"What troubles you, William?" said Mrs. Aiken, speaking in a tone of kind concern to her husband, who sat silent and moody, with his eyes now fixed upon the floor, and now following the forms of his plainly-clad children as they sported, full of health and spirits, about the room. It was evening, and Mr. Aiken, a man who earned his bread by the sweat of his brow, had, a little while before, returned from his daily labour. No answer was made to... more...

CHRISTMAS DAY. The Christmas chimes are pealing highBeneath the solemn Christmas sky,And blowing winds their notes prolongLike echoes from an angel's song;Good will and peace, peace and good willRing out the carols glad and gay,Telling the heavenly message stillThat Christ the Child was born to-day.In lowly hut and palace hallPeasant and king keep festival,And childhood wears a fairer guise,And tenderer shine all mother-eyes;The aged man forgets... more...

The Tangled Threads A Delayed Heritage When Hester was two years old a wheezy hand-organ would set her eyes to sparkling and her cheeks to dimpling, and when she was twenty the "Maiden's Prayer," played by a school-girl, would fill her soul with ecstasy. To Hester, all the world seemed full of melody. Even the clouds in the sky sailed slowly along in time to a stately march in her brain, or danced to the tune of a merry schottische that... more...

Dicky Duck was a very wise young fellow. He swam about the pond alone long before his brothers left their mother, and such worms and bugs and things of that sort as he found made all the other young ducks quite green with envy. But one day Dicky Duck almost lost his life by thinking he was so wise, for he was swimming around the pond when he came to the woods where Mr. Fox was hiding back of some bushes. Dicky did not go near enough for Mr. Fox... more...

ADVENTURES OF A SIXPENCE IN GUERNSEY. The breakfast was ready laid on the table, and a gentleman was standing by the fire waiting for the rest of the family, when the door burst open, and two little girls ran in. "A happy new year, papa!—a happy new year!" shouted each as she was caught up to be kissed, and found herself on the floor once more after a sudden whirl to the ceiling. "Now catch," said their father, as he started aside and... more...

CHAPTER I THE CROW’S NEST “You never told me how you happened to name her Blythe.” The two old friends, Mr. John DeWitt and Mrs. Halliday, were reclining side by side in their steamer-chairs, lulled into a quiescent mood by the gentle, scarcely perceptible, motion of the vessel. It was an exertion to speak, and Mrs. Halliday replied evasively, “Do you like the name?” “For Blythe,—yes. But I... more...