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in the country were willing to take sick, fee- ful guests I ever had in my house in my ble children without board; or that they could be carried so far, at so little expense?
We have seen.
In two weeks the little flock returned. Three of them were left behind for a longer stay-not all with hope of recovery; the chance had come too late. To some it could only be a bit of rest toward the end of a weary journey; such rest as sufferers find in coming close to the heart of human kindness, and so consciously closer to the heart
Every child had been good and happy to the last. For the first time they looked a little sorrowful when they came to the cars. At the journey's end they waited for no good-byes. The instant they crossed the Brooklyn ferry they were off like a flash, and Mr. Parsons found himself alone.
Eager listeners were waiting to hear his full account of the experiment, of which only such items as these can be given: Their table manners much better than he expected. Their delight in napkin rings, with numbers of their own, and the learning to fold their napkins neatly. Their invitation from Mrs. E. to come to her farm and drink all the milk they wanted, and the quantity they drank: one boy said he "could have taken more, if it hadn't been warm out of the cow." Their afternoon and supper in the woods, and the fun and frolic in the cripple. The long country drive, when some one showed them the different varieties of trees, and their surprising aptitude in learning and remembering the leaves and the names. The talks and singing in the parlor. "It was as good as a meeting," the children said. One little girl, already grown so fat that her meager clothes were too small for her. Another, with a restless, active nature, kept happy and out of temptation to mischievous ways, by giving her all the errands to do. Their popularity in the village. No accidents, no tricks, no misbehavior to report. And this final testimony: "They have had no quarrels. They have been less troublesome, less fretful, and more easily entertained than the children of my own friends. They have put life into the singing of my choir. They are the most delight
The interest in the second trip to Sherman was even more absorbing. The work had begun to be better understood. We had gathered in seventeen boys and girls, from fourteen years old down to the baby between three and four. Most of them were delicate, half-starved, suffering with hip-disease, heart disease, asthma, hemorrhage and prostration. Three among them were deformed and crippled from neglect and want. One little fellow of ten was not so tall as a child of two years. From the north and east and west they were taken across the Brooklyn ferries, and met at the Erie train.
It was something to see. There was a ponderous lunch basket, with forty homemade sandwiches, two pounds of milk crackers, six dozen good little sugar cakes, and the lemons so refreshing in car-sickness. Three half-sized pillow ticks hastily filled with moss for sleepy little heads to rest on, and the gift of six little woolen shawls to go back and forth for general use, had been added to the outfit. company:
And these were of the
Two little brothers neatly dressed in their Sunday School clothes, skipping along with nothing in their hands, no change of garments for washing or the weather. A little dwarf slipping into danger and not easy to follow, so quick were his movements on his almost invisible little legs. A lame boy, with his younger sister. "She is not in ill health, but we think it will do her good to go where she will have enough to eat for a week or two." Three motherless girls arrayed in some attempt at finery, a lace knot, a sash or two, a ragged white dress. An elder sister, herself a child, had washed and ironed their extra clothing, and packed it in a wooden box. She had "put them up a lunch;" it was partly green apples; "they might want it before they got there," she said. They had one dirty woolen shawl tied with a piece of twine, to use between them, and "Lost Gip," to read on the way.
A bow of dark blue ribbon was securely pinned on every child. They must be iden
tified; only three or four of all their faces had Mr. Parsons ever seen before. Again kind young hands and voices bade them good-bye, and again the postals came:
"August 4, Newark.-All wish to sit by the window and hang out of it. Baby is asleep on pillow No. 1. All have had a drink, and the lunch basket has been opened."
"Patterson.-John is very tired with the long ride. Matthew is bound to hang out of the window. He is so small I think I can manage him."
"Turners.-The children all look as if it were to be a funeral instead of a good time. Their faces must be less care-worn when they come back. I hope to teach them how to laugh. Matthew has concluded to go to sleep."
"Middletown. My company excites much comment. Every one in this car is familiar with my story I think. No one has fallen out of the window. No one is sick yet. Only a cinder now and then."
Narrowsburg.—We had to change our car at Port Jervis, which gives variety. It was no special trouble. There is no lack of helpers on the train. Train-men and conductors all know me now, and we shake hands over it. Baby in her glee the last hour deliberately pitched her hat out of the car window. I called to mind an old trick, and made an old woman's night-cap out of my handkerchief. Lots of fun for all concerned."
"Almost home, and all is well, quiet and happy, and having a good time. Some one is talking with some one of the chicks all the time. Hale's Eddy.' We are here! 'Out at last!' said Matthew tossing up his specks of arms."
"Sherman, Aug. 7, 1877.-I have gained somewhat by my experience. I was not so tired with the second trip as with the first one. I had less nervous anxiety, for one thing. The train-men all had to be told about these children, and about the others, and showed considerable interest. One of. the brakemen spent all his leisure time talking with them and entertaining them. Many a time I told my plan, and gave a history of some of the children to interested listeners, while the tears trickled down their
cheeks. In fact I could scarcely keep back my own tears as I looked at these forlorn creatures. They were all so sad, and with scarcely any sparkle in the eye. None of them seemed to have much faith in humanity. I did not hear a joyous hearty laugh all day.
"No one was car-sick this time, and all enjoyed the lunch, as well they might. When I began to gather them up to leave the car, Baby's shoe was missing. I found it, however.
"The little dwarf, Matthew, seems to have no idea of danger. I could but feel that he would walk or climb out of the window the first good chance he might get. He tried to hop off the car every time the train stopped. He and his brother, and the C. girls went over to Brandt's yesterday. One more was wanted, and they offered to take Alida, but we could not spare her. My housekeeper quite drew down her mouth when I talked of letting our Alida go.
"Michael was very sick with asthma the night we arrived. The fatigue of the journey, and a little cold, I guess, is all. He is better and out of doors. Baby stopped with Miss F. over Sunday. She was dreadfully afraid when the father came in, a fine old man of eighty-four, and extravagantly fond of children. Baby says: Grandpas hurt so, when they are drunk.'"
"Aug. 9, 1877.-Alida has gained wonderfully in appearance, and rejoices in two new frocks, which she says will last her three years. She waits on table occasionally, and does it very nicely. Her cheeks are plump and sleek. Michael is quite delicate, but he is about, and having a good time. I cannot come into such close contact with these children as I would like to. They are somewhat separated. There seem to be fewer of them, they are so subdued. They haven't the life of the first set. I must try next week to get a little nearer to them.
"The P. girls are very interesting. I have asked Dr. White to get me a dozen more like them. They are scantily clothed, and I have secured cloth for two gowns each. The next thing is to get them made. I also have cloth for some of the boys' shirts. It isn't altogether best for them to stay in bed
to have their one shirt washed. The K. boys had to remain in bed to be mended up before they could go over the mountain to B. They are with a nice family in comfortable circumstances, and will be fixed up some, I guess, before they come back. They dreaded to go, for they had such a good time here, and plenty to eat. The C. girls are where they will be well looked after in every way. But I hated to let any of them go so far from me.
"Katy and Willy were a little homesick at first, but yesterday I saw them both on a load of oats in high glee. I have some cloth for their clothes. The W. boys I have not seen since Sunday. Places are ready for sixteen children, and I shall stir about to morrow and get more. Will anything but a car-load satisfy me next time? Yet I wish room in it for other people, so that they may have some of these things to see, and to think about, also.
"I am telling my story so often, and to such different kinds of people, and find such hearty responses, that I guess something will come out of it yet. Every crow thinks her own child whitest. I know mine are, and I am bound to make other folks think so too; at least they are needy.
"H. is gaining, and shows it plainly. His step has more elasticity in it, and he is having a splendid time. He goes out on the river in a boat, and 'shoos' the neighbors' chickens out of the garden, and does various other nice things. They seem fond of him in the family where he is, and speak well of him.
"I found my supply waiting when I arrived Saturday, but oh, next Sunday, with all these interruptions! Have just run into some flannel for Alida-winter suits. Yes, and a new pair of shoes. Amen."
"They went out men and women. brought them back little children." That tells the story.
It was a happy coming home, with many pleasant incidents to make the trip complete. When the wagon stopped to take up Katy, she came out with a cracked tumbler and a bunch of yellow marigolds and meadow lilies in her hand. She had promised some little girls to bring them home some flowers. She brought them all the way in water, and at night they were fresh.
Two boys who carried a few clothes away in a basket, brought back a larger wardrobe in a pillow case, and in the basket they had a pair of live chickens! There was no strength in their crippled hands to carry bundles. Little Katy swung the big pillowcase over her shoulder, and it dragged on the ground. How they all laughed, and chatted, and compared the things they had! The boy who owned the cock and hen was sure that his was the best.
A friend near Deposit had promised to put them up a lunch, and they stopped ⚫to get it. Sandwiches, cookies and apples; "an elegant lunch!" They had some milk to drink, and gave the lady three ringing cheers!
And they brought away another benediction. The housekeeper was up at 3 o'clock in the morning to make them some Parker House rolls. They ate this parsonage lunch and nibbled a little at their own, and at night had enough of it left for every child to take a little parcel home.
As they neared the city they began to sing. Everybody listened. For an hour they let their voices out. And this set said good-bye! Mr. Parsons had come near them after all, nearer than he thought. They crowded round him and shook hands half a dozen times; thanked him over and over for the good times they had had, and asked him if they might not come again. "Mayn't we come next year?" "Oh, mayn't we come next year?" And the least little piping voices all chimed in, "May I?" "May I?" "May I?”
"And this work is done by persons who have only moderate means, you say?"
Yes; the church in Sherman is not large,
and the congregation is poor. One rich city man could buy up the whole village with ease. "It reads like Ten Times One is Ten,'" said one.
"Howell's Depot.-How can I ever learn all my family by name? They are all the same size. It is a perfect tangle. There is a great deal of headache. Baby is good.
"The joy of those translated children!" Ever so many are asleep. I am working said another. my best to get them all into places that will "In a land flowing with milk and ber- fit." ries," said Angelica.
"No one can call this charity," said M. "It is Christ-like service. It is the Word made flesh."
One trip more, and the summer's work was done. We had selected a band of thirty-four, weighed down by trouble in the head, trouble in the eyes, fever and ague, scrofula, paralysis and dropsy. There was a mother with a little baby, a mother and an invalid boy, three or four girls from fourteen to twenty, a few boys from fifteen to eight; and all the rest were little girls between twelve and four, feeble and delicate from living in poisoned air, and without proper nourishment. Some of these little ones have gone to bed crying with hunger many a night.
There was a strange appeal in this mixed company-ill-dressed, over-dressed, listless, hopeful, dejected, pleased. Strong young hands and hearts helped them across the crowded city, and carried their bags and bundles, pitifully tidy and untidy, of every size and shape, and left them safely in the
Once more, postals tell the story of that hottest summer day.
"Aug. 28, Hohokus.-An old hen will scratch as much for one chicken as for a a dozen, they say. My nine required as much scratching for as these thirty-four. I sit back and take my ease. The first demonstration was when we entered the tunnel. It called forth thirty-four shouts. Mary A. is busy every minute with crochet work."
"Turners.—It seemed as if we had a tremendous lunch when it was put up, but after thirty-four have eaten from it, it does not look so large. I got eight quarts of milk here, and it disappeared like dew before the
"Port Jervis.-Oh so hot, hot, hot! The most uncomfortable day of the season, the train-man says, and I believe it. Ice water all drunk up. I shall get more milk. No one is inclined to hang out of the windows. If I were to bring out another band I should need references from my people! These have given their orders where they wish to stay!
"Lackawaxen.-Dicky says: 'We won't ever get there!' The baby is sucking a lemon! How can I learn to tell Sarah F., Minnie C., Gracie W., and Julia T., one from the other? It is 4 P. M., and I haven't done it yet, and what is more I can't do it. Their faces are so dirty now, they all look alike. I have them all settled for their places but four.
"Hancock.-I left nine with Mrs. F. at Equinunk. Fanny goes to Deposit; also Joseph R. We have had a somewhat merry, but fatiguing day. Every scrap of lunch gone, yet enough."
"Hale's Eddy.-The toilsome day is over, and we are at the green fields, and plenty to eat. Thank God!"
"Sherman, Aug. 30.-It was a merry trip out, excepting the heat and headaches. Mrs. F. met us at Equinunk, shaking with nervousness, which amused me, for I knew so well what it meant. I only thought when she had been in it longer she would be less anxious. I heard her telling the children in a very excited way, as they stood huddled together, wondering what would come next, 'Stand still! Don't stir from this platform!' She evidently expected a general stampede. But running away was the last thing in their minds. I could only think of my taking the first nine at the Brooklyn ferry. That was harder, in a way, than these thirty-four.
"Well, we rode into a rain-storm as we left the cars. It was not very severe, and the children were packed so closely that
there was slim chance for a wetting. I quickly disposed of them all, though ten could not be taken to their own places until the next day. Then it did not take them long to find out where I live, and they appeared in full force as soon as I had had my breakfast.
"When I had settled them for the season, I gave myself up to fun and frolic in my yard all the afternoon. We did everything you can think of to have a good time, and played a number of plays that had been left out of my early education. Groups of people collected on the hill-sides about, and small boys in the trees close by, to see and to hear. It would make a book to tell all the things we did, and the funny things they said. It was simply fun and frolic, and as beautiful as anything I have ever The W's came too. They are simply sweet children, beautiful ones. But I will not try to make out one more interesting than the others. I do believe they all have a corner in my bachelor-heart. It has been taken by storm.
"Three of the children were not sent away until to-day. They went amid tears, for they wanted to stay where they were. Minnie and Sarah have been taken seven or eight miles over the hills to their beautiful home.
"It did not seem as if there were any strangers in town the last time, but now the streets are merry with shouts. I am glad there are to be lots of little girls of assorted sizes in Heaven. I shall try to get near that But we think we will have a little heaven here first, and right away.
"Jim has been out trying to split wood, and he does it very nicely, only he can't hit the stick with the axe! I am in first-rate vigor, but of course tired, dreadfully so."
"Sept. 5, 1877.-Everything is salubrious. I hear from Harry that he is having a good time. The people he is staying with think he is splendid. It is amusing to hear some of these girls talk. It sounds childlike and quite natural. They live in large houses. They have left their best things at home. Given a shanty, or a tenement house, and a vacant lot about, a bit of cast-off finery from
some mission teacher, and a small girl with a small girl's vivid imagination, and you have a picture of elegance not rivaled by a Fifth Avenue mansion!"
"Sept. 8.-I hear that Lizzie M. was quite homesick for a few days, but seems happy and contented now, and that Maggie's face is nearly well. John F. has gained wonderfully since he came. I doubt if any one has improved more from the change. I had a call this morning from Lizzie S. and Anna. They did not like it at first, and were much inclined to be homesick. But if you could have heard the doleful groans when I announced that we were to return on Wednesday, you would have been assured of the good time they are having now. All are well and happy."
Sept. 11. I have ten minutes before the mail goes to say a word. It will assure you that I am having a better time to-morrow, to know that Mr. D. will return to the city a day earlier, and so bear me company with the children. It will not be necessary now for the junior partners to meet us at Jersey City, except that they ought to see the flock on its return trip.
"Louise S. will stay another fortnight; also the A. children. Edith will stay longer, and perhaps all winter. H. has been with me for the past week. than when he hill very fast.
In a way he is stronger came, but he is going down The family where he is will keep him as long as he will stay."
They are coming! Their eyes are brighter, their cheeks are rounded and browned! They are loaded with bundles and boxes and bags! Apples, pumpkins, butter, eggs, mosses, leaves, vines, ferns, clubs, melons, beechnuts, butternuts, ripe tomatoes, grapes, crab-apples, gourds, plums, and sticks of black birch! They had not always selected the best, but how they valued every little gnarled green thing they had themselves picked up. One boy had a bottle of live lizards. One little girl hugged a doll and some flowers. Mr. Parsons had learned to fill his pockets with strings. He knew that many a worn wrapping, and many a bit of weak yarn would give way.
When the nine came in at Equinunk, they were hailed with three rousing cheers.