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But with the morning they took fresh heart, hitched their teams to the great covered wagons, and again pressed on. And at last they were rewarded by the sight of a broad stream of water, with a few cottonwood trees growing along its banks. Here they stayed through the night, and in the morning the men rose early, to begin work on a sod house. Day after day they worked, building more houses, and shelter for the horses, and in every way possible preparing for the winter. When it came, it was long and hard, and four of their number died ; one of sickness caused by exposure, two in a blizzard, and one shot by an Indian.
When the next summer came, more easterners arrived and settled near them, until they had quite a little village, with broad fields of corn spread round about them.
As time went on, trees were planted, frame houses built, and more towns sprung up near them.
Now the whole great Middle West is populated, and is no more a pioneer country. And to whom do we owe it all? To the little bands of people who left their comfortable eastern homes to suffer hardships and privations in a land they knew little about. Ought we not to feel grateful to those men and women of the yesterdays?
A SCENE OF YESTERDAY by ELEANorA MAY BELL (AGE 12)
As we look behind us at the road to yesterday, we sigh. We have yearned to come to the land of to-day, and now that we are here, we wish we were back in the land of yesterday. Behind us stretches a road; it is white, but not smooth. Here and there is a stone, and it reminds us of some blunder we have made. We stretch out our arms and implore, “Oh, cannot
we go back to yesterday for just a little while ” A breeze gently shakes the trees, and we hear a soft voice whisper, “Yes.”
An old stage-coach rumbles by. On the driver's seat sits a man. He wears high-topped boots, a long-tailed coat, and a cocked hat.
“Can we go to the land of yesterday ?” we ask. The man replies that we can, and we get in. We gaze out of the window, and queer sights meet our eyes. We see men and women dressed as our grandmothers and grandfathers might have dressed. Everything looks strange and old-fashioned. At last we come to a town. The main street is very narrow, and on either side are small houses. You could almost call them huts. Women sit on the porches, spinning. Along the sidewalk comes a puritan maiden. She wears a quilted petticoat of sober gray, and carries a prayer-book, so we know she is going to church. A faint whiff of lavender is wafted on the breeze as she passes. We hear a voice whisper in our ear, “Time is up.” We suddenly find ourselves back in the land of to-day, behind us is a mist, but in front of us stretches the long, white road of to-morrow.
§. B. Sentner
Winifred S. Stoner, Jr.
Mary O. Sleeper
THE ST. Nichol.As League awards gold and silver badges
ANY reader of ST. Nicholas, whether a subscriber or not,
Address: The St. Nicholas League,
BOOKS AND READING
BY HILDEGARDE HAWTHORNE
JUNETIME is here again. Vacation will be the next thing. Vacation, with all its fun and frolic, its outdoor life, its boating, swimming, tramping and camping, fishing and riding. The chief joys of vacation are, naturally, those to be found outdoors, and you are all of you probably full of plans for country doings. The days are going to be filled full of green growth and of sunshine, and you are going to be out in it every waking minute. Only, of course, the days won't all be bright ones; picnics and tennis parties will have to be given up just as often this year, on account of rain, as in the past; rain that lasts all day, or sudden thunder-showers that send you scampering home. And there will also be sultry afternoons that are made for the hammock under the apple-trees or in the shady porch corner; or chill evenings when you prefer sitting around the lamp in the living-room. It is these quieter times that can be made as memorably delightful as the rest, if, among your rackets and clubs and fishing-rods, you have packed along a few well-chosen books.
BOOKS TO TAKE ALONG
It is the choice of these few books that I want to talk over this month. Once you are away in your country home, it won't be so easy to get a book as it is now; on the other hand, your trunk has just so much room, and you must n’t waste it on a book you are not going to find worth while. Six or eight well-chosen books ought to be enough. You can fill a summer full of good reading with that number, if each one is of value, if it is enjoyable and, at the same time, able to add to your possessions—those inner possessions which are so much more enduring and precious than the outside things we are apt to work so
hard to get. In making up your mind as to just which books you will take on your vacation with you, books that won't bore or disappoint you, books that won't be so light and frivolous as to waste your time, nor yet so heavy as to make it a burden, you must take certain things into consideration. In the first place, the things you like and the things you don't like. That seems easy enough. “But hold !”—as they say on the stage. Are you
sure you don't like the things you think you don't like? Perhaps you have never given them a fair chance. Suppose you 've always said—and thought—that you hated history. Now, history is really a very wonderful and exciting subject, and it seems likely that if you got over your prejudice, you might find history as enthralling as other people have found it. Last month I spoke of Prescott's histories as being such excellent reading. One of these on your summer's list may help to open fascinating new regions to you. Or you might try a history of a different kind, more like a story, such as Lanier's “Boys' Froissart” and “Boys' King Arthur,” or Bulfinch’s “Legends of Charlemagne.” Biography belongs with history. Too many of you are afraid of it, without ever really endeavoring to discover whether or not you would care for it. There are lives of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett that beat most adventure stories for excitement. There is also a world of entertainment as well as information in a book like Miss Seawell's “Decatur and Somers”—originally published as a serial in St. NICHOLAs—or in any of Frank Trevor Hill's delightful histories and biographies on American subjects. Buffalo Bill's story of his life is capital, and so are General Grant's Memoirs. So don't decide too hastily that you dislike books on certain subjects— subjects that most people find to be interesting. The best choice for a group of summer books is a varied one. Don't be afraid to be interested in many things; it will help you to grow mentally, just as a variety of good food helps your physical growth. Most of you have, however, some favorite subject, and that is as it should be. You want a book on that. Perhaps it is nature. In that case be sure to take along a book by John Burroughs, or William T. Hornaday, or John Muir. Muir's splendid “Mountains of California” has been issued in a new edition this year, and is a real treat. Or you might take one of Thoreau's books, “A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers,” for instance, or “Mount Katahdin.” Some of you prefer Thompson-Seton's
animal stories, with their excellent drawings.
And one of the best of the late books is Overton W. Price’s “The Land We Live In,” which is simply crammed with interest and value from COver to COVer. If you are interested in art or music or science, be sure to take a volume on these subjects, or a life of one of the men associated with them, of which there are many. There are many books, too, that tell how to know and understand the best in pictures or in the operas, and other wonderful volumes on recent discoveries and inventions. Send to any bookseller for a catalogue on your special subject, whatever it may be, and then choose one of the books from his list. Always take along a volume of poetry. Not to love poetry is very much like not loving flowers, or sunsets, or sweet thoughts, or noble feelings. You will lose a great deal if you do not learn to love it; and the best, in fact the only, way of learning to love it, is to read it. You can take a book of collected poems, like “The Golden Treasury,” or “The Oxford Book of Verse.” Or you might choose Macaulay’s “Lays,” or Longfellow’s “Hiawatha,” or Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King.” And an excellent choice is Pope's translation of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Or there are Riley's lovely songs; and Stevenson; and Field; or Scott's stories in verse. You surely want a good long novel or tale of adventure, like Scott’s “Rob Roy,” or his “Quentin Durward.” Then there is the always new “Tom Brown at Rugby,” by Hughes, or perhaps Jane Porter’s “Scottish Chiefs,” a moving story full of stir and incident. There are Stevenson's stories; there are Dickens and Victor Hugo; there is Howard Pyle, with his “Merry Adventures of Robin Hood,” and many another, the pictures as delightful as the text, and both made by him. Or you might enjoy a quiet story like one of Louisa Alcott's, or Jane Austen's, or Mrs. Gaskell's “Cranford,” or Miss Yonge's “Dove in the Eagle's Nest,” or Kenneth Grahame's beautiful “Golden Age.” Let your story, however, be by some writer you know to be good, and not too recent, so that it has had time to ripen. For that is good for books, just as it is for fruit. As for fairy tales, I always think there is room for a bulky volume of those delicious things, just as there is room for moonshine in a summer night or golden shadows in a wood. Perhaps you have n’t yet read Fergus Humes’s “Chronicles of Fairy Land.” If not, you ought to, for it is an adorable book. Then, too, there is Jean Ingelow's charming “Mopsa the Fairy,” and George MacDonald’s “Back of the North Wind,” and “The Princess and the Goblin.” As we all know, there is practically no end to the good fairy stories. Let 's see: you now have a book on history or biography; a book on your favorite subject; a book of adventure or story; a book of verse; a fairy book. That still leaves room for one or two more in our little list for rainy and lazy summer days. I believe that, even though it may not
be your special subject, you ought always to include a nature book dealing with some particular form of natural life, a book that tells you about the birds, the wild flowers, or the trees of the locality where you are to be. Or you might choose a volume on geology, on the depths of the sea or the heights of the sky and the shining stars. There are stories about bees, ants, and spiders that are brimful of interest and of surprise. Nor should you neglect the small animals of field and woodside, the snakes and moths, or any of the manifold lives that go on so near you, yet remain such mysteries unless you study them. It seems to me that another type of book you cannot afford to neglect is the travel story. Here you have again a wide choice, for you have the whole round earth to voyage over, once you embark in a book. You can take some old volume, like Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast,” or else a comparatively new one, like Stanley's “Darkest Africa,” or Peary’s “Farthest North.” A book that is n't exactly a travel book, but near enough, is “The Crooked Trail,” by Lewis B. Miller, which tells of a thousand-mile ride along the Texan border in the days when the Lone Star State was wilder than it is now. This book gives a true and unforgetable picture of the West, and you are sure to like it immensely. Well, now we have about as many as we meant to take along with us. It is n’t a great number, but if you make up your list in some such order as I have suggested, your summer will hold plenty of good reading. Of course you are taking about as much of the great ocean of literature in this little handful of books as you would be taking water from the sea if you filled a cup with it. But that cupful of water has the tang and smell of the ocean, its wetness, a hint of its color. And your handful of literature will give you a taste of all reading, with its wealth of fact and fancy, of imagination and information, song and story. It is far better to read seven or eight good books thoroughly, than to waste your time doubled up over a worthless collection of stories, all more or less alike. Summer is the time for you to keep outdoors, to play and gather fresh impressions, to laugh and grow tanned. Any of it you spend indoors you ought to make very worth while, and hours spent reading a detective story or a lot of cheap stuff that leaves nothing behind but tired eyes, are foolishly spent. Better not read at all for those free months. But if you use the time you spend with a book in the company of one who is clever and sympathetic and interesting, who has something to tell you and tells it well, you are doing a wise and a pleasant thing. IN accordance with the announcement in the League pages for May, we take pride in devoting the Letter-Box this month to the following contributions by girl readers of the magazine who loyally declare that St. Nicholas is “the book” that has “helped them most.” And we extend our thanks to these young friends for the kindly appreciation so cordially expressed in their letters.
“THE BOOK THAT HAS HELPED ME MOST – AND WHY?”
SINCE I first learned to read, I have read a great many books of almost every description, yet I cannot think of one of them that has helped me in so many ways as the St. Nicholas. The funny verses make me laugh when I am feeling “blue”; the advertising contests and the puzzles help to keep my brain from becoming too rusty, and the stories are pleasant to read after the work is done (and sometimes before), or in the evening. The League is where I think I have received the most help, for it has given me a chance to make use of my love of writing “stories.” Since I was able to write, I have been writing thoughts on paper that amuse my small sisters, but are not worth wider attention. The League has given me a chance to see whether I could do anything worth while in composition or not. Since my mother first urged me to write, I have sent every month but one, and every month but one I have been rewarded by seeing my name on either one Roll of Honor or the other. My silver badge made me feel very proud and happy, but I now long to possess a gold badge, and I have not much more time in which to win it. I know, however, that when I truly deserve it, I shall receive it, and so it rests with me to make my work worthy of this honor from the League. Dorothy M. Rogers (age 17).
THE book that has helped me most is St. Nicholas.
I have taken it since I was four years old, and only
missed a year and a half. In 1905 or 1906 there was a poem about “Smiley
Boy.” Mother, when I was cross, would say, “Remember Smiley Boy.” Then I would get over my crossness. Later came the story of “Queen Silver
bell” and how she lost her temper. The temper was a little fairy in a silver cage. When I was about to lose my temper, Mother would remind me of “Queen Silver-bell.” So St. Nicholas has done for me more good than any other book. KATHERINE JUdson (age 1 oyż).
MANY books pass through my mind. First come two great stories of chivalry—“Ivanhoe,” by Sir Walter Scott, and Malory's “Morte Arthure.” And then comes the “Chaplet of Pearls,” a historic novel of France. After these come many college stories. But, as I reflect, there is one book which comes to my mind and remains there. Does this not contain legends of chivalry, historic stories, and stories of to-day, as well as other useful and desirable knowledge? What
book is this? Why, it is my bound volume of St. Nicholas. My favorite school story, “The Crimson Sweater,” first appeared in the pages of St. Nicholas.
I am much interested in foot-ball, and if there is any point in the game I do not understand, I have only to turn to my well-worn volume of St. Nichol. As and read the splendid articles by Walter Camp. The base-ball articles are very interesting. I understand the game much better since I read them. If a question arises in connection with nature or science, it is usually answered by consulting St. NICHOLAs. Only a few days ago, I wished to know why some days were called “weather-breeders.” When my last number of St. Nicholas came, the answer was found in its pages.
We often wish a change from the popular “ragtime” music. Then, what can please us better than the old-time ballads, published in St. Nicholas 2 Can any book be found more useful, entertaining, or instructive than dear old St. NICHolas 2 The book, then, that has helped me most is St. Nicholas; and it has helped me because it always contains something easy, something hard, something new, something old; but, best of all, I always find something that I need most to know.
Elizabet H. C. WALto N (age 15).
I HAVE books and books ' Why, one Christmas I received fifteen books, but the next Christmas, I received only one, and that one was the St. Nicholas.
Of course I was delighted to get this magazine, but I was very disappointed that I did not receive more books; as the months rolled by, however, I found out how very foolish I was, and how valuable this one book was, and how very interesting the stories were ; and not only this, but I found out the League was the most interesting of all amusements. It helps one along; it makes one have an aim, something to look forward to ; whether you are an artist or a writer, you are sure of having a chance.
MARIE MERRIMAN (age 13).
THE book that has helped me most is St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is not only a story-book, but it is a book that teaches many things that one has not known before. St. Nicholas makes one think more about the things around us, especially the pages of “Nature and Science and Because We Want to Know”; and others are very instructive. The stories of “Dorothy, the Motor-Girl,” and “Crofton Chums” are interesting and helpful. Dorothy's trips in her car took one back to some of our most noted writers' homes. One could just imagine seeing the homes of Longfellow, Louisa M. Alcott, and others as much loved by all. I was reading “Little Women” at the same time Dorothy was visiting the author's old home. The prize competitions and puzzles set our minds to working hard, and doing a lot of thinking about the work, and the way we write and express our thoughts. So far as the good we get from books and magazines, St. Nicholas has helped me most, and I am sure that all of the readers of St. Nicholas will agree with me. MARGARET VAUGHAN (age 13).