Abby Morton Diaz.

The Jimmyjohns, and other stories online

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and left her kitten, and came back and jumped in at
the same window just as they were going to start again.
4 Ready ! cried the head moving-man. Then the
drivers began to shout, and nourish their whips (like
this) : Come along here ! Haw ! Whoa ! Go
on! Gee ! Get up there ! What ye bout there ?
The horses and oxen began to draw with mighty
strength ; the wheels began to roll ; and the barn
moved on.

" And next they came to a railroad-crossing, and
there they stopped. Across the way was a signboard ;
and on the signboard were capital letters, LOOK
RINGS. < Take down that signboard! shouted the
head moving-man, and let it stay down while the barn
passes by. Then out came the ladders, and up
climbed the men, and down came the signboard."

" And out jumped the cat again! " cried the same
little boy.

" To be sure, out jumped the cat again, with another
kitten in her mouth, and ran. She had farther to go
this time ; and, before she got back, the head moving-
man called out, Ready ! Then the drivers began to
shout, and nourish their whips (like this) : Move along
now ! * What are ye doin there I Hi, hi I Get
up! l Goon! Haw! l Haw! Keep a-movin !
The horses and oxen began to draw with mighty
strength ; the wheels began to roll ; and the barn
moved on.


11 And next they came to a great oak-tree, whose
limbs overhung the road, and there they stopped.
Chop off a few of those limbs ! shouted the head
moving-man. Then out came the ladders, and up went
the men with their hatchets ; and crack, snap ! went the
limbs. Soon ran somebody from a little house a long
distance off, bawling awaj r , and shaking his fists, What
you doin up there ? Stop chopping ; stop chopping !
I ll make you pay damages ! All right ! I ll pay
damages ! cried the head moving-man ; and just then
the cat came back, and jumped in at the window. The
drivers began to shout, and flourish their whips (like
this) : Come up! Gee ! c Gee, I say ! Come
along ! Whoa ! Back ! Get up now ! Haw
buck I Mind there ! Hi, hi, hi ! Now go long !
The horses and oxen began to draw with mighty
strength ; the wheels began to roll ; and the barn
moved on.

" At home, Hepsy Bacon and another woman, So-
phrony by name, sat at the chamber- window, peeling
potatoes. They had come to help the barrel-man s
wife get the dinner ready ; for the Paxhamborougk
moving-men, and all the oxen-drivers from South
Stromriffe and Smithersville and Mt. Lob and Trilcr-
bite Four Corners, must have their dinners. And the
barrel-man had said, Watch out from the chamber-
windows ; and, when the barn comes in sight, put
your potatoes in the pot.

" Three great dinner-kettles were set boiling on the
stove, besides tea-kettles, fiying-pans, stew-pans, sauce
pans, coffee-pots, tea-pots, and rnan3 r other things.

" At two o clock the great brown barn came in sight,


with all the horses and oxen and drivers, and a crowd
of men and bo} T s and dogs following on. Then ran
Hepsy Bacon and Sophrony, and dropped into the pot
their peeled potatoes, along with the meat, cabbages,
parsnips, squashes, turnips, carrots, rye-dumplings, and
many other things ; and the table was set with plates,
spoons, cups, saucers, forks, knives, napkins, tumblers,
and many other things.

At half-past two the great brown barn came rolling
past the windows, with all the twenty oxen (twenty
horned oxen) and horses (horses with tails), and
crowds of men, and drivers cracking their whips, and
boys shouting, and dogs barking, and a grand hurrah
all round. The barrel-man s lame horse whinnied and
ran ; the cow mooed and ran ; the geese squawked and
ran ; the turkeys gobbled and ran ; the old pig grunted
and ran ; the little pigs squeaked and ran ; the liens
cackled and ran ; the two cats mewed and ran, and one
jumped up on the house ; the dogs barked ; while
Hepsy Bacon and Sophrony., with their long necks out
the window, waved white handkerchiefs. When the
barn stopped, out leaped the cat that came from Jo-
rullo, with another kitten in her mouth. The boys
hooted her, Meauw, meauw ! st, st ! quish !
pr rr IT rr rr! - and back she went again.
Somebody chased her in, and found she had one kitten
there besides the one in her mouth.

" When every thing w T as read}", the men came in to
dinner, tall men, short men, fat men, lean men, dark
men, light men, young men, old men, curly-haired men,
straight-haired men, men with shaggy coats, men with
butchers frocks, men with bruised hands, men with


bad coughs, men with pains in their shoulders, all
tired, and all very hungry ; for they had eaten nothing
since early in the morning, and had walked all the way
from their homes in South Stromriffe, Smithersville,
Mt. Lob, Paxhamborough, and Trilerbite Four Cor
ners. The barrel-man s wife and Hepsy Bacon filled
up the dishes as fast as they were emptied ; and So-
phrony, with the coffee-pot in one hand and the teapot
in the other, asked each one, Tea, or coffee, sir?

" One poor sickly man who was troubled with a very
bad cough was asked to stay all night, so that he needn t
take any more cold ; and Hepsy Bacon and Sophrony
made for him in the filing-pan a cough-medicine of
molasses and castor-oil and pepper and sugar and
butter and vinegar, and many other things.

" Next morning there were four kittens in the barn.
That cat must have gone all the way back to Jorullo in
the night, and brought those others, one at a time.

" And now, children," said the family story-teller in
conclusion, "stand around little and big, old and
young while I show you the beautiful, graphic, and
animated drawings which the barrel-man made himself
on the very day that the barn came down from Jorullo."



THE family story-teller, being asked to tell one of
his " ten-minute " stories, said, " If it will content
you, I will tell you a Potato story which begins with a

Once there was a Bean-Pole which was stuck into
the ground by the side of a Potato-Hill.

" Dear me ! cried a young Cabbage, growing near,
* what a stiff, poky thing that is ! and of no earthly
use, standing there doing nothing.

" But very soon a Scarlet-Bean, running about in
search of something to climb upon, found this same

" All right! cried the happy little Bean. You
are the very thing I want. Now I ll begin my sum
mer s work.

" Well, to be sure ! cried young Cabbage. Every
thing comes to some use at last. But who would have
thought it !

" The Scarlet-Bean was a spry little thing. She ran
up that pole just as easy ! Being of a lively turn, she
began, at last, to make fun of the Potato-Plant.



" How sober you are ! said she. Why don t you
try to brighten up, and look more blooming?

"The poor Potato-Plant, though doing her best,
could only show a few pale blooms.

" You don t mean to call those things flowers?
cried the frisky Bean. Just look at my beautiful
blossoms ! And she held up a spray of bright scarlet.

" The Potato-Plant kept quiet.

" What stupid, useless things those Potato-Plants
are ! said young Cabbage ; and how much room they
take up !

" Summer passed. The Bean began to fill her pods,
and proud enough she was of them.

" Why don t you do something? she cried to the
Potato-Plant clown below. Only see what I ve done !
There s a summer s work for 3*011 ! And, sure enough,
she had hung her full pods all up and down the pole.

" Yes, why don t you do something? cried Cab
bage. Your summer is gone, and nothing done.
Can t you come to a head? Any thing but idleness !

The Potato-Plant still kept quiet : but when dig
ging-time came, and the hill was opened, and the pile
of Long Reds appeared, her neighbors could hardly
believe their senses.

" Dear me ! what a surprise ! cried the Bean. So
we can t always tell by appearances.

" I declare! cried Cabbage. Then you were
doing something all that time ! But how could I know ?
There s that Bean : she hung her pods up high, so
that everybody could see. Well, well, well ! After
this, I ll always say of a plant which makes but little
show, "Wait: potatoes inside there, maybe."


"There are a great many Scarlet-Beans among the
people I know," said the family story-teller, " and
some Potato-Plants too, and perhaps a few young Cab-


MRS. MACGARRET was an attic cat, and lived in
the garret ; but Mrs. O Cellary lived in the cellar.
Mrs. MacGarret had three children, and Mrs. O Cellary
had three children. Mr. MacGarret had gone away,
and so had Mr. O Cellary. Mrs. MacGarret s children
were all of an age, and Mrs. O Cellary s children were
all of an age. The names of the MacGarret children
were Spotty MacGarret, Tabby MacGarret, and Tilly
MacGarret. The O Cellary children were named, the
first, Dinah O Cellary, after its mother; the second,
Thomas O Cellary, after its father ; while the third was
called Bengal Tiger O Cellary, after one of their grand-

One day Mrs. MacGarret said to her children, "My
dears, I have decided to have company this afternoon.
I shall invite Mrs. O Cellary and her family. Behave
well, or you will be punished. At supper eat the poor
est, and give the best to the company. Be very quiet,
and never interrupt. That you may look your best,
I. shall put up your tails in curl-papers. Now, don t


cry if I pull some." And they shut their mouths
tight, and never uttered a sound.

"Good children!" said Mrs. MacGarret. "Now
you may go down and invite the company."

"What, in curl-papers!" cried Spotty. "Oh, not
in curl-papers!" cried Tabby. "You can t mean in
curl-papers ! " cried Tilly..

" True," said their mother : " you can t go in curl
papers. I ll step down myself."

"But we re afraid to stay alone ! " cried Spotty and
Tabby and Tilly. "Don t go!" "Don t go!"
"Don t go!" And each held up her fore-paw, and
begged and pra} T ed and wept.

Poor darlings ! said Mrs. MacGarret : c how can
I leave you? Now, if we were but good friends with
Mr. Rat, how easily he could do the errand ! for
yonder rat-hole leads to the cellar straight."

"Can t you speak down to her? " asked Spott} 7 . "I
think you might speak down," said Tabby. "Do
speak down ! cried Tilly.

"To be sure," said Mrs. MacGarret: "of course I
can. Tis often done in hotels. What smart children
you are !

Then Mrs. MacGarret spoke down, and invited Mrs.
O Cellary and her family to tea at seven o clock ; and
Mrs. O Cellary answered up that they would be most

At quarter before seven the curl-papers were taken

"Charming!" cried Mrs. MacGarret. "All stand
in a row, that I may see. Charming ! Don t move !"

At seven o clock Mrs. O Cellary arrived with all her


children, and two j oung cousins who were paying her
a visit : and, as it was a grand occasion, supper was
laid out on a black leather trunk bordered with brass
nails ; and nothing could have been more elegant.

Now, this was what Mrs. MacGarret set before them
for supper : first, mouse ; second, scraps ; third, codfish
dried ; fourth, squash in the rind, brought up from the
kitchen in the dead of the night. Mrs. MacGarret
lamented that she was out of milk ; but their saucer was
licked dry at dinner, and the milkman had not been
round. But the company all said they seldom took
milk, and that ever} 7 thing was lovely. The talk was
very entertaining, being mostly about the boldness of a
mouse, who would peep out of his hole at them, but
who popped back again the minute they stirred. They
also talked much of the bad boy. A new little whip
had been given him, and travelling through the pas
sages was really quite unsafe.

"We were in great danger coming up, I assure
you," said Mrs. O Cellary.

"Very great danger, ma am," said Thomas.

" We ran for our lives, ma am," said Bengal T.

"Be not so forward to speak in older company,"
whispered Mrs. O Cellary.

After supper a neighbor dropped in from the next
attic, bringing her children ; and there was a very
merry party ; and all would have gone well but for
Tabby MacGarret, who did not do the right thing.
This is how it happened.

All the mothers sat down on a spinning-wheel to
have a cosey talk, and the children had great sport
with the funn}^ little mouse. First he .would peep out


of his hole, and wink at them ; and, when they all jumped
for him, he would dodge back again ; and the next thing
they knew his little black eyes would be peeping out
from another hole. Then they would jump again. But
he always popped back just in time.

"Now do come out, mousey, and play with us,"
they said.

Said mousey, " I like this better."

Now, Mrs. MacGarret had given the children all that
was left at supper to divide among themselves. They
chose one to divide it ; and Tabby MacGarret was the
one chosen. Pretty soon Spotty saw her clap some
thing under her paw in a very private way ; and, guess
ing that all was not right, she stepped softly round
behind, and just bit the end of her tail. This made
Tabby lift up her paw, and then they all saw ! She
had taken the best piece for herself !

Such a time as there was ! " O shame ! " u Shame ! "
1 Shame ! cried Spotty and Tommy and Dinah ; and
"Shame!" cried Bengal Tiger O Cellary. And they
all hissed and sputtered ; and Tabby ran down the
garret-stairs with all the others after her, and all
the mothers behind. The bad boy was standing in the
passage with his new whip ; and he snapped it and
cracked it till they were frightened out of their
wits, and scampered to hide where best they could.

And it was in this way that Mrs. MacGarret s tea
party was broken up.


" T\/T OTHER, do butterflies remember when they were

JLT_L worms and caterpillars ? inquired Natty.

"What puzzling questions you children do ask!"
said his mother. "The idea never entered my head.
You must ask your uncle Joe."

"Uncle Joe," asked Natty, again, "do butterflies
remember when they were worms and caterpillars ?

"Why, no!" said uncle Joe. "I should say not,
if all stories are true."

" What stories do you mean, uncle Joe? "

"I am thinking now," said uncle Joe, " of a story
I once heard, which perhaps you will like to hear.
Yes? Then I will tell it.

" A poor tired worm was one day crawling slowly
along the ground, seeking for food ; while above her
happy insects darted through the air, their bright wings
flashing in the sunlight.

" Alas ! sighed the worm, what a toilsome life
is ours ! We move only by great labor, and, even
with that, can never travel far. Kept near the damp
ground, liable at any moment to be crushed, toiling up
and down rough stalks, eating tough leaves, for it is


only now and then we find a flower, oh, it is truly a
wearisome life !

" Yet none seem to pity our sorrows. Those proud
insects flitting overhead, the miller, the butterfly,
the dragon-fly, the golden bumble-bee, they never
notice us. Oh, but life goes well with them ! Flying
is so easy ! Wherever they wish to be, they have only
to spread their wings, and the summer wind bears them
on. Dressed gayry, at home with all the flowers, living
on sweets, seeing fine sights, hearing all that is to be
heard, what care they for us poor plodders? Selfish
creatures, the} r think only of themselves. Now, for my
part, if I had wings, and could move about so easily,
I would think sometimes of the poor worms down be
low who cannot fly. I would bring them now and then
a sip of honey, or a taste of something nice from the
flower-gardens far away. I would come down and speak
a kind word ; tell them something good to hear ; in
short, be friendly. Oh, if one only had wings, how
much good one might do ! But these selfish creatures
never think of that.

" Not long afterward, this complaining worm was
changed into a butterfly. Spreading her light wings,
she passed the happy hours in flitting from field to field,
rocking in the flower-cups, idling about where the sun
shine was brightest, sipping where the honey was sweet
est. Oh ! a right gay butterfly was she, and no summer
day ever seemed too long.

" One morning, while resting upon an opening rose
bud, she saw below her a couple of worms, making their
slow way over the ground.

" Poor creatures ! she said. Life goes hard with


them. Dull things, how little they know ! It must be
stupid enough down there. No doubt their lives could
be brightened if proper means were taken. Some few
pleasures or comforts might be given them ; and I hope
this will be done. If I were not so busy but really
I haven t a moment to spare. To-day there is a rose-
party, and all the butterflies are going there. To
morrow the sweet-pea party comes off, and all the
butterflies are going there. Next day the grasshoppers
give a grand hop, and at sundown there will be a
serenade by the crickets. Every hour is occupied.
The bumble-bees and hornets are getting up a concert.
Then there is a new flower blossoming in a garden far
away, and all are filing to see it. The two rich butter
flies Lady Golden-Spot and Madame Royal-Purple
have arrived in great state, and they will expect great
attentions. The bees have had a lucky summer, and,
in honor of these new arrivals, have promised to give a
grand honey-festival, at which the queen herself will
preside. The wasps are on the police ; and they will,
I trust, keep out the vulgar. The gnats and mosqui
toes have formed a military company, called the Flying
Militia, which will serve, if needed. It is to be hoped
that no low creatures, like the two creeping along below,
will intrude themselves. Poor things ! If I had the
time, I really would try to do something for them ; but
every sunny day is taken up, and stirring out in the wet
is not to be thought of.

u Besides, one meets with so much that is not pleas
ant in mixing with low people. Their homes are not
always cleanly : I might soil my wings. And, if once
taken notice of, they will always expect to be. Why


make them dissatisfied? They are well enough off as
they are. Perhaps, after all, it is my duty not to
meddle with them : in fact, I have no doubt of it.

" Plere comes Miss Gossamer. Welcome, Miss Gos
samer ! All ready for the rose-party ? How sweetly
3~ou look ! -Wait one moment till I have washed my
face in this dew-drop : the sun has nearly dried it up
while I have been pit}ing those mean worms below
there. It is folly, I know, to thus waste the time ; but
my feelings are so tender ! I actually thought of call
ing ! What would Lad} Golden-Spot think, or Madame
Roj al-Purple ? Have you seen them pass ? They are
sure to be there. Do you suppose they will take notice
of us? If they don t, I shall be perfectly wretched.
Come, dear Miss Gossamer, one more sip, and then
away! "


A PARTY of small cousins were spending New-
Year s at grandma Bowen s ; and, while waiting
for tea, they begged her to tell them the story of Flo-
rinda, some because they had never heard it, others
because they had. The old lady was more than will-
. ing. "Yes," said she, "we Bowens ought to keep
alive the memory of Florinda, the faithful hired girl ;
and I will tell you the story just as }^our grandfather
told it to me, and just as his grandfather told it to him,
and as his grandfather told it to him. Your grand
father s grandfather s grandfather remembered Nathan
iel Bo wen very well ; and his father Nathaniel Bow-
en s father, the first Mr. Bowen of all came over
from England in the bark Jasper more than two
hundred years ago. He brought his family with him,
and they settled in this very place where we live now.
The country was covered with woods then. Indians,
buffaloes, deer, wolves, and foxes had it pretty much
to themselves.

" But, if I am going to tell the story/ continued the
old lady, suddenly raising her voice, and sitting straight
in her chair, "there is something to be done first, so


that we may seem to see just how they lived in those
da3 s. For instance, carry out the furniture, and the
stove, pictures, carpet (make believe, you know) ; then
tear the house down, leaving only this one room, and
let this one room pass for that one-roomed hut. But
knock away lath and plaster : the walls must be made
of logs ; the same overhead. Cut square holes for
windows, and hang wooden shutters inside (one of the
square holes may have four small panes of glass) ;
cover the others with oiled paper (there was no glass
made in this country then) . Let a stone chimney run
up through the logs overhead at one end ; and at the
other end a ladder, leading to a loft: the fireplace
must be very large. And now, to furnish the hut,
bring in a bed, a meal-chest, a large, heavy clothes-
chest, a spinning-wheel, a bench or two, and a few
chairs. Can you see that hut now? "

"And the stumps!" cried some of the listeners,
who knew the whole story.

"Yes, dears," said the old lady, looking pleased,
" and some stumps of trees, sawed off short, for the
children to sit on.

There was one house beside in the valley, and only
one, and that belonged to a man named Moore. It
stood nearly an eighth of a mile off in that direction "
(pointing) . " Four miles off in that direction " (point
ing the opposite way), "at the Point, called then
Mackerel Point, there were some dozen or twenty
houses, a store, and a mill. There was no road be
tween here and the Point : there was only a blind path
way through the woods. Those woods reached hundreds
and hundreds of miles.


" When Mr. Bowen had lived in this country a little
more than a year, his wife died, leaving three children,
Philip, not quite eleven 3 r ears old; Nathaniel, six;
and Polly, three : and to take care of these children,
and to keep his house, he hired a young girl named
Florinda LeShore, who came over from England as ser
vant in some family. This Florinda was born in France ;
but she had spent the greater part of her life in England.
She was only fifteen years old, rather young to take
the care of a family. There were so few whites in this
country then, however, that Mr. Bowen was glad to
get even a girl fifteen years old. I suppose he little
thought she would be the means of saving the lives
of two of his children.

" Florinda hired out to Mr. Bowen some time in
November. On the 29th of December, as Mr. Bowen
and Mr. Moore were saddling their horses to go to the
store for provisions, word came that they must set out
immediately for a place about fifteen miles off, called
Dermott s Crossing, to consult with other settlers as
to what should be done to defend themselves against
the Indians ; for there were reports that in some neigh
borhoods the Indians were doing mischief.

" So the two men turned their horses heads in the
direction of Dermott s Crossing. It was woods most
of the way ; but they knew the general direction of the
bridle-path, and thought they should make good time,
and be back by noon of the next day. Florinda
baked corn-meal into thin cakes, and put the cakes and
some slices of bacon into the saddle-bags along with
corn for the horse. The men were to return by way of
the store, and bring provisions.


"Two da}~s and two nights passed, and they
had neither come, nor sent any message. By that
time there was not much left to eat in either house.
Florinda and the children slept both nights at Mrs.
Moore s. Mr. Bowen said it would be better for them
to sleep there. He did not fear any actual danger
(the Indians in this neighborhood had never been trou
blesome at all) : still, in case any thing should hap
pen, Mrs. Moore s house was much the safer of the
two. It was built of heavy timbers ; and its doors were
oak, studded with spikes. The Indians never attacked
a strong house like that, especially if it were guarded
by a white man with fire-arms. Mrs. Moore was a
feeble woman. She had two little children ; and her
brother was then living with her, a } oung man named
David Palmer, at that time confined in doors on account
of having frozen his feet badly.

11 On the second morning, Philip begged Florinda to
let him take his hand-sled and go to the store and
get some meal and some bacon for themselves and

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Online LibraryAbby Morton DiazThe Jimmyjohns, and other stories → online text (page 6 of 13)