When he was safely stowed away in the wagon, amidst the empty corn-sacks,
the servant brought out his trunk of clothes which the doctor had ordered
her to pack, and the letter which the now sobbing boy had dropped in
the study; then she went back for a moment and returned with some
school-books fastened together by a leather strap; and seeing how much
Philip appeared to be suffering, she forgot how many times he had thrown
her dust-cloth out of the window, and sent her broom and dust-pan flying
after it; her heart melted, and she said kindly—
“Never mind, Master Philip; if you doesn’t behave, you must expect to
be punished; but it’ll do you good, like physic. Just you try to be a
first-rate boy, and you’ll be back here in a good deal less than no time.”
“_Master_ Philip, indeed!” cried the farmer. “Pretty well for a
stable-boy! You’ll be plain Phil as long as you live with me, I can
tell you. Stop that plaguy snuffling and sighing, making such a dismal
whistling about my ears! it’s enough to knock a sloop over. If you are
ever so good, you will never make up for the loss of my Jack, and I’ll be
bound his poor little sister Essie is crying for him this very moment.”
The wretched boy choked down his sobs, and crept into a corner among the
corn-bags, where he hid himself, wiping away the big tears that fell
silently. Soon the slow motion of the wagon soothed him. He lay for a
while drowsily watching the trees and the wild roses growing on the
fences, that sent their faint sweet perfume in to him with a gentle wave
of their pretty heads; and presently, as the horses turned into a road
which lay through a cool, quiet wood, the myriad leaves of which made a
deep shade, our young friend gave a final sigh, and, opening his mouth
and shutting his eyes, forgot all his troubles, and snored tunefully to
the end of the journey.
After four hours’ driving, just as the sun was setting, the farmer
turned down a crooked lane, perfectly alive with grasshoppers, and soon
came in sight of a straggling red house, at the door of which stood a
nice-looking woman, and a little pale, yellow-haired girl, supported by
crutches. In another moment out rushed a very small brown dog, who fairly
“barked himself sideways,” in his intense joy at seeing his master; then
he jumped up so high that he fell over backwards,—the whole time wagging
his ridiculous morsel of a tail so fast, that it looked like six tails
all going round like a windmill.
The farmer jumped out of the wagon, and, heartily kissing his wife,
stooped down and tenderly stroked the soft locks of the little pale
crippled child; then lifting her in his arms, he kissed her five or six
times, saying between each kiss, in a deep loving voice, “My little
Essie—my little Essie.”
“My little father,” laughed Essie, patting the big man’s cheek, “what a
dear, good little man you are.”
At the sound of her soft, gentle voice, and the pat of her small hand,
the farmer hugged her closer to his breast. Then he looked down into her
sweet blue eyes, and said, “O-h, Essie!” The great love that flowed out
with these two words, no pen can show.
“Tell me, little father,” whispered Essie, “have you got the bad boy with
“Yes, big darling,” said the farmer.
Then he carried her to the side of the wagon, and showed her a great,
red-faced boy, fast asleep on the corn-sacks.
“Why, he’s asleep!” she said.
“Sound as a top; but we’ll wake him up, my little maid.” So the farmer
picked up a long straw from under the seat, and drew it across Phil’s
“Ow! get out,” cried the boy, rubbing his face violently.
Essie laughed, and the farmer tickled Phil under the nose again.
“Ow! ow!” cried Phil, kicking out with both his legs, and butting his
head against the side of the wagon. “Hang the old fly.” Then starting up,
he opened his eyes, and stared wildly at Essie and her father.
“Come, Phil,” said the farmer kindly, “we’re home; get down, and come in
All at once the boy remembered, and with something between an oh! and a
groan, he followed his new master.
In they all went—and what a nice little room it was, to be sure! Great
bunches of feathery asparagus filled the fireplace; a canary bird, in a
pretty cage, hung in the open window, through which the sweet breaths of
honeysuckles came floating; not a speck of dust could be found on chairs
or table, and the rag carpet was as clean as brooms could make it. Over
the mantelpiece was an engraving of Cain and Abel, which Essie did not
like; and opposite, one of little Samuel praying, which she did. Through
the door facing to that by which they had entered came a sound of frying,
and an appetizing fragrance of ham.
Phil flopped sulkily down on the first chair; then he gaped as if the
top of his head had got unhinged, and was falling off backwards; then
he stretched out his arms till his shoulder-blades cracked, and then he
grumbled out—“I am hungry.”
“What, already!” exclaimed the farmer. “Why, the girl at Dr. Gradus’s
said you had eaten one orange, three apples, and a quarter of a pound of
lollipops, beside your dinner.”
“I don’t care! I’m hungry! Oh, what will become of me! Where can my
father be gone! Oh! how miserable I am!” whined Phil.
“Poor boy!” said little Essie, her blue eyes filling with compassionate
tears; “give me my crutches, please, dear father, and I will go right in
the kitchen and hurry the tea.”
Her father did as she wished, and oh! then, it would have done you good
if you could have seen the little thing hobbling to the kitchen door, and
crying out so pleasantly, as she rested on the crutches, to give a smart
clap of her hands—“Hurry up, Hannah. Let’s have tea before you can say
You would hardly believe how the good woman bustled about after that!
She tore to the dresser and got a dish; she flew to the table and caught
up a fork; and in a trice the ham was out of the frying-pan, in the
dish, and on the table, which was already set in the kitchen; then one,
two, three, a dozen hot snowballs of potatoes—that’s a funny idea!—were
whipped out of a pot in the corner, into a big bowl, and those put on the
table, opposite the ham; then the tea was set to steam, and, while that
was doing, Hannah skipped round like a crazy monkey, and thump, thump,
thump, thump, just like that, four chairs were set to steam—no, I don’t
mean that—I mean, to the table; but I’m in such a hurry to tell it all
before you can say Jack Robinson, you know! and then tea was ready.
It was all done in two minutes, because Hannah loved little Essie so
dearly; but she could not help looking rather crossly at the greedy
boy, who hardly waited for grace to be said, before he began to eat as
if he meant to give himself half-a-dozen stomach aches, and a horrible
nightmare, when he went to bed, by his gourmandizing.
When he could not possibly swallow another morsel, he pushed back his
chair, and, in five minutes, was in a heavy sleep, snoring like a trumpet.
“Wife,” said the farmer, “if that chap’s father hadn’t promised to give
our Johnny at least three months of first-rate education, if we would
consent to this queer experiment, I don’t think I _could_ keep such a
lout about the place.”
“How long is he to stay?”
“Why, I tell you, it is to be for three months, if he gives up his lazy,
ugly ways; if not, six months; and all this time he’s not to know where
his parents are; and I’ve promised to watch him like a cat, so that he
don’t run away.”
“I tell you what, husband,” said the good woman, “if any thing will make
a good boy of him, it will be living with our little Essie here;” and she
looked through the kitchen door, into the sitting, or “living room,” as
country people call it, at her darling, who was bending her golden curls
over a book called “Neighbor Nelly Socks,” and laughing out every little
while, as if it was very amusing.
All this time Philip was snoring. The farmer’s wife let him sleep until
Hannah had had her tea, and had washed the plates and dishes, and made
all neat; then she shook him up and down as if he were a big bottle of
medicine, and, taking his arm, helped him up-stairs into the garret,
where was a little cot bed in a corner, with a straw mattress, covered
with coarse, but clean sheets.
“Is—this—my—room?” gasped Philip, with a horror-struck countenance.
“Plenty good enough for a stable-boy,” answered Mrs. Goodfellow, for of
course you know by this time that she was Johnny Goodfellow’s mother.
“But I’m a-f-r-a-i-d.”
“Afraid of what?”
“I d-o-n’t know. It’s such a big, dark place.”
“Oh, if that’s all, there’s nothing here but dried apples and onions; two
broken chairs, which my Johnny has played horses with many a time, and an
empty poll parrot’s cage, which has travelled with him and his horses,
all over the world, up here in the old garret. Bless your heart! Johnny
thinks it’s great fun to bring little Essie up here, to play, rainy days.
So you say your prayers, and go to sleep; as it is your first night here,
I’ll leave the light. Good-night.”
She left the unhappy boy, who sat on the side of his cot, and stared
fearfully around. The little oil lamp gave but a feeble glimmer, and
he jumped as if he had seen a ghost, as his eye caught sight of an old
great-coat hanging from one of the rafters; then he began slowly to
undress. As he took off his jacket a letter fell out of the pocket. It
was the one Dr. Gradus had given him from his father, which in his misery
he had forgotten. He opened it and read as follows:
“MY DEAR SON—You seem to think that the whole world is made
of plum puddings and pie-crust, and that all you have got to
do is to eat your way through it, with as little exertion as
possible. ‘There is no royal road to learning.’ If you want to
grow up any better than a two-legged donkey, you must study and
“If you won’t do this, you had better go on all fours at once.
“I shall now make one last effort to rouse you to diligence,
and a wish to discover what your brains were made for. At
present they are no better than calves’ brains, only fit to
be boiled and served up with sauce; although you have been
told often enough that they were given you for your own use,
improvement, and the good of others; that the more you study
and cultivate your faculties, the wiser, better, and happier
you will be. But this good advice has been thrown away, and I
intend to bestow all your advantages upon Johnny Goodfellow,
the farmer’s son, who loves learning as much as you do pastry
and cake; and you are to take his place—groom horses, follow
the plough, chop wood, draw water, and do up generally what
farmers call ‘chores,’ which, I believe, means a hundred and
fifty different things.
“When you have learned to execute all these things quickly
and cheerfully—mind! I say _cheerfully_—if you wish to return
to your studies, and become something more than a two-legged
donkey, I shall be very glad to take you back to your home
and my love; but until then, do not expect to hear from your
grieving mother, or sorrowful father,
Here was a terrible letter indeed! and Philip sank down on his bed, and
miserably reflected upon his bad habits, and the happy home which now
seemed lost forever. Conscience began to be busy with him; and all the
little fellows whom he had tormented with his “snapper” appeared to rise
up in the far gloom of the garret, laughing inaudibly, and making faces
at him. “Oh,” he thought, “if I could only get back to school, I _would_
be kind to them, I _would_ study, I _would_ try to please Dr. Gradus and
my parents.” In the midst of these very sensible reflections, the trouble
of which was, that they came a _little too late_, the light went out,
and, covering his head with the bed-clothes, Philip lay shaking with
foolish fears, till he fell into a troubled sleep. _He forgot to say his
The next morning, just after daylight, a sonorous voice resounded through
the garret, and seemed to shake the brown rafters—“Phil-ip, Phil, wake
“Yes sir,” cried the boy, springing out of bed, and staring wildly. “Why,
where am I?”
Alas! it all came back too soon, and Philip felt that he was indeed
only a stable-boy, when he saw that a coarse pair of dark blue overalls
and rough cow-hide shoes had been put on the chair by the side of the
bed, in place of his own fine broadcloth pantaloons and patent leather
boots. He put the rough clothes on with heavy sighs, not waiting to tie
the shoes, as the farmer shouted to him to “make haste and come to the
When he got there, he was taught how to wash and curry the great farm
horses, put on halters, and take them to a trough in the farmyard to
water. Then he had to bring them back and harness them, and fasten them
to the pole of the wagon, for the farmer, who had been loading it with
vegetables and fruit to take to market to sell, while Phil was left
behind with orders to clean the stables, and prepare the litter for
night. He was not alone in these labors, for a man who helped in the
fields and garden, worked with him for the present, and gave him a great
deal of good-natured advice and assistance.
Phil felt very miserable, almost desperate; but he had the sense to
perceive, that the only way to get back to his former station was to do
his duty here. So he worked slowly but steadily all day, with many sighs
and groans, wiping away a great tear now and then with his shirt-sleeve.
It was certainly lonely dull work; and some of it not very nice; for he
had to feed about fifty great pigs, and everybody knows that pigs never
use Cologne, and had rather roll in a mud-puddle than take a warm bath
with plenty of nicely scented soap. So all the time he was bringing these
grunting, snorting, bad-smelling animals their food, which the farm man
very properly called “swill,” he held his breath till he nearly burst;
while the pigs, fighting, kicking, butting, and pushing, ate their dinner
in the midst of a regular riot. Oh! I wonder if children ever eat in this
There was one pleasant duty which helped to brighten the gloom of the
rest. Just before sundown, Essie came to find him, almost skipping on her
“Will you come and help me feed the chickens?” she asked, in her sweet
Philip ran to her. He did not speak, but she saw that he was glad to
come. They both went into the kitchen, and Essie directed him to get a
great tin pan, and fill it with rich-looking gold-colored Indian meal.
Then she poured hot water into it from a pitcher, while he stirred the
meal with a wooden spoon, with all his might and main. Oh, how good it
smelt! Phil almost wished he was a chicken.
They went out, and Essie called, “Chick, chick: here, chick, chick.” In
a moment there was such a scuttling, and clucking, and running! Up they
rushed by dozens; and as Phil threw great spoonfuls of the meal, how
they did scratch, and snatch, and give each other sudden sly pecks! It
was very funny, Phil thought, and he and Essie laughed merrily; but only
funny, I am sure they would say, for _chickens_. I do not think any one
will ever try to teach chickens or pigs to eat with knives and forks, and
say, “If you please,” and “Thank you,” for what they get; but you will
all agree that neatness and politeness at the table are expected as a
matter of course from well-bred _children_.
And now the sun had set, like a king gone to repose, with his crimson and
gold curtains closing round him. In the gorgeous light little Essie stood
looking at the west, the red clouds tinging her pale cheeks with a faint
blush, and shedding a warm glow over her yellow curling hair.
“Oh, Phil,” she murmured, “how kind God is to make us such a beautiful
world. Thank you, dear Father in heaven,” she continued, folding her
small hands reverently, and looking upwards; then turning to Philip,
“_You_ say your prayers. _You_ love Jesus, don’t you?”
The color rushed into his face, and every nerve in him thrilled, as he
looked at the lovely child and heard her words. In a hoarse, broken
voice, he answered—
“I haven’t said prayers for a long time.”
“Oh, Phil, how dreadful! when our Saviour loves you so much, and begs you
to bring all your troubles to Him. What made you? Did you forget?”
“I don’t know. I suppose so,” said Phil, looking down.
She went close up to him, and leaning on her crutches, curled her arms
round his neck, and whispered—
“Pray to-night, dear Phil, will you?”
A great sob rose in his throat. With a terribly painful effort, he choked
it down, for he was too proud to cry before a girl, and he managed to
say, “I’ll try,” to Essie, whom God seemed to have chosen as His little
minister to lead Phil back to Him.
Just then a lumbering farm wagon came in sight. In it was just the
pleasantest-looking old man that ever was seen, with long snow-white hair
and blue eyes, still, clear, and bright.
“Well, little bonny bird,” he said to Essie, “do you know I have promised
to catch you up, and carry you off?”
“Do you mean to lock me up in a fairy palace?” asked Essie, laughing.
“I am to take you to a great big man, who will snap you up, put you in
his wagon, and hold you fast, so that you cannot escape.”
“Did the big man call me his ‘Little Essie?’”
“This is what he said: ‘Farmer Hardy, I’ve got to turn off about two
miles from home, on some business. You’ll be going past my house; won’t
you stop and bring my little Essie, on your way home? I will be at
the cross-roads and meet you, and get my white lamb, and take her back
[Illustration: Little Essie going to meet her father.]
“It’s _dear_ father,” said Essie, and she laid down her crutches, and was
tenderly lifted into the wagon, and bidding Phil “good-by” for an hour,
drove off with good old Farmer Hardy, talking pleasantly with him.
And poor Phil was left behind lamenting; for it seemed as if it grew
suddenly dark, as the sound of the wheels got faint and fainter, and at
last died quite away. Then he went to the end of the crooked lane, and
climbed into the fork of a tree to watch for Essie’s return.
You may be sure, when the dear little child was met by her father, and
lovingly placed close beside him for the pleasant ride home, she told him
how good Phil had been all day, at which Farmer Goodfellow looked very
much pleased; and when he and Essie got to where the tree was in which
Phil had perched himself, he was told to jump into the wagon, and they
all came down the crooked lane, just as the stars were peeping out, three
very happy people.
I don’t think you would have known Phil for the same boy, had you seen
how he flew round, giving the horses their supper, putting them in their
comfortable stalls, and dragging at the wagon, with, the help of the farm
man, to get it safely housed. The boys at the school would certainly
have declared that it could not be “Philip Badboy,” but a sensible,
industrious fellow called Philip Wiseman.
And the farmer showed how much he was gratified, by giving him a
seat next his own at the table, and letting Essie help him twice to
“I dare say,” said the farmer, “you will like farming better than Greek
and Latin; while my son John is all for books. Learning suits _him_ to a
Phil blushed deeply, and hung down his head.
“Never mind,” said the farmer; “you’ve got your good points too.
To-morrow is Sunday. After you have done your stable-work, you can go to
church, and if you listen to our good parson, you can’t help improving.”
That night Philip knelt down in his lonely garret, and asked God to
forgive his many sins, for Jesus’ sake. His face was wet with penitent
tears when he rose, and God heard his prayer, and saw the tears.
* * * * *
Let us go back to the school. You would have thought that Johnny
Goodfellow, who was left in place of Philip Badboy, wore a fairy talisman
outside of his heart, which made everybody love him, so great a favorite
did he become almost immediately. Yes, he wore a charm; but it was
_inside_ his heart, and it was called LOVE. Do you know, darling little
reader, whom _I_ love with all my heart—that in that sublime chapter
in Corinthians which tells about Charity, it is _Love_ which is meant?
The word in the original is “Love;” but for good reasons, and so as not
to be misunderstood—because this word “love” has not always a divine
meaning—the translator chose the word “Charity.” And now, whenever you
read the beautiful chapter, which I hope you do very often, and, what is
more, _practise its heaven-sent lessons_, always think that “Charity”
means the purest “Love.”
How the little fellow did study! It seemed as if he could not say his
lessons wrong if he tried; and in play hours, he frolicked at such a
rate with his particular friend Kriss Luff, who clung to him from the
very first day, that he did not lose his bright rosy cheeks, as his good
mother had feared. He wrote her a long letter once a week, sending
many loving messages to his father and darling sister Essie, and not
forgetting Phil. And once, when a travelling photographic gallery came up
to the school, he had himself taken with his arm round his friend Kriss’s
neck; and he particularly requested that Kriss should be looking at his
watch at the moment, as it would seem such a grand thing, he said, for a
boy to have one.
Johnny learned to construe Latin in such a surprisingly short time, that
Dr. Gradus forgot one morning to be as pompous as usual, and tapping his
new scholar on the back, told him he was an honor to the school, and said
he was quite a “multum in parvo,” which, I am certain, meant a great
compliment, for Johnny colored deeply, while an expression of delight
illumined his features. It is a very majestic thing to praise people in
Latin; but for my part, I wish Dr. Gradus had talked English, don’t you?
If you can find out what “multum in parvo” means, just write it to me in
a dear little letter, directed to the care of Mr. Sheldon.
Of course Johnny told Kriss all about his sister Essie; how pretty and
good she was, and how she had to walk with crutches, because she had
hurt her knee when she was a little bit of a thing, and the leg that was
injured never grew any more, at which Kriss was dreadfully sorry, and
sent his love to her, and a funny little picture, in an envelope, of
a boy who was pulling out the nose of his sister’s india-rubber doll,
and making it at least half a yard long. And Essie, in return, sent him
a great gingerbread cake, which she helped to make herself, and Kriss
had what he called “a public dinner” off of it, and made a fine speech,
standing on top of the pump in the play-ground; after which he cut a
slice of cake for every boy, all elegantly arranged on cabbage leaves for
plates, upon receiving which they gave him three perfectly tremendous
cheers, and in five minutes more every single crumb had disappeared.
And Johnny kept rosy and fat, although he really seemed to live on
geography, the multiplication table, and the Latin grammar; but he could
play too; for Kriss declared that he could run faster, jump higher, swim
longer, and shout louder than any other fellow in the school, which was
very remarkable, for some of the boys could run like lamplighters, jump
like kangaroos, swim dog-fashion and crab-fashion, dive like stones,
float like feathers, stand on their heads under water and bow, to you
with their feet, and as to shouting, I only wish you could hear them
* * * * *
All the boys agreed that Johnny made the very best back of them all at
leap-frog,—so strong and square, with his hands firmly planted on his
knees, and looking between his legs with his round face upside down.
Then he was a capital hand at mending broken-down drums, toy-carts,
horses, and all manner of playthings. The little boys in the school would
bring them to him, and, first hugging him, would coax him to “make them
as good as new,” until he declared that the little closet in his room
was a perfect hospital, of which he was the doctor, and a jack-knife and
Spalding’s glue the medicines.
And such wonderful kites as he could make! They quite astonished the
whole neighborhood, birds and all. A famous one which he made was, as he
declared, a genuine portrait of a round-shouldered, bullet-headed member
of Congress he had seen, whose brains being made of feathers, were just
the very ones to go off in a high wind, at a tangent, and never touch any
sensible thing, or cut even a curve in the air, much less a difficult
question. So the member of Congress was painted on an immense sheet of
tissue paper, and furnished with an exceedingly long tail, made of scraps
of cotton-wadding tied on a string at intervals of four inches, and so
light that it balanced his brains to perfection. When he was finished,
he was dubbed “The Honorable Mr. Kite;” and many a fine day did the
honorable gentleman air his feather-brains over the broad fields, and
look down with his stupid fat face at the delighted boys, who all took
turns in giving him a “flier.”
[Illustration: The Hon. Mr. Kite.]
But perhaps the very best of Johnny’s social accomplishments came out
on rainy days, when he told stories without end, so excellent was his
memory of what he had read or heard; and the bright play of his features
added so much to the interest, that the boys declared, when they came to
read the very same stories in books, as sometimes happened, they did not
seem one quarter as good. I really feel tempted to tell you one of them,
though, like the boys, you will lose three-quarters of the interest
because you do not get it direct from him. Shall I.
Aunt Fanny had read thus far in her manuscript, when she paused, looked
up, and repeated, “Shall I?”
“Oh, yes! yes! if you please,” cried all the children.
“But it won’t seem more than a quarter as entertaining.”
“Oh, you funny Aunt Fanny! you know we shall like it just as well—better.
But tell us, did _you_ hear that jolly Johnny Goodfellow tell a story?”
“Of course I did,” she answered, “and this is the way he did it. First,
let’s all sit down on the carpet.”
You would have thought that each of the children had been presented with
a fine present, they received this proposition with such delight and
so many chuckles. Down they all got in a bunch, with Aunt Fanny in the
midst. Then she clasped her hands over her knees, made her mouth into
a button-hole, and looked up at a corner of the ceiling, pretending to
think. She looked so long, that Fred, full of Johnny Goodfellow and his
story, quite forgot he was speaking to Aunt Fanny, and shouted—
“Come, old fellow! we’re all waiting; why don’t you begin?”
Then suddenly remembering himself, he turned as red as scarlet, and
“Oh, I didn’t mean—— I beg your pardon.”
The button-hole mouth broke loose, and Aunt Fanny burst out laughing, as
“That was just what I wanted. Now, attention, squad! Aunt Fanny has
jumped over the moon, and Johnny Goodfellow is here in her place to tell
you the wonderful tale, a good deal altered, which he read in an English
“BROTHER BOB’S BEAR.”
Once upon a time, a Yankee farmer found he had such a lot of children,
that they cost him more than they were worth. So he concluded to emigrate
out West, where the old ones could shoot game and plant corn and keep out
of mischief, and the young ones could laugh and grow fat by rolling on
the prairies and eating hasty-pudding.
He found that he was well enough off, when he got to his new home, to
build a very aristocratic log-house. Very few, you know, have more than
one room, while his had three—all elegantly ceiled with hemlock-bark,
with the smooth side out—quite gorgeous, you may believe.
It was in May that he moved, and the whole summer was before the children
to frolic in, and have a grand good time; and the eldest brother, Bob,
began the game by shooting a bear who wanted to hug him. You know a
bear’s hug is a remarkably tight squeeze, and generally takes your breath
away for good. So Bob declined the honor, and popped a bullet in the
bear’s cranium, and carried home in his arms a perfect little darling of
a cub, for the poor bear was a mother.
Oh, what a welcome the little cub got! It was hugged and kissed all
round; and Bob, congratulating himself that it was too young to mourn
long for the loss of its mother, solemnly declared that he intended to be
a mother to it for the rest of its life. And he kept his word.
The cub, who was named Moses, slept with Bob, always laying his nose in
a sentimental manner over Bob’s shoulder. He grew very fast; you could
almost see him grow; and there really seemed no end to the bread and milk
and mush and butter he would eat.
The first winter he was kind of numb and stupid, and spent a great deal
of time in sleeping and sucking his paws. But when the warm weather came
on, he was the happiest little bear in the world, following Brother Bob
about like a dog, and only miserable when he lost sight of his master. He
always woke him in the morning; and as the bear liked to get up early,
you see he was quite a blessing to Bob in this respect, as getting up
early, according to the proverb, is one of the sure and certain ways of
becoming healthy, wealthy, and wise. I always feel the wisdom sprouting
out all over me when I get up very early in the morning; but I’m afraid
I should spend all the extra money I made by early rising in buying an
extra breakfast, for it also makes me so tremendously hungry.
Well, one day Brother Bob had to go a long journey to buy material for
building a frame house, of a man who had a saw-mill. Moses could not
accompany him; and this was a dreadful affliction. Bob had to steal away;
and when the bear found he had gone, he commenced a search for him. He
went to Bob’s bed, and, beginning at the head, poked his nose under the
sheets and blankets, and gravely travelled down till he came out at the
foot; then he turned and slowly marched up again. He kept this up by
the hour, never stopping till he was shut out of the room. He then took
possession of all Bob’s clothes he could find, and got as far as he could
push into the legs of the trousers and arms of the coats, still hoping
that his beloved master would be found in some of the dark corners; and
Bob’s mother, half distracted at seeing the clothes tearing with such
rough usage, got them away with great difficulty, and locked them up in a
Then Moses, with tears in his eyes, and grunting with grief, managed to
climb to the top of the wardrobe, and seized a large Bible which rested
there, and, curling himself up into a round ball, dropped on the floor,
hugging the Bible fast. Bob’s mother tried to get this away, but the bear
showed fight for the first time, and kicked out his hind legs, and gave
sly dabs at the broomstick with which she was beating him; but he held
the book tight, and Bob’s mother had to give up, and come off second
best; and what’s more, the bear knew it, and made use of his triumph
When Bob came back, the bear fairly danced for joy, dropping the Bible,
and showing his contempt for Bob’s mother by taking the butter from the
tea-table and eating it before her eyes. His master gave him a good
drubbing for stealing, and he submitted to it with perfect indifference,
for his dear master might do as he pleased; but when he was not present,
butter and honey, and sugar and molasses, were all taken with the utmost
coolness; and the poor old lady could not help herself, for he had now
grown so large and strong that she was afraid of him.
“Oh, Bob,” she said, one day, “your bear is the plague of my life.”
“Now, mother,” he answered, “you have only got to be resolute, and show
that you are not afraid of him.”
“But I _am_ afraid of him, and he will do me some dreadful harm yet.”
“Give him a taste of hot poker, mother, and he’ll never bother you again.”
“Oh, Bob!” she exclaimed, “I would not do that for the world!”
And so the bear had his own way, and became a very tyrannical member of
the family, till something happened which did more than even a mother’s
For Brother Bob fell in love. Just at this time the Yankee farmer got
a neighbor—a very near one for the West, only five miles off—and this
neighbor had a pretty daughter, seventeen years old; so what does Bob,
who, I forgot to tell you, was nineteen years old—what does he do but
fall so head over ears in love, that he declared she was the prettiest
and best girl in the whole universe, which _I_ think was saying a great
But Susan (that was her name) treated Brother Bob shamefully. She played
tricks upon him; she made fun of him before his face, and kept him
perfectly miserable; and declared, moreover, that she did not care half
an ear of corn for him. Here was a pretty state of things! for even the
bear could not comfort the poor fellow.
But one day Susan and a younger sister came to take tea with Bob’s
mother. They had never seen Moses, and did not know of his existence.
Bob shut the bear up in his room, in compliment to the guests, and the
afternoon passed off very pleasantly; that is, to all but Moses, who was
highly disgusted at being locked in.
When the time came for Susan and her sister to leave, Bob prepared to see
them home through the path in the woods. He ran into his room for his
hat, never thinking of Moses, and left the door open, and came quickly
out of the house, as Susan, with her teazing ways, had already started.
Down rushed the bear after him, out of the door, up to Bob, seized him
in his arms, and hugged him, in his joy, in a way frightful to behold;
and Susan, turning, saw Bob in this terrible embrace. She screamed; oh,
how she screamed! and instead of running away, _she rushed right up to
the bear_, and tried to pull him off, crying and sobbing, “Oh, Bob! dear,
dear Bob! you will be killed!” and then fell fainting to the ground.
Ha! ha! Miss Susan, you were found out! But Bob behaved very well; for he
caught her in his arms, and said—
“Dear Susan, he is a tame bear; do not be afraid.”
The poor girl looked like a broken white lily, trembling at the bear, and
ashamed that she had showed Brother Bob how much she cared for him; and
when she had recovered her wits, she cried out piteously—
“Oh, I will never come here again!”
“Yes, you will!” said Bob, “now that I know you like me. I’ll banish the
bear, or put him in prison, or do any thing you wish.”
It was wonderful how many faults Bob discovered that the poor bear had
after this; and one day when he snatched a pudding from the plate in the
very hands of Bob’s mother, as she was taking it to the table, he made up
his mind that Moses must be chained.
So the bear was fastened to a surveyor’s chain, made tight to a stake in
the ground. He immediately began walking in a circle round the stake,
at the extreme length of the chain, always turning a somerset at one
particular point, and only stopping to eat, or look reproachfully at Bob
when he came that way. Why he wanted to exercise in this very peculiar
fashion, tumbling head over heels at one spot every time he went around,
is a good deal more than I know; but I believe all bears who are chained
act in this comical way, though it can’t be much fun to them.
This was all very well in the daytime, but sure as night came, Moses
broke his chain, and did his best to get back into his master’s bedroom.
Poor fellow! he so wanted to lie at the foot of Bob’s bed, hugging an old
vest. And at last they had to build a prison for him of logs, with a roof
of boards kept on by heavy stones.
The very first night the poor bear was put in this den, he raised the
boards off the roof in his desperate struggle to get out and see his
beloved master. He got his head out, and then, oh! ah! alas! hung by his
neck, and was choked to death—a martyr to his great love for Brother Bob.
You may be sure, Bob’s mother was rather glad, but, old as he was, Bob
could not help shedding a few tears for his clumsy, ugly pet. He got a
new and pretty pet before long; and so it came to pass that the farmer
and all his family soon gave up bewailing the tragical end of
BROTHER BOB’S BEAR.
* * * * *
“There!” said Aunt Fanny; “what do you think of Johnny’s story?”
“Grand!” cried the children. “We know more about bears now than we ever
“I wish I could have a bear,” said Peter.
“Come here and I will give you a bear’s hug,” cried Fred.
He jumped upon Peter and squeezed him till both were perfectly red in
the face, and breathed in puffs. Then Fred kindly offered to give Aunt
Fanny a hug; but she, jumping up and laughing, said she had no breath to
spare. And after a good deal of skirmishing around, and making believe to
punch each other with their elbows, dancing and singing—
“There was an old woman,
Who had but one spoon,
And all she wanted
Was elbow room,
Elbow room, elbow room,—
All she wanted
Was ELBOW ROOM”—
they consented to sit down quietly to hear once more about their friend
* * * * *
At the farm, all this time, Phil had been improving. Not steadily, for
no one becomes good all at once. He would have his fits of laziness and
sulkiness; but the ministering love and sweet example of little Essie
soon made him ashamed of himself, and try to conquer the enemy, praying
to his Father in Heaven for help. You know very well, darling children,
that our worst enemies are our evil passions and bad habits, and when
we gain a victory over them, all the angels in heaven rejoice, and then
God’s Holy Spirit descends into our hearts, sending a glow and thrill of
happiness all through us.
As Phil grew good-tempered and industrious he began bitterly to regret
the advantages he had neglected and lost while at school, and when
Johnny’s letters were read aloud, his heart would beat violently, and he
would say to himself—“Shall I ever be so smart? What a miserable foolish
fellow I have proved myself!”
One Saturday evening he went softly up to Mr. Goodfellow, and
asked—“Won’t you please tell me something about my dear father and
mother?” and then burst into tears.
“Why, Phil!” cried the farmer, “what’s the matter? Your parents are well,
and know that you are trying to be a better boy. Don’t cry. The time will
soon pass; and a little farm learning will not hurt you. If you go on as
you have done this two or three weeks past, you’ll come out all right, my
The next morning, after his work, Phil washed and dressed himself
carefully, and went to church. His history, by this time, was pretty well
known, and the good minister, who had become quite interested in him, had
not only been to see him, but had always spoken to him kindly when he
waited in the churchyard after the service, while the farmer and his wife
talked awhile to their neighbors.
On this day, Phil went up to the good clergyman, and, blushing deeply,
stammered out, “I should like to speak to you, sir.”
“Well, my dear boy,” he answered kindly, “don’t be afraid; tell me what
I can do for you.”
“Oh, sir, if—if—you would only ask Mr. Goodfellow to let me go to evening
school. I want to learn—I do indeed.”
“Well, that is quite right; but you were at an excellent school. Why did
you not study there?”
Phil blushed more deeply than before, but he said, truthfully and
manfully, “I neglected my opportunities, sir: I would not learn; and all
the boys hated me—because I tormented them; and I did not want to do any
thing harder than to walk about with my hands in my pockets—or else to be
“But, my child, did this kind of life make you _happy_?”
“No, sir. I grew tired of every thing, and gaped till I sometimes thought
the top of my head would crack off; and I used to wish I could sleep
all day as well as all night; but now, oh! how I wish I could go back
and study diligently—although the farmer and his wife are very kind,
and I could hardly bear to leave dear little Essie. And I want to see
my parents, and beg them to forgive me”—and here Phil’s lip quivered
“Well, my son, I will speak to the farmer, and if he consents, you
shall come to _me_ for an hour every week-day evening and continue your
Phil could hardly believe his ears.
“You, sir! come to you!” he exclaimed, his whole face radiant with joy.
“Oh, thank you, thank you; how can I ever thank you enough!”
He flew to the good farmer, the minister coming slower, and told him the
precious good news, ending with, “Now I shan’t grow up a dunce!”—and I am
afraid I must add that he took one or two great joyful jumps in the air,
at which the minister looked a little grave, as it was Sunday, but did
not say one word of reproof, because he knew that “boys would be boys,”
and sometimes jumped when they ought to stand as still as a mouse.
It was all settled, and the next evening, just as the stars were peeping
out, Phil shouldered his books, which, you will remember, were sent away
from the school with him, and almost ran all the way to the parsonage.
It is perfectly astonishing how easy a lesson becomes, if you resolutely
drive all other thoughts out of your mind, collect your five wits, and
set to work at your book. Phil found it so, to his great delight. The
good minister smoothed away some of the difficulties which required a
little explanation, and excited his ambition to conquer others; and not
being near so pompous as the great Dr. Gradus, though knowing quite as
much, he and Phil got on capitally together. He did not learn Greek,
Latin, and all manner of hard things, like a flash of lightning, mind
you. If I should be so absurd as to tell you this, you would know I
was writing about an impossible boy. But his mind gradually cleared up,
because he no longer ate like a glutton, and he slept like a top, and
took plenty of healthy exercise, and this has every thing to do with
intellect and brain. You know, if you have a terrible headache, or eat a
great many buckwheat cakes for breakfast, you can’t do your sums. So, if
you want to grow up a wise man or woman, try to be a healthy child, full
of good-nature, good-temper, activity, and courage. They will greatly
increase your ability to learn.
About a mile from Mr. Goodfellow’s farm was a beautiful country place,
which had lately been offered for sale, and one day, when Phil had been
almost three months in his new home, the farmer, as he drew in his chair
at the tea-table, said—
“Wife, Woodlawn is bought, and the owner is coming to take possession
He gave his wife a peculiarly comical look as he said this, and a smile
broke over her face, but she did not ask any questions.
Phil did not care who was coming; he was so engaged with his books, and
so happy working out in the fields all day, that if he could only have
heard from his parents, he would have had nothing left to wish for.
Just at this time, also, there was a public examination at Dr. Gradus’s
school, where anybody in the company was invited to put the most puzzling
questions to the scholars. You may be sure, Johnny was always ready
with an answer, except once, when he and the whole school, and all the
company, burst out laughing, because a queer old wag of a gentleman,
seeing that Johnny was so quick and bright, came out suddenly with this—
“Look here, my fine fellow. Suppose a canal-boat heads east-nor’-west for
the horse’s tail, and has the wind abeam, with a flaw coming up in the
south, and cats’-paws showing themselves, would the captain be justified
in taking a reef in the stove-pipe, without first asking the cook?”
I said everybody burst out laughing; but I made a mistake; for Dr. Gradus
rose up majestically, and made a speech stuffed full of Latin, in which
he observed that “problems like that the gentleman had just given were
not to be found in any of _his_ books;” at which everybody nearly laughed
again—he was so solemn and pompous about a joke. I forgot to mention that
Dr. Gradus was an old bachelor, and that accounts for it.
Of course, Johnny’s father and mother were present at the examination,
with little Essie; and oh! what three proud and happy people they were,
when, at the end of it, Dr. Gradus got up to present the prizes, and
among the very first names called was Master Johannes Goodfellow. At
first they did not quite understand that it was _their_ Johnny, because
Dr. Gradus turned his Christian name into Latin, which, you know, made
it grander; and as Johannes’s face,—as he walked up, bowed, and took the
splendid book presented to him,—was perfectly radiant with happiness, I
don’t know but what the Latin had something to do with it. But when he
saw his dear father holding out his hand to him, his mother’s eyes full
of joyful tears, and Essie’s rosy lips trembling with excitement and
pride in her darling brother, he very nearly burst into tears himself;
but controlling his feelings with a strong effort, he grasped his
father’s hand for a moment, and then went back to his seat.
Kriss, Johnny’s particular friend, obtained a prize too; and after
they were all distributed, the company were invited to partake of
refreshments in the parlors, which consisted of very sour lemonade, and
such thin slices of cake, that they were all weak in the back, and fell
over double when they were taken up. Of course, nobody ought to be hungry
after such a “feast of reason” on Latin grammars, geology, mathematics,
chemistry, and I don’t know what besides—the very names of which made Dr.
Gradus smack his lips with delight. He, no doubt, would have preferred
to have dined off of Greek lexicons, with chemical sauce, instead of
plum-cake, with _comical_ sauce (that is, plenty of fun and laughing),
which you and I would much rather have, wouldn’t we?
Then Johnny introduced Kriss to his sister with great pride and delight;
and Essie’s sweet smile and soft pleasant voice won his heart, and he
immediately told Johnny, in a whisper, that his sister was _such_ a
dear little girl, and a great deal prettier than he expected, and her
lameness ought to make everybody as kind and tender as possible; and
moreover, that when he grew up to be a man, he meant to marry Essie, and
watch over her, and make her as happy as the day was long.
“Oh, delightful!” cried Johnny; “just fancy! then you’ll be my brother. I
always wished I had a brother. I don’t like the thought of finding that
cross Phil at home; it will half spoil my holidays. But we must write to
each other, Kriss; and you shall have Essie when you grow up; and then we
shall live together all our lives.”
So they parted; for after the examination there was to be a month’s
holidays; and Johnny had as much as he could do to shake hands and bid
good-by to the crowd of noisy, merry boys, every one of whom loved him.
All the teachers also shook hands, and hoped he would come back; and
Dr. Gradus, pushing up his spectacles, and clearing his throat with a
tremendous “hem,” said that Master Goodfellow quite fulfilled the promise
of his name; at which heavy joke everybody nearly died of laughter, and
all because it was the great Dr. Gradus who said it.
It was beautiful autumn weather. The leaves were just beginning to turn;
the dark green woods were flushing into gorgeous tropical beauty; and
four happy people were riding home, their hearts full of gratitude and
peace, beyond all price.
But when they drove into the crooked lane, didn’t the little brown dog
bark himself more sideways than ever before, in his frantic joy at
hearing Johnny’s voice, for it was now quite dark; and didn’t Hannah, and
the farm man, and Phil, rush out and cry, “Hurra! here they are!”—and
Phil’s voice sounded so hearty and pleasant, that Johnny shook hands with
him immediately, and said, “How are you, old fellow?” as if they had been
friends a year, which made Phil very happy, for he had been quaking at
heart lest Johnny should not speak to him at all, knowing what a bad boy
he had been.
As they were sitting at the tea-table, Phil said—
“There is a note for you, sir, on the table in the living-room.”
“Oh, is there? Hannah, will you bring it here? It looks like something
important,” he continued, as he took it in his hand. “Hm—hm—hm. Well,
wife, what do you think it is? An invitation for all of us to spend
to-morrow evening at Woodlawn.”
“Indeed!” said Mrs. Goodfellow, with a bright but peculiar smile on her
face. “Phil is invited, of course?”
“Certainly; and I am glad and proud to say that I know he will do himself
credit now, wherever he goes. Our good minister is to be there too.”
“Oh, I am glad of that!” said Phil; “he is my best earthly friend—” He
stopped, and his eyes filled with tears.
“What is the name of the family who have bought Woodlawn?” asked Johnny.
“Such a curious chap as it is!” answered the farmer, laughing. “Never
mind the name till to-morrow.”
That night there was another cot-bed put in the garret, and Phil and
Johnny had a long affectionate talk together. Phil frankly told all about
himself, and what Essie and the good minister, with God’s blessing,
had helped him to do; and Johnny cheered and encouraged him, and told
him that he had no doubt but that Phil’s parents had heard of his good
conduct, and might be expected at the farm almost any day.
But the poor little fellow suffered terribly himself while he was saying
all these kind things, for, as you know, Phil’s gain would be his loss.
If Mr. Wiseman was convinced of his son’s reformation, Johnny must go
back to farm work, and resign his precious hopes of growing up a learned
man. His kind father had not yet paid all the money for his farm; he
could not afford to hire another boy in his dear son’s place; and now
a few months in winter at the district school was all that Johnny must
But he got up the next day bright and happy. It was something—yes,
indeed, it was a great deal—to have such a home as his; and after he had
washed, dressed, and said his humble, thankful prayers, he was quite
ready to race eagerly out with Phil and the little brown dog, and see
which could get to the end of the crooked lane and back again first.
It was lucky that the little brown dog’s tail was fast at one end, and
the hair on it not a wig, for he certainly would have shook it off,
and every single hair out, if incessant and furious wagging would have
done it; and the boys and the dog seemed to have each taken a dose of
laughing-gas, they flew hither and thither in such a ridiculous way, just
because they were so happy.
Then Johnny helped Phil with the horses and the rest of the farm work,
and the little brown dog helped too by getting between their legs and
nearly upsetting them half a dozen times, and by riding on one of the
horse’s backs to water, barking the whole time to make him hurry, which,
of course, was very funny, and made the boys laugh heartily.
And when they went in to breakfast, there was Essie, with a welcome
shining in her sweet blue eyes, and her Bible all ready to read a
chapter, before her father asked a blessing on the labors and pleasures
of the day.
The day was soon spent in cheerful work, and in the evening they all
prepared for their visit to Woodlawn. Phil made himself as neat as
possible in his farmer’s-boy Sunday suit. He thought first of asking Mr.
Goodfellow to let him wear the fine broadcloth clothes in which he came
to the farm, but he said to himself a moment afterwards—