail a thrust, and leave an organ of the human body. 9. Curtail a
number, and leave a building for defense.

I. A.


In each of the following sentences, remove one of the defined words from
the other, and leave a complete word.

1. Take always from a young hare, and leave to allow. 2. Take a tree
from random cutting, and leave to throw. 3. Take part of the eye from
cuttings, and leave what children often say the kettle does. 4. Take a
sty from a workman in wood, and leave a carrier. 5. Take a favorite from
floor-coverings, and leave vehicles.



DIAMOND REMAINDERS. - 1. Dry. 2. Elope. 3. Drovers. 4. Spend. 5. Try.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10

Online LibraryVariousSt. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. V, August, 1878, No 10. → online text (page 10 of 11)