SARAH, WALKING ALONG past City Park on a raw, cold night, found a tiny,— oh so tiny,—puppy, whining, shaking and crying with cold, Picking up that small bunch of babyhood, Sarah was in quandary as just what to do; but Priscilla Standish, coming along, said:— “Oh! Poor baby!! Who owns him, Sarah?”

“I don’t know; but say! Wouldn’t your Ma —?”

“My Ma would!! Bring him along, and wrap your cloak around him. It’s awfully cold for so young a puppy.

So Lady Standish, with that “back-yard zoo soon bad his quaking babyship lapping good warm milk, and a stumpy tail wagging as only a tiny puppy’s stumpy tail can wag. Along towards six o clock a vigorous pounding on Lady Standish’s front door brought Priscilla, to find Old Bill Simpkins with a tiny, wildly sobbing girl of about four. Walking into Lady Standish’s parlor, Simpkins said:

“This kid has lost a-a-a-crittur; I think it was a pup, wasn’t it, kid?”

A vigorous up and down bobbing of a small shock of auburn hair.

“So,” said Simpkins, “I thought it might show up in your back-yard gang.”

“It has, Bill, you old grouch!!’ for Lady Standish, as about all of Branton Hills grown-ups, was in school with Bill. “It’s all right, now, and warm and cuddly. Don’t cry, Mary darling. Priscilia will bring in your puppy.

As that happy baby sat crooning to that puppy, also a baby, Old Bill had to snort out:— “Huh! A lot of fuss about a pup, I’ll say !” “Oh, pooh-pooh, Bill Simpkins !” said Lady S.

“Why shouldn’t a child croon to a puppy? Folks bring all kinds of animals to my back yard, if sick or hurt. Want to walk around my zoo?”

No!! No zoos for Councilman Simpkins! Animals ain’t worth so much fuss !”

“Pshaw, Bill! You talk ridiculously! I wish you could know of about half of my works. I want to show’ you a big Angora cat. A dog bit its foot so I put a balm on it and wound it with cotton —”

“You put balm on a cat’s foot!! Bah!”

But Lady Standish didn’t mind Old Bill’s ravings having known him so long; so said:—

“Oh, how’s that old corn of yours? Can’t I put a balm —”

“No! You cannot! Mary, bring your pup; I’m going along.”

As a happy tot was passing out that big, kindly front door, Sarah said

“Was Councilman Simpkins always so grouchy, Lady Standish ?”

“No. Not until John Gadsby ‘cut him out’ and won Lady Gadsby.”

“Aha!! And a Ho, Ho!!” said Sarah, laughing gayly. “So folks had what you call ‘affairs’ way back, just as today !” and also laughing inwardly, at what Lucy had said about this kindly Lady Standish and His Honor.

Ah! That good old schoolday, now so long past! How it bobs up, now-a-days, if you watch a young lad and a happy, giggling lass holding hands or laughing uproariously at youthful witticisms. And how diaphanous and almost imaginary that far-back day looks, if that girl with whom you stood up and said “I do,” laughs, if you try a bit of romantic kissing, and says:—

“Why, John! How silly! You act actually childish!!”

* * * *

And now it won’t do any harm to hark back a bit on this history, to find how our big Night School is doing. Following that first graduation day, many and many a child, and adult, too, had put in hours on various nights; and if you visit it you will find almost as many forms of instruction going on as you will find pupils; for thousands of folks today know of topics which, with a bit of study, could turn out profitably. Now Branton Hills had, as you know, built this school for public instruction; and, as with all such institutions, visiting days occur. And what a display of goods and workmanship! And what bright, happy pupils, standing proudly back of it! For mankind knows hardly a joy which will surpass that of approval of his work.

Gadsby’s party first took in a wood-working shop; finding small stands which fit so happily into many a living room nook; book racks for walls or floor; moth-proof bins, smoking stands, many with fancy uprights or inlaid tops; high chairs for tiny tots; arm chairs for old folks; cribs, tobacco humidors, stools, porch and lawn swings, ballbats, rolling pins, mixing boards; in fact about anything that a man can fashion from wood.

As an indication of practical utility coming from such public instruction, a man told Gadsby:-

“I didn’t know much about wood-working tools until I got into this class. This thing I am making would cost about thirty dollars to buy, but all it cost, so far, is two dollars and a half, for wood and glass,” which Gadsby thought was worth knowing about; as so many of his Council had put forth so many complaints against starting such a school without charging for instruction. In an adjoining room His Honor’s party found boys banging and pounding happily; and, if you should ask, -noisily, —on brasswork: making bowls, trays, lamp standards, photograph stands, book supports and similar artistic things. Across from that was a blacksmith shop, with its customary flying sparks and sizzling cooling-vats.

But, by going upstairs, away from all this din, Gadsby, humming happily, found Sarah and Lucy, Nancy and Kathlyn amidst a roomful of girls doing dainty fancy-work. And what astonishing ability most of that group did show! Nancy bought a baby-cap which was on a par with anything in Branton Hills’ shops; and though Kathlyn said it was “just too cunning for anything”, John Smith’s bungalow didn’t contain anybody (just now!) whom it would fit.

But Lady Gadsby, with a party of Branton Hills matrons, was calling for Gadsby to hurry down a long corridor to a loom-room, saying that such dainty rugs, mats and scarfs of cotton and silk hung all around on walls or racks, it was truly astonishing that girls could do such first-class work, having had long hours of labor in Broadway’s shops all day.

Although most of our standard occupations found room for activity, an occasional oddity was run across. So His Honor’s party found two boys and two girls working at that always fascinating art of glass-blowing. And what a dainty trick it is! And what an opportunity to burn a thumb or two, if you don’t wait for things to cool! Things of charming form and fragility, grow as by a magician’s wand, from small glass tubings of various colors. Birds with glorious wings, ships of crystal sailing on dark billows, tiny buildings in a thick glass ball which upon agitation, stirs up a snowstorm which softly lands on pink roof-tops; many a fancy drinking glass and bowl, oil lamps, ash trays, and gaudy strings of tiny crystal balls for adorning party gowns. And did Nancy want to buy out this shop? And did Frank doubt his ability to do so? And did Kathlyn ask: “How about it, Johnny?” and did John Smith say: “Nothing doing”? It was just that. But it only shows that good old Branton Hills’ inclination for aiding anything which looks worthy; and such a school I know you will admit, looks that way.

Tramping upstairs, still again, Gadsby and party found a class so varying from all downstairs as to bring forth murmurs of joy, for this was known as “Music Floor”; upon which was taught all forms of that most charming of all arts—from solo work to community singing, from solitary violin pupil to a full brass band. On our party’s arrival, Lucy, Doris and Virginia, hurrying from classrooms, sang, in trio, that soft, slow Italian song, “0 Solo Mio;” and, as Gadsby proudly said, “Not for many a day had such music rung out in Branton Hills ;” for most girls, if in training with a practical vocalist, can sing; and most charmingly,

In a far room was a big string outfit of banjos, mandolins and guitars, happily strumming out a smart, throbbing Spanish fandango, until His Honor could not avoid a swinging of body and tapping of foot; causing Lady Gadsby to laugh, saying:-

“Rhythm has a mighty grip on Zulus, I am told.”

To which our swaying Mayor said:-

“Anyway, a Zulu has a lot of fun out of it. If singing, playing and dancing could only crowd out sitting around and moping, folks would find that a Zulu can hand us a tip or two on happy living.”

But all music is not of string form; so, in a big auditorium, our party found a full brass band of about fifty boys, with a man from Branton Hills’ Municipal Band as instructor. Now as Gadsby was, as you boys say, “not at all bad” on a big bass horn in his youthful days, this band instructor, thinking of it, was asking him to “sit it” and play. So, as Lady Gadsby, two girls, and two sons-in-law sat smiling and giggling in a front row, and as fifty boys could hardly play, from laughing, that big horn got such a blasting that it was practically a horn solo! And Nancy, doubling up from giggling, said:— “D-d-daddy! If-f-f-f B-b-b-barnum’s circus hits town, you must join its cl-cl-clown band !”

But I had to rush this happy party out of that building, as an awful thing was occurring but a block from it; which told its own story by a lurid light, flashing through windows; clanging gongs, shrilling horns and running, shouting crowds; for an old, long-vacant factory building just across from City Hall, was blazing furiously. Rushing along Broadway was that “motor thing,” with Clancy and Dowd clinging wildly on a running board. Pulling up at a hydrant, Clancy said to His Honor:-

“As I was a-hangin’ onto this dom thing, a-thinkin’ it was going to bang into a big jam at two crossroads, I says, ‘By Gorra! that big pair of blacks wouldn’t bang into nuthin’! But this currazy contraption! It ain’t got no brain—no nuthin, no soul—nuthin’ but halitosis! !”

As Gadsby took a long look at Clancy’s “dom thing, a vision was wafting through his mind of a calm, sunny patch of land, way out in Branton Hills’ suburbs, on which day by day, two big blacks and two big roans could—anyway, taking all things into account, a big conflagration, with its din, rush and panic, is no spot for such animals as Big Four.” As for Old Bill’s squawk about animals “ruining our paving,” Gadsby thought that was but small talk, for paving, anyway, can’t last for long. But, that is a glorious spot, way our amongst our hills!

Gadsby took his party to a room in City Hall from which that burning factory was in plain sight; and as Nancy and Kathlyn stood watching that awful sight a big wall, crashing down, had a crowd rushing to that spot.

A man’s form was brought out to a patrol wagon; and a boy, rushing past City Hall, sang out to Gadsby

“It’s Old Man Donaldson! Tiny Nancy, almost swooning, said:—

“Donaldson? Oh, Kathy! That’s Lucy’s

Dad, of Company Two, you know!” and Frank and John Smith shot wildly downstairs to find out about

it. In an instant a sobbing girlish form was dashing madly from that Night School building towards our Municipal Hospital. It was Lucy; bright, always laughing Lucy; but half an hour ago singing so happily in that girls’ trio.

As that big factory was still blazing furiously, Frank and John, coming in, said:—

“It was only a scalp wound, and a sprung wrist. Lucy is coming upstairs, now.” Lucy, coming in, badly blown from running and fright, said:-

“That wall caught Daddy; but it was so old and thin it didn’t crush him. Oh! How I worry if that alarm rings!”

“But,” put in Nancy, “it’s man’s work. Pshaw!! What good am I? Why, I couldn’t do a thing around that factory, right now! Look at my arm! About as big as a ball bat!” and as Frank took that sad, tiny form in his arms, Gadsby said:—

“All throughout Natural History, Nancy, you will find man built big and strong, and woman small and frail. That is so that man can obtain food for his family, and that woman may nourish his offspring. But today, I am sorry to say, you’ll find girls working hard, in gymnasiums, fondly hoping to attain man s muscular parity. How silly!! It’s going straight against all natural laws. Girls can find a lot of bodily good in gymnasiums, I’ll admit! but not that much. And as for your ‘ball-bat’ arm, as you call it, what of it? You’d look grand, now wouldn’t you, with Frank’s big oak-branch arms hanging way down to your shins. But that ball-bat arm can curl around your tiny baby as softy as a down pillow. Aw, darling! Don’t say you can’t do anything; for I know you can. How about our old Organization of Youth days? You, —”

And Nancy, now laughing, said, gaily:—

“Oho! Our old Organization! What fun it was! But, Daddy, I don’t know of any young crowd following us up.

“No. Our young folks of today think such things too much work ;” and, as that old factory was but a mass of ruins now, and midnight was approaching, Gadsby’s family was soon in that mythical Land of Nod, in which no horns blow, no sparks fall; only occasionally a soft gurgling from a crib in Nancy’s bungalow.



1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10

11 . 12 . 13 . 14 . 15 . 16 . 17 . 18 . 19 . 20

21 . 22 . 23 . 24 . 25 . 26 . 27 . 28 . 29 . 30

31 . 32 . 33 . 34 . 35 . 36 . 37 . 38 . 39 . 40

41 . 42 . 43

Books with no spinal columns.