by Mrs. W. J.
THE WIND HARP
"Oh, Lisa, how many stars there are to-night! and how long it
takes to count just a few!" said a weak voice from a little bed in
a garret room.
"You will tire yourself, dear, if you try to do that; just shut
your eyes up tight, and try to sleep."
"Will you put my harp in the window? there may be a breeze after
a while, and I want to know very much if there is any music in
"Where did you get them, my darling,"
"Joe, the fiddler?"
"Yes; he brought me a handful of old catgut; he says he does not
play any more at dances; he is so old and lame that they like a
younger darkey who knows more fancy figures, and can be
livelier. He is very black, Lisa, and I am almost afraid of
him; but he is so kind, and he tells me stories about his young
days, and all the gay people he used to see. Hark! that is my harp;
oh, Lisa, is it not heavenly?"
"I don't know," said poor, tired Lisa, half asleep, after her
long day's work of standing in a shop.
Phil's harp was a shallow box, across which he had fastened some
violin strings rather loosely; and Phil himself was an invalid boy
who had never known what it was to be strong and hardy, able to
romp and run, or leap and shout. He had neither father nor mother,
but no one could have loved him more or have been any gentler or
more considerate than was Lisa—poor, plain Lisa—who
worked early and late to pay for Phil's lodging in the top of the
old house where they lived, and whose whole earthly happiness
consisted in making Phil happy and comfortable. It was not always
easy to do this, for Phil was a strange child; aside from the pain
that he suffered, he had odd fancies and strange likings, the
result of his illness and being so much alone. And Lisa could not
understand him, for she lived among other people—rough,
plain, careless people, for whom she toiled, and who had no such
thoughts as Phil had.
From the large closet that served as her bedroom Lisa often
heard Phil talking, talking, talking, now to this thing, now to
that, as if it were real and had a personality; sometimes his words
were addressed to a rose-bush she had brought him, or the pictures
of an old volume she had found on a stall of cheap books at a
street corner, or the little plaster cast that an image-seller had
coaxed her to purchase. Then, again, he would converse, with his
knife and fork or plate, ask them where they came from, how they
were made, and of what material. No answer coming, he would invent
all sorts of answers, making them reply in his own words.
Lisa was so used to these imaginary conversations that they did
not seem strange to her.
Phil had, too, a passion for music, and would listen intently to
the commonest strains of a hand-organ, and Lisa had given him a
little toy harmonica, from which he would draw long, sweet tones
and chords with much satisfaction.
Old Joe, who blackened boots for some of the
heard the child's attempts at music, and had brought his violin and
played for him. One day, happening to leave it for a while on the
window-ledge, Phil's quick ear had detected a low vibration from
the instrument. This circumstance, and something he had read about
a wind harp, had given him the wish to make one—with what
success he was anxious to find out, when Lisa laid it in the open
window for him.
A soft south wind was blowing, and, as Phil spoke, it had
stirred the loose strings of the rude Aeolian harp, and a slight
melodious sound had arisen, which Phil had thought so beautiful. He
drew his breath even more softly, lest he should lose the least
tone, and finding that Lisa was really asleep, propped himself up
higher on his pillows, and gazed out at the starlit heavens.
He often talked to the stars, but very softly and wonderingly,
and somehow he could never find any answers that suited him; but
to-night, as the breeze made a low soft music come from his wind
harp, filling him with delight, it seemed to him that a voice was
accompanying the melody, and that the stars had something to do
with it; for, as he gazed, he saw a troop of little beings with
gauzy wings fluttering over the window-ledge, and upon the brow of each twinkled
a tiny star, and the leading one of all this bevy of wee people
"Come from afar,
Here we are! here we
From you Silver Star,
Fays of the Wind,
To children kind."
"How lovely they are!" thought Phil. "And so these really are
fairies. I never saw any before. They have wings like little white
butterflies, and how tiny their hands and feet, and what graceful
motions they have as they dance over my harp! They seem to be
examining it to find out where the music comes from; but no, of
course they know all about it. I wonder if they would talk to
"Of course we will be very glad to," said a soft little voice in
reply to his thoughts.
"I was afraid I would frighten you away if I spoke," said Phil,
"Oh no," replied the fairy who had addressed him; "We are in the
habit of talking to children, though they do not always know
"And what do you tell them?" asked Phil, eagerly.
of nice things."
"Do you tell them all they want to know?"
"Oh no," laughed the fairy, with a silvery little voice like a
canary-bird's. "We cannot do that, for we do not know enough to be
able to: some children are much wiser than we. I dare say you
"Indeed I am not," said Phil, a little sadly; "There are so many
things that puzzle me. I thought that perhaps, as you came from the
stars, you knew something of astronomy."
"What a long, long word that is!" laughed the fairy again. "but
we are wind fairies; and yet the Father of the Winds is called
Astraeus: that sounds something like your long word, does it
"It sounds more like Astrea, and that means a star."
"Why, where did you learn so much?"
"I saw it in a big book called a dictionary."
"Another long word. Doesn't your head ache?"
"Sometimes, not now. I have not any books now, except
"Did you ever have?"
"Oh yes; when papa was living we had books
and many beautiful things; but there was a great fire, and all
sorts of trouble, and now I have only Lisa. But Lisa does not
understand as papa did; it was he showed me that word in the
"Oh, don't say that great ugly word again! Shall I tell my
friends to make some more music?"
The wind fairy struck her little hands together, and waved her
wings. In a moment the little white troop danced over the strings
of the harp, and brought out sweet, wild strains, that made Phil
nearly cry for joy. They seemed to be dancing as they did it, for
they would join hands and sway to and fro; then, parting, they
wound in and out in graceful, wreath-like motions, and the tiny
stars on their foreheads flashed like diamonds. Up and down they
went, the length of the strings, then across, then back again; and
all the time the sweet wild music kept vibrating. "How lovely! how
lovely!" said Phil, when there was a pause.
"I am so glad you like it! we often make music for people, and
they hardly hear it," said the fairy.
"I do not
see how they can help hearing," said Phil.
"Why, I'll tell you how: we frequently are in the tree-tops, or
whirling about low bushes; every soft breeze that blows has some of
our music in it, for there are many of us; and yet very few people
pay attention to these sounds."
"When the wind screams and roars in winter, is it you, then, who
does that too?" asked Phil.
"Oh no," said the fairy, rustling her wings in some displeasure.
"We are of the South Wind only, and have no such rude doings; I
hope I may never have any work to do for the North Wind, he is so
blustery. Now it is time you went to sleep, and we cannot stay
longer, for if the moon rises we cannot see our star-beams, and
might lose our way. We will just fan you a little, and you will
soon be in Dream-land."
As she spoke, Phil saw her beckon to her troupe, and they all
flocked about him, dazzling him so with their starry coronets that
he was forced to shut his eyes, and as he closed them he felt a
gentle wafting as of a hundred little wings about his forehead, and
in another moment he was asleep.
PHIL'S NEW FRIEND
Old black Joe had not always been either a boot-black or
fiddler. In his youthful days he had been a house-servant, and had
prided himself on his many accomplishments—his dexterity at
dinners, his grace at evening parties, the ease and unconcern with
which he could meet embarrassing emergencies at either. But times
had changed for him: his old employers had died, a scolding wife
had made his home unhappy, he had lost the little money he had
saved, and he was no longer the bright, cheerful young fellow he
had been. Age and rheumatism had made him crusty; but beneath the
outward manner, which sometimes was very cross, he had a tender
heart and a pitiful nature.
Of late years he had picked up enough for his support in the
many little ways incident to city life. He could whitewash, sweep
chimneys, run on errands—or rather walk on them, and that,
too, very slowly. He shovelled snow and carried coal, sawed wood
and helped the servants at whose homes he was employed.
His occupations took him about to many houses, but he always
irritated the people with whom he came in contact by invariably
assuring them that their masters and mistresses were not of the
real stuff that ladies and gentlemen of his day were made
of; that fine feathers did not make fine birds; that people
nowadays were all alike, and had no manners.
He made one exception only, in favor of a maiden lady whose
parents he had known, whose servants were kind to him, and whose
retired and dignified way of living quite suited his
This was a Miss Schuyler; and nothing pleased Joe more than to
have this one person, whom he regarded with unqualified admiration,
send for him to bestow the monthly allowance she was in the habit
of giving him. On the day that he expected this summons he always
gave an extra touch to his toilet, exchanged his torn coat for a
patched one, his slouch hat for a very much worn beaver adorned
with a band of rusty crape, and out of the pocket of his coat, but
never upon his hands, was to be seen an old pair of yellow kid
course of Joe's wanderings he had chanced to, hear of the invalid
boy Phil, who liked to listen to his fiddle, and it did not take
long to strike up an acquaintance between them.
Often on a rainy day, or when work was dull, Joe would spend an
hour or two with Phil, relieving his loneliness, soothing his pain,
and cheering him with his music and his rambling talk about "old
times" and the people he had seen.
It was the latter part of May, and had been very warm; but Joe
buttoned up his best coat and donned his beaver, for his pay was
due at Miss Schuyler's. She lived in a large house, rather imposing
and handsome, and in the gayest part of the city; but she was by no
means imposing or gay in her own person. A little figure, simply
dressed, a kind face without beauty, a gentle manner, and a certain
gracious kindliness and familiarity had endeared her to Joe. On
this day she was not, as usual, sitting with her work in the
library, where the sun poured in on the bronzes and richly bound
volumes, on the old engravings and the frescoed ceiling—for
Miss Schuyler liked light and warmth and color—but she was
away up in the top of the house, directing her maids in the packing of
blankets and woollens and furs, preparatory to leaving her house
for the summer. Joe had mounted stair after stair seeking her, and
by the time he reached her was quite out of breath; this, and the
odor of camphor and cedar-wood, made him sneeze and cough until
Miss Schuyler said to one of the maids in a whisper, "The poor old
soul would have been black in the face had he ever been white."
To Joe himself she said, very kindly, "My good old friend, you
need not have taken so much trouble to see me; I could have come
down to you."
"Laws, Miss Rachel, I knew you was busy, and nuffin's ever a
trouble to do for you; I go to the tops of houses often—just
come from one where poor Phil's a-groanin' with pain. That chile'll
die if somebody don't do suthin' fur him soon."
"What child?" asked Miss Schuyler, whose tender point was her
love of children. "You haven't any grandchildren, Joe, have
"No, Miss Rachel, de Lord nebber trusted me with any
"Well, who is Phil?" said Miss Schuyler,
adding, to one of her maids, "Take care of that afghan; wrap it in
an old linen sheet; it was knitted by a very dear friend, and I do
not want it moth-eaten; I had rather lose a camel's-hair shawl."
Which evidence or regard seemed very extravagant to the girl who
was obeying instructions, but which Joe thought he appreciated.
"Haven't I tole ye about Phil, Miss Rachel?"
"I don't know. I don't think you have. But come down to my room,
Joe, and then I can listen to your story."
Giving a few more directions, Miss Rachel led the way to a
lovely sunny room, with flower-baskets in the windows, soft blue
draperies, and delicate appointments. Seating herself at a desk and
pointing Joe to a chair, upon which the old man carefully spread a
silk handkerchief lest his clothes should soil the blue cushions,
she counted out the money due him, and placed it in an envelope,
saying as she did so, "Now tell me about that child."
"It's a white chile, Miss Rachel."
"Well, I like white children, Joe, though I must confess the
little colored ones are much more interesting," said Miss Rachel,
you liked my people, Miss Rachel; but this poor Phil's a
gentleman's son, very much come down far's money goes. He is too
young to know much about it, but the girl who takes care of him was
brought up in his family, and she says they was well off once."
"But what about the boy?" asked Miss Schuyler, a little
"He's a great sufferer, but he's a wonderful chile. He loves to
have me play for him, and then he tells me the thoughts that come
to him from the music. I's no great player, Miss Rachel," said Joe,
modestly, "but you'd think I was, to hear him talk. He sees fairies
and he dreams beautiful things, and his big brown eyes look as if
he could a'most see 'way up into heaven. Oh, he's a strange chile;
but he'll die if he stays up in that garret room and nebber sees
the green fields he's so hungry for."
Miss Rachel's eyes were moist, but she took a card and pencil
from her desk. "Where does he live—in what street and what
"I'm sorry, Miss Rachel—You jess go up the Avenue, and
turn down the fourth or fifth street, and up a block or two, and
it's the fust house with a high stoop and green shutters. I
allers go in
the alleyway, so I forgit numbers."
Miss Schuyler bit her lip to keep from smiling, thought a
moment, scribbled a memorandum, rang the bell, and gave some more
directions; left the room, and came back with her bonnet on. "Can
you show me the way to Phil's house, Joe?"
"Course I can, Miss Rachel," replied the old man, delighted that
his words had aroused his listener's sympathies.
"It's not very far; he's all alone, 'cause Lisa has to be away
all day. And I shouldn't wonder"—here he dropped his voice to
a whisper—"if sometimes he was hungry; but he'd nebber say
This latter remark made Miss Schuyler bid Joe wait for her in
the hall, while she went to a closet, found a basket, in which she
placed a snowy napkin, some biscuit, some cold chicken, and a few
delicious little cakes. In her pocket she put a little flask of
some strong cordial she had found of service on her many errands of
How proud Joe was to be her escort! but how meekly he walked
behind the lady whose footsteps he thought were those of a real
the only one to whom he would accord this compliment, although he
passed many elegant dames in gay attire.
The little gray figure, with its neat, quiet simplicity, was his
embodiment of elegance, for somehow Joe had detected the delicate
perfume of a sweet nature and a loving heart—a heart full of
Christian charity and unselfishness.
They walked for some distance, and the day was so warm that Miss
Schuyler moderated her usual rapid pace to suit the old man's
feebler steps. Off the Avenue a long way, up another, down a side
street, until, amid a crowded, disagreeable neighborhood, Joe
"You had better lead me still, Joe. The boy might be frightened
or annoyed at seeing a stranger: I dare say he's nervous. Go up,
and I will wait outside the door while you ask him if I may come
and see him. Wait, there's a flower-stall a little way from here; I
will get a bunch. Take my basket, and I will be back in a few
moments. I am glad I thought of the flowers; children always like
She hastened off, while Joe leaned on his cane and muttered
blessings upon her; but some rude boys beginning to chaff him, he
turned on them with his usual crustiness, and quite forgot his
Miss Schuyler came back in a few minutes with a lovely bunch of
bright blossoms embosomed in geranium leaves.
"Now, then, Joe, this shall be my card; take it in, and tell
Phil I am coming."
"God bless you, Miss Rachel!" was all Joe could reply.
Miss Rachel had her own way of doing things. It was nothing new
for her to carry flowers and dainties to the sick poor. She had
been much with sick people, and she knew that those who have no
luxuries and few necessaries care for the things which do not
really sustain life quite as much as do those who can command
PHIL HAS A VISITOR
Phil was alone, as indeed he was always, except on Sundays, or
the few half-holidays that came to Lisa. Once in a while Lisa
begged off, or paid another woman for doing an extra share of work
in her place, if Phil was really
too ill for
her to leave him. The hot sun was pouring into the garret room,
though a green paper shade made it less blinding, and Phil was
lying back in a rocking-chair, wrapped in a shawl. On a small table
beside him were some loose pictures from a newspaper, a pencil or
two, and an old sketch-book, a pitcher of water, and an empty
The boy opened his closed eyes as Joe came in, after knocking,
and looked surprised.
"Why, Joe, what is the matter?" he asked. "You do not come twice
a day very often."
"No," said Joe, "Nor are you always a-sufferin' as you was this
mornin'. I've come to know how you are, and to bring you
that," said he triumphantly putting the nosegay before the
The boy nearly snatched the flowers out of Joe's hand in his
eagerness to get them, and putting them to his face he kissed them
in his delight.
"Oh, Joe dear, I am so much obliged! Oh, you darling,
lovely flowers, how sweet you are! how delicious you smell! I never
saw anything more beautiful. Where did they come from, Joe?"
can't guess, I reckon."
"No, of course not; they are so sweet, so perfect, they take all
my pain away; and I have been nearly smothered with the heat
to-day. Just see how cool they look, as if they had just been
"It's a pity the one who sent 'em can't hear ye. Shall I bring
"Who, Joe—who do you mean?"
"Joe means me," said a soft voice; "I sent them to you, and I am
Miss Rachel Schuyler, an old friend of Joe's. I want to know you,
Phil, and see if I cannot do something for that pain I hear you
suffer so much with. Shall I put the flowers in water, so that they
will last a little longer? Ah, no! you want to hold them, and
breathe their sweet fragrance."
Miss Schuyler had opened the door so gently, and appeared so
entirely at home, that Phil took her visit quite as a matter of
course, and though astonished, was not at all flurried. He fastened
his searching gaze upon her, over the flowers which he held close
to his lips, and made up his mind what to say. At last, after
deliberating, he said, simply, "I thank you very much." His
thoughts ran this way: "She is a real lady, a
woman; she has on a nice dress—nicer than Lisa's; she has
little hands, and what a soft pleasant voice! I wonder if my mother
looked like her?"
Miss Schuyler's thoughts were very pitiful. She was much moved
by the pale little face and brilliant eyes, the pleased, shy
expression, the air of refinement, and the very evident pain and
poverty. She could not say much, and to hide her agitation took up
the sketch-book, saying, "May I look in this, please?"
Phil nodded, still over the flowers.
As the leaves were opened, one after the other, Miss Schuyler
became still more interested. The sketches were simply rude copies
of newspaper pictures, but there was no doubt of the taste and
talent that had directed their pencilling.
"Have you ever had any teaching, Phil?" she asked.
"No, ma'am," answered Joe for Phil, thinking he might be
bashful. "He hasn't had no larnin' nor teachin' of anythin'; but it
is what he wants, poor chile, and he often asks me things I can't
answer for want of not knowin' nuthin' myself."
is this?" said Miss Schuyler, touching the box with violin strings
across it, which was on a chair beside her.
"Please don't touch it," answered Phil, anxiously; then fearing
he had been rude, added, "It is my harp, and I am so afraid, if it
is handled, that the fairies will never dance on it again. You
ought to hear what lovely music comes out of it when the wind
Phil spoke as if fairies were his particular friends. Miss
Schuyler looked at him pitifully, thinking him a little
light-headed. Joe nodded, and looked wise, as much as to say, "I
told you so."
Just then Phil's pain came on again, and it was as much as he
could do not to scream; but Miss Rachel saw the pallor of his face,
and turning to Joe, asked:
"Does he have a doctor? Is anything done for him?"
"Nuthin', Miss Rachel, that I knows of. I never knew of his
havin' a doctor."
"Poor child!" said Miss Rachel, smoothing his forehead, and
fanning him. Then she tucked a pillow behind him, and did all so
gently that Phil took her hand and kissed it—it eased
his pain so
to have just these little things done for him. Then she poured a
little of her cordial in a glass with some water, and he thought he
had never tasted anything so refreshing. She sent Joe after some
ice, and spreading her napkins out on Phil's table, set all her
little store of dainties before him, tempting the child to eat in
spite of his pain.
Phil thought it was all the fairies' doing and not
Joe's—poor pleased Joe—who looked on with a radiant
face of delight. Phil would not eat unless Joe took one of his
cakes, so the old fellow munched one to please him.
Meanwhile Miss Schuyler gazed at the boy with more and more
interest; a something she could hardly define attracted her. At
first it had been his suffering and poverty, for her heart was
tender, and she was always doing kind deeds; but now as she looked
at him she saw in his face a likeness to some one she had loved,
the look of an old and familiar friend, a look also of thought and
ability, which only needed fostering to make of Phil a person of
great use in the world—one who might be a leader rather than
a follower in the path of industry and usefulness. The grateful
little kiss on her hand had gone deeply into her heart. Phil must no
longer be left alone: he must have good food and medical care and
fresh air, and Lisa must be consulted as to how these things should
be gained. So while Phil nibbled at the good things, and Joe
chuckled and talked, half to himself and half to Phil, Miss
Schuyler wrote a note to Lisa, asking her to come and see her that
evening, if convenient, explaining how her interest had been
aroused in Phil, and that she wanted to know more about him, and
wanted to help him, and was sure she could make his life more
comfortable, and that Lisa must take her interference kindly, for
it was offered in a loving spirit. Then she folded the note, and
gave it to Phil for Lisa, and arranging all his little comforts
about him, bade him good-bye.
Phil thought her face like that of an angel's when she stooped
to kiss him; and after Joe, too, had hobbled off, promising to come
again soon with his violin, he took up his pencil, and tried to
sketch Miss Schuyler. Face after face was drawn, but none to his
taste; first the nose was crooked, then the eyes were too small,
then the mouth would be twisted, and just as Lisa came
in, with a
tired and flushed face, he threw his pencil away and began to
"Why, my dear Phil," said Lisa, in surprise, "Are you so very
"No, I am not miserable at all," said Phil, between his tears;
"That is, I have had pain enough, but I have had such a lovely
visitor!—Joe brought her—and I wanted to make a little
picture of her, so that you could see what she looked like, and I
cannot. Oh dear! I wish I could ever do anything!"
"Ah, you are tired; drink this nice milk and you will be
"I have had delicious things to eat, and I saved some for you,
Lisa. Look!" and he showed her the little parcel of cakes Miss
Schuyler had left. "And see the big piece of ice in my glass."
"Some one has been kind to my boy."
"Yes; and here is a note for you; and you must dress up, Lisa,
when you go to see our new friend."
Lisa looked down at her shabby garments; they were all she had;
but she did not tell Phil that her only black silk had been sold
long ago. She read the note, and her face brightened.
a chance of better things for Phil.
"I will go to-night, if you can spare me."
"Not till you have rested, Lisa; and you must drink all that
milk your own self. Did you ever hear of Miss Schuyler?"
"I don't know," said Lisa, meditating; "The name is not strange
to me. But there used to be so many visitors at your father's
house, Phil dear, that I cannot be sure."
"She is so nice and tender and kind—Have you had a
tiresome day, Lisa," added Phil, quickly, fearing Lisa might think
herself neglected in his eager praise of the new friend.
"Yes, rather; but I can go. So Joe brought her here?"
"Yes; and see these flowers—yes, you must have some. Put
them in your belt, Lisa."
"Oh, flowers don't suit my old clothes, child; keep them
yourself, dear. Well, it is a long lane that has no turning," she
said, half to herself and half to Phil. "Perhaps God has sent us
Miss Schuyler to do for you what I have not been able to; but I
have tried—he knows I have."
"And I know it too, dear Lisa," said Phil pulling her down to
him, and throwing both arms around her. "No one could be kinder, Lisa; and I
love this old garret room, just because it is your home and mine.
Now get me my harp, and when you have put it in the window you can
go; and I will try not to have any pain, so that you won't have to
rub me to-night."
"Dear child!" was all Lisa could say, as she did what he asked
her to do, and then left him alone.
A PROMISE OF BETTER TIMES
When Phil was alone again, he waited impatiently for the long
twilight to end in darkness, and the stars to come out. It seemed a
very long time. Once in a while a faint murmur came from his harp,
but it was a mere breathing of sound, and he turned restlessly in
his chair. Then he closed his eyes and waited again, and his
waiting was rewarded by a small voice in his ear whispering,
"Here we are! here we are!"
"Oh," said Phil, "I thought you never would come again."
child, you must not be so doubtful," said the little voice again,
and the starry coronet gleamed in his eyes. "I have brought you
some sweet odors of wild-flowers, and spicy breath of pine and
hemlock, for I thought you needed a tonic."
Phil smelled something exquisite as she spoke, but all he said
"What is a tonic?"
"Something the doctors give when children are pale and thin, and
do not have enough fresh air. I don't pretend to know what it
means, but I often go to see sick children in hospitals, and so I
hear about such things."
"Hark! is that my wind harp?—why, it sounds like water
dropping and gurgling over stones."
"It is the song of a mountain brook that my friends are singing
as they dance over your harp. Look!"
Phil looked, and saw the flock of fairies like white butterflies
swarming again over his harp, and heard the soft, sweet singing
which kept time to their steps.
"Oh, how beautiful! how beautiful!" said Phil.
hear a brook singing, you must remember us," said the fairy.
"Indeed I will; but I am afraid I shall never hear one: only the
hoarse cries of the street and the rumbling of wagons come to me
"Ah, better times are coming; then you will not need us."
Phil lay still in his chair, listening intently; the white
figures glanced in shadowy indistinctness across the window, only
the starry ray from each little brow lighting their dance. They
swept up and down, and swayed like flowers in a breeze, and still
the little clear notes of their song fell like dripping water in
cool cascades. Now it flowed smoothly and softly, again it seemed
to dash and foam among pebbly nooks.
"Does it rest you? are you better?" asked the one little fairy
who did all the talking.
"Oh, so much!" said Phil.
After a while the song stopped, and the fairies drew all
together in a cluster, and were quite still.
"What does that mean?" asked Phil.
"They are disturbed; there is a storm coming. We shall have to
"I am so
sorry! I wanted to know more about you, and to see what you
"Mortals must not approach us too nearly. We may draw near to
you. See, I will stand before you."
"You seem to be all moonshine," said Phil.
"Yes," said the fairy, laughing merrily; "These robes of ours
are of mountain mist, spangled with star-dust so fine that it makes
us only glisten. We have to wear the lightest sort of fabric, so
that we are not hindered in our long flights."
"Do you know flower fairies?"
"Yes; but we are of a very different race. I suppose you thought
we dressed in rose-leaves and rode on humble-bees, but we do not;
we are more—now for a long word—more ethereal." And
again the fairy laughed.
"Ether means air," said Phil, quite proudly. "Do you know any
fairy stories?" he asked.
"Yes; shall I tell you one next time I come?"
"Oh do, please. So you will come again."
"Yes, if I can. Now I must go. I thought I heard distant
thunder. We must fly so fast—so fast!
a long rumbling of thunder far off in the distance, and a cooler
air in the hot, close room. Phil lay and dreamed, wondering how
long it took the wind fairies to reach their home. Then the sweet,
spicy odors came to him again, and he lifted the languid flowers
Miss Schuyler had brought him, and put them in his glass of
He dreamed of fair green fields and meadows, of silent lakes
bordered with rushes, out of which sprang wild-fowl slowly flapping
their broad wings; of forests thick and dark, where on fallen trees
the green moss had grown in velvet softness; of mountains lifting
their purple tops into the fleecy clouds, and of long, shady
country roads winding in and out and about the hills; of lanes
bordered with blackberry-bushes and sumac, clematis and wild-rose;
of dewy nooks full of ferns; of the songs of birds and the chirp of
insects; and it seemed to him that he must put some of all this
beauty into some shape of his own creation—picture or poem,
song or speech; and then came a sudden sharp twinge of pain, and
the brightness faded, and the room was dark, and he was hungry, and
only poor little Phil, sick and sad and weary and poor.
LISA VISITS MISS SCHUYLER
"So you are Phil's good friend Lisa?" said Miss Rachel Schuyler,
sitting in her cool white wrapper in the dusk of this warm May
evening. "I want to hear more about Phil. The dear child has quite
won my heart, he looks so like a friend of mine whom I have not
seen for many years. How are you related to him, and who were his
"I am not related to him at all, Miss Schuyler."
"No?" in some surprise. "Why, then, have you the care and charge
"I was brought up in his mother's family as seamstress, and went
to live with her when she married Mr. Randolph, and—"
"Who did you say? What Mr. Randolph?"
"Mr. Peyton Randolph."
Miss Rachel seemed much overcome, but she controlled herself,
and hurriedly said, "Go on."
"There was no intercourse between the families after the
marriage, for Mrs. Randolph was poor, and they all had been opposed to her. I
suppose you do not care to hear all the details—how they went
abroad, and Mr. Randolph died there; and while they were absent
their house was burned; and there was no one to take care of Phil
but me, for Phil had been too sick to go with his father and
mother; and Mrs. Randolph did not live long after her return. I
nursed them both—Phil and his mother; and when she was gone I
came on to the city, thinking I could do better here, but I have
found it hard, very hard, with no friends. Still, I have pretty
steady work now as shopwoman, though I cannot do all that I would
like to do for Phil."
Miss Schuyler was crying.
"Lisa, you good woman, how glad I am I have found you! Phil's
father was the dearest friend I ever had."
"Phil's mother gave the child to me, Miss Schuyler."
"Don't be alarmed. I do not wish to separate you. How can I ever
thank you enough for telling me all this? And what a noble,
generous creature you are, to be toiling and suffering for a child
no way related to you, and who must
fully able to care for him if they would!"
"I love him as if he were my own. Sometimes I have thought I
ought to try and see if any of his relatives would help us, but I
cannot bear to, and so we have just worried along as we could. But
Phil needs a doctor and medicine, and more than I can give
"He shall have all he needs, and you too," said Miss Schuyler,
At this Lisa broke down, the kind words were so welcome. And the
two women cried together; but not long, for Miss Schuyler rose and
got Lisa some refreshing drink, and made her take off her bonnet
and quiet herself, and then said:
"Now we must plan a change for Phil, and see how soon it can be
accomplished. And you must leave that tiresome shop, and I will
give you plenty of work to do. See, here are some things I bought
to-day that I shall have to wear this summer."
She opened the packages—soft sheer lawn and delicate
cambric that gave Lisa a thrill of pleasure just to touch once
more, for she loved her work. "I shall be so glad to sew again, and I
wish I had some of my work to show you."
"Oh, I know you will do it nicely. I am going out of town in a
few days, and I want you and Phil to go with me. Do you think you
"I am a little afraid," said Lisa, hesitating, "That we are not
fit to; and yet—"
"I will see to all that. Now I suppose you cannot leave Phil
alone much longer—besides, there is a shower coming.
To-morrow I will bring a doctor to visit the dear boy, and we will
see what can be done"; and she put a roll of money in Lisa's hand,
assuring her that she should be as independent as she pleased after
a while, and repay her, but that now she needed help, and should
have it, and that henceforth Phil was to be theirs in
Lisa hurried away with a light heart. She had indeed toiled and
suffered, striven early and late, for the child of her affections,
and this timely assistance was a source of great joy.
She was too happy to heed the dashing shower which was now
falling. Herself she had never thought of, and her dear Phil now
was to be helped, to be cheered, perhaps to be made strong
and well, and
able to do all that his poor weak hands had tried to do so
She opened the door softly when she reached her room. A little
shiver of sweet, sad sounds came from the wind harp. She lighted a
candle, and looked into the pale face of the sleeping child as he
lay in an attitude of weariness and exhaustion, with hands falling
apart, and a feverish flush on his thin cheeks.
"My poor Phil! I hope help has not come too late," she
whispered, as she began her preparations for his more comfortable
The next day Miss Schuyler came, as she had promised, and
brought a physician—a good, kind surgeon—who examined
Phil, and pulled this joint and that joint, and touched him here
and there, and found out where the pain was, and what caused it,
and said nice, funny things to make him laugh, and told him he
hoped to make him a strong boy yet. And then they whispered a
little about him, and Joe was sent for, and a carriage came, and
Phil was wrapped in a blanket and laid on pillows, and taken out
for a drive alone with Miss Schuyler, who chatted with him, and got
him more flowers; and when they came back there was a nice dinner
on a tray,
and ice-cream for his dessert, and Joe was to stay with him until
Lisa came home; and before Lisa came there was a nice new trunk
brought in, and several large parcels. And Phil thought he had
never seen such a day of happiness. After his dinner and a nap, and
while Joe Sat and played on his violin, Phil sketched and made a
lovely little picture of flowers and fairies, in his own simple
fashion, to give to Miss Schuyler. And then Lisa came home, and the
parcels were opened; and there were nice new dresses for Lisa, and
a pretty, thin shawl, and a new bonnet; and for Phil there was a
comfortable flannel gown, and soft slippers, and fine handkerchiefs
and stockings; and Phil found a little parcel too for Joe with a
bright bandanna in it, and the old man was very happy.
"It seems like Christmas," said Joe.
Phil thought he had never seen quite such a Christmas, and said,
"It seems more like Fairy-land, and I only hope it will not all
fade away and come to an end, like a bubble bursting."
"To me," said Lisa, "It is God's own goodness that has done it
all, for it was He who gave Miss Schuyler her warm, kind
Joe," said Phil, "We are to go to the country, and you are to go
with us; is not that nice?"
"Very nice, Phil. I'm glad Miss Rachel's found out your father
was her friend."
Then Joe took up his violin again, and played "Home, Sweet
Home," and "Auld Lang Syne"; and Phil fancied the violin was a
bird, and sang of its own free-will, and thinking this reminded him
how soon he would hear the dear wild birds in the woods, and he
wondered if the fairies would come to him there.
Then Joe went home, and Lisa had errands to do, and again she
put the wind harp in the window, and left Phil alone, keeping very
still in expectation of another visit from his fairy friend.
THE FAIRY'S STORY
"I promised you a story," said the little voice, to his ear
"Yes, I know you did; can you tell it now?"
"To be sure I can, if I only have time. I
did not bring
any of my people to-night; they are helping some of the herb elves.
It is a little late in the season, and some blossoms have been slow
in opening, so that we have to urge them."
"How?" asked Phil.
"By coaxing and persuasion for some of them; others we have to
blow upon quite forcibly."
"I am ready for the story when you are," said Phil.
"It is a wild affair, and one that all children might not care
to hear; but to you, I fancy, nothing comes amiss."
"No, I like almost everything," said Phil.
"I shall begin just as my grandmother used to. Once upon a time,
in the days of enchantment, there was a dreadful old
"Do not make him too dreadful, or I shall have bad dreams,"
The fairy laughed and flapped her little wings. "Now you must
not be afraid; it will all come out right in the end. When I said
the ogre was dreadful, I meant he was ugly-looking; we fairies like
everything beautiful. Shall I go on?"
"Oh yes, and please forgive me for stopping you."
THE APPROACH OF THE SWANLIKE BOAT
"This ogre was
ugly, with a shaggy head, a shaggy beard, and fierce eyes, and he
lived all by himself in a great stone castle on the shore of a
large lake. His principal pleasure consisted in tormenting
everything and everybody he came near; but if he had any
preference, it was for boys; to tease and ill-use them had the
power of affording him great happiness. Lazy, loitering little
fellows were in especial danger, for he would catch them quite
easily by throwing over their head's the nets he used in fishing,
drag them off to his castle, and keep them in a dungeon until there
would be no chance of discovery, and the boys' parents would think
them lost forever. Thus he would gain a very useful, active set of
laborers for a stone wall he was building, for so afraid were they
of his displeasure, and so fearful that they might be starved,
since the only food they received was dried and salted fish, that
these boys worked like bees in a hive, only it was a sullen,
painful sort of working, for they never sang or shouted, whistled
or talked, and they were thin and wretched, and more like machines
"Now in this lake, on the shore of which was the ogre's castle,
was an island, where lived a Princess whom the ogre had bewitched, but who had
also regained her liberty, and near whom the ogre could never again
come; even to land on her island or bathe in the water near would
at once change him into a shark.
"This Princess, passing the ogre's castle in her beautiful swan-like
sailing-boat, had seen the unhappy little boys at work on the stone
wall; her sympathies had been aroused at so sad a sight, and she
determined to wait her chance, and do what she could to relieve
them. The chance came one day when the ogre had gone on a fishing
excursion, from which he would not return till night. He had given
the boys their rations of salt fish, and had commanded them in the
gruffest tones to be sure and do an unusual amount of work in his
absence, or they should all have chains on again; for when they
were first caught he always chained them for fear they might try to
escape; but they so soon lost all spirit and all desire for freedom
that their chains were removed to enable them to work more
"He had no sooner disappeared in his great clumsy craft, laden
with seines and harpoons, and baskets and jugs, than a whispering
the boys, a sad sort of sighing and crying, almost like the
whispering of wind in the tree-tops, which changed again to looks
and glances of surprise as a beautiful vessel with silken sails
floated up to the wharf, and a lovely, gracious-looking lady
clothed in white stepped from the boat, and came rapidly towards
"'Boys,' said she, addressing them in a very soft, sweet voice,
'I have come to release you from this cruel bondage; will you trust
me, and go with me?'
"'Yes, yes,' came from more than a dozen little tongues.
"'Come, then, at once. Drop your work, get into my boat, and we
will be off. We have no time to lose, for your cruel master might
possibly change his course and overtake us; then we should be in
"The boys crowded about her, and with a wild cry followed her to
her little vessel, and almost tumbled into it in their delight. It
was with some difficulty that she kept them balanced, and prevented
their falling out; but once packed, there were so many of them that
they could not move. The vessel seemed to start of itself; its
sails swelled out and spread themselves
and away they dashed over the rippling waves, which rose and fell
and hurried them on their way. The ogre's castle was quickly left
far behind, and the tired boys breathed more freely as it
disappeared entirely from their view. In another minute they fell
fast asleep, and did not waken till the motion of the boat ceased,
and they found themselves gliding into a quiet harbor, fringed on
each side with lovely shrubs that dipped their beautiful flowers
into the calm water. Then the lady bade them follow her as she
stepped from the boat on to the soft grass, and led them past
fruits and flowers, and winding walks and fountains, up to the
dazzling crystal palace in which she lived. Here the boys were
halted while she made them this little speech: 'Boys, this is my
home, these are my gardens; for a while you will have to remain
here. We may have trouble with the ogre, but I want you to have no
trouble among yourselves. Kindness, good-humor, pleasant looks and
words, must prevail. There must be no envy, no selfishness, no
desire to get the better of each other in any way. I demand
obedience. If I receive it, all will be well; if I do not, you will
have to suffer the consequence. Now I have said all that I need.
These flowers, these fruits, are yours to enjoy in moderation.'
"As she ceased speaking she clapped her hands, and a troop of
servants appeared. They led the boys to marble baths, where waters
gushed and flowed in liquid beauty, and groves of orange-trees made
a dense thicket about them. Here each boy was made sweet and clean,
and provided with a suit of white clothes. When they emerged from
the baths, they saw before them on the lawn tables filled with
tempting food—roasted meats, broiled birds, pitchers of milk
and cream, biscuits and jellies and ices.
"The utmost order prevailed. Starved as the poor boys were, the
grace and beauty of their surroundings made them gentle and
patient. At each plate was a tiny nose-gay held in the beak of a
crystal bird, the body of which was a finger-bowl. Every plate was
of exquisite workmanship. Some had birds of gay plumage; some had
fierce tigers' heads or shaggy-maned lions; others bore designs of
tools or curious instruments; but that which most delighted the
boys was a dish of crystal, an exact imitation of the
Swan—the Fairy Swan—in
had sailed to this lovely island. It was laden with choice fruits.
While the boys feasted as they had never before, strains of sweet
music became audible; they could also hear the soft splash of the
waves on the shore, or the dripping of fountains, as the waters
sparkled and fell in their marble basins.
"After they had feasted, the boys wandered off in most
delightful idleness to all parts of the island. They climbed the
trees, which bore blossoms, fruits, and nuts, all at the same time;
they fished in the little coves; they waded in the shallow basins;
and nothing would have marred their happiness had not one tall boy,
with unnaturally strong and keen vision, declared that he saw the
ogre's sail coming in the direction of the island.
"This was terrible, and had the effect of bringing all the boys
together from their various amusements, just as chickens run from a
hovering hawk. Together they crowded for a moment in mute dismay,
unable to speak, to even hide, waiting the approach of their cruel
"Nearer came the sail, and now they could
it. Its great clumsy shape, its heavy lumbering action, were not to
"What should they do?
"'Run for the Princess,' said one.
"'Too cowardly, that,' said another; and indeed their good,
abundant meal had begun to put strange courage in their little
"'Let's meet him, and fight him,' said one.
"'Let's upset his boat,' said another.
"'By pelting him with stones when he comes near enough.'
"'Good!' cried they all; and they began gathering all the bits
of rock and pebbles they could find.
"Now came a roar of ogreish rage from the boat as it neared
"'I'll have ye again!' screamed the ogre.
"Then began the attack—a volley of small stones, nuts,
fruits, anything they had in their pockets.
"One of the ogre's eyes was closed, so certain had been the aim
of the tall boy who acted as leader.
"but the boat came nearer, and they were very
the ogre would leap from it, when one of the boys whispered, 'I'll
go out to tempt him. Once get him in the water, and he's a goner.
He'll be bewitched.'
"So he off with his jacket, and out he waded, while the others
looked on in breathless admiration.
"The ogre looked with his one eye in eager derision; then
forgetting his danger, and regarding the boy much as he might do an
unwary fish that he would gobble up, he sprang from his boat into
the shallow water, preparing not only to snatch the one boy, but to
seize them all in a great seine he dragged after him, when suddenly
the waves from the centre of the lake began hissing and seething, a
tremendous swell set in towards the shore, driving the brave little
fellow who had gone out to tempt the enemy completely off his legs,
and obliging him to swim to the land, which he had no sooner
reached than a great shout from all the boys made him look back,
when, lo and behold! there was no ogre, only a great shark, with
open jaws and a shining row of teeth, floundering about, and
dashing himself in angry transports against the sides of the ogre
boat, which he vainly attempted to board. And now could be seen swarms of little
fish attacking the great one, darting hither and thither, now at
his head, now at his tail, but keeping well away from his open
jaws. And the waves began to be colored with the shark's blood. At
last, wearied and wounded, with an angry snap of his jaws he dived
down, and was seen no more.
"Then the boys gave another loud huzza, when, like a broad flash
of sunshine, the lovely Princess came among them.
"'Boys,' said she, 'you have proved yourselves brave youngsters.
The ogre can never again trouble you. He will be a shark for three
thousand years, and he will not care to stay in these waters, with
so many enemies about him. Now, when you have regained your good
looks and strength, I will take you all home. Here is the key to my
sweetmeat closet. Run off, now, and have a good time.'
"The sweetmeat closet was a large enclosure where grew
sugar-almond trees, candied pears, candied plums, and where even
the bark and twigs of trees and bushes were of chocolate. In the
centre was a pond of quivering jelly. Mounds and pyramids of
jumbles and iced cakes abounded. They were too tempting to be long
looked at without tasting, and the boys helped themselves
"A long, sweet strain from a bugle called them away from this
delightful spot, and on a broad, smooth field they found bats and
balls, tenpins and velocipedes—in short, everything a boy
could want to play with.
"After this they supped in simple fashion, each boy with only a
great bowl of bread and milk. Then to more music they were marched
to their beds—downy white nests, in a great room arched with
glass, through which they could see the moon and stars shining, and
where the dawn could awaken them with its early light.
"Such was their life for two of the most happy weeks of their
lives, and never did boys thrive better. They grew fat and rosy;
they sang, they danced, they played. Every time the Princess came
among them they shouted with glee, and nearly cracked their young
throats in doing her honor. But all fine things come to an end some
time. Once more they were packed in the Fairy Swan, and away
they sailed for the land of reality and for home. The Princess gave
them each a beautiful portrait of herself, of the
of the Swan. And each boy promised that whenever he had a
chance to perform a kind action he would do it in remembrance of
the gentle courtesy of the Princess. And so ends my fairy story.
"Good-night. Oh, how nice it was! I thank you so much!" and
sleepy Phil turned to see the little white butterfly wings skimming
out of the window, while a long, sweet sigh came from his wind
harp, sounding like, "Good-night—good-night," again.
FAREWELL TO THE CITY
A day or two later, Phil, wrapped in shawls, was carried by Joe
to a carriage, and the carriage rolled away to a wharf where puffed
numerous steamboats; and here he was taken on board one of the
river-steamers, and safely placed in the midst of a heap of pillows
on deck, where he could see all the busy life about him—see
the newspaper boys and the orange women, and the hurrying hacks and
the great teams, and all the stir and tumult of the
busiest hours. Miss Schuyler, in her cool gray suit, was on one
side of him, and Lisa, looking tranquil and thoroughly glad and
grateful, on the other, and Joe, just the happiest darkey in the
world, sat at his feet, ready to take charge of all and
They sailed and they sailed, away from the city and its many
roofs, from the factory chimneys and the steeples, from the cloud
of smoke which hung between the sky and house-tops, until they came
to the hills and dales of pasture-lands and villages. Then they
landed, and were whirled away in the cars, and Phil enjoyed it all,
even the fatigue which made him sleep; and Joe carried him about as
if he were a baby.
It was quite dark when, after a drive over a rather rough road,
they reached the lake-side cottage which was Miss Schuyler's summer
home, and Phil was glad to be put in bed, for the old pain had
When he opened his eyes the next morning, it was with a strange
feeling of wonder at his new surroundings. Birds were twittering
out-of-doors, and there was a soft lapping of water on the shore.
The green boughs of a cherry tree almost brushed against the window-panes. He
was no longer in his old garret room, but in a pretty apartment,
with bunches of rosebuds on the walls, and scent-bottles on the
toilet-table, and muslin curtains, and a bright carpet, and pretty
book-shelves, and brackets, and lovely child-faces in the
engravings; and on a broad table was a little easel, and a
paint-box, and drawing-paper; and here too was his old box with the
"Oh," said Phil, softly, "I wonder if heaven is any better than
He had closed his eyes as he said it, and went over his usual
morning prayer of thankfulness; and when he opened his eyes, there
was Lisa with his breakfast-tray—poached eggs and toast, and
a goblet of milk.
"Lisa, Lisa, is not this too nice for anything?" asked Phil.
"Yes, indeed, dear, it is nice. Miss Schuyler says you must
hurry and get strong, so that you can make the acquaintance of the
hens that laid these eggs for you, and the cow whose milk is to do
you so much good."
"What is the cow's name, Lisa?"
"I don't know," said Lisa.
Daisy," said Miss Schuyler, coming in to say good-morning. "She's a
lovely little Alderney, and her milk is like cream. Oh, you will
soon be strong enough to row my boat for me."
"A boat! Have you a boat?"
"Yes, and you are going out on the lake in her this very
"It is just too much happiness, Miss Schuyler."
"Well, we will not overpower you. For a day or two you must
rest, and do nothing but breathe the sweet air. I have to be busy
getting things in order and looking after my garden. Lisa will take
her work on the piazza, and you can lie in one of the easy-chairs.
Joe is to wait on you, and do a little weeding, and keep the paths
in order, and bail out the boat; and the old man seems to be very
much at home already. So that is the order of the day. Now
good-bye, and don't do too much thinking."
"One moment, Miss Schuyler; do you believe in fairies?"
"Just a little," said Miss Schuyler, with a quizzical smile.
believe in them," said Phil, "And I think you are one of the best
"Oh no, I am very human, dear Phil, as you will find out. And
now I must go look after my strawberry-beds. Good-bye."
"Good-bye," said Phil, waving her a kiss. "Only think, Lisa, we
will actually see strawberries growing! It is quite fairy-land for
After that he was carried down to the easy-chair on the piazza,
where he could see the lawn sloping down to the lake, and watch the
birds lighting on the rim of a vase full of daisies and running
vines. He could see that the cottage was low and broad, and painted
in two shades of brown; and that there were arbors covered with
grape-vines on one side, and on the other he knew there were
flower-beds and fruit-trees, for every once in a while Miss Rachel
was to be seen emerging from there in a broad straw hat and with
buck-skin gloves, trailing long bits of string or boughs of green
stuff, with scissors and trowel and watering-can.
Lisa had her work-basket, and with deft fingers and a little
undertone of psalmody was fashioning a pretty summer garment. Then
came and tossed a basketful of early roses and syringa down beside
Phil, and put a little table beside him, with some slender glass
vases and a pitcher of water, and asked him to arrange the flowers
for her. This he was glad to do, and made the bunches up as
prettily as his nice taste suggested. But he was really wearied
with great happiness. It was all so new, so charming, every sense
was so satisfied, that at last he closed his eyes and slept.
It seemed to him only a little while, but when he opened his
eyes again Lisa was beside him with his dinner; and after dinner he
slept again, and when he awakened the lawn was in shadow, and the
sun low in the sky, and the birds were twittering and seeking their
nests, and Miss Rachel was telling Joe to put cushions in the boat,
the Flyaway; and presently Phil found himself floating
gently on the lovely water of the lake, and the cottage and lawn
and arbors were looking like a pretty bit of landscape he had seen
He dipped his fingers in the clear water, and looked down at the
pebbly bottom, and listened to the even dip of the oars, as old Joe
rowed farther out from shore.
be fairy-land," thought Phil, but he said nothing; he was too happy
to talk. And so the day ended—the first day in the
THE NEW COMPANION
Miss Schuyler was a very active, industrious lady, and her time
was fully occupied. She had her house and grounds to attend to, her
business affairs, her domestic duties, and her poor
people—for paradise or fairy-land, whichever Phil chose to
call his present abode, was not without its poor—and so,
during the day, Lisa was mostly with Phil; but he and Miss Rachel
had always a pleasant chat after breakfast; and in the evening many
a long talk made known to Miss Rachel more of Phil's character than
he had any idea of; and the more she knew of the boy, the warmer
her heart became towards him, and the more thankful she was that
she had been able to do for him just what was wanted, and just at
the right time.
Already there was a little color in his pale
an eagerness for his meals. He could endure more fatigue, and he
suffered less pain. Indeed, Dr. Smith, who lived half a mile off,
had promised to send his son, a lad of twelve, down to see Phil in
his stead. "For," said he, "Graham does not know one bone from
another, and will soon help Phil to forget all about his, or
whether they ache or not."
And so Graham Smith, a ruddy-cheeked fellow, full of life and
spirit, came to see Phil.
It was a warm June day when they first saw each other.
Phil was sketching, and Lisa was sitting beside him sewing. Joe
was Phil's model, standing patiently by the hour to be made into
studies of heads, arms, trunk, or the whole man.
Suddenly there was a loud bark of welcome from Nep, the
Newfoundland dog—who greeted tramps with growls—and
Graham Smith came up the garden path, followed by Nep, leaping
frantically upon and about him.
He nodded in a brusque way to Lisa and Phil, and without a word
bent down over the sketch, gave a long, low whistle, and said,
"Isn't that bully?"
"If I knew what bully meant, I could answer
perhaps," replied Phil, gazing up with admiration at the brown and
red cheeks, the clear blue eyes, and the tough, hardy-looking frame
of his new acquaintance.
"I'm not sure I can tell you; only you can beat all the boys I
know at this sort of work," said Graham. "Where did you learn how
to do it?"
"Oh, I have not learned yet; I am only just beginning."
"Haven't you had any lessons?"
"No; it comes naturally to me to draw. I wish I could do it
better, that's all," said Phil, with a little sigh.
"I wouldn't want to do any better than that," said Graham.
"Oh yes, you would," replied Phil, very much pleased, however,
with such heartfelt admiration of his drawing.
Just then Nep made another leap upon Graham, and the two, after
a friendly tussle, had a race down to the lake, where Graham tossed
a stick, and sent the dog after it.
"That is something I cannot do," said Phil, as the boy
came up to him again; "And yet you do it as easily as I draw."
that stick off on the water? Then you don't play ball?"
"I don't even walk," said Phil.
Graham seemed both astonished and sorry, so he turned it off
with, "but you are going to, you know, when you get well—and
you can do more than any of us now. Let's go out on the water. May
we?" he asked, turning to Lisa.
"Oh yes," said Lisa; and Joe was glad to get the Flyaway
ready for a start.
Phil was placed in the stern, where Graham promised to show him
how to steer. Phil was an apt scholar, and delighted to be of use.
Joe addressed Graham as "Captain," and complimented him on the fine
feathering of his oar. The lad was a good oarsman, and made the
boat respond to her name.
"Where shall we go, mate?" asked Graham of Phil.
"The Captain must give orders," was Phil's reply.
"Have you been down to Point of Rocks?" asked Graham, directing
Phil's eyes to a distant promontory.
"No, I have not been so far yet."
"There are lots of water-lilies there."
"Oh, do go
there, then! I want some to copy."
"All right. Pull on your starboard oar, Joe; there, that will
do. Now we will soon reach it."
It was a lovely little nook where grew the lilies, after they
had turned around the jutting stones which gave a name to the spot,
and Phil soon had his hands full of fragrant buds. The water was so
clear that he could see their long green stems away down to the
black mud from which they sprang. They moored the boat, and Graham
got out to ramble, returning with ferns and mosses and wild-flowers
"Now," said he, "If you don't mind, I'm going to have a swim
just around the rocks here where the water is deeper and not so
full of weeds. I wish you could come."
"So do I," said Phil, watching with admiration every movement of
his lively companion. Besides admiration, too, there was a twinge
of envy, which he really did not know to be that hateful fault; but
it passed in a moment, and he laughed loudly to see Graham's antics
in the water.
The bath over, they turned homeward. Miss Rachel was
entertaining guests in the parlor.
Lisa had gone
off for a walk. Graham had to go home, but promised frequent
visits; and as Phil was tired, Joe carried him up and laid him on
his bed, putting his mosses on the table, and the water-lilies in
an oblong vase which was usually filled with fragrant flowers. The
wind harp was there, too, and as Phil, with closed eyes, was
resting in the half-twilight made by shut blinds, there came from
it a little murmur, which grew into a long, sad monotone. He dared
not move, and would not speak, but between his eyelids, partly
raised, he thought he saw the familiar little winged creature who
had comforted and entertained him in his wretched city home.
"How little people know what they are doing when they pull up
ferns and mosses in the woods!" said the soft voice. "I was
sleeping soundly on the nicest bed imaginable, having travelled far
for just a whiff of water-lily odor that I thought might refresh a
poor little hospital patient tossing with fever in the city, when
with a violent wrench I found myself borne off from my sheltered
and dusky resting-place, and tossed into a boat in the blinding
glare of the sun. Fortunately, I had wrapped myself in some
broad grape-vine leaves, and was mistaken for a moth cocoon; else,
dear Phil, I had not been here."
"I am so glad, so very glad, to see you again!" murmured Phil,
"And I am so glad you are in the country! You could not have
lived long in the city. What are you doing now?"
"Getting well, they tell me."
"Do you ever think of the ones who cannot do that?"
"No, I do not," said Phil, in some surprise.
"Ah, there are so many. I see them often—little creatures
who are friendless and helpless. You should not forget them."
"It is not that I forget, I do not think of them at all. I
suppose I would if I saw them."
"Well, you must think of them, and do something for them. Oh
yes, I know you do not believe you can, but the way will come if
you try. All that I do is to whisper soft songs in their ears, or
give them a little waft of summer freshness, but it sometimes stops
their painful tossing, and brings sleep to their tired eyes."
think; I will try," said Phil.
"That is right," replied the fairy. "Now I will call some of my
friends, the flower fairies, hidden in these water-lilies, and you
shall see them dance." She clapped her hands softly together, and
out of each lily crept a tiny shape of radiant whiteness and
lily-like grace, so pure, so exquisite, that they did indeed seem
to be the very essence and spirit of the flower. And now began
another of those fantastic movements which Phil had before
witnessed. Now in wreaths, now apart, and again in couples, they
swayed about in an ecstasy of mirth, and the wind harp gave out
strains of wild and melodious sound. They nodded to each other in
their glee, and Phil could hardly tell whether they really were
fairies or flowers, for they looked just as the flowers might when
blown about in a breeze. As he gazed, his eyelids began to droop.
He was very tired. The music grew fainter and fainter. He seemed to
be again in the boat, listening to the water lapping its sides, and
Graham seemed to be with him, reaching out for lilies; and then all
faded, and Phil was fast asleep.
A VISIT FROM THE YOUNG DOCTOR
"Now, Phil," said Miss Rachel, "I am not going to be so busy for
a while, and though you cannot study yet, for the doctors say you
must not, I shall read aloud to you a little every day. Graham has
promised to come often to visit you, and with our boating and
driving, and pleasant friends coming to stay with us, I think we
shall have rather a nice summer. What do you think?"
Phil's face lighted up with a grateful smile, which grew into
rather a sober expression.
"I think it is all delightful; but—"
"But what, my dear; are you not contented?"
"Oh yes, more than that: I am as happy as I can be;
"Miss Rachel, what becomes of all the poor sick children in the
city who have no such friend as you are to me?"
"They suffer sadly, dear Phil."
don't you think I ought to remember them sometimes?"
"Yes, in your prayers."
"Is there no other way?"
"I am not sure that there is for a child like you. Perhaps there
may be, and we will think about it; but you must not let such a
thought oppress you; it is too much for a sick child to consider.
Be happy; try to get well; do all you can to make everybody about
you glad that you are here, by pleasant looks and good-nature.
There, that is a little sermon which you hardly need, dear, for you
are blessed with a sweet and patient temper, and are far less
troublesome than many a well child."
"I suppose I do not deserve any praise if I was made so," said
"No, not a bit; the poor cross little things who fret and tease
and worry are the ones who should be praised when they make an
effort not to be disagreeable. But I am not going to preach any
more. I am going down-stairs to make some sponge-cake for the
picnic you and Lisa and I are going to have to-morrow."
"A picnic! a real one in the woods?"
"Yes, and here comes Graham with a basket.
I wonder what
is in it. Good-bye. I will send him up to you."
Graham came up in a few moments with the basket on his arm.
"Guess what I have here, Phil."
"How can I?"
"Oh yes, you can—just guess."
"Something to eat?"
"No, little piggy; or rather yes, if you choose."
"Well, chickens or eggs?"
"Medicine for some of your father's sick people?"
"Flowers? Oh no, one cannot eat flowers if they choose. I give
"Well, then, watch," and lifting the cover slowly, three cunning
white rabbits poked their little twitching noses over the edge of
Phil gazed at them delightedly. "And you call those little
darlings something to eat, do you?"
"If you choose, yes."
"As if any
one could choose to be such a cannibal! What precious little
beauties they are! Oh, how pretty they look!"
"They are for you."
"Really! Oh, thank you, Graham. But you must ask Miss
"I did, and I am to build them a hutch. Until I do, there is an
empty box in the barn where they can stay."
"And you can build—handle tools like a carpenter? How nice
that must be!"
"Oh, that's nothing; all boys can do that."
Graham forgot that Phil was one boy who could not, but seeing
the shade come over his friend's face made him repent his hasty
"I beg your pardon," he said, in a low voice.
"No, you need not, Graham. I must get used to being different
from other boys. Well, these are just the loveliest little things I
ever saw. What do they live on?"
"Almost any green thing; they are very fond of lettuce. When you
are able you must come and see my lop-ears."
"Have you many rabbits?"
"Yes, quite a number. Let me see: there's
Neb (he's an
old black fellow—Nebuchadnezzar), and Miss Snowflake, Aunt
Chloe (after the one in Uncle Tom's Cabin), Fanny Elssler
(because she jumps about so), and Mr. Prim—- he is the
stillest old codger you ever saw."
"What other pets have you?"
"I've lots of chickens, three dogs, two cats, a squirrel, and a
"A large family."
"Yes, almost too large; they will have to be given up soon."
"In the fall, I suppose; I am going to boarding-school."
"You would be amused with Polly. She is a gay old
thing—laughs, sings, and dances."
"Oh, Graham, can she do all that?"
"Indeed she can; sometimes she sings like a nurse putting a
child to sleep, in a sort of humming hush-a-by-baby way; then she
tries dance-music, and hops first on one foot, then on the
other—this way," and Graham began mimicking the parrot, and
Phil laughed till the tears came.
screams out 'Fire!' like an old fury, but she is as serene as a May
day when she gets her cup of coffee."
"Is that your parrot, Graham?" asked Miss Schuyler.
"Yes, ma'am, that's our green-and-golden Polly."
"We will have to pay it a visit. Can you join our picnic
to-morrow? it is Phil's first one."
"Really! why, he has a good deal to learn of our country
"Yes, and I have a little plan to propose in which you may help
us. Promise you will come."
"Oh, I am always ready, thank you, Miss Schuyler. Shall we go by
"To be sure, to Eagle Island."
"Then we will go early, I suppose, as it is quite a long pull.
What must I bring, Miss Schuyler?"
"Only your arms, Graham, for alone Joe will perhaps find the
rowing a little too much in the warm sun. I am Commissary-General
for the party. That means, Phil, that I furnish the provisions: a
Commissary-General has to see that his troops are well fed."
no danger about that, I am sure," said Graham, gallantly, "If Miss
Schuyler leads us."
"Well, then, to-morrow at nine, before the sun is too
high—earlier would not do for Phil. And now be off with
yourself: and your bunnies, Graham, leave them in the barn; and
tell your good, kind father that you are an excellent substitute
for himself, that Phil is improving even faster with your visits
than he did with his."
"Good-bye, then, Phil; good-bye, Miss Schuyler. To-morrow at
It was a perfect morning. Blue sky, with pure little snow-drop
clouds, as if the angels had dropped them from their baskets as
they tended the flowers in the heavenly gardens. The lake sparkled
and glistened in the sunshine, and every wave seemed to leap
joyously as it broke in soft foam on the shore. In one end of the
Flyaway sat Phil, on a pile of shawls; in the other were
stowed a large basket, a pail of
ice, and a
pail of milk, and in between were Miss Rachel, Lisa, Joe, and
Graham. Phil had twisted up a little nosegay for each, and had
pinned a broad wreath of grape-leaves around Joe's straw hat,
making the old fellow laugh at his nonsense. They were just pushing
off, when a sudden rattling of chain and some impatient barks from
Nep showed that he began to feel neglected.
"I thought we could get away unnoticed," said Miss Rachel, "but
I find myself mistaken."
The boys pleaded for Nep. "Ah, let him come, please let him
Nep's leaps becoming frantic, Miss Rachel yielded, and Graham
soon had him loosened. He jumped at once into the boat, and crept
under Phil's feet, making a nice warm mat.
"Poor Nep," said Phil, patting him, "he felt neglected"; and the
big tail wagged thankful thumps against the boat.
The morning air was sweet with all manner of herbage yet fresh
from the morning dew. The trees were in their most brilliant green,
and every leaf seemed newly washed.
Graham began a boating song, and Miss Schuyler joined in the
chorus. Old Joe chuckled and grinned; even quiet Lisa hummed a
little as the song rose louder; and Phil, dipping his hands in the
clear water, imagined that the fishes were frisking a waltz in
their honor. They glided past Point of Rocks, past huge beds of
water-lilies, past lovely little coves and inlets, and spots where
Graham said there was excellent fishing; finally Eagle Island
became more distinct, and its pine-trees began to look
"Here we are!" said Graham at last, bringing the Flyaway
up nicely on a pebbly beach, in good boating style.
Graham and Joe made a chair with their hands and arms, and so
carried Phil very comfortably to the place under the trees which
Miss Rachel had chosen for their encampment.
"Now," said Miss Rachel, as she brought out Phil's portfolio, a
book, her own embroidery, and Lisa's sewing, "I propose that
Graham, being a more active member of society than we are, go off
with Joe and catch some fish for our dinner."
"Just the thing!" said Graham; "but I did not bring a line."
everything necessary—bait and all," said Miss Schuyler.
"Now," said Miss Rachel, when the fishermen had gone, seeing
Phil's longing look, and knowing well how much he would have liked
to go with them, "We must go to work too, so that we may enjoy our
play all the more afterwards. I could not let you go with Graham,
my dear Phil; it would have fatigued you too much; but I want you
to try and draw me that drooping bush on the edge of the water, and
while you draw I will read aloud for a while."
Miss Schuyler read, explained, talked to Phil about his drawing,
and gave him the names of the trees about him.
The time flew fast, and it seemed a very little while when Miss
Schuyler said to Lisa, "I think I hear oars; we had better be
getting our feast ready."
They brought out the basket and pails, spread a nice red dessert
cloth down on a smooth patch of grass, laid broad green leaves down
for the rolls and biscuits; golden balls of butter were in a silver
dish of their own, and so were the berries in a willow basket,
around which they put a few late wild-flowers.
want a good flat stone for our fireplace, and—Ah! here come
our fishermen just in time."
Graham and Joe now appeared with a few perch, but plenty of
catfish. They went to work with zeal, and soon had enough brush for
the fire, which they built at a good distance. And while Graham fed
it, Joe skinned his catfish, salted the perch, and laid them on the
Then they all sat around their grassy table, and Joe served them
in fine style, bringing them their fish smoking hot on white
How merry they were over the good things, and how eager Graham
was to cook fish for Joe, and serve the old fellow as nicely as he
had done all of them! And Phil cut the very largest slice of cake
"It is just the jolliest picnic I ever was at," said Graham,
helping to wash and clear away, and re-stow spoons and forks.
"Of course it is," said Phil. "There never can be another quite
so nice: it is my first one, you know."
"Yes; just think of it, and it's my fiftieth, I
then you must not think all picnics like this. It is something
really remarkable to have everything go off so smoothly. Why,
sometimes all the crockery gets smashed, or the fire won't burn, or
if it does, you get the smoke in your eyes, or your potatoes get
burned, and your lemonade gets in your milk, or somebody puts your
ice in the sun, and, to crown it all, down comes a shower."
"Dear, dear, what a chapter of accidents, Graham!"
"Are you listening, Miss Rachel?" said Graham, with a quizzical
look. "I was only letting Phil know how much better you manage than
"Well, when you and Phil are ready, I want to tell you about
something else I should like to manage. Come, put away all the
books and work, and listen to my preaching."
Miss Rachel sat on a fallen tree, leaning against some young
birches. "Phil was asking me, yesterday," said she, "What becomes
of all the poor sick children in the city, and he seemed to think
he ought in some way to help them; so I promised to think about
what he had been considering, and a little plan came into my
head in which I thought you could help us, Graham."
Graham looked up with a pleased face, and nodded.
"It is just this. In the city hospitals are many sick children
who have to stay in bed almost all the time. Now Phil and I want to
do the little that we can for them, and it seems to me it would be
nice to send fresh flowers and fruit—all that we can spare
from our gardens—once or twice a week to some of these sick
city children. What do you think, boys?"
"It would be lovely, Miss Schuyler," said Phil, "only I do not
see how we could help; it would all come from you."
"Not all, dear child. I mean to give you both a share of the
work—you in your way, and Graham in his. Are you interested?
Shall I go on and tell you?"
"Yes, indeed," both exclaimed.
"I propose that we set aside a certain part of our flower-garden
and our fruit-trees, you and I, Graham (for I know you have a
garden of your own), which we will call our 'hospital
flowers,' and Phil is to assist in making up boquets, hulling
berries, and packing to send away; besides that, he is to make some
little pictures, just little bits of sketches of anything that he
fancies—a spray of buds, a single pansy, Joe's old hat and
good-natured face beneath, a fish, or a bit of vine-covered
fence—and we will sell them for him, and the money shall help
pay the express charges upon our gifts to the sick children, so
that Phil will really be doing more than any of us. How do you like
The boys were pleased, and had begun to say so, when a shout
came from the other part of the island from Joe, and Nep set up a
"Hi! look up dar, Miss Schuyler!" called out Joe.
"Quick, Phil!" said Graham; "look! there's an eagle. How
fortunate we are! There he goes, sailing away in all his glory";
and sure enough, the great bird floated farther and farther up in
the blue sky.
Still Nep kept on barking, and Graham ran down to see what was
the matter. He came back with something dangling from his hand, Joe
and Nep following.
"LOOK! THERE'S AN EAGLE"
snake—oh, what a dreadful creature!" exclaimed Lisa.
"Yes, indeed, ma'am," said Joe; "And if Nep hadn't barked so,
the drefful cretur would have bitten me sure. That dog knows a
heap; you'd better allus take him with you in the woods, Miss
Rachel. I was lyin' off sound asleep, with this critter close
beside me, when Nep come up, and barked just as plain as speakin'.
'Take care,' says he, 'ole Joe, you're in danger,' an' with that I
woke in a hurry, an' jist then I saw that big eagle come soarin'
overhead, and then Marsa Graham come and give that snake his
"How did you do it, Graham?" asked Phil, excitedly.
"Oh, I pounded him on the head with a stone as he was making
off. He is a pretty big fellow, and he must have swum from the
main-land, Miss Schuyler."
"Yes, I never saw a snake on this island before."
"Come here, Nep," said Phil, "dear old fellow; good dog for
taking care of Joe. Your head shall be my first picture for our
A PAIR OF CRUTCHES
Aunt Rachel's plan was entered into most heartily by both boys,
and Graham became so much interested as to act as express agent on
his own account, going to the city with what he called his first
load of berries and flowers; but on his return was so silent and
uncommunicative that Phil asked him if anything had gone wrong.
"Don't ask me to tell you what I saw," said he, in reply; "it
was more than I could stand." Then, as if sorry for his short
answer, he added, "It was the most pitiful thing in the
world—such a lot of little pale faces all together! and when
I came to give them their share, as the lady in charge told me to
do, I cried right out like any baby—there, now! But you have
no idea how they brightened up, and how glad they looked when they
took the posies. I don't want to go again, though, unless Miss
Rachel asks me to. I shall see those poor wizened little things as
long as I live. I am going to sell all
my pets this
fall and give the money to St. Luke's Hospital, and I shall sell
every egg my chickens lay, for the same purpose."
After that Phil asked no more questions, but worked harder than
ever at his drawings, and as the season advanced, and flowers and
fruit grew more abundant, they were able to despatch a basket twice
Every day was filled with new life and pleasure. Increasing
strength alone would have been a source of happiness, but in
addition to this Phil had the benefit of Aunt Rachel's
loving-kindness, Lisa's nursing, Joe's good offices, and Graham's
pleasant, friendly attentions. Then he was learning constantly
something new, with eyes and ears, from the book of nature, with
all its wonderful pictures, and from the other books allowed
Driving behind old Slow Coach and floating on the lake in the
Flyaway were some of the delights, and when more visitors
came, and two charming young cousins of Aunt Rachel made the house
resound with melody, Phil thought his happiness complete. But a new
surprise was in store for him when, after repeated consultations
and measurements and whisperings,
a huge parcel
was brought to his room, and Aunt Rachel and Lisa took off the
wrappings. Neither of them looked particularly joyful as a pair of
stout crutches made their appearance, but their faces changed
wonderfully when Phil gave a cry of glee, and said, hilariously,
"Now I can walk! now I can walk!"
He was eager to use his new helps, but it took a longer time
than he had imagined to get accustomed to them, and it was many
weeks before he could go down the garden paths (followed by Nep
with much gravity, as if Phil were in his especial care) with
Coming in from one of these rather tiresome attempts one warm
morning, and hearing music and voices in the parlor, Phil strayed
into the dining-room, which was darkened and cool, and fragrant
with fresh flowers. He lay down on a lounge, with his crutches
beside him, and was listening to the pretty waltz being played in
the other room, when he thought he saw a tiny creature light upon
one of his crutches. Supposing it, however, to be a butterfly, he
watched it in a sleepy, dreamy fashion, until it approached more
nearly, and these words startled him:
not know me?" said a tiny voice, rather reproachfully.
"What! is it you, my dear little wind fairy?" he asked. "I never
dreamed that I should see you again. How did you get here?"
"Blown here, to be sure, as I always am, only I have to pilot
myself, or what would be the use of having wings? I came on some
thistle-down this time, for I wanted to have another peep at you,
and I have had hard work to follow you in here, I assure you; but
the vibrations of that lovely music helped me, and here I am. Do
not talk—let me do it all. I never have much time, you know,
and I want to thank you for your goodness in taking my advice, and
helping some of my little sick friends. You do not begin to know
what good you have done—nobody does; but doing good is very
like the big snowballs that children make in winter—a little
ball at first, but as they roll, it grows bigger and bigger, almost
of itself, until it is more than one can manage. So it has been
with your kind action: many have imitated it, and flowers come now
to the hospitals by the bushel. Not only children, but grown
people, sad with suffering, have been cheered and benefited. And you too are
growing strong: how glad I am to see it! Your cheeks are tinged
with just a delicate bloom, and you have grown taller. Ah, the
country is the place for you children! I saw one of your sketches
in the hospital the other day, hung under a little cross made of
moss; it was a water-lily, and out of it was stepping some one who
looked like me. The child who owned it said it came to her tied to
some roses. She did not know I heard her; she was telling a
visitor, and she said it made her happy every time she looked at
it. That was a pretty thought of yours. This is my last visit for a
long while. I am to be sent off to fan her Royal Highness, the
Queen of Kind Wishes, when her coronation takes place. She lives in
her palace of Heart's Ease, in a far-away island. I am to sail part
of the way in a nautilus—one of those lovely shells you have
seen, I dare say."
"No," said Phil, "I never saw one. And so you are going
"Never saw a nautilus!" interrupted the fairy, as if afraid Phil
was going to be doleful over her departure. "It looks like a ship,
for all the world, and it is a ship for me, but it would not
you—oh no! not such a gigantic creature as a boy"; and the
fairy laughed aloud.
"Dear me," said Phil; "No more visits, no more fairy stories.
What will I do?"
"Shall I tell you just one more story before I say
"Well, shut your eyes and listen."
Phil obeyed, and the fairy began:
"In the days when fairies had much more power than they now
have, there lived in a little house on the edge of a wood haunted
by elves and brownies a boy named Arthur. He was a bright, handsome
lad, but a little lazy, and much more fond of pleasure than of
work; and he had a way of flinging himself down in the woods to
lounge and sleep when his mother at home was waiting for him to
come back with a message, or to do some little promised task. Now
the fairies knew this, and it displeased them; for they are as busy
as bees, and do not like idleness. Besides, as one bad habit leads
to another, Arthur, in his lounging ways, would often do great
damage to the fairies' flower-beds, switching off the heads of
wild-flowers in the most ruthless fashion, and even pulling them up by the
roots when he felt like it.
"One day he had been indulging this whim without any motive,
hardly even thinking what he was doing, when he began to feel very
strangely: a slight chill made him shiver; his eyes felt as if they
were coming out of his head, his legs as if they were getting
smaller and smaller; he had an irresistible desire to hop, and he
was very thirsty. There was a rivulet near, and instead of walking
to it he leaped, and stooping to drink, he saw himself reflected in
its smooth surface. No longer did he see Arthur; no longer was he a
mortal boy. Instead of this, a frog—a green speckled frog,
with great bulging eyes and a fishy mouth—looked up at him.
He tried to call, to shout, but in vain; he could only croak, and
this in the most dismal manner. What was he to do? Sit and stare
about him, try to catch flies, plunge down into the
mud—charming amusements for the rest of his life! A little
brown bird hopped down for a drink from the rivulet; she stooped
and rose, stooped and rose, again and again.
"A great green tear rolled down from the
bulging eye, and splashed beside the bird's drinking-place. She
looked up in alarm, and said, in the sweetest voice imaginable,
'Can I do anything to assist you?'
"'I am sure I don't know,' croaked Arthur, hoarse as if he had
been born with a sore throat.
"'But what is the matter?' persisted the little brown
bird, as more green tears splashed beside her.
"'The matter is that I am a frog, I suppose,' said Arthur,
"'Well, what of that?' still said the little bird. 'Frogs are
"'Are they, indeed; then I'd rather not be respectable,' said
"'You shock me,' said the bird.
"'I don't wonder; it has been a great shock to me,' responded
"'What has?' said the bird.
"'Being a frog,' replied Arthur.
"'Have you not always? Oh no; I presume you were once a tadpole;
all frogs are at first.'
"'Indeed I never was a tadpole,' said Arthur, indignantly; and
then, it seeming somewhat a funny idea to him, he began to laugh in
the hoarsest, croakiest kerthumps, which brought
him to his
senses again. Then he added, to the little brown bird which
fluttered about him in some agitation, 'No, I never was a
tadpole—I was a boy named Arthur a few moments ago.'
"'Aha!' twittered the little brown bird, 'I see now: you have
"'I suppose so,' said Arthur, 'and I would gladly be bewitched
into a boy again, if that would do any good.'
"'I must try and see what I can do for you. I am very busy
repairing my nest—it was injured in the last storm; but I
will go as soon as I can to see one of the herb elves, and find out
what is to be done. You must have displeased them very much.'
"'You are very kind,' replied Arthur, taking no notice of the
"'Oh no, not at all; it is a pleasure,' said the little brown
"'Can I do anything for you?' asked Arthur, roused into
politeness by the pleasant manners of his little friend.
"'You might gather some twigs or moss. Oh no, it would be all
wet, and I should have great bother in drying it,' said the little
house-keeper. 'I am equally obliged, but you had better just
and keep cool till I return'; and she flew softly away.
"'I can keep cool enough,' repeated Arthur; 'when one's legs are
in the water, it would be pretty hard to do anything else.'
"It seemed dreadfully long to wait, when all he could do was to
wink and yawn and gobble flies, and yet lounging in the woods and
killing flowers had never seemed tedious when he was a boy. He
tried to go to sleep, but was in too great a bewilderment to
quietly close his eyes in slumber, so he gazed at the brook, and
wondered when the little brown bird would reappear."
THE FAIRY'S STORY CONTINUED
"Sooner than he had supposed, Arthur heard the soft little
twitter of his new friend.
"'I have flown really quite a distance, and had the good-fortune
to see the elf who has charge of these woods. He is very much vexed
with you, and will not listen to any excuse;
knowing so little about the matter, I hardly knew what to offer. I
pleaded your youth, however, and made bold to promise your good
behavior in the future, and while I was speaking one of the lesser
elves twitched my wing a little, and whispered,
"'"Promise him something he likes as a ransom, and perhaps he
will answer your request."
"'"but I do not know what he likes," I replied. "Can you suggest
anything?" I added, in the same whisper.
"'"He is very much in need of some sea-weed. I heard him say the
other day that he wanted some iodine, and that he would have to
send a party of us off to the sea-shore to get sea-weed, from which
we make iodine. Now, if your friend can get it, he would be so much
pleased that I am sure he would be willing to forgive him, and
restore him to his proper condition."
"'After hearing this, I made the offer in your name, and
received a favorable reply. You are to get two pounds of sea-weed
in less than a fortnight. It is to be laid on the large flat rock
which you will see lower down the stream, under the chestnut-tree.
You are to leave it there, and by no means to remain there, but return here,
and your reward will await you.'
"Arthur thanked the little bird warmly, but inwardly despaired
of accomplishing anything so difficult.
"The little bird hopped restlessly about. 'You will try to do
this, will you not?' she asked.
"'Of course I will try,' said Arthur, rather ashamed, and
striving to put a bold face on the matter. 'I will try, but I do
not know exactly what to do first.'
"'Streams run into rivers, and rivers to the sea,' twittered the
"'Yes; but I hardly think frogs swim in deep water. I will have
to contrive a boat or a float of some sort.'
"Just then a huge trout sprang up after a fly and missed it.
Quick as a flash the little bird darted up, caught the fly, dropped
it into the trout's open mouth, and twittered something
unintelligible to Arthur. He heard, however, a curious sound of
words from the trout.
"'Jump on my back, jump on my back, and be off, alack!'
"'Go,' said the bird, quickly.
made a bound, and found himself on Mr. Specklesides's back in an
"'Good-bye,' sang the little bird, loudly, for already the trout
had flashed away into a dark pool beneath a cascade, where the
falling waters made a deafening noise. In another instant he made
another dart, and quick as lightning they were in broad, shallow
water. Again they were whirled from eddy to eddy, and already the
stream had widened into a little river. The bending trees, the
weeds, and grasses, were mirrored in its cool depths, as now with
long, steady stroke the trout swam on.
"Suddenly another shape darkened the glassy surface of the
water. It was the figure of a man in slouched hat and high boots,
and long tapering rod in hand. He seemed to be quite motionless,
but far out near the middle of the stream, just where the trout was
swimming, danced a brilliant fly. A leap, a dash, and then began
such a whirling mad rush through the water that Arthur knew he
would be overthrown. The trout had seized the fly, and the
fisherman, rapidly unreeling his line, waited for the fish to
exhaust himself. Before this was done, however, Arthur was thrown
violently off the trout's back, and by dint of desperate
efforts reached the shore, where for a long while he lay
"When he revived he found himself in long sedgy grass, well
shielded from observation. The trout was nowhere to be seen, and
Arthur knew that it was idle to search for him. Poor fellow! his
fate had found him, and no doubt he was lying quietly enough now in
the fisherman's basket.
"'"Streams run into rivers, and rivers to the sea," and I must
look for some other method than the trout's back.'
"He hopped about wearily, ate a few flies, and then, quite worn
out, fell fast asleep. When he awoke it was dark. Fire-flies
flashed about him brilliantly; stars beamed so brightly that they
seemed double, half above in the sky, and half below in the water.
From some overhanging boughs came a dismal hooting.
"'Hush!' cried Arthur, impatiently. 'Why do you want to spoil
the night with such wailing?'
"'I have lost three lovely little owlets,' was the response.
'Darling little fluffy cherubs! Never had an owl-mother three such
are they?' asked Arthur.
"'Devoured by a horrible night-hawk,' sobbed the owl.
"'Where has the night-hawk flown?'
"'Far down the river after prey.'
"'Why do you not go after him and punish him?'
"'It is too far, and I am too sorrowful.'
"'You have no spirit. I would peck his eyes out were I in
"'Ah! you are young and strong and brave.'
"'Take me on your back, and we will fly after him.'
"'Come, then, and do battle for me, noble friend.'
"Down flew the owl, and up jumped Arthur quickly on its back,
inwardly wondering how a frog could be a match for a night-hawk,
but quite resolved to aid the poor owl if he could. With a
delightful sense of freedom and glorious liberty, such as he had
never before even imagined, they rose high above the tree-tops.
"The moon had now risen, and the air seemed transparent
"Keeping near the border of the river, which
widened, they emerged from one forest only to enter another.
"The wild cries of loons saluted them; herds of deer, cooling
themselves in the water, glanced up with startled gaze as they
"A dark bird flapped low over the water as a fish leaped from
"'It is my enemy,' whispered the owl.
"'Pursue him,' returned Arthur.
"'My heart sinks within me; the memory of my owlets subdues all
revengefulness. Though I should make him suffer, it would not
return to me my children.'
"'But if we kill him he can do no further mischief.'
"'True, true; but he is a fearful fellow. What weapons have you
with which to meet him?'
"'None but my eyes and legs; a frog is a poor despicable wretch
under such circumstances. Our weight together might sink him. You
must fly at him with one tremendous blow, get him down in the
water, and all the fish will assist to punish him, for all owe him
a grudge. Or stay: fly close to him, and I will leap upon him; the
weight will surprise and annoy him,
and you must
then make a dash for his eyes. Pluck them out if you can; it will
be worse than death for him.'
"'Barbaric torture! But the memory of my owlets hardens my
motherly heart; it pulsates with tremendous force; their loss is
the world's loss. I hasten to the combat.'
"They swept down low as the hawk swooped for fish; Arthur sprang
upon its back; the owl darted at the creature's eyes, and with a
furious blow, first at one then at the other, made her enemy
sightless. The hawk, with a cry of pain, fell into the water.
Instantly an enormous fish dragged him beneath, and it was only by
wonderful dexterity on the part of the owl and of the frog that the
latter was unhurt. He nestled once again among the owl's soft
feathers, and they sought the shore.
"'Now how shall I repay you, my brave friend?' asked the owl, as
Arthur leaped upon land.
"'I do not wish for any reward,' replied Arthur.
"'Nevertheless, you will not refuse to grant a sorrowful and
stricken mother the little balm which her grateful spirit seeks in
the return or acknowledgment of so vast a favor as you have
conferred upon me.'
"Arthur thought a moment, and then told the owl of his journey
and errand to the sea-shore. 'Perhaps, as you are so famous for
wisdom, Mother Owl, you may be able to give me some advice which
will assist me to get the sea-weed, and return as speedily as I
can,' he said, as he finished his narration.
"'I will consider,' replied the owl, bending her searching gaze
towards the earth. After a few moments' reflection, in which she
rolled her luminous and cat-like eyes about, ruffled her feathers,
and uttered a few soft 'to-whit to-whoos,' she murmured, 'I have
it. Seldom do I require to deliberate so anxiously, but parental
anguish has clouded my active brain; the recent combat, also, has
exhausted my nervous system. I have the happy thought at last,
though, and you shall be assisted. We will fly to the nest of an
old friend, a celebrated kingfisher. He lives not far from here; he
knows the coast well, and will aid us. Come, mount upon my willing
back, and we will fly at once.'
"This was no sooner said than done. They flew swiftly over the
now broad expanse of water, rolling in a powerful stream, bordered by
a wild and harsh-looking forest. A few tall and leafless trunks in
a cluster contained, high among the bare boughs, a huge nest. From
it, aroused from his sleep, sullenly flapped a large bird.
"'Wait a moment, my friend,' called the owl, in her most
beseeching manner. 'I have a favor to ask. I wish to appeal to your
intelligent geographical, topographical, and comprehensive
intellect for guidance. You know the coast; lead us to it before
the dawn of day.'
"'A most unwarrantable request, upon my word,' was the answer,
in a gruff voice. 'Why should you thus disturb my slumber, and
demand of me this journey in the night?'"
THE FAIRY'S STORY CONCLUDED
"The owl replied softly, telling her errand, praising the
bravery of the frog, and evidently pleasing the kingfisher with the
news of the death of his enemy the night-hawk.
"'I will go,' he answered. 'I do not pretend
chivalric; I should prefer to sleep; nevertheless, I will go. Rise,
follow-me. I expected to breakfast at home; now we will get some
"'He is always thus,' whispered the owl, as Arthur and she rose
high in the air. 'He is a wonderful naturalist, a student of
ichthyology, has a vast and profound fund of knowledge, but a great
gourmand, always considering what he will eat; but he is reliable;
we may trust him.'
"They sailed now high, now low, over ravines and gulfs, until
the continuous murmur which had accompanied them deepened into the
steady, solemn roar of the ocean. Great crags, broad sands, and
huge waves tossing their white crests now met their eyes.
"The soft faint gray of early dawn lit the heavens. The
kingfisher perched himself on the top of a rock, and watched the
seething waves with a steady and keen outlook. The owl fluttered
down to the long line of breakers, and bade Arthur notice the
immense quantity of sea-weed fringing the rocks in all
"'Now how to carry it back is the question,' said Arthur, rather
friend, have no fear,' said the owl. 'Go to work bravely, and
gather all you can, then we will arrange to transport it. Hasten,
however, as much as you can.'
"Arthur hopped about zealously. He was half deafened with the
thunder of the waves, half blinded with the dashing spray, half
drowned with the salt-water pouring from every cliff and cranny of
the rocks. Still he tore and clutched at the sea-weed, dragging it
in masses larger than his own frog body to where the owl waited for
him on the beach, in a sort of grotto hollowed out by the waves.
There they piled it until they both were assured they had the
proper quantity. Then the owl flew to a promontory and hailed the
kingfisher. Arthur, quite worn out, fell asleep. When he awoke, he
found him self most strangely placed.
"So soundly had he slept that the owl and kingfisher, having
completed their arrangements for the removal of the sea-weed, had
removed Arthur also, and he woke to find himself on the back of an
enormous sturgeon, with sea-weed under him, over him, and about
him. Tightly about the sturgeon was bound an old rope, which the
kingfisher had procured from the remains of a wreck on the rocks, and in which
he had entangled the sturgeon; this rope the owl and kingfisher
took turns in holding, keeping the sturgeon near the surface of the
waves by its check upon his movements, which were very bold and
rapid. Thus, by the double force of flying and swimming, Arthur was
carried with immense speed into the quiet waters of a bay from
which they had emerged on arriving at the ocean.
MAKING THE STURGEON USEFUL
"From the bay they sailed up into the river, and were coursing
rapidly on to its narrower surface, when the sturgeon suddenly gave
a great leap, very nearly throwing Arthur and his precious load off
"The owl screamed, the kingfisher shouted hoarsely, but
tightened his hold upon the rope, while the sturgeon dashed madly
"Again he made another frantic leap, whereupon the kingfisher
gave him a thrust with his beak, to which the sturgeon replied,
"'The current is becoming too shallow; I can go no farther. I
must have air. How can you expect me to go up this trout
stream? have you no mercy for such a beast of burden as you have
again!' shouted the kingfisher, tightening the rope once more.
"Arthur felt the sturgeon shiver, and was conscious that his
movements were weaker. Another leap, and he burst the rope; but as
he jumped he tossed his load of sea-weed high in the air; it fell,
and Arthur with it, on a rock.
"The owl gave a long, dismal cry, the kingfisher swept madly
away after the sturgeon, and Arthur, bruised and sore, lay panting
on the rock. For a long while he could do nothing. The owl went off
in search of food, promising to return at nightfall. The day wore
on. Arthur, weak with hunger, tried to devour some of the sea-weed.
It was too bitter and salty. Leaning over the edge of the rock, he
saw a shoal of tiny fishes playing hide-and-seek in the eddies of
the stream. He clutched at one of them and devoured it. Never had
he tasted a sweeter morsel. He caught another, and another, until
his hunger was fully appeased. Evening came again; the moon shone
early; Arthur was awakened from a long nap by the hooting of the
owl, which said,
"'Here I am again, my distressed friend.'
"At the same moment the kingfisher swooped
down on them,
and stood tilting and flapping his wings on a corner of the rock.
'Now,' said he, 'as I am a bird of my word, and have promised to
help you, we will proceed to business. This sea-weed is dry, as you
see, and very much lighter. You, Mrs. Owl, can easily carry it,
while I will take your young friend Mr. Frog. Let us be off at
once, you, madam, directing the flight.'
"The kingfisher and Arthur then heaped the sea-weed upon the
owl, and Arthur, clambering on the rather oily back of the
kingfisher, was once again going over the tree-tops.
"Before morning they had reached the desired spot, the flat rock
under the chestnut-tree, placed the sea-weed upon it, and, hardly
waiting for thanks, the kingfisher left them.
"Arthur thanked the owl warmly, assuring her of his deep
gratitude. To which the owl replied, 'You have done me quite as
good service, and my thanks are quite as due to you. I return to my
empty nest a desolate mother, but never shall I forget your
generous sympathy. Possibly I may find consolation, but should I
ever raise another brood, it could never equal the beauty of my
lost darlings. Alas! we feathered
have great trials: we toil diligently for our families, build nests
at great cost of time and effort, often to see them swept away by
the winds; or, our nests lasting, and unattacked by enemies, many a
young bird is thrown to the earth by the violence of storms, and
comes to an untimely end through starvation. Sympathy, therefore,
we appreciate; it helps us to bear our sorrows with becoming
fortitude. Never shall I forget your gallantry, my friend; the
thought of it will cheer many a solitary hour when all the world is
asleep. I bid you farewell.' So saying, the owl flapped her wings
and was gone.
"Arthur hopped away from the chestnut-tree to the place where he
had lost himself. It was early morning, but he was wearied, and
slept in spite of all his anxiety. When he awoke he was no longer a
frog, but a very hungry boy. The noonday sun was shining, and at
his side hopped a little brown bird. It twittered gladly, as if
congratulating him, but not one word could he understand. Before
this adventure he would have probably frightened it away, but now
he reached out his hand softly and stroked its feathers, then
seeking berries, he placed them where
creature could feast upon them. It peered at him with its bright
little eyes, and even perched upon his shoulder. Never again did
Arthur idly destroy any living creature of the woods—not the
humblest weed or flower, bright-winged insect or speckled egg. Nor
did he loiter again when sent upon errands. The elves thereafter
left him in peace."
"Good-bye, dear Phil; I am off now. This is my last story."
"Where am I? Has the music stopped? Was it my wind harp—my
poor little wind harp?"
"Why, Phil, your wind harp is broken. Did you not know that it
fell from your window last night?" said Lisa, coming into the
"No. I wonder if I shall ever see the wind fairy again?"
"Dreaming again, Phil?" said Lisa.
"You always think I dream, Lisa, whenever I speak of
"Do I, dear? Well, you must get ready now for Graham; he is
coming to take you out on the lake. Miss Schuyler will not be home
and we three are to have ours on Eagle Island."
Phil went up-stairs and gathered together the broken pieces of
his wind harp. He folded each piece up carefully in paper, and put
them all away. "No more fairy stories," he said to himself. "Well,
I suppose I am getting beyond them, and must put up with sober
facts; but they are not half so nice," he said, with a
sigh—"Not half so nice." Then he took out his sketch-book and
pencils, and prepared for work.
PLANS FOR THE WINTER
Summer had gone. Visitors had gone. Graham had gone to school.
The banks of the lake were red and yellow, brown and purple, with
autumnal foliage. Aunt Rachel was superintending the making of
preserves. Lisa was at work on the piazza. Phil was sketching.
Slowly up the garden path came old Joe. He took off his hat and
stood still a moment waiting for Phil to speak.
Joe, what is it?" said Phil, hardly looking up, he was so busy.
"This is just as fine as ever the garden of Eden was, but old
Adam had to go, you know, Massa Phil." He had lately, of his own
accord, put the Massa before Phil's name.
"What are you driving at, Joe?" asked Phil, absently.
"I mean I's a-gwine home, Massa Phil."
"To the city?" said Phil, surprised into attention.
"Yes, back to New York. I wants to go to work."
"Have you not enough to do here?"
"No," said Joe, with a chuckle. "It's all play here—no
real hard work sich as I's customed to."
"It is time you took it easy, Joe," said Phil.
"True nuff, but I's not one of the easy sort. Besides, who
knows, Massa Phil, but there may be other chillen—poor sick
chillen—waitin' for to hear my fiddle an' be comforted?"
Phil looked up hastily; a bright look of gratitude and love came
into his eyes.
Just then Miss Schuyler appeared, with a
glass jar of
jelly in her hand; the maid was following with a trayful.
"Joe wants to go to the city, Aunt Rachel," said Phil.
"I dare say," was the ready response. "He wants a little gossip
over the kitchen fires, and he wants this nice jar of jelly for his
bread-and-butter when he has company to tea; and as we all are
going home next week, he may as well wait for the rest of us."
"Aunt Rachel!" said Phil, in dismay. Going home to the city
seemed like going back to poverty and illness, and the garret room
he so well remembered.
Aunt Rachel divined it all. "You belong to me now, Phil. Lisa
and I are partners henceforth; and while you and I travel in search
of health, study, and improvement, Lisa is going to keep house for
us in her own nice, quiet way."
"Travel!—where?—when?" said Phil, eagerly.
"The doctors suggest our going abroad—to a warm climate
for the winter—where we please; in summer, to the German
"Oh, Aunt Rachel!"
This was enough for Phil to think of and
all the rest of the happy days at the lake. He could walk now with
comparative ease, not of course without crutches, and the gold and
scarlet glory of the autumn leaves was a perpetual delight to him.
He gathered them for wreaths and bouquets; he pressed them and
ironed them and varnished them, and tried every method suggested to
him for keeping them; and when it came packing time it was found
necessary to get an extra trunk to contain all the woodland
The happy summer had ended, and not without a lingering look of
regret that it could not last longer was the farewell said to the
house and lake and every pretty graceful tree or plant that adorned
They found the city house all in nice order for them, for Aunt
Rachel was always wise in her forethought and provision for future
Phil's little room near her own had been especially attended to,
and he found it, in all its arrangements, as complete and
satisfactory as the lovely summer nook he had vacated.
In three weeks' time they were to start for Europe. The days
were spent in preparation. Phil must have a steamer-chair, plenty of
clothes, wraps, and contrivances. All Aunt Rachel's thoughts were
for Phil's comfort; but it did not spoil him nor make him selfish;
he had the happy faculty of receiving kindness gracefully, as if
glad to be the means of making others happy by his gratitude, not
as if it were his due in any way. And in his turn he was thoughtful
and considerate for others, in trifles light as air, but
nevertheless showing by the gentle, tender manner that he meant
them as evidences of his affection. He knew Lisa dreaded parting
from him, so before her he was quite silent as to his expected
pleasures, although his imagination was constantly picturing the
details of an ocean voyage. His sketch-book was getting full of
yachts and craft of all sorts and sizes—some that would have
astonished a sailor very much. Whenever he met Lisa he kissed her,
whether with hat on she was hurrying out on some errand for Miss
Schuyler, or on her return, with arms full of bundles, she was
hastening through the hall.
He was necessarily left much alone, and thus had the chance to
draw a charming little picture for Lisa, and frame it with acorns,
red maple leaves. He hung it in her room one day when she was out,
and, to his surprise, the next day it was missing. He had expected
some recognition of it, but none coming, he kept still, wondering
what Lisa had done with it. The secret came out in due time.
A day or two before their departure Lisa came to him with tears
in her eyes and a little package in her hand.
"Open it, dear; it is for you."
It was a tiny leather purse with four dollars in it.
"Lisa, you must not give me all this."
"Yes, it is yours—your own earnings. I sold your little
picture, and bought this purse with part of the money, so that you
might have something to spend just as you pleased."
"Oh, Lisa!" was all Phil could say, for though grateful, he was
yet disappointed that Lisa had not kept his picture.
"Now, dear," she said, "you can buy some little trifle for Joe,
and any one else you want to make a present to."
"Thank you, Lisa; yes, I will. It is a very nice purse," he
replied; but as soon as he could find Miss Schuyler he unburdened
the pains I took with that little picture, Aunt Rachel, to think of
Lisa's selling it! Oh, how could she?"
"Hush, dear Phil; Lisa is the most unselfish creature in the
world. Has she not given you up to me? And for the pleasure she
supposed it would give you to have money of your own earning, she
was willing to part with even a thing so precious as a picture
painted by you for her. Do not question her motive for a moment.
Take the money, and buy her something useful. Come, we will go get
a pretty work-basket; she will find it even more to her taste than
So they went out and bought a light, nicely shaped basket, with
little pockets all around it, and Aunt Rachel made it complete with
a silver thimble, a strawberry emery cushion, a morocco
needle-book, and an ample supply of silk, thread, needles, pins,
Lisa was delighted; but Phil could not be satisfied until he had
painted another little picture, and made Lisa promise that no one
else should ever have it.
Joe was made happy with some new bandanna handkerchiefs in
brilliant yellows and reds, a pipe, some tobacco, and a suit of clothes
from Miss Schuyler.
It was a tranquil, lovely day in the fall when the steamship
sailed with Aunt Rachel and Phil on board. All the bay sparkled in
the sunshine, and boats of every shape and size danced upon the
blue water. After the bustle and confusion of getting off, the
leave-takings, the cries and shouts of sailors, the blowing of
whistles and ringing of bells, they sat quietly down to watch the
receding shores, and look out upon the glittering water.
"Aunt Rachel," said Phil, "It all seems like another fairy story
to me, and we are sailing in a nautilus to the island of Heart's
"Yes, dear child, so it does. And let us hope that we shall find
that beautiful island, and never wish to leave it."