Harper's Young People, May 16, 1882 An Illustrated Weekly
|THE SCARLET GLOW.|
|MR. STUBBS'S BROTHER.|
|"THE SWEETEST MOTHER."|
|DO BIRDS KNOW THEIR OLD HOMES?|
|MAX RANDER'S FRENCH EGGS.|
|RABBITS AS PETS.|
|DREAMING THE COMING SUMMER.|
|THE POST-OFFICE BOX.|
|vol. iii.—no. 133.||Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.||price four cents.|
|Tuesday, May 16, 1882.||Copyright, 1882, by Harper & Brothers.||$1.50 per Year, in Advance.|
BY PERCY EARL.
"I wish I could take you both with me," said Mr. Hanway, as he kissed hischildren good-by, and stepped into the carriage that was to bear him upamong the mountains on a visit to an old friend; "but Fletcher here willtake good care of you, Amy, and I am sure neither of you will forgetwhat I've told you about keeping away from the boats."
Fletcher was ten and Amy eight, and the two, with their father, who wasa widower, were stopping at a cozy little hotel on the shores of alovely lake in Switzerland.
It was only on very rare occasions that Mr. Hanway permitted himself tobe separated from his children during their travels abroad, but as thehotel where they had now been staying for nearly a week was a veryhome-like one, and as he expected to be back in time for supper, he feltthat he could safely leave them to amuse themselves for a few hours.
Thus cast upon their own resources, the brother and sister readstory-books and played in-door games until dinner-time. At the tablewere some American tourists just from the summit of the highest mountainin the place, and to their lively descriptions of the views to be hadtherefrom, and of the pretty nooks scattered all over it, both childrenlistened with eager ears, and when one of the young ladies held up abunch of "just the loveliest wild flowers" which she had gathered by theroad-side, Amy whispered to her brother that she really must go a littleway up that very afternoon.
"But papa isn't here to take us," objected Fletcher, who longed to go asmuch as his sister, although he was old enough to understand that hisfather would not like to have them leave the hotel in his absence.
"Papa didn't tell us we mustn't climb mountains—only boats," returnedAmy, cunningly. "And, besides, didn't he say you could take care of me?and don't you think you can?" and the artful little tease looked up ather stout young brother with a most confiding air.
Under these circumstances, what could Fletcher reply but that he wasmost certainly able to protect her, and that he would do so for a littleway, a very little way, up the mountain, as they must be sure to be atthe hotel when father came back.
Greatly delighted at having gained her point, Amy ran off for her hat assoon as dessert was over, and having stuffed a paper of candy into herpretty little arm-basket, announced herself ready. And then the two setout, Fletcher, with his alpenstock, leading the way up through the town,on by the winding path through the woods, up, up, until the beautifullake came into view below them.
"Let's rest here a minute," proposed Fletcher. "This flat rock'll make anice seat; and while we eat some candy, I'll teach you the names of thesnow mountains over yonder."
So the expedition halted while the captain pointed out what he thoughtwas Mont Blanc, the king of all the peaks; the beautiful Jungfrau, withits silver horn, and—But turning to see if Amy was looking in the rightdirection, Fletcher found her eyes closed, and her head just sinking tohis shoulder.
"Poor little thing, she's tired out. I'll let her have a short napbefore we start down again." So, while Amy slept, her brother atechocolate drops and studied the Alps.
Now it would have been quite romantic and Babes-in-the-Woodsy if he toohad been overcome with drowsiness, thus leaving them both lying thereasleep on the mountain-side until an elf, giant, or some other rarelyseen creature, came to wake them up and conduct them to a wonderfulgrotto, studded with diamonds and paved with pearls. But as this is nota fairy tale, nothing of the sort occurred, for Amy presently woke up ofher own accord, and finding the basket empty, recollected what she hadcome for, upon which the two began searching for wild flowers.
At first Fletcher rather affected to despise the occupation, but afterthey had gathered a few, he found them so pretty, and it grew to be soexciting to wonder where they would chance upon some more, that hespeedily became as absorbed in the hunt as Amy herself, and bothwandered over the mountain in every direction.
At last the pretty little basket was filled to the top with stillprettier contents, and at the same time Fletcher noticed that the sunwas very near the tip of one of the snow mountains.
"Come, Amy," he exclaimed, "we must hurry back, or papa'll be therebefore us;" and taking her by the hand, he set out for the path by whichthey had ascended.
"But why can't we go down right here?" asked Amy. "It'll be such fun togo sort o' sliding down hill."
"I guess we needn't slide," returned Fletcher, "for here's a kind ofpath we can take; so now hold on to me tight, and be careful not toslip;" and down the two started over the rough way, for themountain-side was covered with stones, little and big, which the feet ofthe children sent rolling and crashing on ahead of them in quite a noisyfashion.
With each advancing step the path grew fainter and fainter, until itfinally disappeared entirely, and nothing was to be seen but trees androcks and stones.
"Shall we go back, Amy?" asked Fletcher, as they both came to a halt;and then he added: "But no, we haven't time; so we must keep on."
"All right; but you don't think there are any snakes under these stones,do you, Flet?"
Then they went on down again, but the way grew ever rougher and rougher,and the stones slipped from under their tired feet more and morefrequently.
"Oh dear! ain't we 'most there?" half sobbed Amy, as she stubbed her toeagainst a rock in front of her, while a stone rolled down on her heelfrom behind.
"I guess so. Shall I try to lift you over this place? See, there musthave been a brook here in the spring;" and Fletcher pointed out ashallow ravine that crossed their path obliquely, and which was chokedwith stones and brush-wood.
Without waiting for an answer, the kind-hearted boy threw his alpenstockacross, and then picking Amy up in his arms, started over himself. Hereached the opposite side in safety, and was about to step up to levelground again when his foot caught under a stone, and in trying to keephis sister from being harmed by his fall, he left no hand free withwhich to save himself.
"Oh, Flet, are you hurt?" cried Amy, as she quickly scrambled to herfeet.
"Not much; only my ankle." But the "not much" proved to be a sprainserious enough to prevent his walking a step, and after attempting to doso once or twice, the brave little fellow was forced to fall back uponthe rocks, with an expression of pain which he could not repress.
And now the children's situation became quite a grave one. They were asyet, as well as they could judge, a mile or more above the town, the sunhad already vanished behind the snowy peaks opposite, the autumntwilight was rapidly closing in, and, worse than all, Fletcher could notand Amy would not move.
"How can I go away and leave you here?" she would say when urged tohurry back, so that father should not worry.
"But I'm all right as long as I sit still," her brother would reply."Besides, the sooner you go and tell them[Pg 451] at the hotel, the quickerthey can send somebody up for me."
At length, convinced that under the circumstances this was the wisestthing to do, Amy set bravely out, but had not proceeded more than twentyfeet before she came screaming back, declaring she had seen a snake, andthat she could never, never go on through the dreadful woods alone.
"Let me stay with you, Flet," she begged. "I'm sure when papa misses ushe'll come right up here;" and her brother, seeing she had no doubts onthis point, thought it best not to remind her that it was just asnatural to suppose that he would look in a dozen other directions forthem first.
So the two sat together there on the mountain-side, watching the starscome out, and wondering if this was their punishment for being naughty.
But presently Amy's eyelids grew heavy again, and leaning her headagainst Fletcher, she asked him to wake her "as soon as papa comes,"when suddenly a reddish glare flashed forth out of the darkness beneaththem; portions of mountain and lake appeared distinctly as by day, whiletrees and rocks and bushes stood revealed in startling vividness.
"Oh, what is it, Flet?" cried Amy, hiding her face in terror.
"Don't be afraid," he answered. "I guess it can't hurt us, whatever itis."
Still the boy had dreadful visions of earthquakes and volcanoes, whichhe somehow imagined were much more common in Europe than in America.
And now the red light had changed to green, this in turn to blue, thenback to red again, and so on, until the brother and sister becamecompletely mystified.
On a sudden, while the red glare lit up everything around, there was asound of rolling stones, a man's voice exclaimed, "Thank God for St.Jacques!" The next instant Mr. Hanway's strong arms were about both hischildren.
"Oh, papa, I knew you'd come!" cried Amy, joyously. "But now you mustput me down, and carry Flet, 'cause I was naughty, and he's hurt, andall from 'sisting me."
Then the situation was explained. Two young gentlemen from the hoteltenderly raised the helpless boy and carried him between them, and thus,the happy father still retaining his little girl, they started down thehill again, guided by the strange lights safely to the town.
Fletcher soon recognized in his bearers two members of the party fromthe mountain-top that had been so enthusiastic at dinner, and theyfurthermore told him that it was at their suggestion that Mr. Hanway hadfirst directed his steps to the hill-side, "for," said one, "we noticedhow eagerly your little sister listened to my cousin's description ofthe wild flowers."
"And did you have those funny lights lit so's you could see us?" askedthe boy.
"Not exactly," was the laughing response. "That is the illumination inhonor of St. Jacques, whose several-hundred-and-something-or-otherbirthday it is to-day, I believe."
"But how do they make the lights, and who is St. Jacques?" pursuedFletcher.
"They have different colored 'fires,' as the preparations are called,which are touched off at the same instant at various points about thelake; and as for St. Jacques, that is the same as St. James in English."
"That's what papa's queer speech meant, then, when he found us."
"And I say 'Amen' to it," returned the young man, huskily, "for Ibelieve we'd have gone right on past you both if it had not been forthat scarlet glow from the fÍte of St. Jacques."
With the exception of the elephant, the rhinoceros is the largest of allland animals, and in point of ugliness he is quite unequalled. Inappearance he is something like an enormous pig, with a horn on the endof his nose, and a skin so thick that a leaden rifle-ball will notordinarily pierce it.
But in spite of his ill-temper, of which hunters are never tired ofspeaking, the rhinoceros certainly has a love of fun. An English hunterin South Africa had gone to bed in his travelling wagon one night,leaving his native servants feasting around the camp fire. Suddenly heheard a terrible uproar, and looking out, discovered that a rhinoceroswas having a little fun in the camp. The air seemed to be full of