July had come, and haying begun; the little gardens were doing
finely and the long summer days were full of pleasant hours. The
house stood open from morning till night, and the lads lived out of
doors, except at school time. The lessons were short, and there
were many holidays, for the Bhaers believed in cultivating healthy
bodies by much exercise, and our short summers are best used in
out-of-door work. Such a rosy, sunburnt, hearty set as the boys
became; such appetites as they had; such sturdy arms and legs, as
outgrew jackets and trousers; such laughing and racing all over the
place; such antics in house and barn; such adventures in the tramps
over hill and dale; and such satisfaction in the hearts of the worthy
Bhaers, as they saw their flock prospering in mind and body, I
cannot begin to describe. Only one thing was needed to make them
quite happy, and it came when they least expected it.
One balmy night when the little lads were in bed, the elder ones
bathing down at the brook, and Mrs. Bhaer undressing Teddy in
her parlor, he suddenly cried out, "Oh, my Danny!" and pointed to
the window, where the moon shone brightly.
"No, lovey, he is not there, it was the pretty moon," said his
"No, no, Danny at a window; Teddy saw him," persisted baby,
"It might have been," and Mrs. Bhaer hurried to the window,
hoping it would prove true. But the face was gone, and nowhere
appeared any signs of a mortal boy; she called his name, ran to the
front door with Teddy in his little shirt, and made him call too,
thinking the baby voice might have more effect than her own. No
one answered, nothing appeared , and they went back much
disappointed. Teddy would not be satisfied with the moon, and
after he was in his crib kept popping up his head to ask if Danny
was not "tummin’ soon."
By and by he fell asleep, the lads trooped up to bed, the house
grew still, and nothing but the chirp of the crickets broke the soft
silence of the summer night. Mrs. Bhaer sat sewing, for the big
basket was always piled with socks, full of portentous holes, and
thinking of the lost boy. She had decided that baby had been
mistaken, and did not even disturb Mr. Bhaer by telling him of the
child’s fancy, for the poor man got little time to himself till the
boys were abed, and he was busy writing letters. It was past ten
when she rose to shut up the house. As she paused a minute to
enjoy the lovely scene from the steps, something white caught her
eye on one of the hay-cocks scattered over the lawn. The children
had been playing there all the afternoon, and, fancying that Nan
had left her hat as usual, Mrs. Bhaer went out to get it. But as she
approached, she saw that it was neither hat nor handkerchief, but a
shirt sleeve with a brown hand sticking out of it. She hurried round
the hay-cock, and there lay Dan, fast asleep.
Ragged, dirty, thin, and worn-out he looked; one foot was bare, the
other tied up in the old gingham jacket which he had taken from
his own back to use as a clumsy bandage for some hurt. He seemed
to have hidden himself behind the hay-cock, but in his sleep had
thrown out the arm that had betrayed him. He sighed and muttered
as if his dreams disturbed him, and once when he moved, he
groaned as if in pain, but still slept on quite spent with weariness.
"He must not lie here," said Mrs. Bhaer, and stooping over him she
gently called his name. He opened his eyes and looked at her, as if
she was a part of his dream, for he smiled and said drowsily,
"Mother Bhaer, I’ve come home."
The look, the words, touched her very much, and she put her hand
under his head to lift him up, saying in her cordial way,
"I thought you would, and I’m so glad to see you, Dan." He seemed
to wake thoroughly then, and started up looking about him as if he
suddenly remembered where he was, and doubted even that kind
welcome. His face changed, and he said in his old rough way,
"I was going off in the morning. I only stopped to peek in, as I
"But why not come in, Dan? Didn’t you hear us call you? Teddy
saw, and cried for you."
"Didn’t suppose you’d let me in," he said, fumbling with a little
bundle which he had taken up as if going immediately.
"Try and see," was all Mrs. Bhaer answered, holding out her hand
and pointing to the door, where the light shone hospitably.
With a long breath, as if a load was off his mind, Dan took up a
stout stick, and began to limp towards the house, but stopped
suddenly, to say inquiringly,
"Mr. Bhaer won’t like it. I ran away from Page."
"He knows it, and was sorry, but it will make no difference. Are
you lame?" asked Mrs. Jo, as he limped on again.
"Getting over a wall a stone fell on my foot and smashed it. I don’t
mind," and he did his best to hide the pain each step cost him.
Mrs. Bhaer helped him into her own room, and, once there, he
dropped into a chair, and laid his head back, white and faint with
weariness and suffering.
"My poor Dan! drink this, and then eat a little; you are at home
now, and Mother Bhaer will take good care of you."
He only looked up at her with eyes full of gratitude, as he drank
the wine she held to his lips, and then began slowly to eat the food
she brought him. Each mouthful seemed to put heart into him, and
presently he began to talk as if anxious to have her know all about
"Where have you been, Dan?" she asked, beginning to get out
"I ran off more’n a month ago. Page was good enough, but too
strict. I didn’t like it, so I cut away down the river with a man who
was going in his boat. That’s why they couldn’t tell where I’d gone.
When I left the man, I worked for a couple of weeks with a farmer,
but I thrashed his boy, and then the old man thrashed me, and I ran
off again and walked here."
"All the way?"
"Yes, the man didn’t pay me, and I wouldn’t ask for it. Took it out
in beating the boy," and Dan laughed, yet looked ashamed, as he
glanced at his ragged clothes and dirty hands.
"How did you live? It was a long, long tramp for a boy like you."
"Oh, I got on well enough, till I hurt my foot. Folks gave me things
to eat, and I slept in barns and tramped by day. I got lost trying to
make a short cut, or I’d have been here sooner."
"But if you did not mean to come in and stay with us, what were
you going to do?"
"I thought I’d like to see Teddy again, and you; and then I was
going back to my old work in the city, only I was so tired I went to
sleep on the hay. I’d have been gone in the morning, if you hadn’t
"Are you sorry I did?" and Mrs. Jo looked at him with a half merry,
half reproachful look, as she knelt down to look at his wounded
The color came up into Dan’s face, and he kept his eyes fixed on
his plate, as he said very low, "No, ma’am, I’m glad, I wanted to
stay, but I was afraid you "
He did not finish, for Mrs. Bhaer interrupted him by an
exclamation of pity, as she saw his foot, for it was seriously hurt.
"When did you do it?"
"Three days ago."
"And you have walked on it in this state?"
"I had a stick, and I washed it at every brook I came to, and one
woman gave me a rag to put on it."
"Mr. Bhaer must see and dress it at once," and Mrs. Jo hastened
into the next room, leaving the door ajar behind her, so that Dan
heard all that passed.
"Fritz, the boy has come back."
"Yes, Teddy saw him at the window, and he called to him, but he
went away and hid behind the hay-cocks on the lawn. I found him
there just now fast asleep, and half dead with weariness and pain.
He ran away from Page a month ago, and has been making his way
to us ever since. He pretends that he did not mean to let us see
him, but go on to the city, and his old work, after a look at us. It is
evident, however, that the hope of being taken in has led him here
through every thing, and there he is waiting to know if you will
forgive and take him back."
"Did he say so?"
"His eyes did, and when I waked him, he said, like a lost child,
‘Mother Bhaer, I’ve come home.’ I hadn’t the heart to scold him,
and just took him in like a poor little black sheep come back to the
fold. I may keep him, Fritz?"
"Of course you may! This proves to me that we have a hold on the
boy’s heart, and I would no more send him away now than I would
my own Rob."
Dan heard a soft little sound, as if Mrs. Jo thanked her husband
without words, and, in the instant’s silence that followed, two great
tears that had slowly gathered in the boy’s eyes brimmed over and
rolled down his dusty cheeks. No one saw them, for he brushed
them hastily away; but in that little pause I think Dan’s old distrust
for these good people vanished for ever, the soft spot in his heart
was touched, and he felt an impetuous desire to prove himself
worthy of the love and pity that was so patient and forgiving. He
said nothing, he only wished the wish with all his might, resolved
to try in his blind boyish way, and sealed his resolution with the
tears which neither pain, fatigue, nor loneliness could wring from
"Come and see his foot. I am afraid it is badly hurt, for he has kept
on three days through heat and dust, with nothing but water and an
old jacket to bind it up with. I tell you, Fritz, that boy is a brave
lad, and will make a fine man yet."
"I hope so, for your sake, enthusiastic woman, your faith deserves
success. Now, I will go and see your little Spartan. Where is he?"
"In my room; but, dear, you’ll be very kind to him, no matter how
gruff he seems. I am sure that is the way to conquer him. He won’t
bear sternness nor much restraint, but a soft word and infinite
patience will lead him as it used to lead me."
"As if you ever like this little rascal!" cried Mr. Bhaer, laughing,
yet half angry at the idea.
"I was in spirit, though I showed it in a different way. I seem to
know by instinct how he feels, to understand what will win and
touch him, and to sympathize with his temptations and faults. I am
glad I do, for it will help me to help him; and if I can make a good
man of this wild boy, it will be the best work of my life."
"God bless the work, and help the worker!"
Mr. Bhaer spoke now as earnestly as she had done, and both came
in together to find Dan’s head down upon his arm, as if he was
quite overcome by sleep. But he looked up quickly, and tried to
rise as Mr. Bhaer said pleasantly,
"So you like Plumfield better than Page’s farm. Well, let us see if
we can get on more comfortably this time than we did before."
"Thanky, sir," said Dan, trying not to be gruff, and finding it easier
than he expected.
"Now, the foot! Ach! this is not well. We must have Dr. Firth
to-morrow. Warm water, Jo, and old linen."
Mr. Bhaer bathed and bound up the wounded foot, while Mrs. Jo
prepared the only empty bed in the house. It was in the little
guest-chamber leading from the parlor, and often used when the
lads were poorly, for it saved Mrs. Jo from running up and down,
and the invalids could see what was going on. When it was ready,
Mr. Bhaer took the boy in his arms, and carried him in, helped him
undress, laid him on the little white bed, and left him with another
hand-shake, and a fatherly "Good-night, my son."
Dan dropped asleep at once, and slept heavily for several hours;
then his foot began to throb and ache, and he awoke to toss about
uneasily, trying not to groan lest any one should hear him, for he
was a brave lad, and did bear pain like "a little Spartan," as Mr.
Bhaer called him.
Mrs. Jo had a way of flitting about the house at night, to shut the
windows if the wind grew chilly, to draw mosquito curtains over
Teddy, or look after Tommy, who occasionally walked in his
sleep. The least noise waked her, and as she often heard imaginary
robbers, cats, and conflagrations, the doors stood open all about, so
her quick ear caught the sound of Dan’s little moans, and she was
up in a minute. He was just giving his hot pillow a despairing
thump when a light came glimmering through the hall, and Mrs. Jo
crept in, looking like a droll ghost, with her hair in a great knob on
the top of her head, and a long gray dressing-gown trailing behind
"Are you in pain, Dan?"
"It’s pretty bad; but I didn’t mean to wake you."
"I’m a sort of owl, always flying about at night. Yes, your foot is
like fire; the bandages must be wet again," and away flapped the
maternal owl for more cooling stuff, and a great mug of ice water.
"Oh, that’s so nice!" sighed Dan, the wet bandages went on again,
and a long draught of water cooled his thirsty throat.
"There, now, sleep your best, and don’t be frightened if you see me
again, for I’ll slip down by and by, and give you another sprinkle."
As she spoke, Mrs. Jo stooped to turn the pillow and smooth the
bed-clothes, when, to her great surprise, Dan put his arm around
her neck, drew her face down to his, and kissed her, with a broken
"Thank you, ma’am," which said more than the most eloquent
speech could have done; for the hasty kiss, the muttered words,
meant, "I’m sorry, I will try." She understood it, accepted the
unspoken confession, and did not spoil it by any token of surprise.
She only remembered that he had no mother, kissed the brown
cheek half hidden on the pillow, as if ashamed of the little touch of
tenderness, and left him, saying, what he long remembered, "You
are my boy now, and if you choose you can make me proud and
glad to say so."
Once again, just at dawn, she stole down to find him so fast asleep
that he did not wake, and showed no sign of consciousness as she
wet his foot, except that the lines of pain smoothed themselves
away, and left his face quite peaceful.
The day was Sunday, and the house so still that he never waked till
near noon, and, looking round him, saw an eager little face peering
in at the door. He held out his arms, and Teddy tore across the
room to cast himself bodily upon the bed, shouting, "My Danny’s
tum!" as he hugged and wriggled with delight. Mrs. Bhaer
appeared next, bringing breakfast, and never seeming to see how
shamefaced Dan looked at the memory of the little scene last
night. Teddy insisted on giving him his "betfus," and fed him like a
baby, which, as he was not very hungry, Dan enjoyed very much.
Then came the doctor, and the poor Spartan had a bad time of it,
for some of the little bones in his foot were injured, and putting
them to rights was such a painful job, that Dan’s lips were white,
and great drops stood on his forehead, though he never cried out,
and only held Mrs. Jo’s hand so tight that it was red long
"You must keep this boy quiet, for a week at least, and not let him
put his foot to the ground. By that time, I shall know whether he
may hop a little with a crutch, or stick to his bed for a while
longer," said Dr. Firth, putting up the shining instruments that Dan
did not like to see.
"It will get well sometime, won’t it?" he asked, looking alarmed at
the word "crutches."
"I hope so;" and with that the doctor departed, leaving Dan much
depressed; for the loss of a foot is a dreadful calamity to an active
"Don’t be troubled, I am a famous nurse, and we will have you
tramping about as well as ever in a month," said Mrs. Jo, taking a
hopeful view of the case.
But the fear of being lame haunted Dan, and even Teddy’s caresses
did not cheer him; so Mrs. Jo proposed that one or two of the boys
should come in and pay him a little visit, and asked whom he
would like to see.
"Nat and Demi; I’d like my hat too, there’s something in it I guess
they’d like to see. I suppose you threw away my bundle of
plunder?" said Dan, looking rather anxious as he put the question.
"No, I kept it, for I thought they must be treasures of some kind,
you took such care of them;" and Mrs. Jo brought him his old
straw hat stuck full of butterflies and beetles, and a handkerchief
containing a collection of odd things picked up on his way: birds’
eggs, carefully done up in moss, curious shells and stones, bits of
fungus, and several little crabs, in a state of great indignation at
"Could I have something to put these fellers in? Mr. Hyde and I
found ’em, and they are first-rate ones, so I’d like to keep and
watch ’em; can I?" asked Dan, forgetting his foot, and laughing to
see the crabs go sidling and backing over the bed.
"Of course you can; Polly’s old cage will be just the thing. Don’t let
them nip Teddy’s toes while I get it;" and away went Mrs. Jo,
leaving Dan overjoyed to find that his treasures were not
considered rubbish, and thrown away.
Nat, Demi, and the cage arrived together, and the crabs were
settled in their new house, to the great delight of the boys, who, in
the excitement of the performance, forgot any awkwardness they
might otherwise have felt in greeting the runaway. To these
admiring listeners Dan related his adventures much more fully
than he had done to the Bhaers. Then he displayed his "plunder,"
and described each article so well, that Mrs. Jo, who had retired to
the next room to leave them free, was surprised and interested, as
well as amused, at their boyish chatter.
"How much the lad knows of these things! how absorbed he is in
them! and what a mercy it is just now, for he cares so little for
books, it would be hard to amuse him while he is laid up; but the
boys can supply him with beetles and stones to any extent, and I
am glad to find out this taste of his; it is a good one, and may
perhaps prove the making of him. If he should turn out a great
naturalist, and Nat a musician, I should have cause to be proud of
this year’s work;" and Mrs. Jo sat smiling over her book as she
built castles in the air, just as she used to do when a girl, only then
they were for herself, and now they were for other people, which is
the reason perhaps that some of them came to pass in reality for
charity is an excellent foundation to build anything upon.
Nat was most interested in the adventures, but Demi enjoyed the
beetles and butterflies immensely, drinking in the history of their
changeful little lives as if it were a new and lovely sort of fairy tale
for, even in his plain way, Dan told it well, and found great
satisfaction in the thought that here at least the small philosopher
could learn of him. So interested were they in the account of
catching a musk rat, whose skin was among the treasures, that Mr.
Bhaer had to come himself to tell Nat and Demi it was time for the
walk. Dan looked so wistfully after them as they ran off that Father
Bhaer proposed carrying him to the sofa in the parlor for a little
change of air and scene.
When he was established, and the house quiet, Mrs. Jo, who sat
near by showing Teddy pictures, said, in an interested tone, as she
nodded towards the treasures still in Dan’s hands,
"Where did you learn so much about these things?"
"I always liked ’em, but didn’t know much till Mr. Hyde told me."
"Oh, he was a man who lived round in the woods studying these
things I don’t know what you call him and wrote about frogs, and
fishes, and so on. He stayed at Page’s, and used to want me to go
and help him, and it was great fun, ’cause he told me ever so much,
and was uncommon jolly and wise. Hope I’ll see him again
"I hope you will," said Mrs. Jo, for Dan’s face had brightened up,
and he was so interested in the matter that he forgot his usual
"Why, he could make birds come to him, and rabbits and squirrels
didn’t mind him any more than if he was a tree. Did you ever tickle
a lizard with a straw?" asked Dan, eagerly.
"No, but I should like to try it."
"Well, I’ve done it, and it’s so funny to see ’em turn over and stretch
out, they like it so much. Mr. Hyde used to do it; and he’d make
snakes listen to him while he whistled, and he knew just when
certain flowers would blow, and bees wouldn’t sting him, and he’d
tell the wonderfullest things about fish and flies, and the Indians
and the rocks."
"I think you were so fond of going with Mr. Hyde, you rather
neglected Mr. Page," said Mrs. Jo, slyly.
"Yes, I did; I hated to have to weed and hoe when I might be
tramping round with Mr. Hyde. Page thought such things silly, and
called Mr. Hyde crazy because he’d lay hours watching a trout or a
"Suppose you say lie instead of lay, it is better grammar," said Mrs.
Jo, very gently; and then added, "Yes, Page is a thorough farmer,
and would not understand that a naturalist’s work was just as
interesting, and perhaps just as important as his own. Now, Dan, if
you really love these things, as I think you do, and I am glad to see
it, you shall have time to study them and books to help you; but I
want you to do something besides, and to do it faithfully, else you
will be sorry by and by, and find that you have got to begin again."
"Yes, ma’am," said Dan, meekly, and looked a little scared by the
serious tone of the last remarks, for he hated books, yet had
evidently made up his mind to study anything she proposed.
"Do you see that cabinet with twelve drawers in it?" was the next
very unexpected question.
Dan did see two tall old-fashioned ones standing on either side of
the piano; he knew them well, and had often seen nice bits of
string, nails, brown paper, and such useful matters come out of the
various drawers. He nodded and smiled. Mrs. Jo went on,
"Well, don’t you think those drawers would be good places to put
your eggs, and stones, and shells, and lichens?"
"Oh, splendid, but you wouldn’t like my things ‘clutterin’ round,’ as
Mr. Page used to say, would you?" cried Dan, sitting up to survey
the old piece of furniture with sparkling eyes.
"I like litter of that sort; and if I didn’t, I should give you the
drawers, because I have a regard for children’s little treasures, and
I think they should be treated respectfully. Now, I am going to
make a bargain with you, Dan, and I hope you will keep it
honorably. Here are twelve good-sized drawers, one for each
month of the year, and they shall be yours as fast as you earn them,
by doing the little duties that belong to you. I believe in rewards of
a certain kind, especially for young folks; they help us along, and
though we may begin by being good for the sake of the reward, if
it is rightly used, we shall soon learn to love goodness for itself."
"Do you have ’em?" asked Dan, looking as if this was new talk for
"Yes, indeed! I haven’t learnt to get on without them yet. My
rewards are not drawers, or presents, or holidays, but they are
things which I like as much as you do the others. The good
behavior and success of my boys is one of the rewards I love best,
and I work for it as I want you to work for your cabinet. Do what
you dislike, and do it well, and you get two rewards, one, the prize
you see and hold; the other, the satisfaction of a duty cheerfully
performed. Do you understand that?"
"We all need these little helps; so you shall try to do your lessons
and your work, play kindly with all the boys, and use your holidays
well; and if you bring me a good report, or if I see and know it
without words for I’m quick to spy out the good little efforts of my
boys you shall have a compartment in the drawer for your
treasures. See, some are already divided into four parts, and I will
have the others made in the same way, a place for each week; and
when the drawer is filled with curious and pretty things, I shall be
as proud of it as you are; prouder, I think for in the pebbles,
mosses, and gay butterflies, I shall see good resolutions carried
out, conquered faults, and a promise well kept. Shall we do this,
The boys answered with one of the looks which said much, for it
showed that he felt and understood her wish and words, although
he did not know how to express his interest and gratitude for such
care and kindness. She understood the look, and seeing by the
color that flushed up to his forehead that he was touched, as she
wished him to be, she said no more about that side of the new
plan, but pulled out the upper drawer, dusted it, and set it on two
chairs before the sofa, saying briskly,
"Now, let us begin at once by putting those nice beetles in a safe
place. These compartments will hold a good deal, you see. I’d pin
the butterflies and bugs round the sides; they will be quite safe
there, and leave room for the heavy things below. I’ll give you
some cotton wool, and clean paper and pins, and you can get ready
for the week’s work."
"But I can’t go out to find any new things," said Dan, looking
piteously at his foot.
"That’s true; never mind, we’ll let these treasures do for this week,
and I dare say the boys will bring you loads of things if you ask
"They don’t know the right sort; besides, if I lay, no, lie here all the
time, I can’t work and study, and earn my drawers."
"There are plenty of lessons you can learn lying there, and several
little jobs of work you can do for me."
"Can I?" and Dan looked both surprised and pleased.
"You can learn to be patient and cheerful in spite of pain and no
play. You can amuse Teddy for me, wind cotton, read to me when
I sew, and do many things without hurting your foot, which will
make the days pass quickly, and not be wasted ones."
Here Demi ran in with a great butterfly in one hand, and a very
ugly little toad in the other.
"See, Dan, I found them, and ran back to give them to you; aren’t
they beautiful ones?" panted Demi, all out of breath.
Dan laughed at the toad, and said he had no place to put him, but
the butterfly was a beauty, and if Mrs. Jo would give him a big pin,
he would stick it right up in the drawer.
"I don’t like to see the poor thing struggle on a pin; if it must be
killed, let us put it out of pain at once with a drop of camphor,"
said Mrs. Jo, getting out the bottle.
"I know how to do it Mr. Hyde always killed ’em that way but I
didn’t have any camphor, so I use a pin," and Dan gently poured a
drop on the insect’s head, when the pale green wings fluttered an
instant, and then grew still.
This dainty little execution was hardly over when Teddy shouted
from the bedroom, "Oh, the little trabs are out, and the big one’s
eaten ’em all up." Demi and his aunt ran to the rescue, and found
Teddy dancing excitedly in a chair, while two little crabs were
scuttling about the floor, having got through the wires of the cage.
A third was clinging to the top of the cage, evidently in terror of
his life, for below appeared a sad yet funny sight. The big crab had
wedged himself into the little recess where Polly’s cup used to
stand, and there he sat eating one of his relations in the coolest
way. All the claws of the poor victim were pulled off, and he was
turned upside down, his upper shell held in one claw close under
the mouth of the big crab like a dish, while he leisurely ate out of
it with the other claw, pausing now and then to turn his queer
bulging eyes from side to side, and to put out a slender tongue and
lick them in a way that made the children scream with laughter.
Mrs. Jo carried the cage in for Dan to see the sight, while Demi
caught and confined the wanderers under an inverted wash-bowl.
"I’ll have to let these fellers go, for I can’t keep ’em in the house,"
said Dan, with evident regret.
"I’ll take care of them for you, if you will tell me how, and they can
live in my turtle-tank just as well as not," said Demi, who found
them more interesting even that his beloved slow turtles. So Dan
gave him directions about the wants and habits of the crabs, and
Demi bore them away to introduce them to their new home and
neighbors. "What a good boy he is!" said Dan, carefully settling the
first butterfly, and remembering that Demi had given up his walk
to bring it to him.
"He ought to be, for a great deal has been done to make him so."
"He’s had folks to tell him things, and to help him; I haven’t," said
Dan, with a sigh, thinking of his neglected childhood, a thing he
seldom did, and feeling as if he had not had fair play somehow.
"I know it, dear, and for that reason I don’t expect as much from
you as from Demi, though he is younger; you shall have all the
help that we can give you now, and I hope to teach you how to
help yourself in the best way. Have you forgotten what Father
Bhaer told you when you were here before, about wanting to be
good, and asking God to help you?"
"No, ma’am," very low.
"Do you try that way still?"
"No, ma’am," lower still.
"Will you do it every night to please me?"
"Yes, ma’am," very soberly.
"I shall depend on it, and I think I shall know if you are faithful to
your promise, for these things always show to people who believe
in them, though not a word is said. Now here is a pleasant story
about a boy who hurt his foot worse than you did yours; read it,
and see how bravely he bore his troubles."
She put that charming little book, "The Crofton Boys," into his
hands, and left him for an hour, passing in and out from time to
time that he might not feel lonely. Dan did not love to read, but
soon got so interested that he was surprised when the boys came
home. Daisy brought him a nosegay of wild flowers, and Nan
insisted on helping bring him his supper, as he lay on the sofa with
the door open into the dining-room, so that he could see the lads at
table, and they could nod socially to him over their bread and
Mr. Bhaer carried him away to his bed early, and Teddy came in
his night-gown to say good-night, for he went to his little nest with
"I want to say my prayers to Danny; may I?" he asked; and when
his mother said, "Yes," the little fellow knelt down by Dan’s bed,
and folding his chubby hands, said softly,
"Pease Dod bess everybody, and hep me to be dood."
Then he went away smiling with sleepy sweetness over his
But after the evening talk was done, the evening song sung, and
the house grew still with beautiful Sunday silence, Dan lay in his
pleasant room wide awake, thinking new thoughts, feeling new
hopes and desires stirring in his boyish heart, for two good angels
had entered in: love and gratitude began the work which time and
effort were to finish; and with an earnest wish to keep his first
promise, Dan folded his hands together in the Darkness, and softly
whispered Teddy’s little prayer,
"Please God bless every one, and help me to be good."