From the little Tin Soldier, with banner unfurled,
To the President's baton of gold.
Tommy's chickens parade, and Patty cuts pranks,
And Jack flies his kite in the air,
While gay, happy children play on the green banks,
Without either trouble or care.
She opens her song with a "Happy New-Year,"
This Doll - a poetical one -
And tossing her curls, says, " Now listen, my dear,"
Then is lost in a ray of the sun.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE.
ATIE was twelve years old, and her aunt considered it only right that she should earn something for herself, as there were many mouths to feed in the cottage.
The little girl was sent to the factory, to begin at the lowest round of the ladder, which she would climb as the years rolled on, until she could control one of the looms of the upper story, like the older girls, guiding the whirling shuttles with nimble fingers, to weave bright - colored cloth. That seemed a great way in the distance, to Katie, who was only in the basement of life as yet; and so it actually was, for she never reached the highest rank in the factory at all.
Another wheel, about which we hear so much said, was revolving for the little girl in the most delightful and unexpected way --the wheel of fortune.
One warm, sultry day in August, when the trees shaded the cool green grass of the river - bank temptingly, and the factory was stiflingly hot, with the sun glaring in at every window with a burning heat, and the air was heavy from the oily fumes of the clanking machinery, Katie was wearily sorting the pile of rags, which was her portion of work.
How noisily every sound buzzed and creaked in her cars--how the gliding bands and shafts ran in and out of each other's way, as if they were never tired !
Katie looked wistfully out of the half-opened door into the wide, dusty street, thinking that she would much rather be taking care of the .cross baby at home, or be roaming in the woods with the other children, than to work so hard.
Just then one of the owners of the factory, who usually stood in a little office behind a tall desk, where he could readily peer out through the glass doors, and see that no one was idle, came out, and paused before Katie.
The child did not venture to raise her eyes; she had an idea that the manager was a great and terrible person, and she had heard him speak severely more than once.
" Here, little girl," said the manufacturer, who was really a very kind gentleman, and had noticed Katie's tired face, " take this note up to the house for me, and don't be gone very long."
Katie sprang up, delighted at the chance of putting on her hat and running away to the great house, which was quite a long distance from the factory, at the other end of the village street.
A row of poplar-trees, ragged and worn with age, ranged primly beside the path which led up to the old-fashioned red-brick house with tall chimneys.
It seemed a very splendid residence in Katie's eyes, for there was a fountain which tossed sparkling jets of silver spray into the sunshine, and a game of croquet upon the lawn, with the pretty, bright-colored balls lying about in the grass among the wickets.
This was all that Katie's bright eyes discovered, and the wheel of fortune turned rapidly around for her the moment she saw the baby.
He was a sturdy, rosy child, with gay red boots upon his tiny feet, and a delicate white dress, much crumpled by the wearer's fancy for rolling in the gravel of the walk. Baby had slyly roamed out of the open door, when nobody missed him, and was now familiarly pulling the bushy tail of a large, savage-looking dog.
Katie understood the situation in a moment. She had been nurse in her aunt's family ever so many years, and although all her experience had been gathered from . poor babies, who are generally allowed to tumble about for themselves entirely at their own pleasure, she knew very well that a rich baby had no business to be taking liberties with a strange, ill-natured dog, especially when the latter was growling and showing his teeth at the bold little man.
" Do-o long! " shouted baby gayly, imitating his older brothers in driving horses.
" Growl, growl ! " replied the dog, rolling his wicked eyes.
Quick as an arrow, Katie gave a spring forward, snatched up the baby, and held him high in the air, so that the big dog made a vicious snap at her instead, then bounded away in answer to his master's call in the road.
Baby at first was breathless with astonishment and fear: then he began to cry, kicking the red boots vigorously. He did not know that Katie was any better as a friend than the stranger dog, until she sat down on the piazza step to soothe him quietly.
Baby's mamma, and the rest of the family, came rushing out, and found Katie, looking like a grave little old woman, rocking him gently; and the baby took so kindly to the small nurse, that his crying fit subsided into a few gasping sobs.
Of course, the ladies trembled over the danger which the child had escaped.
" But you were bitten," said the mother, lifting Katie's calico sleeve, which was rent by the dog's sharp teeth; and they had made a wound in the flesh besides.
" That's nothing," said Katie, unconcernedly; "I was afraid the dog would hurt the baby, you know."
" The brute may have been mad," murmured baby's aunt, with a shudder of alarm.
Katie was not worried at this idea; she knew nothing of the terrors of hydrophobia.
Nurse now approached, carrying a tiny roll of flannel, with a puckered little face peering out of the folds, and two wee fists flourished in the air.
"How could you leave Charlie to be bitten by a strange dog! " exclaimed mamma. Nurse looked startled, then she pursed up her lips, and her face flushed with vexation.
"I can't be in two places at once, ma'am," she said. " The new baby cried up stairs, and Charlie ran away by himself, I suppose. It's more than I can do to mind both of them."
Katie's wounded arm was carefully dressed by the kind ladies, and she was given a cake besides; then, after delivering the note, she trotted back to her post in the factory, much refreshed by the recess which had been granted to her.
The next day she found Charlie's mother talking with her aunt, and about her, too. The lady wanted her to be Charlie's nurse, instead of working in the tiresome factory all day.
How wonderful ! The little girl danced with delight when her aunt consented to her departure, and then a small trunk was neatly packed with all Katie's worldly goods, even to the red Paisley shawl, which had been once worn by her mother when the family crossed the ocean to find work in the manufactories of the New World, like so many of their countrymen.
Katie was sorry to leave her aunt, but she soon forgot her grief in the new life she entered upon. She fancied that all her former companions cast envious glances at her from the windows of the factory, when she walked past dragging the baby in a smart little carriage, with gayly painted wheels and a leather top, just like the large carriages used by grown people.
Charlie was the old baby, and the new one had put his small nose sadly out of Joint, he took very kindly to his little nurse, and the two were happy as the day is long, for Katie was enough of a child to enjoy frolicking with her small charge, and she always had some delightful amusement ready to check the falling tears the moment the baby had made up his face to cry. Nurse and Katie were also very good friends, especially as the little assistant's willing feet carried her on all sorts of useful errands after pins and needles, milk for the children, and hot tea for nurse herself--all of which put nurse in a very good humor, for it saved her racing about from morning until night.
At last the autumn came, with cool, clear breath, casting a scarlet and yellow mantle over the hill-side, and leaving traces of its presence in the valleys in delicate hoar-frost, which vanished into filmy mist before the sun's bright rays.
That was the time to gather richly tinted leaves into bouquets, and search for the smooth polished chestnuts, or sweet-flavored walnuts.
Katie and the baby roamed with the rest on these excursions, but they usually rested at a safe distance from the busy scene of the nut-harvest, as Charlie had already learned the use of his sharp, squirrel-like little teeth. Now the family must bid the kind aunt good-by, who had entertained them for the summer, and flit back to their city home, as the birds seek warmer latitudes for the cold, wind-swept days of winter.
Katie looked at the old church, with the weather-worn sheds ranged beside it; at the quiet grave-yard beyond, where her father and mother were sleeping; at the factory cupola, where the great brazen-tongued bell hung which had called her so often; then she climbed into the cars for the first time in her life, and was whirled away rapidly.
The young traveller's eyes were dazzled by the novel sights about her. If she looked out of the window, the trees and rivers seemed to whiz past as if they were racing up hill, and down again, to keep pace with the frantic speed of the locomotive ; if she watched the rows of passengers in the cars, she found that they all looked quite different from each other, and there were more flowers in the ladies' bonnets than she had ever seen before. The simple little girl! Especially was her interest excited in a pretty young lady, who wore such a beautiful dress, with so many curls, and such glittering earrings, seated opposite, as well as the young gentleman with elegant gloves, who was so devoted in his attentions to his fair companion, holding her lace pocket-handkerchief, arranging her dainty shawl, and turning the leaves of her book.
Katie nearly dropped the old baby from her arms, in her admiration of the handsome strangers.
" Don't stare so, child! " whispered nurse, giving her a little shake. "That is a bride, to be sure. La! I should know she was, by her airs and graces, a mile off."
Nurse knew everything; her experience in the world was very large. She often told Katie that she had raised ten babies, and she spoke as if the babies were nothing more than early vegetables, grown in a forcing-bed.
As for Katie, she was quite ashamed of having looked steadily at the lady, and afterward contented herself with stealing sidelong glances at her, to count the rows of trimming upon her dress, until they all ran together in circles, and then the little girl gave it up in despair.
The children ate sandwiches and candy, and begged for drinks of water without number, just when they could not have the grateful fluid; then they all nodded wearily, cramped by the confinement of sitting still so long; and Katie nodded with the rest.
Fresh marvels were in store. Suddenly the locomotive darted into a long tunnel, and the daylight was completely shut out, except where a few faint rays came through loop-holes here and there.
Katie was terribly frightened. She clasped the sleeping baby to her breast so closely, fearing that something dreadful was about to happen, that he awoke with a shout, which was joined in by a feeble wail from the new baby.
" Where are we going ? What is it?" cried Katie, clutching nurse in her alarm.
"It's only a tunnel," replied nurse, calmly. " We go underground for a while, that's all. Don't pinch my arm black and blue."
A light flashed in the car from a candle, held by an old lady firmly erect in its socket. The old lady was nervous in the darkness, and so made an illumination for herself. The children giggled, and some of the older people joined them; the old lady looked so funny holding her candle, which flickered over her sharp nose,, and twinkled about her spectacles, even throwing deep shadows under her crimped cap.' border; but she never smiled at the amusement she created.
The young husband availed himself of the darkness to kiss his blooming bride: Katie saw the whole performance, thanks to the old lady's candle, and stared harder than ever.
The train slowly emerged into daylight again, and entered a great city, with stately rows of houses and churches, public squares, and gay thoroughfares. Bewildered by all the magnificence about her, Katie was taken in a carriage to a handsome house, with richly - colored curtains shading the windows, carved balconies, and a spacious hall paved with marble.
Up in the cheerful nursery Katie was to live, where the sun shone pleasantly all the morning, and there were toys enough to stock the little shop kept by the druggist in Katie's native village.
The old baby had a famous swinging crib, and the new baby a dainty nest beside it. Katie saw plainly what it was to be born with a golden spoon in one's mouth.
Harry, the eldest boy, had a room all to himself, with a book-case in it and a bureau, which he kept carefully locked. Nobody was expected to enter his dominions, or examine his private treasures, while he was away at school. Louise, the eldest daughter, was a child of ten; but she wore French heels to her boots, and lisped the French language all the morning at the great school she attended, besides tripping about daintily over waxed floors all the afternoon under the care of her dancing-master.
Miss Louise was altogether very French, and Katie listened awestruck to the gay snatches of song which ran so glibly from the nimble little tongue.
Only in one respect was Louise plain American -- her love for bread and butter --otherwise she might have been a pure Parisienne.
Katie admired everything about her entirely without envy; she never once dreamed of asking how it would seem to be a rich little girl herself. Besides, she felt very proud and grand in her own right.
Did she not walk in the broad streets, leading the merry Charlie, while nurse carried her charge to take the fresh air ? Of all the gorgeous babies out for an airing, clad in blue and purple velvet -- mere toddling bundles of silk and satin, not a yard long--none looked prettier than Katie's baby, you may be sure, with his black plush leggings, his fur coat of snowy ermine, cap with a feather to match, and the tiny muff, about large enough for a doll, in which to warm his small fingers.
When ladies smiled at him, or paused to admire his rosy cheeks and bright eyes,
Katie held her head very high, and gave mamma a faithful account of what. was said, when she returned home, with as much pride as if she owned every inch of Charlie's small body in her own right.
On to chapter two, part one
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