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Abby Morton Diaz.

The Jimmyjohns, and other stories online

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light me home. Do you know where the flower-garden
is ? You do ? that is nry home. My lodgings are among
the damask-rose-leaves. I am a poor belated Butterfly.
I lost nry way ; staid very long with the sweetbrier, and
never thought the daylight would go.



THE BELATED BUTTERFLY. 185

You will light me home? That s a dear fly ! Your
name is Firefly ? What a sweet name ! But how fast
you go ! Please don t dart so quick, because I cannot
follow ; for nry wings are very, oh ! very tired. Slower,
slower, that s a kind firefly ! Now we go nicely on.

What will you take for your lamp ? Won t sell? But
you will forget, I hope, our morning conversation.
Perhaps, though, so little a fly can t remember so long.
You can remember? Then what a kind, forgiving crea
ture you are ! I shall certainly speak well of you to my
friends. Call on me almost any time, that is, almost
any evening, and we ll go out together. We have
come a very long way, and should now be near home.
Yes, the air is so fragant here, that I am sure we have
nearly reached the flower-garden. I smell the perfume
quite plainly. We are passing over mignonette ; that
is the breath of sweet-pea ; now the bed of pinks is
beneath us ; here must be the hone} suckle-bower ;
here is balm ; here is lavender ; and here s the smell of
the damask-rose.

Now thanks and good-b} r , my friend. I shall need
you no longer : the fragrance will guide me to bed.
Good-night, little fly !

I do think it is very strange, and say so, now he
is out of hearing, that such mean-looking little flies
should have lamps to cany, while we Butterflies, who
would light up so beautifully, and are so much superior
to them, should be obliged to do without.



THE MAPLE-TREE S CHILDREN.



A MAPLE-TREE awoke at spring-time, shivering in
-\- the east winds. " O mother Nature ! " she said,
" I tremble with cold. Behold my limbs ugly and bare !
The birds are all coming back from the south, and I
would look my best. They will soon be building their
nests. Oh, a bird s nest does make a tree so pleas
ant ! But, alas ! they will not come to me, because
I have no leaves to hide them."

And kind mother Nature smiled, and presented her
daughter Maple with such multitudes of leaves ! more
than you could count. These gave beauty to the tree,
besides keeping the rain out of the birds nests ; for
birds had quickly come to build there, and there was
reason to expect a lively summer. A right happy
Maple-Tree now was she, and well pleased with her
pretty green leaves. They were beautiful in the sun
light ; and the winds whispered to them things so sweet
as to make them dance for joy. A pair of golden-rob
ins had a home there, and thrushes came often. Sun
shine and song all day long ! Or, if the little leaves
became hot and thirsty in the summer s heat, good
186



THE MAPLE-TREE S CHILDREN. 187

mother Nature gave them cooling rain-drops to drink.
A happier Maple-Tree could nowhere be foiind.

"Thanks, thanks, mother Nature," she said, "for
all your care and your loving-kindness to me."

But, when autumn came with its gloomy skies and its
chilling winds, the Maple-Tree grew sad : for she heard
her little leaves saj T ing to each other, We are going
to die ; we are going to die ! "

People living near said, "Hark! Do you hear the
wind? It sounds like fall." Nobody told them it was
the leaves all over the forest, moaning to each other,
" We are going to die ; we are going to die ! "

"My dear little leaves!" sighed the Maple-Tree.
" Poor things, they must go ! Ah, how sad to see them
droop and fade awa} T !

"I will make their death beautiful," said kind moth
er Nature ; and she changed their color to a scarlet,
which glowed in the sunlight like fire.

And everyone said, " How beautiful!" But the
poor Maple-Tree sighed, knowing it was the beauty of
death.

And one cold October morning she stood with her
limbs all bare, looking desolate. The bright leaves lay
heaped about her.

" Dear, pretty things," she said, " how I shall miss
them ! they were such a comfort ! And , how ugly I
am ! Nobody will enjoy looking at the Maple-Tree
now."

But presently a flock of school-girls came along,
chatting away, all so cheerily, of ferns, red berries, and
autumn-leaves.

"And I think," said one, " that there s a great
deal of beauty in a tree without any leaves at all."



188 THE MAPLE-TKEE S CHILDREN.

" So do I," said another. "Just look up through
yonder elm ! Its branches and boughs and twigs make
a lovely picture against the sky."

"When my uncle came home," said a third, "he
told us that some of the people in the torrid zone per
fectly longed to see a forest without leaves."

And, thus chattering, the lively school-girls passed
on.

" Ah ! " sighed the Maple-Tree, " this will at least
be pleasant to dream about."

For she already felt her winter s nap coming on. If
she could but have staid awake, and heard what her
little leaves said to each other afterwards down there
on the ground !

Dear old tree ! She has taken care of us all our lives,
and fed us, and held us up to the sun, and been to us a
kind mother ; and now we will do something for her.
We will get under ground, and turn ourselves into food
to feed her with ; for she ll be sure to wake up hungry
after her long nap."

G,ood little things ! The rains helped them, and the
winds, in this way : The rains beat them into the
ground, and the winds blew sand over them ; and there
they turned themselves into something very nice for
the old Maple-Tree, something good to take.



THE WHISPEREK,



UNCLE JOE, being " stumped " by the children to
tell a story about a birch-tree, began as follows :

" There was once a lovely princess who had a fairy
for a godmother. ^This young princess was slender,
graceful, and very fair to behold. She usually dressed
in green, green being her favorite color.

" This pretty creature would have been a great favor
ite but for her troublesome habit of whispering. She
had always some wonderful news, or seemed to have,
which everybody must hear privately : so no wonder
that she came to be known, at last, by the name of
The Whisperer.

" Now, this conduct was very displeasing to the old
fairy, who, being of a hasty temper, would often be
come angry, and scold and threaten her ; though, when
good-natured, she would smile most pleasantly upon
her, and drop gold in her path.

"The princess, as may be imagined, liked to see
herself well dressed ; and every year she saved up the
gold which her godmother had dropped, and spun and
wove herself a fine golden mantle. The faiiy was quite
willing to find her in gold to spin ; and all would have

189



190 THE WHISPEKEK.

gone well, only for the habit above mentioned ; which
habit, I will say in passing, was very strong upon her
in breezy weather.

u But one day the old lady, who, as has been re
marked, was of rather a hasty turn, became so pro
voked, that she lost all patience with the whisperer,
and, touching her with her wand, changed her, quick as
thought, to a slender green tree.

Now stand there and whisper to the winds !
cried the angry fairy.

" And sure enough she did. The pretty, graceful
tree did stand and whisper to the winds ever after, but
always . saved up sunshine enough through the long
summer-days to weave for itself a golden mantle, and,
when decked in that, was as pleased as a tree could be
to see itself so fine.

"And that s the way, so I ve been told," said uncle
Joe, laughing, "that birch-trees began. Go into the
woods any time when there s a light breeze stirring,
and you may hear them whispering, whispering, whis
pering. They never fail, however, to save up sunshine
enough through the long summer-days to weave for
themselves fine golden mantles. But these fine golden
mantles are sure to be spoiled by a rough old king who
comes this way every year, storming and raging, and
making a great bluster. He gives them white ones
instead ; but they are not as pretty.

" Say, my little children, do you know who this old
king is ? "



A STRANGER IN PILGRIM-LAND, AND WHAT

HE SAW.



IE town of the Pilgrims how often, in my far-off
Western home, have I read its story, and the story
of the stout-hearted who sailed across the sea to this
very spot, then a wilderness, two hundred and fifty
years ago !

And I have come at last to visit the town of my
dreams ; have actually set my foot upon its holy
ground." This hill, planted thick with graves, is the
ancient "Burial Hill." Sitting among its mossy head
stones, I look far across the bay to the cliffs of Cape
Cod, where, before landing here, some of "The Ma} T -
flower s " crew went ashore. to get firewood. Just below
me lies the town, sloping to the sea. Vessels sail in and
out, and little boats skim over the water like white-
winged birds. How can they skim so lightl} over the
hallowed waters of Plymouth Bay ! Far less swiftly
sped that "first boat," laden with passengers from
"The Mayflower."

Two hundred and fifty years ago ! let me use for
a while, not my real eyes, but my other pair, the



192 A STRANGER IN PILGRIM-LAND,

of my mind, my " dream eyes," and see, or make
believe that I see, this place just as it looked then.

And now I will suppose the town has vanished. No
streets, no houses, no sail upon the sea. Stillness
reigns over the land and over the dark waters of the
bay.

A ship enters the harbor. Why should a ship come
sailing to these desolate shores ? A hundred and one
passengers are on board. They have come three thou
sand miles, have been tossed upon the ocean one hun
dred days and nights ; and now they find no friends to
welcome them. Not a house, nor a single white per
son, in all this vast wilderness. What will they do
these men, women, and children in so dreary a place?
Can they keep from freezing in this bitter cold ?

A boat puts off from the ship. Row, row, row.
Nearer and nearer it comes. But how will they land ?
Will the sailors jump out, and pull her up high and dry?
Ah ! to be sure, there is a Rock, and the only one to be
seen along the shore. They steer for that. And now
I see Elder Brewster, their first minister, and Gov.
Carver, their first governor, and Capt. Miles Standish,
their first soldier, and Mary Chilton, the first woman
who stepped upon the Rock. Now the boat goes back,
back for another load.

Where can all these people live ? Out of doors this
wintry weather? Let me see what they will do.

They cut down trees to build houses. First a
common house is built ; then the one hundred and
one people are divided into nineteen families, and
begin to construct nineteen log-huts, each family work
ing upon its own. These are set in two rows, and are



AND WHAT HE SAW. 193

placed near together, on account of the Indians. The
two rows form a street, which runs from a cliff by the
water s edge part way up this hill.

Now the goods are being brought ashore, bales,
boxes, farming-tools. And there is a cradle. They
will need that to rock little Peregrine White in. A
baby has been born on the passage, whom they named
" Peregrine," because he was born during their pere
grinations, or travels.

More goods are landed, such as beds, bedding,
dinner-pots, dishes, pewter platters, spinning-wheels;
and the nineteen fanilies go to house-keeping, and begin
New England.

What will they eat, I wonder. Why, some catch
fish ; some dig clams ; others hunt. There comes a
hunting-party, which brings, among other game, an
eagle. Will they realty eat it? eat the "American
eagle " ! Yes, they do, and declare that it tastes
"very much like a sheep." But it was not the
" American eagle " then.

Soon to these nineteen families come sickness and
death. In December, six people die ; in January,
eight ; in February, seventeen ; in March, thirteen.
Scarcely half remain. They bury their dead with bitter
tears, but raise no stones above them. A crop of
corn is sown over the graves, that the Indians may
not know how few are left alive.

And, now that spring has come, " The Mayflower"
must go back to England. Will none return by this
only chance ? Is there not even one feeble woman who
would rather go home and live an easy life? No.
For freedom s sake they came, and for freedom s sake



194 A STRANGER IN PILGEIM-LAND,

they will remain. Not one goes back in " The May
flower."

They climb the hill, this very hill, and watch her
as she sails away, this very hill ! I see them stand
ing around me ; see their pale faces ; see eyes, dim
-with tears, following each turn of the ship. Now she
is but a speck : now she is gone, and they are left
alone. Behind them stretches the wilderness, away,
and awa}^, and away, across the continent; before
them, three thousand miles of ocean. Slowly and
sadly they descend the hill to that cluster of huts,
and the life of toil goes on.

And now I will use my real eyes, and go down to
view the town, a quaint old town, with narrow,
crooked streets, yet quite a populous old town, num
bering its seven or eight thousand. The Indians used
to hold their feasts upon that hill at the right ; and
clam-shells are still to be found buried in the soil
upon its western side. At the foot of this hill runs
Town Brook, where Gov. Carver made a treaty with
the Indian chief Massasoit. Massasoit came down the
hill with a train of sixt}^ Indians, but crossed the brook
with only twenty. They were nearly naked, painted,
oiled, and adorned with beads, feathers, and fox-tails.
Capt. Miles Standish with a few of his men marched
them into a hut, where were placed " a green rug, and
some cushions which served as thrones." The gov
ernor then marched in to the music of drums and trum
pets. He kissed Massasoit, and Massasoit kissed him.
The Indians " marvelled much at the trumpet."

Now I walk down into that street which was first laid
out, and divided into lots for the nineteen families. It



AND WHAT HE SAW. 195

is a short street, leading to the sea ; and on the right, at
the lower end, may be seen the site of the first house.
On the left is the hill upon which the Pilgrims made
that early graveyard, planting it over with corn. It
was then a cliff overhanging the sea: now a street
runs along at its foot, on the outer side of which are
wharves and storehouses. I am glad that these last
are by no means in good repair ; glad that, standing
near the Rock, they have the grace to look old and gray
and weather-beaten.

Farther and farther on I go. Soon shall my longing
e} T es behold that sacred Rock " where first the}- trod."
Ah, how many times have I fancied myself sitting
upon its top, gazing off with my other pair my dream
eyes at " The Ma}*flower," watching the coming of
the crowded boat, almost reaching out my hand to the
fair Mary Chilton !

But where is it ? I must be near the spot ; but where
is the Rock? Here comes a boy. " My young friend,
can you show me the way to the Rock? " ~Boy points
to a lofty stone canopy. "Is it possible? " I exclaim :
"all that hewn out of Forefathers Rock?" Boy
smiles, takes me under the canopy, and points to a
square hole cut in the platform. " There tis : Fore
fathers Rock s most all underground." I look down
at the enclosed rocky surface, less than two feet square ;
then with a sigh stagger against the nearest granite
column. " Sick? " boy asks. " Oh, no ! onl} a fall
I down from a rock. The one in my mind was so
high ! " " Nother piece of it out at Pilgrim Hall,"
boy remarks.

I inquire my way to that Pilgrim Hall. Here it is ;



196



A STRANGER IK PILGRIM-LAND,



and here, right in front, lies the precious fragment,
surrounded by an iron fence, and marked in great
black letters " 1620."




Now I am going into the hall to see the Pilgrim
relics, some of which were brought over in u The May
flower."

On the wall of the ante-room hangs Lora Standish s
sampler, wrought in silks of divers colors, bright enough
two hundred and fifty years ago, no doubt, though,
alas ! all faded now. Using again my dream eyes, I
behold the fair young girl, intent on learning u mark
ing-stitch," bending over the canvas, counting the
threads, winding bright silks ; her cheeks as bright
as the3 r . Little thinks she how many shall come cen
turies after to view her work. Underneath the alpha
bet are stitched these lines, which with my real eyes I
read :

"Lora Standish is my name.
Lord, guide my hart, that I may doe thy will;
Also fill my hands with such convenient skill
As may conduce to virtue void of shame;
And I will give the glory to thy name."



AND WHAT HE SAW. 197

In this same ante-room I find the two famous old
arm-chairs that came over in " The Ma} flower," one of
which belonged to Elder Brewster, and the other to
Gov. Carver.

This ante-room on the right contains an ancient spin
ning-wheel, also some bones and a kettle dug from an
Indian grave. The kettle was found placed over the
Indian s head. Here, too, arc many ver} r old books.

Now I enter the large hall, sit for half an hour before
an immense painting $ of the Landing, and am
shown two large cases with glass doors. In one of
these is a great round-bottomed iron dinner-pot, once
belonging to Miles Standish. The handle, which has a
hinge in its centre, lies inside. Using my other pair,
my dream eyes, I see this big pot hanging over a big
blazing fire, pretty Lora tending it ; while the gallant
captain stands near, polishing his sword. To guess
what is cooking in the pot I get this hint from an old
ballad of those times :

" For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies.
We have pumpkin at morning, and pumpkin at noon:
If it was not for pumpkin, we should be uncloon."

And as for what they drank with their dinner,

" If barley be wanting to make into malt,
We must be contented, and think it no fault;
For we can make liquor to sweeten our lips
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips."

The captain was polishing his sword, I said ; and
here it lies inside. Need enough it has of polish now !
And here is one of his great pewter plates. Poor Lora



198 A STRANGER IN PILGRIM-LAND,

Standish, with a pile of those to wash and to wipe and
to scour !

Whose spoon? " Elder Brewster s," the label says,
a dark iron spoon with a rounded bowl (a bit nipped
off the edge) and a short handle. A spoon suggests
i i chowder ; and no doubt this one often carried that
delicious food to the lips of the elder : for what says
the ballad?

" If we ve a mind for a delicate dish,
"We go to the clam-bank, and there we catch fish."

And, speaking of spoons, they used stout forks in
those days. Here is one a foot long, with a short
handle, and two prongs very wide apart, certainly
not made to eat peas with !

That inlaid cabinet on the upper shelf must have
been a pretty thing in its day. It belonged to Pere
grine White, and came to him, so the label says, from
his mother, just as likely as not a present to her
from Mr. White in their courting-days, and used to
keep his love-letters in : who knows ? With my other
pair I can see the rosy English girl sitting alone by
her cabinet. Its little drawers of letters are open, and
with a smile and a blush she reads over the old ones
while awaiting the new. I wonder if any fortune-teller
ever told her that she would sail over the seas to dwell
in a wilderness, and that she would be the first New-
England mother, the first bride too; for, after Mr.
White s death, she married Mr. Edward Winslow, the
third governor ; and their wedding was the first one in
the colony. Yonder, among other portraits, hangs
that of Mr. Winslow. On the top of this relic-case is



AND WHAT HE SAW. 199

a flaxen wig worn by one of the Winslow family, and
underneath it is Mr. White s ivoiy-headed cane.

What is this sealed up in a bottle ? Apple-preserve ,
made from the apples of a tree which Peregrine White
planted. Think of apple-preserve keeping so long !

On one of these shelves inside I see dingy old
Bibles ; also the spectacles with which they were read,
looking as if they could almost see without an} r eyes
behind them. There is an .ancient Dutch Bible, with
brass studs and clasps, and an English one, open at
the titlepage, "Imprinted at London by Robert Bar
ker, printer to the King s most excellent Majestie."

And is it possible? can this really be? yes, there it
is in black and white John Alden s Bible I O John !
you young rogue, I ve read in a poem what you did !
made love to Priscilla Mullins, when Capt. Miles
Standish was going to ask her to be his second wife,
and sent } ou to do the errand for him. Naught} ,
naughty 3 outh ! But Priscilla knew pretty well the
feelings of your heart, John, and knew very well the
feelings of her own, or she would never have dared to
ask that question, so famous in story, " Wliy don t you
speak for yourself, John? 9 Mr. Longfellow has told
us all about your wedding ; and how, when taking
home the bride,

"Alden the thoughtful, the careful, so happy, so proud of

Priscilla,
Brought out his snow-white steer, obeying the hand of his

master,

Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in his nostrils,
Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed for a saddle.
She should not walk, lie said, through the dust and the heat

of the noonday."



200



A STRANGER IN PILGRIM-LAND,



Little Mehitable Winslow s shoes may also be seen
here, stiff, clumsy, black, cunning, peaked things
they are, with their turned-up toes ; likewise old
pocket-books, dishes, a spur, a gourd-shell, a lock
taken from the house of Miles Standish, and various
articles besides.

Cross over now to the other case. What little ship
is that on top? Ah ! a model of "The Mayflower."
I am glad to see a model of " The Mayflower." By no
means a clipper ship was she.

This case contains mostly Indian relics, such as
tomahawks, kettles, mortars, pestles, axes, all made of

stone ; also a string of
wampum , " or Indian
money, which is simply
shells, polished and
rounded. And here, of
all thingG in the world!
is an Indian doll, made
of I don t know what ;
perhaps hardened clay.
It is a clumsy-looking
thing for a toy. I see
plenty of Indian arrows,
and up there on the
highest shelf a sort of
helmet labelled King
DOLL. Philip s cap. The gen

uineness of this relic is

doubted. King Philip was a famous Indian warrior,
who gave the whites a deal of trouble, until at last Col.
Church caught him in a swamp. Col. Church was a




AND WHAT HE SAW. 201

mighty man to catch Indians. He used to complain,
though, that they sometimes slipped out of his hands,
because, on account of their going nearly naked, "there
ivas nothing to hold on by but their hair." King Philip
was caught at last, though, by this valiant Col. Church ;
and, if anybody doesn t believe it, why here is his own
pocket-book, marked " Col. Benjamin Church ;" and
here is the very gun-barrel of his gun.

Now one last look, and then for a walk to find those
" sweet springs of water " and " little running brooks "
on account of which the Pilgrims settled in this spot.
Good-b}", precious relics ! and good-by, you old arm
chairs wherein sat those men of blessed memory !

" Their greeting very soft,
Good-morrow very kind :
How sweet it sounded oft,
Before we were refined !
Humility their care,
Their failings very few.
My heart, how kind their manners were
When this old chair was new!"



DRAMAS AND DIALOGUES.



203



THE GYPSIES, -A MAY-DAY DKAMA,



CHAHACTEKS.

LADY GASOLINE. FLORA, little daughter of LADY CARO
LINE. MARGERY, her maid, an elderly person. ELSIE, a young
girl in attendance upon FLORA. TRAMP, dressed as an old
gypsy-man. TRAMP S WIFE, dressed as an old gypsy-woman.
TRAMP S DAUGHTER PEG, dressed as a gypsy-girl. TOM-
KINS, a showman. A BLIND FIDDLER, old and gray. GIRLS
and BOYS, who dance the May-dance, and sing May-songs.

SCENE I. LADY C. reclining in arm-chair. Enter
MARGERY with vase of flowers.

LADY C. How beautiful, Margery ! Did little Flora
help 3 r ou gather them ?

MARGERY. Yes, my lady. Miss Flora why, Miss
Flora, she do frisk about so, pulls Elsie here, and then
there, u Now this flower, Elsie ! " and " Now this
nice one, Elsie!" That be a most wonderful child,
nry lady : she be playful like a kitten, and gentle, too,
like a pet lamb.

LADY C. (anxiously). Ah! already I regret having
given her permission to go with Elsie to the green.
But she longed so to see the May-dances !

205



206 THE GYPSIES. A MAY-DAY DRAMA.

MARGERY. Oh, never fear, my lady! There isn t
anywhere a faithfuller little maid than Elsie : she will
not let Miss Flora out of her sight. But nobody could


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Online LibraryAbby Morton DiazThe Jimmyjohns, and other stories → online text (page 10 of 13)