“No; I am only a farm-boy now; I will make no pretence to be any better,
until my father gives me leave.”
He did not need the fine clothes to improve his appearance, for his
excellent habits had made such a change, that he would hardly have been
known for the same boy. His eyes were bright, his manner animated, and he
had learned to be unselfish, industrious, polite, and kind to all—though
not without many hard struggles and constant prayer.
As the party drove into the great gate of Woodlawn, and up the long
beautiful avenue, they heard the sound of music, and a hundred colored
lanterns met their eyes suspended from the trees. They had the effect of
enchantment; and Essie said she was sure she saw little fairies dancing
in the shaded alleys on either side, and peeping and smiling at her from
the bushes. The boys laughed, but they too felt the strange magic of the
scene; and when they arrived at the brilliantly lighted entrance, they
were prepared, they thought, for all manner of wonderful events.
After taking off bonnets, shawls, and hats, they were ushered into a
small room, the walls of which were covered with beautiful paintings,
at which both the boys gazed with delight. Two immense closed doors,
opposite the windows, led into another room, from which sounds of
laughing and talking proceeded.
Presently the good minister came into the small room, and it was
delightful to witness the mixture of respect and grateful affection with
which Phil hastened to meet him, and place a comfortable arm-chair for
“Our host and hostess will be here very soon,” he said. “Meanwhile,
Philip, if you like, I will ask you and my friend Johnny some questions
about your studies.”
The boys were delighted, and immediately placed themselves before him,
their arms around each other’s necks.
Question after question was poured out, and readily answered by the boys
in turn—Johnny sometimes having to prompt Phil, and Phil quite as often
helping his friend; while the farmer, his wife, and Essie listened with
delighted attention: _and two others listened_—for a door behind the boys
had been softly opened, and a gentleman and lady stood with the rest,
their faces beaming and radiant with love and eagerness.
The good minister saw them, and turning to Phil, he said—
“My dear boy, you have done so well, not only in your studies, but in
what is of far more importance, in conquering your bad habits, that all
that there is left to wish for is, that your parents might take you back
to their home and hearts.”
The lady gave a sudden start towards him at this, but the gentleman laid
his hand gently on her arm.
“Oh, sir,” answered Phil, his lip quivering, “will they ever love me
again? Can they ever forgive me?”
“Oh, yes! yes! my own darling boy!” screamed the lady.
Philip turned quickly around, became deadly pale, staggered towards her,
and fell nearly fainting into the outstretched arms of his mother; while
his father, seizing his hand, cried—
“God bless you, my son! God bless you! You have done nobly. You have made
us very, very happy.”
Then the rest went softly out of the room, and Phil had a few moments of
blissful joy. He curled his arm around his mother’s neck, and kissed her
over and over again. He hugged his father with eager affection; and then
darted back to his mother—laughing, crying, now smoothing her hair, now
crumpling her beautiful lace collar—perfectly beside himself with ecstasy.
All at once a band of musicians struck up a martial air, the great
sliding-doors moved back, and Phil’s father and mother, taking his hands,
went forward and introduced him to the company, for they were the owners
of Woodlawn. All knew his story—for you can’t keep such a thing secret in
a country place—and they looked at him with such intense interest, that
he was becoming confused, when who should dart forward to welcome him but
Kriss Luff and half a dozen of his old schoolmates, all wanting to shake
hands at once, and this making him laugh, he was soon at his ease.
Oh, what a delightful evening it was! They played games and sang, they
laughed and frolicked—the good minister joining in every thing, like a
real Christian as he was. They partook in moderation of all manner of
nice things which were loading down a table in the dining-room, and each
one went home with the recollection of a delightful evening well spent.
Of course, Phil stayed at Woodlawn, and that was one little drop of
unhappiness to the kind people with whom he had lived so long, and who
had learned to love him very much. They could not bear to part with him.
But Johnny was made so happy, that I do not think he knows to this day
whether he walked home on his head or like other people; for Mr. Wiseman,
patting his sturdy shoulders, said to him—
“Well, my son, are you tired of school yet?”
“Oh dear, no, sir. I love my books. I even love Dr. Gradus.”
“Well, that last _is_ convincing; so if your good father, to whom I owe
more than I shall ever be able to repay, will permit me to find him a
farm-boy, you shall go to school and through college with Phil, and, if
you like, choose a profession afterwards, still under my care.”
“Hurra! hurra!” cried Kriss and all the boys; “Johnny Goodfellow is
coming back to school. Philip _Badboy_ has flown to the moon, and Philip
WISEMAN is to come in his place. It’s the jolliest thing that ever
happened. Three cheers for Mr. Wiseman.”
They gave three cheers and a “tiger,” a big one too, little Essie helping.
“Now,” said Kriss, who had voted himself master of ceremonies, “three
cheers for Farmer Goodfellow.”
They were given, Phil hurraing with such a will, that he got perfectly
crimson in the face.
“Now, three cheers for little Essie,” said Kriss.
If Phil _could_ have made more noise, he would have done so this time; as
it was, in his eager desire to honor Essie, he hurraed himself sideways,
like the little brown dog, and nearly cracked his throat.
“_Now_, boys, three cheers for Phil, our _new_ friend.”
Didn’t they give it, though! YES, THEY DID, and such a royal Bengal tiger
to end with, that the very windows rattled again.
To the children who do not live in New York, I ought to say that we have
a splendid regiment of soldiers, called the “Light Guard,” who, whenever
they cheer, always say, “Hurra! hurra! hurra! ti-g-a-r!” I don’t know why
they do it, but this is what is meant by “three cheers and a tiger.”
Phil bade the farmer, his wife, and little Essie good-night with tears
in his eyes, promising to come and see them every day. Mr. Wiseman had
invited Kriss and the other boys to stay a week at Woodlawn, which was a
most delightful fact to know and experience. A merry, merry week they all
had, and you may be sure Johnny was included in every day’s pleasure, and
Essie was with them very often.
And now, my darlings reading this, do you think it likely that Mr.
Wiseman will ever have to send Philip away again? I do not, and I hope
you are of the same opinion; but if you would like me to keep one eye
on his future movements, and write to you about them, just let me know,
* * * * *
“That’s all,” said Aunt Fanny. “What do you think of it, my merry men and
ladies? Will Philip Badboy Wiseman do for a beginning?”
“It’s perfectly splendid!” cried the children.
“And you don’t mean to eat greedily of flower-pot pudding after this, or
snap each other’s legs with knots in your pocket-handkerchiefs?”
“Oh no, dear Aunt Fanny. This pop-gun has made us better already. We mean
to be ever so kind, industrious, and unselfish after this.”
“I wish I had a kite like Johnny’s,” said Peter.
“Who knows, if you try to be a loving, obedient child, but what the
Honorable Mr. Kite may call upon you next spring, all ready for an
airing. I’ll have a talk with my friend Johnny about it.”
“Oh goody! will you?” cried Peter, jumping straight up and down in the
air. “My! how good I’ll be! I’m going to begin right away;” and he sat
down, solemn and stiff, twirling his thumbs one over the other, and
saying, “Look at me! Only see how good I am!” while the rest laughed
merrily at the joke.
Then Aunt Fanny had a kind kiss from all, and bade them good-night.
[Illustration: PRACTISE TRUE POLITENESS.]
The next time Aunt Fanny came she had a funny and rather mischievous
twinkle in her eyes. She did not say a word, while she unfolded her
manuscript but quietly read out the Pop-gun printed above, and then said
her story was called by the comical title of
THE DOG’S DINNER-PARTY.
The children looked at each other, wondering what was coming, then
fastened their eager eyes on the reader, who began as follows:
Once upon a time there lived a funny, bustling, little old gentleman,
who thought that dogs, horses, cats, and monkeys, ought to live just as
he did; that is, first and foremost, to behave with perfect politeness,
learn to read and write, sit at the table and eat their meals with knives
and forks, and sleep in French bedsteads, all tucked up warm. He even
insisted on their wearing clothes and patent leather boots, and they ran
clattering about the house on their hind legs, with trousers and coats
on, and their tails dangling out behind, like a pocket handkerchief out
of a pocket.
The little bustling old gentleman was a bachelor. He had tried about
twenty-nine times to get married, but the ladies, one and all, insisted
that the dogs, cats, and monkeys must be turned out of the house, if they
consented to come in, which was very disagreeable and unreasonable, and
made the old gentleman so mad, he said to himself he would see them to
Jericho first; so making each one in turn a very low bow, for he was the
very pink of politeness, he took himself off, and that was the last of
So his family consisted of four fine dogs, six beautiful cats, eight
comical monkeys, one fat cook, and one fat coachman, two thin housemaids,
and nobody knows how many grooms and footmen—and they all lived together,
a great deal happier than Barnum’s happy family, and what do you suppose
was the reason? Why, they were taught by the bustling little old
gentleman to be _perfectly polite_. I forgot to tell you that his name
was Lord Chesterfield.
One day Beppo—one of the family—a handsome brown and white spaniel, went
out for a walk. As soon as he got out of sight of the house, he dived
into a bramble bush, and scratched off all his clothes, for they plagued
him to death, and he trotted joyously along, whistling—
“With reading, and writing, and riches,
For once in my life, I have done!
I’ve got rid of that old pair of breeches;
So, hurrah! my brave boys, for some fun!”
Presently he came to a fine river, and was just thinking he would take a
swim, when he heard a piercing scream, and something went splash into the
Beppo rushed to the brink just in time to see a little golden-haired
child disappear under the rippling waves.
In he dashed, like a flying-fish, swam like lightning to the spot, and
caught the little child’s dress in his mouth; then turning, swam back,
and laid it, drenched and gasping, on the green bank, just as the nurse,
her face white with terror, and her limbs trembling, was struggling to
reach the shore.
The poor woman caught the beautiful child in her arms and kissed her,
and thanked Heaven for her rescue. Then she patted and hugged Beppo, who
stood wagging his tail and shaking the water out of his long silky hair.
“Ah, madam,” he said, with a very polite how, and his fore-paw on his
heart, “I am truly grateful that I was made a spaniel: if I had been a
stupid poodle-dog I should have been afraid of the water, and the poor
little darling would have been drowned.”
“Why!” exclaimed the nurse in astonishment, “is it possible you can talk?”
“Yes, ma’am, my master, the Lord Chesterfield, will have it, though I’d
much rather bark; and he makes us eat at the table out of plates, and
cut our food with knives and forks, when I think a marrow-bone to gnaw,
out in the court-yard, is as nice again; but he says gnawing bones is
perfectly dreadful, and we must learn to eat politely.”
“Well, that is very funny! I shall tell about it as soon as I get home.”
So the nurse hastened away, with the pretty child, and was soon telling
the frightened mother how little Lucy had run away from her, and tumbled
into the river, and how the beautiful spaniel, who could talk like a
Christian, had saved her life.
The grateful mother went out the next morning and bought a splendid gold
collar, and had this inscription engraved upon it: “_For the noble and
brave dog Beppo, who saved little Lucy’s life._”
When the parcel came, the little bustling old gentleman opened it, and
reading the words on the gold collar, called Beppo to him.
“Why, only look at this splendid collar, my good fellow,” he cried; “why
did you not tell me of your adventure?”
“I only did my duty,” Beppo modestly answered.
“Ah! I am quite proud of you. I shall give you a dinner-party, and you
shall carry round the invitations yourself.”
“May I invite little golden-haired Lucy?” asked Beppo. “I should like to
“Certainly,” said Lord Chesterfield; “suppose you write the note
yourself; it will be a very delicate attention.”
Down sat Beppo, joyously, and soon he had penned this fine invitation:
“Master Beppo wishes you to dine with me to-morrow at five o’
“MISS LUCY HILL.”
This was not exactly the right way to word it, but you see his education
was not yet completed.
Then the little bustling old gentleman wrote the rest of the notes;
for Beppo was rather slow, and ran his tongue out in the most fearful
manner, in his anxiety to spell the words right, and then they were
nicely sealed up in envelopes, and he put them all together in a pretty
And now the coachman was ordered to bring out the state carriage and four
horses, and Beppo, sitting up inside on his hind-legs, very grand, and no
doubt exceedingly uncomfortable, carried the notes of invitation to the
most fashionable dogs of his acquaintance.
Three of the dogs to be invited lived in the house, as you know; but
they had notes as well as the rest, for that is the way to be perfectly
polite. I dare say you have many a time heard people say something like
“Oh, it don’t make any difference what there is for dinner when _you_
come, because we are so intimate; but I should be mortified to death, not
to have every thing nice when General Fusbos is invited, as he is such a
This is abominable manners—as if you ought not to treat those you love
far better than a stranger. It always makes me very indignant when such
a remark is made to _me_; and I sincerely hope you will profit all your
life by this hint about _true_ politeness from our friend Beppo.
You can’t have a great many at a dinner party, you know; so you must
be careful to invite the most agreeable people, and as many ladies as
gentlemen. Beppo knew this as well as you, and so you may be sure he had
taken great pains to have a pleasant party.
The next morning there were a great many people ringing at the little
bustling old gentleman’s door, and each one left a note.
Beppo ran into a corner with them, as fast as they arrived, and read them
in a great hurry. At last one came, very pretty, of a three-cornered
shape, and smelling of roses. The moment Beppo opened it, and glanced
at the contents, he danced around the room for joy, waving the note in
the air with one of his fore-paws. Then he rushed up to his master,
“She’s coming! my Lord Chesterfield, she’s coming! Just fancy how
delightful to have her sweet face and golden curls among our hairy
muzzles! Oh, we must be very polite, and make her as happy as possible.”
It was a lovely summer’s day. The sun turned the ripples of the river
into shifting gold, and there was singing, and buzzing, and whispering,
and laughing everywhere; all felt kind and loving. Even the hideous old
scarecrow in the cornfield allowed Beppo, in his joy, to dash at him and
playfully throw him down, bang! on his old red nose, and he never once
attempted to get up; for he said, in his pine-wood heart—
“I’m a brute, after all, to frighten the poor birds out of their wits.
I’ll just lie down here and take a nap, and let the dear little things
have a good time for once.”
Oh, it was charming to see that even an old scarecrow could be polite,
which, after all, is only another name for loving-kindness.
Just before five o’clock, the nurse brought little Lucy, dressed in blue,
and looking like a fairy. Strange to say, although only four years old,
she was not in the least frightened, but put her soft white arms around
Beppo’s neck, and said, “Oh, I love oo, good dog!” and hugged him so
kindly, that he would have given all the world to have had her tumble
into the water again, so that he might save her life once more.
The little bustling old gentleman took her by the hand, and showed her
all over his curious old house, with its suits of rusty armor, great stag
horns nailed to the walls, and queer black-looking paintings; and Beppo
followed wherever they went, gently wagging his tail, and answering every
question with admirable politeness.
And now all the dogs who had been invited had come, and were sitting in
the parlor waiting for the dinner-bell to ring, talking and laughing as
pleasantly and properly as the king, or the president, or you, or I.
Of course, the first thing any one said, after “How-de-do?” was, “It’s a
fine day!” because that’s the solemn rule in all polite society. Then, of
course, they went on to say it was worse weather last week, and would be
better weather next week; and after about a dozen more deeply interesting
remarks upon the weather, the dinner-bell rang, and made them all jump.
But the very next instant they sat down again, trying to look as if they
were in no sort of hurry, as it would have been very bad manners to rush
pell-mell down stairs. Everybody knows that.
First the little bustling Lord Chesterfield stepped out, leading Lucy
with the utmost consideration and politeness. Then Beppo made a low bow
to a very respectable old lady-mastiff, and begged the honor of handing
her into dinner, to which she graciously consented. Then a very tall
stag-hound, with an uncommonly sharp nose, paired off with Flora, a
beautiful pointer; while a large, grave, middle-aged Newfoundland dog
made himself agreeable to an Italian greyhound of no particular age; at
least she never liked to tell how old she was, and almost always had
the snuffles. Then a pert little black-and-tan terrier skipped up to a
coquettish King Charles, and said “would she make him the happiest dog
in the world?” upon which she shook her silky ears, and putting her head
on one side, and half shutting her beautiful black eyes, lisped out
“she would;” while a fat poodle, invited because she was so exceedingly
genteel, and a Skye terrier, also used to the very best society,
brought up the rear; and thus they marched two and two, with the utmost
propriety, into the dining-room.
And now see this elegant party at the table. The little bustling old
gentleman at the foot, and Beppo, whose back is turned to you, at the
head, with Lucy at his right hand.
I forgot to tell you that our friend had requested a private interview
with my Lord Chesterfield, about an hour before dinner.
“Well, sir, what do you wish?” he asked.
“My dear master,” said Beppo, respectfully, “you know very well that the
dogs who will come to my dinner-party will none of them have on coats or
pantaloons, or hooped skirts. I do not wish to mortify them, so please
let me wear my natural suit for this once, and only my gold collar.”
The little bustling old gentleman turned upon him with a look of rage,
enough to petrify a milestone.
“Is this your gratitude?” he roared, “when I am spending all my days in
teaching you to live and dress like a gentleman?”
Then, recollecting all of a sudden that he was setting a very bad example
of politeness, he put on a remarkably sweet expression, and added in the
“Excuse me; I forgot myself. I believe—well—yes, upon the whole, as this
party is given in your honor, you may do as you please to-day.”
“Bow, wow, wow!” barked Beppo, in a perfect ecstasy of delight, and
leaping with all four feet in the air. “Bow, w-o-w-w! Oh, my goodness!”
he continued, suddenly stopping; “I forgot _myself_, or rather _you_,
sir. Please to forgive me; I could not keep the bark in; and it is
utterly impossible to stop wagging my tail, I am so happy.”
“Ah! how short is life!” sighed Lord Chesterfield; “I am afraid I shall
die before my dogs, cats, and monkeys come to perfection!”
But you ought to have seen how elegantly they arranged themselves at the
table, bowing and smiling the whole blessed time. It was something worth
looking at, I can tell you—all sitting up as fine as you please, five on
each side. The waiters, who were rigged out in regimentals, tied white
napkins around their necks, at which, I must confess, there was some
snarling and a bark or so, and one or two tried to wriggle out of them;
but at a grave, severe look from my Lord Chesterfield, they gave up with
a low whine, which was much better than could have been expected.
Beppo had a fine piece of beef to carve, and his master a pair of roasted
chickens; but all the rest of the dishes were pies of different kinds of
birds—pigeon-pie, snipe-pie, woodcock-pie, poll-parrot-pie, owl-pie,
cat-bird-pie, and booby-pie, for a booby is a bird as well as a dunce.
Oh, my goodness! how they _did_ want to dive into these delicious pies
with their paws. If they had dared, they would have behaved exactly as
most people do on board of steamboats, where they pounce on all the
dishes they can reach at once, and empty them pell-mell on their plates.
I have seen oysters, pie, roast beef, salt fish, and ice cream, all mixed
up on the same plate—a perfectly horrible mess; and that was because
these greedy people had not the first idea of politeness or courtesy one
to another, and the want of it made them behave like pigs.
“Shall I help you to a slice of the chicken, madam?” said Lord
Chesterfield to Lucy.
“If you please,” said Lucy, with a pretty little bow and smile.
“What part do you prefer, madam?”
“I like the merry _sort_, if you please,” answered the dear little
thing—meaning the merry _thought_.
Now this was perfect good manners. Some people would have said, “Any
part—I’m not at all particular,” and would have been very impolite, for
then the carver would not be sure he should suit them; so, when you are
asked, always choose a part.
“Will _you_ have chicken?” asked Lord Chesterfield of the respectable old
“Oh, oh! give it to _me_! _I_ want some,” squeaked out the little
black-and-tan terrier, quick as a flash, before the old mastiff could
utter a syllable.
What an awful look he got from the bustling little old gentleman! and the
mastiff faced round upon him with, “Sir, you’re a disrespectful puppy,”
and glared in a way to frighten him into fits; while the stag-hound
opposite stuck his sharp nose up in the air, and remarked in a whisper
to Flora, the beautiful pointer, that “really, young America was getting
too impudent for any thing.”
Beppo looked imploringly at his master to forgive little Snap this time,
as he was young and silly, and hastened to put a delicious cat-bird,
with crust and gravy, on his plate; and after this the dinner went on
splendidly, except that the greyhound of no particular age kept her
tongue waggling out of her mouth very nearly the whole time, on account
of the snuffles, which prevented her from breathing freely. It was not
very elegant conduct, but as she couldn’t help it, nobody looked at
her; and that, you’ll own, was the politest way of behaving under the
circumstances. The fat poodle and the Skye terrier talked a little in
French about it, to be sure, but as nobody else understood what they
said, and as they smiled all the time, the rest took it for granted that
they were admiring their neighbors, and felt highly gratified.
Everybody ate and drank with all the decorum and delicacy of our city
aldermen, who ought to be held up as examples of courtesy, honesty, and
moderation, to the whole universe. They did not leave so much as a bone
on their plates; but I am sorry to say they were in rather too much of a
hurry at dessert, for most of them burned their mouths severely with the
hot cracker pudding, and Snap, the black-and-tan terrier, declared that
it must have been made of fire-crackers.
But, take it all in all, it was a splendid entertainment; and, after it
was over, the ladies went back to the parlors, and talked about the last
fashions. “Ears were to be cut off closer than ever, for terriers,” said
the King Charles; and “red, white and blue collars were considered rather
old-timed,” was observed by the beautiful pointer; “that is, unless
the army did something decided _at once_, then they would be the rage
again immediately.” The gentlemen of course talked of nothing but money,
_money_, MONEY, as men, the dogs!? always do, when they get together, and
if Lord Chesterfield had not made the signal to move, they would have
stayed there talking about money to this day.
Lucy had taken the pretty little King Charles spaniel in her lap, and
they had a most delightful chat together, which ended in their vowing
everlasting friendship to each other, and promising to exchange visits
every day, for, as the King Charles was one of Lord Chesterfield’s
family, this could be very easily done.
When the gentlemen came up stairs, they had coffee, and then, as it was
getting dark, the little bustling old gentleman ordered the gas to be
lighted, and proposed some music. First, Lucy played “Old Dog Tray,” with
one little white finger on the piano, and then she lisped out, in her
sweet way, “I know a pretty ’tory.”
“Ah! tell it!” cried all the company, gathering gently round her, for
there was no pushing, or squealing—“Here, let _me_ come in! don’t crowd
so!” No, indeed! for that would have been any thing but polite. They all
fastened their eyes on the lovely little girl, who stood resting her arm
on Beppo’s neck, so proud and happy to have it there, and in her sweet
voice, like a robin’s song, she began:
“A—doo was faller fas,
A—’tar bedan a—bink,
I heard a voice, a—said,
“_Dint_, pitty teeter, _dint_!”
A—looker in a—hed,
A—’fore me I a—pied
A snow ’ite mount a—lamb,
’Ith a maiden at a—side.
No ozzer seep—a—near;
A—lamb was a—ll aloney,
And by a ’ittle cord
Was fasser to a toney,
 “The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink,
I heard a voice—it said ‘Drink, pretty creature, drink!’ &c.”
—_Wordsworth’s poem of the “Pet Lamb.”_
“Oh! I tant say any more,” said Lucy. “What a pity!” and she bent down
her lovely golden head, and blushed.
“Oh yes, what a pity!” echoed all the company. “It was so sweet; but we
thank you very much for this; it was beautiful!”
“Will oo sing for me?” asked Lucy.
“Certainly,” they all cried with the utmost readiness; “our voices are
not very good, and will sound horridly after your sweet tones, but you
may be sure we shall do our best.”
They selected a hunting song with a chorus, and sure enough, with the
exception of the stag-hound, whose voice was melody itself, you might
have supposed it a compound of distressed rats, an old pump-handle,
ungreased cart-wheels, a poker on a tin pan, and the spiritual rappers
quarrelling together; for it was all squeal, howl, whine, grunt, and
groan, of the most dismal description; but as they really tried with all
their might and main to sing a good song, everybody looked pleased,
because they took the will for the deed, and made the best of it. Do you
observe that, my young friends? Well, never curl your lips with contempt,
or make fun of any honest, kind-hearted effort to entertain you. Try to
be pleased and thankful: _take the will for the deed_, and, my word for
it, you will find a delicious glow come into your heart, and a lovely
expression in your eyes; all your ugly thoughts will fly away to the
bottomless pit, and you will find yourself really loving the one you
meant to ridicule.
Presently there came one of those long, solemn pauses which _will_
take place, do your best, when you have company, and Lord Chesterfield
hastened to propose a game. As they were nearly all young and frisky,
_with the truest politeness_, he proposed a frolicsome play, though he
would much rather have had a sober talk on politics himself. Mind this,
if you have a little party, don’t insist on doing what _you_ like best,
and taking all the prettiest and best things, but study the wishes of
your guests, and do what pleases _them_ most.
So Lord Chesterfield proposed the game of the “Family Coach,” to assist
their digestion, which was hailed with bounds of delight by all except
the old lady-mastiff, and the middle-aged Newfoundland dog, who preferred
to take a quiet chat together, which ended in a nap on the sofa; but as
they smiled and nodded to each other all the same, the rest concluded
they were only shutting their eyes, as very sentimental people do when
they talk, and so no offence was taken at their sleeping before company,
and the poor old things had a very refreshing time of it.
The little bustling old gentleman appointed himself master of ceremonies,
and there not being dogs enough for a grand frolic, introduced a few of
the cats and monkeys; who were so enchanted at the chance to come in,
that they frisked, and danced, and made a very narrow escape of screaming
for joy and becoming perfectly riotous with the fun of the thing; and
that, you know, would not have been polite.
I have a great mind to write down the way Lord Chesterfield made them
play this game. I think you will like to know. So here it is.
Usually, you must invent a story about the “Family Coach,” as you play;
but unless you are very bright and quick about it, there is not much fun.
The next time you have a little party, play this game as it is set down
here. I have never seen any written before, and I think, if you use this
story, you will have a real funny time.
In the first place, Lord Chesterfield gave them all a part or name, which
they must by no means forget, and the point is, that when your name is
called, you must get up instantly, twirl around quickly, and sit down
again; and when “Family Coach” is mentioned, _everybody_ in the play must
get up instantly, twirl around quickly, and sit down again.
There were little Lucy and twenty-eight dogs, cats, and monkeys to play,
and they each took one of these parts:
1. Off-leader }
2. Near-leader } HORSES.
3. Off-wheeler }
4. Near-wheeler }
14. Dog’s tail.
26. Old lady.
27. Fat poodle.
Then the good old gentleman began, speaking rather quickly—
“Once upon a time, in a certain tumbledown old house in the country,
there existed a family heir-loom, in the shape of a FAMILY COACH.”
All the dogs, cats, and monkeys bounced up with such a whirl, that they
looked like whipping-tops, with their own quickly whisking tails for
whips, and dear little Lucy, in her haste and delight, tumbled over
sideways, and fell softly on the carpet. She did not hurt herself the
least bit, but jumped up laughing, to Beppo’s great joy, and the play
“To be sure, the FAMILY COACH was rather worn out: the _wheels_ were none
of the best; the _axles_ were nearly rotten; the _linch-pins_ were rusty;
the _box_ tottering, and the whole FAMILY COACH decaying.
“But then the _old lady_ who owned it thought it worth all the new ones
from here to Kamtschatka. The _fat poodle_ and the _coach-dog_ couldn’t
live without it. The _fat poodle_ barked, and the _coach-dog_ wagged his
_tail_ for joy whenever it appeared. Indeed nobody knew whether the _old
lady_, the _fat poodle_, the _coach-dog_, the _coach-dog’s tail_, the
_coachman_, or the _footman_, was most delighted at the event, when one
day the _old lady_ ordered out the FAMILY COACH.
“Immediately the _footman_ told the _coachman_, the _coachman_ told the
_coach-dog_, the _fat poodle_ heard of it and barked, and the FAMILY
COACH groaned in every part under the rubbing and the scrubbing that
was bestowed upon the _pole_, the _reins_, the _traces_, the _box_, the
_fore-axles_, the _hind-axles_, the _fore-wheels_, the _hind-wheels_, the
_lamps_, the _foot-board_, the _steps_, the _windows_, the _doors_, the
_linch-pins_, the _hubs_, the _spokes_, and the _springs_.
“At last, the _off-leader_ and _near-leader_ the _off-wheeler_ and
_near-wheeler_, were harnessed to the _pole_ and _traces_; the
_blinders_ and _reins_ were in apple-pie order; the _lamps_ were lit, and
the _coachman_ mounted the _box_; the _footman_, the _foot board_; the
_old lady_ got inside, and the _fat poodle_ was following, when, lo and
behold! the _coach-dog_ got jealous, seized the _fat poodle_ by the leg,
and made him bawl, ‘Ki-i! ki-i!’
“Then the _coachman_ flourished his _whip_, the _footman_ fell off the
_foot-board_ laughing, and the _old lady_ nearly fainted. But a crack
of the _whip_ on the _coach-dog’s tail_ made him let go, and the poor
_fat poodle_ got inside with a piece out of his leg; the _leaders_ and
_wheelers_ pranced and danced, the _axles_ groaned, and the FAMILY COACH
“For some time all went on beautifully; the _wheels_ rolled smoothly
around; the _leaders_ and _wheelers_ trotted comfortably along; the
_coachman_ only cracked his _whip_ for show; the _footman_ amused himself
by going to sleep; the _old lady_ nodded inside; and the _fat poodle_
stared out of the _windows_ and _doors_, and grinned and made faces at
the _coach-dog_, who had to run underneath.
“Presently the roads became rough, and the _springs_ began to pitch the
FAMILY COACH about. The _axles_ groaned, the _linch-pins_ became shaky,
the _hubs_ were in a pucker, the _spokes_ gave a warning crack, and the
_footman_ woke up with a prodigious jerk, that nearly took his head off.
The _coachman_ now gathered up the _reins_ and cracked the _whip_ in
earnest; the _old lady_ squeaked, and told the _coachman_ to be careful;
the _coachman_ got saucy, and said he knew his own business best; the
_fat poodle_ began to turn pale, and the _coach-dog_ took precious good
care to keep himself and his _tail_ out of danger.
“But oh! ah! alas! the very next minute the FAMILY COACH went pounce into
a great mud-hole. The _coachman_ jumped off the _box_, the _footman_
tumbled off the _foot-board_, and both tried to lift the _fore-wheels_
and _hind-wheels_, but they found they couldn’t do it. Then they got back
to their places; the _coachman_ cracked his _whip_ tremendously; the
_off-leader_ and _near-leader_, _off-wheeler_ and _near-wheeler_, bounced
and jumped, and pranced and danced, till their _blinders_ were twisted
into their eyes; the _pole_ rattled; the _reins_ and _traces_ creaked;
both the _axles_ groaned; but the _wheels_ wouldn’t turn.
“At last, slap, bang! with one tremendous crash! the _linch-pins_ came
out, and the _wheels_ rolled off; the _two leaders_ and _two wheelers_
ran away with their _blinders_; the _lamps_ were smashed; the _doors_ and
_windows_ broken; the _fat poodle_ fell on the _old lady_; the _old lady_
tumbled down on the _floor_, which broke through, and all came pounce
on the poor _coach-dog_, who lost his _tail_ by its being squeezed off;
and _coachman_, _footman_, _old lady_, _fat poodle_, and _coach-dog_ lay
all jumbled up amid the ruins of _wheels_, _axles_, _reins_, _traces_,
_whip_, _pole_, _lamps_, _foot-board_, _steps_, _windows_, _doors_,
_linch-pins_, _hubs_, _spokes_, and _springs_ which once composed that
splendid old fossil, the FAMILY COACH.”
There were lots of forfeits to redeem, notwithstanding the natural
quickness of little Lucy and the dogs, cats, and monkeys to whirl and
spring about. Of course you know that if you forget to turn around when
your name is called, you must pay a forfeit. The redeeming of these made
an immense deal of laughing and chattering. The dogs acted funny, the
cats funnier, and the monkeys funniest of all; while little Lucy’s eyes
sparkled like diamonds, and she danced and sang the whole time; so, upon
the whole, it was quite as delightful a party as one made altogether of
good little boys and girls; for the best of all was, that not a single
cross bark, snarl, mew, chatter, or squeal was heard; and I for one would
much rather be invited to a party of perfectly polite and good-natured
dogs, cats, and monkeys, than to one of children who wanted to slap and
scratch. Wouldn’t you?
* * * * *
“Oh you funny, funny Aunt Fanny!” cried the children, laughing heartily,
“to make dogs and cats teach us politeness; who ever heard of such a
“That’s what _I_ call pretty sharp shooting,” said Fred.
“And the shot must have gone through and through you,” observed Kitty,
quietly. “You remember how you pulled my chair from under me just as I
was going to sit upon it yesterday, and made me come down bang on the
“Yes, and you shook the room so, I thought it would crack the
looking-glass; and then you looked round so astonished and silly, I
almost died laughing.”
“Oh, Fred!” exclaimed Aunt Fanny; “is it possible you were so rude? If I
were an absolute monarch, I would condemn you to be upset once a day for
a week in exactly the same manner. I am a great believer in the kind of
punishment the boys call ‘tit for tat.’ If a boy should cut the string
of your kite, I should cut the strings of _all_ his kites for a whole
season, explaining every time—‘That’s for punishment, my fine friend. I
don’t think you’ll cut another boy’s kite-string in a hurry.’”
Fred turned very red; but, standing up, he said pleasantly, “Here, Kitty,
come and upset me.”
She ran behind his chair, but he did not think she would play this trick
before company, and he turned quickly, with such perfect confidence, as
she snatched the chair away, that he came down with a most tremendous
thump! which made the very windows rattle, amid the shouts and laughter
of the rest.
“How do you like it?” asked Aunt Fanny, quietly.
“Not much,” said Fred, grinning in rather a rueful manner. “I’m cured,
though. I don’t think I shall upset anybody again; and just let them try
it on _me_—that’s all.”
At this they all laughed harder than ever, and declared that Aunt Fanny’s
rule for punishment was the very “best they had ever heard of.
“But do you not see, my darlings,” she said, seriously, “that it only
proves the glorious wisdom of Our Saviour’s golden rule? Whenever you are
tempted to play a trick, or say a sharp thing, just stop one moment, and
ask yourself, ‘Would I like to have this done or said to _me_?’ If you
ask yourself this question _honestly_, the little monitor which God has
placed in all your hearts, will answer you so faithfully and kindly, that
you would be very naughty children not to listen to its whisperings.
“And now let me tell you the true definition of politeness. It is ‘_real
kindness kindly expressed_.’ Don’t forget this. Put this definition in
_your_ pop-guns, and fire it off as often as you can, and, my word for
it, everybody you shoot will come to love you dearly. For my part, I
should like to dine off such shots, red-hot, every day of my life. And so
good night, little Pop-gun youngsters, and pleasant dreams to you all.”
“Ah, dear Aunt Fanny! please stay a little minute longer,” cried all the
children, running to kiss her. “It’s so very early.”
“Well, I believe I will stay just long enough to ask your advice about
“Oh dear, yes! Ask away. We love to give advice.” And the six children
immediately tried to look as wise as twelve large owls, or as Governor
Wise of Virginia, who, they said, kept it all in his name, and nowhere
else; while Aunt Fanny, with a very grave face, proceeded to observe—
“This story finishes the first volume of ‘Pop-Guns.’ Do you think it will
do to go with ‘Nightcaps’ and the rest? or do you advise me to burn it
“Burn it up!” screamed the children, running again to her and kissing
her. “No, no, no; pray, don’t. Have them printed, and we will read them
twenty times, and play the ‘Family Coach’ too! Let’s play Family Coach
And so they did; though, as there were only ten of them, Sophie had
to be all the four horses, Kitty the coachman, footman, and old lady;
while mamma, papa, Aunt Fanny, and the rest, were all sorts of things at
once. But they had great fun, and were perfectly wornout with laughing,
particularly when little Bob had to twirl round, which he always did in
such a desperate hurry, that he tumbled over his own legs, and upset
himself every time.
And, after that, the forfeits were enchanting; for Aunt Fanny knew a
great many funny ones; and Fred said he _did_ “_wish_ Aunt Fanny was a
‘real true child,’ so they could have her to play with them the whole
time;” which speech, she declared, was the very finest compliment she had
ever received; and Uncle Fanny (that’s Aunt Fanny’s husband) said—
“Well, Peter, I always said you were about six months younger than either
of your children, and now I am surer of it than ever.”
“What makes Uncle Fanny call her ‘Peter?’” whispered Kitty to Lou. “He
always does it. He did it in one of the ‘Mitten’ books.”
“Because he thinks it teases me,” said Aunt Fanny, whose ears are very
sharp, and heard the whisper.
“Why, Peteretta! _does_ it tease you?” said Uncle Fanny.
“There! he is at it, worse than ever: let’s all go and shake him,” cried
The six children rushed at him pell-mell—and he got a splendid
shaking—little Bob squeezing one knee and tickling him almost to death;
Peter the other, while the rest of the children shook him just where they
could get at him.
“Ah! he’s sorry,” cried Kitty, in a sweet, coaxing voice; “hear how he
Sure enough, Uncle Fanny was sighing, because he could not laugh any
more, he had got so weak; but he caught at dear little Kitty’s comforting
word, and gasped out, “Oh yes, I’m sorry, dreadful sorry—I’ll never call
Peter Aunt Fanny again—I mean, Aunt Peter, Fannyretta—I mean—oh, Peter!!
I will be good!”
Aunt Fanny had given his ear a good pinch, and the children laughed
harder than ever, to see him holding up his hands, and pretending to be
afraid of a little woman about half his size, and they were just going
to shake him again, when he ran for his life, and, getting out on the
front stoop, declared he would not come into the house again.
So they had to let Aunt Fanny go to him, after she had promised not to be
long before she fired off another pop-gun at them.
And they promised her to be always kind and good to their little
companions, and make the very best use of their time—as Philip Wiseman
did at last—and to “practise true politeness” everywhere, and towards
everybody, like Beppo and his friends.
* * * * *
After Aunt Fanny went away, the children were so anxious to impress upon
her mind the serious importance of having the first volume of Pop-guns
printed immediately, that they called a mass meeting in the corner,
before they bid their parents good-night.
“I say,” said Fred, “let’s write one of those things papa reads out of
the paper, when any great man dies, beginning with, ‘Whereas,’ and going
on with a whole lot of ‘resolves’ full of compliments.”
“But I don’t want Aunt Fanny to die,” cried little Bob, beginning to rub
“Oh no! She isn’t going to die. But we don’t want her to burn up our
Pop-guns,” explained Lou, kindly.
“Oh!” said Bob, and looked quite comforted.
So Fred got a sheet of paper, and filling a pen very full of ink, for
fear it might dry up before he got it to the paper, he began to write;
and by dint of breathing very hard, and bouncing up and down in his chair
after finishing every sentence, he soon completed this elegant set of
“_Whereas_, As we are afraid Aunt Fanny may burn up Pop-guns,
which, would be awful; and
“_Whereas_, Ever so many children would be so sorry, they would
not know what to do; therefore,
“_Resolved_, That the stories are perfectly delightful, and
would do the children more good than forty whippings, or a
hundred doses of medicine; and
“_Resolved_, That after being told in the famous story of the
“Dinner Party,” that the
Dogs and cats were so polite,
They quite forgot to bark and bite,
it would never do to let all the rest of the children in
the world lose a chance of growing as polite, as we mean to
be after this, or as amiable and unselfish as Philip Badboy
became; and so, dear Aunt Fanny, you will please to send your
stories to Mr. Sheldon immediately, and ask him to get them
printed in the very greatest hurry—real head-over-heels hurry,
“There!” cried Fred, reading the manifesto over with admiration, but with
a vague idea that they did not sound quite right, particularly the last
one. “There! Now we must sign our names—ladies first.”
So Sophie and the rest signed; and Aunt Fanny got the resolutions before
breakfast the next morning, and had a good laugh over them.
But she sent the stories to Mr. Sheldon, and here they are for her
darlings out in the world.
The children to whom they were read have promised to make her happy by
trying to profit by the good examples given, and avoid what is unlovely
and sinful. Will _you_ try too? Ah! tell Aunt Fanny that you will,—and
that our Father in Heaven may help you, shall be her daily prayer.