American Book of Golden Deeds - James Baldwin


Little Mackie, as his friends called him, was an inmate of the Hospital for Crippled Children. He was a small boy and his years were few, yet his face was already drawn and seamed with lines of suffering. One of his feet was twisted and the other almost useless; yet he could hobble around very nimbly on his crutches, and he took great pleasure in helping other boys who were worse off than himself.

His particular friend and crony was Dannie O'Connell, whose cot adjoined his own. Dannie was a helpless little fellow, with legs that were no better than none and a back so weak that he could not sit up without props. Many were the hours which little Mackie spent at Dannie's bedside, and many were the words of encouragement and hope that he poured into the ears of the helpless child.

"We're partners, Dannie," he would say. "When I get bigger I'll be a bootblack down on the Square, and you and me'll go halvers in the profits."

"But what could I do?" queried Dannie. "I couldn't help with the business. Why, I can't even hold myself up."

"Oh, you'll be lots better by that time," answered the ever hopeful Mackie. "I'll get you a high chair with wheels under it, so that I can trundle you around. And I'll get a little candy stand at the corner for you to 'tend to. I'll shine 'em up for the fine gentlemen that come that way, and you'll sell candy to the ladies. They'll all want to trade with you when they see you sitting there in your high chair."

"I think it will be very nice," sighed Dannie; and he lay gazing up toward the ceiling and trying to forget his troubles.

"Of course it will be nice," said Mackie; "and don't you forget that we'll be partners."

One night when all the children were in their cots an alarm was sounded. What could it mean? Soon the cry of fire was heard, and then a great rushing and hurrying in the halls and on the stairways. Little Mackie jumped up and seized his crutches, and all the other boys in the ward began to cry out in alarm. But their nurse soothed them and told them that they need not be afraid, for she was quite sure that the fire was in a distant part of the building, and would soon be put out.

Little Mackie lay down again, but he kept his eyes wide open. "Hey, Dannie, partner," he whispered, very softly, "don't be scared. I'm watching out for you, and nurse says there's no danger."

The noise outside grew louder, and there was more of it. Mackie could hear the people running. He could hear the children screaming in the other wards. Soon he saw the red light of the flames shining through the narrow window above the door. Then he smelled the smoke and saw it coming into the room through every crevice and crack. The nurse turned pale with fear and did not seem to know what to do.

Then three men rushed in—firemen with big hats on their heads and waterproof capes on their shoulders. Each took two children in his arms and with the fainting nurse hurried away through the strangling smoke.

"Be brave! We'll be back for you in a minute," said one of them as he ran past Dannie and Mackie.

The two "partners" were left alone in the room. Mackie could hear the crackling and roaring of the flames. He could even see them creeping along the floor and licking up the carpet in the lower hallway. He could feel their hot breath. In another minute they would reach the wooden stairs, and then how could any one ever come up to save the children that were still in the wards?

"Run, Mackie!" cried Dannie, trying in vain to sit up. "I guess they forgot to come back. Run, Mackie, and don't wait for me."

"No, I don't run, so long as you're my partner," said Mackie.

He was leaning on his crutches by the side of Dannie's cot.

"Put your arms round my neck, Dannie. That's how. Now hold on, tight! Snuggle your face down over my shoulder. That's right; now we'll go. Hold fast, and don't swallow any more smoke than you can help, Dannie."

Clack! clack! clack! Through the smothering smoke the little crutches clattered out of the room and into the burning hallway. And Dannie, with his arms clasped around his partner's neck, and his shriveled legs dangling helplessly behind, was borne half-fainting through the fearful din.

Clack! clack! clack! Mackie was so short and his head was so near to the floor that he escaped the thickest part of the smoke, which rolled in clouds toward the ceiling. He hurried to the stairway, keeping his face bent down- ward and his eyes half closed. He did not dare to speak to Dannie, for he had no breath to spare.

Outside of the building there were many busy hands and many anxious faces.

"Have all the children been saved?" asked one of the managers of the hospital.

"Oh, sir, not all," was the sad answer. "There were a few in the upper wards who could not be saved, the fire spread so rapidly. And there are still two little boys in the lower ward whom it is impossible to reach."

"Surely these boys ought to be rescued," cried the manager. "Won't some one try to reach them?"

"Sir," answered a helper who had already carried ten children out of the flaming building, "it is too late. The stairways are all blazing and the ward itself is full of fire."

In fact, the flames could now be seen bursting out of every window.

Clack! clack! clack!

What sound was that on the marble steps before the smoke-filled door of the doomed hospital? It was not a loud noise, but those who stood nearest heard it quite plainly amid all the other sounds, the snapping of the burning wood, the roaring of the flames, the falling of heavy timbers.

Then right out from beneath the cloud of smoke came little Mackie, bearing Dannie upon his shoulders. Helping hands were stretched forth to receive him, and the brave lad fell fainting in the arms of a big policeman.

Dannie was scarcely harmed at all, though dreadfully frightened. But Mackie's poor hands were badly scorched and his eyebrows were singed off. His nightshirt was burned through in a dozen places. His bare, crippled feet were blistered by the fallen coals he had stepped upon. His little body was full of hurts and burns. Kind arms carried him to a place of safety; but for a long time he lay senseless to all that was happening around him.

When at last he awoke to consciousness his first thought was to inquire for Dannie. Then, as he turned painfully in the little bed where they had laid him, he closed his eyes again and said, "Me and Dannie are partners, don't you know?"

A Modest Lad

John Gregg's home was in Maryland. His father and mother were dead, and he lived on a farm with his married sister.

One afternoon when he was about twelve years old he was sent on an errand to the nearest town. The day was quite warm and he followed the shortest path, which led him after a while to the tracks of the railroad. A great rain had fallen in the morning and every brook and rivulet was full of muddy, rushing water.

As John went merrily tripping along the tracks he came suddenly upon that which made him stop in surprise. At a point where an angry brook went tearing along by the side of the road the embankment had given way. The ties were out of place and one of the rails seemed almost ready to fall into the brook.

"What if a train should come now?" was the boy's first thought.

As if in answer to his question the whistle of an engine was faintly heard far down the road. He knew that it was just time for the Colonial express to pass that place. He knew that it was running at the rate of a mile a minute and that scores of lives were in danger. Without stopping to think, he pulled off his coat and ran swiftly along the tracks to meet the train. He swung his coat wildly above his head and shouted with all his might. But who could hear his voice above the rumble and roar of the great express?

The engineer saw the lad. He threw on the emergency brakes. The train stopped so quickly that the passengers were thrown out of their seats.

"What's the matter, boy?" cried the engineer, half angrily.

"Wash—out—down there. Track—caved in—thought I'd tell you," gasped the boy, all out of breath.

The engineer leaped from the cab, and running forward a few paces was horrified to see the danger his train had escaped. He hurried back just as the passengers came rushing from the coaches.

"A narrow escape," he said, pointing to the washout. "If it hadn't been for this boy, we'd have been dead men. But where is the boy?"

"Yes, where is the boy?" echoed the passengers. But no boy was to be found.

As soon as John Gregg had answered the engineer's question, he had dodged into the woods and was now hurrying away on his errand.

"Where is the boy who saved the Colonial express and the lives of perhaps a hundred passengers?" was the question which many people asked during the next few days. The officers of the railroad sent out a man to find him.

"It must have been an angel," said some; "for what mere boy would do such a thing and not be running everywhere and boasting about it?"

The engineer's description of the lad was repeated to the farmers in the neighborhood.

"Why, that fits Johnnie Gregg better'n any other boy I know," said one.

"Yes," said another, "and now that you speak of it, I do remember seeing Johnnie go past my house that very afternoon. I rather reckon it must have been Johnnie. He's a bashful lad, and never puts himself forward."

"Where does this Johnnie Gregg live?" asked the railroad man.

"Oh, he lives with his married sister a matter of three miles from here. Follow the main road, and you can't help but find the place. It's the second white house after you pass the third corner."

The man, after getting some further directions, drove on. He found the house without trouble.

"I want to see the boy known as Johnnie Gregg," he said.

Soon a bright-faced lad in knickerbockers came into the room.

"Is your name John Gregg?"

"Yes, sir."

"Are you the lad that saved the Colonial express a few weeks ago?"

"I—I told the engineer about the washout."

"Do you know that you saved the lives of a number of passengers besides a great deal of property for the railroad company?"

John blushed and twisted his legs uneasily. "I only told the engineer about it," he answered.

"Well, at any rate," said the man, "you did a noble deed and the officers of the railroad are very grateful to you. I am authorized to say that your name will be placed on the company's pay roll and that you can go through any college you choose at their expense. Don't you think you would like to go to college, Johnnie?"

"I am sure I don't know," he answered. He had never heard much about colleges; he didn't exactly know what they were like.

"If you would rather learn a trade," said the man, "the company will help you to learn the very best and will pay all the cost. Do you think of any trade you would like?"

Johnnie blushed and fidgeted. He had never given much thought to such things, and the question was hard to answer. At last he said, "I guess I'd rather be a fireman than anything else."

"We'll not hurry you for a decision," said the man. "Your pay will begin with the day you saved the train, and you may have a year to make up your mind as to what you would rather do. Good-by, and God bless you!"

"Good-by, sir!"

The Boiler Cleaners

In the engine room of a great machine shop in Indiana, William Phelps and another man are cleaning a boiler.

It is night. The machinery is at a standstill. Engineers and firemen have gone home. Besides Phelps and his companion there is not another man in the room.

The boiler which they are cleaning has not been in use for some days. The water has been drawn from it. It is waiting for repairs. But beneath its companions in the adjoining room the fires are still glowing red, and the steam sizzles shrilly from beneath their safety valves.

The two men are inside of the boiler. To get there they have been obliged to creep through a small, round opening on the upper side. This opening is barely large enough to admit the body of a slender man. Through it passes all the air which the cleaners can have while working at this unpleasant task. Beneath it hangs a dimly burning lantern which gives them all the light they are thought to need.

They are busy with their scrubbing brushes and scrapers, removing the lime with which the interior of the boiler has become coated. They are accustomed to the work, and they do not mind the dimness of the light, the heaviness of the air, the cramping discomfort of the place. As for danger, what danger could there be inside of an empty boiler?

Suddenly there is a strange, hissing sound at the farther end of the boiler. Then a cloud of hot steam begins to fill the space around them.

"What's that?" cries William Phelps, starting quickly up.

Through some sort of accident a valve has been opened in one of the large pipes which connect this boiler with another in the adjoining room. The scalding vapor is pouring through in a steady stream.

William Phelps is nearest to the opening which is the only means of escape. He may save himself if he will act quickly. But, no; he steps aside and cries: "Out with you, Jim! You first!"

Jim's body entirely fills the opening. He wriggles slowly through, almost paralyzed with fear and the pain of the scalding steam. He shouts the alarm. Watchmen in the near-by rooms hear him, and come with helping hands to lift him out.

But where is William Phelps? The boiler is filled with steam. He has only enough strength remaining to push his head through the opening. Then he loses all consciousness.

The men seize hold of his shoulders and pull him out. From his neck to the soles of his feet he is as thoroughly scalded as though he had been dipped in boiling water.

They lay him on the floor. They apply restoratives. They send for a surgeon.

In a little while he opens his eyes.

"Jim," he gasps, "I'm glad you got out safe. It was your right to go first: you have a wife and child. And I—I'm only Bill Phelps."

Jim turns away, weeping.

The next moment the surgeon arrives. "Too late," he says, as he looks at the silent form before him. "No man can live after such a bath as that."

Tom Flynn of Virginia

Did you ever hear of Flynn—Tom Flynn of Virginia? His story is somewhat like that of William Phelps. His heroism was of the same golden quality.

It was in the early mining days in California. Flynn was there—a rough fellow far from home and friends. If there were any qualities of gentleness in his heart, he had hitherto been careful to conceal them.

One day he was at work with another miner deep down in the ground. They had reached their place of labor by passing through a narrow tunnel the roof of which was supported by wooden beams.

Suddenly a noise as of falling rocks alarmed them. They ran to the lower end of the tunnel. The beams at that place were giving way. Already the tunnel was choked up with fallen rubbish.

Nor was this the worst. One of the main beams was just ready to tumble down. They knew that if it fell, the whole roof of the tunnel would fall with it—there would be no escape for them.

They hurriedly threw their shoulders against it just as its last support was beginning to crumble beneath it. They could hold it up and thus prevent the roof from entirely caving in. But of what avail would it be to stand there while there was no hope of other help?

"I think I can hold it up a short time, Jake," said Tom Flynn. "I'll try it while you look for some piece of timber to put under it. Be quick about it, Jake, for it's growing heavier."

The man groped around in the darkness. Among all the fallen rubbish there was not a stick that could be of any use.

Tom Flynn felt the great beam slowly settling down. Other supports were giving way. His own strength was failing.

But he braced himself up manfully and shouted: "Run, Jake! Run for your life. For your wife's sake, run! Don't mind me. I think I can hold this beam till you get out."

Jake ran, stumbling and panting, toward the little point of daylight which he saw glimmering far away at the end of the tunnel. Suddenly he heard a crash behind him, he felt a rushing of air at his back. He struggled forward into the light. He turned and saw that the tunnel was no more.

And Tom Flynn of Virginia? He would have been forgotten long ago had not Bret Harte told of his heroism in a ballad which I have but repeated to you in prose.

Peter Woodland

Peter Woodland was a Dane. He had been in this country nine years and was foreman of some workmen who were helping to build the first tunnel under the Hudson River.

This tunnel was more than a mile in length, extending from Jersey City to the opposite shore of Manhattan. It was so deep down that its roof was beneath the bed of the river.

Day after day, month after month, Peter Woodland and his companions worked in this tunnel. Above them glided tugboats, ferryboats, steamships, and even mighty battleships; and but few people dreamed of the busy men who were toiling silently at the risk of their lives a hundred feet beneath the surface of the great river. The light of the sun never reached these men at their work; the roar and rumble of the city streets never disturbed them.

The work was begun at the Jersey City end. A great shaft or well was sunk straight down to the desired level, and then the tunnel was dug through mud and ooze and solid rocks and treacherous sand. As fast as it was dug, it was walled overhead and on the sides with bricks and stone and plates of steel. The masons kept close behind the diggers, and the wall was never more than a few feet from the farthest end of the excavation.

As the workmen slowly pushed their way out under the river, why did not the mud and rocks above them fall in before the protecting wall could be built? This was prevented in part by roofing the unwalled portion of the tunnel with strong iron plates; but the roof of itself was not sufficient to support the great pressure above.

Every boy knows how air when forced into the tire of a bicycle will expand the rubber tubing and enable it to sustain a very great weight. Similarly, compressed air was forced into the unwalled part of the tunnel, thus helping to support the vast pressure of mud and water and rocks upon the temporary roof. Had it not been for this device the whole thing would have collapsed and the tunnel would have been impossible.

Fitting closely inside of the walled part of the tunnel there was an iron chamber fifteen feet in length. This chamber was called the air lock, and it was moved along as fast as the wall was completed. It was made to fit so closely that no water or air could pass between it and the inner surface of the wall.

At each end of the air lock there was a heavy door, and in the center of each door there was a round pane of very thick glass called a bull's-eye. Both the doors opened toward the unfinished end of the tunnel.

At midnight, every night, Peter Woodland and twenty-seven other men went down into the tunnel to work. They entered by means of a ladder, through the deep shaft in Jersey City. They went on through the finished portion till they came to the air lock. This they entered, the farther or lower door being already closed. When all were in, the upper door was closed and air was forced into the chamber until it was of the same density as the compressed air in the unfinished portion of the tunnel below. Then the lower door was opened, and the men passed out to their work.

It was not possible for them to work long in such air. After a few hours they would return into the air lock. The compressed air would be drawn off. They would return to their homes for rest, and twenty-eight other men would take their places.

One night Peter Woodland and his men had been at work as usual for nearly four hours. It was about the time for their early morning lunch. A few of the men had already dropped their picks and were starting for their dinner pails. The lower door of the air lock was open.

Suddenly there was an ominous sizzling and a rushing of water between two of the iron plates in the roof.

Peter Woodland sprang forward.

"All hands to stop this leak!" he cried.

But it was too late. The water poured through in a torrent. There was no possible way to stop it. One of the iron plates was misplaced.

Peter Woodland stood upright, trying if he might be able with his two hands to stanch the flow a little.

"Quick, men!" he cried. "Into the air lock, every one of you."

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


He himself might have been the first to go. But, no; he stepped aside and pushed the others in as fast as they came up.

Seven men had entered; but as the eighth reached the door, the heavy iron plate above it fell upon him. He dropped down as though dead, while the iron plate rested against the door in such a way as to close it within a few inches. Not another man could pass through.

Peter Woodland and nineteen others were caught as in a trap, and the river was pouring in upon them.

The seven men in the air lock were also entrapped; for the pressure of the air against the upper door was so strong that they could not open it. The water was pouring through the lower doorway over the body of their dead companion.

"Stop up the doorway with your coats!" shouted Peter Woodland.

They had left their coats with their dinner pails in the air lock when they went out to work. These they seized and thrust into the opening of the doorway. They pulled off their shirts and pushed them in also. The flowing of the water into the air lock was checked, although the chamber was now almost half full.

Unless they could open the upper door, their respite would be but short. They would still be drowned like rats in a hole.

Then they heard the voice of Peter Woodland again, "Break the bull's-eye in the upper door! Kick it out!"

The men saw him. The water was already to his chin. The nineteen men behind him were in the same sad plight.

"Break it!" he cried. "It's your only chance. If you're saved, do what you can for the rest of us."

These were his last words.

They broke the bull's-eye. The compressed air escaped. The upper door was easily opened. The seven men rushed out, the water following them as they ran. They gained the great shaft at the entrance. They climbed the ladder in breathless haste. At the top they turned and looked back.

The tunnel was full of water. Of the twenty-eight men who had gone down at midnight, twenty-one would never return. The seven who were saved owed their lives to the presence of mind and unselfish heroism of humble Peter Woodland.

A Quick-Witted Mountain Girl

On a hillside overlooking a deep ravine in Colorado stood the little brown house which Nora O'Neill called her home. There was very little level ground near it. The front yard sloped downward, five hundred feet or more, to a broad ledge of solid rock at the foot of which was a railroad track. On the farther side of the track the land again dipped steeply down to the bottom of the ravine, where ran a roaring mountain stream. At the back of the house the hill rose mountain high and was covered with a dense growth of stunted trees and straggling underwoods.

One evening as Nora was helping her mother with the kitchen work they heard a rumbling, rattling sound on the railroad track below them.

"What is that, mother?" asked Nora, running to the door to listen.

"Oh, it's nothing but the handcar going back to town with the men," answered her mother, whose hearing was by no means the sharpest.

"Well, I never heard it make that kind of noise," said Nora. "It sounded more like a coal wagon unloading coal, and not at all like the handcar. I have a notion to go down and see what it was."

"Nonsense, Nora," said her mother. "You're only wanting to shirk your work. Look at the clock. It's just about the time the men always go back. They'll barely get to the station and lift the car off the track before the Rio Grande express goes by."

Nora said no more. She finished her work and then went to the door to listen for the coming express. Soon she heard a faint whistle echoing down the valley through the dusky twilight. The train was skirting the farther side of the great bend and, by way of the winding road, was still several miles distant. Nora ran down to the side of the track to wait for its coming. She had done this every evening through the summer and it was a source of much enjoyment to her. She liked to see the great coaches glide past, each one brilliant with light and full of well-dressed travelers.

"I wonder where all those people come from and where they are going," she often said to herself.

She was scarcely halfway down to the track when she was surprised to see something like a dark shadow lying across it. What could it be?

She hastened her footsteps. Soon it was all plain to her. A big bowlder with several smaller rocks had become loosened from its place above and had slid down upon the rails. No doubt it had fallen soon after the handcar had passed down, and it was this which she and her mother had heard.

What should she do? The express would be there within less than five minutes. There was no time for thought.

She pushed against the bowlder [boulder] with all her strength. She might as well have pushed against the mountain itself, and this she knew in a moment.

Then she turned and ran back toward the house faster than you or I could run up so steep a hill.

"Quick, mother, quick!" she cried. "The oil can! the oil can!"

As she ran she picked up a stick of dry pine that was lying by the path. The can of kerosene was in its usual place. She seized it and dashed the oil over one end of the stick. She had seen her father do this once when he was in haste for a light. It was his way of making a torch.

"Are you crazy, child?" cried her mother.

But Nora did not hear. She quickly lighted the stick in the fire of the kitchen stove. Then, holding her blazing torch high above her head, she ran down the hill by another path in the direction of the train.

The roar of the great express could now be plainly heard. Nora reached the track not a moment too soon.

"What in the world does that mean?" said the engineer as, peering through the dusk, he saw a girl with a flaming torch standing on the road. He did not know that, just around the next short curve, destruction was lurking. He blew the whistle; the girl did not stir. He threw on the brakes as hard as they would go. The train slowed up suddenly, but not too soon.

Nora leaped aside as the pitiless engine rolled past her. It rolled on around the curve. It came to a standstill just as its pilot struck the great bowlder.

"What is the matter?" cried the passengers, rushing out in great alarm.

"Matter enough," said the engineer. "Do you see that bowlder [boulder] on the tracks? If this girl had not signaled us just in time, the whole train would have gone down into the gully there. We all owe our lives to her."

The passengers crowded around Nora. The women kissed her. The men thanked her a dozen times over. She told her story in answer to their questions. A purse full of silver and greenbacks was offered to her.

"I didn't do it for pay," she said. "And besides, it wasn't much to do. It wasn't worth so much money."

"You have saved perhaps a dozen lives," said the conductor, "and certainly that is a good deal to do. We shall never be able to pay you all that we owe you."

Help soon arrived. The bowlder was removed and the track was repaired. Then the train moved away while more than one of the passengers called down heaven's blessing upon the child whose golden deed had saved their lives that night.

A Lad of the Docks

Do you know Jimmie Dooling, down on Front Street? Ask any sailor or longshoreman in that part of the city and he will tell you all about him.

Jimmie is thirteen years old, although you would not think so. He is a wiry, tough little fellow, used to all kinds of weather and all kinds of poor fare. His clothes are often ragged, and his face is not always clean. He lives with his father and mother in two dingy little rooms in the dingiest part of Manhattan. He has never lived anywhere else, and all the world that he knows is within a mile of his home. But no one knows the piers and docks of lower East River better than he.

"Why," said a longshoreman, "Jimmie's always around there. You can see him first on a pier, then on a tug, and then maybe on the deck of a threemaster. Then the next thing you know he's swimming in some dock. He's just like a fish. You can't drown him, and you can't make him afraid. He's a brave lad, Jimmie is."

"That's a fact," said the policeman, whose beat is along that part of the street. "Why, that lad has saved five or six lives already. He's what some folks call a wharf rat; but if there ever was a hero, Jimmie Dooling's one."

The reporter of a city paper who was gathering news in that section wished to know something more about the lad whom every one was praising.

"Well, here he comes now," said the policemen. "Ask him to tell you about the boy he saved yesterday."

Jimmie has never attended school more than a week or two at a time, and he has never studied lessons in language. But he can tell a story with as much zest as many a boy whose life has been cast in pleasanter places.

"Well, you see it was this way," he says. "The boys were playin' on the old pier up there toward the bridge—the pier that they're tearin' down so as to build a new one.

"I guess there were eight or ten of 'em all together, and they were playin' tag on the pier, and jumpin' over to the old coal barge that's tied up alongside of it. I wasn't playin'. I was gettin' wood for Scanlan, that man that lives next door.

"Well, Scanlan has a little cart, and I was drawin' away the loose wood that they were tearin' off from the old pier. It was mostly sticks and the ends of broken planks. I had been workin' at that wood for two or three hours and had hauled four or five loads to Scanlan's.

"I heard the six o'clock whistles blow, and just then I heard a big splashin' in the water. I looked around and saw a boy in the water just by the planks at the end of the pier. It was Charlie Tague, a little fellow who lives on our street. He is ten years old, and he can't swim a stroke.

"Those other boys, they just stood around and didn't know what to do. But when it comes to drownin', you've got no time to think. A dozen persons might drown while you're thinkin' only once.

"I just jumped in and grabbed the boy as he was comin' up for the last time. I held him by the collar and floated him around to the pier. I got hold of the end of a plank and held on till a man came along and pulled us out. I don't know who the man was, but he was young lookin' and had on nice clothes and said nothin'.

"I tell you I was a sorry-lookin' fellow when they pulled me and Charlie up. The place where I jumped in was full of mud—black mud—and it came up to my waist. That black mud sticks like tar, and it was all over me when they pulled me out. That's why I've got my new pants on, and my new stockin's, and my new shoes.

"No; Charlie wasn't hurt much. As for me, I only banged my knee against the end of a spike nail. If the tide had carried us under the pier, it would have been the end of us; but I understood about that, and so guarded against it.

"As soon as Charlie could walk I led him 'round to his home. Oh, but he was a wet fellow! As soon as I got him in the hallway, I said, 'So long, Charlie!' and sneaked away. I didn't want to bother Mrs. Tague with thankin' me."

Four months after this Jimmie saved the life of Johnnie Hart, who fell from the pier just above the old one that was being rebuilt. He led Johnnie home and then ran to his own lodgings on Front Street.

"Say, pa!" he cried, as he came into the room, "I've saved another boy. What do you think I am now? Don't you think I'm a rattler?"

Who can blame the lad for being proud of his achievements? His highest ambition is to win a medal for saving lives.

Patrick McCormick's Holiday

He was as quiet a man as ever rode on a fire engine. He never had a thought of being a hero, and nobody would have picked him out as such. He had served in the fire department of Chicago for twenty years and was always the same good-natured, steady-going Patrick McCormick.

One Friday afternoon, a short time ago, it was his turn to take a half day off. He had finished his work and started homeward in a happy mood; for he had promised his children to take them for a pleasant stroll in the park. He was scarcely half a block from the engine house when he heard the sound of an alarm. He paused to listen, and the next moment an engine dashed out. As it rushed down the street, one of the men saw McCormick and called out,—

"You've missed it, Pat!"

Patrick made no answer, but his mind was full of confusion. He had his own ideas about a fireman's duty. In his twenty years of service he had never failed to be on duty at the right time.

"Think of me walking in the park while all the boys are fighting that fire! It's not Pat McCormick that'll do such a thing," he said to himself.

By this time the engine was halfway down the street, and there was no use trying to overtake it. Yet he had made up his mind to be at the fire, no matter where it was. An express wagon was going that way, and he leaped into it.

"Quick, man!" he cried. "Follow that engine. I must see what kind of fire it is."

The driver obeyed. The fire was soon reached. Flames were already bursting from the roof. Lives were in danger. There was need for quick and earnest work.

Patrick jumped from the express wagon. He took his place among the firemen and was ready for instant duty. What was the half holiday to him when such work as this was to be done?

The fire burned fiercely but was at last brought under control. The building was ruined, the walls were crumbling and ready to fall. There was a dangerous point past which it was necessary to carry the nozzle of the hose. Just beyond it the flames were still raging. Women and children were there, hemmed in by fire and smoke.

The other man at the hose hesitated. He was faint from the heat, and his heart misgave him.

"I'll take it!" cried McCormick, and he rushed forward, pulling the heavy hose after him.

Suddenly there was a cry of alarm. From the tottering wall a great quantity of loosened bricks and mortar came crashing down. Before Patrick could escape he was caught beneath the falling mass and his life was crushed out.

As soon as it was possible to do so, the firemen began to search for his body. They found it beneath a great heap of ruins, the breath quite gone from it, but his face unscarred and still bearing that quiet look which spoke the unselfishness of his heart.

"And to think that this was his holiday!" said the chief.

Little Boy Blue and Golyer's Ben

Had it not been for John Hay, who first told us this story, Golyer's Ben would probably have been forgotten long ago. Ben's true name was known only to himself, and his history was a secret which no one could guess. He was called Ben because the word was easy to pronounce, and Golyer's Ben because he worked for Mr. Golyer.

He was a rough man, as most stage drivers were in those early days in the far West. He was morose and unsocial, and most people were afraid of him. It was not known that he had a single friend in the world.

The route over which he drove the Golyer stage was a dangerous one. The roads were steep and rough, the settlements were few and far between. Bands of unfriendly Indians were often in the neighborhood, and highway robbers had more than once planned to waylay the stage in some narrow pass or at some lonely point on the mountains. It required a brave man to face all these perils, and everybody knew that Golyer's Ben was not afraid of anything.

One day there was a little boy in the stage. His father and mother were dead, and he was in the charge of an old nurse who was carrying him to the home of a relative beyond the mountains. The lad made so much noise with a little tin trumpet, which he wished to blow all the time, that the passengers nicknamed him "Little Boy Blue."

Little Boy Blue was tired with the long journey. He blew his trumpet till he could blow no longer. Then he laid his head in his nurse's lap and took a long nap. When he awoke he blew his trumpet again and became very restless. He did not like to stay cooped up in the stage. He wished to get out and walk. He wished to gather wild flowers and chase butterflies. He wished for everything that he could not have.

Then he saw Golyer's Ben sitting on the high seat at the front of the stage, and swinging his long whip over the four toiling horses.

"I want to sit outside with the driver," he whimpered. Then he began to cry, and this annoyed the passengers even more than the tin trumpet had done.

"I want to ride with the driver; I want to ride with the driver," he repeated.

The nurse tried to soothe him. "The driver doesn't want you," she said. "You would be in his way, and he would throw you out into the first gully. Only see how cross he looks."

The child would not be silenced. "I want to ride with the driver!" he screamed. "I want to ride with the driver!"

At the top of a long hill Ben pulled up his team and looked around into the stage.

"What's the matter with that kid?" he growled.

"He is crying to ride with you," was the answer.

"Then why don't you let him? What's the use of making him miserable about such a little thing as that? Just chuck him right up here."

So the little fellow was handed out, much to the satisfaction of the passengers as well as to his own joy. Ben placed him by his side on the driver's box, and buckled a strap to his belt so that he could not fall off. Then the whip cracked, the four horses strained at their traces, and away went the stage, rattling swiftly along the rough and winding road.

Who was happier that afternoon than Little Boy Blue, perched in his high, cozy place by the side of the driver? He looked up into Ben's rough face and then down at the fleeting horses. His weariness was forgotten; his ill temper gave way to sweetness and joy. He clapped his hands and shouted. He blew his tin trumpet and shouted again. And, all the while, Ben kept his eyes on the road and his hands on the reins, and spoke not a word.

Not long before sunset a narrow pass at the foot of a steep hill was reached. Once beyond this pass and it was only a short mile to the way station, which was at the end of Ben's route. The passengers were all rejoicing at the thought of being so near to a safe and quiet resting place, for they would go no farther that day.

Suddenly they were startled by the most dreadful yelling that ever fell upon travelers' ears. A band of Apache Indians leaped out from among the rocks and underbrush. A volley of rifle shots rent the air; the bullets pattered like hail upon the roof of the stage. The women passengers screamed and some fainted. The horses sprang forward and fled, dragging the coach with perilous swiftness through the narrow pass.

At the sound of the first yell, Golyer's Ben threw himself over to the left side of the driver's box so that his body completely covered that of the little boy. As the rifles cracked he bent forward and gave the frightened horses the rein.

Oh, it was fearful race, a wild race with death, over that last mile of the day's journey! Shouts, screams, curses, the whistling of bullets, the rattling of the heavy stage, the furious galloping of the horses, clouds of smoke and dust—and, following in swift pursuit, the bloodthirsty, pitiless foe; imagine, if you can, the terror of those few dreadful moments.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


The way station was reached at last—a little fortified house on the edge of the wilderness. Here were help and safety. The horses galloped into the courtyard and stopped suddenly. The passengers leaped from the stage. Thank God! they were all there and unhurt.

They lifted Little Boy Blue down from his lofty perch. He was as sound as a dollar, and his first words were to inquire for his tin trumpet.

They lifted Golyer's Ben down, too. He was gasping for breath. Three bullet holes in his side, and as many trickling streams of blood, told the story. The life was fast going out of his rough and weather-beaten body. They carried him tenderly into the house and laid him down on the floor.

Then there came into his old gray face a smile such as no one had ever seen there since he was an innocent boy looking into his mother's eyes.

"I reckon I saved the little chap, anyhow," he whispered.

The light faded. The room grew silent. With the smile still upon his face, Ben's rough and troubled life was ended. And little Boy Blue stood weeping beside him.

The Red Skirt

Eldridge Hinkle and his sister Mary were the children of a farmer in New York state. One day in July they took their baskets and went out to pick blackberries.

"Let's go along the railroad, Ellie," said Mary. "There is a big patch of briers just the other side of the cut."

So they walked along the railroad to the "cut" and then worked their way into and around the thicket of briers. It was a great year for blackberries, and their baskets were soon full of ripe, juicy fruit.

"Come, Mary," said Eldridge, "we have gathered enough. Let's go home."

They came out of the thicket and reached the railroad at some distance above the point where they had left it. They had walked but a few steps along the tracks when Eldridge suddenly stopped.

"Oh, Mary, look at that rail!" he cried.

Mary looked. She saw that there was something wrong with the track. One of the rails seemed to have been lifted out of place and it lacked several inches of meeting the one next beyond it.

"What's the matter with it, Ellie?" asked the little girl.

"Why, don't you see? That rail is out of place. Somebody has pried it loose from the ties and lifted it over to this side. Maybe it was careless workmen; maybe it was robbers."


"If a train should come along, it would run off the track and everybody would be killed."

"Oh, dear," sighed Mary; "and it's nearly time for the up-train from Poughkeepsie now. What can we do?"

"I'm sure I don't know," said Eldridge.

He took hold of the loosened rail to try to lift it back to its place; but it was so heavy he could not move it. He looked first one way then the other; but he could not think what to do.

"There it comes now!" cried Mary, and both of them distinctly heard the "toot—toot,toot" of the train at the crossing half a mile away.

"If I only had a red flag, I could stop it," said Eldridge.

"Here, then," said Mary, quickly. "Take my red skirt," and in the twinkling of an eye she had loosened it from her slender waist, stepped out of it, and handed it to her brother.

The train was coming swiftly toward them. Mary quickly dodged behind some bushes and hid herself. Eldridge stood bravely on the track and waved the red skirt. The train, being a light one, was easily checked. It stopped with a thud just as the engine touched the firm end of the misplaced rail.

"God bless you, my boy!" cried the engineer, leaping from his cab.

But Eldridge was already behind the bushes where Mary had concealed herself.

"Quick, Mary, put on your dress," he whispered. "Don't let them see you that way."

When the conductor came up, the children were nowhere to be found. They had taken a roundabout path through the woods pasture and were hurrying homeward.

I have never heard that the owners of that railroad offered a reward to Eldridge and Mary. But the remembrance of the simple but noble act, whereby lives were saved and much suffering and loss prevented, will cheer them as long as they live and bless them far more than any gift of money.

As I write this, I am reminded of a similar incident which occurred in Georgia only a few days ago. Here is the newspaper account of it:—


BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 14.—Madison Jones, 12 years old, discovered that a portion of a 600-foot trestle had been burned near Sparks, Ga., on the Southern Railway, twenty miles from Birmingham, to-day. He left his wagon in the road, and, taking off his red sweater, flagged an approaching passenger train from Birmingham. The train came to a halt, and its hundred passengers upon discovering the situation made up a purse for the boy.

The Bootblack from Ann Street

Several years ago near the corner of Park Row and Beekman Street, New York, there stood a large frame building. It was four or five stories in height. On the ground floor there were several stores; the upper floors were occupied by offices.

Like all the old-fashioned buildings of that time, it contained but one stairway, and there was no fire escape. Elevators had not yet come into use. The only way, therefore, of passing to or from the upper rooms was by means of the rickety wooden stairs. No such building would now be permitted to exist in the city.

One cold day in January the end came to that old structure. A fire broke out, nobody knew exactly where. The stairway was soon filled with smoke and flame. The people in the offices above were cut off—there seemed to be no way for them to escape. Some were burned to death. Some were smothered by the smoke. A few were rescued from the windows by means of ladders.

The Fire Department was not then equipped as it is now. There were no ladders long enough to reach to the topmost floor; and yet there were three men on that floor looking out at a window and calling for help. What could be done to save them? Was there no way of getting them down from their perilous position? If they remained where they were, the flames would soon reach and destroy them. If they leaped to the pavement below, they would surely be crushed to death.

While the firemen were vainly throwing water on the flames, and everybody was wondering what should be done, a little bootblack rushed into the crowd. He saw the men, with hopeless, beseeching faces, standing at the window. He saw, too, what no other person had seen, the only way of saying them.

"Hey there! give me that jimmy!" he cried, and he snatched a wrench from the hands of a mechanic who was standing by. He rushed to a telegraph pole that stood directly across the street from the burning building. In a moment he was "shinning it" up the pole, with the heavy wrench stuck in his belt.

"What's he going to do up there?" inquired the bystanders. Then they noticed for the first time that a wire rope—a stay rope, as it was called—extended from the top of the pole to the roof of the building at a point just above the window where the men were standing. If the rope could be cut from the pole, it would fall right across the window, and the men could slide down it to the ground.

Not a moment was to be lost. The fire was already beginning to take hold of the woodwork beneath the window. The smoke was rolling up in heavy clouds. The wind was blowing a gale. Would the little fellow ever get to the top of the pole? Small though he was, he was agile and strong, and he went up rapidly. When he reached the first crosspiece, the crowd below him gave a great cheer. In another moment he was on the upper crosspiece, his wrench was in his hands, he was hard at work twisting the wire rope from its fastening. The crowd cheered again.

Oh, how well that rope was fastened, and how long it took to loosen it! But at last it fell. It fell just as the boy expected it to fall, and hung straight down in front of the window. The men saw it. They seized it, and one after another slid quickly down to the ground. A few minutes later the whole of the upper floor of the building fell in with a fearful crash.

The little hero who had saved three lives by his quick wit came leisurely down the telegraph pule, returned the wrench to its owner, and again mingled with the crowd. He did not expect to be rewarded. He never thought of thanks. He had only done his duty.

"Where is the boy who cut that wire?" inquired a gentleman who had seen the brave deed.

"Yes, where is he?" inquired others, seeming now to remember that he deserved some reward. "Who is he?"

"Oh, it's Charlie Wright, the little bootblack from Ann Street," said one who knew him.

An agent of the American Humane Society soon afterward found him busy at work in his accustomed place. "Well, Charlie," he said, "you did a brave and noble deed, and our society wishes to thank you for it by giving you a medal."

The story of his exploit was told in London. The English Humane Society wished also to thank him, and it sent him a gold medal inscribed with these words: PRESENTED TO CHARLES WRIGHT, FOR SAVING THREE LIVES.

The Race with the Flood

It was a bright spring morning in May, 1864. There had been much rain in Massachusetts. The ground was soaked with moisture. The streams were full to the brink. But overhead the sky was clear, and the sum shone warm and bright upon the glad earth. The trees were new-clad in their bright spring vesture, the orchards were white with bloom. It was the happiest time of the year.

In the Hampshire hills that morning nearly everybody was out of doors. The softness of the air, the beauty of the landscape, the music of nature, called to young and old to come out and enjoy life at its fullest. The children were loitering on their way to school. The men were in the fields getting ready for the spring planting. The women were busy in their dooryards or in their little flower gardens, here training a budding vine or lifting up a fallen branch, there dropping a seed or transplanting some favorite shrub.

In the Williamsburg valley, life had never seemed sweeter than on that quiet spring morning. But suddenly a nameless thrill passed through the air. The children paused in the middle of the road. The women looked up and listened. The men stopped short in their work and glanced inquiringly first at the river and then at the green hills above them.

"What was that?" each asked the other.

Some thought it was a passing gust of wind among the trees. Some said a rock had been suddenly loosened from its place on the hillside. Others declared that it was only the mountain brooks rushing down, with more than their usual volume, to meet the roaring river.

"The river is wider than I ever saw it before," said the miller, standing in his door; "and it seems to be growing wider every minute."

Then a shouting was heard far up the road, and the sound of galloping hoofs. The river roared louder and louder, and each little brook seemed to be a torrent. Every heart was filled with a feeling of terror. Nearer and nearer came the sound of the galloping horse, and far away, above the roar of the streams, you might have heard the shrieking of women and the wild shouting of men.

And now down the narrow road the horse and his rider comes. The horseman waves his arms wildly and shouts as he rides.

"It is Collins Graves," say the wondering women. Everybody in the valley knows him, plain young farmer as he is; but nobody ever saw him ride as now.

His voice is hoarse with shouting. He points backward, and then upward to the hills. He draws no rein, but urges his panting steed right onward while he shouts,—

"The dam has burst! To the hills! To the hills for your lives!"

He is gone as swiftly as he came, carrying the warning to the farms and villages below. The roar of the great flood is now distinctly heard. With shrieks and shouts, men, women, and children hasten to climb the hills; nor do they reach them a moment too soon.

A mighty wave comes sweeping down the valley like some rearing monster. It carries everything before it. The mill, the bridge, the village, houses, barns, cattle, all are ingulfed and swept away. But, thanks to Collins Graves, the heroic horseman, the children are all safe, high up on the hills, and safe also are the women and the men. Safe, too, is the hero himself, as he checks his steed on high ground at the foot of the valley below which the flood can do no harm.

"Thank God! The brave man's life is spared!

From Williamsburg town he nobly dared

To race with the flood and take the road

In front of the terrible swath it mowed.

For miles it thundered and crashed behind,

But he looked ahead with a steadfast mind;

'They must be warned!' was all he said,

As away on his terrible ride he sped.

"When heroes are called for, bring the crown

To this Yankee rider; send him down

On the stream of time with the Curtius old.

His deed as the Roman's was brave and bold,

And the tale can as noble a thrill awake,

For he offered his life for the people's sake."


Heroic Madelon

On the St. Lawrence River, about twenty miles from Montreal, there is a pleasant French village called Verchères. You will see it as you sail down the river. You will think it very pretty with its small, old-fashioned houses nestling among the trees, its old French windmill, and the white spire of its little church towering above its quiet street and blooming gardens.

Two hundred and twenty years ago there was no village there. A short distance from the river's bank, however, there was a log fort with palisades around it. The palisades were made of the trunks of trees set upright in the ground and so close together that nothing could pass between. They formed, in fact, a wooden wall a foot in thickness and ten or twelve feet high. It was the kind of wall which the early settlers built to protect themselves from the Indians.

In front of the fort, and joined to it by a covered way, was a strong blockhouse built also of logs. There the guns were kept, and the powder and balls.

The commander of this fort, and indeed the owner of it and of all the lands around it, was a French gentleman whose name was M. de Verchères. He had come to this place, in the heart of the wild Canadian woods, to found a new home for himself and his family. Here he lived during the greater part of each year with his wife and his daughter Madelon, aged fourteen years, and his two little sons, Louis and Alexander. There were also in the household several servants; and two soldiers had been brought from Quebec to man the fort.

One day, in early autumn, M. de Verchères was called to Quebec on business. His wife was visiting friends in Montreal. The young girl Madelon was left at home with her little brothers and the servants.

"Madelon," said her father, "I leave everything in your care. Keep the fort well while I am gone."

"You may trust me, father," said the child. "But what if the Iroquois should come?"

"Nonsense, Madelon. The Iroquois will not dare to show themselves this side of Montreal. Still it will be well for you to be watchful."

"And watchful I will be, father. Good-by till your return."

The boat pushed out into the stream, and Madelon was left sole mistress of the lonely fort in the midst of the savage wilderness.

A week, two weeks, three weeks, passed by, and all went as happily as when the master was at home. The days were growing shorter, the nights were chilly with now and then a white frost, the leaves were falling from the trees. The men were all busy getting ready for winter,—hauling in the hay, cutting wood, and putting things in order against the coming of the deep snows. Scarcely a thought was given to the Iroquois, although it was known that they were on the warpath.

One day Madelon, as was her habit, went down to the landing place by the river. It was not more than a hundred yards from the gate of the fort. A hired man whose name was Laviolette had just come to shore with a string of fish. All the rest of the men, except the soldiers and a grandfather of eighty, were at work in a field behind the fort.

As Madelon was admiring the fish the sharp crack of guns was heard in the field.

"The Iroquois!" she cried.

"Yes, yes! Run, Mademoiselle," shouted Laviolette.

She was not a moment too quick. As she ran she saw a number of painted warriors hurrying to get between her and the fort. But she was a fleet-footed as a deer and had the start of them all. The Indians shot at her. The bullets whizzed close by her ears. How long that hundred yards seemed!

Madeline de Vercheres


"To arms! To arms!" she screamed to those in the fort, hoping that the soldiers would come out and help.

But it was of no use. The two fellows were so badly frightened that they had run and hidden themselves in the blockhouse.

Two women met Madelon at the gate, crying, "Oh, what shall we do? What shall we do? They've killed all the men, and we are lost!"

"Go back into the fort, you sillies," said Madelon, angrily and out of breath. She pushed them back with her hands. Then she shut the heavy gate and bolted it.

All was confusion inside. The women and children were running hither and thither and screaming with all their might. The old grandfather crouched trembling in a corner. All seemed to have lost their senses.

"Here, Alexander! Here, Louis! Follow me," cried Madelon. On one side of the fort several of the palisades had been blown down by a wind. There were gaps in the wall through which an enemy could shoot, even if the could not enter.

"Come, every one of you, and help close up these gaps," said Madelon.

With her own hands she helped to raise the heavy logs to their places. She told the old man and the boys how to make them firm. "Be quick and do your work well," she said. Laviolette soon joined her, and the weak places were quickly mended.

The women were still screaming and weeping and running wildly about. Madelon stopped to quiet them.

"Hush your noise this moment, or we shall all be lost," she said. "Will your crying and moaning do any good? Hush, I command you."

She spoke so firmly that every one obeyed. She ordered each of the women to some place of duty. One was to care for the children in the kitchen, one was to watch from this corner of the fort, one was to stand guard at that.

Having thus put matters to rights in the main building she ran to the blockhouse. There she found Pierre and Jean, the two soldiers. Pierre was hiding behind some barrels in a corner. Jean was holding alighted match in his hand.

"What are you going to do with that match?" asked Madelon.

"Light the powder and blow us all up," answered Jean, trembling from head to foot.

"You miserable coward! Get out of here this instant." She spoke so firmly that the wretched fellow obeyed at once.

Madelon threw off her bonnet. She put a man's hat on her head. She took a gun in her hands. She called her brothers to the blockhouse.

"Here, Louis! Here, Alexander!" she said. "You are but children ten and twelve years of age, but you can be brave. Let us fight to the death. Remember what our father has taught you, that a gentleman is born to shed his blood in the service of God and the king."

With that the two lads seized some guns and began to fire from the loopholes.

The Indians had gathered at some distance from the gate, and were afraid to come within closer range of the rifles. The firing was so sharp that they withdrew still farther away.

The two soldiers, grown ashamed of their cowardice, came back and began also to shoot from the loopholes.

There was a single small cannon in the blockhouse. Madelon ordered it to be fired.

"But we cannot bring it in range of the Indians," said Pierre.

"Fire it in any case," she said. "It will make them more afraid of us. It will also be a warning to any of our friends who may be within hearing distance."

About the middle of the afternoon a canoe was seen coming toward the landing place.

"It is Fontaine, the settler whose hut is a mile below us," said little Louis.

"Yes," said Madelon, "and I see his wife and children with him. They are coming to the fort to find safety from the Iroquois."

"But they will never get here," said Laviolette. "The moment they touch the landing, the savages will be upon them."

"We must save them," said Madelon. "I myself will go out and meet them."

It was no use to dissuade the girl. She was the commander in that fort, and everybody knew it. She thought not of her own safety but of the welfare of others.

She ordered Laviolette to open the gate and stand by it until she returned. Then she walked boldly out in full view of the savages. They supposed that it was a trick to draw them nearer to the fort, where they would be within range of the guns. They were afraid, therefore, to make any movement toward her.

She went fearlessly down to the landing just as Fontaine's canoe was coming in. the family were safely brought to shore. In a few words, Madelon told them of their danger. She made them march in good order before her, showing no signs of fear. The Indians looked on and kept their distance. They might easily have captured or killed the whole party, but they were afraid of falling into some kind of trap.

Night came on and with it a storm of hail and snow. The wind blew fiercely. It was just such a night as the savages would wish for their work of destruction and slaughter.

But Madelon was undismayed. She called her garrison before her. There were six of them.

"God has saved us from our enemies to-day," she said; "but we must take care not to fall into their hands to-night. As for me, I am not afraid."

Then she sent each one to his post. She ordered Fontaine and the two soldiers to keep the blockhouse. "Take the women and children there, for that is the safest place. No matter what may happen to me, don't surrender. The savages cannot get to you in the blockhouse."

Then with Laviolette, the old grandfather, and her little brothers, she undertook the defense of the rest of the fort. Laviolette guarded the gate, while each of the others stood sentinel at some other allotted post.

All night long, through the snow and the hail and the wind, the cry of "All's well!" rang out from each corner of the fort and was answered by "All's well!" from the blockhouse. The Indians heard and thought that the place was full of soldiers. They hold a council, and decided that it would be unwise to try to surprise a place that was so well guarded.

It was some time after midnight when the watcher at the gate called softly to Madelon, "Mademoiselle, I hear something outside."

She went and peered through a hole in the wall. In the darkness she saw what she felt sure were cattle huddling close up to the gate while the snow was beating down upon them.

"I think they are our cows," she said, "or at least such of them as the Iroquois have not stolen. Poor things, they are needing shelter this fearful night."

"Let us open the gate and call them in," said Laviolette.

"God forbid," said Madelon. "The savages are good at tricks. Who knows that they are not among these cattle, wrapped up in skins and ready to rush into the fort as soon as the gate is opened?"

for some time everything was quiet. Then it was decided to open the gate a little and let the cattle slip in, one at a time. They entered very quietly, while Louis and Alexander stood on each side with their guns cocked and ready for any event.

At last the long night was ended. Morning came, and everybody felt braver and stronger. But all day long the watch was kept up in fort and blockhouse; and all day long brave Madelon went hither and thither, commanding, encouraging, directing. Who could be afraid in the presence of her cheerful and smiling face? There was not one of her little company who would not have died for her.

For forty-eight hours she neither ate nor slept. For a whole week the savages lurked within sight of the fort. Courage and watchfulness were necessary every hour.

At last help came at night. A young lieutenant with forty soldiers landed silently and went cautiously toward the fort, fearing that it was in the hands of the Indians. One of the sentinels heard them.

"Who goes there?" he cried.

Madelon was sitting at a table, asleep with her gun across her arms. The words aroused her.

"Mademoiselle," said the sentinel, "I heard a voice at the landing."

Then Madelon herself, in louder tones, demanded, "Who goes there?"

"We are Frenchmen," was the answer, "and we bring you help."

Madelon hastened to the gate. When she saw the Lieutenant at the head of his company, she said, "Monsieur, I surrender my arms to you."

The lieutenant answered, "Mademoiselle, they are already in good hands."

"Better than you think," said the brave child.

The men entered the fort and looked around. Everything was in its place. The sentinels were at their posts.

"Monsieur," said Madelon, "these watchers have been on guard every hour for a week. Is it not time to relieve them?"

The Heroine of Fort Henry

Betty Zane was a girl just out of school when she went with her parents to live in the Ohio country. Her father was a restless, daring man, fond of the woods and afraid of no danger. The new home which he had chosen for his family was at the place where the city of Wheeling has since grown up. It was near the bank of the Ohio River and in the heart of the great western wilderness.

Going by way of Pittsburg, the Zanes floated down the river on a rude flatboat. Some of their old neighbors were with them, intent like themselves, to find a new home in the wild, unsettled West. All were full of courage and hope, for all felt as though they were entering a strange new world where life was to be very different from what it had been before.

Betty Zane's eyes were full of wonder when the company landed. The only building that she saw was a square fort with high palisades of logs on every side of it. It stood in the midst of a clearing, a little way from the river. It was entered by a gate on the east side, and at each of its four corners there was a strong blockhouse with loopholes for the guns. Inside of the inclosure there were small cabins for the women and children, a storehouse, a well, stables for the horses, and sheds for the cattle.

"Well, how do you like ti, my dear?' asked Mr. Zane.

"I think it is very odd," said Betty, "but I shall like it better and better every day."

And so she did. Life at Fort Henry, as the place was called, was no play day. Everybody was busy. The men were at work outside, enlarging the clearing, chopping and burning logs, planting corn and beans, planning for the comfort of their families. Some of them went hunting, to provide meat for the fort; but game was so plentiful that they did not need to go far. Inside the fort, the women and girls were doing a thousand things, cooking and washing, sewing and mending, spinning and weaving. It was not a place in which to feel lonesome.

Yet as to the fort itself, no place could be more lonely. On every side of the clearing the thick woods lay. North, south, east, west, for miles and miles, there seemed to be nothing else. Under the trees the startled deer ran swiftly, the squirrels played among the branches, and at night Betty could hear the wolves howling in the thickets. Now and then some Indians would stroll that way to see what the white men were doing and to smoke the pipe of peace with them.

Soon other families came to Fort Henry, and half a dozen cabins were built in the clearing for them to live in. Indeed, quite a little village sprang up, with a street leading through it straight from the gate of the fort.

"If the Indians ever take the warpath," were the orders, "then every person must hasten inside."

Just then the Revolutionary War began. The battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill were fought. The news of these battles was carried quickly even to the wild Ohio country on the other side of the mountains.

General Hamilton, who was then the lieutenant governor of Canada, was charged with the task of persuading the Indians to help the British. It was easy for him to do this. The red men did not like the Americans to come into their hunting grounds and build forts and make clearings. They were therefore quite ready to join the British and make war upon them. And so, band after band of painted savages were sent skulking through the woods to attack and destroy the settlements along the Ohio.

"I will pay a good price for the scalp of every settler that you bring me," said Hamilton; and this made the savages al the more eager to burn and kill.

It was early in autumn. The woods were just beginning to put on their wonderful colorings of purple and gold. The air was calm and mild. The sun shone gently everyday through a soft mist, giving to the landscape a dreamy, peaceful appearance, such as prevails in the West during what is known as Indian summer.

One morning a messenger came in great haste to Fort Henry. He was from the settlements in Kentucky, and he brought important news.

"Simon Girty, with five hundred painted Indians, is coming up the river," he said. "The savages are traveling fast; they may be here at any hour."

Instantly all was alarm and bustle. The settlers in the village hurried into the fort, taking with them everything they could carry. The cattle also were driven in. The palisade was strengthened. The blockhouses were overhauled. Everything was made ready for a siege.

A little while later, a sentinel on the west side of the fort gave the alarm. Betty Zane, peeping out through a narrow crack in the wall, could see the savages approaching. They came, skulking silently through the woods, dodging behind trees, hiding beneath the underbrush. Soon the forest seemed to be alive with them. The men in the blockhouses began to fire upon them; but they still kept silent, creeping around to the shelter of the cabins in the village.

Then Girty, the leader of the band, came boldly forward, waving a dirty white flag above his head. Betty Zane saw him standing at the window of one of the cabins and calling out that he wished to say something. He was a white man. His hair was long, his face was covered with a rough beard, and he wore an old red coat that had once belonged to a British officer.

All the settlers knew Simon Girty. He had lived with the Indians since childhood. He hated all white people, and especially the settlers in the Ohio country. He was more cruel, more treacherous, more savage, than any Indian.

As soon as the men in the fort saw the white flag, they stopped firing. Then Girty began to read a paper, which he said was from General Hamilton.

"If you will lay down your arms and surrender," said the paper, "no harm shall come to you. You may go back in safety to your old homes on the other side of the mountains. But if you will not do this, your fort will be attacked and destroyed, and every man, woman, and child will be put to death."

"Now, what do you mean to do?" asked Girty. "If you are wise, you will surrender at once."

Colonel Shepherd, the commander of the fort, answered him.

"We all know you, Girty," he said. "Never will we surrender to such a rascal. Never shall you get into this fort so long as there is one person alive to defend it."

The people in the fort shouted, "That's true, Colonel Shepherd!" and clapped their hands in approval. A young man in one of the blockhouses fired at Girty, and caused him to dodge quickly back into the cabin.

Then the fighting began in earnest. The yells of the Indians were dreadful to hear. From behind bushes, rocks, and trees, they fired into the fort. The men in the blockhouses fired back, but only when some careless redskin showed himself within range of their deadly bullets. Many of the Indians were killed, while not a single white man was touched.

After an hour's fighting of this kind, the firing stopped and the savages ran, pell-mell, back into the woods.

"The cowards have given up the fight," cried one of the young men.

"Not at all," said Colonel Shepherd, who knew them better. "They have not gone far, and they'll be back when we least expect them. This is one of their tricks."

Then he went from one blockhouse to another to tell the men what to do.

"How much powder have we?" he asked.

They looked and were dismayed to find that there was but very little in the fort. The hunters had been careless and had used more than belonged to them.

Then one remembered that he had a little keg of powder in his cabin in the village. "It has never been opened," he said, "and if we only had it now, it would supply all our needs."

"But why did you leave the powder in your cabin? Why didn't you bring it into the fort?" asked the colonel.

"May it please you, sir," was the answer, "I was in such haste that I forgot everything."

"Then," said the colonel, "it is for you to go to the cabin and bring the powder to the fort now."

"It is certain death, Colonel," answered the man.

All knew that the spoke the truth. Although not an Indian was in sight, yet it was felt that every place was closely watched. The cabin where the powder was hidden was sixty yards from the gate of the fort. Before a man could reach it a dozen Indian guns would be leveled at him.

Colonel Shepherd understood this well, but he knew that the lives of all in the fort depended upon getting that powder.

"Who will volunteer to go after it?" he asked.

The men looked at one another and grew pale, but no one answered.

Then the colonel explained that as soon as the little powder which was then in the blockhouses was used up, they would all be at the mercy of the savages. But if they could secure the keg that had been left in the cabin, they might still win the day.

"Will no one volunteer?" he asked again.

Three or four boys and young men answered, "Yes. We will go."

"But I cannot spare so many of you," said the colonel. "There are not more than twenty of us, all told, and to lose three or four would be almost as bad as to lose the powder. Only one can go. Who will it be?"

"I!" "I!" "I!" cried each of the young men.

"I will go," said one.

"No, you won't. I spoke first, and I will go," said another.

Thus they began to dispute; and the time was passing. Even now, a few Indians could be seen skulking back among the trees. Soon it would be too late to make the attempt.

Then it was that Betty Zane came forward.

"Let me go," she said. "I am of no use here in the fort. I cannot fight, but I can bring the powder."

"There is great danger," said Colonel Shepherd. "It would be at the risk of your life."

"Yes," said the young men; "and it is for us to protect the women and children from harm. We cannot allow you to go. What if you should be killed?"

"That is the very question," said Betty. "If I should be killed it would be but a small loss, for I am useless here. But if one of you should be killed, the fort would lose a protector. Let me go! I must go."

Betty's father then came forward. "I guess you'd better let her go, Colonel," he said.

It was not time to parley, every moment was precious. Colonel Shepherd saw that the child was determined. "Open the gate, boys," he said.

The gate was opened a very little. Betty pushed through it and ran like a frightened deer toward the cabin. Some Indians who were sneaking about the village saw her. They stopped and looked at her curiously, but did not shoot. Perhaps they were so surprised at the sight that they did not think of their guns. Perhaps they, too, were short of powder and did not wish to waste it on a mere girl. Perhaps they thought it a trick to draw them into some kind of trap or ambush.

At any rate, Betty reached the cabin and found the precious keg of powder. It was not large. She wrapped her apron around it, and holding it close with both arms, started back to the fort.

As she ran, some other Indians saw her. They leveled their guns and fired. The bullets whistled about her ears, but she ran all the faster. Before the Indians could reload, she was inside of the fort and the gate was closed. All the men and boys shouted as they saw her safe, with the keg of powder in her arms.

"My brave girl!" cried her father. He had not time to say more, for there was a great yelling outside and the Indians were seen rushing in a body upon the fort.

The men in the blockhouses were calm and cool. Every shot that they fired counted. The ground was soon strewn with dead and wounded savages. Their companions were obliged to retreat again into the woods.

All that day and all night, the Indians made attack after attack upon the fort. But colonel Shepherd and his handful of men were always on the alert and could not be taken by surprise. Early the next morning a band of about forty hunters and settlers, all well armed, came cautiously toward the fort from the east. They kept out of sight of the Indians, but made signals to the people in the fort.

Colonel Shepherd saw the signals and answered them. Then the hunters and settlers made a swift rush toward the fort. The gate was opened just in the nick of time, and the forty men hastened in. all this was done so quickly and silently that the Indians were taken entirely by surprise. They were discouraged.

"We can never take this fort," they said to Girty. "We shall try no longer, for we should lose everything and gain nothing. We are going back to our own wigwams and our own hunting grounds."

Simon Girty knew that it was useless to argue with them. So he caused the village to be burned, and then returned into the woods with his savage host. Before another day all were many miles on their way toward their homes in the Northwest.

When Colonel Shepherd was asked, "Who saved the day at Fort Henry?" his answer was, "Betty Zane. God bless her!"

Thomas Hovenden—Artist

Perhaps somewhere you have seen the painting, or if not the painting an engraved copy of it, entitled "A Breton Interior of 1793." It is the picture of a humble room in a humble cottage in northern France in the time of the French Revolution. The family within are all busily occupied, preparing for defense against some unseen foe. Some are molding bullets, some are sharpening old swords, some are furbishing other neglected weapons of war. It is a strong picture, eloquent with expression, and you will wish to study it long. Look at the engraved copy closely, and perhaps you can make out the artist's name in the corner—Thomas Hovenden.

There are other famous pictures, also, that were painted by Hovenden. One bears the name of Tennyson's lovely heroine, "Elaine," and one is called "The Two Lilies." But perhaps the most beautiful and touching of all is the picture entitled, "Breaking the Home Ties." This painting was much admired at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and it has often been copied. Look at the small engraved copy on the opposite page, and read the story which it tells.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


Hovenden was an American artist, although his birthplace was in Ireland. He had studied under the best masters, both in this country and in Paris. After years of effort and of faithful endeavor, fame and fortune seemed to be within his grasp; a life's ambition was almost realized.

One afternoon in August, 1895, he left his country home near Norristown, intending to ride by trolley to the railroad station where he would take the evening train for Philadelphia. At the outskirts of the town the passengers were required to alight from the first rrolley car, cross the railroad tracks, and take another car on the opposite side.

Thomas Hovenden was one of the last to step out of the trolley car, and as he did so he heard the roar of a fast-freight train coming with great speed down the tracks in front of him. At the same time, to his great horror, he saw a little girl, who had been on the trolley, run forward to cross the railroad. The child had not noticed the approaching train, and was intent only upon reaching the second trolley car on the farther side of the tracks.

The engineer whistled. The child looked up and saw the great engine bearing down upon her. She was paralyzed with fear. She stood motionless between the tracks.

Then it was that Thomas Hovenden, fifty-five year of age, did the heroic deed of his life. Quicker than thought, he leaped forward and seized the child. Another second for another leap, and both of them would have been in safety. But, alas, the monster engine was too quick for him. It struck him as he was almost across. Artist and child were hurled far to the side of the road. They lay there in the dust, side by side, and quite motionless.

Gentle hands hastened to lift them up. But Thomas Hovenden, artist, hero, was dead. The child for whom he had given his life was unconscious. They lifted her from the ground; they carried her lovingly to a neighboring house; but before the sun went down that day, she too, had ceased to breathe. Shall we believe that Thomas Hovenden's golden deed was a failure? Far nobler is it to die in the attempt to save another's life than to live as a selfish coward afraid to perform one's duty to humanity. This last act of Thomas Hovenden proved him to be a hero of the noblest type; it crowned with the highest honor his already successful life.

"Are You There, My Lad?"

Here is an old and oft-told story, but it is well worthy of repetition.

John Maynard was a pilot on board of one of the largest steamers on the Great Lakes. Time after time he had guided the monster vessel safely from port to port. He knew all the landmarks and lights; he knew the best channels; even in the most terrific storms he never lost his reckoning.

Whether the water was rough or smooth, whether the air was calm, or whether the wind blew fiercely, he was always at this post. The lives of hundreds of men, women, and children depended upon his watchfulness and care. And yet, how few of the passengers in the comfortable cabin, or in their cozy berths at night, ever gave one thought to the pilot in his lonely watch-tower above them!

The steamer was making its one hundred and twentieth trip between two busy ports on Lake Erie. It was midsummer, and the weather was fair. The passengers had had a delightful day, and no one dreamed of disaster. At midnight all on board were asleep, save the faithful pilot, the engineer, and those of the crew who were on duty.

"I think we shall have rain before morning," said John Maynard. For, indeed, the sky was no longer clear. Dark clouds were rolling up from the west, and only now and then could a star be seen peeping through the gathering mists. The nearest shore was miles away, and not a light was in sight. There was no sound save the dull thud of the great engine and the regular splashing of the paddle wheels in the water.

But what was that? John Maynard, with his hand on the wheel, listened intently. It was the cry of "Fire!" far down in the hold. In a moment there was a great stir on board. The captain rushed out upon the deck, giving hurried orders to his men. The passengers, awakened from their sleep, ran hither and thither in wild confusion.

Then dense clouds of smoke poured forth, wrapping the vessel as in a cloak of darkness. From the portholes below, red tongues of flame began to shoot out. Women and children, and even strong men, were overcome with terror. John Maynard stood at the wheel, steering the vessel steadily shoreward.

"Pilot, how far are we from land?"

"It is a matter of three miles, perhaps," was the answer.

The forward part of the vessel had been the first to take fire. The flames were slowly eating their way backward. Twice the roof of the pilot house had been ablaze, and twice the crew had saved it by turning the hose upon it. But now the hose had burst, the flames had increased, and there seemed to be no hope.

"Are you there, my lad?" called the captain.

"Ay, ay, sir!" was the quick answer.

"Can you hold on till we reach land?"

"I'll try, sir!"

Through perilous waters the blazing ship sped swiftly toward the land. And John Maynard, amid smoke and flames, still held the wheel.

The captain had ordered the lifeboats to be launched. But they had lain so long in the dry midsummer air that their seams had opened and they would not float. And now the terror of the passengers was greater than before. Some fainted Upon the deck, some tried to cast themselves overboard; all were hopeless.

"Listen!" cried the captain. "In two minutes we shall reach land. If our pilot can hold out, the boat will be beached and all will be saved."

But now the pilot house appeared to be wrapped in a sheet of flame.

"Are you there, my lad?" again called the captain.

"Ay, ay, sir!" feebly answered the pilot.

"Can you hold out one minute longer?"

"With—God's—help," was the gasping reply.

The boat was at the beach. Her bottom was grazing the sand. Soon the passengers and crew were safe on dry land.

Where is the pilot?" cried one.

The pilot house was all ablaze. The pilot's hand was still upon the wheel; but the life had fled from his heroic body.

When the roll of the world's heroes is called, shall any name of warrior or of king stand higher than that of John Maynard?

"Are you there, my lad?"

"Ay, ay, sir!"

A Hero of Valley Forge

It was winter at Valley Forge. Indeed, it was that famous and dreadful winter when Washington and his little army of patriots were encamped there. Half-clad, half-fed, chilled by the raw, cold winds, is it not a wonder that these brave men did not lose all hope and disperse to their homes? Every one of them performed a golden deed when he kept up his courage and stuck to his post and thus did his part towards keeping the American army together. But the hero of whom I shall tell you was not a soldier; he did not even believe it right to fight.

One day a Tory, who was well known in the neighborhood, was captured and brought into the camp. His name was Michael Wittman, and he was accused of having carried aid and information to the British in Philadelphia. He was taken to West Chester and there tried by court-martial. It was proved that he was a very dangerous man and that he had more than once attempted to do great harm to the American army. He was pronounced guilty of being a spy and sentenced to be hanged.

One the evening of the day before that set for the execution, a strange old man appeared in Valle Forge. He was a small man with long, snow-white hair falling over his shoulders. His face, although full of kindliness, was sad-looking and thoughtful. His eyes, which were bright and sharp, were upon the ground and lifted only when he was speaking.

Many of the soldiers seemed to know him, for they greeted him kindly as he passed.

"Who is that old fellow?" asked a young sergeant from Virginia.

"Why, he is one of our best friends," was the answer. "He lives at the Dunker settlement, over near Lancaster, and many are the wounded soldiers that he has nursed and brought to life. He has a hospital there of his own, and if I were hurt or sick I shouldn't want any better place to go. He doesn't believe in fighting, but he surely believes in helping the fighters."

"Yes," said another soldier, "but the worst of it is that he would just as lieve nurse a sick Britisher as a sick American. All are the same to him."

Then, one after another, the soldiers began to give the old man's history.

His name was Peter Miller.

He was the finest scholar in the thirteen colonies. He had translated the Declaration of Independence into seven European languages, and the Continental Congress had sent copies of these translations into every country where they could be read.

He had charge of a printing press in the Dunker settlement.

He had translated into English a wonderful German book and had printed it upon his own press. The book was a huge thing, so large and heavy that a man would not wish to carry more than one volume at a time. And what do you think it was about?

It was entitled "The Martyrs' Mirror," and was mostly about the cruelties of war. Its object was to show that all fightings are wrong and unnecessary.

To translate it and print it was the work of three years, and it is said that during all that time Peter Miller never slept more than four hours a night.

"I think I have seen that wonderful book," said a soldier. "I think I rammed a part of it down my musket when I loaded it yesterday."

"That is very likely," said another. "About a week ago, six of us drove over to the settlement in two wagons, and brought back all the "Martyrs' Mirrors" we could find. The paper makes fine wads for the muskets, and you know that we have almost nothing else that can be used."

In the meanwhile, Peter Miller, with bowed head, had made his way to the door of Washington's headquarters.

His name was announced.

"Peter Miller?" said Washington. "Certainly. Show him in, at once."

The old man went in, scarcely raising his eyes to meet the welcoming and inquiring look of the general.

"General Washington, I have come to ask a great favor of you," he said, in his usual kindly tones.

"I shall be glad to grant you almost anything," said Washington; "for we surely are indebted to you for many favors. Tell me what it is."

"I hear," said Peter, "that Michael Wittman has been found guilty of treason and that he is to be hanged at Turk's Head to-morrow. I have come to ask you to pardon him."

Washington started back, and a cloud came over his face. "That is impossible," he said. "Wittman is a bad man. He has done all in his power to betray us. He has even offered to join the British and aid them in destroying us. In these times we date not be lenient with traitors; and for that reason, I am sorry that I cannot pardon your friend."

"Friend!" cried Peter. "Why, he is no friend of mine. He is my bitterest enemy. He has persecuted me for years. He has even beaten my and spit in my face, knowing full well that I would not strike back. Michael Wittman is no friend of mine."

Washington was puzzled. "And still you wish me to pardon him?" he asked.

"I do," answered Peter. "I ask it of you as a great personal favor."

"Tell me," said Washington, with hesitating voice, "why is it that you thus ask the pardon of your worst enemy?"

"I ask it because Jesus did as much for me," was the old man's brief answer.

Washington turned away and went into another room. Soon he returned with a paper on which was written the pardon of Michael Wittman.

"My dear friend," he said, as he placed it in the old man's hands, "I thank you for this example of Christian charity."

It was a matter of fifteen miles, by the shortest road, from Valley Forge to West Chester which was then known as Turk's Head; and the road at that time was almost impassable. The evening was already far gone, and Michael Wittman was to be hanged at sunrise in the morning. How was the pardon to reach him in time to save his life?

The matter was so important that Peter would not intrust its management to any other person. With the pardon safely folded in his pocket he set out on foot for Turk's Head. All night long, through snow and slush and along unbeaten paths, he toiled. In the darkness he lost his way, and wandered far from the road. When day broke, he was not yet at the end of his journey.

Old and feeble though he was, he began to run. From the top of a little hill a welcome sight appeared. The straggling village of Turk's Head was just before him, and the sun had not yet risen. He saw a commotion in the street; men were hurrying toward the village green; a body of soldiers was already there, drawn up in order beneath a tree.

Summoning all his strength, Peter ran on and soon entered the village. Close to the tree stood Michael Wittman with his hands tied behind him. A strong rope was dangling from one of the branches.

In another minute the sun would begin to peep over the snow-clad hills. An officer had already given orders to place the rope around the traitor's neck. Peter Miller, still running, shouted with all his might.

The officer heard and paused. The crowd looked around and wondered. Panting and out of breath, Peter came up, waving the paper in his hand.

"A pardon! A pardon!" he cried. "A pardon from General Washington!"

The officer took the paper and read it aloud.

"Unbind the prisoner and let him go," he commanded.

Peter Miller had saved the life of his enemy, perhaps of his only enemy. Michael Wittman, with his head bowed upon his breast, went forth a free man and a changed man. The power of Christian charity had rescued him from a shameful death, and the cause of patriotism need have no further fears of being harmed by him.

The Wilderness Preacher

"A letter for me, did you say?"

The speaker was a slender, unassuming man, far past middle age. He was dressed in the homespun garb then common in Kentucky, and the threadbare elbows of his coat showed that his present suit had done long and faithful duty. His hair, which was almost white, was combed straight down over his ears. His blue eyes were full of kindliness. His voice was soft and pleasant to hear.

"A letter for me, did you say?"

"Well, I reckon it's for you," answered the backwoodsman, who had brought it. "They say that your name's on the back of it. That's as much as I know about it."

The old man took the letter and read the superscription:

"To David Elkin, Kentucky"

"Yes, that is my name," he said; and he opened the missive. It was merely a sheet of paper, folded, with the ends tucked under. It had neither envelope nor stamp, for envelopes and stamps had not then come into use. It contained no postmark, for postoffices were few in the western country, and it had been carried by private hands and the hands of friends. The place from which it had come was not more than a hundred and fifty miles distant, and yet it had traveled by a roundabout way, and had been on the road for weeks.

David Elkin smoothed the crumpled sheet with his hands and held it up to the light to make out the signature. The writing was in a plain, delicate hand, and had been done with a quill pen and pale home-make ink. We do not know the exact words which that letter contained. But David Elkin's eyes filled with tears as he read them. Let us suppose that they were these:—

"DEAR FRIEND,—I take my pen to let you know that mother is dead. She was buried yesterday. But oh, Mr. Elkin, there is no preacher anywhere in this country, and we could not have any religious services. Our sorrow is too great to bear. Won't you please come soon and preach her funeral sermon? I do not know where you are, but I hope this will reach you somewhere in Kentucky, and that you will come.

                     "Your young friend,

        "Little Pigeon Creek, Indiana, 1818."

David Elkin read the letter over and over, His hand trembled. His lips quivered.

"Where did you get this letter, Isaac?" he asked.

"Well," answered the backwoodsman, "I was up in Harrodsburg last week and a man asked me, 'Is there anybody down your way by the name of David Elkin?' I stopped to think a minute. Then I told him that there was a preacher going through this section that folds called Brother Elkin, and that perhaps his name was David, but I wasn't sure. Then he said that he had a letter for David Elkin, and wouldn't I carry it to you? He said he guessed it had been all over Kentucky, carried from hand to hand, and passed from this place to that. I told him I'd try to find you and give it to you; and that's what brought me here."

"And I thank you very much," said David.

"It is from the son of some dear friends of mine who used to live in the Knob-Creek settlement. They moved to Indiana about two years ago, and this letter tells me that the mother is dead;" and he covered his face and sobbed aloud.

The next day the good preacher began to make ready for a journey to Indiana. "Little Abe wants me to preach her funeral sermon," he said, "and if God gives me strength, I will do it."

He borrowed an old horse. In his saddlebags he packed a shirt, a loaf of bread, a hymn book, and a Bible. Then he mounted, and rode slowly away through the wilderness.

The streams were swollen with recent rains, and, as there were no bridges, he was often obliged to leave the road and ride far around to some safe fording place. Sometimes he stopped at a settler's cabin for a bit of food or a night's lodging. Everybody was glad to entertain him, for in that early day hospitality to strangers was the first rule of life.

The roads grew worse. In some places there was not so much as a bridle path through the forest. Night sometimes fell while the lone traveler was far from any dwelling. Then he tethered his horse to a tree, built a fire of sticks and brush, and sat down by it to wait for the morning. At such times the howling of wolves and the screeching of panthers echoed around him; stealthy steps were heard among the dead leaves; bright, savage eyes gleamed in the darkness. What could an unarmed man do in the midst of so many perils? David Elkin trusted in God.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


At length he reached the Ohio River and was rowed across to the Indiana shore. Another day's journey brought him to Pigeon Creek and the home of the Lincolns. Imagine the joy of that sorrowing family, and, especially, of the nine-year-old lad whose letter had been the means of bringing him.

In sparsely settled districts news travels much faster than you would suppose. It seems almost to fly by a kind of wireless telegraphy from one lonely cabin to another. In a very brief time the settlers for miles around knew that a preacher had arrived among them, and that on Sunday morning he would preach a funeral sermon at the grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

Sunday morning came, and with it the greatest gathering of neighbors that had ever been known in that section. Some came so far that they had to start from home at daybreak. They came afoot, on horseback, and in wagons. All sorts and conditions of backwoods settlers were there. Everybody was eager to hear what the preacher would say.

At a little before noon the services began. David Elkin, his kind face clouded with grief, stood at the head of the grave. Mr. Lincoln and his two children sat quite near him. The visitors and friends were grouped around them. The preacher opened his hymn book—there was not another at the meeting. He turned to the hymn he had selected, and read it, two lines at a time. At the end of each reading, the women and girls joined him in singing the lines he had pronounced. To the rude settlers, unaccustomed to better things, this singing was most delightful, impressive, and inspiring.

A brief prayer followed the hymn, and then David Elkin began his sermon. We do not know what his text was. We do not know what were the words he spoke. But we may well surmise the substance of his discourse: the nobility, the gentleness, the loving self-sacrifice of the poor woman in whose honor they had met together. To Abraham Lincoln it was doubtless fraught with inspiration, urging him then and thereafter to a noble, manly life. "My angel mother!" he afterward cried, "all that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to her."

The sermon over, there was another prayer, another hymn was sung, and then the benediction was pronounced. The settlers tarried under the trees, to greet the minister and one another, to talk about the sermon, to exchange the gossip of the different neighborhoods. When at last they separated and each took his homeward way, there were but few who had not been made wiser and gentler and more thoughtful than they had ever been before.

David Elkin did not remain long with the Lincolns. A day or two later he saddled his horse, mounted, and turned his face toward Kentucky.

"Good-by, Abraham, and may God bless you."

He shook the hand that was offered him, rode down the woodland path into the great forest—and we hear no word of him again.

A Patriotic Quakeress

In the winter of 1777-78 the city of Philadelphia was occupied by a British army. Red-coated soldiers paraded the streets and guarded the entrances to the town. Fine officers in gorgeous uniforms took possession of the best houses and lived there in luxury without asking leave of the owners.

Outside of the city, at White Marsh and at Valley Forge, the American troops were encamped. Half-clothed, half-fed, shivering and suffering by their camp fires, they yet hold out bravely against their foes so comfortably housed and so bountifully fed in the city. Many people in Philadelphia would have been glad to send aid to their patriot friends, but their movements were too closely guarded and they were forced much against their will to lend assistance to their enemies.

Among these people there was a Quaker named William Darrah, a school-teacher, quiet in manners and harmless in thought and deed. He lived with his wife Lydia in a long, low building on South Second Street, which served both as a residence and as a schoolhouse. One of the larger rooms at the back of the building had been taken possession of by the British and was used by General Howe and his officers as a kind of secret meeting place. Here they held their councils of war, and here they decided whatever questions might arise relative to the movements of the soldiers in the city. As no word of complaint or unfriendliness had ever been heard from the Darrah family, it was supposed that they had only the kindliest feelings toward the intruders.

One evening in December the British adjutant general, dressed in his red coat with brass buttons and lace ruffles, knocked at the door of the Darrahs. The knock was answered by Lydia herself, a plain little Quakeress in the plain but pretty garb peculiar to her people.

"Is Mrs. Darrah at home?" asked the adjutant.

"Not Mrs.  Darrah, but Lydia Darrah," was the answer. "I am she."

"Oh, I see," said the adjutant. "Well, I am come to command you to have the council chamber well warmed and lighted this evening. Several officers are going to meet there, and everything must be in readiness by seven o'clock."

"It shall be as thee desires," answered Lydia.

"And mark you," continued the officer, "we want none of your family around listening to what we may say. I shall expect you to have your supper early and to send everybody to bed before the officers arrive."

"Is not seven o'clock quite an early hour for retiring?" asked Lydia.

"Early or not early," was the answer, "those are my commands and you are expected to obey. When the meeting has ended, I will knock at your chamber door to give you notice. You can then arise and extinguish the fire and the candles and lock up the house."

"It shall be as thee desires," said Lydia.

She began at once to get the council chamber ready. While she was sweeping and dusting, her mind was full of many thoughts. Was she a slave that she must obey the commands of this red-coated officer? What right had the British to feast upon the best in the land, while her friends with General Washington were suffering the pangs of hunger? She did not believe in fighting; but since fighting was really being done, she couldn't help but wish that the Americans would conquer. As to giving any active aid to the British, she resolved that, let come what would, she never would do such a thing.

Evening came.

The council chamber was ready. The Darrah family supped early, and the children and servants were in bed before seven o'clock. All was quiet in the house when the British officers arrived. Lydia opened the door and showed them in. Then she retired to her own room and blew out the candle. She did not undress, but merely took off her slippers and lay down upon a couch.

Now, Lydia's room was quite near to the council chamber—so near, indeed, that she could hear the loud voices of the officers. She could not sleep. She felt in her mind that some great danger was threatening her American friends. She thought that she heard the name of Washington spoken in the council chamber.

The longer she lay and listened, the more uneasy she became. At last she arose and crept silently through the hall to the very door of the council chamber. There she stood and listened.

At first she heard only the confusion of many voices. It seemed as though all the redcoats were trying to talk at the same time. After a little there was a loud rapping on the table, and some one called for order. The room became quiet in a moment. Then one of the officers announced that he had an important order from General Howe which he would proceed to read.

Lydia Darrah was now all attention. She heard the orders of General Howe that the British troops must all be under arms and in readiness for marching at dusk on the evening of the second day thereafter. They were to march in such and such a manner and over such and such roads in order to surround and surprise the army of Washington, which was then encamped at White Marsh.

Lydia waited to hear no more. She stole quickly back to her room and lay down upon the couch as before. She felt that a very grave danger was threatening her friends. How could she help them?

An hour passed, two hours, and then she heard the officers going home. The adjutant stopped at her door and knocked. She pretended to be asleep. A second time he knocked, and a third. Then, with a yawn as though just awaking, Lydia answered. She pushed her feet into her slippers and opened the door just as the last officer was passing from the hall.

Lydia did not sleep a wink that night. The great secret she had learned was too heavy for her. She felt that she must help the Americans—and yet how? She thought of several plans. But some of them were impossible, and all were attended with danger. At last morning dawned, and with the sunlight a happy thought came into her mind.

"I can do it. I will  do it," she said to herself.

After breakfast she said to her husband, "William, the flour is gone, and I intend to ride to the mill for more."

"Lydia," he answered, "thee certainly won't ride to Frankford on such a day as this. It's a good twelve-mile ride there and back, and the wind is very raw. Can't thee send the maid?"

"No, William, the wind is as raw for the maid as for me. I've made up my mind to go, myself."

Now William had learned from observation that when Lydia made up her mind to do something, things were apt to go pretty much as she said. So he raised no further objection, but having finished his breakfast, went quietly to his schoolroom to give the day's lessons to his young scholars.

Toward noon, Lydia mounted the family horse, and with her empty flour sack before her, was soon cantering briskly along Second Street and across to the Frankford road. She had often been on this sort of errand before, and her appearance caused no surprise. She had a permit from General Howe to pass the British lines, and she rode without hindrance out in the open country which then lay between Philadelphia and the little village of Frankford.

When she reached the mill there was no flour ready, and she must wait for it to be ground. This was just as she had expected and wished. She left her bag to be filled, and then took a walk out toward the American camp at White Marsh. She had not gone far when she met Colonel Craig, who was acting as a scout for Washington. He was on horseback and had a small company of soldiers with him.

The colonel knew her. "Lydia Darrah," he said, "what strange necessity can bring you here on such a day as this?"

"Friend Craig," she answered, "thee knows that I have a son in George Washington's army, and my heart is sick to see him." Then she added in a lower tone, "If thee'll alight and walk a little way with me, I'll tell thee what brings me here."

The colonel dismounted, and led his horse while he walked by Lydia's side back toward the village. Lydia told him all that she had learned, and begged that he would use the knowledge in such a way as not to mention her name. for if the British officers should learn that she had betrayed their secret, it would, no doubt, go very hard with her and her family.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


She then left the colonel and hastened across the fields to Frankford. When she arrived at the mill it was the middle of the afternoon, and her flour was ready. With the bag slung across the saddle before her she started for home, and just at sunset she safely reached her own door.

As she alighted from her horse, she thought to herself, "What a strange errand for a woman Friend like me to be out upon!" but she kept her own secret, and not even her husband suspected the real reason for her visit to the mill.

The next evening, the British troops, true to their programme, marched out of the city silently in fighting trim. What was their surprise to find Washington's army drawn up in line of battle and ready to receive them! Throughout the night they maneuvered in the darkness, trying to surround the Americans or strike them in an unprotected quarter. But all in vain; they could find no place in which safely to make an attack.

For two days they threatened, and tried to draw Washington away from his intrenchments. On the third day, they marched back to Philadelphia, angry, weary, and disheartened.

"Somebody has betrayed us," said the British officers. "Who can it be?"

But they never suspected the plain little Quaker woman with the sweet, sober face and quiet ways. The adjutant general, however, paid her a visit.

"You remember the meeting which we had in the council chamber a few evenings ago?" he asked.

"Certainly I remember it," she answered.

"Were any of your family up while the meeting was in progress?"

"None of them. They retired soon after supper. At seven o'clock all were in bed but myself."

"I cannot understand it," said the adjutant. "Some one must have overheard and betrayed us; but who can it have been? I know that you were asleep, for I knocked three times at your door before I could waken you. I don't know what to think."

But Lydia Darrah kept her own secret and told it to no one until after the war was ended. In her quiet way she had saved the American army from disaster and defeat. Perhaps the fate of the nation was determined by that ride to the Frankford mill.

Ezekiel and Daniel

Two boys once lived on a hilly little farm in New Hampshire. They were brothers. The name of the elder was Ezekiel, and that of the younger was Daniel.

The father of these boys was anxious that both should be well educated, for he believed that education was necessary to fit any person for success in life. But he was a poor man and had not the means to send both to good schools.

Ezekiel had many good qualities. He was sturdy and manly and industrious. He would, no doubt, succeed well with whatever he should undertake to do.

But Daniel was not strong. He was a slender child and very delicate. It was thought that he would never be able to make his living by hard work. Yet his mind was wonderfully bright and he was very quick to learn.

"Boys," said the father, "there is nothing in the world that I wish so much to do as to give you both a fine education. But I shall never have enough money to send you to college. You shall have to stop short of that."

"Then let Daniel be the scholar," said Ezekiel, "and I will help you on the farm."

Daniel was the pet of the family and a great lover of books. His brother was always ready to give up anything that he possessed in order to make him happy. And now he was ready to give up his chances of a fair schooling if he could help Daniel to a better education.

The father thought of the matter in this way: Would it not be better to give one of the boys a thorough education, than to limit both to just a little schooling? And if he could send only one to college, why should it not be that one which gave the greatest promise of success?

It was decided, therefore, that Daniel should be the scholar. And Ezekiel, without a murmur, went to work with a will to help earn the money to pay his brother's expenses at college.

Every one in the family was pleased with the arrangement. Daniel was sent to a preparatory school, and in due time was admitted to Dartmouth College. To his father, his mother, his brother, no sacrifice seemed too great if only they could help him to gain that education which they felt would be of so much use to him.

During all this time, however, the one thing that troubled Daniel was the thought of his brother toiling at home. He knew that Ezekiel had great abilities. He knew that he was not fond of farm work, and that he was anxious to study for a profession. This brother had given up all his dearest plans in order that Daniel might be favored; and Daniel, although very grateful, was pained to think of it.

Once, when Daniel was at home on a vacation, he said, "Zeke, this thing is all wrong. Father has mortgaged the farm to money to pay my expenses at school, and you are making a slave of yourself to pay off the mortgage. It isn't right for me to let you do this."

Ezekiel said, "Brother Dan, I am stronger than you are, and if one of us has to stay on a farm, of course I am the one."

"But I want you to go to college," answered Daniel. "An education will do you as much good as me."

"I don't know about that," said Ezekiel.

"Well, I know about it, and I will see father about it this very day," said Daniel.

He did see him.

"I told my father," said Daniel afterward, "that I was unhappy at my brother's prospects. For myself, I saw my way to knowledge, respectability, and self-protection. But as for Ezekiel, all looked the other way. I said that I would keep school, and get along as well as I could—that I would be more than four years in getting through college, if necessary, provided that he also could be sent to study."

The matter was referred to Daniel's mother, and she and his father talked it all over. They knew that it would take all the property they had to educate both the boys. They knew that they would be obliged to do without many comforts, and that they would have a hard struggle for a living while the boys were studying. But the mother said, "I will trust Ezekiel and Daniel."

It was settled, therefore, that the elder brother also should have a chance to make his mark in the world.

He was now a grown-up man. He was tall and strong and ambitious. He entered college the very year that Daniel graduated.

As for Daniel—well, if it had not been for his brother's generous self-sacrifice, his history might have been quite different from what it was. And Ezekiel Webster's golden deed made him forever a sharer of Daniel Webster's fame.

Through Smoke and Fire

Lieutenant Commander Jesse Mimms Roper was in charge of the gunboat Petrel  when it was in Maila Bay, soon after the close of the Spanish War. He lost his life while trying to save one of his sailors from a fire on board of the gunboat. The story of his heroic self-sacrifice is told by his second officer in about the following words: —

"I was lying in my bunk at half-past six on a Sunday morning. Suddenly I heard a call, but being off duty I paid no attention to it. Then there was a great scuffling on the deck, and my boy ran in to tell me that there was a fire somewhere.

"I was responsible for all the powder on board, and it did not take me long to get to my place. On the sick list though I was, I felt that it was for me to be wherever that fire was. It was below the hatchway leading from the sail room to the berth deck. As I ran forward, I saw a great cloud of smoke rushing up the hatchway, but there were no flames in sight.

"Commander Roper was already there. He was clad only in his pajamas. He had been the first man to go down into the hatch, and was at once overcome by the smoke. Two seamen had dragged him up, and he was just recovering when I reached his side. Several of the crew were at the hatch, lifting out some of the men who had gone down with the hose and been overcome.

"Every man that went down was sure of suffocation, but not one held back. Each man, when his turn came, ran down and seized the body of the man who had preceded him. He quickly slung a bowline under the arms of the suffocated man. The seamen on deck would pull the body up, and the man below would seize the hose and fight the fire as long as he could breathe. Then he, too, would drop, unconscious, and somebody would have to go after him.

"I have been in all sorts of dangerous places at sea, but I never saw anything that tried my nerves as that did. The men, one after another, keeled over as they went down into the smoke. Before long we had twenty-two men lying unconscious on the deck.

"There was one man, Seaman Toner, still missing. We knew that he was lying somewhere unconscious in the middle of that black smoke. He had been in charge of the hose, and had not returned. As soon as this was known to Commander Roper, he made a rush for the hatch. I held him back, and he tried to shove me to one side. At last he turned away for a minute and then made a rush for the hatch. It was too late for me to catch him, but I shouted to him to come back.

" 'You don't know how things are down there,' I said. 'There are other men here who are willing to go, and they are much abler to stand it than you.'

" 'I know exactly how things are down there,' he said, turning and waving his hand to me. 'I am going down after that seaman.'

"Before he could reach the hatchway, Cadet Lewis stepped in front of him and said that he would go after Toner. There was a race to the hatchway, and both disappeared in the smoke together. Two jackies followed them.

"The rest of us grouped around the opening without saying a word. We gazed down the iron ladder a moment, as if helpless. I then gave orders that no more men should go down there unless they had bowlines about them. There were two officers and three men already there.

"In another minute a negro named Girandt had slipped a bowline around him and was going down the hatchway. He got hold of the two men who had gone down with Commander Roper, and all were pulled up together. After taking a few breaths of air, the negro went down again and tied the line around Toner. This time he himself was unconscious when pulled up.

"I couldn't stand it any longer. There were twenty-five men lying stretched out on the deck, and I decided that it was my duty to go to the succor of the officers. I put a wet handkerchief in my mouth, slung the bowline around me, and was let down. I had ordered the electric lights in the compartment turned on. They flared out just as I touched the deck, and through the smoke I could see Commander Roper seated on a pile of canvas in a corner.

Heroes of the Storm

It is a dark night in winter.

You sit at home in your cozy, well-warmed room and listen to the storm outside. You hear the wind as it shrieks about the house top and roars in the trees. You hear the hail pelting furiously against the windowpanes. You know that soon the snow will be flying in flurrying gusts through the air and piling itself up in huge drifts across the roadway. You know that by morning, old Zero will come in the arms of the storm giant, stinging the cheeks and biting the toes and chilling the very blood of every one he chances to meet.

"I pity those who are out of doors to-night," you say; and then you return to the enjoyment of your warm fire and the pleasant companionships of the evening.

Do you know that on such nights as this there are men watching every mile of dangerous shore along the Atlantic seacoast and along the Great Lakes? These men sit by no pleasant fireside; while on their rounds they have no cozy retreat from the cutting blast and the drifting snow. They are on duty, by turns, all night and all day. Even in clear, pleasant weather, they are patrolling the shore from half-past four in the afternoon until half-past seven the next morning. It is their business to aid the shipwrecked, to save lives. They belong to what is known as the Life-saving Service of the United States government.

The stations of the Life-saving Service are at the most dangerous places all along the coast. At each station there are usually a captain, or keeper, and seven men. These men are chosen for their fitness to do the work that is required of them. All know the sea. Some have been sailors on the high seas; some have spent their lives on coasting vessels; but the most have been fishermen. They are quiet, simple-hearted men, courteous and kind. They have entered the service, knowing its hardships and perils, and every one of them is a hero.

There are always two men from each station patrolling the shore. One man keeps a lookout from the lonely watchtower. The eyes of all are upon the sea.

The two men who do the patrolling start from the station at the same time. One follows the shore to the right, the other follows that to the left. Each travels till he meets a man from the next station, either above or below. With him he exchanges a numbered brass check, and then he returns to his own station. After four hours of this patrol work the two men are relieved by two others, who continue it in the same way. Thus, as I have said, the entire shore is watched throughout every stormy night and day.

Besides the patrol work, the men have other duties to perform, and there are stringent rules which they must obey. Once every three months a government inspector visits each station to see how it is kept and how the men are doing. Once each week there is a drill in life-saving tactics, so that in case there should be a wreck on the shore the men will know exactly what to do.

At times the surfboat is taken from the station; it is hurried to the shore; it is launched amid the breakers; the crew push out and perform all the maneuvers they are supposed to perform in actually rescuing the lives of the shipwrecked.

At times there are drills in shooting the life line over a supposed wreck. At times the men are regularly instructed in the methods of bringing to life those who have been almost drowned or who have been nearly overcome by exposure to the cold. Nothing is left undone that is necessary to make the service efficient in every respect.

Should a wreck actually occur, then the real work of the Life Savers is performed. Let us suppose that a patrolman, walking along the shore on this stormy night, descries a vessel being driven into the breakers. His first act is to kindle a red-light which he always carries with him. This red-light burns brilliantly and tells the crew of the unfortunate vessel that help is at hand.

The patrolman then hurries back to the station. Perhaps the men there have also seen this signal, and are putting things in readiness. The surfboat with a wagonload of wreck guns, life lines, and other apparatus, is hurried down to the beach at the point nearest to the distressed vessel. If the sea is not too rough, the surfboat, or in some cases the larger lifeboat, is launched. The keeper takes the helm, and the sturdy oarsmen drive the boat out through the surf.

When the wreck is reached, the women and children are rescued first, and then the other passengers. The crew and officers of the wrecked vessel are taken off last. Everything must be done in an orderly manner, and those who attempt to scramble or crowd in ahead of their turn are severely dealt with by the keeper. No attention is paid to the saving of any kind of goods until after every living person has been landed.

It often happens, however, that no boat can be kept afloat in the furious sea. Then the wreck guns are brought into use. A strong line attached to a shot is fired across the vessel. This line is seized by the people on board. They pull upon it and draw in a rope that is attached to it. Both ends of this rope are fastened securely on shore, and hence the middle of it is drawn up upon the shop and made fast to a mast or some other convenient object. To this rope is attached a life car or a breeches buoy, which the Life Savers operate from the shore by means of a strong line so arranged as to run either forward or backward.

When all is ready, the people are brought ashore—one at a time if by the breeches buoy, but often six at a time if by the life car. They are taken at once to the life-saving station, and there they are cared for until they are able to help themselves.

The wages of the Life Savers are small. They are forbidden to solicit any pay from those whom they have benefited. Their duties call them often into places of great exposure and danger. Their lives are given to heroic self-denial. Yet they go forth daily, cheerfully, to the performance of whatsoever duty may be at hand. There is no record of any life savers ever shirking a responsibility or disobeying a command. Their energies are devoted to the rescue of those in peril, and the nature of their services leads them to forget all selfish interests. The stories that are told of their deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice would fill volumes. In this book I shall relate but one, which I have chosen because it is fairly typical of many others.

The Life Savers of Lone Hill

It was midwinter when the schooner Louis V. Place  weighed anchor and started on its last voyage from Baltimore to New York. From the first day out the weather was uncommonly severe. The wind was strong, sometimes rising to a gale. The waves buffeted the little vessel unmercifully. But the captain, hoping that the morrow would bring fairer skies and smoother seas, held manfully on his course.

As the schooner advanced northward the weather grew colder. A drizzling rain set in, which turned to sleet as it fell. Soon the sails were stiff as boards, the ropes were frozen and unmanageable, the decks were coated with ice, the schooner was drifting at the mercy of the winds and the waves.

No land was in sight, but the captain supposed that the vessel was not far off Sandy Hook. Soundings were made, and it was found that the sea was not deep. The schooner was being rapidly carried toward the shore.

The captain ordered the anchors to be let go. But these also were covered with ice, the cables were frozen stiff; it was impossible for the crew to move them. As a last resort the halyards were cut; but the sails were so stiff with ice that they held to their places. The rudder also was unmanageable. Nothing could check the onward course of the vessel.

The crew, half-frozen and hopeless after four days and nights of exposure, held on to whatever supports were at hand, and gazed helplessly at the raging sea before them. Then land was seen—a long, low shore, with lines of furious breakers dashing against it. It was not Sandy Hook, but the opposite coast of Long Island.

Scarcely had the men had time to realize their danger before the schooner was in the midst of the breakers. There was a terrific shock. The vessel trembled like a leaf, careened to one side, and came to a sudden stop. The breakers flooded the decks.

The crew, eight men in all, climbed with such speed as they could into the rigging, where they held on to the icy ropes, scarcely hoping that any succor would ever reach them.

The schooner was still about four hundred yards from the shore, wedged fast upon a rock. The waves swept over her from stem to stern. The surf was full of broken ice. Huge cakes of ice were piled upon the beach. Flurries of snow filled the air and sometimes hid the shore from view. How hopeless, indeed, was the case of those eight men clinging for life to the ice-covered rigging of that doomed vessel!

The Life Savers at Lone Hill station, not far away, were soon aware of the wreck, and every man hastened to the shore, eager to lend a helping hand to the crew. To send a boat out through that icy surf in the midst of those furious breakers, was plainly impossible. The only chance was to throw a line out over the wreck in such a way that the sailors could grasp it and then be drawn over it to the shore.

The wreck gun that is used for throwing such lines was hastily put in readiness. But before it could be fired, two of the sailors, overcome by their terrible privations, relaxed their hold upon the rigging and dropped into the merciless sea. The snow flurries were now so frequent that the wreck could be seen only at rare intervals. The first line that was thrown fell far away from the mark and was drawn in without having touched the vessel.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


The second shot was better aimed. It carries the line directly into the rigging and right into the midst of the clinging sailors. They were so stiff with the cold, however, that not one of them could move sufficiently to reach it. A third line and then a fourth were thrown with the same result. The poor fellows in the rigging were plainly unable to help themselves.

The snow fell faster. The mist from the raging breakers was frozen in mid-air. For three hours the Life Savers were unable to catch even a glimpse of the wreck. When at last the snow ceased falling and the clouds began to scatter, the ice-covered masts were again seen pointing upward above the surf. But instead of six men clinging there, there were now only four; the other two and silently dropped into the sea.

And now night came—night of storm and peril and nameless dread. The Life Savers built a beacon fire on the shore and anxiously watched for any clearing of the weather or any abatement in the fury of the waves. The hours passed, oh so slowly, with only the roaring of the sea and the fearful dashing of the waves!

The gray dawn at last began to dispel the darkness, and all eyes were turned toward the wreck. Had any of the sailors lived through that dreadful night? Yes, there was one with his arm around the mizzenmast. And there was another in the rigging close by him. Both of these moved and were alive. The bodies of the other two sailors were also there; but they were frozen stiff and motionless among the ropes and cordage. The life had gone out of them in the night.

The sailor in the rigging seemed to be trying to cheer his comrade by the mast. Now and then he would strike him with the end of a rope. Now and then he would seize him by the shoulders and shake him. The Life Savers imagined they could hear him saying: "Don't give up, old fellow! Help is at hand. We'll soon be ashore."

But the mizzenmast was plainly giving way. Every time the waves washed up against it, it would tremble and lean a little farther over. The sailor in the rigging noticed this. He looked over to the mainmast and saw that it was a much safer place. But he would not go there alone. He seized his comrade's arm and tore it loose from the ice around the mizzen. Then, partly by coaxing and partly by force, he caused him to follow him down to the wave-swept deck and across the perilous way to the mainmast. Creeping, tottering, groping, the two sailors at last climbed into the main rigging, and waited there for whatever fate might be in store for them.

All day long, the Life Savers upon the beach tried every device to rescue the shipwrecked men. Just before sunset the ninth line was shot out. It fell squarely across the wreck, just in front of the mainmast. If this failed, there would be no further hope.

The sailor who had shown so much care for his comrade climbed slowly down through the rigging. He was so stiffened with the cold that he could scarcely bend over to pick up the line. He slipped. He fell. Then he crept carefully, painfully, back into the rigging. The line was lost.

"The last chance, and it has failed," said the men on shore; and some of them burst into tears.

Another beacon fire was built, and the men prepared for a second night of watching. But hope had gone out of their hearts.

It was nearly midnight when they noticed that the storm had abated. The surf was not so strong; the breakers were less furious; the sea was clearer of ice.

"It's now or never, boys!" cried the keeper.

All hands together laid hold of the surfboat. They launched her amid the rushing waves. With willing hands and strong arms her brave-hearted crew drive her right out through the boiling, roaring, dashing breakers, and at last brought her alongside the ice-covered wreck. The two sailors were taken off, and the boat with all on board was driven safely to the shore.

After forty hours of heroic effort the Life Savers of Lone Hill returned to their station. Their toil had not been in vain, for they carried the two rescued sailors with them.

The brave fellow who had done so much to encourage and help his shipmate soon recovered and was able to take care of himself. He gave his name as William Stevens, and he was but a common sailor. His unselfish heroism in behalf of his companion had doubtless been the means of saving his own life. Few men have better merited knighthood.

His comrade was too far gone to be much benefited by any help that could be given him. He died a few days later in a hospital, whither his rescuers had sent him.

As for the Life Savers, the legislature of New York passed resolutions in praise of their heroism, and each one received a suitable medal of honor "Such a service," said the legislature, "belongs to humanity, and deserves universal admiration."

The School Children's Friend


One morning, about a hundred years ago, a farmer lad with a basket on his arm was waling to the village store in Franklin, Massachusetts. He was probably fourteen years of age, although you would have guessed him to the older. His face was pale and bore the saddened look of a child who had never known what it was to play. His clothing of home-made stuff was tattered and worn. His whole appearance told of poverty and hard work.

Some village boys saw him and shouted, "There goes Horace. Let's have some fun with him."

They pelted him with mud. They threw stones into his basket.

"Hello, girly!" said one, "have you washed the breakfast dishes yet?"

"How much straw can you plait in a day, Horry?" asked another.

Then they all hooted, "Girl-boy! Girl-boy! Girl-boy! Helps the women in the kitchen!" and they pranced around him in great glee.

But the lad walked on silently, seeming not to notice their ill-mannered taunts. At the store he was greeted kindly by the man behind the counter.

"Some more straw braid to-day, Horace?"

"Yes, sir," was the answer. "There's not so much as I hoped to bring, but I shall do better next week."

The storekeeper took the rolls of plaited straw from the basket, and soon figured up their value.

"One shilling and sixpence. And what will you buy to-day?"

"Half of it is mother's," answered Horace, "and half of it is mine. Mother will come in to-morrow and get what she needs. For my part, I want the arithmetic book that I was looking at last week."

"The price is one shilling," said the storekeeper.

"I know," said Horace, "and I lack threepence of having so much. I only want to ask if you will not lay the book aside for me until next week, when I shall have more than enough to pay for it."

"You may take the book now," said the man, "and I will trust you for the balance till you have some more braid ready."

The lad thanked him, and tucked the precious book under his coat. Then taking up his empty basket, he went out to meet the taunts of the street boys again.

"That's right, girly!" they shouted after him. "Run home now, and wash the breakfast dishes. Run home and plait some more straw."

"That lad will make his mark in the world," said the storekeeper to the group of loafers who were lounging at the door. "The boys make fun of him because he makes straw braids and helps his mother with her housework. But they'll be glad enough to do him honor by and by."

"Has he no father?" asked one.

"Ah, no. His father died two years ago, and the boy has been the mainstay of the family ever since. And work! Why, he's never known anything but work. That boy never played a day in his life. He's at work on the farm whenever the weather will let him. And then of evenings and on rainy days he's always plating straw. Why, he plaits more straw than any woman or girl in Franklin. The hat makers say that his braids are the best of any that I send them.

"School? No, he never has time to go to school much. I guess he goes seven or eight weeks in midwinter, when he can't do anything on the form. But they do say that he knows more than the teacher, young as he is.

"Books? Well, I should reckon. He's read everything in the Franklin library, and he ahs a few books of his own. They say that he sits up and reads when everybody else is in bed. Sometimes he sits up till long after midnight. And they're so poor up at this house that I guess they can't afford to buy many candles, either."


Such was the boyhood of Horace Mann. It was a boyhood of labor unrelieved by any of the joys which children commonly know. He never knew a holiday. Marbles and kites and tops never came his way, for he had no time to spend with them. As for playing ball, he was too busy even to think of it. In fact, he never had any kind of plaything that he could call his own.

As he neared the age of manhood, however, he contrived to give more time to the study of books. Through his industry and self-denial his mother was at length quite well provided for. Why should he not now indulge himself with a little of that learning for which he had always had such hungering and craving?

One day when he was twenty years old, a school teacher whose name was Barrett surprised him by saying,—

"Horace, you must go to college!"

What a strange idea to put into the head of a young man who had neither money nor opportunities!

"Why, Mr. Barrett," said Horace, "I don't know enough to enter college. I have never studied Latin, and as for Greek I have yet to see the first book in that language. It is useless to think of such a thing."

"Not so useless as you suppose," answered Mr. Barrett. "I have said that you must go to college and I mean it. I myself will prepare you."

Horace did not require much persuasion, for all his ambition pointed that way. He set to work with a will, and so did Mr. Barrett. Within six months the young man mastered more Greek and Latin than most students learn nowadays in three years. Before he was twenty-one he passed the examinations and entered the sophomore class of Brown University.

He had no money. He had no wealthy friends to help him along. But he was resolved to make his own way. He earned what he could by doing any odd job that turned up. For a few weeks in each year he taught a country school, keeping up his studies and passing the examinations as they came. He took care of his own room. He sometimes cooked his own meals. He lived sparingly.

At first, his classmates were disposed to laugh at him. Yet he was so gentle in his manners, so brilliant of mind, so studious and earnest, that he finally won the admiration of all the students and the respect of all the professors. No finer classical scholar ever passed through Brown University. At the end of three years he graduated at the head of his class.


Long before Horace Mann left college he had made up his mind to be a lawyer, at that time all the brightest young men in the country were preparing for the profession of law. It was the profession that would give the freest scope to the exercise of genius; it was the profession that offered the surest promise of fame and fortune.

There was a very famous law school at Litchfield, Connecticut, and thither at the age of twenty-four went Horace Mann. As a matter of course, he was not long in pushing to the front. With his tireless energy and his natural brilliancy of intellect, his progress was but a series of intellectual triumphs. He soon became known as not only the best student, but the best lawyer in the school.

At the age of twenty-six he was admitted to the state bar of Massachusetts. The road to honor and distinction was open before him. As an attorney he had all the practice that he could manage. He was assured of a steady and increasing income. At thirty years of age he was chosen a member of the state legislature. He became known as, next to Daniel Webster, the best public speaker in Massachusetts. At length he was elected to Congress to succeed Ex-President John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives. Surely, but few men at his age have ever had brighter prospects before them.

But, notwithstanding his success, Horace Mann was ill at ease. "I ought to be doing more for humanity," he said.

The schools of Massachusetts, indeed of the whole country, were at that time very poorly managed and very inefficient. People felt but very little interest in education. The public schools were attended by only a few pupils and these were of the poorer class. Thousands of children were growing up in ignorance and vice.

"This is not as it should be," said Horace Mann; and he began to study the subject with all his accustomed thoroughness.

"The children must be better cared for," he said. "The state must provide for the instruction of all. We must have more schools and better schools."

He brought the matter before the legislature. His arguments were so clear and convincing that a law was passed providing for the general improvement of the schools in the state. More than this, Horace Mann himself was appointed Secretary of the Board of Education, and it was made his duty to see that the provisions of the law were carried out. All his friends were astonished when he accepted the position.

"It is the work of my life," he said.

He closed his law office. He sold his law library.

"The bar is no longer my forum," he said. "I have betaken myself to the larger sphere of mind and morals."

The salary was small. The honors were few. The labor was great. Yet cheerfully did Horace Mann take hold of the work that was assigned him, and manfully did he carry it forward.

He visited Europe and studied the best systems of education there. He lost no effort to make the schools of Massachusetts the best in the world. "We must have better teachers, better buildings, better schoolbooks, longer terms of school," he said; and for the procurement of these he toiled unweariedly.

The result is now to be seen in the high character and wonderful efficiency of the public schools all over the country. The good work which Horace Mann began in Massachusetts soon had its influence in other states. That good work, once begun, has never been abandoned or neglected, but it still goes on. All that is best in the public schools of to-day may be traced to the influence and work of this man, who was willing to sacrifice ease, honor, and fame in order to promote the welfare of the children.

Nowadays there are comparatively few people who remember the name of Horace Mann, and fewer still who are acquainted with his history. But every child in the public schools of the United States should know that he owes very much of his own happiness to the energy and generous self-sacrifice of the boy who braided straw and helped his mother.

"Be ashamed to die," he once said, "until you have won some victory for humanity."

"A Knight Without Reproach"

For nearly four hundred years Greece had been subject to Turkey. The Greeks were oppressed and enslaved by their cruel conquerors; they scarcely dared to call their lives their own. At length, in 1821, they resolved to endure oppression no longer. Hopeless as their cause seemed to be, they took up arms and began a way for independence. The Turks were strong and pitiless; the Greeks were poor and weak, and yet they fought bravely for their country and their homes.

The war had been going on for two or three years, when a stranger appeared in Greece who at once attracted much attention. He was a young man of twenty-three or twenty-four. He was very tall and handsome. His long hair was black, his blue eyes were very large, his face was beaming with kindliness and courage.

It was soon learned that this stranger was a young American surgeon and that his name was Samuel G. Howe. He had come to Greece to give such assistance as he could to those who were fighting for liberty.

He began work at once, trying to establish hospitals for the wounded and the sick. He went from one battlefield to another, doing all in his power to relieve the suffering and dying soldiers. Then, when matters seemed to be most desperate, he shouldered a musket and went forth to share with the patriot Greeks the dangers and hardships of war.

He soon learned, however, that a stronger foe than the Turks was threatening the Greeks. That foe was hunger. The war had required so many men that there was now no one left to till the fields. The vineyards had been neglected and trampled down. The cattle had been driven off and butchered. Unless help came, the Greeks would be conquered by starvation.

The young surgeon was not a man to hesitate. He hurried back to America. In letters to the newspapers, in public speeches and personal appeals, he made known the sad condition of the Greeks. Thousands of Americans came forward with gifts of money and food and clothing. A ship was loaded with these generous offerings, and Dr. Howe sailed with it for Greece.

How the poor people of that unfortunate land blessed the stranger who brought this much-needed relief! He gave the food to the famishing, he placed the money in the hands of those who would use it the most wisely for the good of all. The whole nation thanked him.

For a long time after the Greeks had won their independence they remembered with love the brave, handsome American who had done so much to aid them. One story, in particular, they liked to tell and tell again. It was of a Greek soldier, whose life the American had saved on the battlefield, and who always afterward followed him about like an affectionate dog. The poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, who knew and loved Dr. Howe, has repeated this story in the following verses, in which he also briefly alludes to the hero's later services in behalf of humanity:—

"Oh, for a knight like Bayard,

Without reproach or fear!

My light glove on his casque of steel,

My love-know on his spear!

"Oh, for the white plume floating

Sad Zutphen's field above,—

The lion heart in battle,

The woman's heart in love!

"But now life's slumberous current

No sun-bowed cascade wakes;

No tall, heroic manhood

The level dullness breaks.

"Oh, for a knight like Bayard,

Without reproach or fear!

My light glove on this casque of steel,

My love-knot on his spear!"

Then I said, my own heart throbbing

To the time her proud pulse beat,

"Life hath its regal natures yet,

True, tender, brave, and sweet.

"Smile not, fair unbeliever!

One man at least I know

Who might wear the crest of Bayard

Or Sidney's plume of snow.

"Once, when over purple mountains

Died away the Grecian sun,

And the far Cyllenian ranges

Paled and darkened, one by one,—

"Fell the Turk, a bolt of thunder,

Cleaving all the quiet sky,

And against his sharp steel lightnings

Stood the Suliote but to die.

"Woe for the weak and halting!

The crescent blazed behind

A curving line of sabers,

Like fire before the wind.

"Last to fly and first to rally,

Rode he of whom I speak,

When, groaning in his bridle-path,

Sank down a wounded Greek,—

"With the rich Albanian costume

Wet with many a ghastly stain,

Gazing on earth and sky as one

Who might not gaze again!

"He looked forward to the mountains,

Back on foes that never spare;

Then flung him from his saddle,

And placed the stranger there.

" 'Allah! Hu!' Through flashing sabers,

Through a stormy hail of lead,

The good Thessalian charger

Up the slopes of olives sped.

"Hot spurred the turbaned riders,—

He almost felt their breath,

Where a mountain stream rolled darkly down

Between the hills and death.

"One brave and manful struggle,—

He gained the solid land,

And the cover of the mountains,

And the carbines of his band."

"It was very great and noble,"

Said the moist-eyed listener then,

"But one brave deed makes no hero;

Tell me what he since hath been."

"Wouldst know him now? Behold him,

The Cadmus of the blink,

Giving the dumb lip language,

The idiot clay a mind.

"Walking his round of duty

Serenely day by day,

With the strong man's hand of labor

And childhood's heart of play.

"True as the knights of story,

Sir Lancelot and his peers,

Brave in his calm endurance

As they in tilt of spears.

"Wherever outraged Nature

Asks word or action brave,

Wherever struggles labor,

Wherever groans a slave,—

"Wherever rise the peoples,

Wherever sinks a throne,

The throbbing heart of Freedom finds

An answer in his own.

"Knight of a better era,

Without reproach or fear!

Said I not well that Bayards

And Sidneys still are here?"

The Story of Mary Lyon

Mary lyon lived with her widowed mother on a rocky farm among the Berkshire Hills. She had five sisters and a brother, and all but one were older than she.

The place was so high up among the hills that it was known as the Mountain Farm. With much hard labor and the best of management, such a farm could be made to produce only a very little—so little that it was but a slender living, indeed, for six growing girls and a boy.

But Mrs. Lyon was courageous and hopeful, and the children were willing to work. Hence, with so many little hands doing their part, the wolf was kept from the door and each day brought a round of humble joys to the struggling family.

There was no school near the Mountain Farm, and the children were obliged to walk to Ashfield, two miles away. It was there that Mary distinguished herself. There was no better speller in the school. She learned all the rules of grammar in a wonderfully short time. No boy could see through a problem in arithmetic as quickly as she, and no one was more accurate with figures. She was soon known as the pride and the prodigy of the school.

But, whatever may have been her distinction, she won it honestly by hard work. "It's wrong to waste time," she said; and so she was always busy, reading, studying, doing chores on the farm, or helping her mother in the house.

"She'll be the scholar of the family," said her elder sisters. But while she was anxious to be a scholar, she was far more anxious to be helpful to other people.

When she was thirteen there came great changes to the family. Mrs. Lyon married again and went to live in a distant town with her husband. The elder girls were already gone. Only Mary and her brother remained. The brother took care of the farm and paid Mary a dollar a week to keep the house in order.

Soon the brother married, but Mary still helped with the housework. She did spinning and weaving for the neighbors and thus earned money for her own support.

The people of Shelburne Falls wanted some one to teach a summer school in their village. Mary Lyon offered herself for the position. She was only sixteen years old, but she was a woman in looks and behavior.

The school term would last twenty weeks and she was to receive seventy-five cents a week and board. Fifteen dollars for five months' work was not much; but the thrifty Yankees at Shelburne Falls said it was enough for a girl. Mary put every cent of it aside and saved it till it would be of the greatest use to her.

When she was twenty, she counted her money and found that by living very carefully she had enough to pay her expenses for a few months at a boarding school. To be a good scholar, to be a good teacher, was the dream of her life. Everything was bent to make that dream come true.

The Sanderson Academy at Ashfield was a good school for girls, as such schools went at that time. Mary Lyon became enrolled as one of its students. Oh, the labor, the weariness, the anxiety of the few months she was able to spend there!

She knew that her money would not last long. Hence, she wasted no time. She denied herself of needed rest. She taxed her strength to its utmost.

Her energy soon made itself felt. She advanced so rapidly that it was not long until she stood at the head of all her classes. Everybody said that she was the finest scholar that was ever enrolled in Sanderson Academy.

The next summer she taught another brief term of school, earned a little more money, and then hastened back to the academy. Thus for five years she worked her way in spite of every discouragement, and at the end of that time she was chosen as assistant in the academy. Young persons of ability who are willing to do honest work seldom have to go begging for places. Mary Lyon was offered more positions than she could accept.

Then she did a thing unheard of. She went to a professor at Amherst College and induced him to give her special lessons in chemistry, in order that she might instruct her own pupils in that branch.

Many good people held up their hands in wonder. "What business has a girl to learn about such things?" they asked.

Now, I should explain that in Mary Lyon's time—which was not so very long ago—there was not a girls' college in all the world. There was no school in the United States in which a young lady could be educated as thoroughly and as well as a young man. There were many female academies, as they were called, where the daughters of the rich were taught fashionable accomplishments,—a little history, a little poetry, a little French, and perhaps a little Greek and Latin. But that was all. The bare idea of a girl studying the sciences or trying to qualify herself for any useful occupation was thought not only ridiculous, but wrong.

It was right here that Mary Lyon began to make her work and her influence felt. "Why may not young women have the same educational opportunities as their brothers?" she said. And the rest of her life was given to the working out of that problem.

She went back to her native town. She rented a small room and gave notice that she would open a school for girls.

To her surprise she enrolled twenty-five pupils. Within a week the number was doubled and the school was removed to the village hall. This place, too, was soon filled to overflowing, and many of the classes were obliged to meet in private houses.

The tuition fees were very small, just enough to pay running expenses. But Mary Lyon was not teaching for money. She was teaching to establish a principle and to benefit humanity.

Her school was continued for six years. It was the first school of its class in America to which the daughters of people in humble circumstances could afford to go.

I need not tell of the struggles that followed. Mary Lyon had made up her mind to establish a great school for the education of girls, and she labored steadfastly to that end. Through all sorts of discouragements she persevered, feeling sure that she would succeed in the end.

At length, when she had completed her thirty-seventh year, she was able to see her dearest wishes realized. With the aid of sympathizing friends, she had secured money enough to purchase land and erect buildings for the beginning of her school. It was called Mount Holyoke Seminary. On the first day there were three times as many students as could be accommodated. More than two hundred were turned away because there was no room for them.

For twelve years Mary Lyon lived to conduct this school which was to illustrate her idea of the proper education of young women. Nearly twenty-four hundred pupils came to her, and were influenced by her enthusiasm, by her self-denial, and by her untiring devotion to duty.

The school at Mount Holyoke was the fore-runner of scores of noble institutions all over our country that have since been founded in order to give to American girls the same opportunities for culture that are given to their brothers.

"There is nothing in the universe that I fear," said Mary Lyon, "but that I shall not know all my duty, or that I shall fail to do it."

The Apostle of the Indians

Among the earliest of the French missionaries in Canada there were two who will ever be remembered for their courage and zeal. One was Charles Raymbault, whose pious energy was far superior to his bodily strength. The other was Isaac Jogues, a young man of scholarly tastes, refined in manners, and gentle in disposition. These men, hearing of wild tribes in the far Northwest, determined to go to them.

In a light canoe, with a friendly Indian as guide, they embarked on Lake Huron and set out for regions hitherto unknown. It was in June when they started. It was in September when they reached the end of their voyage. They landed at the foot of some rapids which they named the Sault de Sainte Marie (Falls of St. Mary). They were only a short distance from the outlet of that great fresh water sea which we not call Lake Superior.

At the foot of the rapids there was a village of Chippewa Indians; and on the hills farther back, nearly two thousand savages of other tribes were encamped. Every summer these people came to this place to catch whitefish from the rapids.

Raymbault was unable to go farther. Overcome by the hardships of the long voyage, his feeble body could endure no more. He was carried into the wigwam of a friendly Chippewa, and there Father Jogues nursed him with loving care.

"I had hoped," said the dying man, "to pass through this wilderness. . . . But God in his mercy has set me in the path of heaven!"—and then he ceased to breathe.

With tears and prayers Father Jogues laid the body of his brother in the grave, and then, after a very brief stay with the Chippewas, set out on his return to Canada. Early the next summer her was back at Quebec, telling of his adventures and seeking to interest others in the welfare of the tribes he had discovered in the far Northwest.

Toward the end of July he started on a visit to some missions near the foot of Lake Huron. He had with him three Frenchmen and nearly forty Indians, most of them returning to their homes in the Huron country. They embarked in twelve canoes and paddled briskly up the St. Lawrence. The country south of the great river was infested by the Iroquois, a fierce race of savages who had sworn undying hatred to the French and their Huron allies. The canoes, therefore, kept quite close to the north shore, and every place that might harbor a lurking foe was carefully avoided.

The company reached Three Rivers in safety—the only settlement at the time between Quebec and Montreal. There they rested two nights and a day; and there they were warned to be more than ever watchful against the Iroquois, whose war parties were known to be abroad. On the morning of the second day they reëembarked and soon entered that beautiful expansion of the river now known as the Lake of St. Peter.

Suddenly, when danger was least thought of, a fleet of Iroquois canoes shot out from behind a sheltering island. They were filled with savage warriors, who advanced yelling the fierce war cries of their nation. The Frenchman and Hurons were frightened almost out of their wits. They paddled for the shore, and several escaped into the woods. Father Jogues might have saved himself in the same way, had he not seen some of his friends in the clutches of the Iroquois.

"I will die with them," he said; and he gave himself up.

The victorious savages, with twenty-two prisoners, hastened to return to their own country. They paddled up the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain, and then along the western shore of that water, until they neared its southern end. There, at the mouth of a turbulent stream from the west, the Indians shouldered their canoes. They pushed onward through the woods and over the hills, dragging their prisoners with them. They made no pause until they reached another sheet of water—a small but beautiful expanse surrounded on every side by mountains. This, the most romantic of all our eastern lakes, was known to the Indians as Andiarocte, or the Place where the Great Water Ends. Father Jogue named it the Lake of the Holy Sacrament. We call it Lake George.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


Suffering every kind of indignity from the cruel Iroquois,—his body beaten with their clubs, his hands mangled by their teeth, his face scorched with hot coals,—it is not likely that Father Jogues gave much attention to the beauty of the scene around him. His thoughts, we must believe, were rather with his fellow-prisoners, some of whom were in worse case even than himself.

After a short rest, the Iroquois again embarked in their canoes. With their faces turned southward, they paddled silently and without pause throughout the long summer day. Near evening they landed at the spot where Fort William Henry was to stand in later times. There they hid their canoes in the thickets; and then, elated by their success, they hastened through the woods, reaching at last the Mohawk villages on the bank of the river that is still called by the name of that fierce tribe.

The story of the cruelties inflicted upon Father Jogues is too painful to repeat. For more than a year he was made to suffer every abuse that savage ingenuity could invent. He was led from town to town and tortured for the amusement of the women and children. His life was in danger ever hour. Yet he never lost his patience, he never uttered a harsh word, he gave thanks daily that he was still alive to suffer.

"These poor men have never been taught," he said. "They know no better. God will forgive them."

Even in the midst of suffering and torture he was ready and anxious to help any one that was in trouble. He lifted up the fallen, he prayed for the sick, and asked God's blessing upon the dying.

At length some Dutch settlers at Albany became interested in his case and helped him to escape. A small sailing vessel carried him down the Hudson to Manhattan; and from that place he shortly afterward took ship for Europe.

In France this gentlest of men was received with the reverence due to one who had suffered much for God and humanity. The ladies of the court showed him every kindness, and the queen kissed his maimed hands. But these attentions counted as but little to Father Jogues. His heart was set upon returning to Canada and to his work among the Indians. Early in the following spring he was again at Quebec.

Two years later, he was permitted to do that which he had long desired. He went as a missionary to the Mohawk villages where he had endured so many cruelties. His friends protested. They savagery of the people who had caused his sufferings stirred within his heart no feelings but those of love and pity. He felt that they needed his help. "I will go to them, but I shall not return," he said, as he departed.

The fears of his friends, no less than his own farewell words, proved only too well founded. Before the end of the year he was dead—slain by the hatchet of a savage Mohawk.

An Unappreciated Patriot

Two days before the battle of Bunker Hill the Continental Congress was sitting in the state house at Philadelphia.

The king of Great Britain had declared the American colonies to be in a state of rebellion and had sent soldiers to reduce them to subjection. It was for the Congress to provide some way of defense.

On this particular day, therefore, it passed the following resolution;—

"Resolved, That a General be appointed to command all the Continental Forces, raised or to be raised for the defense of American liberty.

"That five hundred dollars per month be allowed for the pay and expenses of the General."

Who should the General be?

A delegate from Maryland arose and nominated George Washington of Virginia.

On the following day the president of the Congress informed Washington officially that he had been unanimously chosen to be commander in chief of all the forces of the American colonies.

Washington arose and thanked the Congress for the honor which it had conferred upon him; and while declaring that he did not think himself equal to the duties required of him, he asserted his readiness to do all that he could for "the support of the glorious cause."

"As to pay," he continued, "I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. These, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire."

Thus, the united American colonies entered upon a long and precarious war with the mother country. They had as yet no efficient army; they had no money; but they felt a supreme faith in the righteousness of their cause.

Upon George Washington of Virginia devolved the task of organizing, equipping, and conducting the army. Upon Robert Morris of Pennsylvania devolved the task of supplying the funds for the carrying on of the war. Without the patriotic labors of both these men, it is not unreasonable to believe that the colonies would have failed to achieve their liberty and the war would have ended in disaster.

Robert Morris was at the head of the largest commercial house in Philadelphia; he was the leading man of business in America. In the congress of 1775 he was active in pushing forward and sustaining the war, and people soon perceived that the country must very largely depend upon him for financial aid.

When the Declaration of Independence was proposed, Robert Morris voted against it. He was in favor of independence, but he did not believe the time was ripe for it. When the day came for adopting the Declaration, however, he signed it, and thus pledged his life and his fortune to the cause of liberty.

The months that followed were months of trial and great perplexity. How should the money be obtained for feeding and clothing and arming the patriot forces under Washington? It required all the skill and experience of Robert Morris to provide for the necessities of the new government. It required, also, an amount of self-sacrifice which few other men would have been willing to make. Often he was obliged to borrow large sums of money, for which he became personally responsible. Through his exertions, three million rations of provisions were forwarded to the army just at the moment when such aid was most needed.

In the following year he was appointed superintendent of finance, or, as we should now say, secretary of the treasury, for the United States. But the treasury was empty; the Congress was in debt two and a half million dollars; the army was destitute; there was no one who would lend to the government; without some immediate aid the war could not go on. Nevertheless, people had confidence in Robert Morris, and it was that confidence which saved the day.

He began by furnishing the army with several thousand barrels of flour, pledging his own means to pay for it.

When Washington decided to make a bold campaign in Virginia against Lord Cornwallis, it was to Robert Morris that he looked for support.

"We are in want of food, of clothing, of arms," said the general. "We have not even the means of transporting the army from place to place or subsisting it in the field."

"I myself," said Robert Morris, "will see that you are provided."

He hastened to borrow of his friends all the money they were willing to spare for the cause of liberty. He pledged his own means to the last shilling. He directed the commissary to send forward all necessary supplies for the army in Virginia. He procured boats for transporting troops and provisions. He left nothing undone; he spared no pains to make the campaign in Virginia a successful one. Washington's victory at Yorktown was to a large degree the result no less of his own skill and courage than of the energy and self-sacrifice of Robert Morris.

At the close of the war there was no money to pay off the soldiers and there was great dissatisfaction on every side. Robert Morris came forward, and by endorsing certificates to the amount of three quarters of a million dollars, relieved the public distress and made it possible to disband the army. While doing this, he again pledged himself personally to see that all the obligations that he had made in behalf of the government were properly satisfied.

It is pleasant to remember that the money which he had so generously advanced in aid of the cause of liberty was finally paid back to him, and that his faith in the honesty of the government was not misplaced.

On the other hand, it is sad to relate that the last years of this doer of golden deeds were clouded with misfortune. He had invested largely in lands, believing that he would be able to sell at a great profit. He was disappointed, however. There was no demand for the lands, and Robert Morris was unable to pay his debts. He was sent to prison, and for four years was shut up in a debtor's cell.

While all patriotic Americans join in honoring General Washington for his victories in war, how few there are who remember the services of the man who made these victories possible!

A Princely Merchant

Many years ago a slender lad of seventeen left his home in Massachusetts and went to Georgetown, District of Columbia, to clerk in his uncle's store. No one who saw him then would have guessed that he would ever become one of the world's famous men. Yet his pleasant manners and his quiet ways made him the favorite of all who knew him.

"I do believe that Fortune is in love with my nephew George," said the uncle. "Why, he seems to turn everything to good account, and whatever he touches prospers."

But Fortune, even if she were in love with him, had not endowed him with wealth and fine opportunities to begin with. His school days had ended in his eleventh year, and since then he had been making his own way. For four years he had swept floors, washed windows, and carried packages for a grocer in his native town of Danvers. Then he had gone out to seek a larger business elsewhere. And at length we find him in his uncle's store selling broadcloth and silk, and very soon managing the whole business.

He seemed to have a natural insight into the proper methods of conducting any commercial enterprise. He knew what goods would be most in demand at a given time; he knew when to buy and when to sell. He was honest in all his dealings, and polite and accommodating to every one, whether young or old, rich or poor. To his customers he was always considerate, never trying to persuade them to buy what they did not want.

Of course, other merchants soon learned of George Peabody's engaging ways and his wonderful aptitude for business. Elisha Riggs offered to form a partnership with him.

"I will supply the capital," he said, "and you may conduct the business. If there are any profits, we will share them equally."

"But I am only a boy, Mr. Riggs," said young Peabody. "I am not quite nineteen."

"You are the man for the business," answered Mr. Riggs.

Accordingly the firm of Riggs & Peabody was formed. Wholesale drapers, they called themselves, and their business prospered from the start. With such a manager as George Peabody, there could be no such word as fail. The next year they removed to Baltimore, and soon afterward they established branch houses in Philadelphia and New York.

In 1826 Mr. Riggs retired, and George Peabody, at the age of thirty-one, found himself the senior partner in a very large and profitable business. The management of his affairs now called him often to London, and he soon saw that much time could be saved and many inconveniences avoided by establishing his headquarters there. In 1837, therefore, he took up his abode in England. He soon withdrew from the firm of Peabody, Riggs & Co., and established himself in London as a banker and commission agent.

He was paving the way for the performance of many golden deeds.

In 1852, when a ship was being fitted out is New York to visit the Arctic seas in search of Sir John Franklin, Mr. Peabody gave ten thousand dollars to defray the expenses of the voyage. In the following year he made a large gift of his native town for the purpose of founding there an institute and a library for the benefit of the people. From that time till the day of his death, he was always giving, giving. The list of his benefactions is very long.

He gave a million dollars to found and endow an institution for science in Baltimore. To many colleges and libraries in this country he gave various sums ranging from five thousand to half a million dollars. To the Southern Educational Fund he gave two-and-a-half million dollars to be used for the education of the poor in the South. And to the city of London he gave two-and-a-half million dollars for the erection of dwelling houses for poor workingmen. For this last gift the Queen sent him her thanks, and declared it to be "a noble act of more than princely munificence."

In recognition of his good deeds, the people attempted in various ways to express their gratitude. The corporation of London granted him the Freedom of the City, an honor seldom conferred, except upon the greatest of men. Arrangements were also made for the erection of his statue in a public place. He received all honors with much modesty; and when as a mark of esteem he was asked to be the guest of honor at a reception or a public meeting, he gently declined. Only once did he appear in public in London, and that was at the close of an exhibition by the working-classes in 1866.

When seventy-one years of age he made preparations to pay a visit to his native land. Learning of this, the Queen proposed to honor him by making him a baronet, but he declined. She offered to make him a Knight of the Order of the Bath, but he declined that honor also, feeling that as an American he could not accept any title of nobility. Then the question was asked him, "Since you will not receive these honors, is there not some gift that the Queen may bestow in order to express her esteem and gratitude?"

He pondered a moment, and then answered, "Yes, there is one gift which I would gratefully receive and appreciate. It is a letter from the Queen of England, which I may carry across the Atlantic and deposit there as a memorial from one of her most faithful admirers."

A few days later this letter was received. He carried it to American and deposited it with a portrait of the Queen in the Peabody Institute at Danvers.

When George Peabody died in 1869, the people of two continents mourned for him. His works live after him, and the good which they do increases with each passing year. Generation after generation will profit by his beneficence, and his name will long be remembered as that of one who loved his fellow-men.

Some will say that without great natural aptitude and many advantages, no one can achieve the success of George Peabody. Listen to what he himself said at the dedication of the Peabody Institute at Danvers;—

"There is not a youth within the sound of my voice whose early opportunities and advantages are not very much better than mine were. I have achieved nothing that is impossible to the most humble boy among you. Steadfast and undeviating truth, fearless and straightforward integrity, and an honor unsullied by an unworthy word or action make their possessor greater than worldly success."

In Arctic Seas

For three hundred years the discovery of a northwest passage around the continent of America was the dream of European navigators. English merchants and sailors were especially anxious to find some way of reaching the Pacific Ocean and China which would be shorter and quicker than by the long voyage around Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope. Vessel after vessel was sent into the Arctic seas to grope darkly along wintry shores, to lose themselves in a wilderness of ice, and finally to return with the report that no such passage could be found.

Look upon a map of the Arctic regions. You will find it strewn with names in commemoration of the brave men who risked their lives in the effort to solve the great mystery. Baffin and Davis and Frobisher and Parry and Hudson and a score of others, each made some new discovery of bay or strait or frozen promontory, but none was able to find a way through the icy barriers which opposed them.

One of the most daring, and, indeed, one of the most successful of these northern heroes was Sir John Franklin. His first voyage was made in 1819. his object was not so much to discover an open passage through the seas as to determine the position of the northern coast line of America. He landed on the southwestern shore of Hudson Bay and made his way overland to Great Slave Lake. Then traveling northward he reached the Arctic shores which he followed for more than five hundred miles. Five years later he led a second expedition; and this time explored the coast for nearly four hundred miles west of the Mackenzie River. In 1845 he was appointed to the command of an expedition sent out by the British government for the discovery of the northwest passage. He set sail early in the spring, having two well-equipped ships, the Erebus  and Terror, with picked crews of a hundred and thirty-four men. On the 26th of July, a whaling vessel passed the two ships in Baffin's Bay, and all were well. They were never seen again.

Two years passed without much anxiety, and then the question began to be asked, "Where is Sir John Franklin?" a ship was fitted out to sail to Baffin's Bay, find him, and give him such help as might be needed. Little fear did anyone have that any serious misfortune had befallen him.

But when the relief ship came back and reported that no trace of the Erebus  and Terror  could be found, everybody became anxious and alarmed. Expedition after expedition was sent out, all charged with the one great duty of finding Sir John Franklin. For six years the search was kept up, and during that time no fewer than fifteen such expeditions were equipped, some at public, some at private expense, and dispatched into the Arctic seas.

In 1850, Henry Grinnell, an American merchant, offered to fit out two ships for the purpose of making a more careful search for the lost explorers. "It is possible," said he, "that Sir John Franklin's vessels are still safe and sound, and floating in an open sea of clear and warmer water, which we may suppose surrounds the North Pole. In such case they are imprisoned by an encircling wall of icebergs, and will escape as soon as the shifting of these icebergs opens a convenient channel."

Mr. Grinnell's vessels were small sailing ships, the larger one called the Advance, the smaller, the Rescue. They were placed under the command of Naval Lieutenant De Haven with a young surgeon, Elisha Kent Kane, as second in command. From the beginning, Dr. Kane was the leading spirit of the expedition, and to his golden deeds was due whatever of success it achieved. Instruments, ammunition, and rations for three years were supplied by the government.

Northward, northward the two small vessels sailed, drawing nearer every day to the mysterious region of cold and darkness and danger. They were so far north on the 24th of June that the sun scarcely dipped below the horizon. In September they were farther north than any other vessel had ever wintered. The ice closed around them; they were helpless and motionless in the midst of a vast frozen sea.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


Then the darkness of the long Arctic night set in. For one hundred and forty days the light of the sun was not once seen. On every side there was naught but a solid sea of ice stretching north, south, east, west, no man could tell how many leagues.

But those dark days were not spent in idleness. Every man had something to do. Some kept the ships in order, some went hunting, some provided games and amusements to cheer the spirits of the more despondent. When at last daylight returned and the ice began to break up, it was found that nine other vessels had wintered at no great distance from the Advance  and Rescue. All were on the same golden errand—to learn tidings of Sir John Franklin and his men.

The American vessels gallantly led the way wherever they could go. Indeed, their commander appeared to be so indifferent to danger that the more cautious English captains nicknamed him "the mad Yankee."

At a place called Cape Riley, one of the English captains discovered the first traces of the lost party. At this place, Sir John had no doubt encamped for a while, for here were found some remains of a tent, a great number of birds' bones, and some empty tin cans. Farther on, still other traces were discovered, showing that the first winter quarters of Sir John Franklin must have been there.

After this no further sign could be seen, no word could be heard of the unfortunate Franklin or of any of his crew. The short summer was spent in cruising through dangerous seas, and on the 3d of October, 1851, the Advance  and Rescue  were both safely back in New York harbor.

On the 30th of May, 1853, Dr. Kane sailed in command of another expedition to the Arctic seas. He had but one ship, the Advance, and it had been equipped and furnished by Mr. Grinnell, with the aid of George Peabody of London.

Still believing that Sir John Franklin's vessels might be imprisoned in an open polar sea, he pushed northward as far as possible before being caught in the ice. The Advance  last went into winter quarters in Van Rensselaer Harbor, far up the western coast of Greenland. No other ship had ever wintered so far north.

While his vessel lay imprisoned in the ice, Dr. Kane made long excursions into frozen Greenland. He explored the coast for more than a hundred miles northward and eastward, traveling in sledges drawn by dogs.

Late in May, he made a still longer journey, and finally discovered open water far to the north. All along this open channel there were numbers of animals, such as bears, seals, and birds. Dr. Kane believed that if he had been prepared to follow this channel he would have reached the open polar sea. But his ship was still fast imprisoned in the ice in Van Rensselaer Harbor.

When he returned, it was the 10th of July. The ice-pack around the Advance  instead of melting away was growing thicker. The only thing to be done was to abandon the vessel and try to reach the coast settlement of Greenland, by land. It was determined, however, to remain at Van Rensselaer Harbor through another winter.

In the following May, taking their light boats and sledges with them, they party set out on their long and tiresome journey. To tell of their hardships and of the many perils which they narrowly escaped would make too long a story. For eighty-four days they toiled onward, almost ready to despair, but cheered and strengthened by the hopeful words and example of their leader. At length, on the 9th of August, weary, disheartened, and half famished, they reached the Danish settlement of Upernavik.

A new weeks later they were found there by Captain Hartstene of the United States navy, who had been sent with two vessels to their relief.

From his boyhood, Dr. Kane had never known what it was to be robust and strong. The rough life, the exposure to cold, the many privations he had experienced, told sadly upon his health. When he returned to New York, it was plain that his days were numbered. He visited Cuba in the hope that, with a change of climate, health might return.

It was all in vain, however. One pleasant day, while sitting with his mother, he gently fell asleep to be awakened no more in this life.

After his death people began to recognize and appreciate his noble character. In England, no less than in America, his name was honored as that of a true hero and a doer of golden deeds.

Five Scenes in a Noble Life

"I Reckon him greater than any man

That ever drew sword in war;

I reckon him nobler than king or khan,

Braver and better by far."



Come with me into a little hatter's shop, such as they had in New York a hundred years ago.

The dingy little sign over the door tells us that it belongs to John Cooper and that hats are both made and sold here.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


We enter the single room. It is narrow and low, with small windows at each side and a yawning fireplace at one end. The air is close and stifling. The furniture is very old-fashioned.

The hats, too, although in the style of that day, are strangely old-fashioned when compared with those of the twentieth century. You would laugh at their shape and texture; and all are made by hand.

There are only five or six apprentices and workmen in the shop. Business is not carried on in a large way here.

The proprietor greets us cordially. He is a hard-working man, well past middle age. He is always busy, always planning great things for the future, and never succeeding very well at anything. It is said that John Cooper was lieutenant in the Revolutionary War—a stanch patriot and an honest man.

But more interesting than the proprietor is a little boy who stands at a long table near one side of the room. He is so small that his head comes just above the edge of the table. He is pulling the hairs out of rabbit skins and putting them carefully into a bag. These hairs will be used in making beaver hats.

You ask the lad how long he has been at this kind of work. He does not know. He cannot remember when he began it, but it was certainly as soon as he was big enough to do anything.

His large, long face beams with intelligence. Small as he is, and simple as his work may be, he is anxious to do everything well. Even the pulling of rabbit hairs requires care and dexterity.

His father, John Cooper, watches him with parental pride.

"His name if Peter," he says. "I named him after the great apostle, because I have always felt that he will do much good in the world."

Peter has heard this remark often, and the words are not lost on him. True, he doesn't know much about the world. His experience has taught him that life is a daily round of eating a little, sleeping a little, playing a little, and working a great deal. But since his father expects him to be like his name-sake and do much good in the world, he is determined not to disappoint him.

"Peter works hard," continues his father, "and he plays even harder. Do you see that scar on his forehead? He got that when he was four years old, falling off the framework of a house which he had climbed. He likes to play with knives and axes, and he has cut himself more than once. He'll carry some of those scars as long as he lives.

"He helps his mother do the washing—in fact, he's handy at almost everything. And he's always trying to make something."

His father's praise pleases the lad; and he goes on, pulling hairs from the rabbit skins.


Several years have passed.

In an upper room of a coach-maker's shop on Broadway, a young man is at work. It is evening and all the other workmen have gone home.

The room is dark, save for the little light that comes from a sputtering tallow candle. The young man is standing by a carpenter's bench. He moves the candle from place to place to throw the best light on his work.

It is plain that he is not working at a coach. The evening hours are his own, and he is using them for his own purposes. While the other workmen are wasting their time in idleness or folly, he is trying to perfect some invention which his brain has studied out.

By the flickering candlelight we are able to discern his features. We see the same large, open countenance, the same earnest eye—yes, and that same scar on the forehead. The lad who was pulling rabbit hairs has grown to be a man.

Presently the door opens. The master coach builder enters.

"Peter," he says, "you have been with me now almost four years and your apprenticeship will end next week. How would you like to set up a shop of your own?"

"Oh, Mr. Woodward," answers Peter, "I should like it very much, indeed. But I have not the means to do so. You know that my salary with you has been only twenty-five dollars a year."

"Yes, I know," answers Mr. Woodward, "and I don't suppose that you have been able to save any of your salary. But there is that patent cloth-shearing machine of yours. Surely you have realized something from that?"

Peter stammers and hesitates. Then he says: "Yes, I did realize something from that, and I will tell you what became of it. I had five hundred dollars in my pocket, which Mr. Vassar paid me for the county right to the machine. I had never expected to have so much money, and I was very proud: The first thing that I did, as you know, was to go to Newburgh to see father and mother and tell them about it.

"What do you suppose I saw when I opened the door, expecting a glad welcome? Why, I saw the whole family in tears and such a look of distress on my father's face as I shall never forget. I soon learned what the trouble was. You know how he has tried many kinds of business—hatmaking in New York, brickmaking in Peekskill and Catskill, brewing in Newburgh, and then hatmaking again. Well, he failed in them all, and the last failure was the worst.

"In fact, the sheriff was expected at any moment to seize upon and sell everything in the house, and even to arrest father and take him to jail.

"I asked father how much he owed. He told me that his debts were more than a thousand dollars, but he thought that if he had only half that amount he might satisfy his most clamorous creditors and manage in some way to pull through. Well, there was my five hundred dollars in my pocket. What better could I do than to give every penny of it to father? Then I signed notes for the rest of the debts, and left everybody happy.

"So you see, Mr. Woodward, that I have nothing from the machines that I can invest in business, and that it would be simply impossible for me to set up a coach-maker's shop of my own."

"Yes, Peter, I understand," says Mr. Woodward. "In fact, I have known all this for some time. What I wish to do is to lend you the money to set up in business. You can give me your notes without interest, and make the payments after you have begun to realize something from your shop. Will you allow me to help in this way?"

Peter hesitates a moment; and then replies: "I thank you with all my heart, Mr. Woodward. But I must decline your kind offer. I have seen so much distress and disappointment caused by going in debt, that I have made a firm resolution never to buy anything for which I have not the ready money to pay immediately. Your offer is very tempting, but you must pardon me if I stand by my resolution, which I think is the safer way."

Thus at the age of twenty-one Peter Cooper's apprenticeship is ended. He is his own man, and he goes forth to make his way in the world, independent, and confident of success, and yet almost penniless.

His school days have been few—only a month or two each winter for three or four years. His opportunities have been limited. But he is an accomplished hatmaker, he has worked at brickmaking, he is a coach builder, and he is expert with all kinds of tools. He has strong arms, willing hands, and a boundless ambition to succeed.

And he will succeed.


It is the 13th of April, 1859.

At the junction of Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue in the city of New York, a new building has just been completed. It is a stately edifice, built of brown stone, and six stories in height.

At the time which I mention, there is not another building in the city that equals it in magnitude and beauty. It is the wonder and admiration of all visitors to the metropolis.

Above the main entrance, carved on the brown-stone front of the building, is the mystic work, "union." Should you ask why this word is here, you will be told that it indicates the name and the purpose of the building, for this is the home of the "Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art."

Its construction was begun six years ago. It has cost three quarters of a million dollars—an immense sum at this time.

An old man has watched with eager interest every process in the construction of this monumental building. Observe him as he passes now through the completed rooms. He is plain—very plain—certainly a man of the people. And that broad, kindly countenance—surely we have seen it before. Yes, and there is the scar on the forehead.

This is our old friend Peter Cooper. He is sixty-eight years old, and on this day he sees the completion of the dearest project of his life.

Nearly half a century has passed since his apprenticeship to the coach maker ended. What has he been doing in the meanwhile?

Few men have been more active in business. Let us name some of the industries and enterprises in which he has been engaged:—

Peddling, with a knapsack and a hurdy-gurdy.

The grocery business.

The manufacture of glue, oil, whiting, and prepared chalk—the real foundation of his wealth.

The manufacture of iron at Baltimore, at Trenton, and at several other places.

The development of coal mines and mining lands.

The building of the first locomotive engine in the United States.

The laying of the first Atlantic cable.

But none of these enterprises has been so dear to the heart of the busy man as the construction of the brown-stone building to be known as the Cooper Union, "to be forever devoted to the advancement of science and art."

As he passes from room to room in the now completed edifice, his fancy pictures to him the thousands of young men and young women who will come from all parts of the country to be benefited by his munificence.

He has known what it means to be poor. He has known what it is to be denied the opportunity of acquiring useful knowledge. In the Cooper Union the poorest young man may now be instructed in every branch of science or art that will aid him in becoming a better citizen or leading a happier life.


It is May, 1881.

This morning the routine of work in the various class rooms at the cooper Union is being carried on much as it has been for the past twenty years.

Promptly at half-past nine o'clock, Mr. Cooper drives into the street just in front of the Union.

Sitting alone in a plain little wagon which is drawn by a very steady old horse, he appears to be the most unassuming of mortals. Who would guess that this simple, farmer-like individual is one of the most famous men in America?

Yet everybody in New York knows him as such. The people on the street recognize him, they honor him. Among all the rushing, crowding vehicles, his little carriage has the right of way. Cabs and coaches, trucks and express wagons, all alike turn aside that "Uncle Peter" may pass on without annoyance.

He drives to his own hitching place near the Union. He alights and walks, slowly and somewhat feebly, into the building that is forever to be known by his name.

He sits awhile in the main office, talking with any one he may change to meet there. Then he begins his accustomed round of the various schoolrooms and recitation rooms.

Some of the teachers, knowing how feeble he is, wish to walk with him, to help him. But, no; ninety years old as he is, he does not like to be waited on.

With what delight does he watch the recitations, first in this branch, then in that! With what genuine interest does he inquire after the progress of the various students, and how earnestly does he observe the methods pursued by the different instructors!

There are many things which he does not understand; but the very idea that all this wonderful knowledge is now being placed freely within the reach of young people is extremely pleasing to him.

And when he learns of some poor student who needs help, how readily are his sympathies aroused, how quickly are his purse strings loosened! He has known what it means to thirst for knowledge and be unable to satisfy that thirst.

Later in the day the annual reception is held.

Mr. Cooper takes his place in the east corridor to receive the thousands of friends and well-wishing strangers who come with their congratulations. He sits in the great chair provided for him, and shakes hands with the men, women, and children as they pass.

Each person, whether young or old, rich or poor, is welcomed with the same hearty "How  do you do?" and the same genial smile.

Hundreds of the guests are old students who have come, perhaps, from distant places, to testify to the good which they have derived from the Union.

"Mr. Cooper, I owe everything to you," whispers one who is now a prosperous man of business.

"Mr. Cooper, we must put our little boy's hand in yours," say a young couple, leading a child of four or five years between them.

"God bless you, Uncle Peter!" cries an honest day laborer in his workman's blouse. "You've helped a good many of us poor fellows."

Boys, too bashful to come forward and speak to the great man, stand at a distance and admire. "That's him," they whisper to one another; and they go home full of good resolutions which they will not soon forget.

The day closes, the evening passes. The old man sits in his place and listens with delight and pride to the music, and the pleasant voices, and the laughter of youth. By and by the last of the guests bid him good night.

Then he calls for his modest little carriage, and is driven home. The blessings of thousands go with him.


It is the sixth day of April, 1883.

Two months ago, Peter Cooper was ninety-two years old. Now the crape hangs on his door, and to-day is his funeral.

Never has there been such another funeral in New York.

Stand anywhere on Broadway below Twentieth Street, and you see none of the bustle of business. The stores are all closed. There is not a vehicle of any kind in sight. A solemn stillness fills the whole length of the street. The crowds that line the sidewalks stand silent and speechless.

And now the funeral carriages, two abreast, come in orderly procession down the street. As the hearse passes, every head is bared in honor of the hero whose body it carries. Mothers hold up their little children that they may see. The poor, the wretched, foreigners as well as Americans, seem strangely touched. The rich vie with each other in attesting their esteem.

Not until the procession has moved the whole length of its course and has disappeared in a side street, is the silence of the great thoroughfare broken. Then gradually the crowd begins to move, and little by little the turmoil of business is resumed.

It is thus that the brotherhood of mankind sometimes, perhaps one in many ages, publicly manifests itself. Never will the great city of New York see another such day.

Why should such homage be given to plain Peter Cooper, the man of the people? Why should the pulses of humanity be so strangely stirred by his death?

He was a doer of golden deeds.

"An Angel of Mercy"


One afternoon, many years ago, there was a timid knock at the door of an old-fashioned house in Boston. The knock was answered by the mistress herself, a gray-haired, stern-faced woman of sixty, who lived there all alone. She opened the door softly, her lips ready to say "No" to any expected beggar or other person who might ask her for help.

But when she saw who was there, she started with surprise, and her face for a moment forgot to wear its accustomed look of severity.

"Why, Dorothy Dix!" she cried. "Where in the world did you come from?" Her tones, in spite of herself, were more kind than harsh.

The child who stood on the doorstep was scarcely twelve years of age—a mere slip of a girl, slender and pale. She was very poorly dressed. On her head was a little calico sun-bonnet, faded and worn. On her feet were shoes so poor and ragged that they seemed really worse than none. She was covered with dust; she looked very tired and hot.

"Where in the world did you come from?" repeated the old lady, as she drew the child into the house and shut the door.

"Please, grandmother," was the answer, "I have run away from home, and I have come to tell you about it."

"Ran away from home, eh?" said the grandmother, taking off the child's bonnet. "Well, I declare, that is a pretty tale to bring me. Come, sit down and tell me about it."

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


"Yes," answered Dorothy. "Things were so bad at our house that I couldn't stand it any longer. Father has not earned anything for months. He does nothing but write tracts and talk, talk, talk about the wickedness of the world. Mother is very feeble, and yet she works hard and tries to keep everything going. Oh, I cannot tell you of all our misery."

"I should think a girl of your age might help her mother," said the grandmother, severely.

"I have helped her all I could," said Dorothy.

"But father will not allow it. He insists that I shall help him; and so I am kept busy all day long, folding tracts and sewing the leaves and tying them up in bundles. He says that he is going to save the world with those tracts."

"I see," said the grandmother; "and while he is saving the world, he allows his wife and children to suffer for food."

"That's just it, grandmother, and it's all a mistake. I couldn't stand it any longer, a nd I made up my mind to come and tell you about it. I didn't ask anybody's leave. I just kissed mother and the boys, and told them to be brave, and then I started."

"And did you walk all the way from Worcester?"

"Not all the way, grandmother. The farmers who were driving toward Boston asked me to ride with them, and once a stage driver took me up and carries me a long way. The people along the road were very kind."

"And now you are in Boston, what do you expect to do?"

"If you will let me stay with you, grandmother, I will do everything I can. I will work every hour to earn something to help poor mother and the boys. I will study, too, so that I may help them more as I grow older. And I will help you, also, grandmother."

"You are a plucky girl," said the grandmother, "and I will see what can be done. Since you are here, I cannot turn you away. You shall begin your work and your studies to-morrow."

Thus, Dorothea Dix was received into her grandmother's home. Life had been so hard with her that she had never known what it was to play. Her first remembrance was of work and worry, and of a cheerless home in which hunger and cold were frequent visitors. But she wad the pluck which aroused her grandmother's admiration. She worked at whatever came to hand, and sent her earnings home to relieve the loved ones there. She spent her evenings at hard study, and soon knew more than many children of her age who had attended school all their lives.

When she was fourteen, she said to her grandmother, "I am going back to Worcester to-morrow. I am going to teach a school of little children."

"You are too young for that," said the grandmother. "I know you are old enough in your thinking and acting, but people won't send their children to a school kept by one who looks so girlish as you."

"We shall see," said Dorothea.

Two days later she was at her mother's house in Worcester. She put on long dresses, she lengthened her sleeves, she tied her hair in a knot at the back of her head. Then she went out to solicit pupils for her school. She was so dignified and womanish that people did not think of her as merely a young girl.

The school was opened. The children loved their teacher, and they learned rapidly. At the end of the term the patrons were so well pleased that they asked Dorothea to continue her work.

But she said, "I need to learn more so that I can teach better," and she went back to Boston to study and to work.

At nineteen she felt that she was well prepared for teaching. Her grandmother owned a little house in what is called Orange Court, and there Dorothea opened a boarding and day school. The school was so well kept that its fame soon spread to other towns in Massachusetts. Pupils came even from New Hampshire. The young teacher and her assistants had so much to do, that any one but Dorothea Dix would have shrunk from undertaking more.

There were no great public schools in Boston at that time. Only a few pupils attended the free schools, and these were not well taught. The children of the poor were neglected, and many were allowed to run the streets and grow up in ignorance and vice. The heart of Dorothea Dix was touched, and she resolved to do what she could to help these unfortunates. She opened a free school in a barn belonging to her grandmother, and gathered as many of the street boys into it as she could.

She was now twenty years old, and there was not a busier person in Boston. She arose before daylight. She taught her two schools. She cared for her grandmother, who was now growing feeble. She cared for her two young brothers whom she had brought to Boston to support and educate. She studied, studied until the late hours of night.

A much stronger person would have broken down under all this labor. It was only her great will power that kept her up, and even that was not sufficient long. The strain was too heavy, and she was obliged to give up her schools before she had done a tenth part of what she had marked out to do.

After this we hear of her in various places, writing, serving as a governess in rich families, still studying, and doing all that her strength permitted. At length her mother died, and then her grandmother. Her brothers were grown up and doing well for themselves. There was no longer any one dependent upon her. She had sufficient means to support herself through life. Most persons would have been inclined to cease studying and working, but not so Dorothea Dix.


Dorothea Dix was thirty-five years old when the great work of her life first came into her thoughts. She was thirty-nine when she began it.

One day by accident she overheard some men talking about the manner in which insane people were treated in certain prisons and almshouses. Her interest was aroused, and she determined to learn more of the matter. At that time there were no great public asylums and hospitals where people with deranged minds could be kindly cared for and skillfully treated. There were private institutions where rich patients were received. But the insane poor were treated like beasts and criminals. They were shut up in filthy jails. They were chained and flogged. They were denied all the comforts of life.

Dorothea Dix determined to do something to lighten the sorrows of these most unfortunate people. She went to every important town in Massachusetts to see and learn for herself. What other woman with feelings so sensitive, so delicate, would have ventured to investigate conditions so touching and horrifying? Wherever she went, the prison doors were opened for her. The jailers seemed in some strange way to recognize her as an angel of mercy, having authority greater than their own.

When she had finished her investigations, she sent to the Massachusetts legislature an account of what she had seen and learned. "Gentlemen," she said, "I call your attention to the present state of insane persons confined within this Commonwealth in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens; chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience."

Very much of what she wrote is too horrible to be repeated here. She told of women who were kept in chains, of men with iron collars riveted around their necks, or a lunatic half frozen behind iron bars, of others who were fed like pigs in a filthy pen. People were shocked at the story. The almshouse keepers and the jailers said it was all a slanderous lie. But the best men and women in the state were convinced of its truth. The legislature passed laws to remedy some of the greatest of the evils and provided money for the building and maintenance of public asylums.

Dorothea Dix knew that in other states the condition of the insane was even worse than it had been in Massachusetts. She could not rest while such evils existed anywhere.

She went to Rhode Island. She found in Providence a small asylum, poorly managed. As had been the case in her own state, most of the insane people were confined in jails, and in almshouses which were but little better. She made up her mind that the asylum must be enlarged. But the legislature would not give the money, and where was it to come from?

She called upon a noted millionaire who had never been known to give any of his money away. She told him the condition of things. She described the misery, the wretchedness of the poor beings she had visited. He listened silently. When she had finished, he said, "Well, Miss Dix, what do you want me to do?"

"I want you to give fifty thousand dollars toward the enlargement of the asylum here in Providence."

"I will do it," was the answer.

The enlargement was made, and the asylum was named Butler Hospital, in honor of the giver.

Having thus started the good work in the New England states, Dorothea Dix went next to New Jersey. She visited the prisons. She wrote editorials for the leading newspapers. She sent letter after letter to the men of influence in the state. She petitioned the assembly to do something to allay the misery of the unfortunate insane.

Many people called her a meddler, and even worse than that. They wished she had stayed at home. They didn't propose to be taxed for crazy people, they said. But she went boldly before the lawmakers at Trenton and told them what they must do.

"Some evenings," she wrote to a friend, "I had at once twenty gentlemen for three hours' steady conversation. The last evening, a rough country member, who had announced in the House that ‘the wants of the insane in New Jersey were all humbug,' came to overwhelm me with his arguments. After listening an hour and a half, with wonderful patience, to my details, he suddenly moved into the middle of the parlor, and thus delivered himself: ‘Ma'am, I bid you good night! I do not want, for my part, to hear anything more; the others can stay if they want to. I am convinced.  You've conquered me out and out. I shall vote for the hospital. If you'll come into the House and talk there as you have here, no man that isn't a brute can stand you; and so, when a man's convinced, that's enough. The Lord bless you!'—and thereupon he departed."

The assembly voted for the hospital. The hospital was built—the largest and best in America. And when the people saw the noble work which was being done through the efforts of Dorothea Dix, they called her a heaven-sent Angel of Mercy, and the lawmakers at Trenton thanked her in behalf of the state.

The next state to be visited was Pennsylvania, and there the same distressing things were seen and told, and the same grand work was performed. Then a trip was made to the West and the Southwest, and the prisons and poorhouses in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana were examined.

There were but few railroads at that time and most of the journey was made in coaches and wagons. The roads were muddy and rough, the accommodations were poor and rude. Yet, in the interests of the friendless and unfortunate who could not speak for themselves, Dorothea Dix traveled thus for more than ten thousand miles and visited scenes of misery and distress which strong men would have shuddered at and shunned.

"She went all over the country," writes a friend, "with a moderate valise in her hand, and wearing a plain gray traveling dress, with snow-white collar and cuffs. Her trunk was sent a week ahead, with the necessary changes of linen, and one plain black silk dress for special occasions. Neatness in everything indicated her well-directed mine."

After three years spent in the West, Dorothea Dix went to North Carolina. All opposition faded before her, and the good laws which she advocated were passed by a vote of ten to one. In Alabama she met with the same success. In Mississippi the lawmakers declared that they would not give a dime for the relief of the lunatics in the state; but after they had listened to her appeals, they voted to give all the land that was necessary, for the erection of a hospital, three million bricks, and fifty thousand dollars.

"And we will name the asylum the Dix Hospital," they said; but this she would not permit.

Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, were visited in turn; and everywhere the good work went on. But it is no easy task to persuade men to do justice and love mercy. Dorothea Dix met narrow-minded people everywhere who did all they could against her. They spoke of her unkindly, they placed every sort of obstacle in her way. But nothing discouraged her.

"The tonic I need," she said, "is the tonic of opposition."

At last, after many years of toil and perplexity, the one great work of her life seemed finished. In every state of the Union, laws were passed providing for the better care of the unfortunates within its limits. Instead of being confined in jails and pens, these poor people were now housed in large and comfortable asylums. Instead of being chained and beaten and tortured, they were surrounded with comforts and cared for with kindness. Instead of being treated as criminals and beasts, they were regarded as unfortunate human beings, deserving of sympathy and help. And all this had been brought about by the efforts of one woman—Dorothea Dix.

She was not satisfied with having accomplished so much in her own country; there were foreign countries in which the old barbarous conditions still prevailed. She went to England. She visited the workhouses and prisons where lunatics and idiots were kept. She made a report of what she saw there—a report so full of distressing and horrifying facts that the whole nation was astonished. The British government took up the matter, and the Lunacy Laws of 1857 were passed, providing for hospitals and asylums and humane care.

Miss Dix then visited the other countries of Europe, carrying on her good work everywhere. "I get into all the hospitals and all the prisons I have time to see or strength to explore," she wrote. The Pope was so much interested in her work that he had a long talk with her and visited the asylum in Rome in person. Even in Turkey she was received with marked kindness, as one whose life was devoted to the service of humanity. She went to Russia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, spending all her time for the helpless and the suffering.

She returned to America only a short time before the beginning of the great Civil War.

Scarcely had the first gun of the war been fired when Dorothea Dix with a company of nurses was at Washington, offering free service in the hospitals and on the field of battle. The Secretary of War appointed her Superintendent of Nurses in the military hospitals, and she entered upon her work with all the courage and pluck for which she had been noted through life.

She had thousands of helpers to superintend; she distributed the gifts that came for the benefit of the sick and wounded; she made long journeys by land and water; she went from battlefield to battlefield, from camp to camp, caring with her own hands for many a dying soldier; she took no vacations; her whole soul was in her work. Who can estimate the amount of misery that was relieved, or the amount of happiness that was conferred, by this one woman? And she did it all, not for gain, but for the love of humanity. She took no pay for her services; she defrayed her expenses from her private purse.

At the end of the war it was suggested that congress should give her a vote of thanks and a large sum of money.

"I will accept nothing," she said; "but I should like the flag of my country."

A pair of beautiful flags were therefore made for her, and to them was attached this inscription:—

"In token and acknowledgement of the inestimable services rendered by Miss Dorothea L. Dix for the Care, Succor, and Relief of the Sick and Wounded Soldiers of the United States on the Battlefield, in Camps and Hospitals, during the recent war, and of her benevolent and diligent labors and devoted efforts to whatever might contribute to their comfort and welfare."

These flags now hand in the Memorial Hall at Harvard University.

After the war, Dorothea Dix went back to her old work of looking after the unfortunate insane and befriending the friendless. She had already been the means of founding thirty-two asylums in this country and in Europe. In her old age she founded two more, these being in Japan. On a large map of the world it was her pleasure to mark the location of each asylum by a red cross.

Her sympathies went out to all suffering creatures. Not only human beings but animals were the objects of her love. In a crowded part of Boston she planned a drinking fountain for horses and men; and for it the poet Whittier wrote these lines:—

"Stranger and traveler,

Drink freely and bestow

A kindly thought on her

Who bade this fountain flow,

Yet hath for it no claim

Save as the minister

Of blessing in God's name.

Drink, and in His peace go!"

Such a life as that of Dorothea Dix is its own reward. How supremely grand it is when compared with a life that is given to selfishness and ease! Her work lives after her. Its influence and blessing will be felt for ages yet to come.

The Sympathy of Abraham Lincoln

During the earlier years of the Civil War, there were many desertions from the army. Military law when strictly enforced required that all deserters should be shot. But President Lincoln's big heart had pity for the young fellows, and he pardoned so many that they army officers became alarmed.

"If a man had more than one life," he said on a certain occasion, "I think a little shooting would not hurt this fellow; but after he is once dead, we cannot bring him back, no matter how sorry we may be. So the boy must be pardoned."

General Butler protested. "The whole army is being demoralized. There are desertions every day."

"How can it be stopped?" asked the President.

"By shooting every deserter," answered Butler.

"You may be right," said Mr. Lincoln, "probably are. But, Lord help me, how can I have a butcher's day every Friday in the Army of the Potomac?"

Once at the very turning point of a battle, a soldier was so overcome with fear that he dropped his gun and ran from the field. His action came near throwing his whole company into confusion. After the battle he was tried by court-martial and sentenced to die.

His friends appealed to the President.

"I will put the order for execution by," he said, "until I can settle in my mind whether this soldier can better serve the country dead than living."

Another case was that of a cowardly fellow for whom no one could say a good word. Not only had he run away during the heat of battle, but it was shown that he was a thief and untrustworthy.

"Certainly this fellow can serve his country better dead than living," said the officer.

But Mr. Lincoln had known the boy's father, a worthy man and patriot. He took the death warrant and said that the thought he would put it in the pigeonhole with the rest of his "leg cases." "These are cases," he said in explanation, "that you call by that long title, ‘Cowardice in the face of the enemy,' but I call them, for short, my leg cases. If Almighty God has given a man a cowardly pair of legs, how can he help running away with them?"

The President was never so taken up with the mighty affairs of the nation as to forget the humble needs of the common people. He was never so overcome with his own burdens and griefs that he could not speak words of sympathy and cheer to others who were sorrowful and broken-hearted. There are many examples that show how truly noble was his soul.

The following letter, written to a stricken mother whom he did not know, is one of such examples:—

"Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so over-whelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.


The Sanitary Commission

On the 13th of April, 1861, Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor was fired upon by the soldiers of the South.

This was the beginning of the great struggle known in history as the Civil War in America.

Two days before this, Abraham Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand men to defend the government and maintain its laws in the South.

The call was answered at once and with great enthusiasm. Not only did seventy-five thousand men offer themselves, but thousands more who could not be accepted. Business was at a stand-still. The plow was left in the furrow. The factory doors were closed. The thoughts of all men were upon the crisis which the country was facing. In every village of the North the tap of the drum and the shrill music of the fife were heard.

On the very day that Lincoln issued his call, some women of Bridgeport, Connecticut, met together to consider what they could do.

"We cannot go to war," they said, "but our husbands and sons can go—yes, they will go. Shall we who remain at home be idle?"

"There will be bloodshed," said some.

"And there will be much suffering in camp and on the march," said others. "Men will be wounded in battle, they will be sick from exposure, they will need better attention than the army surgeons alone can give them. Can we not do something to help?"

And so these earnest, sympathetic women of Bridgeport organized themselves into what they called a Soldiers' Aid Society, and resolved to do all that they could for the relief and comfort of the men who were at that moment hurrying forward to answer the President's call.

"We cannot fight," they said, "but we can help the fighters."

Miss Almena Bates, a young lady of Charlestown, Massachusetts, did not know what the ladies of Bridgeport were doing, but she started out that same day to do something herself. She went with pencil and paper to her friends and acquaintances, and asked each one to volunteer as a helper.

"The boys are answering the President's call," she said. "To-morrow they will be on their way to the front. There will be war. Nurses will be needed on the battlefields and in the hospitals, Medicines, food, little comforts for the sick and wounded—all these ought to be ready at the first need. What will you do?"

In a few days women in every part of the North were forming aid societies. But as yet it was hard for them to accomplish very much. So long as each little society was working alone, there was no certainty that the intended help would ever reach the right place.

At length, two months after the fall of Fort Sumter, a great organization was formed that would extend all over the North and would include the aid societies. The president of this organization was Rev. Henry W. Bellows of New York, and many well-known men and women were among its members.

Some people shook their heads and hung back.

"The government will provide for the relief and comfort of the soldiers in the field," they said. "What is the use of these aid societies and this great organization?"

Even President Lincoln at first said that he thought the association would prove to be like a fifth wheel to a coach—very much in the way.

But the war had now begun in terrible earnest. In the camps and on the battlefield, the soldiers were learning what was meant by privation and suffering. The plans for the work of the association were carefully made out by Dr. Bellows and his assistants, and were submitted to the government. The president approved them. And thus the United States Sanitary Commission, as it was called, was given the authority to go forward with its great work of caring for the health and comfort of the soldiers.

From the aid societies and from the people at large, help was freely sent. Fairs were held all over the country for the purpose of raising money. Men, women, and children joined in working. Each town and city tried to do more than its neighbor had done. At one fair in Chicago more than seventy-five thousand dollars was raised. The people of the state of New York gave nearly a million dollars for the cause.

President Lincoln wrote: "Amongst the extraordinary manifestations of this war, none has been more remarkable than these fairs. And their chief agents are the women of America, I am not accustomed to the use of the language of eulogy; but I must say, that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. God bless the women of America!"

Not only did these women form societies, hold fairs, and give of their means for this cause, but many of them were active in the work itself. Women of culture and education, accustomed to all the comforts that wealth can give, went to the front as nurses and as directors of relief in the hospitals and on the battlefield. First among these was Dorothea Dix, who, within two weeks after the president's call for volunteers, received the public thanks of the surgeon general and was placed in charge of all the women nurses at the front.

Among those who likewise gave their time and energies to this noble work were Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Mrs. Mary A. Livermore, Clara Barton, Dr. Mary Walker, and many others scarcely less distinguished. Of the golden deeds done by these self-sacrificing women, there is no adequate record save in the book of that angel who writes the names of those who love mankind.

There were hundreds, also, of humble workers who were no less earnest in their efforts to do good. These were the nurses in the hospitals and in the field, besides numberless others who labored at home for the support of the Commission.

The direct caring for the sick and wounded was only a small portion of the duties performed under the direction of the commission. To prevent disease was one of the first objects, for disease alone might cause the defeat, if not the destruction, of our armies.

Hence, the managers were on the watch for whatever was likely to guard or improve the health of the soldiers at the front. They saw that the food was wholesome and that it was properly cooked.

They started truck gardens for supplying vegetables to the men. They had charge of the ice and other luxuries for the sick. They looked after the wounded who were sent to the rear. They collected bedding, clothing, and all sorts of delicacies for the use of the sick. They wrote letters for the disabled, and gave them stationery, stamps, and envelopes. They gathered up books and newspapers for the men to read while sick or off duty. They furnished lodging for the mothers and wives who had come to the hospital or the camp on errands of mercy to their wounded sons or husbands. Lastly, they helped the men who for any reason had been discharged and lacked the means or the ability to reach their homes.

The war continued four years.

During that time more than fifteen million dollars in supplies of various kinds, besides nearly five million dollars in money, was freely given for the cause by the generous-hearted people of the North. Of those who were engaged in doing the work of the Commission, many served without pay and without desire of reward. Others, however, performed their duties from more selfish motives—some for the wages which they received, some for the profits which they hoped to derive through less honorable channels. These last deserve no commendation, although they may have done some valuable service. Their deeds were not golden.

But think of the truly golden deeds that were done in connection with this cause. Think of the men whose lives were saved. Think of the mothers and wives who were made happy by the care bestowed upon their loved ones, enabling them finally to return to their homes. Think of the thousands of benefits that were performed through this one agency. Who is there so lacking in noble impulses as to deny that it is more heroic to save life than to destroy it?

"The Tombs Angel"

Early in the morning of the 22d of February, 1902, a fire occurred in one of the large hotels of New York. The flames broke out so suddenly, and spread so swiftly, that many of the guests were unable to escape. Among those who perished was a woman whose life for many years had been given to the doing of golden deeds.

Men knew this woman as the Tombs Angel. The name was a title of honor which queens might well covet. It was a strange epithet, but it described in two words the work and character of her to whom it was applied. It was in itself, as one of her friends most aptly said, a patent of nobility.

How had she earned that title?

By her good works.

There is in the city of New York a famous prison known the world over as The Tombs. Massive, gloomy, and strong, it is a place of sorrow and tears and dread forebodings.

Men and women who have been accused of crime are confined there to await their trial by due process of law. The most of them will go out to suffer in the penitentiaries and workhouses the punishment that is due for their wrongdoings. A few may be found innocent of crime and permitted to return to freedom, disgraced, perhaps, for life by the fact of having been confined within prison walls.

Here many of the world's most famous criminals have spent days and months behind the bars. Here also have been confined hundreds of unfortunates, men and women, whom want or evil companionship or momentary weakness has driven into crime. If you have never visited a prison, you cannot imagine the woe, the misery, the hopelessness of such a place.

It was here that Rebecca Salome Foster labored unselfishly and unceasingly for many years, cheering the downhearted, comforting the distressed, and sowing good seeds even in the hearts of the most depraved. Her bright face, her comforting words, her cheerful manner, carried sunshine into the gloomiest cells, gave hope to the despairing, and uplifted the most unfortunate.

Is it any wonder that these poor creatures gave her the noble title of the Tombs Angel?

"For many years," said District Attorney Jerome, "she came and went among us with but a single purpose—

" 'That men might rise on stepping stones

Of their dead selves to higher things!'

"There is a word which is seldom used. It is the word 'holy.' To us who are daily brought into contact with the misfortunes and sins of humanity, it seems almost a lost word. Yet in all that that word means to English-speaking peoples, it seems to me that it could be applied to her. She was, indeed, a 'holy woman.' "

In winter and in summer, on stormy days as well as on fair, Mrs. Foster was always at her post of duty. She served without the hope of reward, and solely for the good that she could do.

Numberless were the hearts which she cheered; numberless were the weary ones whose burdens she lightened; and numberless, too, were the erring men and women whom her sweet influences brought back to paths of virtue and right doing.

Not only was she loved by the prisoners, but she was esteemed and venerated by the keepers of the jail and especially by the judges and officers of the city courts. And many kind-hearted people, hearing of her good works, lent her a helping hand. Every year a certain charitable society placed in her hands several thousand dollars to be expended in her work in such ways as she thought best.

Often the money which she received from others was not enough, and then she drew freely from her own means, never expecting any return. To help a poor outcast to a fresh start in life, to give relief to the innocent family of some convicted criminal, to put in the way of some unfortunate man or woman the means of earning an honest living—to do these and a thousand other services she was always ready.

Many are the stories that are told of her golden deeds. Perhaps none show more clearly her self-sacrificing spirit than the following: —

One day a poor woman, the wretchedest of the wretched, was brought to the prison guilty of a crime to which her weakness and her extreme want had driven her. She was cold, she was staring, she was in tatters and rags.

Here surely was work for a ministering angel.

Mrs. Foster hastened to give her such immediate comfort as she could. She removed the poor wretch's bedraggled dress, and gave her her own warm overskirt, instead.

Was there ever a nobler example of Christian charity?

We are reminded of Sir Philip Sidney on the field of Zutphen and his gift to the dying soldier, "Thy necessity is greater than mine."

And so, untiringly and without a thought of self, the Tombs Angel went on with her work, little thinking what men would say, dreaming nothing of honor or fame, caring only to lighten the burdens of the heavy-laden. Then, suddenly and with but little warning, she was called to pass out through fire into the kingdom prepared for those who love their Lord.

Who would not sorrow for such a woman?

Even the officers whose duty is was to prosecute the prisoners in the Tombs wept when her death was announced. The eyes of the judges were filled with tears. The city courts adjourned for the day in honor of the memory of the Tombs Angel. And on the following Sunday, in more than one church, a well-known parable was read with a meaning that was new and strangely forcible to those who listened:—

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me bring. I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick and ye visited me. I was in prison, and ye came unto me.'

"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?'

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, 'Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me?' "

The Red Cross


In 1861, when the Civil War began, there was a clerk in the patent Office at Washington whose name was Clara Barton.

She was then about thirty years of age, well educated, refined in manner, intensely energetic. She had been in the Patent Office seven years. Previous to that time she had been a school-teacher. Stories are still current of her wonderful success in school management.

Those were the days when the public schools were but little esteemed, and methods of education were not such as we have now. It is said that when Miss Barton assumed charge of a certain school in New Jersey there were but six pupils in attendance; but such was her genius and such the magnetism of her presence that the number increased within a few months to nearly six hundred.

One might think that such success would have made her a school-teacher for life. But this was not her destiny.

The war began.

Clara Barton read President Lincoln's proclamation calling for seventy-five thousand volunteers to fight for the preservation of the Union.

She gave up her position in the Patent Office, and volunteered—volunteered as a nurse without pay in the Army of the Potomac. Her work was not in safe and quiet hospitals far from the sound of danger; it was on the battlefield rescuing and nursing the wounded while yet the carnage and the strife were there.

It surely required a brave heart to pass through the horrors that followed the struggles at Pittsburg Landing, at Cedar Mountain, at Antietam, and at old Fredericksburg. Very heroic must have been the women who faced those dreadful scenes with only the one thought to give relief to the wounded and the dying.

Toward the close of the war, Clara Barton was appointed "lady in charge" of all the hospitals at the front of the Army of the James—a worthy and well-earned promotion.

Then there came inquiries concerning soldiers whose whereabouts were unknown. Their friends wrote to ask about them. Were they living or dead? If alive, where were they? If dead, when and how did they die? There were thousands of such inquiries, and no one could answer them.

It occurred to President Lincoln to appoint some competent person to conduct a search for all such missing men, to learn their history, if possible, and to place that history on record.

Who was more competent for such a duty than Clara Barton?

At the request of President Lincoln, then very near the end of his career, she undertook the task. With all her great energy and her habits of thoroughness, she carried it through. It was a work of months, taxing all her strength, and requiring the closest application. In the end she was able to report the names and the fate of more than thirty thousand missing men of the Union armies.

Is there any wonder that her health was broken? The years of constant labor, the weight of great responsibilities, had told sadly upon her strength. When her work was finished, then came the re-action. For days and weeks she was obliged to refrain from every sort of labor. She went to Europe. She spent the next few years in Switzerland, trying to regain her lost strength.


It was on a midsummer day in 1859 that a great battle was fought at Solferino in the north of Italy. There the Austrian army was defeated by the combined forces of France and Sardinia. At the end of the bloody struggle more than thirty-five thousand men lay dead or disabled on the field of battle. There was no adequate aid at hand for the suffering and the dying. For hours and even days they lay uncared for where they had fallen. It was the old, old story of the barbaric cruelty of war.

While the battlefield was still reeking with horrors it was visited by Henri Dunant, a gentleman of means from Switzerland. His heart was touched at the sight of the suffering that was around him. He gave every assistance that he could; he aided the few surgeons who were on the field, and was instrumental in saving many a wounded man from death.

When he returned home, he could not forget what he had seen. A vision of the battlefield was ever in his mind. He could not rest until he had written the story of the field of Solferino, and had tried to make others understand the horrors which he had witnessed. He delivered lectures and issued circulars, calling upon the good people of all nations to untie in forming a world's society for the care of disabled soldiers on the field of battle.

The work of Henri Dunant led to great results. A world's society was formed. A conference was held at Geneva. Eleven nations agreed to do a plan which recognized this society and its work. Its members, its helpers, its hospitals, and the sick and wounded under its care should be free from molestation on the battlefield; and each of the eleven governments pledged its active aid and support.

In order that the workers of the society should be known when in posts of danger, and in order that its hospitals and all their belongings should be protected, it was found necessary to adopt a badge that should be universally known. The badge chosen was a red cross on white ground. It was adopted in compliment to the Swiss government, whose flag is a white cross on red ground.

Thus it was that upon "the wild stock and stem of war" a noble philanthropy was engrafted. Thus it was that the movement was inaugurated which "gives hope," says Clara Barton, "that the very torrent, tempest, and whirlwind of war itself may some day at last (far off, perhaps) give way to the sunny and pleasant days of perpetual and universal peace."

It was while seeking health in Switzerland that Miss Barton first became fully acquainted with the objects and the work of the Red Cross. She met and formed friendships with the leaders of that movement. She resolved to give her energies and her life to its support.


At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Clara Barton was still in Europe. She at once threw herself into the work of the Red Cross in the campus and on the battlefields of that war. Her long experience as a nurse with our own armies gave her a great advantage in the management of hospitals and the care of the sick. During the course of that short but bitter struggle, no person did more good than she, no person deserved or won nobler laurels of praise.

After the siege of Strasburg twenty thousand people were without homes; they were without employment; starvation was before them. Clara Barton saw the situation and was the first to act. She provided materials for thirty thousand garments, and parceled these out among the poor women of the city to be sewed and made at good wages. Everywhere her quick eye saw what was needed most, and her quick intelligence showed what was best to be done. Everywhere officers and civilians, the rich and the poor, acknowledged her good work and lent a helping hand.

In Paris after the close of the war the lawless Commune seized the power. The city was in the hands of men of the lowest character. It was besieged by the army of the republic. The thunder of the cannon was heard day and night. There was constant fighting on the streets. Scores of innocent people were shot down or put to death. In some parts of the city not one person was to be found in his home, so great was the terror and so general the destruction. In the midst of all these horrors, Clara Barton entered the city on foot and began her work of ministering to those in distress.

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin


Among the common people there was but little food. Women and children were starving. On a certain day a great mob surged through the streets crying for bread. The officers were powerless. There was no telling what such a mob would do. Clara Barton stood at the door of her lodgings; she raised her hand and spoke to the infuriated men and the despairing women. They paused and listened to her calm and helpful words. "Oh, mon Dieu!" they cried. "It is an angel that speaks to us." And they quietly dispersed to their homes.

"What France must have been without the merciful help of the Red Cross societies, the imagination dare not picture. At the end of the war ten thousand wounded men were removed from Paris under the auspices of the relief societies—men who otherwise must have lingered in agony or died from want of care; and there were brought back to French soil nine thousand men who had been cared for in German hospitals."

In recognition of the golden deeds which she had performed in this war, Clara Barton received as decorations of honor the golden cross of Baden and the iron cross of Germany.


As yet there was no Red Cross society in American. It there fore became the work of Miss Barton for the next few years to found such a society. It was not until 1882 that the United States joined the family of nations which at Geneva, eighteen years before, had pledged their support to this movement in behalf of civilized humanity.

The plan for an American society included much more than merely the relief of wounded soldiers. Miss Barton's experiences in Strasburg and in Paris had shown the need and the possibility of wider usefulness. And so the work of the Red Cross Association of America was to relieve suffering wherever it was found, and especially during great calamities, such as famine, pestilence, earthquake disaster, flood, or fire.

Before a month had passed the first call for help was sounded. A great fire was sweeping through the forests of Michigan. For many days it raged unchecked. Homes were destroyed, farms were burned over, every living thing was swept away by the devastating flames, thousands of people were in dire need of food, clothing, and shelter.

The Red Cross Association was little prepared to meet so great a calamity, but under the direction of its president, Clara Barton, it began at once to do what it could. The white banner with its red cross was unfurled here for the first time. The call for aid was quickly responded to. Men, women, and children hastened to bring their gifts of sympathy and human kindness to be distributed by the society. Eighty thousand dollars in money, food, clothing, and other needful things were forwarded to the suffering people of Michigan.

After that there were calls for help almost every year. There were great floods along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Charleston, South Carolina, was partly destroyed by an earthquake. There were fearful cyclones in the West, causing much destruction of life and property. Wherever there was suffering from any of these causes, Clara Barton with the Red Cross was present to give relief and assistance.

In 1885 and 1886 there was a great drought in Texas. For eighteen months no rain fell. No crops could be raised. Hundreds of thousands of cattle died for lack of forage and water. Thousands of people were in want of the comforts of life. Through the labors of the Red Cross Association and its president, more than a hundred thousand dollars were contributed for the relief of the distressed.

On the 30th of May, 1889, the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was overwhelmed by a flood caused by the breaking of a dam in the Little Conemaugh River. Nearly five thousand lives were lost, and property to the value of twelve million dollars was destroyed. Scarcely had the first news of the disaster been telegraphed over the country before Clara Barton was on the ground doing the good work of the Red Cross. For five months she remained there amid scenes of desolation, poverty, and woe, which no pen can describe.

She fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, comforted the sorrowing, was a ministering angel to the sick, the impoverished, and the despairing. "the first to come, the last to go," said one of the newspapers of Johnstown, "she has indeed been an elder sister to us—nursing, soothing, tending, caring for the stricken ones through a season of distress such as no other people ever knew—such as, God grant, no other people may ever know. The idea crystallized, put into practice: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.' "

In 1893 occurred the great hurricane in the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. It was a calamity second only to that of Johnstown, and the number of persons who perished will never be known. There, among black people of the poorest and most ignorant class, Miss Barton labored unceasingly for months. She distributed weekly rations of food to thirty thousand Sea Islanders. She gave them materials for clothing and taught them how to make these into garments. She encouraged them in the rebuilding of their homes. She directed the digging of more than two hundred miles of ditches, thus reclaiming thousands of acres of land. She distributed garden seeds to every householder on the islands, besides seed corn and grain to the farmers. Within nine months, under the supervision of the Red Cross, industry and prosperity were restored and the poor blacks were enabled to become self-supporting and independent. Is it any wonder that they revered the name of the woman who brought them so much comfort and happiness, and that to this day they name their girls "Clara Barton" and their boys "Red Cross"?

The work of the Red Cross was transferred to other places and other peoples. In Armenia after the Turkish massacres, in Cuba during the Spanish Was, in every place cursed by war or afflicted with some great calamity, there was found the Red Cross, doing its noble work.


As yet the American Association of the Red Cross had but few members and its work was much hampered through the lack of funds and systematic management. In 1893 it was reorganized as the American National Red Cross, but not until twelve years later did its membership exceed three hundred persons.

When the war with Spain began, a number of helping Red Cross societies sprang into existence, each to some extent independent of the national association. This division of management led to much confusion, which resulted in a large amount of unnecessary suffering among the sick and wounded. It frequently happened that in once place there was an over-abundance of supplies, while in another there were none at all. Too many articles of one kind were provided, and too few or perhaps none of another. Nevertheless, despite all these unfortunate circumstances, the Red Cross was instrumental in saving many lives and in relieving much suffering.

"And yet, with proper management, it might have done a great deal more," said many thinking people.

Therefore, in 1900, the society was incorporated by Act of congress and placed under the supervision of the government. From that time forward it was to be controlled by a central committee composed of eighteen members, six of whom were to be appointed by the President. The association is now required to report to the War Department on the first day of each year, giving a full account of all its work. A new charter was granted to it in 1905, and the Secretary of War, William H. Taft, was elected president of the association.

Since its reorganization the work of the Red Cross has been much extended and its efficiency very greatly increased. For the sufferers in the Japanese famine, it contributed nearly a quarter of a million dollars. For those rendered homeless by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1905, it gave over twelve thousand dollars. For those who suffered in the great earthquake in California in 1906, it collected and distributed more than three million dollars. Substantial aid was also sent to chili for those made destitute by the earthquake at Valparaiso, and to China and Russia for the relief of sufferers from the great famines in those countries.

And thus the work of this noble association, founded through the efforts of one heroic woman, continues. Wherever there is great distress or widespread suffering, wherever there is famine, or earthquake, or war, there the National Red Cross, like an angel of mercy, stands ready to relieve, assist, and bless. Perhaps no other organization has ever done so much for the relief of suffering humanity.

The Little Mother

They call her the Little Mother—this woman of whom I am telling you. Why they gave her that name will appear as my story proceeds.

The Little Mother devotes much of her time to the doing of golden deeds among those who are commonly supposed to be undeserving of kindness.

She is the friend of wrongdoers, although not of wrongdoing.

You ask how this can be? I will tell you.

In the state prisons of our country, like that of Sing-Sing in New York, there are many men who are undergoing punishment for crimes committed against their fellow-men.

Some of these are hardened criminals without friendships and without friends—men whose lives have been given to wrongdoing.

Some are men who were once respectable and are now suffering punishment for, perhaps, their first offenses against the laws.

Some have wives and children, mothers, sisters, or other loved ones struggling in poverty and disgrace, and with many misgivings hoping darkly for the day of their release.

The most of these men will sooner or later have served out their terms of punishment. They will be given their freedom. They will go out again into the warm sunlight and the wholesome air and the fellowship of their kind.

What will they do then?

Has their punishment made better men of them?

Too often it has not. Too often it has only filled their minds with an ever increasing bitterness towards all the rest of mankind. Too often it ahs shut the door of hope, and closed the hearts of these men to every kindly influence. Too often it has made them worse instead of better.

And what of the few who go out earnestly wishing to live honest lives and do right?

Do good men offer them a helping hand? Do friends encourage them? Or are they not shunned, mistrusted, shut out from every worthy endeavor?

Can we wonder, therefore, that only a small number of men who have once been in prison ever become good citizens again? Can we wonder that so many are never reformed but return at once to their evil practices?

A hundred a fifty years ago, John Howard, a great and good Englishman, devoted his life to the befriending of prisoners and the improvement of prisons in Europe. A hundred years ago, Elizabeth Fry, a sweet-faced Quakeress, visited the jails of Great Britain and wrought many a golden deed in behalf of the wretched men who were confined in them.

All prisons the world over are to-day far less horrible than they were in the days of John Howard and Elizabeth Fry.

But the problem of what shall become of the criminal after he has suffered his punishment is perhaps greater now then it ever was before.

It is the problem which came into the mind of the Little Mother one Sunday morning when for the first time she was the inside of a state prison.

It was in the penitentiary at San Quentin, California. The prisoners were in the chapel. Their faces, "plainly bearing the marring imprint of sorrow and sin," were turned toward her. They were impatiently waiting for such words as she might speak to them, yet hoping for no comfort.

It was the first time that she had seen the prison stripes. It was the first time that she had heard the iron gates; the first time that she had realized the hopelessness of the prisoner's life.

From that day she was resolved to be the friend of the friendless, yes, the friend of even those who have forfeited the right to friendship.

"The touch of human sympathy—that is what every man needs in order to bring out the best that is in him. No man was ever so hopelessly bad that there was not somewhere in his mind or heart some little spark of goodness that might be touched by true sympathy truly expressed."

So argued the Little Mother. She therefore organized a prison league or society for mutual help, and she invited prisoners everywhere to become members of it.

Each member of the league promised to do a few simple things faithfully, as God gave him strength: —

To pray every morning and night.

To refrain from bad language.

To obey the prison rules cheerfully and try to be an example of good conduct.

To cheer and encourage others in welldoing and right living.

Then he was given a little badge to wear on his coat—a white button bearing the motto of the league: LOOK UP AND HOPE. And as soon as the league in any prison numbered several members they were given a little white flag to float above them as they sat in the chapel on Sunday mornings.

All this was very simple. It did not seem to be much, and yet it worked wonders.

It united the men in a bond of brotherhood. It gave them a definite and noble object to strive for. Above all, it told them that they had one friend who was earnestly striving to do them good.

And they united in lovingly calling that one friend their LITTLE MOTHER.

They talked with her about their aims and hopes. They were like children going to their mother for counsel and encouragement.

And they wrote her letters such as this:—

"Little Mother: As I entered the chapel Sunday and looked at our white flag, I thought again of the promises I had made, of all they ought to mean, and I promised God that with his help I would never disgrace it. No one shall see anything in my life that will bring dishonor or stain to its whiteness."

The field of the Little Mother's work widened. From the great prisons in all parts of the country came the call. Would she not visit and talk with the prisoners? Would she not organize a prison league among them?

It was surprising how many of them really and earnestly wished to be better men. The touch of human sympathy—that was what was needed.

And so the Little Mother's golden deeds multiplied. She became known as the prisoners' friend, and hundreds of prisoners vowed to be faithful to her.

Men served their terms of punishment and went home, changed in heart and in purpose. They might meet with scorn, with cruel rebuffs, with cold neglect. But the Little Mother had taught them how to be brave; she would help them to be strong. Every member of the league learned to look up to her; and his conduct after gaining his freedom was made her personal care.

Then through the aid of benevolent men, of prison officers, and of the prisoners themselves, she founded homes in which those who were newly liberated could find shelter until they were able to support themselves by honest labor.

Thus they were prevented from falling into the snares of former evil associates. They were encouraged to persevere in their efforts to attain to a nobler manhood.

These sheltering homes were called Hope Halls. To many a man who otherwise would have despaired and returned to a life of crime, they were the means of salvation.

Thus the Little Mother's golden deeds have produced golden fruit, and hundreds of men have been reclaimed to good citizenship; hundreds of families have been made happy that otherwise would have remained in wretchedness; and the world has been shown that the work of punishment is most efficient when tempered by the touch of human sympathy.

And now shall I tell you the name of this Little Mother? Her name is Maud Ballington Booth. Shall we not say that it is worthy to be placed in the same honor roll with those of Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix, Peter Cooper, and other lovers of humanity?

The Object of the Commission

[Illustration] from American Book of Golden Deeds by James Baldwin

There are heroes in every walk of life. Every day sees the performance of some golden deed; but too often the doers of such deeds remain unknown, and their unselfish acts of heroism are suffered to be forgotten. Should not some means be devised by which these heroes of peace may be duly recognized, and those who are dependent upon them properly provided for?

Such were the thoughts which actuated Andrew Carnegie when, on the fifteenth of April, 1904, he established and endowed the Hero Fund commission. Mr. Carnegie's gift of five million dollars was placed in the hands of a commission of twenty-one persons, whose duty it is "to discover and reward true heroism wherever it occurs"; but the doing of daring deeds for the purpose of saving life is to be especially recognized. Medals of bronze, silver, and gold were devised to be awarded to all who are deemed worthy; and for the doers of very notable and unselfish acts additional rewards are given. In case of death, those dependent upon the hero are to be duly provided for.

About two years after the establishment of this commission, a report was made. In this report the names were given of sixty-three persons, men and women, boys and girls, whose heroism was deserving of reward and recognition. Any book of Golden Deeds would be incomplete without repeating a few of the stories of unselfish daring which were thus made public. The half-dozen examples which are presented in the following pages are fairly typical of the numerous acts of heroism which were brought to the notice of the commissioners.

The Youngest of the Heroes

Willie Stillwell is only thirteen years old, and he lives in Bellaire, Michigan. One day he was playing with other children on the banks of the little river which flows by his home.

Suddenly there was a cry of alarm. Ruth Schoolcraft, who was a head taller than Willie, had become too venturesome, and had fallen into the water. The strong current bore her quickly from the shore; but Willie Stillwell, without stopping to think, leaped bravely to the rescue. Many of the boys were stronger swimmers than he, but there were few who equaled him in courage and determination. He knew that unless he was very careful the struggling girl would carry him down with her. So he approached her warily, and seizing her by the hair, held her face above the water. Then, with his other hand, he swam safely to the shore bringing the half-drowned girl with him.

When the commissioners heard of Willie Stillwell's brave deed, they sent him a bronze medal. They also set aside two thousand dollars to provide for giving him a course in electric engineering at college.

A Race to Death

Near the Monongahela River there lived two young men, Howard McCarney and James Gilmer. They had worked together on a towboat which plied up and down the river, and they were firm, devoted friends. It was spring, and there was a great freshet in the river. The towboat was not running, but McCarney was at work alone on a heavy barge which was moored to the shore. The flood increased in height every minute. The water rushed down with fearful momentum. The ropes which held the old barge to the shore were stretched to their utmost tension.

Suddenly there was a snapping, crashing sound; and McCarney, looking up from his work, saw that the barge had been torn from its moorings and was being carried rapidly down the stream. He could not swim. He was already far from the shore. He could only shout for help.

His friend Gilmer, who was not far away, heard the shout. He ran down to the shore, only to see the barge in midstream, and McCarney standing on the deck and wildly calling for aid. A mile below them the river was spanned by a great dam, and there would be no help for McCarney after the barge passed over it.

A small rowboat was tied to the shore. Gilmer leaped into it and pushed out into the stream. He was a good oarsman, but the barge had a long start of him. He hoped, however, that he might overtake it at some distance above the dam; then McCarney would jump into it and both would row to the shore.

The heavy barge was now in the main current, and going swiftly. The swirling eddies caught the light rowboat and carried it out of its course. The race was a losing one, but Gilmer kept bravely on, hoping to the last. The great dam was just ahead. Its roar grew louder and more appalling every moment. Gilmer was still far behind the barge; looking anxiously over his shoulder, he saw that his friend was surely lost; the sight so unnerved him that he lost control of his boat.

In another minute the barge was in the rapids—then, with a thunderous sound it went over the dam and was lost to sight in the deep water below. Gilmer, in his great horror and anxiety for his friend, forgot his own danger. Before he could gain control over his boat, it, too, was swept into the rapids. Men watching from the shore saw Gilmer leap into the boiling flood. A moment later they saw his body hurled over the dam. With that of his friend it was borne far down the raging stream.

What could the commission do to commemorate such heroism? They could not reward the hero; but they gave his father a bronze medal and two hundred dollars as a memorial of his self-sacrificing act.

The Dynamite Hero

Richard Owens and Richard Hughes were two workmen whose homes were at Bangor, Pennsylvania. One day they were blasting rocks in an excavation, when an accident occurred which made one of them a hero. Owens had just lighted a fuse to set off a charge of giant powder. He had risen to run out of danger, when another, but smaller charge, which was closer to him, exploded. His eyes were blinded, and his clothes were set on fire. He started to run, but could not find his way out of the excavation.

Richard Hughes, who was already in a place of safety, saw his companion's peril. He knew that in another moment the spark of the fuse would reach the second charge. He saw Owens groping within a few feet of that charge, and knew that if he remained there he would be blown to atoms.

Hughes was not the man to hesitate in the face of danger. He dashed out of cover and ran swiftly back. He caught his blinded friend just as he was about to stumble into a deep pit. He seized him in his arms and carried him right over the place where the powder blast was about to be exploded. He scrambled out of the excavation, dragging Owens up behind him. But he was a moment too late. Before they could reach a place of safety there was a blinding flash, a thunderous roar, and the air was filled with flying rocks. Both men fell to the ground, stunned and almost senseless.

A few minutes later, however, Hughes dragged himself out into the open air and shouted for help. Men ran to his assistance, and found that both he and Owens were much burned and badly though not dangerously hurt.

"You saved my life," said Owens.

"Oh, don't speak of that," said Hughes. "What are we here for, if not to help each other?"

From that day Hughes was known among his friends as the "dynamite hero." The commission gave him a silver medal and two hundred and fifty dollars for his bravery.

A Rare Act of Courage

Lucy Ernst, of Philadelphia, was spending her summer vacation in the mountains. One warm afternoon she went out with her cousin, Harry Schoenut, for a ramble in the woods. The two strolled slowly up and down the mountain side and came at length to a narrow ridge on one side of which was a deep, rocky ravine. Here it was hard walking, and they picked their way slowly and with difficulty from one ledge to another.

They came presently to a rift in the rocks, and Harry, in jumping across, slipped and fell upon a pile of loose stones. The fall itself did not hurt him, but he heard a whirr and a rattle beneath him, and before he could rise, a large rattlesnake struck its fangs into his arm.

"Oh, I am killed, Lucy!" cried the frightened boy, as the reptile darted swiftly away.

"Have courage, Harry," said Lucy, as she pulled him up out of the rift.

"Yes, I am killed, Lucy. Leave me and save yourself," said the boy.

His arm was already beginning to swell and turn black. But Lucy did not hesitate a moment. She tore the sleeve from his arm; she put her lips to the wound and began to suck out the poison. She did this with great danger to herself; for there was a small cut on her upper lip, and if the poison entered it she would be in as bad a plight as Harry.

"Now, Harry, cheer up," she said; and with her penknife she cut a gash in his arm to make the blood flow faster, and thus carry off the poison. The boy fainted at sight of the blood; and then Lucy had to revive him by beating him in the face.

"Come, Harry," she said, "let us hurry home."

"It's no use, Lucy. I'm as good as dead, and I can't walk. Go and leave me," he murmured.

But the brave girl would not leave him. She lifted him to his feet and then, half carrying him, started down the mountain side. An hour later she reached a clubhouse, a mile away from the scene of the accident. She carried the boy up the clubhouse steps, her dress red with blood from the wound in his arm. Then she fainted, and fell beside him.

Help was at hand. A surgeon was quickly called. The boy's life was saved.

A silver medal was given to Miss Ernst as a memorial of her heroism.

Saving One's Enemy

In a small town in Kentucky there lived two men who were bitter enemies. One of them, whose name was Rufus Combs, was a blacksmith. The other was a prominent lawyer named Richard Godson. Both were politicians; they had been rivals in many a hard contest, and they hated each other most intensely. They would not speak to each other on the street; they would not both enter or remain in the same room; each went armed to defend himself from the other. Nobody knew the first cause of their unfriendliness; and no one remembered when it had begun.

Mr. Godson had, somewhere on his premises, a vault in which was a gas-making machine. He suspected that there was a leak in the machine, and one day he entered the vault in order to find it. There was indeed a leak, and the vault itself was filled with the escaping gas. Before Mr. Godson could climb out into the open air he was overcome, and fell back senseless upon the floor of the vault.

He lay there for some time before he was discovered. Then an alarm was given, and a number of the villagers hurried to the place. The entrance to the vault was by a small hole cut in the roof; and Mr. Godson's friends, looking down, could see him lying helpless upon the floor.

They knew that the vault was full of gas, and that no one could enter it except at the risk of his life. So they hesitated, and began to talk of plans to reach Mr. Godson without taking any risks upon themselves. One suggested one think, one another; but nothing was done, and the man below was growing weaker every moment.

The blacksmith, Mr. Combs, was at home. He had lately met with an accident and was scarcely able to leave the house. He heard the confusion on the street. He saw men running towards Mr. Godson's; he saw the anxiety in their faces.

"What is the matter?" he asked of one who was passing.

The man told him briefly.

"Give me my hat," he said. "I must go over to Dick Godson's."

As he went along the street, men nudged each other, and one said, "I reckon he doesn't care much what happens to Godson."

He pushed his way through the crowd that was gathered about the vault and looked down the narrow opening at the prostrate form of his enemy. He did not hesitate a moment. He lowered himself through the opening and seized the unconscious man around the waist. Three times he lifted him up until the hands of the friends outside could almost reach him. Twice his strength failed him, and Mr. Godson fell back upon the floor. But the third time the helpers above were more prompt. They grasped the collar of the stricken man and held on; they drew him up into the open air; they gave him restoratives, and soon saw that he was beginning to recover.

Then some one remembered that Mr. Combs was still in the vault. He was so nearly overcome by the gas that he could not climb out unaided. Helping hands were reached down, and he was drawn out, as limp and unconscious as his enemy, whom he had saved.

When at length he recovered from his swoon, he looked around anxiously and asked, "How's Dick Godson?"

They told him that Godson was alive and doing well. "Then, thank Heaven," was his response.

A few days afterward, some curious neighbor said to him, "Mr. combs, why was it that you risked your life to save your bitterest enemy?"

"Well, it was this way," he answered. "Dick Godson is a good hater and a strong man, and I couldn't bear to see him die like a rat in a hole. And I reckon, now, that he and I will be as good friends hereafter as we have been bitter enemies heretofore."

The commissioners of the Hero Fund adjudged this to be an extraordinary example of unselfish heroism, and they awarded to Mr. Combs not only a silver medal, but fifteen hundred dollars in cash.

A Schoolgirl's Heroism

On a summer day, in 1904, Miss Maude Titus, a pupil in the Newark (N.J.) high school, was taking a sail with some friends in Casco Bay. The boat was going very swiftly, and in the sudden lurch caused by changing its course, the captain and his daughter, Miss Titus, and another young girl, fell overboard.

A life buoy was thrown out, and by clinging to this the captain and his daughter were rescued; but Miss Titus and her friend, whose name was Miss Reifsnyder, were left to struggle in the water alone. Both could swim a little, under favorable circumstances, but in her great and sudden fright, Miss Reifsnyder was helpless.

Miss Titus might have saved herself by striking out for the boat, but she would not leave her friend. With the utmost coolness and self-possession she kept herself afloat, and at the same time held Miss Reifsnyder's head above the water, until the boat had been safely brought around and both were rescued.

Miss Titus's act of heroism has not often been equaled by a schoolgirl, and the commissioners of the Hero Fund rewarded her quite liberally. They gave her a silver medal, and set aside one thousand dollars to aid her in completing her education.