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Title: Another Brownie Book

Author: Palmer Cox

Release Date: January 2, 2019 [EBook #58598]
[Last updated: February 13, 2021]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by David Edwards, Jane Robins and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by the University of Florida Digital Collections.)




Copyright, 1890, by THE CENTURY CO.






When snowdrifts blocked the country roads,
And trees were bending with their loads,
The wind grew mild which had been raw,
And winter yielded to a thaw;
That night the Brownies stood to stare
In wonder on the village square.
Said one, "This plot where drifts now roll
Seems like an acre from the Pole.
I have a scheme which nothing lacks:
Now while the snow so closely packs,
And may be molded in the hand,
We'll build a statue tall and grand
Which here shall stand at morning prime,
To be the wonder of the time."
Another cried, "That suits us all.
To work let every member fall.
When once the task we undertake
Be sure no dwarfish man we'll make;


But one that proudly may look down
On half the buildings in the town.
I know the place where builders keep
Their benches while the snow is deep;
The poles, and ladders too, are there,
To use when working high in air.
While some for these with me will fly,
Let some their hands to snow apply,
And not a feature of the man
Shall be neglected in our plan.
"You know the night, some time ago,
We tramped so far through drifted snow
To ornament with quaint design
The windows of a mansion fine;
And how, on lengthy ladders there
And scaffold swinging in the air,
We worked our brushes with a will
From icy cap to window-sill,
And made the people, great and small,
Believe Jack Frost had done it all?—
To-night we'll work as well, and show
A grand result before we go."
The snow that night was at its best,
And held its shape however pressed;
Like dough beneath the baker's hand
It seemed to answer each demand.
The rolls, when tumbled to and fro,
Increased with every turning, so
First like a cushion on they sped,
Then like a pillow, next, a bed,
Until the snow, adhering there,
Would leave the grass or pebbles bare.
As higher blocks of snow were laid
Still higher scaffolding was made,
And ladders brought to use instead
Of those too short to reach the head.


Thus grew the form from hour to hour;
For Brownies' hands have wondrous power,
And let them turn to what they will
Surprising work will follow still.
Some shaped the legs or smoothed the waist,
Some saw plump arms were rightly placed;
The head was fixed with proper pose,
Well fashioned were both ears and nose.
So close thronged Brownies high and low,
A looker-on would hardly know
What plan or shape the busy band
Of cunning Brownies had in hand.
But plan they had, and deftness too,
As well was seen when they were through.
The rounded form and manly port
Showed modeling of rarest sort,
While charcoal eyes, so well designed
They seemed to read the very mind,
Long icicles for beard and hair,
Were last affixed with taste and care.
And when the poles around the base
Had been returned each to its place,
And every ladder, bench, and board
They had in use, again was stored,
The Brownies stood around awhile
To gaze upon their work and smile.
Each points at head, or hand, or toe,
His special handiwork to show.
In truth, they had good reason there
With joy and pride to stand and stare,
And contemplate the object white
Which loomed above to such a height,
And not unlike some hero old,
For courage famed, or action bold,
With finger pointed out, as though,
To indicate the coming foe.
But morning light soon came to chase
The Brownies to their hiding-place.
And children on their way to school
Forgot their lessons and the rule
While gazing on the statue tall
That seemed to guard the County Hall.
And after drifts had left the square,
When roads and shingle-roofs were bare,
The Brownies' statue, like a tower,
Still bravely faced both wind and shower—
Though sinking slowly all the while,
And losing corpulence and style,
Till gardeners, on the first of May,
With shovels pitched the man away.



The Brownies once with capers spry
To an Academy drew nigh,
Which, founded by a generous hand,
Spread light and learning through the land.
The students, by ambition fired,
And men of science had retired;
So Brownies, through their mystic power,
Now took advantage of the hour.
A battery was soon displayed,
And strange experiments were made;
Electric currents were applied
To meadow-frogs they found inside,
Which sage professors, nights and days,
Had gathered up, in various ways.
To making pills some turned the mind,
While some to Dentistry inclined,
And aching teeth, both small and large,
Were there extracted free of charge.


More gazed where phrenologic charts
Showed heads partitioned off in parts.
Said one: "Let others knowledge gain
Through which to conquer ache and pain,
But by these charts I'll do my best
To learn where Fancy makes her nest."
Another cried, as he surveyed
The bumps that were so well arrayed:
"These heads exhibit, full and clear,
Which one to love and whom to fear;
Who is with noble thoughts inspired,
And who with hate or envy fired;
The man as timid as the hare,
The man destructive as the bear.
While choosing partners, one may find
It well to keep these charts in mind."
A microscope at length, they found;
And next, the Brownies gathered round
A stereopticon machine
That cast its rays upon a screen.
A thousand times it magnified,
Till, stretching out on every side,
An object large and larger spread,
And filled the gazing group with dread.
The locust, beetle, and the bee
Soon gained proportions strange to see,
And seemed like monsters close at hand
To put an end to all the band.
Ere long a door was open swung,
To show some skeletons that hung
From hook and peg, which caused a shout
Of fear to rise from those about.
Said one: "Thus Science works its way
Through old remains from day to day;
And those who during life could find
No time, perhaps, to aid mankind,
May, after all, in some such place
For years assist the human race
By giving students, as you see,
Some knowledge of Anatomy."
At other times, all breathless grouped
O'er crucibles, the Brownies stooped


To separate, with greatest skill,
The grains which cure from those that kill;
While burning acids, blazes blue,
And odors strong confused the crew.
Cried one: "Through trials hard to bear,
The student must himself prepare,
Though mixing paint, or mixing pill—
Or mixing phrases, if you will—
No careless study satisfies
If one would to distinction rise;
The minds that shed from pole to pole
The light of years, as round we roll,
Are first enriched through patient toil,
And kindled by the midnight oil."
Thus, spicing logic with a joke,
They chatted on till morning broke;
And then with wild and rapid race
The Brownie band forsook the place.



 HE autumn nights began to fill
The mind with thoughts of winter chill,
When Brownies in an orchard met,
Where ripened fruit was hanging yet.
Said one, "The apples here, indeed,
Must now be mellow to the seed;
And, ere another night, should be
Removed at once from every tree.
For any evening now may call
The frost to nip and ruin all."
Another quickly answer made:
"This man is scarcely worthy aid;
'Tis said his harsh and cruel sway
Has turned his children's love away.
"If this be true, 't would serve him right"
If frost should paint his orchard white."
"It matters not who owns the place,
Or why neglect thus shows its face,"
A third replied; "the fact is clear
That fruit should hang no longer here.
If worthy people here reside
Then will our hands be well applied;
And if unworthy folks we serve,
Still better notice we'll deserve."
"You speak our minds so full and fair,"
One loudly cried, "that speech we'll spare.
But like the buttons on your back,
We'll follow closely in your track,
And do our part with willing hand,
Without one doubting if or and."
Kind deeds the Brownies often do
Unknown to me as well as you;
The wounded hare, by hunters maimed,
Is sheltered and supplied and tamed.
The straying cat they sometimes find
Half-starved, and chased by dogs unkind,
And bring it home from many fears
To those who mourned its loss with tears.
And to the bird so young and bare,
With wings unfit to fan the air,
That preying owls had thought to rend
The Brownie often proves a friend.
Then bags and baskets were brought out
From barns and buildings round about,
With kettles, pans, and wooden-ware,
That prying eyes discovered there;
Nay, even blankets from the beds,
The pillow-slips, and table-spreads
Were in some manner brought to light
To render service through the night.
If there's a place where Brownies feel
At home with either hand or heel,
And seem from all restrictions free,
That place is in a branching tree.
At times, with balance fair and fine
They held their stations in a line;
At times, in rivalry and pride
To outer twigs they scattered wide;
And oft with one united strain
They shook the tree with might and main,
Till, swaying wildly to and fro,
It rocked upon the roots below.
So skilled at climbing were they all
The sum of accidents was small:
Some hats were crushed, some heads were sore,
Some backs were blue, ere work was o'er;
For hands will slip and feet will slide,
And boughs will break and forks divide,
And hours that promise sport sublime
May introduce a limping time.
So some who clambered up the tree
With ready use of hand and knee,
Found other ways they could descend
Than by the trunk, you may depend.
The startled birds of night came out
And watched them as they moved about;
Concluding thieves were out in force
They cawed around the place till hoarse.
But birds, like people, should be slow
To judge before the facts they know;
For neither tramps nor thieves were here,
But Brownies, honest and sincere,
Who worked like mad to strip the trees
Before they felt the morning breeze.
And well they gauged their task and time,
For ere the sun commenced to prime
The sky with faintest tinge of red
The Brownies from the orchard fled,
While all the fruit was laid with care
Beyond the reach of nipping air.



 HEN fleets of yachts were sailing round
The rippling bay and ruffled sound,
And steering out where Neptune raves,
To try their speed in rougher waves,
The Brownies from a lofty place
Looked out upon the novel race.
Said one: "A race is under way.
They'll start from somewhere in the bay,
To leave the frowning forts behind,
And Jersey headlands, as you'll find,
And sail around, as I surmise,
The light-ship that at anchor lies.
All sails are spread, the masts will bend,
For some rich prize they now contend—
A golden cup or goblet fine,
Or punch-bowl of antique design."
Another said: "To-night, when all
Have left the boats, we'll make a call,
And boldly sail a yacht or two
Around that ship, as people do.
If I can read the signs aright
That nature shows 'twill be a night
When sails will stretch before the blast,
And not hang idly round the mast."
So thus they talked, and plans they laid,
And waited for the evening shade.
And when the lamps in city square
And narrow street began to glare,
The Brownies ventured from their place
To find the yachts and sail their race.
In equal numbers now the band,
Divided up, the vessels manned.
Short time they wasted in debate
Who should be captain, cook, or mate;
But it was settled at the start
That all would take an active part,
And be prepared to pull and haul
If trouble came in shape of squall.
For in the cunning Brownie crowd
No domineering is allowed;
All stand alike with equal power,
And friendly feeling rules the hour.
The Brownies' prophecy was true.
That night the wind increased and blew,
And dipped the sails into the wave,
And work to every Brownie gave;
Not one on board but had to clew,
Or reef, or steer, or something do.
Sometimes the yachts ran side by side
A mile or more, then parted wide,
Still tacking round and shifting sail
To take advantage of the gale.
Sometimes a sloop beyond control
At random ran, or punched a hole
Clean through her scudding rival's jibs,
Or thumped her soundly on the ribs.
Of Brownies there were two or three
Who tumbled headlong in the sea,
While they performed some action bold,
And failed to keep a proper hold.
At first it seemed they would be lost;
For here and there they pitched and tossed,
Now on the crests of billows white,
Now in the trough, clear out of sight,
But all the while with valiant heart
Performing miracles of art.



Some life-preservers soon were thrown;
And ready hands let sails alone,
And turned to render aid with speed
To those who stood so much in need.
But accident could not displace
Or weaken interest in the race;
And soon each active Brownie stood
Where he could do the greatest good;
It mattered not if shifting sail,
Or at the helm, or on the rail.
With arm to arm and hip to hip,
They lay in rows to trim the ship.
All hands were anxious to succeed
And prove their yachts had greatest speed.
But though we sail, or though we ride,
Or though we sleep, the moments glide;
And none must bear this fact in mind
More constantly than Brownie kind.
For stars began to lose their glow
While Brownies still had miles to go.
Said one, who scanned the eastern sky
With doubtless an experienced eye:
"We'll crowd all sail, for fear the day
Will find us still upon the bay—
Since it would prove a sad affair
If morning light should find us there."
But when the winds began to fail
And lightly pressed the flapping sail,
It was determined by the band
To run their yachts to nearest land,
So they could reach their hiding-place
Before the sun revealed his face.


By happy chance a cove they reached
Where high and dry the boats were beached,
And all in safety made their way
To secret haunts without delay.



One night the Brownies strayed around
A green and level stretch of ground,
Where young folk oft their skill displayed
At archery, till evening's shade.
The targets standing in the park,
With arrows resting in the mark,
Soon showed the cunning Brownie band
The skill of those who'd tried a hand.
A few in outer rings were fast,
Some pierced the "gold," and more had passed
Without a touch, until they sank
In trunk of tree or grassy bank.
Said one: "On page and parchment old,
The story often has been told,
How men of valor bent the bow
To spread confusion through the foe.
And even now, in later times
(As travelers find in distant climes),
Some savage tribes on plain and hill
Can make it interesting still."
Another spoke: "A scene like this,
Reminds me of that valiant Swiss,
Who in the dark and trying hour
Revealed such nerve and matchless power,
And from the head of his brave son
The apple shot, and freedom won!
While such a chance is offered here,
We'll find the bows that must be near,
And as an hour or two of night
Will bring us 'round the morning light,
We'll take such targets as we may,
To safer haunts, some miles away.
Then at our leisure we can shoot
At bull's-eyes round or luscious fruit,
Till like the Swiss of olden time,
With steady nerves and skill sublime,
Each one can split an apple fair
On every head that offers there."
Now buildings that were fastened tight
Against the prowlers of the night,
At the wee Brownies' touch and call
Soon opened and surrendered all.
So some with bulky targets strode,
That made for eight or ten a load.
And called for engineering skill
To steer them up or down the hill;
Some carried bows of rarest kind,
That reached before and trailed behind.
The English "self-yew" bow was there,
Of nicest make and "cast" so rare,
Well tipped with horn, the proper thing,
With "nocks," or notches, for the string.
Still others formed an "arrow line"
That bristled like the porcupine.
When safe within the forest shade,
The targets often were displayed.
At first, however near they stood,
Some scattered trouble through the wood.
The trees were stripped of leaves and bark,
With arrows searching for the mark.
The hares to other groves withdrew,
And frighted birds in circles flew.
But practice soon improves the art
Of all, however dull or smart;
And there they stood to do their best,
And let all other pleasures rest,
While quickly grew their skill and power,
And confidence, from hour to hour.
When targets seemed too plain or wide,
A smaller mark the Brownies tried.
By turns each member took his stand
And risked his head to serve the band.
For volunteers would bravely hold
A pumpkin till in halves it rolled;
And then a turnip, quince, or pear,
Would next be shot to pieces there;
Till not alone the apples flew
In halves before their arrows true,
But even plums and cherries too.
For Brownies, as we often find,
Can soon excel the human kind,
And carry off with effort slight
The highest praise and honors bright.



HEN glassy lakes and streams about
Gave up their bass and speckled trout,
The Brownies stood by water clear
As shades of evening gathered near.


Said one: "Now country lads begin
To trim the rod and bend the pin
To catch the frogs and minnows spry
That in the brooks and ditches lie.
While city chaps with reels come down,
And line enough to gird the town,
And flies of stranger shape and hue
Than ever Mother Nature knew—
With horns like crickets, tails like mice,
And plumes like birds of Paradise.
Thus well prepared for sunny sky
Or cloudy weather, wet or dry,
They take the fish from stream and pool
By native art and printed rule."
Another said: "With peeping eyes
I've watched an angler fighting flies,
And thought, when thus he stood to bear
The torture from those pests of air,
There must indeed be pleasure fine
Behind the baited hook and line.
Now, off like arrows from the bow
In search of tackle some must go;
While others stay to dig supplies
Of bait that anglers highly prize,—
Such kind as best will bring the pout
The dace, the chub, and 'shiner' out;
While locusts gathered from the grass
Will answer well for thorny bass."
Then some with speed for tackle start,
And some to sandy banks depart,
And some uplift a stone or rail
In search of cricket, grub, or snail;
While more in dewy meadows draw
The drowsy locust from the straw.
Nor is it long before the band
Stands ready for the sport in hand.
It seemed the time of all the year
When fish the starving stage were near:
They rose to straws and bits of bark,
To bubbles bright and shadows dark,
And jumped at hooks, concealed or bare,
While yet they dangled in the air.
Some Brownies many trials met
Almost before their lines were wet;
For stones below would hold them fast,
And limbs above would stop the cast,
And hands be forced to take a rest,
At times when fish were biting best.
Some stumbled in above their boots,
And others spoiled their finest suits;
But fun went on; for many there
Had hooks that seemed a charm to bear,
And fish of various scale and fin
On every side were gathered in.
The catfish left his bed below,
With croaks and protests from the go;
And nerve as well as time it took
From such a maw to win the hook.
With horns that pointed every way,
And life that seemed to stick and stay,
Like antlered stag that stands at bay,
He lay and eyed the Brownie band,
And threatened every reaching hand.
The gamy bass, when playing fine,
Oft tried the strength of hook and line,
And strove an hour before his mind
To changing quarters was resigned.
Some eels proved more than even match
For those who made the wondrous catch,
And, like a fortune won with ease,
They slipped through fingers by degrees,
And bade good-bye to margin sands,
In spite of half a dozen hands.
The hungry, wakeful birds of air
Soon gathered 'round to claim their share,
And did for days themselves regale
On fish of every stripe and scale.
Thus sport went on with laugh and shout,
As hooks went in and fish came out,
While more escaped with wounded gill,
And yards of line they're trailing still;
But day at length began to break,
And forced the Brownies from the lake.



   HE Brownies' Band, while passing through
The country with some scheme in view,
Paused in their race, and well they might,
When broad Niagara came in sight.
Said one: "Give ear to what I say,
I've been a traveler in my day;
I've waded through Canadian mud
To Montmorenci's tumbling flood.
But ah! Niagara is the fall
That truly overtops them all—
The children prattle of its tide,
And age repeats its name with pride
The school-boy draws it on his slate,
The preacher owns its moral weight;
The tourist views it dumb with awe,
The Indian paints it for his squaw,
And tells how many a warrior true
Went o'er it in his bark canoe,
And never after friend or foe
Got sight of man or boat below."
Another said: "The Brownie Band
Upon the trembling brink may stand,
Where kings and queens have sighed to be,
But dare not risk themselves at sea."
Some played along the shelving ledge
That beetled o'er the river's edge;
Some gazed in meditation deep
Upon the water's fearful leap;
Some went below, to crawl about
Behind the fall, that shooting out
Left space where they might safely stand
And view the scene so wild and grand.
Some climbed the trees of cedar kind,
That o'er the rushing stream inclined,
To find a seat, to swing and frisk
And bend the boughs at fearful risk;
Until the rogues could dip and lave
Their toes at times beneath the wave.
Still more and more would venture out
In spite of every warning shout.
At last the weight that dangled there
Was greater than the tree could bear.
And then the snapping roots let go
Their hold upon the rocks below,
And leaping out away it rode
Upon the stream with all its load!
Then shouts that rose above the roar
Went up from tree-top, and from shore,
When it was thought that half the band
Was now forever leaving land.
It chanced, for reasons of their own,
Some men around that tree had thrown
A lengthy rope that still was strong
And stretching fifty feet along.
Before it disappeared from sight,
The Brownies seized it in their might,
And then a strain for half an hour
Went on between the mystic power
Of Brownie hands united all,
And water rushing o'er the fall.
But true to friends the
Brownies strained,
And inch by inch the tree was gained.
Across the awful bend it passed
With those in danger clinging fast,
And soon it reached the rocky shore
With all the Brownies safe once more.
And then, as morning showed her face,
The Brownies hastened from the place.


   NE night, as spring began to show
In buds above and blades below,
The Brownies reached a garden square
That seemed in need of proper care.
Said one, "Neglected ground like this
Must argue some one most remiss,
Or beds and paths would here be found
Instead of rubbish scattered round.
Old staves, and boots, and woolen strings,
With bottles, bones, and wire-springs,
Are quite unsightly things to see
Where tender plants should sprouting be.
This work must be progressing soon,
If blossoms are to smile in June."
A second said, "Let all give heed:
On me depend to find the seed.
For, thanks to my foreseeing mind,
To merchants' goods we're not confined.
Last autumn, when the leaves grew sere
And birds sought regions less severe,
One night through gardens fair I sped,
And gathered seeds from every bed;
Then placed them in a hollow tree,
Where still they rest. So trust to me
To bring supplies, while you prepare
The mellow garden-soil with care."
Another cried, "While some one goes
To find the shovels, rakes, and hoes,
That in the sheds are stowed away,
We'll use this plow as best we may.
Our arms, united at the chain,
Will not be exercised in vain,
But, as if colts were in the trace,
We'll make it dance around the place.
I know how deep the share should go,
And how the sods to overthrow.
So not a patch of ground the size
Of this old cap, when flat it lies,
But shall attentive care receive,
And be improved before we leave."
Then some to guide the plow began,
Others the walks and beds to plan.
And soon they gazed with anxious eyes
For those who ran for seed-supplies.
But, when they came, one had his say,
And thus explained the long delay:
"A woodchuck in the tree had made
His bed just where the seeds were laid.
We wasted half an hour at least
In striving to dislodge the beast;
Until at length he turned around,
Then, quick as thought, without a sound,
And ere he had his bearings got,
The rogue was half across the lot."
Then seed was sown in various styles,
In circles, squares, and single files;
While here and there, in central parts,
They fashioned diamonds, stars, and hearts,
Some using rake, some plying hoe,
Some making holes where seed should go;
While some laid garden tools aside
And to the soil their hands applied.
To stakes and racks more were assigned,
That climbing-vines support might find.
Cried one, "Here, side by side, will stand
The fairest flowers in the land.
The thrifty bees for miles around
Ere long will seek this plot of ground,
And be surprised to find each morn
New blossoms do each bed adorn.
And in their own peculiar screed
Will bless the hands that sowed the seed."
And while that night they labored there,
The cunning rogues had taken care
With sticks and strings to nicely frame
In line the letters of their name.
That when came round the proper time
For plants to leaf and vines to climb,
The Brownies would remembered be,
If people there had eyes to see.
But morning broke (as break it will
Though one's awake or sleeping still),
And then the seeds on every side
The hurried Brownies scattered wide.
Along the road and through the lane
They pattered on the ground like rain,
Where Brownies, as away they flew,
Both right and left full handfuls threw,
And children often halted there
To pick the blossoms, sweet and fair,
That sprung like daisies from the mead
Where fleeing Brownies flung the seed.


   NE night the Brownies reached a mound
That rose above the country round.
Said one, as seated on the place
He glanced about with thoughtful face:
"If almanacs have matters right
The Fourth begins at twelve to-night,—
A fitting time for us to fill
Yon cannon there and shake the hill,
And make the people all about
Think war again has broken out.
I know where powder may be found
Both by the keg and by the pound;
Men use it in a tunnel near
For blasting purposes, I hear.
To get supplies all hands will go,
And when we come we'll not be slow
To teach the folks the proper way
To honor Independence Day."
It was not long till powder came.
Then from the muzzle broke the flame,
And echo answered to the sound
That startled folk for miles around.
'Twas lucky for the Brownies' Band
They were not of the mortal brand,
Or half the crew would have been hurled
In pieces to another world.
For when at last the cannon roared,
So huge the charge had Brownies poured,
The metal of the gun rebelled
And threw all ways the load it held.
The pieces clipped the daisy-heads
And tore the tree-tops into shreds.
But Brownies are not slow to spy
A danger, as are you and I.
[45] [46]
For they through strange and mystic art
Observed it as it flew apart,
And ducked and dodged and flattened out,
To shun the fragments flung about.
Some rogues were lifted from their feet
And, turning somersaults complete,
Like leaves went twirling through the air
But only to receive a scare;
And ere the smoke away had cleared
In forest shade they disappeared.


   HILE Brownies passed along the street,
Commenting on the summer's heat
That wrapped the city day and night,
A swimming-bath appeared in sight.
Said one: "Of all the sights we've found,
Since we commenced to ramble round,
This seems to better suit the band
Than anything, however grand.
We'll rest awhile and find our way
Inside the place without delay,
And those who understand the art,
Can knowledge to the rest impart;
For every one should able be,
To swim, in river, lake, or sea.
We never know how soon we may,
See some one sinking in dismay,—
And then, to have the power to save
A comrade from a watery grave,
Will be a blessing sure to give
Us joy the longest day we live."
The doors soon opened through the power
That lay in Brownie hands that hour.
When once within the fun began,
As here and there they quickly ran;
Some up the stairs made haste to go,
Some into dressing-rooms below,
In bathing-trunks to reappear
And plunge into the water clear;
Some from the spring-board leaping fair
Would turn a somersault in air;
More to the bottom like a stone,
Would sink as soon as left alone,
While others after trial brief
Could float as buoyant as a leaf.
Some all their time to others gave
Assisting them to ride the wave,
Explaining how to catch the trick,
Both how to strike and how to kick;
And still keep nose above the tide,
That lungs with air might be supplied.
Thus diving in and climbing out,
Or splashing round with laugh and shout,
The happy band in water played
As long as Night her scepter swayed.
They heard the clocks in chapel towers
Proclaim the swiftly passing hours.
But when the sun looked from his bed
To tint the eastern sky with red,
In haste the frightened Brownies threw
Their clothes about them and withdrew.



S Brownies chanced at eve to stray
Around a wide but shallow bay,
Not far from shore, to their surprise,
They saw a whale of monstrous size,
That, favored by the wind and tide,
Had ventured in from ocean wide,
But waves receding by-and-by,
Soon left him with a scant supply.
At times, with flaps and lunges strong
He worked his way some yards along,
Till on a bar or sandy marge
He grounded like a leaden barge.
"A chance like this for all the band,"
Cried one, "but seldom comes to hand.
I know the bottom of this bay
Like those who made the coast survey.
'Tis level as a threshing-floor
And shallow now from shore to shore;
That creature's back will be as dry
As hay beneath a tropic sky,
Till morning tide comes full and free
And gives him aid to reach the sea."
"I catch the hint!" another cried;
"Let all make haste to gain his side
Then clamber up as best we may,
And ride him round till break of day."
At once, the band in great delight
Went splashing through the water bright,
And soon to where he rolled about
They lightly swam, or waded out.
Now climbing up, the Brownies tried
To take position for the ride.
Some lying down a hold maintained;
More, losing place as soon as gained,
Were forced a dozen times to scale
The broad side of the stranded whale.
Now half-afloat and half-aground
The burdened monster circled round,
Still groping clumsily about
As if to find the channel out,
And Brownies clustered close, in fear
That darker moments might be near.
And soon the dullest in the band
Was sharp enough to understand
The creature was no longer beached,
But deeper water now had reached.
For plunging left, or plunging right,
Or plowing downward in his might,
The fact was plain, as plain could be—
The whale was working out to sea!
A creeping fear will seize the mind
As one is leaving shores behind,
And knows the bark whereon he sails
Is hardly fit to weather gales.
Soon Fancy, with a graphic sweep,
Portrays the nightmares of the deep;
While they can see, with living eye,
The terrors of the air sweep by.
For who would not a fierce bird dread,
If it came flying at his head?
And these were hungry, squawking things,
With open beaks and flapping wings.
They made the Brownies dodge and dip,
Into the sea they feared to slip.
The birds they viewed with chattering teeth,
Yet dreaded more the foes beneath.
The lobster, with his ready claw;
The fish with sword, the fish with saw;
The hermit-crab, in coral hall,
Averse to every social call;
The father-lasher, and the shrimp,
The cuttle-fish, or ocean imp,
All these increase the landsman's fright,
As shores are fading out of sight.
Such fear soon gained complete command
Of every Brownie in the band.
They looked behind, where fair and green
The grassy banks and woods were seen.
They looked ahead, where white and cold
The foaming waves of ocean rolled,
And then, with woful faces drew
Comparisons between the two.
Some blamed themselves for action rash
Against all reason still to dash
In danger's way, and never think
Until they stood on ruin's brink.
While others threw the blame on those
Who did the risky trip propose.
But meantime deep and deeper still
The whale was settling down until
His back looked like an island small
That scarce gave standing-room to all.
But, when their chance seemed slight indeed
To sport again o'er dewy mead,
The spouting whale, with movement strong,
Ran crashing through some timbers long
That lumbermen had strongly tied
In cribs and rafts, an acre wide.

'Twas then, in such a trying hour,
The Brownies showed their nerve and power.
The diving whale gave little time
For them to choose a stick to climb,—
But grips were strong; no hold was lost,
However high the logs were tossed;
By happy chance the boom remained
That to the nearest shore was chained,
And o'er that bridge the Brownies made
A safe retreat to forest shade.



The sun had hardly taken flight
Unto the deepest caves of night;
Or fowls secured a place of rest
Where Reynard's paw could not molest,
When Brownies gathered to pursue
Their plans regarding pleasures new.
Said one: "In spite of hand or string,
Now hats fly round like crows in spring,
Exposing heads to gusts of air,
That ill the slightest draught can bear;
While, high above the tallest tower,
At morning, noon, and evening hour,
The youngsters' kites with streaming tails
Are riding out the strongest gales.
The doves in steeples hide away
Or keep their houses through the day,
Mistaking every kite that flies
For bird of prey of wondrous size."
"You're not alone," another cried,
"In taking note. I, too, have spied
The boys of late, in street and court,
Or on the roofs, at this fine sport;
But yesternight I chanced to see
A kite entangled in a tree.
The string was nowhere to be found;
The tail about a bough was wound.
Some birds had torn the paper out,
To line their nests, in trees about,
But there beside the wreck I staid,
Until I learned how kites are made.
On me you safely may depend,
To show the way to cut and bend.
So let us now, while winds are high,
Our hands at once to work apply;
And from the hill that lifts its crown
So far above the neighboring town,
We'll send our kites aloft in crowds,
To lose themselves among the clouds."
A smile on every face was spread,
At thought of fun like this, ahead;
And quickly all the plans were laid,
And work for every Brownie made.
Some to the kitchens ran in haste,
To manufacture pots of paste.
Some ran for tacks or shingle-nails,
And some for rags to make the tails,
While more with loads of paper came,
Or whittled sticks to make the frame.
The strings, that others gathered, soon
Seemed long enough to reach the moon.
But where such quantities they found,
'Tis not so easy to expound;—
Perhaps some twine-shop, standing nigh,
Was raided for the large supply;
Perhaps some youthful angler whines
About his missing fishing-lines.
But let them find things where they will,
The Brownies must be furnished still;
And those who can't such losses stand,
Will have to charge it to the Band.
With busy fingers, well applied,
They clipped and pasted, bent and tied;
With paint and brush some ran about
From kite to kite, to fit them out.
On some they paint a visage fair,
While others would affright a bear,
Nor was it long (as one might guess
Who knows what skill their hands possess)
Before the kites, with string and tail,
Were all prepared to ride the gale;
And oh, the climax of their glee
Was reached when kites were floating free!
So quick they mounted through the air
That tangling strings played mischief there,
And threatened to remove from land
Some valued members of the band.
The birds of night were horrified
At finding kites on every side,
And netted strings, that seemed to be
Designed to limit action free.
Brownies stood or ran about
Now winding up, now letting out;
Now giving kites more tail or wing,
Now wishing for a longer string;
Until they saw the hints of day
Approaching through the morning gray.


HEN flitting bats commenced to wheel
Around the eaves to find their meal,
And owls to hoot in forests wide,
To call their owlets to their side,
The Brownie Band, in full array,
Through silent streets pursued their way.
But as they neared a building high,
Surprise was shown in every eye.
They heard the strains of music sweet,
And tripping of the dancers' feet;
While o'er the tap of heel and toe,
The twang of harp and scrape of bow,
Arose the clear and ringing call
Of those who had control of all.
The Brownies slackened their swift pace,
Then gathered closely round the place,
To study out some way to win
A peep or two at those within.
Said one: "In matters of this kind
Opinions differ, you will find.
And some might say, with sober thought,
That children should not thus be taught
To hop around on toe and heel
So actively to fiddle's squeal,
For fear 'twould turn their minds away
From graver duties of the day."
Another said: "The dancing art
Doth ease to every move impart.
It gives alike to city-bred
And country-born a graceful tread,
And helps them bear themselves along
Without offense in greatest throng.
The nimble step, the springing knee,
And balanced body all agree.
The feet, my friends, may glide with grace
As well as trudge from place to place.
And in the parlor or without
They best can stand or walk about
Who found in early life a chance
To mingle in the sprightly dance."
The Brownies need no ladders long,
No hoists, nor elevators strong,
To lift them to an upper flight,
A window-sill, or transom light.
The weather-vane upon the spire,
That overlooks the town entire,
Is not too high above the base
If fancy leads them to the place.
'Tis said the very fleecy clouds
They can bestride in eager crowds,
Around the world their way to find,
And leave the lagging winds behind.
Said one: "We've scaled the dizzy heights
Of mountain-peaks on other nights,
And crossed the stream from shore to shore
Where but the string-piece stretched before;
And cunning Brownies, never fear,
Will find some way to enter here."
 HEN once the Brownies' plans were laid,
No formal, tiresome speech was made.
In mystic ways, to Brownies known,
They clambered up the walls of stone.
They clung to this and that, like briers,
They climbed the smooth electric wires;
Some members lending ready aid
To those who weaker nerves displayed.
And in five minutes at the most,
By vine, by bracket, and by post,
By every scroll, and carving bold,
That toes could touch or fingers hold
They made their way, and gained a chance
To view, unnoticed, every dance.
Said one: "How pleasant is the sight
To see those children young and bright
While skipping blithely to and fro,
Now joined in pairs, now in a row,
Or formed in circles, hand in hand,
And lightly moving at command—
Like butterflies through balmy air
When summer spreads attractions fair,
And blends with every whispering breeze
The drowsy hum of working bees."
Another said: "When this is o'er
The Brownie Band will take the floor.
We'll bide our time and not be slow
To take possession when they go.
Then up and down the spacious hall
We'll imitate the steps of all.
We'll show that not in Frenchmen's bones
Lies all the grace that nature owns;
That others at the waltz can shine
As well as Germans from the Rhine;
That we some capers can enjoy
As well as natives of Savoy."
While thus they talked, the moments flew,
And soon the master's task was through.
When children's cloaks were wrapped around,
And heavier shoes their feet had found
They hastened home; but while they slept
The Brownies in that building crept
To take their turn at lively reel,
At graceful glide, or dizzy wheel,
Till all the dances people know,
From Cuba's palms to Russia's snow
Were tried, and soon in every case
Were mastered with surprising grace.
Imagine how they skipped about,
And how they danced, with laugh and shout!


O sooner had the Brownies run
Into the hall than 'twas begun.
Some round the harp, with cunning stroke,
The music in the strings awoke.
The violins to others fell,
Who scraped, and sawed, and fingered well,
Until the sweet and stirring air
Would rouse the feet of dullest there.
Like people in the spring of life,
Of joys and countless blessings rife,
Who yield themselves to Pleasure's hand—
So danced that night the Brownie Band.
First one would take his place to show
The special step for heel or toe,
Just how to edge about with care,
And help around the partner fair,
Nor plant his feet upon a dress—
To cause confusion and distress.
Then more would play the master's part,
And give some lessons in the art:
Would show the rest some figures new
From Turkey, China, or Peru.
Now smoothly glide, as if on wings,
Then bob around, as if on springs,
Until the sprightly steps would call
Loud acclamations from them all.
They danced in twos with skip and bound,
They danced in circles, round and round;
They danced in lines that coiled about
As runs the serpent in and out,
Some moving slow, some standing still—
More cutting capers with a will.
At length, by joining hand in hand,
The set included all the band.
A happier crowd was never seen
On ball-room floor or village green.
By turns they danced, by turns would go
And try their skill at string and bow—
They almost sawed the fiddle through,
So fast the bow across it flew.
And louder still the harp would ring,
As nimbler fingers plucked the string.
Alike they seemed a skillful band
Upon the floor or music-stand.
The night wore on, from hour to hour,
And still they danced with vim and power;
For supple-kneed and light of toe
The Brownies are, as well you know,
And such a thing as tiring out
Gives them but small concern, no doubt.
As long as darkness hung her pall
In heavy folds around the hall,
The Brownies stayed to dance and play,
Until the very break of day.
O dance the figures o'er and o'er,
They lingered on the polished floor;
No sooner was one party done
Than others the position won.
They chose their partners for the set,
And bowed, and scraped, and smiling, met.
As night advanced, and morning gray
Nigh and still nigher cast its ray,
The lively Brownies faster flew,
Across and back, around and through;
Now down the center, up the side,
Then back to place with graceful glide—
[69] [70]
Until it seemed that even day
Would hardly drive the band away.
At length some, more upon their guard
Against surprises, labored hard
To urge their comrades from the place
Before the sun would show his face.
They pulled and hauled with all their might
At those half crazy with delight,
Who still would struggle for a chance
To have, at least, another dance—
Some figure that was quite forgot,
Although "the finest of the lot."
Another wished to linger still—
In spite of warning words—until
Each member present on the floor
Had been his partner twice or more.
Meantime, outside, the tell-tale dyes
Of morn began to paint the skies,
And, one by one, the stars of night
Grew pale before the morning's light.
Alone, bright Venus, in the west,
Upheld her torch and warned the rest;
While from the hedge the piping note
Of waking birds began to float;
And crows upon the wooded hills
Commenced to stir and whet their bills,
When Brownies scampered from the place,
And undertook the homeward race.
Nor made a halt in street or square,
Or verdant park, however fair;
But farther from the sight of man
And light of day, they quickly ran.
They traveled at their highest speed,
And swiftly must they go, indeed;
For, like the spokes of some great wheel,
The rays of light began to steal
Still higher up the eastern sky,
And showed the sun was rolling nigh.


NE evening, while the Brownies sat
Enjoying free and friendly chat,
Some on the trees, some on the ground,
And others perched on fences round—
One Brownie, rising in his place,
Addressed the band with beaming face.
The listeners gathered with delight
Around the member, bold and bright,
To hear him tell of scenes he'd spied
While roaming through the country wide.
"Last eve," said he, "to shun the blast,
Behind a cottage fence I passed.
While there, I heard a merry rout,
And as the yard was dark without,
I crawled along through weeds and grass,
Through melon-vines and broken glass,
Until I might, unnoticed, win
A glimpse of all the sport within.
At length, below the window-pane,
To reach the sill I stretched in vain;
But, thanks to my inquiring mind
And sundry bricks, I chanced to find
The facts I can relate in full
About that lively candy-pull.
"An hour or more, I well believe,
I stood, their actions to perceive,
With elbows resting on the sill,
And nose against the window still.
I watched them closely at their fun,
And learned how everything was done.
The younger members took the lead,
And carried on the work with speed.
With nimble feet they ran about
From place to place, with laugh and shout;
But older heads looked on the while,
And cheered the youngsters with a smile,
And gave advice in manner kind
To guide the inexperienced mind.
They placed the sugar in a pot,
And stirred it round till boiling hot;
Then rolled and worked it in their hands,
And stretched it out in shining bands,
Until it reached across the floor,
From mantel-piece to kitchen door.
"These eyes of mine for many a night
Have not beheld a finer sight.
To pull the candy was the part
Of some who seemed to know the art.
The moon had slipped behind the hill,
And hoarse had grown the whip-poor-will;
But still, with nose against the pane,
I kept my place through wind and rain.
There, perched upon the shaky pile,
With bated breath I gazed the while.
I watched them with the sharpest sight
That I might tell the tale aright;
For all the active youngsters there
Appeared to have of work their share.
Some put fresh sugar in the pot,
Some kept the fire blazing hot,
And worked away as best they could
To keep the stove well filled with wood.
Indeed, ourselves, with all our skill,
At moving here and there at will,
Would have to 'lively' be and 'tear
Around' to beat those children there!
Some cut it up, more passed it round,
While others ate it by the pound!"
At this, a murmur of surprise
On every side began to rise;
Then smiles o'er every visage flitted,
As wide as cheeks and ears permitted,
That told what train of thought had sped
At once through every Brownie's head—
A thought of pleasure near at hand
That well would suit the cunning band.
HE Brownies act without delay
When new ideas cross their way,
And soon one raised a finger small
And close attention gained from all.
They crowded near with anxious glance
To learn what scheme he could advance—
What methods mention or employ
To bring about the promised joy.
Said he: "A vacant house is near.
The owner leaves it every year
For several months, and pleasure seeks
On ocean waves or mountain peaks.
The range is there against the wall,
The pots, the pans, the spoons, and all,
While cans of syrup may be found
In every grocer's store around.
The Brownie must be dull and tame,
And scarce deserves to bear the name,
Who will not join with heart and hand
To carry out a scheme so grand."
Another cried: "When to his bed
The sun to-morrow stoops his head,
Again we'll muster in full force
And to that building turn our course."
Next eve they gained the street at last
That through the silent city passed;
And soon they paused, their eyes they raised
And on the vacant mansion gazed.
In vain the miser hides his store,
In vain the merchant bars his door,
In vain the locksmith changes keys—
The Brownies enter where they please.
Through iron doors, through gates of brass,
And walls of stone they safely pass,
And smile to think how soon they can
Upset the studied schemes of man.
Within that house, without delay,
Behind the guide they worked their way,
More happy far and full of glee
Than was the owner, out at sea.
The whale, the shark, or fish that flies
Had less attraction for his eyes
Than had the shining candy-balls
For Brownies, swarming through his halls.
Soon coal was from the cellar brought
And kindling wood came, quick as thought;
Then pots and pans came rattling in
And syrup sweet, in cans of tin.
Just where the syrup had been found
It matters not. It was around.
The cunning band was soon possessed
Of full supplies and of the best;
Next tablespoons of silver fine
In every hand appeared to shine,
And ladles long, of costly ware,
That had been laid away with care.
No sooner was the syrup hot
Than some around the kettle got,
And dabbed away in eager haste
To be the first to get a taste.
Then some were scalded when the spoon
Let fall its contents all too soon,
And gave the tongue too warm a mess
To carry without some distress.
Then steps were into service brought
That dancing-masters never taught,
And smothered cries and swinging hand
Would wake the wonder of the band.
And when the candy boiled until
It could be pulled and hauled at will,
Take every shape or twist, and seem
As free as fancy in a dream,
The busy, happy-hearted crew
Enjoyed the moments as they flew.
The Brownies in the building stayed
And candy ate as fast as made.
But when at length the brightening sky
Gave warning they must homeward fly,
They quickly sought the open air
And had but little time to spare.
The shortest way, as often found,
Was o'er the roughest piece of ground,
Where rocks as large as houses lay
All scattered round in wild array.
Some covered o'er with clinging vines,
Some bearing up gigantic pines,
Or spreading oaks, that rooted fast,
For centuries had stood the blast.
But over all the rugged ground
The Brownies passed with lightsome bound,
Now jumping clear from block to block,
Now sliding down the shelving rock,
Or cheering on the lagging kind
Who here and there would fall behind.



NIGHT the Brownies found their way
To where some tracks and switches lay,
And buildings stood, such as are found
In every town on railroad ground.
They moved about from place to place,
With prying eyes and cautious pace
They peeped in shops and gained a view,
Where cars were standing bright and new;
While others, that had service known,
And in some crash were overthrown,
On jack-screws, blocks, and such affairs,
Were undergoing full repairs.
The table that turns end for end
Its heavy load, without a bend,
Was next inspected through and through
And tested by the wondering crew.
They scanned the signal-lights with care
That told the state of switches there,—
Showed whether tracks kept straight ahead,
Or simply to some siding led.
Then round a locomotive strong
They gathered in an earnest throng,
Commenting on the style it showed,
Its strength and speed upon the road.
Said one: "That 'pilot' placed before
Will toss a cow a block or more;
You'd hardly find a bone intact
When such a thing her frame has racked—
Above the fence, and, if you please,
Above the smoke-stack and the trees
Will go the horns and heels in air,
When hoisted by that same affair."
"Sometimes it saves," another cried,
"And throws an object far aside
That would to powder have been ground,
If rushing wheels a chance had found.
I saw a goat tossed from the track
And landed on a farmer's stack,
And though surprised at fate so strange,
He seemed delighted at the change;
And lived content, on best of fare,
Until the farmer found him there."
Another said: "We'll have some fun
And down the road this engine run.
The steam is up, as gauges show;
She's puffing, ready now to go;
The fireman and the engineer
Are at their supper, in the rear
Of yonder shed. I took a peep,
And found the watchman fast asleep.
So now's our time, if we but haste,
The joys of railway life to taste.
I know the engine-driver's art,
Just how to stop, reverse, and start;
I've watched them when they little knew
From every move I knowledge drew;
We'll not be seen till under way,
And then, my friends, here let me say,
The man or beast will something lack
Who strives to stop us on the track."
Then some upon the engine stepped,
And some upon the pilot crept,
And more upon the tender found
A place to sit and look around.
And soon away the engine rolled
At speed 'twas fearful to behold;
It seemed they ran, where tracks were straight,
At least at mile-a-minute rate;
And even where the curves were short
The engine turned them with a snort
That made the Brownies' hearts the while
Rise in their throats, for half a mile.
But travelers many dangers run
On safest roads beneath the sun.
They ran through yards, where dogs came out
To choke with dust that whirled about,
And so could neither growl nor bark
Till they had vanished in the dark;
Some pigs that wandered late at night,
And neither turned to left nor right,
But on the crossing held debate
Who first should squeeze beneath the gate,
Were helped above the fence to rise
Ere they had time to squeal surprise,
And never after cared to stray
Along the track by night or day.
But when a town was just in sight,
And speed was at its greatest height,—
Alas! that such a thing should be,—
An open switch the Brownies see.
Then some thought best at once to go
Into the weeds and ditch below;
But many on the engine stayed
And held their grip, though much dismayed.
And waited for the shock to fall
That would decide the fate of all.
In vain reversing tricks were tried,
And brakes to every wheel applied;
The locomotive forward flew,
In spite of all that skill could do.
But just as they approached the place
Where trouble met them face to face,
Through some arrangement, as it seemed,
Of which the Brownies never dreamed,
The automatic switch was closed,
A safety signal-light exposed,
And they were free to roll ahead,
And wait for those who'd leaped in dread;
Although the end seemed near at hand
Of every Brownie in the band,
And darkest heads through horrid fright
Were in a moment changed to white,
The injuries indeed were small.
A few had suffered from their fall,
And some were sprained about the toes,
While more were scraped upon the nose;
But all were able to succeed
In climbing to a place with speed,
And there they stayed until once more
They passed the heavy round-house door.
Then jumping down on every side
The Brownies scampered off to hide;
And as they crossed the trestle high
The sun was creeping up the sky,
And urged them onward in their race
To find some safe abiding place.



 T was the season of the year
When people, dressed in fancy gear,
From every quarter hurried down
And filled the largest halls in town;
And there to flute and fiddle sweet
Went through their sets with lively feet.
The Brownies were not slow to note
That fun indeed was now afloat;
And ere the season passed away,
Of longest night and shortest day,
They looked about to find a hall
Where they could hold their fancy ball.
Said one: "A room can soon be found
Where all the band can troop around;
But want of costumes, much I fear,
Will bar our pleasure all the year."
Another said: "One moment wait!
My eyes have not been shut of late,—
Don't show a weak and hopeless mind
Because your knowledge is confined,—
For I'm prepared to take the band
To costumes, ready to the hand,
Of every pattern, new or old:
The kingly robes, with chains of gold,
The cloak and plume of belted knight,
The pilgrim's hat and stockings white,
The dresses for the ladies fair,
The gems and artificial hair,
The soldier-suits in blue and red,
The turban for the Tartar's head,
All can be found where I will lead,
If friends are willing to proceed."
Those knowing best the Brownie way
Will know there was no long delay,
Ere to the town he made a break
With all the Brownies in his wake.
It mattered not that roads were long,
That hills were high or winds were strong;
Soon robes were found on peg and shelf,
And each one chose to suit himself.
The costumes, though a world too wide,
And long enough a pair to hide,
Were gathered in with skill and care,
That showed the tailor's art was there.
Then out they started for the hall,
In fancy trappings one and all;
Some clad like monks in sable gowns;
And some like kings; and more like clowns;
And Highlanders, with naked knees;
And Turks, with turbans like a cheese;
While many members in the line
Were dressed like ladies fair and fine,
And swept along the polished floor
A train that reached a yard or more.
By happy chance some laid their hand
Upon the outfit of a band;
The horns and trumpets took the lead,
Supported well by string and reed;
And violins, that would have made
A mansion for the rogues that played,
With flute and clarionet combined
In music of the gayest kind.
In dances wild and strange to see
They passed the hours in greatest glee;
Familiar figures all were lost
In flowing robes that round them tossed;
And well-known faces hid behind
Queer masks that quite confused the mind.
The queen and clown, a loving pair,
Enjoyed a light fandango there;
While solemn monks of gentle heart,
In jig and scalp-dance took their part.
The grand salute, with courteous words,
The bobbing up and down, like birds,
The lively skip, the stately glide,
The double turn, and twist aside
Were introduced in proper place
And carried through with ease and grace.
So great the pleasure proved to all,
Too long they tarried in the hall,
And morning caught them on the fly,
Ere they could put the garments by!
Then dodging out in great dismay,
By walls and stumps they made their way;
And not until the evening's shade
Were costumes in their places laid.



 WHILE Brownies strayed along a pier
To view the shipping lying near,
A tugboat drew their gaze at last;
'Twas at a neighboring wharf made fast.
Cried one: "See what in black and red
Below the pilot-house is spread!
In honor of the Brownie Band,
It bears our name in letters grand.
Through all the day she's on the go;
Now with a laden scow in tow,
And next with barges two or three,
Then taking out a ship to sea,
Or through the Narrows steaming round
In search of vessels homeward bound;
She's stanch and true from stack to keel,
And we should highly honored feel."
Another said: "An hour ago,
The men went up to see a show,
And left the tugboat lying here.
The steam is up, our course is clear,
We'll crowd on board without delay
And run her up and down the bay.
We have indeed a special claim,
Because she bears the 'Brownie' name.
Before the dawn creeps through the east
We'll know about her speed at least,
And prove how such a craft behaves
When cutting through the roughest waves.
Behind the wheel I'll take my stand
And steer her round with skillful hand,
Now down the river, now around
The bay, or up the broader sound;
Throughout the trip I'll keep her clear
Of all that might awaken fear.
When hard-a-port the helm I bring,
Or starboard make a sudden swing,
The Band can rest as free from dread
As if they slept on mossy bed.
I something know about the seas,
I've boxed a compass, if you please,
And so can steer her east or west,
Or north or south, as suits me best.
Without the aid of twinkling stars
Or light-house lamps, I'll cross the bars.
I know when north winds nip the nose,
Or sou'-sou'-west the 'pig-wind' blows,
As hardy sailors call the gale
That from that quarter strikes the sail."
A third replied: "No doubt you're smart
And understand the pilot's art,
But more than one a hand should take,
For all our lives will be at stake.
In spite of eyes and ears and hands,
And all the skill a crew commands,
How oft collisions crush the keel
And give the fish a sumptuous meal!
Too many rocks around the bay
Stick up their heads to bar the way.
Too many vessels, long and wide,
At anchor in the channel ride
For us to show ourselves unwise
And trust to but one pair of eyes."
Ere long the tugboat swinging clear
Turned bow to stream and left the pier,
While many Brownies, young and old,
From upper deck to lower hold
Were crowding round in happy vein
Still striving better views to gain.
Some watched the waves around them roll;
Some stayed below to shovel coal,
From hand to hand, with pitches strong,
They passed the rattling loads along.
Some at the engine took a place,
More to the pilot-house would race
To keep a sharp lookout ahead,
Or man the wheel as fancy led.
But accidents we oft record,
However well we watch and ward,
And vessels often go to wreck
With careful captains on the deck;
They had mishaps that night, for still,
In spite of all their care and skill,
While running straight or turning round
In river, bay, or broader sound,
At times they ran upon a rock,
And startled by the sudden shock
Some timid Brownies, turning pale,
Would spring at once across the rail;
And then, repenting, find all hope
Of life depended on a rope,
That willing hands were quick to throw
And hoist them from the waves below.
Sometimes too near a ship they ran
For peace of mind; again, their plan
Would come to naught through lengthy tow
Of barges passing to and fro.
The painted buoys around the bay
At times occasioned some dismay—
They took them for torpedoes dread
That might the boat in fragments spread,
Awake the city's slumbering crowds,
And hoist the band among the clouds.
But thus, till hints of dawn appeared
Now here, now there, the boat was steered
With many joys and many fears,
That some will bear in mind for years;
But at her pier once more she lay
When night gave place to creeping day.



 S shades of evening closed around,
The Brownies, from some wooded ground,
Looked out to view with staring eye
A Tally-Ho, then passing by.
Around the park they saw it roll,
Now sweeping round a wooded knoll,
Now rumbling o'er an arching bridge,
Now hid behind a rocky ridge,
Now wheeling out again in view
To whirl along some avenue.
They hardly could restrain a shout
When they observed the grand turnout.
The long, brass horn, that trilled so loud,
The prancing horses, and the crowd
Of people perched so high in air
Pleased every wondering Brownie there.
Said one: "A rig like this we see
Would suit the Brownies to a T!
And I'm the one, here let me say,
To put such pleasures in our way:
I know the very place to go
To-night to find a Tally-Ho.
It never yet has borne a load
Of happy hearts along the road;
But, bright and new in every part
'Tis ready for an early start.
The horses in the stable stand
With harness ready for the hand;
If all agree, we'll take a ride
For miles across the country wide."
Another said: "The plan is fine;
You well deserve to head the line;
But, on the road, the reins I'll draw;
I know the way to 'gee' and 'haw,'
And how to turn a corner round,
And still keep wheels upon the ground."
Another answered: "No, my friend,
We'll not on one alone depend;
But three or four the reins will hold,
That horses may be well controlled.
The curves are short, the hills are steep,
The horses fast, and ditches deep,
And at some places half the band
May have to take the lines in hand."
That night, according to their plan,
The Brownies to the stable ran;
Through swamps they cut to reach the place,
And cleared the fences in their race
As lightly as the swallow flies
To catch its morning meal supplies.
Though, in the race, some clothes were soiled,
And stylish shoes completely spoiled,
Across the roughest hill or rock
They scampered like a frightened flock,
Now o'er inclosures knee and knee,
With equal speed they clambered free
And soon with faces all aglow
They crowded round the Tally-Ho;
But little time they stood to stare
Or smile upon the strange affair.
As many hands make labor light,
And active fingers win the fight,
Each busy Brownie played his part,
And soon 't was ready for the start.
But ere they took their seats to ride
By more than one the horns were tried,
Each striving with tremendous strain
The most enlivening sound to gain,
And prove he had a special right
To blow the horn throughout the night.
Though some were crowded in a seat,
And some were forced to keep their feet
Or sit upon another's lap,
And some were hanging to a strap,
With merry laugh and ringing shout,
And tooting horns, they drove about.
A dozen miles, perhaps, or more,
The lively band had traveled o'er,
Commenting on their happy lot
And keeping horses on the trot,
When, as they passed a stunted oak
A wheel was caught, the axle broke!
Then some went out with sudden pitch,
And some were tumbled in the ditch,
And one jumped off to save his neck,
While others still hung to the wreck.
Confusion reigned, for coats were rent,
And hats were crushed, and horns were bent,
And what began with fun and clatter
Had turned to quite a serious matter.
Some blamed the drivers, others thought
The tooting horns the trouble brought.
More said, that they small wisdom showed,
Who left the root so near the road.
But while they talked about their plight
Upon them burst the morning light
With all the grandeur and the sheen
That June could lavish on the scene.
So hitching horses where they could,
The Brownies scampered for the wood.
And lucky were the Brownies spry:
A dark and deep ravine was nigh
That seemed to swallow them alive
So quick were they to jump and dive,
To safely hide from blazing day
That fast had driven night away,
And forced them to leave all repairs
To other heads and hands than theirs.



HILE Brownies moved around one night
A seaside race-track came in sight.
"'T is here," said one, "the finest breed
Of horses often show their speed;
Here, neck and neck, and nose and nose,
Beneath the jockeys' urging blows,
They sweep around the level mile
The people shouting all the while;
And climbing up or crowding through
To gain a better point of view,
So they can see beyond a doubt
How favorites are holding out."
Another said: "I know the place
Where horses wait to-morrow's race;
We'll strap the saddles on their back,
And lead them out upon the track.
Then some will act the jockey's part,
And some, as judges, watch the start,
And drop the crimson flag to show
The start is fair and all must go."
Ere long, the Brownies turned to haul
Each wondering race-horse from his stall.
They bridled them without delay,
And saddles strapped in proper way.
Some restless horses rearing there
Would toss their holders high in air,
And test the courage and the art
Of those who took an active part.
Said one: "I've lurked in yonder wood,
And watched the races when I could.
I know how all is done with care
When thus for racing they prepare;
How every buckle must be tight,
And every strap and stirrup right,
Or jockeys would be on the ground
Before they circled half way round."
When all was ready for the show
Each Brownie rogue was nowise slow
At climbing up to take a place
And be a jockey in the race.
Full half a dozen Brownies tried
Upon one saddle now to ride;
But some were into service pressed
As judges to control the rest—
To see that rules were kept complete,
And then decide who won the heat.
A dozen times they tried to start;
Some shot ahead like jockeys smart,
And were prepared to take the lead
Around the track at flying speed.
But others were so far behind,
On horses of unruly mind,
The judges from the stand declare
The start was anything but fair.
So back they'd jog at his command,
In better shape to pass the stand.
Indeed it was no simple trick
To ride those horses, shy and quick,
And only for the mystic art
That is the Brownies' special part,
A dozen backs, at least, had found
A resting-place upon the ground.
The rules of racing were not quite
Observed in full upon that night.
Around and round the track they flew,
In spite of all the judge could do.
The race, he tried to let them know,
Had been decided long ago.
But still the horses kept the track,
With Brownies clinging to each back.
Some racers of the jumping kind
At times disturbed the riders' mind
When from the track they sudden wheeled,
And over fences took the field,
As if they hoped in some such mode
To rid themselves of half their load.
But horses, howsoever smart,
Are not a match for Brownie art,
For still the riders stuck through all,
In spite of fence, or ditch, or wall.
Some clung to saddle, some to mane,
While others tugged at bridle rein.
So all the steeds found it would pay
To let the Brownies have their way,
Until a glimpse of rising sun
Soon made them leave the place and run.



HEN people through the county planned
To give their public dinners grand,
The Brownies met at day's decline
To have a birthday banquet fine.
"The proper things," a speaker cried,
"Await us here on every side;
We simply have to reach and take
And choose a place to boil and bake.
With meal and flour at our feet,
And wells of water pure and sweet,
That Brownie must be dull indeed
Who lacks the gumption to proceed.
We'll peel the pumpkins, ripened well,
And scoop them hollow, like a shell,
Then slice them up the proper size
To make at length those famous pies,
For which the people, small and great,
Are ever quick to reach a plate."
This pleased them all; so none were slow
In finding work at which to go.
A stove that chance threw in their way
Was put in shape without delay.
Though doors were cracked, and legs were rare,
The spacious oven still was there,
Where pies and cakes and puddings wide
Might bake together side by side.


The level top, though incomplete,
Gave pots and pans a welcome seat,
Where stews could steam and dumplings found
A fitting place to roll around.
Some lengths of pipe were raised on high
That made the soot and cinders fly,
And caused a draught throughout the wreck
That door or damper failed to check.
The rogues who undertook the part,
That tries the cook's delightful art,
Had smarting hands and faces red
Before the table-cloth was spread;
But what cared they at such an hour
For singeing flame or scalding shower?
Such ills are always reckoned slight
When great successes are in sight.
There cakes and tarts and cookies fine,
Of both the "leaf" and "notched" design,
Were ranged in rows around the pan
That into heated ovens ran;
Where, in what seemed a minute's space,
Another batch would take their place;
While birds, that had secured repose
Above the reach of Reynard's nose,
Without the aid of wings came down
To be at midnight roasted brown.
They found some boards and benches laid
Aside by workmen at their trade,
And these upon the green were placed
By willing hands with proper haste.
Said one, who board and bench combined:
"All art is not to cooks confined,
And some expertness we can show
As well as those who mix the dough."
And all was as the speaker said;
In fact, they were some points ahead;
For when the cooks their triumphs showed,
The table waited for its load.
The knives and forks and dishes white
By secret methods came to light.
Much space would be required to tell
Just how the table looked so well;
But kitchen cupboards, three or four,
Must there have yielded up their store;
For all the guests on every side
With full equipments were supplied.
When people find a carver hacked,
A saucer chipped, or platter cracked,
They should be somewhat slow to claim
That servants are the ones to blame;
For Brownies may have used the ware
And failed to show the proper care.
A few, as waiters, passed about
New dishes when the old gave out,
And saw the plates, as soon as bare,
Were heaped again with something rare.
No member, as you may believe,
Was anxious such a place to leave,
Until he had a taste at least
Of all the dishes in the feast.
The Brownies, when they break their fast,
Will eat as long as viands last,
And even birds can not depend
On crumbs or pickings at the end:
The plates were scraped, the kettles clean,
And not a morsel to be seen,
Ere Brownies from that table ran
To shun the prying eyes of man.



 N Hallow-eve, that night of fun,
When elves and goblins frisk and run,
And many games and tricks are tried
At every pleasant fireside,
The Brownies halted to survey
A village that below them lay,
And wondered as they rested there
To hear the laughter fill the air
That from the happy children came
As they enjoyed some pleasant game.
Said one: "What means this merry flow
That comes so loudly from below,
Uncommon pleasures must abound
Where so much laughter can be found."
Another said: "Now, by your leave,
I'll tell you 't is All-Hallow-eve,
When people meet to have their sport
At curious games of every sort;
I know them all from first to last,
And now, before the night has passed,
For some convenient place we'll start
Without delay to play our part."
Two dozen mouths commenced to show
Their teeth in white and even row;
Two dozen voices cried with speed,
"The plan is good we're all agreed."



And in a trice four dozen feet
Went down the hill with even beat.
Without a long or wearying race
The Brownies soon secured a place
That answered well in every way
For all the games they wished to play.
There tubs of water could be found,
By which to stoop or kneel around,
And strive to bring the pennies out
That on the bottom slipped about.
Then heads were wet and shoulders, too,
Where some would still the coin pursue,
And mouth about now here and there
Without a pause or breath of air
Until in pride, with joyful cries,
They held aloft the captured prize.
More stood the tempting bait beneath,
And with a hasty snap of teeth
The whirling apple thought to claim
And shun the while the candle's flame,—
But found that with such pleasure goes
An eye-brow singed, or blistered nose.
More named the oats as people do
To try which hearts are false, which true,
And on the griddle placed the pair
To let them part or smoulder there;
And smiled to see, through woe or weal,
How often hearts were true as steel.
Still others tried to read their fate
Or fortune in a dish or plate,
Learn whether they would ever wed,
Or lead a single life instead;
Or if their mate would be a blessing,
Or prove a partner most distressing.
Then others in the open air,
Of fun and frolic had their share;
Played "hide and seek," and "blindman's buff,"
And "tag" o'er places smooth or rough,
And "snap the whip" and "trip the toe,"
And games that none but Brownies know.
As if their lives at stake were placed,
They jumped around and dodged and raced,
And tumbled headlong to the ground
When feet some hard obstruction found;
At times across the level mead,
Some proved their special claims to speed,
[121] [122]
And as reward of merit wore
A wreath of green till sport was o'er.
The hours flew past as hours will
When joys do every moment fill;
The moon grew weak and said good-night,
And turned her pallid face from sight;
Then weakening stars began to fail,
But still the Brownies kept the vale;
Full many a time had hours retired
Much faster than the band desired,
And pleasure seemed too sweet to lay
Aside, because of coming day,
But never yet with greater pain
Did they behold the crimson stain
That morning spread along the sky,
And told them they must homeward fly



 HE Brownies through a village bound,
Paused in their run to look around,
And wondered why the central square
Revealed no flag-pole tall and fair.
Said one: "Without delay we'll go
To woods that stand some miles below.
The tall spruce lifts its tapering crest
So straight and high above the rest,
We soon can choose a flag-pole there
To ornament this village square.
Then every one a hand will lend
To trim it off from end to end,
To peel it smooth and paint it white,
And hoist it in the square to-night."
Then to the woods the Brownies ran
At once to carry out their plan;
While some ran here and there with speed
For implements to serve their need,
Some rambled through the forest free
To find the proper kind of tree,
Then climbed the tree while yet it stood
To learn if it was sound and good,
Without a flaw, a twist, or bend,
To mar its looks from end to end.
When one was found that suited well,
To work the active Brownies fell;
And soon with sticks beneath their load,
The band in grand procession strode;
It gave them quite enough to do
To safely put the project through,
But when they reached the square, at last,
Some ropes around the pole were passed
And from the tops of maples tall
A crowd began to pull and haul,
While others gathered at the base
Until the flag-pole stood in place.
For Brownies seldom idle stand
When there is fun or work on hand.
At night when darkness wraps us round
They come from secret haunts profound,
With brushes, pots of paint, and all,
They clamber over fence and wall;
And soon on objects here and there
That hold positions high in air,
And most attract the human eye,
The marks of Brownie fingers lie.
Sometimes with feet that never tire
They climb the tall cathedral spire;
When all the town is still below,
Save watchmen pacing to and fro,
By light of moon, and stars alone,
They dust the marble and the stone,
And with their brushes, small and great,
They paint and gild the dial-plate;
And bring the figures plain in sight
That all may note Time's rapid flight.
And accidents they often know
While through the heavy works they go,
Where slowly turning wheels at last
In bad position hold them fast.
But Brownies, notwithstanding all
The hardships that may them befall,
Still persevere in every case
Till morning drives them from the place.
And then with happy hearts they fly
To hide away from human eye.



 NE night the Brownies stood beside
A long canal, whose silent tide
Connected seaboard cities great
With inland sections of the state.
The laden boats, so large and strong,
Were tied to trees by hawsers long;
No boatmen stood by helm or oar,
No mules were tugging on the shore;
All work on land and water too
Had been abandoned by the crew.
Said one: "We see, without a doubt,
What some dispute has brought about.
Perhaps a strike for greater pay,
For even rates, or shorter day,
Has caused the boats to loiter here
With cargoes costing some one dear.
These cabbages so large and round
Should, long ere this, the dish have found,
Upon some kitchen-stove or range
To spread an odor rich and strange;
Those squashes, too, should not be lost
By long exposure to the frost,
When they would prove so great a prize
To old and young, if baked in pies.
And then those pippins, ripe and fair,
From some fine orchard picked with care,
Should not to rot and ruin go,
Though work is hard or wages low,
When thousands would be glad to stew
The smallest apples there in view."
Another said: "We lack the might
To set the wrongs of labor right,
But by the power within us placed
We'll see that nothing goes to waste.
So every hand must be applied
That boats upon their way may glide."
Then some ran here and there with speed
To find a team to suit their need.
A pair of mules, that grazed about
The grassy banks, were fitted out
With straps and ropes without delay
To start the boats upon their way;
And next some straying goats were found,
Where in a yard they nibbled round
Destroying plants of rarest kind
That owners in the town could find.
Soon, taken from their rich repast,
They found themselves in harness fast;
Then into active service pressed
They trod the tow-path with the rest.
On deck some Brownies took their stand
To man the helm, or give command,
And oversee the work; while more
Stayed with the teams upon the shore.
At times the rope would drag along
And catch on snags or branches long,
And cause delays they ill could bear,
For little time they had to spare.
With accidents they often met,
And some were bruised and more were wet;
Some tumbled headlong down the hold;
And some from heaping cargoes rolled.
But what care Brownies for a bruise,
Or garments wet, from hat to shoes,
When enterprises bold and new
Must ere the dawn be carried through?
If half the band were drenched, no doubt
The work would still be carried out,
For extra strength would then be found
In those who still were safe and sound.
But once, when "low bridge!" was the shout
They stood and stared or ran about
Till in the water, heels o'er head,
Some members of the band were spread.
A few could swim, and held their own;
But more went downward like a stone
Until, without the plummet's aid,
They learned how deep canals are made.
In spite of all the kicks and flings
That fright at such a moment brings,
Through lack of art, or weight of fear,
It looked as if their end was near.
The order now to stop the team
Would pass along with sign and scream,
And those on land would know by this
That something startling was amiss;
And those on board could plainly see
Unless assistance there could be,
In shape of ropes and fingers strong,
There'd be some vacancies, ere long!
By chance a net was to be had,
That boatmen used for catching shad—
A gill-net of the strongest kind,
For heavy catches well designed;
Few shad against its meshes ran
But left their bones on some one's pan,
This bulky thing the active crew
Far overboard with promptness threw.
A hold at once some Brownies found,
While others in its folds were bound,
Until like fish in great dismay
Inside the net they struggling lay.
But willing hands were overhead,
And quickly from the muddy bed
Where shedder crabs and turtles crawled
The dripping net was upward hauled,
With all the Brownies clinging fast,
Till safe on deck they stood at last.
Sometimes a mule fell off the road
And in the stream with all its load.
Then precious time would be consumed
Before the trip could be resumed.
Thus on they went from mile to mile,
With many strange mishaps the while,
But working bravely through the night
Until the city came in sight.
Said one: "Now, thanks to bearded goats
And patient mules, the heavy boats
For hours have glided on their way,
And reached the waters of the bay.
But see, the sun's about to show
His colors to the world below,
And other birds than those of night
Begin to take their morning flight.
Our time is up; we've done our best;
The ebbing tide must do the rest;
Now drifting downward to their pier
Let barges unassisted steer,
While we make haste, with nimble feet,
To find in woods a safe retreat."



THE Brownies once approached in glee
A slumbering city by the sea.
"In yonder town," the leader cried,
"I hear the artist does reside
Who pictures out, with patient hand,
The doings of the Brownie band."
"I'd freely give," another said,
"The cap that now protects my head,
To find the room, where, day by day,
He shows us at our work or play."
A third replied: "Your cap retain
To shield your poll from snow or rain.
His studio is farther down,
Within a corner-building brown.
So follow me a mile or more
And soon we'll reach the office door."
Then through the park, around the square,
And down the broadest thoroughfare,
The anxious Brownies quickly passed,
And reached the building huge at last.
They paused awhile to view the sight,
To speak about its age and height,
And read the signs, so long and wide,
That met the gaze on every side.
But little time was wasted there,
For soon their feet had found the stair.
And next the room, where oft are told
Their funny actions, free and bold,
Was honored by a friendly call
From all the Brownies, great and small.
Then what a gallery they found,
As here and there they moved around—
For now they gaze upon a scene
That showed them sporting on the green;
Then, hastening o'er the fields with speed
To help some farmer in his need.
Said one, "Upon this desk, no doubt,
Where now we cluster round about,
Our doings have been plainly told
From month to month, through heat and cold.
And there's the ink, I apprehend,
On which our very lives depend.
Be careful, moving to and fro,
Lest we upset it as we go.
For who can tell what tales untold
That darksome liquid may unfold!"
A telephone gave great delight
To those who tried it half the night,
Some asking after fresh supplies;
Or if their stocks were on the rise;
What ship was safe; what bank was firm;
Or who desired a second term.
Thus messages ran to and fro
With "Who are you?" "Hallo!" "Hallo!"
And all the repetitions known
To those who use the telephone.
"Oh, here's the pen, as I opine,"
Said one, "that's written every line;
Indebted to this pen are we
For all our fame and history."
"See here," another said, "I've found
The pointed pencil, long and round,
That pictures all our looks so wise,
Our smiles so broad and staring eyes;
'Tis well it draws us all aright,
Or we might bear it off to-night.
But glad are we to have our name
In every region known to fame,
To know that children lisp our praise,
And on our faces love to gaze."
Old pistols that brave service knew
At Bunker Hill, were brought to view
In mimic duels on the floor,
And snapped at paces three or four;
While from the foils the Brownies plied,
The sparks in showers scattered wide,
As thrust and parry, cut and guard,
In swift succession followed hard.
The British and Mongolian slash
Were tried in turn with brilliant dash,
Till foils, and skill, and temper too,
Were amply tested through and through.
They found old shields that bore the dint
Of spears and arrow-heads of flint,
And held them up in proper pose;
Then rained upon them Spartan blows.
Lay figures, draped in ancient styles,
From some drew graceful bows and smiles,
Until the laugh of comrades nigh
Led them to look with sharper eye.
A portrait now they criticize,
Which every one could recognize:
The features, garments, and the style,
Soon brought to every face a smile.
Some tried a hand at painting there,
And showed their skill was something rare;
While others talked and rummaged through
The desk to find the stories new,
That told about some late affair,
Of which the world was not aware.
But pleasure seemed to have the power
To hasten every passing hour,
And bring too soon the morning chime,
However well they note the time.
Now, from a chapel's brazen bell,
The startling hint of morning fell,
And Brownies realized the need
Of leaving for their haunts with speed.
So down the staircase to the street
They made their way with nimble feet,
And ere the sun could show his face,
The band had reached a hiding-place.

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