Scanned by Deidre Johnson for her
19th-Century Girls' Series website;
please do not use on other sites without permission
WHEN Rollo's cousin Lucy was a very little girl, she slept in a trundle-bed. She awoke one morning, and heard a bird singing out in the yard. The window was open. The tops of the trees were brightened by the rays of the morning sun.
"It is morning," said Lucy to herself, "I truly believe."
Then Lucy tried to think whether she had been asleep or not; but she could not tell. She thought she had not. She remembered that, the day before, she had been to take a walk with Miss Anne, and that they had got caught out in the rain, and had gone under a bridge for shelter until the shower was over.
Just then she heard a little noise like the rustling of the leaves of a book. It seemed to come from the window where Miss Anne used to sit. Lucy could not see, because the great bed was in the way. She thought it was Miss Anne reading.
" Miss Anne," said she.
" Ah, are you awake, Lucy?" said Miss Anne.
" Yes, and I want to get up."
Miss Anne told Lucy that she might get up, and she did.
When she was dressed. Miss Anne asked her how she felt after her adventure the day before.
" Adventure ? " said Lucy.
" Yes," said Miss Anne, " our adventure under the bridge."
" 0, pretty well," said Lucy. " Was that an adventure ? "
" Yes," said Miss Anne; " when we are out walking, or are travelling, and anything remarkable happens to us, we call it an adventure. When I was a child, I had an adventure somewhat similar to that."
"What was it?" said Lucy.
" I don't know that I shall have time to tell you before the bell will ring. However, I will begin.
" I was quite a little girl — "
" Not so big as I?" interrupted Lucy.
" Yes," said Miss Anne, " just about as big is you. My father was going to take a journey, and he said that I might go too. I don't remember much about the first day, though we had a very pleasant ride. The second day we got to the mountains. I liked riding among the mountains, for I could put my head out of the carriage window, and see the precipices towering away above my head."
"Did you travel in a carriage ? " said Lucy.
" Yes," replied Miss Anne, " we were in a carriage. My father and mother sat upon the back seat, and I upon the front. There was a great trunk strapped on behind. I remember, too, that there was a pocket in the inside of the carriage, under the window, where I kept my picture- book. There was another, bigger book there, too.
" We rode along that day in a very wild, solitary place, where there were no houses. There was a foaming river on one side of the road, and rocks and mountains upon. the other. At last we turned away from the river, and went along a road where there was nothing but woods, and rocks, and mountains all around. I remember that I rode almost all the way kneeling up on the cushion of the front seat, looking out.
" I asked my father if he expected to find any tavern on such a road as that, and he said he did not; I then asked him what we were going to do for dinner, and he said I should see.
" By and by, when we were going up a long hill, and had got nearly to the top of it, my father told Jotham that he might begin to look out a place."
" Who was Jotham ? " asked Lucy.
" Why, Jotham was our man. He was driving us," answered Miss Anne.
"After about half an hour, Jotham stopped in the middle of the road, and asked my father if that place would do; and we all looked out of the window to see.
" We found that there was a brook running across the road, under a small bridge; it came tumbling down among rocks and precipices on one side, and, after crossing the road, it went down through a kind of a ravine upon the other. A ravine, you must understand, is a kind of deep, dark, and narrow valley. The ravine, and the sides of the hills all around, were covered with forests. Father looked at the place a minute or two, and then he said that Jotham might drive on until he came to the next stream.
" I asked him why this place would not do; and he said that the trees and bushes were too thick So we went on down a long descent, until, at last, after we had gone about half a mile, Jotham stopped again. My father looked out of the window a minute, and then told Jotham that we would get out. So Jotham opened the carriage door, and we all got out.
" We found that there was a brook here too, but it was running more smoothly. There was a sort of cart path, which turned off from the road, on the lower side, and led into the woods, along the bank of the brook. My father asked Jotham if he thought he could drive in there; and Jotham said he could. Then my father asked him if he thought he could find a place to turn, if he drove in; and Jotham said he could turn anywhere. So we all walked in, and Jotham came in afterwards, driving the carriage.
" Presently we came to a beautiful place. It was a small, smooth piece of ground, about as large as this room, with the cart path upon one side, and a turn of the brook sweeping around it upon the other. The brook was very beautiful. The water flowed along quietly among round stones, which were covered above the water with soft, green moss. The water was pretty deep in some places; but it was very clear, so that I could see the sand and pebbles upon the bottom; and in one place I saw three great fishes; one was as long as my finger.
" We all rambled about a few minutes, while Jotham unharnessed the horses, and gave them some oats."
" 0 Miss Anne! " interrupted Lucy, " I don't believe that this is a true story that you are telling me; for he could not get any oats for his horses in such a place as that."
" Yes, he brought the oats with him in a bag, under his seat. He knew that we were going to dine in camp that day, though I didn't; and so he made preparation. Well, after he had taken care of the horses, he took a hatchet out from under his seat, and began to cut some short poles .to make some seats with."
" I don't see how he could make seats of poles," said Lucy.
" I have forgotten exactly how he did it; but somehow or other he laid them along close together, and kept the ends up by some large stones; and then he put the cushions of the carriage over them, so as to make a very good seat. Then he went and got a great, heavy basket from the front of the carriage. It had our dinner in it.
"So we sat upon our seats and ate our dinner. We had bread and butter, and cheese and cakes, and a little apple-pie. There was a jug of milk, too, for us to drink. We staid there as much as an hour; and I had a fine time, after dinner, playing about on the banks of the brook. My mother rambled around, gathering flowers; and as for my father, he went and got into the carriage, and took a nap."
Lucy thought that a carriage without any horses, was a singular place for a nap; but she did not interrupt Miss Anne to say anything about it.
"After a time," continued Miss Anne, "my father came to the seats again, where my mother and I were arranging our flowers. He told us that Jotham was putting the horses to the carriage, and that it was time for us to get ready to go. So we got into the carriage presently, and Jotham drove us out into the main road, and then we trotted along on our way."
" And was that the adventure which you had?" asked Lucy.
" That was a kind of an adventure," said Miss Anne, " but not the one I meant. The adventure which I meant particularly, is yet to come. It happened that night, about sundown. You understand it was a beautiful summer's day ; and it was so far to the place where we had to stop, that we did not expect to get there until the evening. But about half an hour before sundown, we began to hear some thunder.
" I kneeled up, upon the cushion, and looked out to see if I could see the cloud. There was a great valley spread out before me, and a range of mountains beyond it. Above the mountains the clouds began to be piled up higher and higher. They were white and rounded above, and dark below. Presently I saw a faint flash of lightning. My father asked Jotham how much farther we had got to go, and he said about five miles; and my father told him to drive as fast as he could.
" The cloud rose higher and higher, and began to look very black indeed. The mountains under it, and the great valley, looked dark and gloomy. Presently we went down a hill into a narrow place, with rocks and precipices on each side, where we could not see the clouds any more, but could only hear the thunder now and then. Pretty soon, father put the curtains down, and shut the windows, and then it was quite dark inside the coach, and the flashes of lightning grew brighter.
"Next it began to rain. Some great drops struck upon the window, and a great gust of wind blew furiously over the tops of the trees. The rain came faster and faster, and the water began to pour down in torrents all around us. I kneeled up, and looked out at the front window to see what Jotham was doing. He had an umbrella over his head, and a great shaggy coat on; and just at that instant there came such a bright flash of lightning as to dazzle my eyes so that I could hardly see, and immediately afterwards, a most terrible burst of loud, rattling sound, just over our heads, which frightened me very much; for I thought that we were struck with lightning. But it did not hurt us; for the noise, after it had rattled all over the sky, rolled and rumbled off, away beyond the mountains. But before it was gone, we heard another great crash just before us; and instantly Jotham stopped the horses. My father called out to him to know what was the matter; and he said that a tree had fallen directly across the road.
" My father looked out at the front window, as well as he could, to see the tree; and I tried to look too, but it was so dark that I could not see it very well. Jotham moved his horses on till they came up to it; and my father asked him how large a tree it was. He said it was very large
" ' What shall we do ? ' said my father.
" ' It lies up too high for us to get the carriage over it,' said Jotham.
" ' Could we, both of us, move it with hand- spikes,' said my father, 'so as to get by?'
" ' No, sir,' said Jotham; ' ten men could not move it. I could hack it off in time near the stump with my hatchet; but I think it probable that the quickest way would be for me to go on with one of the horses and get an axe.'
" ' How far is it?' said my father.
" Jotham said that he thought it must be about two miles and a half. My father then asked him if it would not be possible in any way to go out of the road, and get the carriage through the trees, and so get by; but Jotham said it was very steep and rocky on both sides, and he thought it would not he possible to get round.
" So it was finally concluded that he should go for an axe. He accordingly drove the horses up very close to the tree, and fastened one of them to a large branch. Then he took the other out of his harness, and mounted him. He tried to make him jump over the tree; but he would not, it was so high.
" He then drove him out of the road into the bushes, though it was raining and thundering all the time. I looked out at the front windows, and pretty soon I saw him come out of the woods again, beyond the tree, and ride off as fast as he could go. .
" It did not thunder and lighten so much after this, but it continued to rain; and it began to grow pretty dark. My father put his arm out at the front window, and reached one of the lanterns of the carriage, and took it in. He had some matches in a little box, and so he lighted the lantern, and that made it look more bright and cheerful in the carriage; but it began to grow very dark and dismal without. There was nothing, however, that we could do, but to wait patiently until Jotham came back.
" I tried to look at my picture-book a little while; but I found that I did not care much about it, and so I put it back, and my mother gave me a piece of cake to eat. When I had eaten the cake, she advised me to lie down upon the front seat, and see how many I could count between the flashes of lightning and the thunder that came after the flashes. And I did. I lay down and counted a long time."
" How many could you count ? " said Lucy.
"0, I don't remember exactly," said Miss Anne; " sometimes more and sometimes less,—according to the distance."
" The distance," said Lucy, — " what distance?"
" Why, the distance of the thunder from us. The lightning and the thunder are always, in fact, at the same moment of time; and when they are near, they seem so. But when they are at any distance, although the flash and the sound take place together, yet we see the flash at once, while it takes the sound some time to come to us ; and that gives us time to count. And the farther off the thunder is, the longer time we have to count."
" I mean to count," said Lucy, " the next time I hear any thunder."
" I lay still a long time," continued Miss Anne, " counting; at length there seemed to be something strange happening; and the first thing I knew, my father was taking me out of the carriage in his arms. I opened my eyes, and saw that there was a bright moon shining upon a house. There were lights in the windows of the house. There was a strange man, whom I had never seen before. I could not think where I was, and what my father was going to do with me. He carried me into the house, and through a long entry, and into a little back sitting-room. where there was a fire. My mother was there, taking off her bonnet. My father laid me down upon a settee which had a cushion upon it, and then went out again.
" I asked my mother what house that was, and she said that it was the tavern. I asked her how we got over that great tree; and she said that Jotham came back with the axe and cut it off. I told her that I did not hear him, and she said that I had been asleep. ' 0 no,' I said, ' I have not boon asleep, I am sure.' My mother said that then she did not know why I did not hear Jotham; for he came back with an axe, and chopped a long time upon the tree, until he got it off, and that then my father had got out of the carriage, and helped him heave away the log, with handspikes, and so they had got by.
" So I suppose I must have been asleep; but it did not seem to me that I had."
" Is that all the story ? " said Lucy, when she found that Miss Anne paused.
" Yes," said Miss Anne, " that is all."
THERE was a little room near the kitchen, in the house where Lucy lived, which was called Joanna's room. It was a very pleasant room, and it had been built on purpose for Joanna. There was only a small entry between this room and the kitchen, and so it was very convenient for her.
Joanna used to go and sit in this room sometimes, in the afternoon, after she had done her work; and here Lucy was very fond of going to see her. Lucy liked to be in Joanna's room, for it was a pleasant place, and she could look out of the window into tile yard and garden. Under the window was a little border which Joanna planted, and which was called Joanna's garden.
One afternoon, Lucy came to this room, and knocked. The door was open, for it was a pleasant summer afternoon, and she could see Joanna sitting at a table, writing. Still she knocked. Her mother had told her that it was always proper to knock when she wished to enter any private room. And Joanna's room was a private room; it belonged to Joanna alone.
At first, Joanna did not notice Lucy, as she was very busy, writing. Presently, however, she looked up and said, " Come in."
Lucy walked in. She had a little hammer in one hand, and in the other she held the corners of her apron, which she had drawn together so as to keep what was in it from falling.
" Joanna," said Lucy, " may I come in here ? "
" Yes," said Joanna, " provided you will not interrupt me."
"Provided?" said Lucy; "what does provided mean ? "
" Provided ? - why, If- If you won't interrupt me."
" Then why don't you say If ? " said Lucy; "it is a great deal easier word."
" I can't tell you now, child," said Joanna. " I am busy. I want to write."
" I wish you would just tell me why you don't say If?" said Lucy, in a low and timid voice.
Joanna did not answer; and so Lucy dropped the corners of her apron, and let all the things that were in it fall down upon the floor. They made a loud, rattling noise. Lucy then sat down by the side of them
" You see, Joanna," said Lucy, " I am going to make a table."
" Very well; make what you like, - only don't disturb me," replied Joanna.
Lucy then began to look over the things which she had thrown down upon the floor. There were several little blocks of wood, some long, and some square and thin. There was also a small, round, wooden box, with a cover. Lucy took off the cover. The box was full of nails; some were small carpet nails; and others were long, but pointed at the end, so that they would drive easily.
Lucy also had a little awl, with a straight but sharp point. Royal made it for her. With this she could make small holes in the wood, wherever she wanted to drive a nail.
" Joanna," said Lucy, " I wish you would just tell me how many legs I must have to my table."
" Four," said Joanna, - " only you must not keep talking to me. I can't possibly write."
" Why, Joanna, Miss Anne can write, even if I do talk to her."
" Very likely," said Joanna; " but Miss Anne and I are different. She can do a great many things that I cannot. At any rate, I can't write while you keep talking to me; so, if you want to stay here, you must amuse yourself, and not speak to me at all."
"Why, suppose it is some very particular word," said Lucy.
" Why, if it is something very special and important," said Joanna, "I suppose you must speak ; but not otherwise."
After this, Lucy was very still for five minute. She took a thin, flat block for the top of her table, and counted out four nails for the legs. She then made holes, with her awl, in the corners of the block, and drove the nails in. She, however, got one in the wrong place, and when she tried to draw it out with the little claw which was in the end of the handle of the hammer, she found that she could not. It was driven in too far.
At length she laid down the hammer and the block, and said, with a sigh, " 0 dear me! "
After waiting a few minutes, not knowing what to do, she took up her table and hammer, and went towards Joanna, slowly and timidly, because she was unwilling to interrupt her writing again; but she did not know what she should do, unless Joanna would draw out the nail for her.
When Lucy came up to Joanna's table, Joanna laid down her pen, and sighed, just as Lucy had done, and said, in exactly the same tone,
"Oh dear me!"
"Why, I can't write. I want to finish my letter, so as to go out and take a walk; and I can't get along, because here is a little girl, who keeps interrupting me all the time."
" Well, Joanna," said Lucy, " I only want to have you get this nail out for me. You said I might speak to you, if it was especial."
Joanna took the hammer and the little table out of Lucy's hand, saying, at the same time,
" I wish, Lucy, you would go out into the kitchen, until I have finished my letter."
" Why, Joanna," said Lucy, " there is not anybody out in the kitchen to take care of me."'
" Well, then," said Joanna, " I will make a bargain with you. As soon as I have finished my letter, I am going out to take a walk, to get some broom-stuff. Now, if you will be perfectly still, and not speak to me once, I will ask your mother to let you go with me."
" Well," said Lucy, very much pleased.
" And I will get you four flowers," said Joanna. " But if you speak to me once while I am writing, I shall only get you three flowers; and so every time you speak you must lose one flower. And if you speak more than four times, then I shall not ask your mother to let you go."
"Well," said Lucy, "I shall not speak once; you may depend."
" We shall see," said Joanna. " I will draw out this nail, and then you may go and sit down; and when we are ready, I shall say, One, two, three, and begin."
So Joanna drew out the nail, then put the little table, and the hammer, and the nail, back into Lucy's hands; and Lucy went back and took her seat upon the floor. When she was fairly seated at her work, Joanna said, in a very deliberate voice,
" One-two-three-and begin."
" 0 Joanna," said Lucy, " there is just one thing before we begin that I want to know; and that is, what broom-stuff is."
" There goes one of your flowers," said Joanna.
"Why, Joanna, I was not ready to begin then," said Lucy, in a complaining tone.
" There goes another."
Lucy was a little vexed to find that Joanna would not answer her in any way, except telling her that she was losing her flowers, and so she was silent. Presently she began to reflect that the agreement had been fairly made, and that, after Joanna had given the signal for beginning, she ought not to have spoken. Still she wanted, very much, to know what broom-stuff was. After thinking of it a moment, she concluded to wait, and ask Joanna when they were taking the walk; and then she resolutely determined that she would not speak a single word again, on any account whatever.
And she did not speak for some time. But when, at length, she got her table finished, she was so much pleased to see how well it would stand, that she wanted very much to ask Joanna to look at it. She would not do it, however, as she knew she should lose another of her flowers. So she sat still, waiting, and wishing that Joanna would come to the end of her letter.
At length she got up softly, and took her table in her hand, thinking that she would go and carry it to Joanna, and just hold it up before her, and let her see it, without, however, speaking a word. This was wrong; for Lucy ought to have known that holding up the table before Joanna, so as to call her attention to it, would be taking her attention off from her writing, and so would interrupt her as effectually as if she were to speak to her in a loud voice. It is not so much the sound that is made by the voice, which interrupts a person who is busy, as the influence of what is said, upon the mind, in attracting the attention; so that a loud noise of a carriage going by, or of winds and storms beating against the windows, would not interrupt a person as much as a question asked in the lowest whisper, or even an object, like Lucy's table, held up for a person to see.
When Lucy came up to Joanna with her table, Joanna went on with her writing, and took no notice of it. Lucy then held it a little nearer. Joanna knew that she was there, but she went on writing, without looking up or saying a word. Lucy waited a minute or two longer, and then she could no longer resist the temptation to say, as she did in a very low and gentle voice, " Look, Joanna! "
Joanna raised her eyes from her work, and looked not at the table, but at Lucy herself, and said,
"There goes another of your flowers: now there is but one left."
Lucy turned away in silence, and went back to her place. She was very sorry that she had lost so many of her flowers; and she secretly thought that Joanna was very strict; but she knew that if she made any remonstrance or complaint, she should lose the last flower, too.
After sitting upon the floor a few minutes longer, she concluded that she would go and put her blocks and other things away, and get ready to go and take the walk,-so as not to lose any time when Joanna's letter should be finished. This was a very wise plan ; for, by going out of the room, she made sure of not interrupting Joanna again.
So Lucy went and put her blocks and hammer away in her treasury, and then went to find her mother, in order to ask her if she might go and take a walk with Joanna. She could not find her mother; but she found Miss Anne, who told her that her mother had gone out to walk, and would not come back until tea-time.
Then Lucy told Miss Anne of Joanna's proposal to take her out to walk with her, and she asked Miss Anne if she might go.
"' I rather think," said Miss Anne, " that Joanna would prefer to go alone. You asked her first to let you go with her, didn't you ? "
" No," said Lucy, " she proposed it herself. She said that if I would not speak to her, a word, till she had finished her letter, she would let me go."
"And did not you speak to her?" said Miss Anne.
"Yes; but she said," added Lucy, "that if I did not speak but four times, I might go, but then I must not have any flowers."
Miss Anne did not understand this explanation very well; but then she did not care much whether she understood it or not. She was busy, rending; and all that she wanted, was to be sure that Joanna was really willing to have Lucy go with her. For as Joanna was going out to walk, to refresh and enjoy herself, after her work, she thought that it would not be right for Lucy to go as her companion, unless Joanna was really willing.
So Miss Anne said, in reply to Lucy's request,
" You may go back and wait until Joanna is ready. I cannot let you go, merely because you ask it; but if she asks it herself, or sends you to ask it, then I will consider whether I will take the responsibility of letting you go."
" What do you mean by responsibility? " said Lucy.
" Why, when your mother went out," said Miss Anne, " she did not give me any authority to let you go and take a walk. Now, if I should let you go, in such a case, because I suppose the [sic] would consent if she were here, it would be taking responsibility. I should be responsible to her if she should ask me about it. I ought to have good reasons to give her, why I let you go."
" I don't understand it very well," said Lucy.
' " No," said Miss Anne, laughing, " and I don't blame you very much, for I don't think that I explain it very well. But never mind now. I hear Joanna, I believe, in the kitchen ; and I expect that she has finished her letter, and is getting ready to go."
Lucy ran off with all speed, to see if Joanna was really ready to go. She found that she had finished her letter, and was putting on her bonnet. Lucy told Joanna what Miss Anne had said, and Joanna sent her back to say that she should really like to have her go with her. Accordingly Miss Anne took the responsibility of giving her permission.
When Lucy got back, she found Joanna sharpening a knife upon a stone, which was placed upon a shelf in the back kitchen, for that purpose.
" What is that knife for?" said Lucy.
"It is to get my broom-stuff with," said Joanna.
" 0 yes," said Lucy; '" and now you must tell me what broom-stuff is."
"Why, broom-stuff, child," said Joanna, "is the stuff that they make brooms of."
Joanna went on sharpening her knife, and Lucy was silent. Presently, when Joanna had made the knife as sharp as she wished, she looked round, and saw that Lucy was leaning forward, and looking very intently at a broom which was hanging near her, against the wall.
" 0, not such broom-stuff as that," said Joanna. " I am going to make a hemlock broom."
" A hemlock broom ? " inquired Lucy. "Is a hemlock broom better than such a broom as this?"
" 0, I don't know," said Joanna. " A hemlock broom is such a one as the farmers make, who live in the woods. I have not seen one for a long time, but I used to make them when I was a little girl, and I want to make one now, if it is only to make me think of old times. So I am sharpening my knife to cut the hemlock branches."
" I should think that Royal's hatchet would be better," said Lucy.
" If he would go with us to cut down the branches," answered Joanna.
" Well," said Lucy, " I will go and see if I can find him."
But Lucy could not find him; and so she and Joanna had to go alone. Joanna carried her knife in one hand, and led Lucy with the other.
They walked along through the garden, and thence out through a back gate, which led into the lane. This led down into the glen, behind the house. They crossed the brook where Royal had made the pen to confine his turtle, as described in LUCY'S CONVERSATIONS.
After passing this brook, they followed a winding path which led along among rocks and trees, until they came to a dense thicket, where Joanna said she had observed that there was plenty of hemlock trees. Lucy could not tell the hemlock trees from a great many others which looked somewhat like them.
Joanna cut off a great many small branches, and threw them down upon the grass as fast as she cut them. Lucy gathered them up as fast as they were cut, and put them by themselves, taking care to put the stems all one way. Joanna told her that she would cut some small branches for her, so that she could make a little broom for herself, when she went home, - if she could only get Royal to make her a handle. They staid in this place nearly half an hour and then they went home.
As they were going home, Lucy called upon Joanna to get her her flower; but Joanna said that she was tired of rambling about, and she asked Lucy if she should not be willing to take a story, instead of a flower. Lucy said that she should; and, accordingly, Joanna told her the story of the Fog upon the Mountains, as they walked slowly homewards. This story, though not in precisely the language in which Joanna related it is given in the next chapter.
On to chapter 3
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