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Produced by Internet Archive; University of Florida, PM Childrens
Library, Joanna Pease and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern
District of New York.

[Illustration: DADDY HALL'S DONKEY.]


Uncle Harvey's Parlor

The Evening Walk

A Visit to Daddy Hall

The Walk through the Woods

What Uncle Harvey said about Rain

How Thomas killed a Hawk

About Bats

The Walk to the Creek

The Hard Battle

About Corn and the uses of Animals

Alice Gray


The Return Home




Mr. Harvey's two sons, Thomas and John, were very anxious for their
cousin, Samuel Reed, to spend the August holidays with them. His father
said that he might; and when school was closed for the season, Samuel
bade his father good bye, and was soon in the carriage, driving toward
Uncle Harvey's country seat.

The boys had not seen each other since New Year's day. It was a happy
meeting when Samuel jumped out of the carriage, by the gate leading from
the main road up to Mr. Harvey's house; for there his uncle, and two
cousins, were waiting for him. Thomas and John, each grasped a hand,
while their father led the way to the house. "We were afraid you were
not coming," said John. "How tall you have grown since Christmas,"
exclaimed Thomas. "Were you not tired of being in the hot city such
weather as this?" Samuel said that he was; and then they all entered the
house, while the driver brought in Samuel's baggage.

It was about five o'clock in the afternoon when Samuel reached his
uncle's house. He was taken into a small parlor, which opened upon a
garden where many flowers were in bloom. It was a warm day, but this
room was cool and fragrant; and on the table were several plates of
fruit, and some cakes, which his uncle caused to be placed there, so
that he might eat some as soon as he arrived, While Samuel was eating
some of them John said:

"We are so glad you have come, Samuel. Last winter you could see nothing
but snow."

"What became of the snow-man we made last winter?" asked Samuel.

"It froze very hard for more than a week after you left," replied
Thomas; "but John and I broke its head a great deal, with snow balls,
and afterwards a warm rain fell, and washed it away."

"Is it warm in the city now?" asked John.

"Yes," answered his cousin. "In the middle of the day the pavements seem
to be about on fire, and people are afraid to walk far, lest they may be
sunstruck. Yesterday two men died with the heat. There seems to be no
air stirring from morning till night. Besides, there is much sickness in
town, and many persons have left their houses, and gone into the

"Father," said Thomas, "how miserable we should be if we had no water to
drink this weather, like those poor Arabs that you told us of the other

"Yes," answered Mr. Harvey, "the sun must be burning hot in Arabia now."

"How can they live in such a place?" asked John.

"They are not all so miserable as the party I told you of the other
day," replied his father. "Besides, you know it is their country, and
God has taught them to love it. If an Arab were brought here, he would,
probably, think it a most dreary land, except in summer."

"But what do you do in town, Samuel," asked John, "when it is too warm
to go out?"

"It is very hot only in the middle of the day," replied his cousin, "and
then, you know, we are at school. In the afternoons, I sometimes rode
out with father, or went on the steamboat. Last week a balloon went up,
from the other side of the river. We had a fine view of it from the roof
of our house. Two men were in it, and when they had risen so high that
the balloon appeared quite small, they threw out a little machine,
called a parachute. It looked something like an umbrella, and had a dog
to it. The balloon sailed a great distance through the air, and came
down safely."

It was now six o'clock, and Mr. Harvey told the boys that they might go
to supper, which he had ordered to be ready earlier than usual.




After supper, Samuel and his cousins took a walk in the meadow, toward
the mill pond. The air was now cool and pleasant, and as the boys moved
through the narrow path, among the low grass, thousands of grasshoppers,
and other insects, filled the air with their cheerful hum. Thomas, with
his companions, passed round the mill, and then climbed a fence which
led through a field of corn. The corn was not very high, so that they
had to be careful not to tread upon it. When they reached the other
side, Samuel saw that the fence was covered with raspberry vines, from
one end to the other. He asked what they did with so many. "All that
father wishes to use, or to eat," replied Thomas, "he gathers out of the
garden; but these he leaves for two or three poor families, who live not
far off, and who take them to town to sell. It helps them to pay their

"And does he give away blackberries, too?" asked Samuel.

"Yes, and many other kinds of fruit," replied his cousin. "He has such
large fields and orchards, that he can afford to give away great
quantities of apples, peaches, currants, grain, and vegetables."

[Illustration: THE OLD SOLDIER'S HOUSE.]

The boys roamed about the fields, talking in this manner, until after
sunset, when Thomas said it was time to return. They crossed into a bye
path, and walked toward the house through a field in which wheat had
been growing. Among the short straw, left by the reapers, Samuel saw
many birds' nests, and deep holes that had been dug by rabbits, field
mice, and other small animals. In a short time they passed a very old
house, whose sides appeared as if they would fall every moment. The roof
was covered with moss and grass, and the boards had crumbled and
separated from each other; a number of bats and swallows were flying
about it, and Thomas said that dozens of these little animals, beside
rats and mice, lived inside. Samuel asked him if any body lived there.
"No," said his cousin; "but father remembers very well when an old
soldier, that the farmers called Jack, did live in this house. His
leg had been shot off in battles with the Indians. After it healed he
moved to this place, and lived on the vegetables he could raise in a
little garden, besides what people gave him. Every night he came out and
sat on the log by the door, playing on an old fiddle. Then the school
children would collect around him, and give him pennies, or fruit, and
such things. Sometimes he told them stories; for he had travelled in
many lands, and knew a great deal about them. In the summer nights,
father says, he often heard poor old Jack singing the songs that he had
learned when he was a boy; and sometimes he could be seen hobbling down
this lane, on his crutches, or sitting by the water catching some fish
for his supper. One day he was missed, and folks thought he was sick;
but they waited till the next morning, and then a great crowd collected
round the house, and called him. No one answered; so some one lifted the
latch and went in. Old Jack was not there, and the people began to get
frightened. They hunted for him all that day, and many days afterward;
but he was never found. Some think that he was drowned; others that he
went away with strangers, and a few are foolish enough to believe, that
he is still living, and will one day come back. Since that time, no one
has ever lived in his house, and in a few years it will tumble down with
old age."

While Thomas had been giving this account of Poor Jack, the Soldier,
John was very busy moving round the old house, and peeping through the
cracks in the boards. At last he motioned Thomas and Samuel, to come to
him, and then whispered:

"Stoop down - don't make a bit of noise - and peep through this crack.
You'll see the biggest owl that ever you did see, in all your life."
Both of them looked through. It was very dark, but Samuel saw two great
eyes, like balls of fire, and in a little while he could perceive the
body of an owl, which, as John had said, was the largest he had ever

"Let us go in and catch him," said John. But Thomas answered, that as it
was now dark the owl could easily fly away; and besides, as they did not
wish to kill it, it could be of no use to them, if they should catch it.
"It might do for cousin to look at," replied John; but he did not insist
upon entering the house. As they were going away, Samuel asked his
cousin if he did not think owls were ugly.

"No, indeed," answered John. "I would rather see an owl any time than
these little birds that can do nothing but sing. See how soft his
feathers are - all barred and spotted with black and brown, which is more
handsome than to be all over red or yellow. I know he can't sing; but
he's got nice, long ears, and that no other bird has. And how nice and
round his head is. Then he sits on a tree, and looks wise, as father
says. The Canary, and the mocking bird, are good enough to keep in
cages, but of all birds, give me an owl."

Thomas and Samuel laughed at this notion, but John continued:

"Thomas, did not some people, who lived a long while ago, call the owl
the 'bird of wisdom?'"

"Yes," replied Thomas. "I have heard father say that it was the

"That shows how wise they were," said John. "I seems to me as though
that owl, which we saw, was keeping house for poor old soldier Jack."

"Do hush about owls," said his brother, laughing; and they ran together
through the gate, and into the yard.




Next morning, Mr. Harvey told his sons that they might go to see an old
man, who lived in a small house, about two miles off, and who was so
sickly that he could not work. This old man's name was Hall, and the
boys of the school called him Daddy Hall. He had once been rich; but
sickness and misfortune had reduced him to poverty, so that he now lived
with his little son, in a small hut, near a hill. Every week he sent
fruit and vegetables to market, in a cart, drawn by a donkey, which some
of the neighbors had given to him. Every week Mr. Harvey sent either a
servant, or one of the boys, to see how he was getting along, and to
carry him something nice.

The two boys, with their cousin, were soon off, carrying with them a
basket full of things for the old man. They went by the road across the
meadows, and through a small gate in the hedge. Samuel observed, that
the hawthorn of the hedge grew very thick and close, so that a bird
could scarcely get through it. The roots and branches were twisted into
each other, appearing like strong, thick chains woven together; and on
the vines grew sharp thorns, longer than a needle. Mr. Harvey's boys
told their cousin, that neither man nor beast could get through such a
hedge; and that if a man were placed on the top, he could walk on the
vines without sinking down, they were so strong and close. "It would be
uneasy travelling, though," added John; "for his feet would be torn to
pieces by these spiky thorns."

They now left the hedge, and went on through two wide fields, until they
reached some hills that stood by themselves, and were steep and bare.
Three of them had deep pits dug in them, while piles of rock, stones,
and sand, were lying around. Samuel asked his cousins what place it was.

"It is an iron mine," said Thomas; but it is not worked any more,
because there is not enough of iron found to pay for the trouble. All
these stones lying about here are pieces of ore; but the quantity of
iron in them is so small that it will not pay for the expense of taking
it out from the ore."

"How is iron taken from the ore?" asked Samuel. Thomas replied:

"The ore is first crushed into coarse dust, and then washed. Afterwards
this dust is melted in a hot furnace, and the iron is separated from the
melted stone, or dross, in a manner which is very troublesome, and which
father can explain to you better than I can. Sometimes the ore is almost
all iron; John and I have some pieces in our cabinets, in which you
cannot see any stone."

"But did men go down this deep well?" asked Samuel.

"Yes; they were lowered down in buckets. And the water was pumped out by
a machine. The water was so cold, even in the middle of summer, that one
could scarcely hold his hand in it."

The boys began to throw stones down one of the wells, so that they might
guess by hearing them strike the bottom, how deep it was. The first
stones were too small to be heard; then they threw larger ones, and
listened, but could hear no sound. At last, John took up a piece of rock
as big as his head, and rolled it into the well. It fell with a hollow,
rumbling noise, and all was then still. The boys thought it had reached
the bottom; but all at once they heard it splash into water. Then the
boys knew that the well was very deep, for the stone had been falling
several seconds. They then hunted among the piles of ore for some
handsome pieces to give to Samuel; after which, they picked up their
basket, and hurried on toward Daddy Hall's.

On reaching his house, they found the old man sitting at the door, while
his son, a good boy, was preparing to take the donkey to market, with a
cart load of turnips, radishes, peas, beans, and cabbage. Daddy Hall was
pale and thin; but he arose to meet the boys, and seemed very glad to
see Samuel. Although he was sick almost every day, and sometimes
suffered great pain, yet no one ever heard him complain. He loved
children, and was very fond of talking to them; and before he grew so
weak and feeble, many of the farmers sent their little ones to him, to
learn to read. After they had been seated a little while, John asked him
if he did not get tired of staying in the house.

"Sometimes," said the old man, "I wish I could go out, as I once could,
and work for myself; but I do not feel tired. Besides, this is the best
condition I can be placed in; and if you ask me why, I will tell you.
God, my children, has placed me in it; and he knows what is best for
each of us. He has given me many comforts, kind friends, plenty to eat
and drink, and a son, who is one of the best of boys. There is nothing,
John, more cheering to the heart of an old man than the kindness of a
dutiful son; and let me ask each of you, to listen to the advice of one
who owns such a blessing, and always to show honor and respect to your




The boys left their basket with Daddy Hall, and set out on their return
to the house. "Let us go through the woods," said Thomas, and they all
walked toward a thick wood which stood not far from the hill, near which
Daddy Hall's house was built. They were glad to reach its cool shade;
for the sun was now getting warm. Samuel saw a number of birds among the
branches, that he did not know the names of; and many bright little
flowers were growing in the shade, among the roots of oak and beech
trees. A little distance in the wood, they reach a small rock, near
which some large stones were lying, as if they had been thrown together.
Thomas stopped, and said, "Samuel, this is the place where we killed a
big snake last spring. You can see his hole under this rock. John and I
tried hard to move these loose stones, but we could not. I dare say
there are snake nests underneath."

"Perhaps we three can move one of them," replied his cousin. They all
caught hold, and at last pulled the stone from its place. There was
nothing underneath, but some old nut shells; but John said he was sure
they would find snakes if they could but move the other stones. After
much pulling, they raised another one; and under it was a large land
tortoise, with several little ones, no larger than a walnut. After
examining these, they observed a hole running under another stone, into
the ground. Samuel also found two or three snake skins, which his
cousins told him the snakes threw off every spring, after which, a new
and larger skin grew on them. They pulled hard at this third stone, but
could not move it; but while they were going away, Thomas said that they
could bring an iron bar some day, and easily root it up.

In the middle of the wood was a fine spring of water, which gushed from
a rock, and then spread out into a little pool, so clear and quiet, that
the smallest stones could be seen at the bottom. Samuel tasted the
water, and found it cold and refreshing. He asked his cousin how so much
water could come out of the rock.

"It does not come from the rock," replied Thomas; "but only runs through
it. Father says, that spring water often comes from the hills and
mountains, running under the ground through cracks and holes in the
rocks, until it finds some outlet. I suppose this water runs down from
the tops of the hills near the iron mine."

"But this is not rain water," said his cousin. "It neither tastes nor
looks like it."

"It has become changed while passing under the ground," replied Thomas.
"After a heavy shower the water soaks into the earth until it reaches
the sand, or rock underneath, then it runs through every little crack
down the hill, and under the ground to some place like this where it can
escape. The sand and gravel, which it meets with, make it pure and the
lime and other substances of the rocks, alter its taste."




When the boys reached the house, Mr. Harvey was in his study. Samuel was
anxious to ask him some questions about springs, but he would not go up
stairs to disturb him. But after dinner his uncle came into the parlor
where the boys were, and then Samuel asked him where all the water comes
from that flows in the rivers and other streams.

"From the ocean," answered Mr. Harvey. "I suppose you have seen water
boiling, Samuel."

"Yes, sir."

"And have you seen the steam rise up from the water into the air?"
Samuel said that he had. His uncle continued:

"Whenever water is heated, it is turned into steam, or vapor, as it is
sometimes called. If there is enough of heat to make water boil, the
vapor passes off very fast, until the water is gone. Now the sun is
continually changing the water of rivers, ponds, lakes, and of the
ocean, into vapor. This vapor rises. The air about a mile above the
earth, is much colder than it is on the earth; so when the hot vapor
from the ocean meets the cold air, it again becomes water, and forms
clouds. I see you are ready with a question, John."

"Yes, sir," said John. "I cannot see, father, how the clouds can float
in the air if they are nothing but water. Why do they not pour down?"
His father answered:

"I expected this would be your question. The clouds, my son, are water,
but not in a close mass, like that in a bucket or in the mill pond. You
have seen soap bubbles, and know that a great many of them may be joined
together without breaking. It is supposed by learned men, that clouds
are nothing but many thousands of bubbles, which, being lighter than
air, would, you know, float on it."

"But, father," said John, "what makes it rain?"

"That is not certainly known," replied Mr. Harvey; "but, no doubt,
lightning has much to do with it. I will show you, this evening, several
pictures about clouds and springs of water, which will help you to
understand what I have said."

"Uncle," said Samuel, "there is one more question which I would like to

"Ask it, my boy," replied Mr. Harvey.

"I have read, sir, that the water of the ocean is salt; why, then, is
not rain water salt, too?"

"Because," said Mr. Harvey, "salt cannot be changed to vapor, and it is
too heavy to be raised, in any quantity, in the air with the water.
Yet, I suppose, that a little salt is always mixed with the bubbles that
form clouds."



This afternoon was very hot, and the boys spent it in their room,
arranging their books and pictures, and in reading. At five o'clock,
while Thomas was standing by the window, he suddenly exclaimed: "There's
a hawk!" Both the boys ran to the window, and saw a large hawk, sailing
slowly toward the barn.

"He is the one that steals our chickens," said John. "And see, he's
flying straight for the barn. Thomas, run and ask father for the gun."

Mr. Harvey kept two guns in his house; but he used them only for
shooting hawks, when they were flying about to steal the poultry. John
and Thomas had learned to use them, and sometimes spent an afternoon in
firing at a mark. But they never did so without their father's consent.

[Illustration: THE HAWK.]

Thomas soon joined the other boys, having the gun in his hand; and after
Mr. Harvey had bidden them to be careful, they followed in the direction
the hawk was flying. They kept close by the fence, so that it could not
see them. In a short time it was over the barn yard, and sailing round
and round, in order to make a sweep downwards. "Hurry, Thomas," said
John; and Thomas ran stooping along some bushes, followed by John and
Samuel, on their hands and feet. The hawk was now quite low, and the
boys could hear the hens screaming and running about. At last Thomas
reached the barn fence, and his brother told him to fire. But he could
not take aim, because the hawk was partly hidden by the corner of the
barn. "I am afraid he'll get that little chicken," said Samuel. "See if
you can take aim now," whispered John. The hawk now made a sweep at one
of the chickens; but it ran under the barn, and the hawk flew up a
little higher. Just then, Thomas fired. The hawk came down head
foremost, and Thomas threw away his gun, and sprang over the wall. John
and Samuel jumped after him, shouting as loud as they could. In a few
moments the hawk was dead. It was the largest one that either of them
had ever seen. When they reached the house, Mr. Harvey was waiting for
them; and on seeing so large a hawk, promised to have it stuffed for
them. The gun was then hung up in its place.




This evening, while the boys were reading and talking to Mr. Harvey,
several bats flew in at the window. John caught one of them in his hat,
and placed it on the table for his cousin to examine. Samuel asked his
uncle if it would not fly away.

"No," said Mr. Harvey, "it cannot raise itself from the ground. What we
call its wings, are, you see, nothing but two thin skins, or membranes,
stretched from its hind legs to its fore ones, and fastened to its
sides. When flying, it spreads out its toes, so as to unfold these
membranes, and thus balances itself in the air."

"Do not some people think that the bat is a bird?" asked Samuel.

"Yes. But probably they never examined a bat closely. You see that it
looks nothing at all like a bird."

"Father," said John, "where did those great bats come from, which you
have in your cabinet?"

"From the island of Java," said Mr. Harvey. "They are called Java bats.
I have seen some with bodies as large as hens, and wings like umbrellas.
Hundreds of these animals fly about the gardens and orchards of that
island, every night, destroying great quantities of fruit. The people
there, spread nets over the trees, to protect the fruit, and shoot the
bats with guns, as you did the hawk."

"I have read, in a book of travels," said Samuel, "that while persons
are asleep, these bats, or some other large kind, suck their blood. Is
that true, sir?"

"No," said Mr. Harvey. "Such tales were long believed, even by writers
on natural history; and I have some where a picture of a monstrous bat
sucking the blood from a man's veins. But all this is now known to be
fabulous. No kind of bat will attack an animal as large as itself, nor
enter a house when there is an abundance of fruit and insects in the

"Shall we let this bat go now?" said John. Mr. Harvey said yes; and then
John lifted it on a large sheet of paper, and threw it into the air. In
a moment it spread out its thin wings, and after flying about the room
two or three times, passed out of the window. Mr. Harvey told them, that


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