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Patten, William / The Junior Classics β€” Volume 6 Old-Fashioned Tales
Produced by Wendy Crockett, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.





THE JUNIOR CLASSICS

A LIBRARY FOR BOYS AND GIRLS

[Illustration: EVERYTHING'S GOT A MORAL IF ONLY YOU CAN FIND IT
_From the painting by Beatrice Stevens_]


THE JUNIOR CLASSICS


SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY

WILLIAM PATTEN--MANAGING EDITOR OF THE HARVARD CLASSICS


INTRODUCTION BY

CHARLES W. ELIOT, L L. D.--PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY


WITH A READING GUIDE BY

WILLIAM ALLAN NEILSON, Ph.D.--PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
PRESIDENT SMITH COLLEGE, NORTHAMPTON, MASS., SINCE 1917




VOLUME SIX

OLD-FASHIONED TALES




CONTENTS

The Race for the Silver Skates _Mary Mapes Dodge_

Nelly's Hospital _Louisa M. Alcott_

A Fox and a Raven _Rebecca H. Davis_

The Private Theatricals _Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney_

A Case of Coincidence _Rose Terry Cooke_

The Flight of the Dolls _Lucretia P. Hale_

Solomon John Goes for Apples _Lucretia P. Hale_

Wild Robin _Sophie May_

Deacon Thomas Wales' Will _Mary E. W. Freeman_

Dill _Mary E. W. Freeman_

Brownie and the Cook _Mrs. Dinah M. Craik_

Brownie and the Cherry Tree _Mrs. Dinah M. Craik_

The Ouphe of the Wood _Jean Ingelow_

The Prince's Dream _Jean Ingelow_

A Lost Wand _Jean Ingelow_

Snap-Dragons--A Tale of Christmas Eve _Juliana H. Ewing_

Uncle Jack's Story _Mrs. E. M. Field_

Bryda's Dreadful Scrape _Mrs. E. M. Field_

The Cratchits' Christmas Dinner _Charles Dickens_

Embellishment _Jacob Abbott_

The Great Stone Face _Nathaniel Hawthorne_

The King of the Golden River _John Ruskin_

The Two Gifts _Lillian M. Gask_

The Bar of Gold _Lillian M. Gask_

Uncle David's Nonsensical Story _Catherine Sinclair_

The Grand Feast _Catherine Sinclair_

The Story of Fairyfoot _Frances Browne_

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Down the Rabbit-Hole _Lewis Carroll_

The Pool of Tears _Lewis Carroll_

A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale _Lewis Carroll_

The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill _Lewis Carroll_

Advice from a Caterpillar _Lewis Carroll_

Pig and Pepper _Lewis Carroll_

A Mad Tea-Party _Lewis Carroll_

The Queen's Croquet Ground _Lewis Carroll_

The Mock Turtle's Story _Lewis Carroll_

The Lobster-Quadrille _Lewis Carroll_

Who Stole the Tarts? _Lewis Carroll_

Alice's Evidence _Lewis Carroll_




ILLUSTRATIONS

"EVERYTHING'S GOT A MORAL, IF ONLY YOU CAN FIND IT"
Alice in Wonderland

_Frontispiece illustration in color from the painting by Beatrice
Stevens_

"IS THERE A PECULIAR FLAVOR IN WHAT YOU SPRINKLE FROM YOUR TORCH?"
ASKED SCROOGE
The Cratchits' Christmas Dinner

_From the drawing by T. Leech_

GLUCK PUT HIS HEAD OUT TO SEE WHO IT WAS
The King of the Golden River

_From the drawing by Richard Doyle_

THE KING AND QUEEN OF HEARTS WERE SEATED ON THEIR THRONE
Alice in Wonderland

_From the drawing by Sir John Tenniel_




THE RACE FOR THE SILVER SKATES

By Mary Mapes Dodge


The 20th of December came at last, bringing with it the perfection
of winter weather. All over the level landscape lay the warm sunlight.
It tried its power on lake, canal, and river; but the ice flashed
defiance, and showed no sign of melting. The very weather-cocks stood
still to enjoy the sight. This gave the windmills a holiday. Nearly
all the past week they had been whirling briskly: now, being rather
out of breath, they rocked lazily in the clear, still air. Catch a
windmill working when the weather-cocks have nothing to do!

There was an end to grinding, crushing, and sawing for that day. It
was a good thing for the millers near Broek. Long before noon, they
concluded to take in their sails, and go to the race. Everybody would
be there. Already the north side of the frozen Y was bordered with
eager spectators: the news of the great skating-match had travelled
far and wide. Men, women, and children, in holiday attire, were
flocking toward the spot. Some wore furs, and wintry cloaks or shawls;
but many, consulting their feelings rather than the almanac, were
dressed as for an October day.

The site selected for the race was a faultless plain of ice near
Amsterdam, on that great _arm_ of the Zuyder-Zee, which Dutchmen,
of course, must call the Eye. The townspeople turned out in large
numbers. Strangers in the city deemed it a fine chance to see what was
to be seen. Many a peasant from the northward had wisely chosen the
20th as the day for the next city-trading. It seemed that everybody,
young and old, who had wheels, skates, or feet at command, had
hastened to the scene.

There were the gentry in their coaches, dressed like Parisians fresh
from the Boulevards; Amsterdam children in charity uniforms; girls
from the Roman-Catholic Orphan-House, in sable gowns and white
headbands; boys from the Burgher Asylum, with their black tights and
short-skirted, harlequin coats. [Footnote: This is not said in
derision. Both the boys and girls of this institution wear garments
quartered in red and black alternately. By making the dress thus
conspicuous, the children are, in a measure, deterred from wrong-doing
while going about the city. The Burgher Orphan-Asylum affords a
comfortable home to several hundred boys and girls. Holland is famous
for its charitable institutions.] There were old-fashioned gentlemen
in cocked hats and velvet knee-breeches; old-fashioned ladies, too, in
stiff, quilted skirts, and bodices of dazzling brocade. These were
accompanied by servants bearing foot-stoves and cloaks. There were the
peasant-folk arrayed in every possible Dutch costume--shy young
rustics in brazen buckles; simple village-maidens concealing their
flaxen hair under fillets of gold; women whose long, narrow aprons
were stiff with embroidery; women with short corkscrew curls hanging
over their foreheads; women with shaved heads and close-fitting caps;
and women in striped skirts and windmill bonnets; men in leather, in
homespun, in velvet and broadcloth; burghers in model European attire,
and burghers in short jackets, wide trousers, and steeple-crowned
hats.

There were beautiful Friesland girls in wooden shoes and coarse
petticoats, with solid gold crescents encircling their heads, finished
at each temple with a golden rosette, and hung with lace a century
old. Some wore necklaces, pendants, and ear-rings of the purest gold.
Many were content with gilt, or even with brass; but it is not an
uncommon thing for a Friesland woman to have all the family treasure
in her head-gear. More than one rustic lass displayed the value of two
thousand guilders upon her head that day.

Scattered throughout the crowd were peasants from the Island of
Marken, with sabots, black stockings, and the widest of breeches; also
women from Marken, with short blue petticoats, and black jackets gayly
figured in front. They wore red sleeves, white aprons, and a cap like
a bishop's mitre over their golden hair.

The children, often, were as quaint and odd-looking as their elders.
In short, one-third of the crowd seemed to have stepped bodily from a
collection of Dutch paintings.

Everywhere could be seen tall women, and stumpy men, lively-faced
girls, and youths whose expression never changed from sunrise to
sunset.

There seemed to be at least one specimen from every known town in
Holland. There were Utrecht water-bearers, Gouda cheese-makers, Delft
pottery-men, Schiedam distillers, Amsterdam diamond-cutters, Rotterdam
merchants, dried-up herring-packers, and two sleepy-eyed shepherds
from Texel. Every man of them had his pipe and tobacco-pouch. Some
carried what might be called the smoker's complete outfit,--a pipe,
tobacco, a pricker with which to clean the tube, a silver net for
protecting the bowl, and a box of the strongest of brimstone-matches.

A true Dutchman, you must remember, is rarely without his pipe on any
possible occasion. He may, for a moment, neglect to breathe; but, when
the pipe is forgotten, he must be dying, indeed. There were no such
sad cases here. Wreaths of smoke were rising from every possible
quarter. The more fantastic the smoke-wreath, the more placid and
solemn the smoker.

Look at those boys and girls on stilts! That is a good idea. They can
see over the heads of the tallest. It is strange to see those little
bodies high in the air, carried about on mysterious legs. They have
such a resolute look on their round faces, what wonder that nervous
old gentlemen, with tender feet, wince and tremble while the
long-legged little monsters stride past them!

You will read, in certain books, that the Dutch are a quiet people: so
they are generally. But listen! did ever you hear such a din? All made
up of human voices--no, the horses are helping somewhat, and the
fiddles are squeaking pitifully (how it must pain fiddles to be
tuned!); but the mass of the sound comes from the great _vox humana_
that belongs to a crowd.

That queer little dwarf, going about with a heavy basket, winding in
and out among the people, helps not a little. You can hear his shrill
cry above all the other sounds, "Pypen en tabac! Pypen en tabac!"

Another, his big brother, though evidently some years younger, is
selling doughnuts and bon-bons. He is calling on all pretty children,
far and near, to come quickly, or the cakes will be gone.

You know quite a number among the spectators. High up in yonder
pavilion, erected upon the border of the ice, are some persons whom
you have seen very lately. In the centre is Madame van Gleck. It is
her birthday, you remember: she has the post of honor. There is
Mynheer van Gleck, whose meerschaum has not really grown fast to his
lips: it only appears so. There are grandfather and grandmother, whom
you meet at the St. Nicholas _fκte_. All the children are with them.
It is so mild, they have brought even the baby. The poor little
creature is swaddled very much after the manner of an Egyptian mummy;
but it can crow with delight, and, when the band is playing, open and
shut its animated mittens in perfect time to the music.

Grandfather, with his pipe and spectacles and fur cap, makes quite a
picture as he holds baby upon his knee. Perched high upon their
canopied platforms, the party can see all that is going on. No wonder
the ladies look complacently at the glassy ice: with a stove for a
footstool, one might sit cosily beside the North Pole.

There is a gentleman with them who somewhat resembles St. Nicholas as
he appeared to the young Van Glecks, on the fifth of December. But the
saint had a flowing white beard; and this face is as smooth as a
pippin. His saintship was larger around the body, too, and (between
ourselves) he had a pair of thimbles in his mouth, which this
gentleman certainly has not. It cannot be St. Nicholas, after all.

Near by, in the next pavilion, sit the Van Holps, with their son and
daughter (the Van Gends) from The Hague. Peter's sister is not one to
forget her promises.

She has brought bouquets of exquisite hot-house flowers for the
winners.

These pavilions, and there are others beside, have all been erected
since daylight. That semicircular one, containing Mynheer Korbes's
family, is very pretty, and proves that the Hollanders are quite
skilled at tent-making; but I like the Van Gleck's best,--the centre
one,--striped red and white, and hung with evergreens.

The one with the blue flags contains the musicians. Those pagoda-like
affairs, decked with sea-shells, and streamers of every possible hue,
are the judges' stands; and those columns and flagstaffs upon the ice
mark the limit of the race-course. The two white columns, twined with
green, connected at the top by that long, floating strip of drapery,
form the starting-point. Those flagstaffs, half a mile off, stand at
each end of the boundary line, cut sufficiently deep to be distinct to
the skaters, though not enough so to trip them when they turn to come
back to the starting-point.

The air is so clear, it seems scarcely possible that the columns and
flagstaffs are so far apart. Of course, the judges' stands are but
little nearer together.

Half a mile on the ice, when the atmosphere is like this, is but a
short distance, after all, especially when fenced with a living chain
of spectators.

The music has commenced. How melody seems to enjoy itself in the open
air! The fiddles have forgotten their agony; and every thing is
harmonious. Until you look at the blue tent, it seems that the music
springs from the sunshine, it is so boundless, so joyous. Only when
you see the staid-faced musicians, you realize the truth.

Where are the racers? All assembled together near the white columns.
It is a beautiful sight,--forty boys and girls in picturesque attire,
darting with electric swiftness in and out among each other, or
sailing in pairs and triplets, beckoning, chatting, whispering, in the
fulness of youthful glee.

A few careful ones are soberly tightening their straps: others,
halting on one leg, with flushed, eager faces, suddenly cross the
suspected skate over their knee, give it an examining shake, and dart
off again. One and all are possessed with the spirit of motion. They
cannot stand still. Their skates are a part of them; and every runner
seems bewitched.

Holland is the place for skaters, after all. Where else can nearly
every boy and girl perform feats on the ice that would attract a
crowd if seen on Central Park? Look at Ben! I did not see him before.
He is really astonishing the natives; no easy thing to do in the
Netherlands. Save your strength, Ben, you will need it soon. Now other
boys are trying! Ben is surpassed already. Such jumping, such poising,
such spinning, such india-rubber exploits generally! That boy with a
red cap is the lion now: his back is a watch-spring, his body is
cork--no, it is iron, or it would snap at that. He is a bird, a top, a
rabbit, a corkscrew, a sprite, a flesh-ball, all in an instant. When
you think he's erect, he is down; and, when you think he is down, he
is up. He drops his glove on the ice, and turns a somerset as he picks
it up. Without stopping, he snatches the cap from Jacob Poot's
astonished head, and claps it back again "hindside before." Lookers-on
hurrah and laugh. Foolish boy! It is arctic weather under your feet,
but more than temperate overhead. Big drops already are rolling down
your forehead. Superb skater, as you are, you may lose the race.

A French traveller, standing with a note-book in his hand, sees our
English friend, Ben, buy a doughnut of the dwarf's brother, and eat
it. Thereupon he writes in his note-book, that the Dutch take enormous
mouthfuls, and universally are fond of potatoes boiled in molasses.

There are some familiar faces near the white columns. Lambert, Ludwig,
Peter, and Carl are all there, cool, and in good skating-order. Hans
is not far off. Evidently he is going to join in the race, for his
skates are on,--the very pair that he sold for seven guilders. He had
soon suspected that his fairy godmother was the mysterious "friend"
who had bought them. This settled, he had boldly charged her with the
deed; and she, knowing well that all her little savings had been spent
in the purchase, had not had the face to deny it. Through the fairy
godmother, too, he had been rendered amply able to buy them back
again. Therefore Hans is to be in the race. Carl is more indignant
than ever about it; but, as three other peasant-boys have entered,
Hans is not alone.

Twenty boys and twenty girls. The latter, by this time, are standing
in front, braced for the start; for they are to have the first "run."
Hilda, Rychie, and Katrinka are among them. Two or three bend hastily
to give a last pull at their skate-straps. It is pretty to see them
stamp to be sure that all is firm. Hilda is speaking pleasantly to a
graceful little creature in a red jacket and a new brown petticoat.
Why, it is Gretel! What a difference those pretty shoes make, and the
skirt, and the new cap! Annie Bouman is there, too. Even Janzoon
Kolp's sister has been admitted; but Janzoon himself has been voted
out by the directors, because he killed the stork, and only last
summer, was caught in the act of robbing a bird's nest,--a legal
offence in Holland.

This Janzoon Kolp, you see, was--There, I cannot tell the story just
now. The race is about to commence.

Twenty girls are formed in a line. The music has ceased.

A man, whom we shall call the crier, stands between the columns and
the first judges' stand. He reads the rules in a loud voice:--

"THE GIRLS AND BOYS ARE TO RACE IN TURN, UNTIL ONE GIRL AND ONE BOY
HAS BEATEN TWICE. THEY ARE TO START IN A LINE FROM THE UNITED COLUMNS,
SKATE TO THE FLAGSTAFF LINE, TURN, AND THEN COME BACK TO THE
STARTING-POINT; THUS MAKING A MILE AT EACH RUN."

A flag is waved from the judges' stand. Madame van Gleck rises in her
pavilion. She leans forward with a white handkerchief in her hand.
When she drops it, a bugler is to give the signal for them to start.

The handkerchief is fluttering to the ground. Hark!

They are off!

No. Back again. Their line was not true in passing the judges' stand.

The signal is repeated.

Off again. No mistake this time. Whew! how fast they go!

The multitude is quiet for an instant, absorbed in eager, breathless
watching.

Cheers spring up along the line of spectators. Huzza! five girls are
ahead. Who comes flying back from the boundary-mark? We cannot tell.
Something red, that is all. There is a blue spot flitting near it, and
a dash of yellow nearer still. Spectators at this end of the line
strain their eyes, and wish they had taken their post nearer the
flagstaff.

The wave of cheers is coming back again. Now we can see. Katrinka is
ahead!

She passes the Van Holp pavilion. The next is Madame van Gleck's. That
leaning figure gazing from it is a magnet. Hilda shoots past Katrinka,
waving her hand to her mother as she passes. Two others are close now,
whizzing on like arrows. What is that flash of red and gray? Hurrah,
it is Gretel! She, too, waves her hand, but toward no gay pavilion.
The crowd is cheering; but she hears only her father's voice,--"Well
done, little Gretel!" Soon Katrinka, with a quick, merry laugh, shoots
past Hilda, The girl in yellow is gaining now. She passes them
all,--all except Gretel. The judges lean forward without seeming to
lift their eyes from their watches. Cheer after cheer fills the air:
the very columns seem rocking. Gretel has passed them. She has won.

"GRETEL BRINKER, ONE MILE!" shouts the crier.

The judges nod. They write something upon a tablet which each holds in
his hand.

While the girls are resting,--some crowding eagerly around our
frightened little Gretel, some standing aside in high disdain,--the
boys form in line.

Mynheer van Gleck drops the handkerchief, this time. The buglers give
a vigorous blast.

The boys have started.

Halfway already. Did ever you see the like!

Three hundred legs flashing by in an instant. But there are only
twenty boys. No matter: there were hundreds of legs, I am sure. Where
are they now? There is such a noise, one gets bewildered. What are the
people laughing at? Oh! at that fat boy in the rear. See him go! See
him! He'll be down in an instant: no, he won't. I wonder if he knows
he is all alone: the other boys are nearly at the boundary-line. Yes,
he knows it. He stops. He wipes his hot face. He takes off his cap,
and looks about him. Better to give up with a good grace. He has made
a hundred friends by that hearty, astonished laugh. Good Jacob Poot!

The fine fellow is already among the spectators, gazing as eagerly as
the rest.

A cloud of feathery ice flies from the heels of the skaters as they
"bring to" and turn at the flagstaffs.

Something black is coming now, one of the boys: it is all we know. He
has touched the _vox humana_ stop of the crowd: it fairly roars.
Now they come nearer: we can see the red cap. There's Ben, there's
Peter, there's Hans!

Hans is ahead. Young Madame van Gend almost crushes the flowers in her
hand: she had been quite sure that Peter would be first. Carl Schummel
is next, then Ben, and the youth with the red cap.



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