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Produced by Annie R. McGuire


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Tuesday, January 3, 1882. Copyright, 1881, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50
per Year, in Advance.

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Pray where do the Old Years go, mamma,
When their work is over and done?
Does somebody tuck them away to sleep,
Quite out of the sight of the sun?
Or, perhaps, are they shut into crystal jars
And set away on a shelf
In a beautiful closet behind the stars,
Each Year in a place by itself?

Was there ever a Year that made a mistake,
And staid when its time was o'er,
Till it had to hurry its poor old feet,
When the New Year knocked at the door?
I wish you a happy New Year, mamma -
I am sure new things are nice -
And this one comes with a merry face,
And plenty of snow and ice.

But I only wish I had kept awake
Till the Old Year made his bow,
For what he said when the clock struck twelve
I never shall find out now.
Do you think he was tired and glad to rest?
Do you think that he said good-by,
Or melted away alone in the dark,
Without so much as a sigh?

Do I bother you now? Must I run away?
Why, that's what you always say;
The New Year's just the same as the Old;
I might as well go and play.
Oh, look at those sparrows so pert and spry!
They are waiting to get their crumbs.
For the New Year's sake they shall have some cake,
And I hope they'll fight for the plums.



We left Germany early in October, and went back to England. Father took
lodgings in a pretty little village, where I might have led an
untroubled existence, after my thrilling experiences among the
Prussians, if it had not been for one thing.

It was this: The pretty little English village was situated very near a
large town where bicycles were manufactured, and before I had been there
a week the mania to ride one seized me. I knew at once what it must come
to, and I will now proceed to relate what it did come to.

One morning father and mother set out for London, leaving Thad and me
behind in charge of the landlady, a kind, motherly person who would see
that we did not break any bones playing horse with her furniture, or
make ourselves sick by eating too much of her jam.

"Now, do be careful, boys," said mother, just as the train was about to
start. "Don't get your feet wet, nor try to stop a runaway horse; stay
away from the pond; and you, Max, keep a close watch over your brother."

I listened to these instructions with a light heart, and promised a
dutiful obedience, for had not the things I was not to do been mentioned
by name, and certainly the riding of bicycles was not among them. When
the cars rushed off from the station I made up my mind that my destiny
could be avoided no longer.

"Maximilian," a voice seemed to mutter within me, "all obstacles have
vanished as if by magic from thy path. Four shillings and sixpence hast
thou in thy pocket, so seize the opportunity ere it be too late."

And I seized it; that is to say, I went straight home with Thad, and
telling him to amuse himself with anything short of pulling the cat's
tail or fooling with ink-bottles, I left him there, and hurried off to
the bicycle head-quarters to hire a machine.

"What size?" asked the man, when I had made a deposit of my silver watch
as a guarantee that I wouldn't run away with his property.

Of course, never having ridden before, I hadn't a very clear idea of
what this question meant; so the young fellow, seeing my confusion,
promptly whipped a tape-line out of his pocket, and proceeded to find
out how long my legs were.

"A forty-six-inch'll do you," he informed me, adding, "Tall of your age,

As this implied that he thought me rather young, I put on my gravest
look, and pretended I didn't hear him, and while he went to bring out
the machine, I resolved that nothing should induce me to ask for any
"points" about the management of it. Besides, hadn't I often watched
fellows mount, dismount, coast, and take "headers"?

"Only get started, and you're all right," was what I had heard riders
say over and over again; so I determined to set the thing going the best
way I could, and then stick to the saddle.

But when the man appeared again, pushing before him the bicycle, I must
confess the big wheel looked very big, and the little seat very little
and terribly far from the ground.

Still, I had no cowardly thoughts of giving way to my fears; for had I
not ridden a three-wheeled velocipede for two years around our block
home in New York without falling off a single time? And by quickly doing
a sum in mental arithmetic, I found that the proportion of seven hundred
and thirty days as against one hour was greatly in favor of my not
tumbling during the hour.

Considerably strengthened in my purpose by this method of reasoning, I
seized the handle with a flourish, and started to trundle the machine
out into the road.

"Be careful there," suddenly cried That Man, as my flourish nearly
caused the bicycle to take a "header" on its own account.

After pushing the machine as far as I dared without giving rise to the
suspicion that that was the only way I could make it go, I brought it to
a stand-still, placed both hands on the handles, a foot on the step,
and - waited a minute.

I finally nerved myself to take the flying leap, which sent me into the
saddle so surely and swiftly that I could not rest there, but in my high
ambition kept on going until I found my hands on the ground, the handles
knocking against my knees, and both wheels running up my back.

I knew at once that I had taken a "header," and so I did not feel as
badly as I would if I had fallen in a manner not dignified by a special

I had simply been too eager, and resolving to profit by experience, I
began hopping again; then gave a gentle - a very gentle - spring, which
landed me on the extreme rear of the saddle, where I hung helpless for a
few seconds, with both feet wildly pawing the air in search of the
pedals, which of course I could not reach.

There could be but one end to this gymnastic exhibition, and while I lay
on the road, with the bicycle on top of me, I vowed I would try but once
more, and if the magic third time did not inspire me to success, I would
give it up, push the machine back to the shop, and ever afterward look
upon the sport as a mere "craze" that would soon die out.

Again I broke into that everlasting hop.

"Not too fast,
Nor yet too slow;
Gently, quickly,
Here I go."

I don't know whether it was owing to the rhyme, but at any rate my next
attempt to mount resulted in my sliding nicely into the saddle, while at
the same time my feet bore down upon the pedals, which sent me skimming
along famously. On and on I went, gliding as smoothly and easily over
the fine road as if in a carriage.

Of course the faster I went, the easier it was to balance the machine,
so I kept rolling on further and further away from the village, until
at last I hadn't the slightest idea where I was or whither I was going.

"This will never do," I finally decided. "It will be lunch-time before I
can get back."

Then a brilliant thought struck me. I would turn around at the next
cross-roads, where there would be plenty of room.

About five minutes later I reached one, and making a wide circuit, had
nearly accomplished my object in safety, when a farmer's wagon appeared
upon the scene, almost in front of me.

"Hold on a minute!" I shouted; but it was too late. The horse could not
be stopped short enough, and I stopped too short, being sent sprawling
on the ground right where the wagon's hind-wheels had been two seconds

This final and worst fall of all left me so bruised and sprained and
strained that I found it impossible to get into the saddle again.

If I had been in America I might have climbed up by the help of a fence,
but in England the fences are all hedges. So there was nothing left for
me to do but push the bicycle back to the village again, and walk myself
every step of the way. I don't know how far it was, but going out it
seemed about a mile, and coming back I thought it must be five.

That Man did not ask me if I had had a pleasant run, but when I had paid
him for the two hours I had been out, and he was handing me back my
watch, I saw him look down at the dust on my shoes in a way that made me
hurry off home, feeling like the dying swan I've read about somewhere
that only sings one song in its life, for I had ridden a bicycle for the
first and last time in mine.


[1] Begun in No. 101, HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE.

An Indian Story.



For a moment Murray and Steve stood looking after the retreating forms of
Red Wolf and his sisters.

"I say," exclaimed Bill, "you're a pretty pair of white men. Do you mean
to turn us three over to them Apaches?"

"Who are you, anyway? Tell me a straight story, and I'll make up my

"Well, there's no use tryin' to cover our tracks, I s'pose. We belong to
the outfit that set up thar own marks on your ledge thar last night. It
wasn't any more our blame than any of the rest."

"And you thought you'd make your outfit safe by picking a quarrel with
the Apaches."

"Now, stranger, you've got me thar. 'Twas a fool thing to do."

"Well, I'll tell you what we'll do. You three stand up and swear you
bear no malice or ill-will to me and my mate, and you and your crowd'll
do us no harm, and I'll let you go."

"How about the mine?"

"Never mind about the mine. If your Captain and the rest are as big
fools as you three, there won't any of you come back to meddle with the
mine. The Apaches'll look out for that. There'll be worse than they are
behind you, too."

He was speaking of the Lipans, but Bill's face grew longer, and so did
the faces of his two friends.

"You know about that, do ye?"

"I know enough to warn you."

"Well, all I kin say is, we've got that dust, bars, nuggets and all, and
we fit hard for it, and we're gwine to keep it."

"What can you do with it here?"

"Here? We're gwine to Mexico. It'll take a good while to spend a pile
like that. It took the Chinees a year and a half to stack it up."

"Well, if you don't start back up the pass pretty soon, you won't have
any chance. Do you think you can keep your word with us?"

"Reckon we kin with white men like you. So'll all the rest, when we tell
'em it don't cover the mine. You take your own chances on that?"

"We do."

"Tell you what now, old man, there's something about you that ain't so
bad, arter all."

"You and your mates travel!" was the only reply.

They plunged into the thicket for their horses, and when they came out
again Murray and Steve had disappeared.

"Gone, have they?" said Bill. "And we don't know any more about 'em than
we did before. What'll Captain Skinner say?"

"What'll we say to him? That's what beats me. And to the boys? I don't
keer to tell 'em we was whipped in a minute and tied up by an old man, a
boy, two girl squaws, and a red-skin."

"It don't tell well, that's a fact."

Murray had beckoned to Steve to follow him.

"They might have kept their word, Steve, and they might not. We were at
their mercy, standing out there. They could have shot us from the cover.
That's the kind of white men that stir up nine-tenths of all the
troubles with the Indians, let alone the Apaches; that tribe never did
keep a treaty."

"The one we saw to-day looked like a Lipan."

"So he did. And he stood right up for the girls. Steve, one of those
young squaws was no more an Indian than you or I be. It makes my heart
sore and sick to think of it. A fine young girl like that, with such an
awful life before her!"'

"The other one was bright and pretty too, and she can use her bow and
arrows. Murray, what do you think we'd better do?"

"Do? I wish I could say. My head's all in a whirl. But I'll tell you
what, Steve, my mind won't be easy till I've had another look at that
ledge. I want to know what they've done."

"The Buckhorn Mine? I'd like to see it too."

"Then we'll let their outfit go by us, and ride straight back to it.
Might as well save time and follow those fellows up the pass. Plenty of

It was a bold thing to do, but they did it, and they were lying safely
in a deep ravine that led out of the pass, a few hours later, when the
"mining outfit" slowly trundled on its downward way.

Long before that, however, Bill and his two friends had made their
report to Captain Skinner.

They had a well made up story to tell him, but it was not very easy for
him to believe it.

"Met the two mining fellers, did ye? And they're friends with the
'Paches. Wouldn't let 'em do ye any harm. How many red-skins was

"Three. We never fired a shot at 'em nor struck a blow, but one of thar
squaws fired an arrer through my arm."

"It's the onlikeliest yarn I ever listened to," said the Captain.

"Thar's the hole in my arm."

"Not that; it isn't queer an Apache wanted to shoot ye - I can believe
that. But that you had sense enough not to fire first at a red-skin. You
never had so much before in all your life."

"Here we are, safe - all three."

"That's pretty good proof. If there'd been a fight, they'd ha' been too
much for you, with two white men like them to help. Well, we'll go right
on down. It's our only show."

"That isn't all, Cap."

"What more is there?"

"The old feller told me to warn you that thar was danger comin' behind
us. He seems to know all about us, and about what we did to the ledge."

"We're followed, are we? What did he say about the mine?"

"Said he'd take his chances about that. We agreed to be friends if we
met him and his mate again."

"You did? Now, Bill, you've shown good sense again. What's the matter
with you to-day? I never heard of such a thing. It's like finding that
mine just where I didn't expect to."

Danger behind them; they did not know exactly what. Danger before them
in the shape of wandering Apaches; but they had expected to meet that
sort of thing, and were ready for it. Only they hoped to be able to
dodge it in some way, and to get safely across the border into Mexico
with their stolen treasure. They had at least made sure of their
wonderful mine, and that was something. Sooner or later they would all
come back and claim it again, and dig fortunes out of it. The two miners
would not be able to prove anything. There was no danger from them.

Perhaps not; and yet, as soon as they had disappeared down the pass,
below the spot where Steve and Murray were hiding, the latter exclaimed,
"Now, Steve, we won't rest our horses till we get there."

They would be quite likely to need rest by that time, for the old man
seemed to be in a tremendous hurry. Steve would hardly have believed
anything could excite the veteran to such a pitch, if it had not been
that he felt so much of the "gold fever" in his own veins. It seemed to
him as if he were really thirsty for another look at that wonderful
ledge. They turned their horses out to feed on the sweet fresh grass at
last, and pushed forward on foot to the mine.

"They've done it, Steve."

"I see they have. Our title's all gone."

He spoke mournfully and angrily; but Murray replied,

"Gone? why, my boy, those rascals have only been doing our work for us."

"For us? How's that?"

"It was ours. They've set up our monuments, and dug our shafts, and put
in a blast for us. They haven't taken anything away from us. I'll show

He had taken from a pocket of his buck-skins a small, narrow chisel as
he spoke, and now he picked up a round stone to serve as a hammer.

"I'm going to make a record, Steve. I'll tell you what to do about it as
I go along."

Captain Skinner's miners had been hard workers, but Steve had never seen
anybody ply a chisel as Murray did. He was not trying to make "pretty
letters," but they were all deeply cut and clearly legible.


On the largest stone of the central monument, and on the side monuments,
and then on the face of the cliff near the ledge, he cut the name of the
mine, "The Buckhorn," and below that on the cliff and one monument he
cut the date of discovery and Steve Harrison's name.

"Put on yours too, Murray."

"Well, if you say so. It may be safer. Only I turn all my rights over to
you. I'll do it on paper if I ever get a chance."

"I only want my share."

All the while he was chiselling so skillfully and swiftly, Murray was
explaining to Steve how he was to act when he reached "the settlements,"
and how he should make a legal record of his ownership of that property.

"You must be careful to describe all these marks exactly; the ruins,
too, the cañons, the lay of the land, the points of the
compass - everything. After all, it may be you'll never be able to work
it. But you're young, and there's no telling. The first thing for you to
do is to get out of the scrape you're in now."

Steve felt as if there were no longer any doubt of that.

During the busy hours spent on the ledge by their masters the two horses
had been feeding and resting, and both Murray and Steve felt like
following their example.

"Start a fire, Steve; it'll be perfectly safe. I'll try for a deer, and
we'll cook enough to last us for two days."




[Illustration: SPONGES GROWING.]

Sponges are so common and so familiar that many of us have used them all
our lives without stopping to admire their curious and interesting
structure, or to inquire into the history of their past lives. We may,
indeed, have noticed that they can be squeezed into a very small space,
and that they will return to their natural shape when the pressure is
removed. We have perhaps noticed also that they are full of little holes
or pores, and that they will absorb an astonishing quantity of water.

You know there has been a doubt whether sponges belong to the animal or
to the vegetable kingdom. For a long time naturalists were in doubt
about the matter, but it is now settled that they are animals, living
and growing on the bottom of the ocean. The only part of the sponge that
reaches us is the skeleton. The living sponge is a very different
object. Shall we see what we can find out about it?

Upon naming the word "animal," a picture comes before our minds of some
creature having a mouth to eat with, and eyes to see with, and
possessing feet or wings, or some other means of moving about; but the
sponges are far from this. They are probably the lowest animals with
which you are acquainted. They have no nerves, no heart, no lungs, no
mouth, and no stomach.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. - GROUP OF SPICULES.]

Live sponges consist of jelly-like bodies united in a mass, and
supported by a frame-work of horny fibres, and needle-shaped objects
called "spicules,", which you will see in Fig. 1, and which we must
examine further after a while. This jelly-like flesh, covering all parts
of the skeleton, is about as thick as the white of an egg, but it decays
immediately after the death of the sponge. During life the flesh
presents many bright colors; in some species it is of a brilliant green,
while in others it is orange, red, yellow, etc.

The frame-work varies in different kinds of sponge. In those which are
valuable for our use it consists of horny fibres interwoven in all
directions until they form a mass of lacy net-work. This you can easily
see with the naked eye, but by looking through a microscope you will see
beauty you had not imagined, and which but for this valuable instrument
would never have been dreamed of. In our ordinary sponges these fibres
are all that remain of the former living-animal, the soft flesh having
been removed. It is found that the horny fibres are composed of a
substance very similar to the silk of a silk-worm's cocoon. They are
exceedingly tough and durable. Most of us have discovered that a good
sponge becomes like an old and tried friend, and that unless it is
abused it seems as if it might never wear out.


In looking at any sponge you will notice large holes through it, with
many small pores scattered between them. The living sponge is constantly
drawing in water at the small pores. This water passes through a set of
branching canals, and is thrown out from the large holes on the surface,
as seen in Fig. 2. (The arrows show the direction of the current.) With
a microscope little fountains may be seen constantly playing from the
large holes of a living sponge. The circulation is kept up in the canals
by the movement of "cilia," which are delicate threads waving gently but
continually. The word cilia means "eyelashes"; let us remember it, for
this is a name we shall often want to use. The cilia are shown in those
cup-like hollow places in the canals (Fig. 2). The stream of water thus
passing through the sponge brings to every part of it small particles of
food, and all the air it needs for breathing purposes.

Everything that lives must eat and breathe, but how is the sponge to eat
without a mouth? When the food touches any part of its body, the soft,
jelly-like flesh sinks in to form a little bag; at the same time the
surrounding parts creep out over the morsel of food, until it is
entirely covered and digested. After this the flesh returns to its
original position, and any shell or other refuse that remains from the
meal is washed away.

Sponges have a curious manner of producing their young. At certain
seasons very small oval masses of jelly are formed on the inner surface
of the canals, which finally drop off. They remain in the canals for a
time, and become perfect eggs, after which they are thrown out by the
stream issuing from the fountains, and instead of falling to the bottom,
as we might suppose such helpless masses of jelly would do, they swim
around as if they meant to have a little sport before commencing the
sober realities of life.

You will be interested to know that while these jelly-like eggs were
resting in the canals of the parent sponge, delicate cilia (which we
learned about just now) were forming at one end of the egg. These cilia
strike the water with a rapid motion, and the eggs are rowed about
through it until they settle down and attach themselves to some rock or
shell on the bottom of the ocean, and finally grow up into the perfect
sponge. The waters are swarming with these eggs at certain seasons, and
great quantities of them are eaten by larger animals.

[Illustration: SPONGE-FISHING.]

Sponges are common in nearly all parts of the world, and they differ
greatly in size and quality, but few species being useful to man. Some
species are nearly round, others are always cup-shaped, some top-shaped,
and some branched. A fresh-water sponge is frequently found in our
streams, growing upon sticks and stones. It is of a bright green, and
when seen under the water in a flood of sunlight it is very pretty.

The spicules of sponges grow in a variety of elegant shapes, but they
are visible only with a microscope. They are composed of lime or flint,
and are generally sharp-pointed. They are imbedded in the flesh as well
as in the horny fibres, thus serving to protect the helpless creatures
from being devoured by fish and other animals. In our fine sponges, the
skeleton is almost destitute of spicules, while in some others the flesh
is supported wholly by spicules, giving them so loose a texture that
they are of no value for domestic purposes.

Fine sponges are used by physicians in surgical operations, and are
sometimes very expensive. Should you at any time take a fancy to a
dainty little sponge in the druggist's window, and step in, thinking to
buy it, you will probably be surprised at the price asked for it. Our
finest sponges come from the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. They are
obtained by divers, who search for them under rocks and cliffs, and who
remove them carefully with a knife, that they may not be injured; The
Turks, who carry on the trade, have between four and five thousand men
employed in collecting sponges. The value of the sponges annually

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Young People, January 3 1882 → online text (page 1 of 4)