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Abby Morton Diaz.

The Jimmyjohns, and other stories online

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apiece to pay for a place on the floor in some filthy gar
ret or cellar, they piled up what old straw the cartmen
would give them, and crept under that, in the best place
they could find.

One very cold evening, when the} 7 had no shelter, Paul
said, " Now to-night we shall surely freeze to death."

" Oh, no ! " said Nora : " I know where there are such
heaps of straw ! A man came and emptied a whole bed-
ful on a vacant lot just back of a church."

And when it grew dark they brought bundles of this
straw, and made a bed of it in an archway under the
church.

" Now, if we only had something for a blanket!"
said Paul : " can t you beg something for a blanket? "

" Oh, no ! " said Nora ; " it is so cold ! Let me stay
here."

" Go, I tell you," said Paul.

"Oh! I don t want to beg in the evening," said
Nora.

" You shall go," said Paul ; and he gave her a push.

Then, as he grew very cross, she said, "I ll try,
Paul," and ran off in the dark.

It was a bitter cold night : the sharp wind cut through
her thin garments like a knife. Men stamped to keep



THE LITTLE BEGGAR-GIRL. 165

their feet from freezing. Ladies hid their faces behind
their furs. Scarcely any one spoke ; but all went hur
rying on, eager to get out of the cold.

None of these people have any thing to give me
for a blanket," thought little Nora.

She ventured to beg at a few houses : but the servants
shut the doors in her face ; and she could hear them
answer to the people above stairs, "Only a beggar-
girl."

For all it was so cold, Nora could not pass the win
dow of the back-piazza without looking in for a mo
ment. The curtain was partly drawn aside. No one
was in the room ; but through the door she could see
another larger room, brilliantly lighted. There were
wax candles burning, and a bright fire was blazing in
the fireplace. There were vases of flowers upon the
table, and the waUs were hung with large pictures in
shining gilt frames. Around the fire many people were
seated, and the little girl was there kissing them all
good-night. Nora could see them catch her up in their
arms. One gave her a ride on his foot, another gave
her a toss in the air, and one made believe put her in
his pocket ; and to every one the little girl gave a kiss
on both cheeks.

Then her mother led her into the room where Nora
had so many times watched the going to bed ; and Nora
saw, as she had often seen before, the white shoulders
catch kisses when the dress slipped off, then the bright
face peep through the night-gown and catch a kiss, and
the little rosy feet put up to have their toes counted.
Then there were huggings, and showers of kisses ; and
the little girl was laid in her crib, and blankets tucked
close about her.



166 THE LITTLE BEGGAE-GIKL.

Next came the evening hymn, which the mother sang,
sitting by the crib. Poor little Nora was almost be
numbed with cold ; but this singing was so sweet, she
must stop just a few moments longer. Wrapping her
thin shawl tightly about her, she stood bending over, her
ear close to the window, that not a note might be lost.

And soon, almost without knowing it, she, too, was
singing. But, as Nora had never learned any Irymns,
she could only sing what was in her mind : Nora is
cold ; Nora has no blanket ; Nora cannot kiss any
mother."

She sang very softly at first ; but her voice would
come out. It grew louder every moment ; and this so
delighted her, that she forgot where she was, forgot
the cold, forgot every thing except the joy of the music.
And, when the tune ran high, her voice rang out so loud
and clear, that a policeman came toward the gate ; and
then Nora was frightened, and ran away. She ran back
to the place where Paul was lying. He was asleep now.
She crept in among the straw, and sat there shivering,
looking up at the stars. She looked up at the stars :
but she was thinking of the good-night kisses in the
lighted room around the fireside, and of the little girl
lying asleep in her crib, with the loving mother watch
ing near ; and the more these pleasant thoughts passed
through her mind, the more lonely and sorrowful she
felt, "

" O Paul! " she whispered, " if I didn t have you,
I shouldn t have anybody in the world. Good-night,
Paul." She put her arms softly around him, stroked his
hair, and then tucked her thin shawl closely about him,
just as the lady had tucked the blankets about her little



THE LITTLE BEGGAH-GIBL. 167

girl, and kissed him. " Good-night, Paul," she whis
pered again.

Then she leaned her head upon his shoulder, and be
gan to sing, but very softly, lest some one should hear.
She sang of the blazing fire, of the candles burning, of
the flowers, of the pictures, of the undressing, of the
kisses,- of the sleeping child, and then of other little
children walking in the streets, led by beautiful ladies.

Then it seemed as if she herself were one of these
little girls. In her dream, she, too, was dressed in gay
clothes, warmed herself by glowing fires, or was led
along sunny streets by a gentle lady: and all the
while she seemed to keep on singing ; and everybody
the loving mothers and the pretty children sang
with her, until the whole air was filled with music. Her
little bird, too, seemed to be there, and was singing
with the rest : he came and nestled in her bosom.

Then in this beautiful dream she found herself sitting
alone, clothed in white garments, in the midst of a soft,
silvery light. A river rolled at her feet, beyond which
hung, like a veil, a thin, shining mist. It was from be
hind this mist that the light was shed about her. Still
the music kept on, but far more loud and sweet. It
came from beyond the river ; and she heard a voice in
the air, saj-ing, "Come and sing with the angel-chil
dren."

Then she arose, and stood gazing like a lost child, not
knowing how to cross the stream. But instantly a
smile spread over her face ; for she saw standing near,
upon a bridge of flowers, a lady, in whose face were
exceeding beauty and sweetness. She stretched forth
to Nora her hands, saying in gentlest tones, " Come



168 THE LITTLE BEGGAR-GIRL.

this way, my darling." And Nora trembled with joy,
and smiled still more brightly ; for the countenance of
the lady was beaming with love, and the darling was
in her eyes as she clasped to her bosom her own dear
little child.

At early dawn a policeman found Paul lying in the
straw asleep ; and leaning upon his shoulder was the
face of his little sister, stiff and cold in death. But
the smile of joy was still there, and was witnessed by
hundreds that day ; for a great many people came to
see the little frozen beggar-girl who had passed from
her life of sorrow with so sweet a smile.

One of these persons, after hearing the policemen,
beggar-woman, and others tell what they knew of
Nora s life, took one long look at her face as she lay
there like a child smiling in its sleep ; then went home
and wrote the above story of the Little Beggar-Girl.



WIDE-AWAKE.



DA, da, da! Don t sing " By-lo " anymore, nor
rock harder, nor tuck in the blankets, nor cover
my eyes up, nor pat, nor sh me : it really makes me
laugh ; for I m awake, wide-awake ! Shut up peep
ers? put my little heddy down? not a bit. Go to
s eepy ? no, I m going to waky : I am awaky ; I see
you ; I see red curtains, see pictures, see great doggy.

Haven t had my nap out? When would it be out?
I should like to know that ; yes, I should like to know
when a baby s nap would be out. Haven t you swept,
and watered your plants, and made the bed, and seen
to dinner, and taken out your crimps, and more? Pud
ding? yes, now you want to make the pudding, and
then the salad, and then the Washington pie, and then
run out a minute. I know : don t tell me. A baby s
nap is never out, never, never, so long as any thing is
to be done.

But I am awake, and I m coming out of this right
off. Drink not read}~? wiry not? I ask why not,
wiien j ou knew twould be called for? But no: that
must be left. And when you see my eyes wide open,
and me pulling myself up with my two hands, you not

169



170 WIDE- AWAKE.

offering to help, then you call out, Get baby s drink
ready ! " Who knows but the fire is out, or the bottle-
stopper lost !

But tis plain enough you thought I d sleep all day.
Yes, you d like that. You wouldn t? Oh, I know ; I
know ! Don t you always say, " Too bad baby s waked
up "? Why don t you get some other kind? get a
rag baby, or gutta-percha, or a wooden one, with its
eyes screwed down, or that doesn t have any ! Swap
me off; I m willing ; I d rather than to be in the way :
or else I ll lay my little heddy down and go to s eepy,
and never, never, open eyes again. You d be sorry ?
then why don t you take me ?

There, that s it, da, da, da! " Now laugh, look
glad!" I like that. Kiss me; hug hard; call me
"lovey-dovey;" call me "precious;" call me
"honey sweet ;" trot me; cuddle me; tell "Little
Boy Blue ; sing a pretty song.

Will I walk a little? Oh, yes ! and glad to. I ve
crept long enough. Stand me up against the wall :
now smooth down the carpet ; now take things out of
the way ; now hold up something pretty, and I ll walk
to it. Your thimble? no, you ll cheat: you won t
let me have it. Not the rattle : I m too big for that, I
hope ! String of spools? no, I ve done with spools.
Fruit-knife? well, } r es, I ll come for the fruit-knife.
Now, one, two, three, four steps up to mother. Da,
da ! kiss, kiss, kiss ! sweet as sugary candy !

Now will I sit on the floor and have the pretty
things? Yes : but bring them all, blocks, soldiers,
ninepins, Noah s ark, Dinah, and Jumping- Jack, and
hammer and clothes-brush and pans and porringers,
every thing ; I want every thing.



WIDE-AWAKE.



171



Oh, I m left alone ! Why didn t she shake a day-
day, so I could cry? I don t want these anymore:
I d rather get up : I ll creep to something, and get up,
creep, creep, creep. I ll get up by this. What is
this funny thing, so soft and so warm? Now I ll pull
up ; now I m almost up. Oh ! it moves ; it growls ;




tis slipping out ; tis going off ! down I come again !
Oh ! wo, wo, wa, wa, wo, w r a ! Why doesn t somebody
hear me ciy ?

A \vay I go creep, creep, creep to the rocking-
chair. Now pull up by this, up, up, up; most up;
way up, da, da, da ! But it shakes ! oh, oh !



172 WIDE-AWAKE.

down I come again ! oh, wo, wa, wo, wa, wo, wa !
Why doesn t somebody come ?

Creep, creep, creep. What is this so tall, and so
black, and so shining? Oh ! this will do : let me catch
hold. Now pull : but it bends ; it won t hold up. Oh !
tis nothing but a rubber-boot. Away I roll over !
Oh ! wa, wa, wa, wo, wa ! Why doesn t somebody
come ? Oh ! where have I rolled ? where is this ? how
dark it is ! I ve rolled under the table. Let me get
out, creep, creep, creep. Ha ! there s something !
the table-cloth : I ll pull up by this.

But I don t go up. It s coming down. Oh, my
head! What s dropping down? work-basket, domi-
nos, glass tumbler, scissors, pin-cushion, knitting-work,
hooks- and eyes, buttons. Oh, here s the fun ! Now
I ll get pins ; now I ll pull the needles out ; now I ll
put things in my mouth ! da, da, da !



EEASONS WHY THE COW TUKNED SEE HEAD
AWAY,



REPORTED BY A BARN-SWALLOW.

" IV/fOOLLY COW, your barn is warm: the wintry
JjJL winds cannot reach you, nor frost nor snow.
Why are your eyes so sad? Take this wisp of hay.
See, I am holding it up ! It is very good. Now you
turn your head away. Why do you look so sorrowful,
Moolly Cow, and turn your head away? "

" Little girl, it makes me sad to think of the time
when that dry wisp of hay was living grass; when
those brown, withered flowers were blooming clover-
tops, buttercups, and daisies, and the bees and butter
flies came about them. The air was warm then, and
gentle winds blew. Every morning I went forth to
spend the day in sunny pastures. I am thinking now
of those early summer-mornings, how the birds sang,
and the sun shone, and the grass glittered with dew ;
and the boy that opened the gates, how merrily he
whistled ! I stepped quickly along, sniffing the fresh
morning-air, snatching at times a hasty mouthful by
** the way : it was really very pleasant. And, when the
bars fell, how joyfully I leaped over ! I knew where

173



174 WHY THE COW TUENED HER HEAD.

the grass grew green and tender, and hastened to eat it
while the dew was on.




" As the sun rose higher, I sought the shade ; and at
noonday I lay under the trees, chewing, chewing, chew
ing, with half-shut eyes, and the drowsy insects hum
ming around me ; or perhaps I would stand motionless
upon the river s bank, where one might catch a breath
of air, or wade deep in to cool myself in the stream.
And when noon-time was passed, and the heat grew
less, I went back to the grass and flowers.

"And thus the long summer-day Sped on, sped



WHY THE COW TURNED HEK HEAD. 175

pleasantly on ; for I was never lonely. No lack of com
pany in those sunny pasture-lands ! The grasshoppers
and crickets made a great stir, bees buzzed, butterflies
were coming and going, and birds singing always. I
knew where the ground-sparrows built, and all about
the little field-mice. They were very friendly to me ;
for often, while nibbling the grass, I would whisper,
4 Keep dark, little mice ! don t fly, sparrows ! boys are
coming !

" No lack of company ; oh, no ! When that withered
hay was living grass, yellow with buttercups, white
with daisies, pink with clover, it was the home of myri
ads of little insects, very, very little insects. Oh !
but the}- made things lively, crawling, hopping, skip
ping among the roots, and up and down the stalks,
happ3 T , full of life, never still; and now not one left
alive. They are gone ! that pleasant summer-time is
gone ! Oh these long, dismal winter-nights ! All day
I stand in my lonely stall, listening, not to the song of
birds, or hum of bees, or chirp of grasshoppers, or the
pleasant rustling of leaves, but often to the noise of
howling winds, hail, sleet, and driving snow.

"Little girl, I pray you don t hold up to me that
wisp of hay. In just that same way they held before
my eyes one pleasant morning a bunch of sweet-clover,
to entice me from my pretty calf.

Poor thing ! She was the only one I had ; so gay
and sprightly, so playful, so frisky, so happy ! It was
a joy to see her caper, and toss her heels about, without
a thought of care or sorrow : it was good to feel her
nestling close at my side ; to look into her bright, inno
cent eyes ; to rest my head lovingly upon her neck.



176 WHY THE COW TURNED HER HEAD.

" And already I was looking forward to the time when
she would become steady and thoughtful like myself;
was counting greatly upon her company of nights in the
dark barn, or in roaming the fields through the long
summer-days : for the butterflies and bees, and all the
bits of insects, though well enough in their way, and
most excellent company, were, after all, not akin to
me ; and there is nothing like living with one s own
blood relations.

"But I lost my pretty little one. That bunch of
sweet-clover enticed me away. When I came back,
she was gone. I saw through the bars the rope wound
about her ; I saw the cart ; I saw the cruel men lift
her in. She made a mournful noise : I cried out, and
thrust my head over the rail, calling in language she
well understood, Come back ! oh, come back !

" She looked up with her round, sorrowful eyes, and
wished to come ; but the rope held her fast. The man
cracked his whip ; the cart rolled away : I never saw
her more.

" No, little girl, I cannot take your wisp of hay : it
reminds me of the silliest hour of my life, of a day
when I surely made myself a fool. And on that day,
too, I was offered by a little girl a bunch of grass and
flowers.

" It was a still summer s noon. Not a breath of air
was stirring. I had waded deep into the stream, which
was then calm and smooth. Looking down, I saw my
own image in the water ; and I perceived that my neck
was thick and clumsy ; that my hair was brick-color,
and my head of an ugly shape, with two horns sticking
out much like the prongs of a pitchfork. Truly, Mrs.
Cow, I said, you are by no means handsome."



WHY THE COW TURNED HER HEAD. 177

4 Just then a horse went trotting along th e bank.
His hair was glossy black. He had a flowing mane, and
a tail which grew thick and long. His proud neck was
arched, his head lifted high. He trotted lightly over
the ground, bending in his hoofs daintily at every foot
fall. Said I to myself, Although not well-looking, it
is quite possible that I can step beautifully, like the
horse : who knows ? And I resolved to plod on no
longer in sober cow-fashion, but to trot off nimbly and
briskly and lightty.

"I waded ashore, climbed the bank, held my head
high, stretched out my neck, and did my best to trot
like the horse, bending in my hoofs as well as was pos
sible at every step, hoping that all would admire me.

" Some children gathering flowers near by burst into
shouts of laughter, crying out, Look, look, Mary,
Tom! What ails the cow? She acts like a horse.
She is putting on airs. Clumsy thing ! her tail is like
a pump-handle. Oh ! I guess she s a mad cow. Then
they ran, and I sank down under a tree with tears in
my eyes.

" But one little girl staid behind the rest ; and, seeing
that I was quiet, she came softly up, step by step, hold
ing out a bunch of grass and clover. I kept still as a
mouse. She stroked me with her soft hand, and said,

" O good Moolly Cow ! I love } ou dearly ; for my
mother has told me very nice things about you. You
are good-natured, and we all love you. Every day you
give us sweet milk, and never keep any for yourself.
The boys strike you sometimes, and throw stones, and
set the dogs on you ; but you give them your milk just
the same. And you are never contrary, like thehorso ;



178 WHY THE COW TURNED HER HEAD.

stopping when you ought to go, and going when you
ought to stop. Nobody has to whisper in your ears
to make you gentle, as they do to horses : you are
gentle of your own accord, dear Moolly Cow. If you
do walk up to children sometimes, you won t hook ; it s
only playing : and I will stroke you , and love } T OU
dearly.

" Her words gave me great comfort"; and may she
never lack for milk to crumb her bread in ! But, oh !
take away your wisp of hay, little girl ; for you bring to
mind the summer-days which are gone, and my pretty
bossy that was stolen away, and also my own folly."



TWO LITTLE BOGUES,



SAYS Sammy to Dick,
" Come, hurry ; come, quick !
And we ll do, and we ll do, and we ll do!
Our mammy s away ;
She s gone for to stay :

And we ll make a great hullabaloo !
Hi too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo !

We ll make a great hullabaloo ! "

Says Dicky to Sam,
" All weddy I am

To do, and to do, and to do.
But how doeth it go ?
I so ittle to know :

Thay , what be a hullabawoo ?
Ri too, ri loo, woo, woo, woo !

Thay, what be a hullabawoo? "

" Oh ! slammings and hangings,
And whingings and whangings,
And very bad mischief we ll do :

179



180 TWO LITTLE EOGUES.

We ll clatter and shout,
And pull tilings about ;

And that s what s a hullabaloo !
Ei too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo !

And that s what s a hullabaloo !

" Slide down the front-stairs,
. Tip over the chairs,

Now into the pantry break through ;
We ll take down some tinware,
And other things in there :

All aboard for a hullabaloo !
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo !

All aboard for a hullabaloo !

4 Now roll up the table
Far up as you re able,

Chairs, sofa, big easy-chair too ;
Put the poker and vases
In funny old places :

How s this for a hullabaloo?
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo !

How s this for a hullabaloo?

" Let the dishes and pans
Be the womans and mans :

Everybody keep still in their pew I
Mammy s gown I ll get next,
And preach you a text.

Dicky, hush with your hullabaloo !
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo !

Dicky, hush with your hullabaloo ! "



TWO LITTLE KOGUES. 181

As the preacher in gown
Climbed up, and looked down

His queer congregation to view,
Said Dicky to Sammy,
" Oh, dere comes our mammy !

Se ll thcold for dis hullabawoo.
Ri too, ri loo, woo, woo, woo !

Se ll thcold for dis hullabawoo ! "

" O mammy ! O mammy ! "
Cried Dicky and Sammy,

" We ll never again, certain true."
But with firm step she trod,
And looked hard at the rod :

Oh, then came a hullabaloo !
" Boohoo, boohoo, woo, woo, woo ! "

Oh, then came a hullabaloo !



THE BELATED BUTTERFLY,



[MORNING.]

AM I awake? am I alive? Then it was true, after
all. Aunt Caterpillar told me, that if I would
cover myself over, and lie stock-still, and go to sleep,
I should wake up a beauty. She said I should no
longer creep, but should fly like the birds ; and I do.
She said I would never need to chew leaves any more,
but might feed upon sugar of roses, and sip honey from
the flowers. She said I should have beautiful wings of
purple and gold. And it is every word true.

Now I m frying. Oh, glorious ! This floating in the
air oh, what a joy it is ! Good-by, you little worms !
Here I go up, up, up, a trifle dizzy, that is to be ex
pected at first, higher, higher. Good-morning, Mr.
Bluebird ! We have wings, haven t we ? Down, no, I
will not touch the earth : I will rock in this lily, brush
the dew from the mignonette, breathe the perfume of
the heliotrope, and rest in the heart of this damask-
rose.

What sweet rest ! How soft these rose-leaves are !
Let me nestle close, close. But I grow faint with the

182



THE BELATED BUTTERFLY. 183

perfume, and must be off, off to the hills, where sweet-
brier and wild roses grow. Cousin Moth sa} T s she goes
there every day. Oh the joy of flying ! Up, down ; up,
down ; up, down ; now rest, now float, now sip, now
rock, now away, away !

Here are the tall blue meadow-flowers. I ll stay
a while with them. How long it used to take me, with
my eighteen legs, to creep thus far ! Whom have we
here? What mean, dull fly is this? and why should he
have wings ? What ! keep company with me ? You ?
Impossible ! Have you noticed who I am, pray? or are
you asleep ? Look at my brilliant wings ! I am a But
terfly, born in the purple. Of some use ? dear me ! of
what use could such as you be to such as I? Upon my
word, I pity you ; but all can t be Butterflies, or go in
company with Butterflies. Please don t follow, I should
feel so mortified ! Good-by ! Now for a long, long
flight over the meadows !

The hills, at last, the breezy hills ! Ah ! good bees,
have you come too? and. you poor little wee grasshop
pers ! Dear humming-bird, isn t it jolly? Why don t
you sing? You don t know how? what a phYy ! But
you can hum. Oh this charming sweetbrier ! and here
are wild-roses : now we ll have a merry time among
the wild-roses, and play in the fragrant sweet-fern.

[EVENING.]

Lost, lost, lost ! I wandered too far among the hills.
Who will show me the way home ? My home is in the
flower-garden : will no one show me the way ? Oh
this frightful darkness ! Where is the beautiful day
light gone ? The evening dews are cold and damp. My



184 THE BELATED BUTTERFLY.

wings droop from weariness. The night-winds chill
me through. Ugly creatures are abroad, and strange
sounds fill the air. I see no flowers ; hear no singing
of birds, no chirping of insects, no humming of bees.
Where are you, little bees?

Oh, this dreary, dreary night ! Shivering with cold, I
fly hither and thither, but never find my home. I am a
poor lost Butterfly. Who will pity a poor lost Butterfly ?

What dreadful sounds ! " Juggulp, juggulp, jugg-
ulp ! " Away, quick ! " Juggulp, juggulp." Oh, dear !
oh, dear ! Now something just hit me ! Again ! Some
horrid monster ! a bat, perhaps. Cousin Moth said,
" Beware of bats ; for they will eat you up." I shah 1
die with fright. I know, I know, I shall die with fright.
My wings can scarcely move, my fine purple wings !
Will the dear warm sun never shine again ? Cousin Moth
told me of so many dangers, and never even mentioned
getting lost. Alas ! must I die here all alone, breathe
my last breath in this terrible place ? Better that some
boy had caught me in his hat ; that I had been choked
with a match, stuck on a pin, or put under a glass, than
to drop down here in the cold, gasping, quivering, and
die all alone.

Who comes ? Can I believe my own eyes ? Is that a
light ? Ho ! a fly with a lantern ! How quick he darts !
Stop there, you with a lantern !

It is the very same mean fly I met this morning.
Good fly, best creature, charming insect ! I pray you


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Online LibraryAbby Morton DiazThe Jimmyjohns, and other stories → online text (page 9 of 13)