The Baldwin Library
I -------- of '
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS
GROVER A CO., NOTTINGHAM.
THE BASSOON PLAYER.
Painted by GEO. FOX.
T NIGTIT IlE FLOODS
Author of "Sunny Hours," "Bible Pictures and Stories," "Stories and Pictures of Animal Life,"
"Dick's Holidays," &c.
FIFTY ILLUSTRATION NS
BY GEO. FOX, W. H. J. BOOT, C. O. MURRAY, T. W. LASCELLES, HAROLD COPPING,
STANLEY L. WOOD, G. HAQUETTE, FRANK C. PATTERSON, AND OTHERS.
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON AND COMPANY, LIMITED
ST. DUNSTAN'S HOUSE, FETTER LANE, E.C.
PRINTED BY HORACE COX, WINDSOR HOUSE, BREAM'S BUILDINGS, E.C
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 9
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS -
THE SURPLUS WHEEL 9
Two SPANISH DEFEATS 24
PADDLING HIS OWN CANOE 29
OUR CHOIR LEADER 34
BRIGGS MINOR'S ZoO 37
JUST IN TIME 47
A FINE DISH OF MACKEREL 55
TOM TURNER TO THE RESCUE 58
A NIGHT UNDERGROUND 64
MISS WIGGINS' THEORY 74
CATCHING A SNAKE 81
DAVID'S WHITE MICE 86
BROTHERS OF THE WHEEL 91
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The Bassoon Player
Where Does this W
Paddling his own C
Just in Time
A Lee Shore
Caught in the Act
Crossing the Line
Brothers of the Whe
CHROMO AND TINTED PLATES.
heel Go? George Fox
anoe Frank C. Patterson
E. R. White -
-T. W. Lascelles
el Frank C. Patterson
FULL=PAGE AND SMALLER ILLUSTRATIONS
A cottage among the hills W. H. J. Boot
The woods ran up the hills W. H. J. Boot
Fred knew he must be going W. H. J. Boot
A dog was licking his forehead Harold Copping
The squirrels were busy W H. J. Boot
The Keeper's Cottage W. H. J. Boot
The cows were making their way W. H. J. Boot
Caleb was a shoemaker C. 0. Murray -
Meadway Church C. 0. Murray -
Sat with the pen in his hand C. 0. Murray -
"Give 'em some more" A. J. Wall
Vessels of the Armada T. Weber
Close to his home there flowed a river W. H. J. Boot
Every bend and branch W. H. J. Boot
The head waters of their river W. H. J. Boot
S 6 -
io LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
River Scene -
A rambling old house -
Examining a huge moth -
Briggs Minor's Zoo -
The dense living stream that flows from
south to north -
"I started at an earlier age than you"
Tom and his father -
Fingal's Cave, Staffa -
The dome, Cave of Adelsberg -
Limestone curtain, Cave of Adelsberg
On the moors -
A path beside one of the Dale streams
The last house in the village
As they flew from the rookery in the elms
Where her geese grubbed in the mud
Accompanied her whenever she walked
He persuaded me to go a-fishing
Through Morton's spinny -
The pond in the lower corner -
The snake made for the pond -
Out-of-the-way houses on the downs -
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
A. F. Gorguet
Frank C. Patterson
J. D. Mackenzie
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
F. C. Patterson
W. H. J. Boot
W. H. J. Boot
C. O. Murray
W. H. J. Boot
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
SRED NEVILLE had often said he would like to spend
-" all night in Fernhurst Woods, and had pictured to
himself much of the wild life he would witness that was
quite invisible by day. His friends ridiculed the idea,
and declared that once darkness had set in he would be
glad to be at home again. His sister, Maud, was especially horrified at the
idea, and from her point of view painted a word picture in darker colours
than those which predominated in Fred's sketch. She depicted a weary
boy calling in vain for his friends to show him the way out, and sinking at
last worn-out at the foot of a tree, but too scared to sleep on account of
the beetles, slugs, caterpillars, and spiders that ranged over him, and
the snakes that attempted to crawl inside his clothes.
That was Maud's notion ; had she known the real thing she would
have drawn a picture
more terrible to behold.
The Nevilles were .
spending the summer
in a cottage among the
hills in the heart of
Surrey, chiefly for the
benefit of Fred, who 7'
had been seriously ill
at the beginning of the
year, and had shown a t 1
tendency to delicate ~
health since. The "A COTTAGE AMONG THE HILLS OF SURREY."
12 A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
grand air of the Surrey hills, however, had done what the doctor's drugs
could not effect: har-
dened his muscles,
tanned his skin, deve-
loped an alarming ap-
S- petite for good plain
Sa b food, and a preference
for the blue sky as the
best kind of roof. He
was seldom indoors ex-
cept at meal times and
-. .. at night.
The woods ran up
a _ehc- "eth e stwl i-(.s i', higth sand-hills and over the
ti.l tth bm. ONii these hills Fred had un-
SracII- IInIian\ t'f Nature's secrets with the
aid uf one or t\o lads of the village. A mere
"THE WOODS RAN UP THE SIDES OF THE list of the out-of-the-way things they dis-
HILLS AND OVER THE TOPS. "
covered among birds, beasts, reptiles, insects,
and plants, would make a considerable document. Fred had thoroughly
absorbed the spirit of the woods, and ofttimes he would steal off for a
quiet stroll through a certain
pine-wood alone. He was of
a somewhat poetical tempera-
ment, and his imagination
required but a very slight
spurring to induce it to people V
the woods again with the
fauns and satyrs of the old
heathen mythology. The paths
in this wood were thickly car-
peted with dead fir-needles .
that had been dropping ever :.* '
since the pine-wood existed,
and here he could walk :~ :
silently, so that the birds, the "FRED KNEW HE MUST BE GOING."
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
squirrels, the rabbits, the weasels, and the snakes could be better observed
than elsewhere. He had often declared he would like to spend a night
here, but, as I have hinted, his friends vetoed the proposal. Fred was too
fond of his parents to give them pain by acting in opposition to their
One evening, however, he had strolled out to his favourite grove.
Climbing the steep hill path opposite the house, he crossed the strip of
open heather moor, and vaulted lightly over the lichen-clad gate that
formed one of the many entrances to the wood. Before many minutes he
was deep in the wood, following a path that led to the edge of a spur of
the hill where there were the hollow carcases of some beech trees of
enormous girth, of which the wood. no doubt consisted long before pine
trees grew in that district. Sitting here he could look over a deep valley
thickly clothed with pines, and between the trees on the far side see the red
beams of the setting sun flickering with the movement of the branches,
and looking as though the far portion of the wood was in flames. The
illusion was so good that he thought they were really tongues of flame
that leapt and flickered. Then gradually the fire went out as the sun
sank, and Fred knew he must be going.
Just then that strange bird the eve-churr set up its weird rattle in the
top of the tree near, and Fred felt he must sit and listen in the hope of
seeing the bird. Before he had sat there many minutes it flew down and
swooped noiselessly until it was just before his face, when its wings were
flapped together over its back, producing a weird muffled sound, and at the
same moment it uttered a sharp, loud, blood-curdling cry, sounding like
the word Whype!" twice repeated. Fred knew what it was, and was
not alarmed in the slightest degree. He was simply fascinated, and loath
At length he rose, and decided he must make haste out of the wood
or he would lose his way, for it was rapidly becoming dark with the
shadows from the trees. It was late in June, and in the open it would
not really be dark all night; but here the shadows were already confusing.
Fortunately, Fred told himself, he knew all the paths well and could find
his way blindfold. So he thought, but ere ten minutes had elapsed he
became less certain on that point. By that time he should have reached
the gate at which he entered, but there was no sign of it. Further, he
14 A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
could tell by the trees that he had unconsciously turned off on a side path.
The way he had come was between gaunt old pines; here he was
surrounded by a dense growth of young larches. He must retrace his steps,
and find the right path. It was annoying to make such a mistake, but it
would not make a difference of many minutes. So he thought; but the
real difference was one of many hours.
He reached another path, and thought he was now right, for it had a
downward slope; but before long the slope seemed greater than should be.
He went a little farther in the hope of passing some landmark that he
knew, from which to take fresh bearings, and came to an open spot where
the light was sufficient to enable him to make out that he had descended
half-way into one of the numerous deep valleys that ran into the hills. All
around him he could see that the trees went far down and high up, but in
vain did he try to make out which of the valleys it was.
Fred's nervous system was in a healthy condition, or he would have
suffered from the strange cries that rang in his ears from time to time. As
the sun sank he had heard the laughing cry of the yaffel. Now it was the
weird "whoo-o-oo-o" of the long-eared owl, and the harsh scream of the
jay. Bats flitted across his path, moths and beetles flew in his face.
Weasels and hedgehogs passed him on the path, and the melancholy moan
of the wood-pigeon sounded from the branches just over his head.
It now began to dawn upon Fred that he had completely lost his
bearings, and that, willy-nilly, he was to have his much-wished-for night
in the woods. But, strange to say, now the opportunity had come to him
to have his desire without wilfully disregarding the wishes of his friends,
he no longer felt keen about it. His principal thought was of the worry
and anxiety his absence would cause at home. Even now, probably, eager
inquiries were being made in the village concerning him, as to which way
he had gone, when last seen, and the most likely place to search. The
wood was about four miles in length; its breadth varied. In parts it
was quite two miles from one side to the other as the crow flies, but
the ground was a good deal broken up by the valleys to which I have
alluded. To find him, he knew, was well nigh impossible, and he hoped
no such attempt would be made, although he would have shouted with
joy to hear a human voice. He must remain there all night, so the best
thing to do was to make himself as comfortable as possible.
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
He had no fire, nor the means of making one; no blanket even to
wrap himself in. Fortunately the night was warm and still, so there was
little fear of his suffering from cold. Groping around in the indistinct
light, he found a prostrate tree trunk, and decided that should be his back-
board against which he would lie when he got too sleepy to sit up. Then
from the pine trees he pulled down a considerable number of leafy branches
and laid them beside the log, until he had a fairly springy and dry bed.
He had barely finished this job, and sat upon his couch watching the
bright light of a glow-worm on the other side of the path, when a slight
snapping of twigs drew his attention aside. A grey-furred animal like a
large dog, but with very short legs, was coming towards him, but stopping
now and again to dig up something from the earth. A movement brought
its head clearly in view, and by the shape of the muzzle and the white
streaks along the side of the face and from the forehead to the nose, Fred
recognized it as a badger.
So he sat for long, listening to the thousand and one small sounds of
bird, beast, and insect, until
1 at length Nature asserted her
p-,\('er, and he dropped over
on hi s-ide with his back to
I I _
" A BIG DOG WAS LICKING HIS FOREHEAD."
.E ~ L~i jZ
,. L d~r;~~
16 A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
It was the bark of a dog that woke him next morning about four
o'clock, and when Fred opened his eyes it was to look up at a big spaniel
which was licking his forehead. By the time Fred was sufficiently awake
to realise that he was not in his own bed, and that his limbs were stiff
from the awkward cramped position into which he had fallen, the dog's
master had arrived. He was a keeper, who was patrolling the woods thus
early, on the look out for poachers, an occupation in which he had been
engaged all night. Fred had met Steve Weller before, and had several
instructive conversations with him.
Hullo! my lad," said Steve; "been making a night of it? Been
Fred told him all that the reader already knows of his misadventure,
and in reply to Steve's further questioning, admitted that he was a trifle
stiff and very hungry, but otherwise, he thought, no worse for his open
"Well," said the keeper; "word came to me last night from my
man, Josh, that you had disappeared, and your people concluded that
you had purposely stayed out, as you so often had wished to do.
They have been looking for you in the Bury-woods, because one of
the villagers said he had seen you going in that direction. How did
you work round here?"
Fred laughed. "I haven't been that way since Saturday last," said
he; but what part of the Warren is this ? I don't recognize it."
"There's Coneymoor Bottom down there; look, those are my
chimneys that are smoking, by which token I know that the missis is
about, getting my breakfast ready. Come, let us get down. You must
have early breakfast with me this morning."
No, indeed; I must get back to Brockhurst, and let my people
know the truth about my absence. I am sorry to have caused them
anxiety, but I will lose no time in letting them see no harm has come
"Now, listen to me, my boy," said the keeper; "your friends were
out searching for you until very late. It is now half-past four, and it
would be a shame to break into their short sleep so soon. Come and
have some breakfast, and a wash to freshen you up; then you can have
the pony and ride over through the bottom and Shorter's Gap, and reach
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS. 17
home before anyone is stirring. If you don't come willingly," he con-
tinued with a smile, I shall have to take charge of you as a suspected
poacher. Respectable persons don't spend the night in the woods."
Fred laughed, and gave
4, in. Then they started off
-. down the zig-zag paths
Said the trees and ferns.
o The birds were all astir
Sin the branches, and the
r ~ squirrels were busy mak-
ing their early meal of
"THE SQUIRRELS WERE BUSY." ing their early eal of
fir-cones, dropping the
gnawed cores down upon the keeper and the boy. At length
they reached the bottom, and were soon at the keeper's
cottage, whence came a pungent odour of burnt oak, which,
combined; with the fresh morning air, set a keen edge upon
Fred's already sharp appetite. Steve explained the position of affairs to his
wife, who gave Fred a warm welcome, and took care that he ate a hearty
breakfast, after he had enjoyed a good bracing wash in cold spring water.
Never in his life had Fred
tasted such exquisite ham and
eggs, and bread and butter,
or drank such splendid coffee
as he had that morning. He
sat with the keeper for some ,
time after breakfast, talking of
woodcraft and poachers, until
it was time for Fred to be off.
Then, accepting the loan of the
pony with alacrity, he trotted
along the wooded bottom, :Xt ,,:,
through the gorge known
as Shorter's Gap, and round .-
a spur of the hills to Brock-
hurst, just as the outdoor .
occupations of the villagers "THE KEEPER'S COTTAGE."
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
were getting into full activity. The cows had been milked, and were now
making their way to the village green. The clink-clink of the blacksmith's
hammer sounded from the forge, and from all sides came the shrill cries
of the barn-door cock. Blue smoke curled upwards from each chimney,
and from open doors came the clatter of pots and pans, or the swish of
_8- tied his pony by
the gate of one
of these houses,
-- ..'.._-_- ._ __._-_ and rushed in-
S- doors all eager
go to assure his
friends of his
His father was
..., at first inclined
to be angry with
:... him for causing
so much worry
and anxiety to
his mother espe-
cially, but Fred's.
and it was easy
to see that all
were too glad to
have him safe
back to think
much of the
they had passed
"THE COWS WERE MAKING THEIR WAY TO THE VILLAGE GREEN." through.
THE SURPLUS WHEEL,
T WAS A MOST extraordinary thing,
and Caleb was completely puzzled! Old
Caleb Crumpler was reputed to be a clever
:man: all the village thought so and said
so. He was considered to be a handy sort
Sof man to have in a village where there was
only one shop in addition to the tavern.
It was said of Caleb that he knew well
nigh everything; it was even thought that
there was only one man living who knew
more than Caleb, and that was only
Cal because he had lived about twenty years
longer than Crumpler. What was the
r' CALEB WAS A SHOEMAKER."
SCALEB WAS A SHO name of this very wise man the villagers
couldn't tell you: they had forgotten his name, but they knew he was
a professor who lived "up to London."
Caleb was a shoemaker by trade, but most of the people in the village
trudged into the market town to buy their boots and shoes. So Caleb did
not have to make many pairs in a year; but he had many pairs to sole and
heel. In addition to his trade, Caleb followed a profession: he was the
parson's clerk, sexton, bellringer, and pew-opener.
Caleb had lived out three incumbents of the parish church, and conse-
quently had come to regard the venerable structure as being more a charge
of his own than of the parson. He took great pains to have it scrupu-
lously clean and well-preserved, and there were few country church-
yards that displayed greater neatness of trim paths and close-cropped
turf than that at Meadway. In his official capacity he had assisted at
20 THE SURPLUS WHEEL.
the christenings and weddings of most of the Meadway people.
Consequently he knew the ages and pedigrees of most, and the principal
events in their lives, as well as the complete history of the village
from the earliest times. No wonder: the villagers thought he knew
On this occasion, however, Caleb had to confess himself beaten-for a
time. Mrs. Mitchell had an old Dutch clock, and three months ago it had
gone on strike. That is, it had refused to strike. The pendulum had
ceased to swing, and the hands had ceased to travel round in the way that
they had done ever since
Mrs. Mitchell could re-
member anything; for
Mrs. Mitchell's mother
had owned that clock for
many years, and had
given it to her daughter
as a wedding present.
After going regularly all
those years, the clock
evidently wanted a rest,
and had taken French
When Mrs. Mitchell had put
up with this state of
MEADWAY CHURCH." affairs for three months;
but every time she passed
the clock she had given the pendulum a little push in order to encourage
it, though all to no purpose. One day a happy thought struck her: she
would take the clock to Caleb and get him to look into it, and put it
right. So the clock came into the wise man's hands, and after taking off
the pendulum and the doors, and putting his nose in this side and the
other, he gave it as his opinion that the clock wanted cleaning and oiling,
and that he could soon put it to rights."
When Mrs. Mitchell had gone, Caleb took off his coat, cleared the
table, fetched his oil-flask and glue-pot-in case there might be some
unsuspected breakage-and set to work. In ten minutes' time there
GROVEYR Co., NOTTINUMAM-
WHERE DOES THIS WHEEL GO?
l',inted lby 6. 1F'( .
THE SURPLUS WHEEL. 23
was not a wheel left in the wooden carcase. He had every one out, and
separately brushed, and rubbed, and polished. Then he lightly greased
the spindles and put them all back, as he thought, each in its former
place. The face was put on, then the hands; the weights hooked on
the lines, and the pendulum adjusted and set swinging. It went splen-
didly-never so well before! "Whirr-whirr-whirr-whiz," it went. The
hands flew round marking an hour in less than a minute, and the
pendulum bobbed furiously, whilst the bell commenced striking the
hours in rapid succession, commencing with eight and running on to
the later hours. But, although the bell-hammer swung as rapidly as
it -could, it failed to keep up with the hands, and whilst it was
striking out the hour of ten, the hands pointed to two o'clock, and
still hurried on.
Poor Caleb stood aghast at his handiwork. The clock must be
bewitched! Or had he made some mistake, and changed the wheels?
He took it down from the wall, and pulled it to pieces again, and
rearranged it. Now, it would not go at all! What had he done?
Again he commenced to dissect it. The face, hands, and doors were
off; he was getting excited; his face wore a puzzled expression, his hair
was bristling in all directions, and the perspiration was streaming from
his forehead. He picked up his crimson handkerchief that lay on the
table, that he might mop his face, when lo! a wheel fell to the
ground. Did this explain matters, or make the mystery greater? Caleb
looked at the wheel and looked at the clock, but could see no place
Caleb was a man of dogged perseverance, and determined he wouldn't
give up until he got the thing right. He sat up far into the night. He
took that clock to pieces fourteen times, and at last got it right. It goes
all right now, and has got a new lease of life; and old Caleb learned
so much about clocks before he had done with it that there is not one
in the village now that he cannot repair "and put to rights."
TWO SPANISH DEFE TS.
A TERRIBLE insult indeed! Here
--r was a high ambassador, a grandee
of Spain, accredited to the English
I Court, who yet could not stir out
without receiving marks of public
Sdisapproval-showered on him be-
cause he was the representative of
Ships master, the Emperor Charles V.,
and of his master's son Don Philip,
husband of Queen Mary of England,
of evil memory.
WVas it not enough to feel that
Spain was unpopular with the Eng-
lish people? Yet here were the
IIi,,' very boys in the streets filled with
Patriotic sentiments, and making
use of the weapons Nature had just
"SAT WITH THE PEN IN HIS HAND." put into their hands. It was not
courteous, for an ambassador from
another power should always be treated with respect. But these boys
were evidently unacquainted with the rules of international civility.
They had learned how unpopular was this marriage between Queen
Mary and Don Philip, and that the ambassador had been largely
concerned in bringing it about, so it was only natural that, given an
unpopular man and a good fall of snow, the boys should combine a
show of patriotism with the natural delight they felt in having so good
an excuse for a splendid bout of snowballing.
"GIVE 'EM SOME MORE" SHOUTED TOM SPENCER;
"A FEW NICE HARD ONES!"
TWO SPANISH DEFEATS.
Well might the ambassador's officers shake their fists at the boys and
threaten them with all manner of dreadful things. They spoke in Spanish,
which the boys understood not, though they gathered the sense of it plainly
enough, thanks to the officers' excited gestures and grimaces.
"Give 'em some more," shouted Tom Spencer, who led his com-
panions; "a few nice hard ones !"
The command was instantly obeyed. The ambassador himself
thought his dignity might be best preserved by marching off unheedingly,
as though ignorant of what was going on ; but his attendants could not,
for just then a well-directed swift ball from Harry Stephens had knocked
off the hat of one, whilst another sent with similar intent by the hand of
Ben Carter had struck the same worthy on the back of his head. They
drew their swords, but the boys were nimble and kept out of reach, whilst
their steady fire of cold ammunition had more terror for the Spaniards
than the swords had for English boys.
At last the Spaniards were safe within the doors of the ambassador's
house, and vented their rage in angry demands that their master should
write to the Queen demanding that the insult to Spain should be washed
out in the blood of these plucky-or perhaps thoughtless-boys. He
promised to do so, and desired them to leave him whilst he composed so
important a missive.
Alone at his desk he wrote to inform Queen Mary of the deadly
insult that had been offered to the Emperor in the person of his ambas-
sador, and demanding that the insulters should be punished. But as he
sat there with his pen in his hand, something reminded him of his own
boyish days, when he had been foremost in similar freaks, and he came to
the conclusion that whatever loss of dignity he had suffered by this
incident, he would lose more in his own self-esteem by complaint to the
Queen of England. Moreover, he secretly admired the bravery of the lads
when threatened by the swords of his officers. The letter had been written,
but it was never despatched. The ambassador tore it into fragments.
Some four-and-thirty years later, two bronzed and bearded men in the
prime of life stood on the deck of Drake's ship in Plymouth Sound. They
had been with Drake in his adventurous voyages, and had circumnavigated
the globe in his ship. They were with him when he returned to Plymouth
TWO SPANISH DEFEATS. 27
with his ship laden with treasure, and had been with him since to the
West Indies, to Vigo, Santiago, St. Domingo, Carthagena, Cadiz, and
Corunna, "singeing the Spanish King's beard." And now, with the fleet
of eighty small barks under the command of Lord Howard of Effingham,
they were waiting for news of the great Armada.
D'ye mind, Harry, my lad, how we beat the Spaniards at snow-
balls more than thirty years since ? "
Aye, Tom, right well, and I mind how you called upon us to give
them a few nice hard ones before we had done. We have given them
many a hard ball since that day, and methinks this Armada should have
harder ones than we have yet thrown, or it will go ill with Old England.
A pity we were not allowed to clip its wings after the affair of Cadiz "
The speakers were Tom Spencer and Harry Stephens, the leaders of
that memorable attack on the ambassador and his suite in the previous
reign. With the death of Mary and the accession of Elizabeth, the
relations of the two countries had not improved, and now for three years
the most extensive preparations had been going forward in the Tagus for
despatching an enormous fleet for the final subjugation of England.
At last, after much waiting and many false rumours and alarms, the
look-outs on the high ground of Mount Edgecumbe and Rame Head
described the flaming beacons that flashed the tale from the Lizard, St.
Keverne, the Dodman, and Mevagissey, that the enemy was off the Lizard
heading up Channel. What need is there to say more? Every British
boy and girl knows well the story of what happened. How those eighty
small craft, with their nine thousand men, led by Drake, Frobisher,
Hawkins, and Howard, sailed out from the Sound and hung upon the rear
of the hundred and thirty greater vessels of the Armada, with its force of
twenty-eight thousand. How they kept up the attack all up the Channel,
sinking, boarding, or driving the galleons on shore, until a week later the
Spaniards drew up in Calais roads and cast anchor. How the closer
contest now ensued, with a result so deadly that the Invincible" Armada,
or as much as was left of it, had to fly northward with the intention of
regaining Spain by sailing round the Orkneys. How Drake followed, but
was at length compelled to give up the chase by a lack of provisions for
his men, and how the winds of heaven completed the defeat by breaking
up the concert of the great fleet in the northern seas, reducing many of the
28 TWO SPANISH DEFEATS.
ships to matchwood on the rocks of Orkney, Faroe, Donegal, and Galway,
and sending a poor remnant of fifty vessels with death-stricken crews back
to their native land.
Tom Spencer and Harry Stephens, with many a wound, after meeting
death face to face but keeping him at arm's length, survived for many
years to tell the tale on Plymouth Hoe to admiring groups of youngsters,
not only how they had put the Armada to flight, but what they seemed
to consider a greater achievement, how a few English boys had put the
Spanish Ambassador to flight with no more deadly missiles than snowballs.
P DDLING HIS OWN C NOE.
RCHIE BINGHAM had an ambition. Close to his home there
flowed a beautiful river, where, with other boys, he went fre-
+ T quently to
bathe, or swim, or
fish. A few per-
sons whose grounds
ran down to the
river banks had
skiffs and pleasure
boats, which occa-
sionally Archie had
the offer of for an
hour or so at a time.
He had thus learn-
ed to handle a pair
of sculls with ease;
but he wanted to
have the means of
" going for a pull "
whenever he had
the leisure and in-
however, are expen-
sive things to buy,
and Archie's finan-
cial resources were
very limited indeed,
so that his boat "CLOSE TO HIS HOME THERE FLOWED A RIVER."
30 PADDLING HIS OilV' CANOE.
seemed to be a thing of the remote future, unless some good fairy should
provide one for his use.
It was not long, however, before a brilliant idea occurred to Archie.
He was an eager reader of a capital journal that had recently been started
for boys. One day as he strolled back from the village with the new
number of "Boys" in his hand, he saw with delight that a certain
"Toolhouse Club," whose doings were chronicled in that paper, were
constructing a model of a canoe. All particulars as to materials, with
working plans and diagrams of details, drawn to scale, were given; and
after he had read the account twice over, to fix the thing well in his
mind, Archie resolved that he would copy the Toolhouse Club model.
He did it; and a very good model it was. It floated well, but, of
course, was too small to take a pas-
senger. The great point was, it
showed Archie that he could build
his own boat, the vessel for which
he had been longing, and wonder-
ing how he could earn sufficient
money to buy it. He knew what
to do now. He would build a canoe
in the same way, but twice the size.
Afterwards, however, he decided
that he ought to strike out a line
"EVERY BEND AND BRANCH.
for himself: he would not build his
canoe like the model. He would have a canvas canoe, and he would
design it himself.
In this I think he made a mistake. His idea was to go on the lines
of the Indians' birch-bark canoes, but I don't think he succeeded very well
in this respect, as you will see if you look at the picture. But this I do
know, that his ribs were so well bent and so well fixed to the keel and the
gunwale, that the whole contrivance was thoroughly strong and sound.
He stretched the canvas over this well-knitted skeleton, and the whole
was painted, coat after coat, and varnished; and at last was ready for use.
A fine time he had in that canoe, exploring every bend and branch
of the river; here paddling easily on the broad open stream, there pushing
his way with difficulty through dense reeds; here slipping off his clothes
-.W -a f lf
> : r
.. ,^ I
.11 L i
"PADDLING HIS OWNV CANOt."
Pai-lted 1by Frank Patterson.
. ; |
PADDLING HIS OWVN CANOE.
and taking a swim with the canoe attached by a cord to his waist; here
catching fish for his supper, there lying in the bottom
of the canoe, lazily drifting with the current. All this
season, however, he feels that he has only been learn-
ing how to manage his vessel, and finding out her
good and bad points. For next season he has a more e
ambitious programme in
hand. He has been read-we
ing Rob Roy's account
of his canoe journeys, jo t -
and has inspired his HE ~-ATERS OF ..
P' ,THE HEAD WATERS OF THEIR
special chum, Harry RIVER.
Dixon, with the desire to --
accompany him on his a b
next voyage. Harry
Dixon is now engaged building a canoe on the
"Toolhouse Club pattern, which will float side ,
by side with Archie Bingham's when next year
they make that preliminary journey to the
head waters of their river, afterwards paddling '
throughout its whole course from source to sea. ,' J2
They will take very little with them beyond a portable cooking stove.
At night their canoes will be drawn up the bank, under the shelter of some
large tree, and here they will camp for the night, sleeping in their canoes.
They will be up with the lark,
S-- and while one is boiling the
S--- --- kettle the other will be seek-
ing cream and bread and
anything else eatable that may
be obtainable. Then, after
breakfast, the paddles will be
put to work again, and a
A- good many miles of water will
be covered before lunch time.
---_May they have a thoroughly
--- enjoyable time, say I.
ou CHOIR LE DER.
ALEB CRUMPLER was by no means the only character
we had in Meadway. Not at all. There were several old
stagers who reflected the greatest respectability and
distinction upon the place, and not the least of these was
Mister William Whitelock. When first I went to Mead-
way it had struck me as a curious thing that Caleb, with all his varied
gifts and attainments, was not the leader of the choir at the parish church.
It is true there would have been a little difficulty in having to lead the
choir from his favourite seat, for the choir was perched up in a little gallery
-said to have been formerly the rood-loft-and Caleb's seat was at the
other end of the church, near the door. From this point Caleb could survey
the whole of the congregation, and lead the responses and say ah-men "
officially. At the same time he could keep his eyes on the boys, and over
their heads, through the open door, could see the fresh green leaves waving
in the churchyard. He declared it was the finest sight in all the village to
look over the double row of boys' heads in the softened light of the church
to the beauty of waving grass and leaves in the strong glare of the
sunshine out of doors.
But Caleb was not a man to be checked by trifles, and had he
had it in mind to lead the singing, he would have found a way to have
the choir so placed that he could conduct it without giving up his favourite
seat. The truth is, Caleb knew the choir was in very good hands,
and it was useless for him to monopolise all the work of the parish.
Mr. William Whitelock was the choir-master, and conducted it well;
Caleb often said you would not find such another choir in a day's march.
Caleb and William were next door neighbours: there was a low privet
hedge separating their gardens, but at one part there was a gap, and the
OUR CHOIR LEADER.
ground there had been worn very hard and hollow, showing that there
was frequent traffic between the two houses.
Caleb was simply Caleb ;" William was always "Mister William" or
" Mister William Whitelock," and the reason was this. For years he had
been in the service of the squire as his valet, and had travelled with him,
and seen the world. When the old squire died ten years ago, and his will
was read, it was found that as a mark of appreciation of the faithful
services of his valet, he had charged his executors to pay an annuity
sufficient to keep Will in comfort without any further service. And so it
came about that he had settled down in the village as the only man of
private means except the present squire and two or three of the gentry
who lived in neighboring halls.
Besides conducting the choir, and seeing that the members thereof
regularly attended practice every Friday evening, Mr. William played the
bassoon. It was an ancient instrument, and had belonged to the father of
his late master. The squire and his father had quarrelled when he was a
lad, and he had left home and wandered in the far places of the earth for
years; until his heart had softened, and like the prodigal he had said, I
will arise and go to my father! But when he had reached the old home
it was only to be just in time to see his father lying dead and confined, a
day before the funeral.
This had saddened his life; but it had also made him very gentle
and kind to all around him, and had turned his thoughts more to the
Eternal Father. When he had grown old he used to think more and
more of his boyhood, and he would fondly handle the old bassoon
his father used to play, and in fancy heard again the rich mellow
notes of the instrument. One day he said to Whitelock, "I wish you
were a musician William; I should like to hear the old bassoon once
more piping the sweet airs my father loved." And Whitelock, who
had played the fife in his younger days, practised in secret, until he had
fairly mastered the bassoon.
When next the squire spoke of his father's playing, Will suggested
he should be permitted to try what he could do, and taking the bassoon
from its case played a familiar old air with the utmost skill of which he
was capable. He had really made remarkable progress, and now, under
the influence of the old man's sad self-reproaches, he put such an amount
OUR CHOIR LEADER.
of feeling into his playing that the squire was melted to tears. Then he
asked William why he had kept his musical skill to himself hitherto, and
Will was compelled to confess that he had practised in secret in the hope
that he might give pleasure to his master, and that was the earliest
moment that he had felt capable of doing so.
The squire was deeply moved, and there and then he presented
Whitelock with the bassoon, and told him he should play it every day. It
had been his father's custom to play in the evening, and so now every
evening Whitelock had to repair to the library and play to his master: a
custom that was continued until the squire died.
When that sad day came, and all his near relations were gathered
round his bed, and the minister had prayed with him, he turned to Will
and bid him fetch the bassoon; he would hear its sweet voice once more
before he passed away. And when Will returned he desired him to play
the air of "Abide with me," whilst he tried with his own feeble voice to
sing the words. All were astonished at the power he displayed, for he
sang it right through, from beginning to end, with great feeling. The
words had become his own, and especially was this manifest when he
reached the fifth verse:
"Thou on my head in early youth did smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee:
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me."
At the last verse his voice grew fainter, but in the stillness of the room it
was quite clear, and there was the ring of assurance that his request was
granted from on high:
"Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes!
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies!
Heaven's morning breaks and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life and death, O Lord, abide with me!"
As the last note of voice and bassoon died away, the watchers saw that
the squire's spirit had passed also, to join his father in another world.
Will Whitelock still plays his bassoon of evenings after the sun has
set, and there are not wanting in the village those who will tell you that at
such times the spirit of the old squire is with our choir-master in his little
cottage. However that may be-and Will has never been heard to say
anything upon the subject-he allows nothing to interfere with this
observance of his master's former desire.
BHiGGS MINO S ZOO1
'T THE BEGINNING of my second term at "Cliff House
i Academy for Young Gentlemen," there came to the school
Sa new boy, Bartholomew Briggs by name. We could not
1' ,call him simply Briggs, because we already had a fellow of
that ilk among the biggest boys, and to call him by such a
long name as Bartholomew was quite out of the question. In these days,
when everybody has to work so hard and so fast, one cannot afford time to
pronounce a four-syllabled name, and parents ought not to burden their
children with anything longer than two syllables; even then it should be
capable of being shortened to one. Jack, Jim, Joe, Fred, Frank, Phil,
Bert, Bill, Bob, Tom, Ted, and Sam are all handy sensible names, warranted
to wear well. We told young Briggs he must pack Bartholomew" away
with his Sunday clothes, and be known on week-days as Briggs Minor.
Briggs didn't mind; he was a good-natured little chap, and began
quoting Shakespeare to the effect that "a rose by any other name would
smell as sweet "-a quotation that was remembered later on.
We soon found that Briggs wasn't much of a fellow for sports. He
was always going for walks over the hills, in the woods, or along the
seashore. Whenever he went on one of these expeditions-and that was
whenever he could shirk cricket or "footer"-he returned dusty or muddy,
and with a suspicious looking package of some sort in his hand. The
boys couldn't make it out, and all kinds of absurd rumours concerning-
Briggs Minor began to fly around.
One day he asked me if I'd go for a stroll with him. There was no
school that afternoon, and I had made up my mind to have some practice
at the stumps, but after a moment's reflection I accepted Briggs Minor's
invitation. As soon as we were free we started off down a narrow lane
that led to the seashore, which we skirted, keeping well away from the
BRIGGS MINOR'S ZOO.
water. Briggs said the sea was altogether too fascinating, and if we got
down close to the water we should not be able to tear ourselves away until
it was time to be back in school. We kept along shore for nearly a mile,
when we reached a little chine that sloped up to the top of a moor.
I knew the place well, or thought I did, but Briggs Minor showed me
that I did not know it a little bit. I always had the reputation of being
quick sighted, and could tell pretty clearly what a cricket ball was after
as it flew through the air; but I didn't think any boy could have such
eyes as Briggs Minor showed he possessed. They had the power of tele-
scopes and microscopes rolled into one instrument, and I believe that if
a tiny beetle winked an eyelid, or a lizard waved his black tongue,
Briggs would see either at twenty yards' range. The funny things he
pointed out to me that afternoon almost took my breath away. Who
put them there ? for I had never seen them before, and I knew the chine.
Briggs Minor says they have always been there; it's their home, only
that my eyes had never been trained to see them. I began to respect
Briggs, and to look upon him as a prodigy of learning. Briggs saw how
intensely interested I was in all he told me of the birds and beetles, the
snails and flowers, we came across; and he began to respect me as a boy of
sense who could listen.
Then Briggs Minor confided to me a grand scheme he had in hand,
which he bound me on my honour to keep a profound secret. As all
necessity for secrecy has long since passed, I am quite free now to tell you.
Briggs Minor was going to make himself a name in the school. He was
getting together in his den a collection of such wild creatures as that part
of the country produced, and when he had obtained a few more specimens
he was going to have a grand opening, and admit all the boys freely.
Until the auspicious day arrived the school was to be kept in absolute
ignorance of his plans and preparations.
"Now," said Briggs Minor, "I want your advice. I want this thing
to be a big success, and I should like to have the Doctor, as head of the
establishment, to declare the affair open. Do you think he would do it?
and what would be the best way to tackle him on the subject ? "
Was there ever such a fellow for audacity! Ask the Doctor to open
such a show in a boy's den! It fairly took my breath away, and I had to
think a little before I replied:
BRIGGS MINOR'S ZOO.
"Look here, Briggs, my boy; you'd better drop this. Don't you
know that it's entirely against rules for a boy to keep live animals in his
room. A few mice or birds in cages in the hamper shed would be winked
at, and small things that did not smell very badly have managed to escape
notice for a time in a fellow's den; but this wholesale proposal of yours,
if carried into effect, would be severely dealt with, and might spell
Oh, stuff! returned Briggs; "the Doctor's too kind-hearted a chap
to do that to a fellow who's trying to raise the standard of intelligence in
the school. Why I'm planning to start a Field Club and Scientific Society
in the school, with the Doctor as President and myself Secretary. I've got
a lot of things, alive and dead, in my den, but I want a few more to make
a show, before I say anything."
We argued the matter at some length, but Briggs Minor was not to
be turned from his purpose. We found a lot of things that Briggs deter-
mined to add to his collection. One was a toad that could run. It was
not a common toad by any means. It had a line of yellow down the
middle of its back; and Briggs said it was a natterjack. He caught a
snake, of which he was half afraid, for he was not sure whether it was an
adder. It was rather snappish, and was in the act of swallowing a lizard
when Briggs surprised it
and caught it in his but-
terfly net, by making the
snake walk into it.
That stopped our col-
lecting that afternoon, for
Briggs was anxious to
submit his snake to a
competent authority who
could tell him exactly
what kind it was. So
back we trotted to the
town, and up a leafy road
away from the business"
centre. Arrived at a
rambling old house, with A RAMBLING OLD H
ROOF AND DEEP PO H.
40 BRIGGS MINOR'S ZOO.
gabled roof and a deep porch, it was clear that Briggs had been there
before. He knew his way about, and the servants knew him. Yes, Mr.
Pearsall was at home, busy in his study. Briggs' name was taken in, and
we were immediately bidden to enter.
An old gentleman rose from his seat and greeted Briggs effusively
and me warmly. "Glad to see you my lads! Well, Briggs, has your
friend taken your enthusiasm? Ah what's that?"
Briggs was producing his snake with caution, and as soon as he had
it fairly out of the bag the old gentleman exclaimed :
Smooth snake-Coronella Zcevis! Where did you get it? "
We told him all about its capture, and he said that he had no idea it
occurred so far east. He then told us a lot of things about it, and showed
how it differed from the ringed snake and the viper, but I am not going to
report our conversation here, for strictly speaking it does not belong to my
story. We spent one of the shortest hours in my life with that jolly old
naturalist, whose house was packed with cabinets and glass-cases and
aquaria. He was busy when we entered, examining a huge moth, which
he said he had just received from a distant part of India. It was of a kind
that had never been seen in this country before, and, being quite unknown
to science, at that moment it had no name. He was examining it with
a view to finding out its proper place in natural history, and giving it a
Mr. Pearsall showed us many curious things, and I began to cease
wondering at Briggs Minor's enthusiasm for such studies. I had got
my eyes opened a little, and I soon caught sight of some peculiar things
in a cardboard tray that were jumping up every few minutes. There
were about a dozen of them, each looking like a quarter of a very tiny
apple, for they had two flat sides and one rounded. They were about
half an inch in length, and, although very hard, exceedingly light.
Encouraged by his kind face and voice, I made bold to ask Mr.
Pearsall what they were-
"Ah, Mr. Sharpeyes," he replied; "I didn't suppose you would
notice those. They are really seeds of a Mexican plant. They were sent
to me by a naturalist who is collecting in Mexico. He writes to say
that there is an insect in each of them, and that the jumping of the
seed is owing to the movement of the insect within. How this is
BRIGGS MINOR'S ZOO.
effected I want to find out, but the fact remains that the seeds keep up
that leaping exercise at short intervals without any interference."
I had carefully examined one of them, but failed to find the slightest
clue to the mystery of their jumping powers, nor could I detect how the
insect got inside. It was a far worse case than King George's difficulty
as to how the apple was got inside the dumpling. If kings were endowed
with as much intelligence as schoolboys it would have struck the monarch
that dough, being soft and sticky, could be pressed close round anything,
and the edges so kneaded together as to hide the join. But these seeds
were of a woody character, so the same explanation would not fit.
Mr. Pearsall saw my difficulty, and remarked:
"I can't show you how the insect-which is really the caterpillar
of a moth-got in, but I can show you where it will come out. There
is every probability that when the very young caterpillar made his way
BRIGGS MI'OR'S ZOO.
into the interior the seed vessel was green and soft, and the growth of
the plant caused the hole to fill up. But look here! I press this seed
with my finger and cause this depression."
We looked, and observed that on one of the flat sides, near one
end, was a round mark, looking as though there was a hole there with
a skin drawn tightly over it.
For a long time," continued Mr. Pearsall, I was baffled, but two
days ago this moth came out of one, and I saw a beautifully clean-cut
hole, with a marvellously neat little door on hinges fitting it with
wonderful accuracy. I dare say you have often felt aggrieved when you
have made your teeth meet in a deliciously-mellow codlin, and bitten
out about a third of it, to find that you have also bitten through the
borings of a caterpillar-maybe bitten the caterpillar itself in two? Ugh!
It isn't pleasant; and your feelings are not greatly soothed by being
told that the moth to which the caterpillar turns is a very pretty one.
\Vell, the caterpillar inside these jumping seeds is a near relation of the
It was now time for us to go if we wished to be in school at tea-
time-and to be out after the bell rang for that meal meant unpleasantness
-so, hastily bidding the naturalist good-bye, and promising him we
would come again before long, we raced back to Cliff House.
Briggs Minor's Zoo went on apace, but after I had somewhat got
over the effects of our visit to Mr. Pearsall, and had reflected upon the
probable results to Briggs of carrying out his intentions, I did all I
could to dissuade him from his plans.
"Why not," said I, "go in for a museum of preserved animals,
instead of a Zoo of living ones? The fellows are beginning to complain
of smells, and talk the most awful nonsense about what you have got
in your den. It's sure to reach the Doctor's ears before long."
"It's nothing to me what fellows think; and lots of chaps have
had museums. I want to have something original. I have got a pair
of dormice, two kinds of snakes, a jackdaw, three stag-beetles, some
glow-worms, several lizards, two kinds of toads, five white rats, two
young owls, a savage little stoat, a cormorant, and a tailless dog-oh,
and the colony of live ants and the wasps' nest in full operation. I think
I know: where there's a family of hedgehogs, and when I have taken
BRIGGS MINOR'S ZOO. 43
them, and got two or three more cages, I shall be ready to ask the Doctor
to give the affair his patronage and fix a day for the opening. I shall
write to the editor of the local paper and ask him to send a reporter,
or come himself. Then Cliff House Academy will be famous as the only
school of the kind that has its own live Zoo, and people will ask who
is Briggs Minor that has done this thing. Won't some of the fellows be
green with envy when the Doctor assembles the school and requests
them to follow him in order to inaugurate this important new depart-
ment. I shall be in my den, of course, and shall come out at the sound
of approaching footsteps, and thank the Doctor for the honour he has
done me in thus condescending, etc. After the speech-making is all over,
I expect the Doctor will get out a new edition of the school prospectus,
and among the great advantages to be derived from residence at Cl ff
House he will dwell upon the importance of inculcating a love of nature
in the breast of the young, and will describe how effectually this end
may be achieved in an establishment that possesses the unique attraction
of a collection of living specimens of the fauna of the neighbourhood."
It was quite clear this mad idea had turned poor Briggs's brain!
Poor Briggs! He did become famous in the school, but not quite in
the manner he had expected. The hedgehogs had not yet been caught
when the Doctor paid his visit to Briggs's Zoo uninvited. You see all
these creatures had to be fed, and Briggs was thoroughly conscientious
on the point; in fact, he over-did it. He had a contract with the butcher
who supplied the school to save him scraps of meat for the tailless
dog, the young owls, and the stoat, and a similar arrangement with the
fishmonger ensured the happiness of the cormorant. The toads were
fed with worms dug up in the garden. The jackdaw and the rats were
content with all sorts of scraps from the kitchen; the dormice fed on
apples, acorns, and nuts, and the wasps flew in and out of the window
and provided themselves with caterpillars from the garden. The greater
part of Briggs's pocket-money went in providing food for his happy
family, and the net result was a very bad odour, which came through
the key-hole and under the door of his den.
The boys, as they passed his room, would pinch their noses, and
remembering his Shakesperian quotation, would parody it, and say, A
Zoo by any other name would smell as badly." It was this smell that was
BRIGGS MINOR'S ZOO.
Briggs Minor's undoing. One morning, as Mary, the housemaid, was
proceeding to his room to perform the usual offices, she took the precau-
tion to tie a handkerchief round her nose and mouth through which to
breathe; no doubt expecting that by this means the thickest of the effluvia
would be kept out of her lungs. The housekeeper, who was getting on in
years, and very stout, had latterly left the upstairs arrangements pretty
much in Mary's hands; so she wondered at the latter's preparations, and
asked the reason for them. Mary had to explain, and Mrs. Blogg, in spite
of her eighteen stone or so of weight, climbed upstairs and sniffed outside
Briggs's door. But she did not go in. No, she waited outside whilst
Mary went to ask the Doctor to step up.
The Doctor came, wondering what could be wrong. A few words
from Mrs. Blogg enabled him to grasp the situation. He boldly turned
the handle and threw open the door, the edge of which pinched the tailless
dog's paw, and the melancholy cur set up such a loud cry of "pen-and-ink!
-pen-and-ink!" that the whole Zoo was in an uproar. The cormorant
croaked, the jackdaw shouted Jack! and flew up in alarm almost in the
Doctor's face, nearly sending the good man on his back. He recovered
his balance, however, and only temporarily lost his mortar-board, but in
setting his foot down again scrunch it went upon one of the luckless
stag-beetles. The Doctor was disgusted, and ordered the gardener up to
clear the whole lot into his toolshed. I verily believe it would have been
a case of expulsion for Briggs Minor, but fortunately for him it was
Saturday and a whole holiday, and he and I were off trying to bag that
family of hedgehogs.
The Doctor was seldom moved to wrath, and by the time we returned
his anger had evaporated. (Of course, Briggs had a very stiff lecture in
the Doctor's room, the Doctor standing with the cane behind his back
thoroughly intending to use it; but when Briggs had explained his
motives and ambitions, the good old boy kept the cane out of sight,
and told Briggs he rejoiced that one of his pupils should make such
good use of his holidays in seeking to learn something of the wonders
of Nature; and the desire to impart his knowledge to others, he said,
did him credit. But," he continued, "you have been ill-advised in
your methods. You should have sought my permission at first, when
I could have told you that such a collection could not be tolerated in
5C'c.GS r1 ioR tlAS DEVELOPED
A nANIA F-o ^/T L IioR
AND FOP-WEE,.S PArI-HAS 3EEN
SEEN CAKRYIt5G MYST-EfOus BOXES
-r.His SANCTuM .
WE L'LO.S HA'E NOTY'Er VENT. ED
INSiDE HIS ST'7o BuuT JUDGING FpioH
TiE h -oiSES SqE Krow iT 5 I
SOMIETMIrC UKOE T-i.S rJfrii
'SMELLS' YES RAT'Ek -
T G(o ISY HIS Doop Tfis
IS HOW iTIS DONE.
ANr) THE. MAi.; F-R
E-NTriIC ALWAYS rTAKE-
-Tii FRECAuT1oo N
r Ei rF N
Trie Boo-Boy Y
i T AE SACREP
rjl 5Ki OL9
IS NO I NC.EI
A Z2 .
rTiE Do DID ONCE R"ASItLy EGT" i
AND TFi7s is TiE I
~-x ./ 2;
46 BRIGGS MINOR'S ZOO.
any house not specially built for the purpose. Now go, and set at liberty
such of those creatures as are fitted for freedom, the others, meantime,
may remain in the toolhouse until you are able to find homes for them
Briggs Minor left the Doctor's sanctum a sadder but a wiser youth.
His scientific fire, however, was by no means quenched. Thereafter, he
was contented with collections of snail-shells, insects, birds' eggs, and
the like; and to-day his reputation as a clever naturalist extends far
beyond the provincial town in which he lives.
JUST IN TIME.
OB BARDEN was junior invoice clerk in a large
wholesale warehouse in the wealthy City of London.
SHe lived at Camberwell with his parents, and every
morning at a quarter to nine he crossed London Bridge
as part of the dense, black, living stream that flows
steadily from south to north. He had not long left school; but, having
passed all the standards" creditably, and knowing money was not
plentiful at home, he thought he ought to be doing his best to help.
Bob had, therefore, made a practice of turning out in the mornings
long before breakfast time, and getting his chum, Harry Turnbull-
whose father kept the newspaper shop at the corner of George Street-
to let him run his eye" down the advertisement pages of the morning
papers. He made notes .
of likely names and ad-
dresses on a slip of paper,
and immediately after
breakfast rushed off to the
city to interview the ad-
Of course, he had many ',' .
unsuccessful journeys. He 0.
was too young or too old;
too small or too big; had
not the experience wanted lid
here; or was too well edu-
cated for the rough work
to be done there. Some
took his name and address, "THE DENSE LIVING STREAM THAT FLOWS FROM SOUTH TO NORTH."
48 JUST IN TIME.
and promised to write to him-but did not. Bob was almost dis-
couraged, but at last there was hope for him. The head of a department
saw him, asked questions concerning his education, his former school,
his parents, and his age. Bob had been through it all before, but this
gentleman showed more interest in him than others had done, and when
he told Bob to wait a few moments whilst he spoke to the principal,
Bob began to feel that he had a chance.
When Mr. Nicol came back, it was to show Bob into the private
office of Mr. Campbell, the head of the firm. Here he underwent
another examination, at the end of which he was told he would be
given a trial if his references proved satisfactory, and that his wages
would be six shillings a week to start with.
"That," said Mr. Campbell, "is only the beginning; it rests with
yourself to say what you will rise to. There are several in my employ
to-day who made just the same beginning, and are now receiving large
salaries; others did not care, and have not got on. Nearly fifty years
ago I started, at an earlier age than you, on three and sixpence a week,
in the city of Edinburgh, where I was born, and to-day there is not a
house in the City of London whose credit stands better than Campbell
Bob's testimonials turned out entirely to Mr. Campbell's satisfaction,
and on the following Monday morning he started work. A few months
had passed by, and he had quite settled into the ways of the house.
He was making considerable headway in his business, owing to a natural
conscientiousness about doing his work well, a quickness to learn the
names and prices of different goods, and a willingness to oblige others.
It wanted but a month to Christmas, and the travellers were pouring
in orders to such an extent that it was difficult to execute them properly.
The greater part of the staff had been working until late at night for
the past fortnight, but Mr. Campbell had a strong objection to keeping
lads at work so many hours. To-night there seemed no help for it
in Bob's case.
The clerk next above Bob in position had been overworked, and
having caught a severe cold through getting wet one night, he was
now compelled by medical orders to stay at home. Bob sought Mr.
Nicol and volunteered to stay late to get the work through. His offer
JUST IN TIME. 49
was accepted with Mr. Campbell's permission, but it being ascertained
that his parents would expect him at his usual hour, a telegram was
sent apprising them of the delay. Bob had worked hard all the evening,
and had given great satisfaction by the quickness and correctness with
which he had despatched his invoicing and day-book entries; and at
ten o'clock had left the warehouse with instructions to ride home by
train, his fare being handed to him together with what he regarded
as a liberal allowance for supper money," a payment altogether
As he strode down Queen Victoria Street' towards St. Paul's
"I STARTED AT AN EARLIER AGE THAN YOU."
station, the feeling of satisfaction with his increasing usefulness was
stronger than that of weariness due to the long hours he had worked.
On a sudden his eyes were attracted to a glaring light in the base-
ment of a huge house on the other side of the street. He rushed over
and saw that a fire had broken out, the heat of which had already
broken the glass, and the first flames and smoke rushed through the
grating just as he reached the house. A faint light at the extreme
top of the house showed it was inhabited, probably by a housekeeper;
and Bob at once sought the bell-handle, and pulled and pulled with
JUST IN TIME.
vigour. Then he thought of the fire-brigade, and remembered there was
a fire-alarm a little way up the street, nearer to Campbell and Co.
Running to it, he had quickly taken out his knife, and with it shattered
the glass. Just as he did so, a hand was laid on his shoulder, and
an angry voice asked:-
"What mischief is this, boy?"
Turning his head, he saw he was in the grasp of Mr. Campbell,
his employer, who was evidently just leaving the office, and thought he
was giving the alarm "for a lark." Bob rapidly explained, and pointed
to the building, then said he would run round to Watling Street; he
knew the short cut up Bread Street, across Cannon Street, and was
soon telling a fireman who stood at the door. Almost as soon as Bob
could give his information the engine and the salvage corps were
ready to start, and took Bob with them.
When they arrived at the fire there was already a great crowd there,
and the police were keeping order and attempting to arouse the inmates
of the top floor. Bob's alarm had gone to police as well as fire stations,
and already fire engines were on the way from all parts of London.
Rapidly the crowd fell back to make way for the engine, the hose was
unrolled and fixed to the hydrant in "half a jiffy," and in less time
than it has taken to write it a stream of water was pouring on the
flames. At the same time the doors were being broken open, and then
it was found that the fire had evidently started at the back of the
basement, and had already got hold of the staircase. The stock was
linoleum floor-cloth, which was stacked in huge rolls, and afforded
excellent fuel for a big fire. But the smoke produced was of a heavy
suffocating character, such as could not be breathed for many minutes
The fire engines could now be counted by the dozen, and far up
and down the street, and in all the side streets too, were enormous
lengths of hose distended with the terrific pressure of water which
was hurrying through to discharge itself into that awful furnace.
Floor after floor had caught with fearful rapidity, and access by the
stairs was quite out of the question. At first it was hoped there was
no person living on the premises, in spite of Bob's statement about
the dim light which could be seen before the dazzling glow from the
CROVEH & Co.v NOV~ ,,4OHA%*
JUST IN TIME.
1',inllh' by/ E. R'. WR1ITE.
JUST IN TIME.
fire made every lesser light invisible; but soon the cry arose that a
woman was waving her arms over a balustrade that ran in front of
the attic story.
The fire escape was extended to its utmost limit and reached just
up to the balustrade. The fireman was up there reaching over to take
a little white-robed girl from the terrified mother. That accomplished,
and the child sent sliding down the shoot to the waiting hands below,
another was served in the same fashion, and then the mother fainted
and fell to the balcony floor. The brave fireman felt that this meant
probably the loss of two lives-the woman's and his own-for the
hungry tongues of flame were licking round the escape, and it would
not be easy to get an insensible body safely over the balustrade and
into the shoot without help. However, help was nearer than he
expected. Bob Barden, black and blistered, rushed through the blazing
room, feeling sure that he was too late to be of use.
The fireman saw and called him, thinking he was the woman's son.
Smarting from burns, but scarcely conscious of them, Bob took in the
situation, and bent to help, and between them they had the woman
over the balustrade and sent down the shoot, the fireman being on his
escape, and Bob on the balcony.
Now, quick, my boy; another moment will be too late." Bob
was over and sent down, and ordered the removal of the escape just in
time to save the fireman, who was exhausted as well as in danger.
When it became known that Bob had made his way up that
blazing stairway to the helpless ones who he felt sure were in that upper
floor, the excitement and cheering were immense, more so even than
the people gave to the brave fireman who had run great risks in order
that he might save the woman and her children. The fireman's work
was, of course, the much more valuable, for if he had not been there it
is doubtful whether Bob could have done much good; on the contrary,
he would probably have lost his own life. But a London crowd is so
familiar with the brave deeds of their noble fire-brigade that they took
this fireman's plucky rescue to some extent as a matter of course-a
thing they knew he would do, if it were at all possible to be done.
Bob, on the other hand, had no business in the affair at all. He had
done his duty well in giving the alarm; but he had started upstairs
54 yUST IN TIME.
unknown to anybody, because he believed there was somebody there to
be roused and rescued when others held the contrary opinion that the
house was empty.
Bob was found to have sustained such serious burns that he was
not allowed to go home that night, but detained at St. Bartholomew's
Hospital for a couple of days. The fire was not put out until only the
bare walls of the building remained, with a mass of red-hot ashes in
the basement, mixed with thick iron pillars and girders that had been
so heated that they had twisted entirely out of shape. Upon these
smouldering ashes the hoses were pouring thousands of tons of water
all next day and the following night, before the fire could be said to
have been truly conquered.
Mr. Campbell was highly pleased with Bob's conduct throughout,
and took upon himself to communicate to the newspapers what he
knew. Bob's action, it is true, did not save the linoleum warehouse,
but it probably led to the saving of life, and to the preservation of
the adjoining premises, for a little delay in the arrival of the brigade
would have entailed the destruction of a huge block of property.
The adjoining proprietors and the insurance companies contributed to a
considerable sum of money, which was presented to Bob. Of course,
Bob had no thought of this kind when he did what he could; never-
theless, as the sum had been collected, he was glad to have it, in order
that he might help another family in distress-his own, to wit.
Mr. Campbell always felt proud of having such a lad in his employ-
ment; and has made it much easier for Bob to get on than otherwise
would have been the case. Bob is now occupying a very responsible
and well-paid post in the house of Campbell and Co.
f FINE DISH OF MACKE EL.
T WAS A CAPITAL JOKE, and did no hurt to
anybody, although one or two of the party were slightly
inclined to take offence when first the thing was
explained. But their vexation was only momentary,
and they were soon able to laugh heartily at the trick
played upon them. However, I had better begin at the beginning, and
the tale will the sooner be told.
We live in one of the prettiest villages on the Cornish coast, not
far from an important seaport town. From our one-sided streets and
terraces up the hill, you can obtain the most charming views of coast
scenery-picturesque purple cliffs and rugged headlands running out, one
behind the other, into the deep blue of the sea, for many miles to east
and west, and throwing out arms to form harbours within harbours.
In the seaport town there dwells a kind-hearted gentleman who
owns a splendid sailing yacht, which he keeps mainly for the enjoy-
ment of his friends; and many a pleasant cruise have I enjoyed in
her. It was upon her deck that this imposition was practised. The
perpetrator was a young lady whom we will call Miss Stephens, and
she had organised what we may term a marine picnic, having obtained
the loan of the Flyaway for the purpose.
There were eight or nine of us on board, some natives, and some
visitors from different parts, who were spending their summer holiday
in Cornwall. It was proposed that we should try our hands at fishing,
and, there being a number of sea-lines in the cabin, these were soon
got out, the hooks baited, and cast overboard; and whilst conversation
became general, each person had a hand over the side and grasped a
line. There was no need to trouble about the sailing of the yacht, for
56 A FINE DISH OF MACKEREL.
that was in the capable hands of Captain Andrew and his son Tom.
Tom was a trustworthy lad of about fifteen years, a capital sailor, and
by no means averse to a bit of fun. It is quite certain that many fish
might have been caught had we been more attentive to the tuggings at
our lines, but in the conversation and the merriment that went on, the
lines were but little regarded, and the bait was stolen.
Our hostess, although fully bearing her part in the animated talk,
was keenly alive to every vibration of her line, and before long she was
rewarded by hauling in a fine mackerel, whose silvery sides flashed in
the brilliant sunshine. Calling Tom to her side, she whispered a few
words to him, to the effect that she would like Mr. Pendarves, a visitor
from up the country, to catch a fish. In an instant, the mackerel was
slipped under his jersey, and under the pretext of making fast some
cordage behind Mr. Pendarves, he quickly hauled in that gentleman's
line, hooked on the mackerel, and dropped it over; at the same time
he gave the line a little tug, and called out,-
Quick, mister, you've got a fish!"
\\ There could be no question that the boy was right, such a
i \ tug at the line was evidence of it; the line was rapidly drawn
Sup, and Tom, eager to be useful, seized the fish, and unhooked
it. The interest in
S. fishing now revived,
and greater attention
\. :" _. was paid to every little
.:.-- tightening of the lines,
S' 'and several were
drawn up unneces-
Ssarily. Before long,
Tom, watching for the
... right moment, had
.""' .. hooked the fish on the
line held by Mrs. Vin-
-' cent, an affable lady,
,- who had been giving
S^-.. her experiences of
TOM AND HIS FATHER IN THEIR OWN BOAT. some most successful
A FINE DISH OF MACKEREL. 57
mackerel-catching cruises. The line was pulled by the same nimble
fingers, whose owner was busy coiling a rope behind her.
It was strange that nobody made the slightest objection to Tom
unhooking the fish, and taking them away, it was thought, to a com-
mon receptacle. Probably, the fishers reflected that this was done
merely to protect the deck-always kept -scrupulously clean and white-
from the slimy flapping and flopping of the scaly creatures. However
that solitary mackerel was the only one caught that day; but it was
brought up on the hook of each fisher several times, and at the end
of the day's sport, the fish, which were believed to be down below,
were mentally counted up. From a comparison of results, it appeared
that seventeen mackerel had been caught, and the next business was to
decide how these were to be divided. This was not an easy matter,
for Miss Stephens laid down the law that at least two must be sent
to the owner of the yacht as an acknowledgment of his kindness.
"Then," said she, "as I invited you, I think I am entitled to
two." This also was agreed to; then Captain Andrew must have
two for taking them to so good a fishing-ground; and so the divi-
sion went on, until they found that the seventeen would not go round,
and they had to adjust the whole thing again and again.
Finally, the matter was satisfactorily arranged, Miss Stephens, to
facilitate matters, generously waiving her claim, and then the party fell
to discussing the most approved fashions for preparing mackerel for the
table, and the respective merits of fried, boiled, baked and scrowled"
mackerel were set forth. Then, when the time came for landing, each
one called for his fish, but Captain Andrew explained that he would
clean them, and send them round to the houses where they were due;
and so we landed, and dispersed to our homes. But the mackerel came
not, and many were the anxious inquiries made concerning them, until,
a day or so later, the truth had to be told, and each made aware of the
trick that had been played. Some were incredulous, and imagined that
the only trick in the matter was being played then; others, as I have
hinted, were inclined to take offence, but the incident ended in a hearty
laugh at the clever way in which that one poor mackerel had been
manipulated, and made to play the part of seventeen, like a stage army
going off at the left wing and coming on again at the right.
TOM TUfNER TO THE RESCUE.
OM TURNER was a London lad, who knew as much
.. concerning the sea as a hippopotamus knows of
S the art of flying. But Tom thought he knew a
great deal. He had read no end of sea stories,
and considered-as most British boys consider-
n, lr- that he was thoroughly well up in all matters
relating to ships, and quite likely to develop into an
Admiral some day. The fact is, many of the sea
..'" stories he had devoured were written by men who
had as large-or as small-a practical acquaint-
ance with the handling of a ship as I have; and I feel almost certain
that the Board of Trade would have some hesitation in giving me a
When Tom got down to Cornwall on his long autumnal holiday, and
began to talk on nautical affairs, he soon found out that his knowledge
was, to a large extent, incorrect, or out-of-date. However, he determined
to put that matter right under the tuition of coast-guards, fishermen, and
pilots. Everybody on that coast he found possessed considerable know-
ledge of seafaring matters, and it was by no means difficult to pick up
information. He was out on the water most days, learning how to handle
an oar in proper sea fashion, and the general management of boats,
with sails and without. He became a deft hand at line fishing, learning
the best bait for pollack, mackerel, and bass; and helped the crabbers
to take up and empty their "pots."
From the coast-guard he heard many a thrilling yarn of wrecks on
that rugged coast, and learned how the rocket apparatus was used for
the saving of life; and before he returned to London he had the great
satisfaction of lending a hand in an important rescue. Tom was
TOM TURNER TO THE RESCUE: 59
always reticent about giving the full details of that eventful night, but
if you had asked the coast-guard, or any of the men who assisted, you
would have heard Tom's conduct warmly praised.
Night had closed in early. A dense fog was on the sea all the after-
noon, and in the evening the wind had freshened considerably. When
Tom went to bed, the sou'wester was howling loudly round the chimneys,
and every few minutes a great mass of spray was thrown .with great force
against his window. The mournful clang of the Manacles bell sounded
between the shrieks of the wind, and Tom had difficulty in going off to
sleep. He remembered how he had seen the water boiling over those
treacherous rocks on a comparatively calm day, and his mind was actively
picturing the probable appearance of the sea there at that moment, and
wondering if any vessels were in danger.
At length he fell into a troubled sleep, in which he dreamt that he
was on board Sammy Hicks' fishing smack in a heavy sea, trying to
pass safely through the narrow passage between the Manacles and the
land. Every moment he expected they would be dashed to pieces
upon the rocks, and when at last the final crash came he woke, startled
by a loud explosion. He knew what it was, for it had all been explained
by his friend the coast-guard: it was the signal for the rocket-men to
haste to the rocket-house, for their help was sorely needed.
Tom sprang out of bed and hurriedly slipped on his clothes, gazing
through the window the while in an effort to see something. But all
was black darkness, and the thundering roar of huge waves on the
rocks. Quietly slipping down stairs and out of the house, he fought
his way against the storm to the rocket-house, where he found the
coast-guard and a couple of men getting the apparatus out. Every-
thing was ready to hand for instant use, and only needing the men to
put it on the cart and set it up on the beach below. No notice was
taken of Tom except by the coast-guard, who asked why he was there.
"To help!" was the reply.
"Nonsense, boy; this is work for seasoned men, who know what
it is to fight the storm. Get back to your bed, my lad."
Tom felt hurt by the rebuff, but still thought that in such an
emergency all possible help was needed, and instead of going home he
followed the men to the rocky shore, where no time was lost in setting
60 tOM TURNER TO THE RESCUE.
up the apparatus. The vessel by this time had driven in so close that
her hull could be plainly seen, even without the aid of her flaring light.
Attaching a long light line to the end of the rocket, and making that
fast to a stout hawser, the rocket was at length fired pointing in the
direction of the tossing vessel. With a roaring whizz it flew upwards,
and described an arc of fire, going right over the ship, and some distance
A cheer from the vessel showed that her crew understood the use
of the rocket line, and it was evident that they had begun to haul in
the cord. It was now necessary that, whilst some of the men were
securely fixing the breeches buoy that it should run smoothly, others
should pay out the strong hawser and keep it clear of the ragged rocks
that fringed the shore. It was dangerous work on that lee shore, for
huge waves were sweeping in with such force that men were lifted off
their feet and dashed on the rocks.
Tom saw there was a chance here for him, and disregarding the
fact that he was badly attired for such a task, and lacking the physical
power necessary, he seized the hawser with the others, and began
hauling the great rope out to sea. Time and again the waves broke over
his head, the swirling waters lifted him from his feet and threw him
down; but whatever might happen to his feet he clung tightly and
resolutely to the hawser. The buoy was passed out and kept clear of
the rocks, and ere long a flare on the vessel showed that a person had
been put into it. It was rapidly hauled towards the shore, and the men
and Tom rushed out to keep the passenger-who proved to be a woman
-off the rocks. For a couple of hours they continued at this life-saving
work, and then Tom began to feel worn-out with the pulling at the
ropes, the buffeting of the waves, the wet, and cold. His clothes
had been soaked through almost from the beginning, and the exposure
now began to tell upon him. An extra big wave picked him up and
hurled him, insensible, a long way up the shore at the feet of a group
of women who, unable to help, were encouraging the men. At first
they thought it was a body washed in from the doomed vessel, but
soon his face was recognized, and he was taken home, and every effort
made to restore consciousness-I am glad to say with success.
For several days Tom was unable to move, but by care and atten-
4 U., -~
A ,- J. r ..431t. 4qj
* .. l.
a,- *. .
A LEE SHORE-PAYING OUT, ROPE BYv A ROCKET
[Painted by T. TV. Lascellee.
TOM TURNER TO THE RESCUE.
tion he recovered sufficiently to get out of doors, and talk to the
coast-guard and the fishermen who had been engaged in that awful
night's work. He was very much astonished to find himself regarded
as a sort of hero, although he had done no more than help with the
rest. The coast-guard actually apologised to him for the manner in
which he had declined his help.
Tom was delighted to learn that all persons on board the vessel were
saved, but he was anxious to know what became of the ship.
Look!" said the coast-guard pointing up the rocks a little to the
east of the village; she was buffeted about on the rocks for a time, and
we fully expected she would go to pieces, but a great sea rolled in and
lifted her right up yonder, where she is wedged in safely."
"How was it she got in so close?" Tom inquired.
"Well, here comes her captain," replied the coast-guard; "he will
tell the yarn better than I can."
Tom was introduced to Captain Smart as the brave lad who helped
so splendidly with the life-line." Tom felt that he blushed scarlet as the
captain wrung his hands and poured forth his thanks and admiration.
Then he told how the Kittiwake had left Southampton for New York, but
before they could get out of the channel a dense fog had arisen, and they
were at fault as to their precise whereabouts. A light showing through
the lifting fog, he had concluded it was the Lizard lights, so had put
the vessel's head to the west to clear the Land's End. Unfortunately
they were not so far down channel as he had thought. The light was
that of Falmouth light-house, arid in heading west he was taking his
vessel straight for the rocky shore!
A NIGHT UNDERGROUND,
ACK PANTON'S weakness was caves. Where another
boy would go mad over football, postage stamps,
birds' eggs, or running away to sea, Jack Panton
studied caves. He collected books about them, and
photographs and engravings, and had at his finger
ends-and his tongue's end, too-all the information, I verily believe,
that has ever been published concerning them. Jack had never been in
a cave-that is to say, nothing bigger than the caverns in the serpen-
tine rocks of Kynance Cove at the Lizard-but he was so familiar with
their internal geography and measurements, and the strange beasts that
inhabit them, that I have often fancied I was listening to the descrip-
tions of a traveller and keen observer as he has talked to me of the
great caves of the world.
I have had many a long chat with Jack upon his pet subject; not
because Jack has forced it upon me, for he is no bore. But he is quite
ready to be drawn out by an appreciative listener, and when he feels
he has got that-well, he lets himself go! I had always thought caves
were uncomfortable places, chiefly patronised by people of bad character,
outlaws, bandits, smugglers, and the like; but Jack taught me to look
upon them with a different eye. He would start off with the caves of
the Bible, and get on to Kent's Hole, at Torquay, and the Brixham
Cavern, with the wonderful exploring work carried on in them by
Mr. Pengelly, who found the bones of the great woolly elephant-the
mammoth-bears, rhinoceros, reindeer, cave-lion, hyena, and other
cheerful beasts that used to range the hills of Devon. Then would he
drift to Fingal's Cave at Staffa, and glance in passing at Whernside,
and the Derbyshire caves, but before long would have you safe in the .
A NIGHT UNDERGROUND. 65
caves of Adelsberg
in Southern Austria,
or the Mammoth
Cave of Kentucky
in the United States
One evening I had
a long conversation
with him, and in con-
fidence he told me it
was his ambition to
visit all these caves,
the foreign ones
especially. Those at
home, he said, had
been so thoroughly
worked by painstak-
ing Englishmen that
he thought there was
little else to be dis-
covered ; but with
those of Adelsberg
and Kentucky it was FINGAL'S CAVE, STAFFA.
said he, at these
views in the Adels-
berg Caves. They
are but a sample of
the chain of galleries, and halls, and domes that extends for miles into
the earth, interrupted here and there by rivers and lakes, in which
lives that strange creature the Proteus, a kind of huge newt-tadpole,
that has been so long accustomed to the darkness that it is blind, and
its eyes have dwindled almost away.
"You go through a narrow tunnel into the old grotto, and thence,
chamber after chamber, wander for miles by streams, and among stalag-
mites and stalactites of gleaming limestone of the most fantastic form;
66 A NIGHT UNDERGROUND.
some of them in thin sheets hanging from the roof like curtains. But
the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky is bigger, and you may walk for a
hundred miles along its galleries-not in a straight line, though it does
extend straight into the earth for many miles. In it there are several
rivers, with cataracts, and in the water blind fish, and out of the water
blind insects, blind land-crabs, and blind rats."
But I am forgetting my story! One summer Jack went to spend
h!s holidays with some kind friends who lived on the outskirts of
Nottingham, and who did all they could think of to make his visit
enjoyable. One day Mr. Ingoldsby told Jack that the staff at his works
were going for a very pleasant trip on the Saturday, and that he could
go with them if he
-. cared to do so. "You
will have to be up
early," he explained;
for we start by train
a little after six, and
S ride by Derby to Mat-
:- lock and Buxton, and
through some of the
most beautiful of the
Derbyshire dales to
where we breakfast;
afterwards driving to
/the neighbourhood of
the Peak, and going
into some of the
At the word ca-
verns," Jack's eyes
sparkled. He accepted
the invitation with
profuse thanks, and
was restless and ex-
THE DOME-CAV OF ADELSBERG. was restless and ex-
cited until Saturday
A NIGHT UNDERGROUND. 67
morning dawned. All the week he had dwelt and pondered on this
wonderful trip, and had visited the Free Library and looked into all
the books he could there find relating to the Peak district, and
made notes. Jack had been well supplied with pocket-money by his
parents before he left home, and during the week he made sundry
chases andt cnii-
cealed -h-- in I.
There \\ a,;a ncat
lamp,. a I'x
wax match, and a at
of tightly coiled up magnesium
a-brown canvas valise he wore at
his side, and which was supposed to be for the purpose of holding a
sandwich and a geologist's hammer.
On the auspicious morning Jack was early astir, and regretted
to find that after he had retired the previous night his friend Mr.
Ingoldsby had received a telegram which would necessitate his taking
68 A NIGHT UNDERGROUND.
the first train to London
instead of going with
Jack. However, that -
was no reason why Jack '
should not go; so Mr.
Ingoldsby accompanied .
him to the station and
introduced him to a
number of gentlemen
who promised to take
him in hand and explain c-\cyrthiMn, to' him.
And so Jack started. nWith the details of
the railway ride through the picturesque Derbyshire dales I shall not
weary you, beyond saying that he thoroughly enjoyed it all, and was
quite ready for breakfast when he left the train.
After breakfast they drove in breaks to a point as near as possible
to the famed pass of the ainnats, down which they walked to Castle-
ton. Jack had loitered on the way to examine a rock here, a plant
there, and to scramble up the limestone cliffs at a dozen different
points; in consequence he was in the tail of the procession when they
reached the bottom, and only just in time to see the first half of
the party disappear through what looked liked the entrance to a coal-
cellar. In half-an-hour's time these returned, and the second half,
including Jack, went in.
At the end of a narrow passage, where each possessed himself
of a little lighted candle, they came to a long steep flight of wet
steps cut in the solid rock, and at the bottom there was running
water. On it was a long narrow boat, with seats round the sides,
waiting to receive them, and into it they all stepped. To Jack, it
seemed as though they were in a sewer, for those at the sides had
to stoop in order that their heads might not be scraped by the rock.
Similar candles to those they held were stuck against the walls of
the tunnel, and as these burnt low they were renewed by the boatmen
as they passed. Jack felt disappointed. This was not his notion *of a
cavern. It is true the boatman called it a mine-the Speedwell mine,
but outside Jack had read a glowing description of the great Speedwell
A NIGHT UNDERGROUND.
Cavern, with stalactites and a cascade that fell into a bottomless pit,
and a roof towering so high into the rock that no man could tell how
high it was, nor could the strongest light penetrate its darkness.
The party made fun of the whole thing, including the conductor's
account of the making of the mine in search of the valuable "Blue
John" and the consequent discovery of the wonderful cavern to which
they were going. Jack's spirits rose. There was a cavern then?
Yes, and before long they had reached the slippery landing stage of
this high if not very wide subterranean hall. There was the sound
of running water, which the conductor changed into a rush and a
roar by opening a sluice. By the feeble light of their candles they
could see a railed off black abyss down which the water appeared
to fall. After descanting upon the wonders and glories of the place,
the guide ascended a ladder and set fire to a blue-light, which
enabled them to see that it was a very lofty place. Then he came
down and repeated the blue light over the verge of the waterfall,
which enabled Jack and two or three others who were in the front
rank to see the rocks at the bottom.
Jack was not satisfied: he had not seen enough of this cavern,
and now was the time to put his plan in execution. His companions
were entering the boat. He could easily remain behind, hidden in
the gloom of the cavern. In half an hour another party of sight-
seers would be along, and he could return with them. The boat
departed, and as soon as it was out of sight Jack lighted his little bull's
eye lantern, and with it began to explore the nooks and corners of
the cavern. He had already taken note of the general boundaries of
the place, or his lantern would have been of little use, but by direct-
ing its rays to certain spots he could minutely examine the structure
of the rocks, the forms of the stalactites, and the veins of lead that
occasionally ran through. By cutting off a length from his coil of
magnesium ribbon and lighting it, he got a brilliant illumination of
any part he desired; and with such occupations the time flew by. It
was time the boat returned, thought Jack, and he looked at his watch,
to find that the party had been gone more than an hour. The candles
had long gone out by the walls of the stream, and the place began
to feel somewhat lonely.
70 A NIGHT UNDERGROUND.
Hour after hour passed by, but still no boat came; and Jack was
forced to conclude that they were the last party of sightseers that
afternoon. He filled up the time by thoroughly investigating the
cavern, but there really was not much to see or find out, and he began
to regret that he had stayed behind. The place was too small. Had
it been Adelsberg, where he could have wandered through gallery after
gallery, it would have been a different matter. Here he was simply
imprisoned; his retreat cut off by the water.
By-and-by it occurred to him that the top of the ladder might give
him a fresh view of the place. He climbed up and peered around
with the aid of his lantern, turning the bull's-eye on all points in
turn, and startling a bat from a corner. That bat must have access
to the outer air for its food: it was not likely it came through the long
tunnel. He began to reflect on the formation of caverns. How was
this one cut out? Not by the water upon which they came along, for
that was an artificial tunnel. Judging from the position of the "bottom-
less pit" in relation to the cavern, the flowing water which hollowed
the cavern came from somewhere above the head of the ladder. He
climbed up as high as he could, and believed he could distinguish a
hole still above him.
Slipping the strap of his valise through the handles of his lamp,
so that his hands might be free, he succeeded in reaching to the hole
and drawing himself up. It was more than a hole, it was a narrow
passage such as would enable him to go upon hands and knees. This
was his position for about ten minutes, by which time the knees of his
trousers were becoming considerably worn by the rock, when, to his
great relief the tunnel increased in diameter suddenly, and he was
able to stand upright again. Soon this larger passage opened out half
way up the side of a spacious hall, not nearly so lofty as the Speed-
well Cavern, but enormously larger in floor area. Whilst considering
the best way to descend the wall his strap came unfastened and his
bull's-eye went clattering and battering over the rocks to the bottom.
This was a great loss, but fortunately he had a good stock of wax
matches, and his first care was to ignite a piece of magnesium ribbon.
By this means he could see that the walls of this hall were full of
corners and holes which might be passages and might not. He could
A NIGHT UNDERGROUND. 71
not see his lamp, but he saw enough of the wall below him to know
that its descent would be dangerous, and that he might fall on some
ugly rocks. At that moment he did not feel equal to the task, and
he wisely decided to rest before undertaking it.
Picking out a suitable nook in the passage, he sat down, and
consumed a sandwich that had been stowed in his valise in case he
felt hungry between breakfast and the dinner, which he had no doubt
his late companions had long since demolished. Musing on the events
of the day and the probability of his ever getting out of this place,
he fell asleep, and slumbered until the morning had worn far on. He
woke with a start, wondering for the moment where he was. Then,
by the light of a match, he looked at his watch. It was ten minutes
past seven; but for that evidence he might have thought it midnight, for
not the faintest glow of light could be seen when his match had burned
out. Bracing himself for his task, he crept to the edge of the wall
and ignited another fragment of magnesium. Then cautiously he felt
with his feet for jutting points. Slowly he made his way down until
about six feet from the bottom, when he slipped and fell. He was
badly shaken, but fell conveniently, and there were no breakages; but
he had to sit rubbing himself for awhile.
By a judicious, almost grudging use of magnesium wire, he managed
to find his lantern, but alas the glass had disappeared, and the fragments
lying around showed that it had been smashed. Was the oil vessel
sound? He shook it, and to his joy found it was about half full.
Eagerly he lighted it, and groped his way in the direction from which
came the sound of dripping water. This he found fell from a ledge
a few feet from the ground where was the opening of another passage.
It tasted good and he drank of it, then rinsed his face and hands in it,
before pushing on through the passage. He felt safe in following a
stream towards its source, but it was long hours before he was blessed
with a glimpse of the light of day. Before that his lamp had burnt
out and he threw the useless thing away. What a painful, laborious
journey that was! Now crawling flat on his stomach, now on his knees,
here upright again; bruised and cut, and faint with hunger, he at
length emerged into a narrow fissure in the rocks at the top of which
was the fair blue sky for roof!
72 A NIGHT UNDERGROUND.
He wept for very joy; then, falling on his knees, thanked God for
permitting him to see daylight once more. But he was not yet free;
there was an awkward climb of thirty feet or more up the rough
rocks, all bramble-clad, and the lad wisely resolved to rest awhile
ing it. Sitting
There his eyes fell
upon a heap of
white, a few yards
away. The re-
mains of some
poor sheep, he
thought, that had
fallen from the
rocks above; but
on a closer inspec-
tion the shape of
the skull showed
it was one of his
own race, and its
tions told him a
lad of his own size.
He shuddered as
he thought how
narrowly he had
his own bones
where the light of
day might never
". PATH BESIDE ONE OF THE DALE STREAMS."
have fallen upon
them. This poor lad had probably fallen over in the dark, and his
body never been found though searched for by friends.
Had Jack been searched for? Yes, but he had not been] missed
until late in the afternoon, when a return was made to the mine and
A NIGHT UNDERGROUND. 73
the cavern, and search made for him; but by that time he had departed
through the first passage, and the only thing that could be done was
to invoke the aid of the police and the villagers, and promise to reward
them for their trouble if successful. It was concluded that he was
scrambling over the rocky hills, and had missed his way back.
It was past noon when Jack, hearing the sweet music of a human
voice, pressed through the woods towards it, and startled a lady and
child who were walking along a path beside one of the beautiful dale
streams. Jack enquired where he could obtain food-the nearest hotel.
The lady questioned him, for she had heard of the lost boy of the
previous day, and now insisted that he should go to her home for
food and rest. Jack assented gladly, and was soon enjoying the meal he
sorely needed. A telegram was despatched to Mr. Ingoldsby, apprising
him of Jack's safety, and of that young gentleman's intention to follow
next morning. And thus, after severe but kindly lectures from his
friends, ended Jack's first cave exploration.
MISS WIGGINS' THEORY.
S ISS WIGGINS'
house was the last
but one in the village;
in the very last one lived
Harry Lipscombe. He
S shared the house, of
course, with his parents
and several brothers and
sisters; we need not con-
sider how.many or their
names and ages, for they
"THE LAST HOUSE IN THE VILLAGE" do not come into this
"' story; but had you asked
any of the village boys whose was the last house, they would have
told you it was Harry Lipscombe's. This goes to show that among
the village boys Harry's family did not count, and that he was rather
an important personage. In truth he was, for he led all the other
boys in their enterprises, whether these were good or bad. He was a
general favourite, although he had the reputation in certain quarters
of being the most mischievous lad for miles around.
Miss Wiggins said he was a dreadfud boy, but I am sorry to say
that Miss Wiggins' opinion on such a matter had very little weight.
Miss Wiggins was spoken of slightingly as "an old maid," and there-
fore prejudiced against boys. She was certainly an unmarried lady,
but she was no older than Harry's mother, yet no one alluded to Mrs.
Lipscombe as "an old wife." Miss Wiggins was peculiar: she had a
great fondness for cats, and she kept no less than fourteen specimens
MISS WIGGINS' THEORY. 75
of different ages and colours, each of which had its own special soft
cushion to repose upon. Miss Wiggins cherished a theory respecting
cats; she held that such bad qualities as some of them possessed were
entirely traceable to their food. Mice, birds, bones from the table, and
scraps from the butcher she held were solely responsible for the violent
passions and strong language in which some cats indulged. She
believed it was possible to rear a new race of cats that should be
distinctly mild-tempered and thoroughly attached to their homes, and
she was doing her part towards attaining this desirable (?) end.
It was objected that, cats being small tigers-just as tigers are large
cats-this was impossible, but even were it possible cats would be use-
less and would cease to be domestic animals, because they would not
rid our houses of rats and mice. To this criticism she retorted that
the mere presence of a cat in the house kept vermin away, and that
she had proved the cor-
rectness of her theory by
possessing fourteen cats
a salmon cutlet. Her
cats took porridge for breakfast, with bread and butter; porridge,
potatoes, and green vegetables for dinner; and bread and milk for tea.
Miss Wiggins was not a vegetarian herself, which some people
thought was an inconsistency. She had a little poultry yard in which
she reared ducks and chickens. Some of these she kept for the purpose
of supplying her with eggs, and others in due course appeared nicely
boiled or roasted upon her table. Some of the very little chicks,
however, disappeared from time to time, and she had an idea that
Harry Lipscombe was not innocent of their blood. Harry possessed
a catapult, and Miss Wiggins imagined there was a distinct connection
between that catapult and the loss of her chickens. It must be admitted
that Harry was a dead shot, who could cut off with a little stone
almost any leaf you could point out on a tree at some distance; and
MISS WIGGINS' THEORY.
he was sufficiently wicked to shoot at the rooks as they flew from the
rookery in the elms; but he would no more have shot at his neighbour's
chickens than he would have aimed at a redbreast's nestlings, and only
a very mean boy would do that.
Miss Wiggins, however, told Mrs. Lipscombe that it was very
strange so many of her chickens disappeared, and that it was not
unreasonable to suspect a boy who was always getting into mischief
of some sort; a boy, moreover, who could not sit still or keep his
coat and collar on, but went about with a brimless old straw hat on
his head, and his towzled curly locks flying in the wind. Mrs. Lipscombe,
of course stood up for Harry, and said a boy of spirit could not be
expected to be quiet and trim like a girl; but Miss Wiggins said it
was all a matter of training, and that if she could educate fourteen
cats to withstand the
temptation to kill and
eat animals, surely a
S. mother could civilize and
S domesticate her son.
Harry was present and
overheard this conversa-
WHERE HER GEESE GRUBBED IN THE MUD." tion e elt
tion. He felt bound to
tell Miss Wiggins that she was quite mistaken; that he had seen
one of her best cats eating a song-thrush a few days before, and
that another one haunted the little pool where her ducks and geese
paddled about and grubbed in the mud. He believed that a careful
watch would satisfy her that her enemies were of her own household;
any way, he didn't see any fun in shooting tame chicks; "and
what's more," he continued, "if I did I wouldn't tell a lie about
Miss Wiggins was indignant that Harry should make such charges
against "her dear pussies," and expressed her conviction that he did
so only to divert suspicion from himself, whom she believed to be the
real culprit. And so a very marked coolness sprang up between the
two houses, which was by no means lessened when, a few days later,
Harry brought Miss Wiggins a dying gosling he had rescued from a
fierce old tom-cat of hers. Miss Wiggins would not believe the story,
IU VDAl l)AI I -RI"-- -
MISS WIGGINS' THEORY. 79
and went so far as to declare Harry had shot the poor thing with
About a week later Harry was in the garden, sampling the unripe
gooseberries, when he saw one of his neighbour's cats-a kitten rather
-come over the wall with a yellow chicken in its mouth, and retire
under a huge rhubarb leaf to eat it in peace. Here was his oppor-
tunity. Creeping quietly to the spot, he seized the kitten by the loose
skin at the back of its
neck, and held her up
over the wall, shouting
"Miss Wiggins! Miss
Miss Viggins was just : :'
coming into the garden
with some food for the
fowls, and was startled i
by Harry calling out:--
"Is this your cat,
She looked, and ..
saw the kitten strug- -
gling to be free, but _-
keeping its teeth closed
on the ball of yellow ~ -
down. She was on the
point of denying that --lE i.H C.E
it could be hers, but ..
she saw its peculiarly
marked big feet and
knew it must be her favourite Thomoi, of whom she entertained the
very highest hopes. His parents, his grand-parents, and his great-grand-
parents had all been brought up on her pet theory, and she had felt
that in him culminated all the virtues of six carefully reared and
educated cats, and now--! Miss Wiggins groaned.
Miss Wiggins felt very sore against Harry for some time, but
MISS WIGGINS' THEORY.
gradually she came to see that he had done her a good service in
opening her eyes to the folly of seeking to alter Nature's arrangements.
Her theory was shattered, and she no longer felt interested in keeping
up a flock of cats. She let it be known that she was willing to supply
anyone that wanted a domesticated cat, and in course of time her family
dwindled to three, which she fed in the same fashion that other
people fed theirs. She transferred her attention to the human race,
and sought to elevate her fellow-men and women, and especially
children. Harry and she became fast friends, and she found that
human beings were much more open to have their characters improved
than cats were, and that the time spent in such efforts was now
employed to far greater advantage than it had been in the past when
her house was a cats' home. She even went so far as to keep a dog,
who accompanied her whenever she walked abroad; and dogs she had
formerly detested because they sometimes chase cats.
CATCHING A SNPKE.
VERYBODY at Headley House liked
Jamrach" Jamieson. Jamrach was
not the name that his parents had given
him, but a prefix of honour bestowed
upon him at Headley House when his dis-
/ tinguishing passion for wild beasts of all
sizes and classes had become fully known
-'.i to us, and was borrowed, of course, from
the world-renowned importer of live ani-
) mals. His real name was Ronald Douglas
SJamieson, but for general use his nickname
and family name had been shortened into
" Jam-Jam." He was great at fishing, and used to tell us some remark-
able stories of wonderful salmon caught in his native highland streams.
In our part of the country there wasn't a decent stream for fishing:
we could only take the common sorts of coarse fish, and many of the boys
thought these thrilling adventures with twelve-pound salmon were like
the stories grown-up anglers tell each other at their clubs, and which
deceive nobody, although they are listened to with grave faces. But
I always believed Jam-Jam, and I do to this day. He persuaded me
to go a-fishing with him one day, but we caught no fish-because we
never reached the river.
On our way we took the path through Morton's spinny, where
the hoop-shavers were in possession. They had cut nearly all the hazels
and sweet chestnuts, and had set up their queer sheds of wattles, in which
they sat chopping the ends off the rods and splitting them with an
exactitude that always wins my admiration. In one of these huts sat
a young fellow we had previously met under similar circumstances. His
CATCHING A SNAKE,
name was Bob Hooker, and he was a tall, broad-shouldered fellow who
handled his chopping blade with skill and terrific force.
As we stood watching Bob, Jam-Jam's eyes caught sight of some-.
thing dangling from the corner pole of the hut.
Hullo, Bob; who killed that snake?" he inquired eagerly.
"I did," replied Bob; "nasty poisonous varmin; I can't abear 'em.
I broke his back, and to make sure he couldn't mend 'un again I put
a peg through his head, and nailed him up."
"What a pity!" said Jam-Jam; "such a splendid specimen, too!
I do wish I could knock it into the heads of you fellows that these
snakes are harmless. We don't get many snakes up in Scotland, and
S my brother Don has just written to ask me
to send him a few."
the By this time Jam-Jam was examining
the remains, which were getting rather
"high," and were full of gentles. The skin
was broken, and there protruded the shrivelled
up leg of a large frog-the snake's last meal.
"I wish I had come along just before
you killed it," he continued.
S"What would you have done to it?"
S asked Bob.
"Caught it, of course," was the reply.
"Caught it! How?"
With my hands, of course. How else
should one catch a snake? "
"Well, I wouldn't touch lie with my
hands," Bob declared; "I went and got a
eight-foot pole, and smashed his head. I
wouldn't go nearer to a
live snake than eight-
'. foot for nobody."
Nonsense! A big
Al fellow like you afraid of.
S a harmless reptile like
"THROUGH MORTON'S SPINNY."
this why you could
have killed it with your thumb and finger. Where did you find it?"
CATCHING A SN.AKE. 83
"By a stub over yonder. There were four or five of 'em. The
others got away, but this one was rather slow."
"So I should think," said Jam-Jam;-"if he waited till you fetched
the eight-foot pole; but he had good reason, for he had only just
swallowed a big frog, which rather encumbered his movements."
"What makes you think he swallowed a frog?" asked Hooker.
"Don't think at all about it," was the reply; "I know he did."
Bob Hooker moved a little away from Jam-Jam, and looked at
him uneasily. There was something uncanny, he thought, about a person
who was not afraid of snakes; but for a lad who had not been present
to be able to say positively what the snake had dined upon seemed to
imply magic or second-
sight. Jam-Jam saw the -
look, and understood it.
"If," said he, "you
would only use the eyes
that were given you to
see with, you wouldn't
have such queer notions
about harmless creatures.
Go and look at that dead
snake, and you will find
the frog's legs still stick-
ing through the snake's
Bob did not go just THE POND IN THE LOWER CORNER."
then, but showed us some holes which he said were snake's holes. They
were at the roots of an old beech which had been cut down several years
before, but the stumps still lived and sent up a bunch of thin poles.
Bob declared he had seen fifty snakes here at one time, wriggling together
and tying themselves into knots which no one could untie but themselves.
As Bob went on to declare he should run if a snake appeared, we knew
that his statement that he. had seen fifty was a gross exaggeration; but we
were greatly amused at his evident sincerity about running, although
at that moment he was armed with his keen chopping-knife, one blow of
which would have made short work of his fifty snakes tied in a knot.
84 CATCHING A SNAKE
We walked quietly around for some time without seeing the objects
of our search, until we came down to the lower corner of the plantation
where, you remember, there is a pond where we go for tiddlers and
newts. Jamrach put his arm across my chest, and we both stood still.
A big snake was just leaving the water with a large black newt in his
mouth. Neither of us made a sound nor scarcely moved an eyelash. Did
he but see or hear us he would probably return to the water and hide
among the weeds where we could not reach him. In front of him, up the
slope, was broken ground all full of holes, the work of the rabbits; and
should he be able to reach this he would be lost to us. By expressive
movements of heads and eyes we agreed upon a plan of action. Jam-Jam
was to withdraw silently and work round to the broken ground, whilst
I cut off the retreat to the water.
All was going well until Jam-Jam trod upon a dry stick, which
snapped with a loud report. Instantly
the snake turned round and made for the
S- pond. Somewhat taken by surprise I
made a clumsy movement after him,
which alarmed him still more, and he
"THE SNAKE ADE FOR THE POND." quickened his rapid gliding.
"Catch him, quick! shouted Jam-Jam, as he rushed down behind
me. Not wishing to lose the chance of distinction thus offered, I made a
grab at the snake, overbalanced, and took a header into the pond!
Splash! It was not deep water there, and my toes kept me moored to
the side. Still, if the water was not deep it was wet, and my chest
and head were wet also. My straw-hat was floating, though full of
water, but the snake had vanished. Jam-Jam came to the rescue, and
helped me to my feet as well as a fit of laughter would allow him.
"I'm glad you didn't go right in," he remarked; "but I would
have been more glad if you had caught the snake."
Our next task was to recover my hat, which had floated out to
the middle before a gentle breeze, and was now stranded on a mass of
weeds, which prevented the breeze from blowing it to the other bank.
Jam-Jam was equal to the occasion, and was already putting his
fishing-rod together. Attaching a hook and making a cast, he soon had
it fixed in the somewhat loose plaits of my straw-yard, and drew it
CATCHING A SNAKE. 85
ashore. Judge our astonishment when we discovered the snake coiled
inside my hat still busy with the large newt, the last vestiges of which
were just protruding from its jaws. Cautiously we hauled him in
and quickly transferred him to my creel. We had caught our snake,
and took it in triumph to show Bob Hooker, who beheld it from a
distance with mingled feelings of fear, lest the "varmint" should
spring at him, and respect for what he considered our bravery in
Our fishing excursion was spoiled, Jam-Jam insisting that it would
be folly for me to sit on a bank fishing with the greater part of my
clothing wet. So we returned to school; and after the snake had been
duly examined by admiring crowds of our school-fellows, it was
despatched to Scotland.
DAID'S WHITE MICE.
HEN David Price came to London to a situation, he
I was quite a little fellow, and stayed with friends who
scarcely understood a boy's requirements, and in con-
sequence his evenings were rather lonely. Always fond
":-. of animals in his village home, he sorely missed the
amusement these had afforded him previously. It was,
therefore, a strong temptation when a boy he had met
in- the City offered to sell him a cage of white mice
very cheaply. A bargain was struck, and the mice
and cage changed hands. Then a slight qualm beset David, for he
knew that his mother objected to white mice about the house, on
account of their evil smell, and probably his friends would equally
object. However, he could not part with them now he had got them,
and he must endeavour to keep them privately.
This was not an easy matter to arrange. His bedroom was small,
and sadly deficient in nooks and corners where anything would have
a reasonable chance of being overlooked. At first he thought he
would keep them in a shallow drawer, about an inch-and-a-half deep,
in his little dressing table. But he had to give up this idea when he
found out that the mice could easily get over the back of the drawer;
besides, it was already packed full of treasures of various sorts. After
discussing many altogether impossible devices, and finally dismissing
them as such, he discovered a brick ledge a little way up the chimney.
It was a funny place to keep live animals, but not so bad as- it would
appear, for, the room being just under the roof, a fair amount of light
came down the chimney. Here he placed his mouse-cage, and in the
evenings, when he went upstairs to bed, the cage would be brought
~A ;- C~ ~- ;.
Wit: A b
CROSSING THE LINE.
Painted by E. Greene.
DAVID'S WHITE MICE. 89
out of the chimney and the mice allowed a run over the little table,
and to climb up his arms and round his neck.
Then he made friends with a lame boy who lived next door, and
who had the pet name of "Bunt." To Bunt David told the story of
his secret pets, and filled the lame boy with a burning desire to see
these wonderful mice. The boys' bedroom-windows were side by side,
and it was an easy matter to step out of one window upon the lid of a
cistern, and get through the window of the next house. Dave frequently
did this, taking his cage of mice with him, and going into a spare
room which Bunt's father used as a workshop for many odd jobs of
carpentry that he liked to accomplish. Here the mice were put through
all kinds of exercises, and so became quite accomplished climbers and
tight-rope walkers. They were perfectly docile and happy, and at the
word of command would run up the tall flagstaff, mount to the top,
unfasten the little Union Jack, and bring it down in their mouths, and
drop it into David's hand.
One Sunday it was reported in school that there was to be held
a grand fancy bazaar, in order to raise money to clear off a debt that
was owing for the new organ in the church, and the wish was expressed
that all would consider in what way they could help. Various schemes
were propounded by the boys and girls and their teachers, that after-
noon, but David thought it was impossible for him to take a hand in
this work, for he did not think there was anything he could make to
sell. He walked home moodily considering the subject, but without
coming to any decision.
Next day his business took him to the West-end, and in one of
the side streets off Piccadilly, he came across the showman with the
happy family of cats, birds, and mice, all occupying one cage, and
going through a variety entertainment on the little green-baize table.
The very thing, thought Dave. Why not have such a show at the
bazaar? He would do it. There was plenty of time for training.
When the bazaar came, among the attractions on the programme
was "Professor Price's Wonderful Performing Tame Beasts," and in a
side-room with heavily curtained door, "the performance was just
about to begin; admission 3d." Nearly everybody went in before they
left the bazaar, and were well pleased with what they saw, among them
90 DAVID'S WHITE MICE.
the friends with whom Dave lived, and who were quite astonished
when they learned how and where these mice had been kept. They had
certainly no objection to his keeping such pets, provided he kept them
clean and out of his bedroom.
These wonderful mice "crossed the line," a la Blondin, each with
a thin balancing pole in his mouth. They climbed right to the mast-
head, and brought down the flag that was flying there; they ran
steeplechases, clambering over hurdles and leaping ditches on the way;
they acted as horses and coachmen with a sort of state carriage; hauled
up buckets from a well and let them down again, and performed a
variety of other tricks of which I have forgotten particulars. Oh, there
is one other I must mention-the mouse railway, a special invention of
Dave's. This consisted of an engine and three carriages-first, second,
and third class-in each of which was a mouse looking from the
window, whilst another mouse acted as engine-driver. He took his
place in a little wheel-cage, after the style of a squirrel's wheel, to
which was attached a fly or driving wheel; and, when -the signal was
given for the train to start, he set the wheel going rapidly, the fly-
wheel putting the running wheels in motion, and the whole train pro-
ceeding at something short of the pace of a South-Eastern express.
The audience applauded, and at the end of the three days. during which
the bazaar lasted David was able to hand over a considerable sum as
the total of the "gate-money" to the treasurer of the- organ fund.
And so David proved that even the keeping of white mice might
be of service to somebody, even though that body might be only a
church organ. I have sometimes heard members of the choir praising
the performances of that organ, and one would say "Ah! Mr. Minto-
money gave us fifty pounds towards that organ. Good fellow, that
Mintomoney! They ought to call it the Mintomoney organ." Then
another would say, Yes, but have you forgotten our grand bazaar
where we raised the bulk of it?" And a third would ask, Have you
forgotten David Price's wonderful tame beast show, and the pounds it
earned in threepenny bits? Better call it the Price-mice organ,' for
David put more skill and patient work into their training than ever
Mr. Mintomoney put into his contribution."
BROTHERS OF THE WHEEL.
--- ERT BIANSON was
o_-- our baker's boy, and
We considered himself of
Some importance in the
truth he was, for with-
out him and his box-
tricycle the folks who
SOUT-OF-THE-WAY HOUSES ON THE dwelt in the out-of-the-
-DOwNS." way houses far up on
the downs would have fared badly-unless indeed they had taken to
baking their own bread as their grandmothers used to do. Bert used
to start out in the morning with his box full of hot loaves, and deliver
them to his customers in the town, and in the afternoon start again
with a load for the downs. Some of the roads up there were pretty
rough and rutty; in some parts there was no road at all, and he had
to propel his machine over the turf, which was not free from mole-
hills and rabbit-holes. This made rather hard work, especially in wet
But now it was summer, hot and dry, and the turf was better
than the roads, which were thick with a white chalky dust that rose
up like a puff of smoke behind each wheel. Bert was hot and moist,
for he was not so suitably attired for cycling as Frank Buxton, whom
he met frequently upon the roads, flying along without suffering much
from the heat. Frank's machine was a safety byke," with ball-bearings
and cushion-tyres, and seemed to go pretty much of its own accord.
Anyway, to meet these two upon the road, and note the contrast afforded
92 BROTHERS OF THE WHEEL.
by both riders and machines, you would be inclined to say that Bert
drove his cumbrous wheel-box, whilst Frank's light and easy pair of
wheels carried him without the slightest exertion on his part.
On this afternoon Bert had finished his round, and had started on
the long white road that runs with several sudden curves, for three
miles between the downs and our little town of Holmvale. The rods
and cranks that connected his driving-wheels with the rudder-wheel
behind creaked and jangled as he applied the break and kept his feet
on the pedals, to prevent the machine running away with him; as, by
reason of its weight, it assuredly would have done but for great care
on Bert's part.
"Hullo, Bert! Going home?" The speaker was Frank Buxton,
who had overtaken him, looking delightfully cool and fresh though
he had ridden thirty miles in the broiling sunshine. Bert answered
the question affirmatively, and expressed his conviction that it was
"jolly hot!" Frank made light of the heat and offered to race him
as far as Church corner, where their ways parted.
Right you are!" was Bert's not very elegant manner of accept-
ing the challenge; "you're safe to lick me-two wheels against three
and a box-but if I had a machine like yours I'd beat you!"
Frank retorted pleasantly, and away they went, Bert putting on
all steam, and getting still hotter and redder with the exertion; whilst
Frank took care to be only a length or so ahead, not to discourage
his opponent, and frequently glanced back with an encouraging smile.
That was his undoing.
They had just rounded the sharp curve by Two-mile-bush, where
it is rather dangerous on account of the sudden descent, when Frank,
whose eyes should have been watching the ground ahead, looked back
at Bert. By the side of the road was a pile of large flints, to' be
broken into road-metal. An ugly specimen from this heap had strayed
out on the road, and as Frank's fore-wheel leaped over, it turned and
threw him head foremost on the rough heap. There was a crash,
and poor Frank lay still, with his bicycle on his back.
Bert leaped from his tricycle before he could stop it-with the result
that it also turned over-and was quickly bending over the prostrate
figure, "Oh! Mister Frank," he cried; "be you hurt?" But there
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BROTHERS OF THE WHEEL.
Plintei'd byl 1F. C. PA ITTER.S'',\V.
BROTHERS OF THE WHEEL.
was no response, and he lifted the injured bicycle and turned his
companion on his back, to see a white face over which blood was
flowing freely from a gash in the forehead. Pulling off the scarf
from his own neck, Bert bound it as skilfully as he could round
Frank's head, and considered what next to do. Frank was much
bigger than Bert, but the baker's boy was tough and strong and
believed he could lift his fallen friend.
Quickly getting his tricycle on its feet again, and disregarding
the few loaves that had been inside, but were now scattered over
the road, he opened the lid and the door of the box. Then, picking
Frank up in his arms, he managed to place him in a sitting posture
inside with a leg dangling on each side of the steering wheel. In
this fashion Bert pushed his tricycle before him all down the hill-
road to Frank Buxton's home, a mile and a half away. The bicycle
he could not manage, but stood it up by a field-gate, so that any
dishonest person might think that the owner was close at hand.
I shall not attempt to describe the alarm and commotion caused
in the Buxton household when Bert arrived with his strange load.
Fortunately, Frank's mother was not one of those women who faint
at the first sight of blood without pausing to reflect that some other
course of action would be more beneficial to the injured one. But
whilst attending to her son she inquired of Bert what had happened,
and also despatched a maid. for the doctor. That gentleman, on
arrival, declared that Frank was not seriously injured, and soon
revived him to consciousness; but he highly praised Bert's conduct,
saying that the tightly-bound scarf, by pressure upon the blood-
vessels, had lessened the flow of blood, and the sitting Frank upright
in the box had helped still further. He bound up the gaping wound,
wrote a prescription, recommended quietness and went away. Bert also
went away, and returned a few minutes later with Frank's machine on
his box and a number of soiled and bruised loaves inside. He wondered
what Mr. Joy, the baker, would say to these, and feared they involved
the loss of his small weekly wage as compensation; but Mrs. Buxton,
who happened to catch sight of them, told Bert they were to be booked
to her account with the baker, and that Mr. Buxton should come round
and see his master in the evening.
96 BROTHERS OF THE WHEEL.
When Mr. Buxton reached home from his business, and heard the.
whole story, he was filled with gratitude for what Bert had done: and
declared he was "a lad of resource" who would make a good business
man if properly trained. He saw Mr. Joy, and inquired into the
boy's position and prospects, and with the baker's consent offered to
take Bert into his great engineering works, and teach him the trade
thoroughly. Needless to state, the offer was gladly accepted, although
Bert confessed to a strong liking for the baker's business, because of
the privilege of using the tricycle. Mr. Buxton, laughing, told him
he would not be debarred from such a recreation, for he had already
made up his mind to present him with a bicycle of the newest
pattern, so that he might be on the spot when next Frank took it
into his head to pitch over. Frank soon got well, and liked nothing
better than to take a good spin in Bert's company. Their first race
and its sequel had established a strong bond between them, so that
they might very fitly be described as Brothers of the Wheel.