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Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1850,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of


To inculcate gentleness of disposition, patience, and benevolence, and
to inspire the young with a love for the simple pleasures of rural
life, is the purpose of the following story. The love of exciting
narratives is not favourable to the developement of those mild virtues
which are the most beautiful ornaments of youth; and, in the following
pages, the quiet scenes and simple characters of rural life solicit
attention, in preference to the hairbreadth 'scapes and marvellous
adventures which are often brought under the notice of the young. If
the author has succeeded in the moral purpose of her little book, she
will be satisfied with the result.




Frank and Fanny Lee were orphans. Their parents died when they were
children, leaving them to the care of their grand-parents, who lived
in the suburbs of a beautiful village, in New England.

Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton were very fond of their grand-children, and did
every thing in their power to make them happy. They were not rich, and
therefore, had no money to throw away for useless toys; but this
caused Frank and Fanny no uneasiness. In fine weather, all the leisure
time which they could get from school, and from their tasks, was spent
in wandering through the woods which skirted the little village on
almost every side. In spring time they watched for the first flowers,
and many a bouquet of tiny 'forget-me-nots,' and dark blue, and pure
white violets, they brought to their grandmother, who welcomed the
wild flowers of spring, with as much pleasure, and youth of heart as
the grand-children.

As the season advanced, there was no end to the variety which they
gathered; and the sweetest were daily selected for the little vase,
which always stood upon the table, beside the large family Bible, out
of which, both morning and evening, the good grandmother read to her

Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton owned the comfortable cottage, in which they
lived. It was shaded in front by a large elm tree, that spread its
arms far out over the moss-covered roof, as if it were some protecting
spirit. Around the door, a beautiful vine had been trained; and rose
bushes, and shrubs, were scattered through the yard. On one side of
the house, was a garden, where grew a profusion of currant bushes, and
raspberry vines, with many useful vegetables, and flowers were
scattered along on each side of the little walk that ran through the
centre of the garden. There were hollyhocks, and noonsleeps, and
tiger-lilies, and little patches of moss pinks, the tiny flowers all
tangled in with their green foliage, and sweet williams, and
love-lies-bleeding; and the children thought there was never such
another garden in the world. Here the children delighted to watch the
butterflies, and bees, and birds, revelling among the flowers,
especially the beautiful humming bird, with his jacket of golden
green, his ruby-colored throat, and long, slender bill, which he was
so fond of thrusting into the garden lilies and hollyhocks. He loved
to resort to the garden of Frank and Fanny, where the bright sun was
shining on the flowers.

[Illustration: THE HUMMING BIRD.]

Then there was a little brown arbor, with grape vines carefully
trained over it, and rustic seats within; and there were quince trees
just beyond, and up by the gateway there grew tall stalks of fennel;
and altogether, it _was_ a most delightful place. Back of the house
was an orchard, and here pippins, long-stems, flyers, greenings, and
seek-no-furthers, grew side by side.

[Illustration: THE CEDAR BIRD.]

Here these children delighted to watch the beautiful cedar bird with
his silky plumage, and his smart crest. He is a sociable, gentle bird,
who allowed the children to come very near him, as he was perched upon
the cedar bush.

The stone wall which surrounded the orchard, afforded shelter to a
great number of striped squirrels, whose nimble motions it was the
delight of Frank and Fanny to watch, as they scampered over the wall,
or ran along on its top, or sought a safer retreat in the thick
branches of the apple trees. This last retreat, however, was not often
sought, as the striped squirrel is not fond of trees. His nest is in
a hole under a stump, or stone wall; he seeks his living on the
ground, and is the most playful, elegant little animal I ever saw. He
is called in different parts of the country, Ground Squirrel, Chipping
Squirrel, and Chipmuck, the last being probably his Indian name. Frank
and Fanny loved the striped squirrel; but never threw stones at him,
or sought to make him a prisoner.


The foot of the orchard was bounded by a clear, wide brook, shaded by
willows, and the fish plashed about in troops in the cool shade.

Here upon the margin of the water, seated upon a little stump,
watching for his finny prey, the children used often to peep at the
Belted King Fisher, in his bluish coat, white collar, and prettily
marked wings. This bird's delight is to dwell on the borders of
running rivulets, or the bold cataracts of mountain streams, which
abound with small fish and insects, his accustomed fare. When the fish
do not approach his station, he flies along, just over the water, and
occasionally hovers with rapidly moving wings over the spot where he
sees a trout or minnow. In the next instant, descending with a quick
spiral sweep, he seizes a fish, with which he rises to his post and
swallows it in an instant. All these proceedings were watched
frequently by the children, with intense delight, as they stood
concealed among the bushes, not daring to move for fear of disturbing
the bird.

[Illustration: THE KING FISHER.]

On the other side of the brook was a cranberry marsh, with a raised
road passing through to the pine forest, still beyond, where the
children gathered the ground pine, and hunted for the bright scarlet
berries of the winter-green. When the children resorted to the
cranberry marsh to obtain a supply of berries for their mother, they
often saw the beautiful meadow lark, crouching among the reeds, or
flying slowly and steadily away, as they approached her, uttering her
lisping, melancholy note, which sounded like, "_et-se-de-ah_," and
sometimes, "_tai-sedilio_." This bird was much admired by Fanny, who
was dreadfully grieved when a neighboring sportsman shot a number of
meadow larks for the sake of their flesh, which is almost equal in
flavor to that of the partridge.

[Illustration: THE MEADOW LARK.]

[Illustration: THE AMERICAN AVOSET.]

In this marsh, too, the children sometimes saw that singular bird, the
Avoset, with its curious curved bill, its noisy clamor, and its long
legs, bending and tottering under him, as he ran about the marsh or
waded into its pools. He was a great curiosity in his way.

Thus the cranberry marsh had its pleasures for Frank and Fanny.

But this was not their favorite resort. They loved best to cross the
meadows in front of the house, to a forest, where the woods were more
open, and where trees of every variety, cast their shadows upon the
green turf, and wild flowers grew upon every hillock, and peeped out
from every mossy glade. There were little wildernesses of
honey-suckles, too, scattered through the woods, and long, pale green
fern leaves, fit for a fairy to sway to and fro upon; and there were
vines of wild grapes, with branches so strong, that they often made
swings of them.

Sometimes in their rambles in the woods, they started a wild hare,
which they called a rabbit, who fled away from them with long leaps,
and was soon out of sight, so that they could hardly catch a glimpse
of him in his rapid flight. But they were always greatly excited with
a view of him, and lamented that they had no means of catching him.

[Illustration: THE RABBIT.]

Some of Frank's school fellows, however, were more skilled in hunting.
They knew how to set snares for the poor rabbits, and were very often
successful in catching them. By means of an elastic branch, or
sapling, bent over, and furnished with a snare of strong twine, they
contrived to catch the poor rabbit by the neck, and string him up in
the air, like a criminal convicted of murder. It was no misfortune to
Frank to be ignorant of this hunting craft.


Another curious animal, which the children sometimes saw, and which
may be seen occasionally in the pastures and pine forests, in all
parts of our country, from Maine to Carolina, was the woodchuck, or
ground-hog, as it is sometimes called. It feeds, generally, upon
clover and other succulent vegetables, and hence it is often injurious
to the farmer. It is said to bring forth four or five young at a
litter. Its gait is awkward, and not rapid; but its extreme vigilance,
and acute sense of hearing, prevent it from being often captured. It
forms deep and long burrows in the earth, to which it flies upon the
least alarm. It appears to be sociable in its habits; for upon one
occasion, we noticed some thirty or forty burrows in a field of about
five acres. These burrows contain large excavations, in which they
deposit stores of provisions. It hybernates during the winter, having
first carefully closed the entrance of its burrow from within. It is
susceptible of domestication, and is remarkable for its cleanly
habits. Its cheeks are susceptible of great dilatation, and are used
as receptacles for the food which it thus transports to its
burrow. The capture of the woodchuck, forms one of the most exciting
sports of boys, and it is very easily domesticated.

[Illustration: THE WOODCHUCK.]

The woods abounded in other wild animals, all small and harmless, but
extremely interesting to the children. In their frequent visits to the
woods, it was their delight to watch the animals and birds, and
observe their motions, habits, and modes of life. But they were not
fond of disturbing them; and when they deviated from their rule in
this respect, on one remarkable occasion, as we shall now relate, it
gave them occasion for much sorrow.



One Saturday afternoon, the children found in the woods, a grape vine,
larger than any that they had before discovered. One end clasped a
decayed tree, and as they bore their weight upon the vine, to try its
strength, they were startled by a hoarse cry above them. Looking up,
they saw two brown birds, beating the air with their wings, and
screaming, "tshe daigh, daigh, daigh; tshe daigh, daigh, daigh!" At
the same time, from amidst the green foliage which twined about the
dead tree, they heard a feeble, plaintive cry from several little
throats, "te-derry, te-derry." Frank and Fanny were much amused. They
had never seen a bird's nest so low before, and they had been
forbidden to climb the trees; but now Frank saw, that by placing one
large stone upon another, he could reach up, so as to look into the
nest. He did so, and found there were six little birds in it. But
Fanny begged him to get down, the poor parent birds were so
distressed. So he went and stood by her, upon the turf, where she was
kneeling, and they both watched the frighted mother bird, as she
fluttered back to her nest. The other still flapped the air with his
wings, and by his angry notes, brought another bird to the scene. This
one looked so plump and dignified, perched upon the bough of an
adjoining tree, that Fanny guessed he was the grandpapa.

[Illustration: THE CHICKADEE.]

They became so interested in the birds, that they forgot how rapidly
the time was passing, and it was nearly sundown when they started to
go home. They skipped lightly over the soft, green grass of the
meadows, stopping now and then, to look at some curious insect, and
then walking on slowly with their arms around each other.


Frank was very fond of his sister, seldom leaving her for any other
playmate. He remembered his dying mother's charge. She had called
both children to her bed side, before her death, and placing Fanny's
hand in Frank's, had said, "My son, in a few hours you and Fanny will
be motherless; promise me that you will try to fill my place; that you
will cherish and love your sister, with all the care and tenderness of
which you are capable; and Fanny, my little darling, you must remember
mamma, and try never to be peevish and fretful, so that Frank will
love to be with you, and take care of you; and both of you must always
be the same good and obedient children to your grand-parents, that you
have ever been;" and Frank promised, through his sobs, that he would
never neglect his gentle little sister. He had kept his promise
faithfully. More than a year had now passed away, and very seldom had
Fanny known what it was to have her brother cross, or unkind to her.

Frank was now ten years old, and Fanny seven. In all the village,
there were not two happier, or better behaved children.

We will now go back to the pleasant green meadows, where we left them
on their way home. Fanny was looking very serious, when Frank said:

"Are you tired, sister? If you are, I will carry you pick-a-back

"Oh, no, I am not one single bit tired."

"Then what makes you look so sober?"

"I was wishing that I could have one of those little birds to love,
and to take care of always. I do think that it would make me very
happy to have a dear little bird, that would know me, and turn his
bright, black eyes up to me, like Mary Day's little canary. When she
calls, "Billy, Billy," he turns his yellow head, first one side, then
the other; and when he sees her, he sings _so_ sweetly! Oh, couldn't
you get just one of those little birdies for me, Frank?"

Frank looked very thoughtful for a moment, and Fanny spoke again.

"Just one; you know there are six little ones."

"I know there are six, Fanny; but you heard how the poor birds cried
and scolded, when I only peeped into the nest; and if I took one away,
what would they do?"

Fanny thought an instant, and then said:

"I did not have six mammas, I only had one; and God took my mamma away
from me, and I am sure the birds could spare me one little one, when
they have six, better than I could spare my mamma, when I only had

Fanny's reasoning seemed very correct to Frank; he was not old enough
to explain the difference to her; so, promising to bring her one of
the birds, he left her, and ran back, over the meadows, while Fanny
kept on her way home, because she knew her grandmother always expected
them earlier on Saturday afternoons. But though she made haste, it
was quite sundown when she reached home. The snow white cloth was
spread upon the table for tea, and Sally was cutting the fresh rye
bread, as Fanny entered the room. Her grandmother sat by the little
table, between the windows, and looked up to welcome Fanny, but
missing Frank, she asked where he was.

"He has gone back to the woods, grandmother, to get" - - then Fanny
hesitated, for she remembered how often she had been told, that it was
wicked to rob the bird's nest, and she had not thought it would be
stealing the bird, until now. She felt ashamed to tell her
grandmother, and so she hurried through the room, and went to the
closet to hang up her sun bonnet.

Pretty soon she heard the garden gate swing to, and she ran out into
the back yard, to meet Frank, who was hurrying along with a sober
face, very different from his usual joyous expression. He held his cap
together with both hands, and Fanny's heart beat hard, when she heard
the feeble plaint of the poor imprisoned bird.

"Oh, Frank, I am so sorry," were the first words that she said, "I did
not think that it would be stealing, until I got home, and then I was
ashamed to tell grandmother what you had gone back for. Oh, I am so

"And so am I," said Frank; "it almost made me cry to hear the poor
birds fret so. When I took it away, one of them flow close around my
head, and when I ran on to get away from it, I hit my foot against a
stone, and stumbled down, and I am afraid I hurt the bird. All the way
across the meadow, I could hear the old birds crying so sorrowfully,
"chick-a-dee-dee-dee," and it made my heart ache so, that I should
have carried it back, if it had not been for you."

"Oh, dear, I wish you had. It is too late to carry it back to-night,
and what will grandmother say to us."

"Supposing we don't tell her to-night, and to-morrow morning we will
get up early, and carry it back, and then we can tell her all about

"No, we can't do that, Frank, for to-morrow is Sunday, and grandmother
does not let us go into the woods on Sunday; oh, what shall we do?"

Frank now uncovered the bird, and Fanny took it gently in her hand,
smoothed the glossy black head, and the brown wings, but it gave her
no pleasure, for the poor little thing wailed pitifully, and looked so
frightened out of its dark hazel eyes.

All the time that they had been talking, their grandmother had been
standing at the open window, close by them, but the vines hid her from
sight, and they did not know that she was there. When they went into
the house, they did not see her, and so they carried the bird up
stairs, into Fanny's room, and made a nest out of soft wool, and
placed the little bird in it; but it fluttered out, and Frank saw that
one of its wings was broken. Then he knew that he must have broken it
when he fell, and the tears came to his eyes, as he laid it in the
nest again, and covered it over with the wool.

"Let us go and tell grandmother all about it," said he, "for, perhaps,
she may know how to mend the broken wing."

Just then they heard Sally calling them to supper, and they went down
stairs, and sat down at the table. But the bowls of new milk remained
untouched. They felt too sad to eat, for Fanny could hear the low
plaint of the bird, in the room above; and still louder sounded in
Frank's memory, the sad, "chick-a-dee-dee-dee," of the mourning

"Why do you not eat your supper, children?" inquired their
grandmother, kindly.

Fanny burst into tears, but Frank answered:

"I have done something very naughty, grandmother, and we both feel too
bad to eat. We did not want to tell you to-night, for we knew it would
make you unhappy to hear that we had done wrong, but we cannot keep it
to ourselves any longer."

"Frank would not have done it, if it had not been for me,
grandmother," sobbed Fanny; "but I wanted a little bird so badly, and
I forgot that it was wicked, and I teazed Frank to go back to the
woods, and get me one, and now I am so sorry."

Their grandmamma looked very grave, but she answered,

"You have done right, my children, to tell me about it. I should have
been still more grieved if you had concealed it from me. As it is, I
feel sorry for you, for I know how much you are both suffering for
your thoughtlessness: now, try to eat your supper, and we will take
good care of the bird to-night, and to-morrow morning, before church,
I will send Sally with Frank, to carry it back again, for it will be
an errand of mercy to the poor little bird."

The children were very much relieved by their grandmother's
sympathy. After supper, they brought the bird down, and showed her the
broken wing, and Frank told how he feared he had broken it. Sally
tried to feed it, but it would not eat; and the children felt very sad
again, when they found that the wing could not be mended. After
carefully laying the bird, with the wool, in the basket, Sally
prepared the children for bed. Then their grandmother read to them a
chapter from the Bible, after which they sung, in sweet tones, this
little evening hymn, which I will copy here, as it is such a good one,
for all little children to repeat:


"LORD, I have passed another day,
And come to thank thee for thy care;
Forgive my faults in work and play,
And listen to my evening prayer.

Thy favor gives me daily bread,
And friends, who all my wants supply;
And safely now I rest my head,
Preserved and guarded by thine eye.

Look down in pity, and forgive
Whatever I've said or done amiss;
And help me, every day I live,
To serve thee better than in this.

Now, while I speak, be pleased to take
A helpless child beneath thy care,
And condescend, for Jesus' sake,
To listen to my evening prayer."

Then Frank and Fanny kissed each other 'good night,' and Frank went to
his little room, which was close to the one where Sally slept with



The next morning was a beautiful one. The air seemed full of
fragrance, and the sunshine rippled down through the leaves of the old
elm tree, falling in little golden waves of light upon the vines, that
were twined about the doorway and casements of the cottage.

Fanny was awakened from her sleep, by the joyous notes of a robin,
that had perched close beside her window, and was shaking the dew in
showers from the leaves, with every motion of his restless little
wings. She sprang out upon the floor, fancying for a moment, that it
was her chick-a-dee, that was singing so merrily; and she hastened to
the basket, and carefully lifted the wool. She was grievously
disappointed, for the poor bird lay stretched upon its back, and when
she lifted it, she found it was quite cold and dead! Her little bosom
swelled, and large tears gushed from her eyes. It was more than she
could bear, and when Sally came into the room, a few moments
afterwards, she found her sobbing bitterly.

[Illustration: THE ROBIN.]

Frank was in the room below, studying over his Sabbath school lesson,
but when he heard his sister crying, he dropped his book, and hastened
up to her. Sally had told him, that the bird was dead; and he, too,
felt very badly about it, but he could not bear to hear his sister
grieve so.

"Don't cry so, dear sister," he said, "I will earn some money, and buy
you a Canary, like Mary Day's."

"No, no, Frank; I don't want any more birds; and, O, how I do wish I
had never wanted this one," and then she cried again, as though her
little heart was breaking.

It was some time before she was at all pacified, and even then, the
long sighs seemed almost to choke her.

As Sally said, she was, indeed, 'very much afflicted.'

After breakfast, her grandmother, to divert her mind, took her in her
lap, and read to her Bible stories, until the first bell rang for
church. Then Fanny was dressed in a neat lawn, and her long curls were
fastened back, under her simple straw bonnet; and taking hold of
Frank's hand, they walked to church with their grand-parents.

Several times during the sermon, Fanny's lips quivered, and tears
started to her eyes, but she looked at the minister, and tried very
hard, to forget the little dead chick-a-dee.

After church, they staid to Sunday school. When they went home, Fanny
asked if they might not stay at home that afternoon, so as to go down
in the woods, and bury the bird. Her grandmother told her that that
would not be right; and Fanny said very earnestly,

"Why not, grandmother? Wouldn't that be an errand of mercy?" This made
her grandmother smile; but she told her that the poor bird's
sufferings were now over, and that it was to shorten them, that she
had given her consent to Frank's carrying it into the woods, on the

After dinner, they all went to church again, but Fanny was very warm
and tired; so her grandmother took off her bonnet, and laid her head
in her lap, and she soon fell asleep. Just as the minister sat down,
after finishing his sermon, Fanny turned restlessly, and said, "poor,
dear little birdie." The church was so still, that though she spoke
low, she was heard all around. It made the children smile, but Frank
blushed, and felt almost as badly as his grandmother did. She woke
Fanny up, and soon after service was over, and they walked slowly home
again. Then Frank and herself sang little hymns, and read their
Sabbath school books until sundown, when their grandmother gave them

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Online LibraryMrs. Clara MoretonFrank and Fanny → online text (page 1 of 3)