MARY GAY'S WORK IN AUTUMN.
KEEPING A JOURNAL.
AMONG Mary's other literary plans one was to keep a journal.
When she told her cousin John of her plan, he said that he should like to keep a journal too.
" And the next time we see uncle Edward," said he, "we will ask him what the best way is to do it."
" So we will," said Mary.
Accordingly, the next time they saw their uncle Edward they asked him if he would give them some advice about the best way of keeping a journal.
" Why, as to that," said Edward, " I don't know that I can tell you how a journal ought to be kept. I can tell you very easily how boys and girls of your age usually keep one."
" Well, how is it?" asked Mary.
" In the first place," said Mr. Edward,
" they go and buy a big blank-book, so thick and hard that it is very difficult to write in it. When you try to write upon any page of such a book as that, the leaf on the other side opposite to it, and the rest of the leaves beyond it, cover and all, spring over upon you, and hinder your work. Then when you get down near the bottom of the page, there is nothing to support your hand beyond the edge of the book, and you can't write well at all.
" However, they begin, and they resolve to write a little in their journal every day. But they soon break this resolution, because some days they think they have not anything to say. Some days too they are tired, or don't feel like writing. Sometimes they begin to write, but before they finish they think of something else they wish to do, and so hurry their work, and make the end of that day's writing a mere scrawl. In this way they soon get dissatisfied with their journal, and lay it away in a drawer and forget all about it. Then a long time afterward they take another notion to keep a journal, and so they look up the old book, and not liking the beginning they made in it, they turn the book over and begin again at the other end. So their journal-book is all topsy-turvy."
John and Mary both laughed at their uncle Edward's account of the way in which young people usually kept journals.
" But after all," said John, " we don't care about the wrong and foolish ways of keeping a journal. We want to know a good way."
So Mr. Edward went on to tell them what he thought was the best way to proceed.
He advised them to get a thin book, of about the size of large note-paper. They could make the book themselves, he said, out of note-paper, with any kind of stiff paper for a cover. Twelve sheets of paper would make a book large enough for the first number.
" After you have filled one number," said he, "you can make another just like it, if you like, and then another, and when you have a good many, you can, if you choose, take them to a bookbinder and let him bind them into a regular volume. If you write them carefully and well enough, you. can have them bound in morocco, and handsomely lettered, and gilded on the back and at the edges, if you like."
" But I should not be willing," said Mary, " to leave my journal at the book-binder's, and have him read all there is in it."
" Then you must carry some other book to be bound," said Edward, " and watch to see how he sews it. Then you can bind your books together yourself. All the difficulty is in the sewing. After you have got all the separate books sewed together, it is very easy to make the covers and the back."
" How do you do it?" asked John.
" Why, you cut out two pieces of pasteboard for the two covers," said Edward, " and then glue a piece of cloth on for the back, or a piece of morocco, if you have got it, and then cover the sides with marble-paper. But it would be a great deal better to let the bookbinder do it. And you must write your journals so carefully that you won't be ashamed to have anybody see them."
" But there might be some secrets in them," said Mary.
" No," said Mr. Edward. " You must not put any secrets in your journals. Make it a rule never to write anything in your journal-nor in anything else in fact-that you are not willing that the whole world should see."
" Oh, uncle Edward! " exclaimed Mary.
" I don't mean exactly that you ought to be willing that all the world should see what you have written, but only that you should write nothing that it would do any harm for anybody to read. And especially you must make it a rule not to write anything about any persons whom you know, that you would be unwilling to have those persons read.
" However," continued Mr. Edward, " whether you ever get your journal bound into a volume or not, it is much better to write it in separate thin books, like the numbers of a magazine. These books must be all of a size ', and the page, -I mean the written page, that is the part which the writing covers, - and also the inner margin, must be always the same; so that if there should be any difference in the size of the leaves of the different books, it should all be in the outer margins, that is in the margins at the top and bottom, and at the outer edge. Then when the books are finished and bound together, they may be all trimmed down to the same size,-that is if you have left in all, as you ought to do, a proper margin all round."
Another recommendation that Edward gave to Mary and John was that they should not resolve to write a little in their journals every day, but only when it was convenient and agreeable to write.
" It is not best," said he, " to make keeping a journal a task; if you do you will soon get tired of it, and will neglect it, and the book will come at last to be associated in your minds with resolutions broken, and duty neglected, and so the very sight of the book will trouble you. There is no reason for this, for keeping a journal is not one of your duties. It is something that you undertake for pleasure. It is the pleasure of improvement in a great measure, it is true, still it is the pleasure that is your motive, and you undertake the work of your own accord.
So you ought to manage it in such a way as to make it a pleasure. Therefore your plan must be to write when it is convenient and agreeable, and not at any other time."
Mr. Edward advised the children moreover not to confine their journals entirely to accounts of themselves personally, but to put into them anything which it would be useful to remember, or interesting for themselves or others to read.
" Copy anecdotes in them," said he, " or poetry, and make memoranda of any important facts that you learn, and above all things embellish them with pictures, such as drawings that you make from nature in your walks, or little pictures that you paint. You can put in riddles too, and conundrums, and puzzles of all kinds, here and there. All these things will make your journals a great deal more interesting, and consequently more valuable."
" Yes," said Mrs. Gay, who was sitting in the bay-window all this time, at work and 'listening to this conversation, " I have no doubt the books would be more interesting made up in that way, but they would be magazines rather than journals."
" True," said Mr. Edward. " And they might call their books magazines if they would like. A journal is, strictly speaking, something written day by day; but the word is commonly used to denote anything written at regular or irregular intervals of time."
" We will call ours journals," said Mary.
" Yes," said John, " so we will. At least that will be the best name for yours. But I shall put so many other things in mine that perhaps I had better call mine a magazine."
" Well," said Mary, " mine shall be a journal, and yours shall be a magazine."
" Whenever you put in pictures, or anything else," continued Edward, " use the gum very thick, and only put on the smallest possible quantity near each corner of the picture, - for if you put on enough to wet your paper much it will draw it and pucker it, and it will never afterward lie smooth."
" Yes," said John, " we know about that."
" And if you put many pictures in, or flowers, or anything else to make the book thicker in the pages, you must sew in some false leaves at the back, like the false leaves of a scrap-book,-so as to make the back of the book as thick as the body of it."
" But if the book is already sewed," said Mary, " how can we get the false leaves in ? "
" You cannot get them in," said Edward, "without cutting the thread and taking the leaves apart, and then, when you have put in the false leaves, sewing them together again. That is some trouble ; and you need not do that, unless you choose, until you have finished a good many books, and are ready to have them bound in one. And if you only put a few pictures in you will not have to do it at all."
" I mean to put a great many pictures in mine," said Mary.
" And I mean to put a great many drawings in mine," said John; " but I shall draw most of them right on the page."
" Then you will not have to put in any false leaves at all," said Edward.
Another thing that Edward especially recommended was that the children should take special pains that every single word in their journals should be written as well as they could write it.
" Don't have any scribbling in your book," said he. " Have it all carefully written, and all written alike, with letters of the same size and the same slant. To secure this you must write a little specimen on a slip of paper, and keep it with you, like a sort of book-mark, as you go on, and look at it every day when you begin to write, and make your writing correspond to it.
" If you don't do that," continued Edward, "your writing will vary on the different pages, and your book will not look well. You must write your specimen too in a plain, neat, round, and careful hand, so that the writing shall everywhere be as easy to read as print."
" Yes," said John, " that would be the best way, I know; but sometimes we have not time to finish what we have begun, and so we get in a hurry and don't write the last part of it so well."
" That is just the way it happens," said Mr. Edward. "And I'll tell you what you must do to avoid it. It must be one of two things. You must either leave the work unfinished for that: day, with a view of finishing it at another time, or else you must give it up entirely, and write Interrupted at the end of it, and so let it go as a fragment. You can, if you choose, put the title Fragment at the beginning of it. We often find unfinished things like those in books, made so on purpose, and there is no objection to your having them in your journals. It is a great deal better to leave them so than it is to hurry on for the sake of finishing them, and so spoil the uniformity and beauty of your pages by having here and there articles begun nicely and ended in a careless and scrawling hand:
" Another thing," continued Mr. Edward, " is that you must not run all your articles together, but make them separate from each other, with a blank line and a dash in the middle of it, between each. The best way to make the dash is with a dot, or little circle, in the middle, and a short line on each side of it. I will show you how."
So saying, Edward took a pen and a piece of paper, and made a dash, thus, -o-, such as he had described.
" For every long article too," said Edward, " you ought to have a separate caption or heading, to tell what it is about. And so when you are going to begin a long article, or even a short one which is on any one definite subject, you must leave two blank lines at the beginning of it,- one for the heading itself, and one for the space between the heading and the beginning of the article. And you had better not write the title of the article till after the article itself is finished."
" I should think," said Mary, " that the title should be written the first thing."
" No," replied Edward, " for very often you change the plan of your article after you begin to write, or it becomes something different from what you expected it would be, and then some different title from the one you first thought of would be better."
After hearing these and some other similar instructions from their uncle, the children became more interested in the plan of keeping a journal than ever, and they agreed to begin them together the next Saturday afternoon.
JOHN came to his cousin Mary's the next Saturday afternoon, bringing Benny with him. It was rather a cold day, too cold to make it agreeable to play out of doors, and so Luly and Benny took Luly's fence materials and went into the back sitting-room, and there occupied themselves with building fences, bridges, bird-cages, and other such things, while John and Mary in the parlor began to attend to the business of the journals.
The first question was about the size, -whether the books should be of the quarto or of the octavo size and shape.
A common writing-book is of the quarto form, and is so called in consequence of its coming from the folding of the sheet of paper into four leaves.
A sheet of note-paper, on the other hand, is of the octavo form, being oblong.
It is so called because it comes from folding the sheet of paper into eight leaves, from octo, an ancient word which means eight.
The quarto, or writing-book form, gives a broader page and longer lines to write upon, and is on that account more convenient for the writer while he is at work.
The octavo, or note-paper form, being narrower, would make a book, when several of the sewed numbers were bound together, that would be more convenient to use, and would stand better with other books upon the shelves of a library,-as most books in libraries are either of the octavo form, or else, if smaller, of substantially the same shape as the octavos, - that is, oblong. instead of being nearly square.
Thus books of the quarto form would be more convenient for the writers while they were making them, but the octavo form would be better after they were made.
The children both finally decided upon the octavo form, and they determined at once to go into the town to buy some large-sized note-paper to make them of.
Mrs. Gay, Mary's mother, gave them money to buy a ream of such paper.
" But," said she, " the paper is not all yours. I will give you at the beginning one quire out of the ream, and you can make two books of it, one for each of you. I don't think that either of you will persevere long enough to fill more than one book; I have some doubts whether you will ever get even one book full. I will, however, keep the rest of the paper for you as long as I find there is any probability of your wanting to use it. If at any time I observe that a week passes without your writing anything in your journals, then I shall be at liberty to use the paper for notes, or for anything else."
" A fortnight, mother," said Mary ; " say a fortnight. We might sometimes not write anything for a week, without giving up our journals altogether."
" But it would be very easy," said Mrs. Gay, " if you find the week has passed away without your having done anything to your journals, to sit down on Saturday evening and write something, even if only a few lines, so as to save your paper. I ought not to take the trouble of keeping it for you, if you are not willing to take so much pains as that. You know that whenever you begin again upon your journals, if I have used all this paper up, you can buy some more at the bookstore."
" Only," said John, " that the man may not happen to have any more of this kind then."
" You will have to take your chance of that," said Mrs. Gay. " And at any rate you will be safe as long as you do not let a week pass without writing something in your journals."
The children concluded on the whole to be satisfied with these conditions, and they set off together to buy the paper. They chose the largest size of note-paper that the bookseller had, and of a kind, too, formed of pretty thick paper, for convenience of erasing when they should make mistakes. They also bought some thick and stiff brown paper for covers.
When they came home they took out one quire from the ream, with a view of giving the rest to Mrs. Gay.
Then John proceeded to sew the two books. He made the covers at first large enough to extend beyond the paper a little way, on every side, and then trimmed them down nearly to the size of the white paper. It was better, he thought, to let the covers project a little way beyond the edges, in order to protect them, and prevent their getting soiled.
" And now," said Mary, " the next thing is to rule the margin all around. Uncle Edward said that we must not write out to the edge of the paper, but must leave a white margin all around, as they do in books, and unless we rule lines we shall forget."
" But I have thought of another plan," said John, " that I think will be better."
" What is it? " asked Mary.
" I am going to make a margin-guard," said John. " You will see."
So saying, John took a piece of the thick paper which he had bought for the covers, as large as two pages of the book, and folded it just. as he would have done for a cover, only in this case the fold was at the top instead of at the left-hand edge. He slipped this piece on over the first leaf of his book, to see if it fitted. Of course one of the folds came down and covered the front side of the leaf, and the other went down behind.
" There," said he, " this is going to be the guard. Now I am going to cut just the size of the page of writing out of the front leaf of it, and then the middle part, just the size of the page, will be open, and we can write there, but there will be a margin of thick paper all around, covering the margin of our book, so we can't write there, whether we forget or not."
" Yes," said Mary, " that will be an excellent plan."
So John, having previously made his guard just the size of the page, proceeded to mark out upon the front fold of it a margin about half an inch wide all around, and then he cut out the middle portion, by means of the scissors. He first thrust the point of the scissors through the paper in the middle, and then cutting out to the margin line he followed it carefully all around, and so took the middle part out.
He then gave the guard to Mary, that she might try it upon the first leaf of her book, to see if it fitted. She found that it did fit perfectly well.
" You can keep that one," said John, " and I will make another for myself, in the same way."
Before long both the guards were finished.
" Now," said John, " we have only to be careful always to put our guards on before we begin to write, and our margins will always be safe."
" And now," said Mary, " we are ready to begin."
" Yes," said John; " but let us look into some book first, and see how they begin in a book."
" They begin with the title-page first," said Mary.
" Shall we have a title-page ? " asked John.
" Yes," said Mary ; " I think it would be a good plan. What shall the title be ? Yours is going to be Magazine, and mine is going to be Journal."
" But we need not write the titles now," said John. " We can leave a page for the title, and go on, and so get more time to consider what the title-page shall be. Uncle Edward told me that when they make books they always print the title-page the last thing."
" I don't see how they can put it in," said Mary, " after all the rest of the book is done."
" We can leave ours, at any rate," said John. " The next thing that comes in the book is the preface. Shall we have any preface ? "
" No," said Mary, shaking her head. " I think we had better not have any preface. I don't know what we should put in it."
" We might write in it," said John, " how we came to think of writing a journal, and what uncle Edward told us about the way of doing it."
" No," said Mary. " We had better put that in the journal itself, where people will read it. They never read what is in the preface."
" Then," said John, " we will just leave one leaf for the title-page, and begin on the next one, and we will begin by telling how we came to write a journal."
. " But first," said Mary, " we must write our specimens."
So they both took a small strip of paper which they cut off from the top of a sheet, and wrote upon it the following words, which John dictated and he and Mary wrote, phrase by phrase, as he dictated them. They both wrote with great care, as if they were setting copies in a writing-book, the following
All the writing in this book must be as nearly as possible like this specimen.
" Now," said John, after the specimens were finished, " we will keep these in our books for a mark, and every time we write in them we will look at the specimens, and put them at the top of the page and have them for a copy."
John then looked at the printed book again, to see about the beginning of it.
" They don't begin the first page at the very top," said John. " They begin part of the way down."
" Then we will begin ours part of the way down too," said Mary.
" There will be some kind of a heading," said John, " but we will write that in by-and-by. And now what shall we begin with ? "
" How would it do to put the rules in first ? " said Mary, - " the rules that uncle Edward gave us."
" That will be an excellent plan," said John. " First we will tell how we came to ask him."
So taking his seat at the table and dipping his pen into the inkstand, John began to repeat to himself the word? which he was going to write.
" My cousin Mary and I" -
" Only," he added, interrupting himself and looking up to Mary at the same time, " you must say my cousin John and I."
" Yes," said Mary, " I will."
So they both began to write.* They wrote as far as John had dictated, and then they went on, sometimes John dictating and sometimes Mary, until at length the opening article in the two journals, or rather in the journal and the magazine, was completed. It was as follows in Mary's, and John's was almost word for word the same.
My cousin John and I thought we would keep a journal, and uncle Edward gave us these rules : -
1. "Write your journals in thin books, to be afterward bound together.
2. Make the pages all of exactly the same size.
3. Be very sure to leave a margin all around the writing, or else some of the letters will be cut off when you trim the edges of your book.
4. Have a specimen of writing, and make all the writing exactly like it.
5. Don't resolve to write some every day.
6. Put in some pictures, if you have any pretty ones, or can make any.
7. If you put in a great many pictures you must put in some false leaves to make the back of the book as thick as the middle of it.
8. Copy stories and riddles and anything else in your journal that will make it entertaining. Also anything that you learn and wish to be sure to remember.
9. Never put any secrets in your journal.
10. When you get tired of keeping your journal put it away carefully in a safe place, and by-and-by, when you feel inclined, you can go on with it again.
It took the children an hour to write these rules, they proceeded so slowly and carefully with their work. They also stopped frequently to compare their writing with the specimen, so as to make it uniform throughout, and they succeeded so well in doing this, that, when they came to the end, they found that they had written the tenth rule as handsomely as the first.
I am not certain that the tenth rule did not look even better than the first, for just before they began it John gave Mary a special caution.
" This is going to be the last rule," said he, " and let us take special pains with it, so as to have a handsome ending."
By the time the rules were finished-they were both tired of writing, and so they concluded to put their journals away for that day.
" Though first," said John, " we must put in the caption for this article."
" What shall it be ? " said Mary.
" The Ten Rules" said John. " There are just ten of them."
So, after the ink was dry where they had been writing, they turned back to the be- ginning. Here, a few lines down from the top of the page, Mary wrote, in a plain round band, the word JOURNAL, while John, in the corresponding place on his page, wrote MAGAZINE. Each ruled three lines underneath the word.
Then, a few lines below and near the commencement of the article which they had written, they inserted the words, -
THE TEN RULES.
John was going to carry his book home, but Mary proposed that he should leave it with her, and then that he should come to her house when he was going to write in his magazine again, so that both of them might write together.
"It is a great deal pleasanter," she said. " for us to write our Journals together."
" Well," said John, " I will. Only we need not always write the same thing, as we have to-day."
" Oh, no," said Mary. " We can each write what we like, only it will be pleasanter for us to write together. Then we shall be more careful. And, besides, we shall not get tired so soon."
" Well," said John, " I will leave my book and come here again pretty soon. Only sometimes you must bring your journal to our house and write with me there."
" Yes," said Mary, " I will."
So Mary took John's book and put it away carefully with hers, and then John went to find Benny, and they went home together.
When Luly came to see Mary's journal, which she did that evening when Mary showed it to her mother, she was extremely pleased with the idea, and she wanted to have a journal too.
" Only," she said, in rather a desponding tone, " I don't think I could keep so many rules."
We shall, however, hear more of Luly's journal in another chapter.
* See frontispiece.
THE INDIAN SUMMER.
THE children had all been so much pleased with the drawings which they had made of the boat and the pier, on the day when John took them in the carryall to Warner's Pond, especially after they had painted them, that many of them felt a strong desire to go out and draw from nature again. It -was not necessary, they said, to go so far as Warner's Pond. They could find something to draw that was nearer, where they could walk.
But it was getting so late in the season that Mary thought it would be too cold to draw in the open air.
" It is very pleasant weather," she said, " for running about and playing, with our gloves or our mittens on to keep our hands warm, but it would be very cold and uncomfortable for our fingers to draw in the open air, such a time as this."
" I wish we had begun to draw sooner in the year," said Tirzah. " We might have gone out a good many times last summer when it was warm."
Tirzah was a very still and quiet little girl, who was very attentive, patient, and faithful in all her work, and talked very little, though, when she did speak, what she had to say was always quite to the purpose.
After some farther conversation it was decided by Mary and the others that the weather was too cold at that time to make it pleasant for a party to go out and draw in the open air.
About a week after this, however, the Indian summer began. The weather became for some days very warm and pleasant. The sun was bright and the air was calm and balmy, just as in the real summer, and one afternoon while Mary and Luly were at work in their garden they saw two or three other girls coming in through the gate, Tirzah among them.
Mary and Luly were at work raking all the weeds and rubbish in their little gardens into a heap in the middle, in order to burn them up, and they were just lighting a match to set them on fire, when they saw these visitors coming. Sarah, Richard's sister, was at the head of the party.
They came to say that it was so warm now that they might go out on a drawing excursion, if Mary would only go with them.
Mary said that she would like to go very much, and after some farther conversation it was decided to form a party for the next morning. It was agreed too that they would go down to the mill-stream and make a drawing of the mill. One of the girls said that she had seen in a drawing-book a drawing of a mill, and it made a very pretty picture.
In farther conversation upon the subject they came upon what Mary was at first disposed to consider a very serious difficulty, arising from the number of girls that were intending to go. On counting them up, it appeared that there were ten or twelve that wished to be of the party.
" I don't see how I can take care of so many,'' said Mary. " Besides, we shall make such a crowd of girls going along the street that everybody will stop to look round at us."
"We must scatter along," said Tirzah, " three or four together."
" Yes," said Mary, " that will be a very good plan."
" I might ask my cousin John to go with us," added Mary, after a pause, " and he could help me."
One of the older girls at once objected to asking John, because, as she said, she was not willing to have him see her drawing.
" Oh, that 's no matter," said Luly. " I would as lief have him see my drawing as not."
" But then," said Tirzah, " if we should ask him to go with us he might think that we wanted him to take us in the carryall again."
It was finally concluded, either for these or for other reasons, not to ask John to go, but to go by themselves, and not to have any boys of the party except one or two very small ones. The persons who wished to go were all to be notified to assemble in the yard at Mary Gay's house the next morning at nine o'clock. Each was to bring a luncheon in a basket, as an expedition like this without something of the nature of a picnic connected with it would lose half its charm.
As it would be difficult to provide drawing-boards for so large a number, it was arranged that every one was to provide herself with a book, - taking care to choose one with a smooth cover. Each one was to carry her paper in this book, on the way, and use the book for a drawing-board when making her sketch.
Each one was also to take with her a pencil and a piece of India-rubber. The luncheons were all to be put up in paper parcels, so that there should be no empty baskets to bring back.
Thus the enterprise seemed to be well .planned in all its details; but I am sorry to say that it did not succeed very well. Indeed it was in almost all respects a decided failure, and Mary was quite distressed at the result of it.
The first difficulty which the party met with was in going through the town, on their way to the mill. Mary did not like
to have so large a party go along together like a flock of sheep, as she said, for everybody to stare at; and so she adopted Tirzah's suggestion of " scattering along." She appointed Tirzah herself - she being a very considerate and careful girl - to go first, taking one other child with her. She charged Tirzah to be very careful not to walk fast, but to go along slowly enough to make it easy for the others to keep up; and she was to look back occasionally to see whether the next pair were coming on, and were at the proper distance, and if not she was to walk more slowly, or even to stop, if necessary, to allow those behind her to come up.
Next to these two were to come three girls - three that wished to walk together. They were directed to wait till Tirzah and her company had gone on a little way, and were then to follow, but to keep at a considerable distance,-about as far, Mary said, as they could throw a small stone. If they found that they were getting too near to those before them, then they were to walk more slowly ; and if they were getting too far away, then they were to go faster, - so as always to keep about as far off as they could throw a small stone.
The rest of the party were divided in the same way, into sets of two or three, and sent off at intervals after each other, every different set being instructed to keep always as nearly as possible at the same distance from those before them.
These instructions, if they had been properly followed by the children, would have had the effect of enabling the whole party to pass through the village without attracting any attention, for they would not have appeared to be one party at all.
But the children, being full of excitement and joy, did not pay much attention to the instructions after they once commenced their walk; and indeed they got quite into a frolic in regard to them; for Lucinda, who happened to be one of the three that came next after Tirzah, finding, just as they were passing through the busiest part of the village, that she and her set were too near to Tirzah, said suddenly,-
"Look! We are getting too near. Mary said we must not get so near that we could hit them with a stone."
So saying, she picked up a small pebble, and threw it forward toward Tirzah. The other girls with her did the same. The girls of the set behind them, seeing this, thought that they would try the same plan. So they began to pick up pebbles, and to throw them at Lucinda and her set.
Those behind them, seeing what was going on, concluded to join in the frolic, and so before long every set was busy picking up pebble-stones and pelting those before them.
And this was not the worst of it. For when Tirzah and her companion who were at the head heard the pebbles rattling upon the ground behind them, and on looking round saw that Lucinda and the others were throwing stones at them, they began at first to walk faster, and then to run, in order to get out of the way. It is true the pebbles were very small, and would not have hurt them much if they had hit them; but then they did not like to be hit by stones in the street, if they were ever so small, and so they hurried on to get out of the way. Lucinda then, and those with her, began to ran too, partly to keep up with Tirzah, and partly to get out of the way of those who were pelting them from behind. Then those behind them began to run in the same way, and Mary, who came last, had very soon the inexpressible mortification and chagrin of seeing her charge running as fast as they could run after each other along the most public street of the village, screaming with laughter, and pelting each other with stones.
What made it all the more vexatious for Mary was, that there was nothing that she could possibly do to remedy this disorder, except to run after the children and try to stop them. But to do this would have been only to complete the ridiculousness of the exhibition which her party were making of themselves.
To have attempted to call to them would have been worse still, for they were so far before her that she could not have made them hear without actually screaming, and this would have only added to the disorder, and called the attention of the people in the street to it still more effectually.
So Mary did the best thing she could possibly have done in the case, and that was nothing. She walked quietly along, just as if she did not belong to the party at all. Only she took care to notice particularly how many of the children there were who did not take any part in the disorder, and to remember their names.
At length the children became tired of the fun, and then probably, too, they began to feel some sense of the impropriety of it, and they resumed their regular order of march, and after this went on very quietly.
They went on in this way, Tirzah and her companion at the head, until they came to a great gate which led to a path through the fields that would take them to the mill.
Tirzah, who had received full instructions beforehand what she was to do, stopped when she came to this gate, to wait for all the divisions of the party to come up. For as they had now passed through the town there was no longer any necessity for being scattered, and Mary's plan was, that, in going along this path through the fields and woods, they should all keep together.
There was a little girl named Margaret generally called Madge, who had walked with Mary all the way. Madge was a wild little thing, - very good-natured, but so full of life and fun that she was often getting into mischief or difficulty, and for that reason Mary had chosen her to walk with her. When Madge saw the children running after each other and pelting each other with stones, she was at first very eager to run forward and join them; but when Mary restrained her from this, arid told her that the children ought not to do so in so public a place as the street, then she wanted to run forward and stop them.
But Mary said no, and kept Madge walking along quietly by her side.
" I am ashamed of them," said Mary, " and I have no doubt that all the people that see them are ashamed of them. But you. and I will walk along quietly, as we ought to do, and none of the shame will come upon us. "We won't let the people know that we have anything to do with them."
And now, as Mary and Madge were drawing near to the gate where all the rest of the children were assembled, Madge's mind seemed to be quite exercised to know what Mary was going to do
" They ought to be ashamed of themselves," said Madge. " If I were you I would not let one of them draw."
" But there were some of them that were not to blame," said Mary. " I counted four that did not run or throw any stones."
" Then I would punish the rest in some way," said Madge.
" No," replied Mary.
" Then at least I would give them a good scolding," said Madge.
" No," replied Mary, " scolding is not my way."
" I'll give them a good scolding for you," said Madge, " if you wish me to," - looking up at the same time eagerly into Mary's face, as if she was all ready to run forward and begin, if Mary would only say the word. "Shall I?"
" No," said Mary, " we won't either of us scold them."
Mary was indeed very much in doubt what the best thing was for her to do, in regard to the disorder which her party had fallen into; but she was very sure that appearing to be angry with them and
scolding them was not the best thing. In the mean time she determined that until she had had time to decide what was the best thing to do she would not do anything,-in conformity with that excellent maxim, -
" When you do not know what to do, do nothing."
MARY went up to the children that were assembled at the gate, without any expression of displeasure upon her countenance, but smiling as usual.
" Well, girls," said she, " we have got so far. Now open the gate and let us all pass through. We can go along this path through the fields and woods all together, or just as we please; and we can run about and play as much as we like."
The children who had all felt some misgivings when Mary was coming to join them, expecting that she would scold them for what they had done, were greatly relieved at being accosted in this way, and felt more joyous and hilarious than ever. They set off all together on the full run along the path, - their shawls and bonnet-ribbons fluttering behind them in the wind they made; so that they were now more like a flock of birds than a flock of sheep This was, however, of no consequence, for they were now in a retired place, where there could be no harm in any amount of fun and frolicking.
But unfortunately any intellectual enjoyment like that of drawing and the pleasure of fun and frolicking-though each excellent by themselves - do not go well together. When at length the party arrived at the place below the mill where they were going to draw, they had become so flurried with the excitement and the motion, that they found, when they had got out their drawing materials, and had seated themselves on the rocks and began to draw, that their hands trembled so much that they could not do anything at all.
Besides, they were all now so full of fun that they felt much more like running about and playing, and throwing stones into the water, than like sober patient work with their pencils. Some left their paper on the rocks, with a stone upon it to keep it from blowing away, and went to look over the work which the others were doing. Some went down to the brink of the stream, and began to throw stones and sticks into the water. One boy climbed up into a little tree, and called out to the rest to see how high he was; and two girls began clambering up some jagged rocks, to see if they could not get up higher still than the boy.
You will wonder perhaps where Mary was all this time, and why she did not exert her authority to restore order. The truth was that Mary had come to the wisest conclusion that she could have possibly adopted under the circumstances of the case, which was to give up the whole plan of making this a drawing-party, and let it go for a frolic.
" They have got into such a gay condition," she said to herself, " that it will be very hard work to bring them to order. Indeed I don't see how I could do it at all as I have not got the flag here with me to keep them still.
"Besides." she added, "they need to have frolics now and then as much as they do to learn to draw, and as this is one of the last pleasant days we shall have this year, I will let them have a good time."
So she went and took her seat upon a flat stone under some trees growing near the bank, where the warm sun shone in very pleasantly, and let the children do as they pleased.
A few of the girls went on faithfully and patiently with their work in making a drawing of the bridge. Some others, after beginning, and drawing a few strokes in a hurried, and consequently in a careless manner, became dissatisfied with their work and gave it up. These and some others left their drawings unfinished and went away to play, placing their books upon the stones which had served them for seats, to keep their places till they came back, and many of them left their drawings upon the books. Before they had been gone long a little puff of wind came and blew all these loose drawings away, whereupon there suddenly arose a great running after the flying sheets, and scrambling to get possession of them, accompanied by shouts and outcries, and peals of laughter.
As soon as this excitement had subsided Mary went around to all the girls who
[scanning copy lacks pp. 115-126]
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