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have died of old age. All this, of course, is mere guess-work. But I do know that the snow in some parts of the world is thickly inhabited. I have seen new snow in Idaho black with little insects. People there call them snow-fleas. They are as lively as possible, and will darken your footprints, walk as fast as you may. They are found only on the high mountains, and only in very fresh and very deep snow. They, of course, do not annoy you in any way. They are infinitely smaller than the ordinary Alea, but they are not a whit less lively in their locomotion.”
A DEER AS A WATCH DOG; BAKED MATCHES ;
AND OTHER QUEER THINGS.
Pará, October 21st, 1885.
I am a little girl who lives at Pará, near the great river, and in a country house near the town. We sometimes have many strange and pretty birds and animals in our garden — parrots, guaras, large
turtles, sloths, and monkeys. Once we had a tame deer that was JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT.
just like a watch-dog, only instead of barking he would run against people with his horns. So he had to be fastened, like any savage
dog. Ah, but my birds were happy last year, on a day
We also had two peacocks that slept at night in the branches of a late in the bright December! That dear Little
high tree. The bats pestered them greatly. When the peacocks School-ma'am had told the children of the red
came down for their meal, very late in the morning, they looked school-house about some good little German kinder tired and weak. So ever after, a night-lamp was hung in the tree who made dainty sheaves of full wheat, and, tying to frighten the bats away. them to a high pole, set it up as a Christmas feast Agassiz when he was here
, many years ago. He used to put his
I will tell you a story I once heard of what happened to Mr. for the birds,- and how the birds from every
“specimens,”- as he called his beetles, insects, and other little scicnquarter soon plunged into it with delight, and in
tific findings,– into a barrel of rum in order to preserve them. One their turn chirped a happy Christmas carol for the day Mr. Agassiz received a present of a very nice little monkey, children.
and told his black servant to take it home. He, supposing it was Well, hearing about all this, what did my blessed for the same purpose as were the “specimens," dumped it also children of the red school-house do, when Christ- into the barrel. Mr. A. was indeed very sorry and vexed about it.
You know we have two seasons here – the wet and the dry. In mas was near, but set up in the very snow a fine
the wet season everything gets damp and moldy. We even have to affair like a May-pole, excepting that it held out
bake the matches in the oven, or else they wont light quickly. Now long chains of golden wheat — And that was the I must say good-bye. secret of the chirping and chattering and flutters
Your little friend and admirer,
AMY E. S. of delight, among my birds. And now for this item about
LAST month the Little School-ma'am told us LIFE IN A SNOWFLAKE.
about the pastures of Norway and now she sends DEAR JACK: I send you this account from a you another message concerning the carjole peculnewspaper which may interest your boys and girls. iar to that cold, queer country. The name car
C. E. jole sounds like some sort of humorous bird; but “Some imaginative and wonderfully learned the little lady says it is simply the national and German scholars tell us that every snowflake is in peculiar carriage of Norway. The carjole is drawn habited by happy little beings, who begin their by one small and always very sober horse, and it existence, hold their revels, live long lives of hap- is just like a spoon on wheels. You sit in the piness and delight, die and are buried, all during bowl, and it is a tight fit. Your legs stretch out the descent of the snowflake from the world of straight along the handle, as though you were sitclouds to the solid land. These scholars also tell ting in the bottom of a canoe. The end of the us that every square foot of air possesses from twelve handle is turned up to brace your feet, and there to fifteen million of more or less perfect little be- you are, filling the inside full. You either may ings, and that at every ordinary breath we destroy drive yourself or be driven by a small child, perched a million, more or less, of these happy lives. The somehow on the outside. The harness is made up sigh of a healthy lover is supposed to swallow up largely of rope, and the carjole. according to the Litabout fourteen million. They insist that the dust, tle School-ma'am, looks as if it were made of fragwhich will, as all know, accumulate in the most ments saved from Noah's ark, or picked out of the secure and secret places, is merely the remains of wreck of Pharaoh's chariots. But the whole affair millions and billions of these little beings who is strong, and takes you safely to your destination.
AN AFRICAN NEW-YEAR'S CARD.
thick leaves covered with spines as sharp as need
les ! But, wait a moment. The leaves of the parDEAR JACK: Of course all your boys and girls ticular kind of cactus so used are not very prickly, know what the cactus is -- a green, grotesque-look- and, moreover, they are not carried about, but are ing plant, almost covered with sharp spines and left growing on the plant, which stands at the foot bearing a most gorgeous flower; but I am sure of the front steps. they do not know all of the uses to which the cac- When a lady calls she has only to draw out one tus can be put, nor do I believe that the most in- of those ever ready hat pins, with which ladies are genious guesses could come near to the truth. always provided, and with the sharp point scratch
Take the prickly pear, for example. From one her name on the glossy, green surface of a leaf. species is obtained a beverage called colinche, a A gentleman generally uses the point of his penliquid used in water-color painting, and a coloring matter to make candy look attractive. Then it is used for feeding certain tiny insects which are afterward converted into a brilliant dye called cochineal. It is used for making hedges – hedges so dreadful that General Fremont and his brave soldiers never dared to try to go through them.
It is a native of America, but it has been taken to Europe and Africa, and now grows in the latter country in great profusion. It grows so well
knife. in dry, sandy
Thelines soil that it has
turn silproved a great
very white and remain on the leaf, clear and distinct, for years and years. On New Year's Day, these vegetable cards are especially convenient, and ladies who
wish to keep the calls of
that day apart from those of other days, appropriate a branch of
the cactus to that purpose. boon to
One gentleman in Cape Town has a cactus plant the Kaf- which is nearly fifteen feet high. Its great thick firs, who leaves are almost all in use as visiting-cards, so
often, in that he has a complete and lasting record of his seasons of drought, almost live on the prickly visitors. It cannot be said that this practice adds fruit, while hungry cattle will greedily eat the to the beauty of the plant, but then it is oddity and leaves. As for the ostrich, it simply revels in not beauty that is desired in such cases. dainty morsels of cactus-leaf bristling with sharp There is one cactus, not so plentiful as that just spines.
described, which is of a very accommodating charBut, after all, the oddest use of the cactus pre- acter. It not only has smooth leaves, but the spines vails in Cape Town, South Africa, where its leaves it has are so large and stiff that they can be used are made to serve the purpose of visiting-cards. as pens for writing on the leaves. Fancy carrying about in your coat-pocket a lot of
J. R. C.
THE GORDON BOYS' HOME IN LONDON.
I the Bugg Guit Readus gft Nechelen magas materia canh Last Persyara's kestuste
Our older readers are no doubt familiar, through the newspapers, they are more exposed to temptation and more readily led into the with the leading incidents in the career of that brave and philan- downward path than at any other time of life. Desiring to extend thropic English General, Charles George Gordon, whose advent- to such lads a helping hand, the Gordon Boys' Home appeals for urous and helpful life came to a close in the Soudan, last winter, aid from all those who, in various parts of the world, have learned Lord Tennyson has sent to the readers of ST. NICHOLAS, with the to regard with admiration the life of General Gordon, and who wish above personal greeting in his own handwriting, an announcement to bring his example home to those he worked so hard to benefit. of a proposed charitable institution in London, which is to be estab- The Committee's circular states that subscriptions may be sent to lished as a memorial of General Gordon.
the Lord Mayor of London at the Mansion House, or to Mr. George Among the many philanthropic thoughts that animated the British C. Russell, Secretary of the Gordon Boys' Home, 20 Cockspur street, hero was a desire to help, in some practical way, the poor boys London, S. W., from whom all desired information may be obtained. of overcrowded London. And the committee having the memorial This announcement is of special interest to our young readers in charge wisely concluded that in no better manner could they in England. But General Gordon's memory belongs to all the honor his memory and perpetuate his unselfish devotion than in English-speaking race, and there are many Americans who share founding an institution that should rescue English boys of the the British admiration of the heroic soldier -- among them, our own poorer classes from the criminal influences amid which so many poet, Whittier, who expressed a desire that the Laureate should grow to manhood in that vast metropolis.
write a poem on Gordon. This wish came to the knowledge of Lord Lord Tennyson, to whom General Gordon had often expressed Tennyson, and he sent to Mr. Whittier the following note containing his benevolent wish, Archdeacon Farrar, and other distinguished lines which the English poet had written for the Gordon monument Englishmen whose names are familiar on both sides of the sea, have in Westminster Abbey : interested themselves in the project, and a committee has been Dear Mr. WHITTIER: Your request has been forwarded to me, appointed to perfect and execute the plan which has grown out of and I herein send you an epitaph for Gordon in our Westminster General Gordon's own desire.
Abbey - that is, for his cenotaph: It is designed that the Gordon Boys' Home should accommodate about 500 boys, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, and give
“Warrior of God, man's friend, not here below,
But somewhere dead far in the waste Soudan,them a training that shall prepare them for a self-supporting and helpful career. It is at this period of life that growing boys really need
Thou livest in all hearts, for all men know help. Too old to continue in the institutions designed for the care of
This earth hath borne no simpler, nobler man." children, and too young to engage in the real struggle of existence, With best wishes, yours very faithfully,
Quebec, November 7, 1885: letter worth putting in your magazine, I would not like to take up MY DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Your interesting and useful magazine too much of your valuable space, so I will bid you good-bye for the pleases me very much. I have been reading over the letters from present. Yours very truly,
BELLE the little girls and boys in your Letter-Box, and I thought I might contribute one also. 'I notice that most of them are written by little American children, but I am a little Canadian girl, ten years of age, and live in the old-fashioned city of Quebec, which I know
ALEXANDRIA, VA., November 10, 1885. all your people think a very funny place; some call it the “old Cu- DEAR ST. NICHOLAS : You were given to me last Christmas, as a riosity Shop.". I don't see anything so very queer about it, but I present, and though I received many nice presents, you give me suppose that is because I have lived here all my life. I know we more pleasure than all. I am always so glad when you come, for ! have some very jolly times in it, especially in the winter.
love to read your grand stories, and I think the little “ Brownies erally have snow about this time of year, but this season we had snow are the cutest little creatures, and especially the industrious Irishon the zist of October; it was about three inches deep, but did not man and the lazy "Dude." I was so sorry when “Driven Back to remain, and it has been raining now for a week. I suppose you
Eden" was finished. I was reading in the History of New York have heard of our winter sports, - tobogganing, snow-shoeing, skat,
that when the Dutch first settled that place, some sailed over in a ing, etc. The one I enjoy most is sliding, and we have some grand ship called the “Goede Vrouw," on the prow of which was carved hills here. Our winters are almost too long, though; and they are so an image of St. Nicholas ; so that was the first time St. Nicholas cold! The snow also is so deep that I have great trouble in getting ever visited America, and I know he has, from that time to this, to school, and sometimes have to put on my snow-shoes to help me given many little girls and boys very much pleasure, and although along. Last year the snow in some of our narrow streets reached he used to come only at Christmas, we are glad that he still has his such a height, that in walking along we looked into the second-story headquarters at New York, and comes once a month instead of once windows of the houses, and indeed with some of the small ones we a year. I live in the quaint old city of Alexandria, Virginia, in sight could almost have seen down the chimney, which would have been of the church in which General Washington worshiped, and I have very convenient for you, St. Nicholas.
frequently sat in his pew, and have visited " Mt Vernon," his home. I have a great deal more to say, but in case you should think my
Your devoted reader,
PIERRE, D. T.
BROOKLYN, October. Dear ST. NICHOLAS: I am a little girl eleven years old, and Dear St. NichoLAS: I have taken you for five years, and enlive out on a claim in Dakota. I look forward very eagerly for the joy reading your stories very much. I have been away thirteen coming of your bright pretty face every month, and enjoy every- weeks this summer, and I have had a delightful time. Just before thing there is to read, from the first to the last page.
I came home we went nutting, and gathered twenty-eight quarts of I lived in the Black
Hills” two years. I keep wondering all the hickory-nuts and about six quarts of butternuts. I enjoyed gathertime how Mr. Palmer Cox ever thought of anything so funny as ing the nuts very much, as I never had been nutting before. the pictures of those Brownies," all so different and so many of I am very fond of drawing, and one day, as I was taking a walk them. We have a hearty laugh over every picture.
in the woods, I found a turtle and I drew him. I have also drawn I have a pony to ride.
five or six pictures of my brother's dog. Papa caught me two "jack-rabbits"; they grow to be immense
LOUISIANA W. fellows; their ears are almost as long as mules'. They are white in the winter and gray in summer.
This is my first letter to a paper of any kind. I hope it will not prove tiresome. With the best wishes, from your loving reader,
LAWRENCEVILLE, TIOGA Co., Pa., November, 1885. SIBYL M. SAMMIS. Dear ST. NICHOLAS: I am a little boy about six years old. I
take the ST. NICHOLAS, and have taken it a long time. I can read
BROOKLYN, N. Y. the most of it, and was very much delighted with the two stories, DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: My papa has a friend who is an artist, and “ His One Fault" and ". Driven Back to Eden." I read the he came to see us the other evening and told us that he had been “Patient Cat" to many visitors. “The Coast-Guard " I have “studying up old costumes," and then he made a funny drawing for learned to recite, as weil as many others. In cold weather, I have us children. He said it showed how "children used to dress three the most dangerous kind of croup, and am very much confined to hundred years ago, when good Queen Bess was on the throne of the house. So dear “ST. NICK is a most welcome visitor. I England." We were all delighted with the drawing, and he gave have a papa and mamma, and Cousin Julie lives with me.
it to us. The other day we asked him if we mightn't send it to St. not write well enough, so Grandmamma writes for me. I live in a Nicholas, for other children to see, and he said we might. So pretty old town in the hills of northern Pennsylvania, and am very here it is. Isn't it funny? Mamma said the children's dresses happy here, where I remain, your constant reader and loving friend, were almost as stiff as the furniture. I think so too.
WASHINGTON, D. C., October 25, 1885. LONDON, October 26, 1885. Dear ST. NICHOLAS: 1 take you every month and always enjoy DEAR ST. NICHOLAS : It was asked by. William S. Torrance, in reading your interesting stories. 'Your November number came the the October number of ST. NICHOLAS, which legs the tadpole has other day, and I was surprised to see such a different cover on you, first. The fore-legs come first. I had one that I caught and kept but I like it much better than the old one. Then, too, it will be very nice in a pickle-jar. I watched the tail gradually disappear.The change to look for the sign of the Zodiac every month. I have read your first took from three weeks to a month. I had a friend who tried to chapter of “Little Lord Fauntleroy," and I think it is very interesting keep, some in a tin pail, but they always died. Since the Augustindeed. It does not take me long to read you, and then when I finish number was issued, I have traveled from my home in San Francisco I wish it was time for your next number to come. to London, but I still take St. Nicholas with the same interest. I I must not write any more, for fear of making my letter too long remain, your constant reader,
MAMIE MACD. for your valuable space. Your affectionate reader, MARY R. C.
SOUTH ORANGE, November, 1885. DEAR ST. NICHOLAS : We are two girls, twelve and thirteen years old. We shall not tell you which is twelve or which is thirteen, but shall leave you to guess. We like the ST. NICHOLAS very much, and think it is the nicest magazine we have ever read. We are very glad Miss Alcott has begun to write again, as we like her stories very much.
Last month's number was very interesting; and we are anxiously expecting the Christmas number.
NELLIE N. and BESSIE F.
BALTIMORE, August. DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I want to tell you of a little trick that your readers may like to know. It is to tell how many spots are on dice without looking at them. A pair of dice being thrown, tell the thrower to count the spots on one of them, and add five to the sum, then to multiply the result by five, and to add to the product the number of spots on the remaining die. This being done, request the thrower to name the amount, and after subtracting twenty-five from it, the remaining number will consist of two figures, which will be the same as those on the dice.
TOLEDO, Ohio. Dear ST. NICHOLAS: We are three cousins, and we are visiting our Grandma - at least two of us are. One of us lives here, and he is the one who takes you. We saw a letter in your August number where three wrote in one letter, and we are going to do the same.
I am George; I am going to do the writing because I take you. I would write with ink, only Grandma wont let me. I like “ His One Fault" better than any other story; I always read it first. I began to take you last year, and I think you are just splendid. I have one pet, it is a parrot; he says lots of things; his name is Jock.
I am Amos; I like you so well that Mamma is going to take you for my brother Art and me. I have no pets, but I have a bicycle; I am just learning to ride it, so I get a great many falls.
I am Art; I don't read any stories at all; I am too young, but Grandma reads all the letters, poetry, and Brownies to me. I have found the dude and policeman in all the pictures. I live in Detroit, so does Amos. We hope you will print this; it has taken us two hours to write it.
GEORGE (9), AMOS (8), ART (4).
PEMBROKE, November 3, 1885. DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I do not think any of your little readers look forward to the coming of St. NICHOLAS with more pleasure than I do. I am eleven years old, and go to school every day. I have a great number of dolls, with which I amuse myself. I am counting the days till the snow comes, for I am anxious to go out sliding. I have two sleighs, one called “Go Ahead," and the other, “Lucy Long"; the former is the best, and can beat any sleigh in town.
Now, dear ST. NICHOLAS, I think I have written enough, so I will close my letter with best wishes for the coming season.
MILWAUKEE, November 5, 1885. Dear ST. NICHOLAS: My Uncle Jim sends you to me every year. I am seven years old, and I have a bank; and if Uncle Jim does not send you to me this Christmas, I am going to take three dollars out of my bank and send it to you myself, because I love you so much.
TOLEDO, Ohio. DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: My brother George, and my cousins, Amos and Art, wrote to you about two weeks ago, and are waiting impatiently for the next ST. NICHOLAS. I live'way out in the country, and as no little girls live near us, and the boys will not play with a girl, I have a pretty lonesome time of it; but I should be still more lonesome if my dear St. NICHOLAS did not come the twenty-sixth of every month, It is the only thing I have to read, as it is the only child's book in the house. Now, what do the children think of that, who have lots and lots of books of their own? We began to take you last September : you were my birthday present, and this year you are to be George's. My favorite stories are “Little Britomartis" and “ Driven Back to Eden.” I am glad school has commenced, but the boys are not; boys are not the least bit like girls, are they?
Yesterday was my birthday; I received a cover for my Sr. NICHOLASES, a ring, some note-paper, and a handkerchief.
I remain your friend, URANIA.
BRISTOL, October 4, 1885. My Dear ST. NICHOLAS: I am a little girl ten years old, with one brother, papa, and mamma. In summer we go to our cottage at the seaside. I want to tell you about a spider I saw down there. One day my cousin and friend and I went out on the rocks, and we saw a spider with a lot of fuzzy things all over his back. I stepped on him, and what do you think the fuzzy things were? They were little bits of spiders about as big as a pin-head. If I had known that they were baby spiders taking a ride on their mother's back, I don't think I should have put my foot on them.
We have taken St. Nicholas for seven years and have them all bound, and we read them more than any of our other books. Hoping that I shall always have ST. NICHOLAS, I am, Your constant reader,
Ash CAÑON, HUACHUCA MTS., ARIZONA. DEAR ST. NICHOLAS : We are two friends who have come out
Dear St. NICHOLAS : We are two little boys who live at Helena,
Montana. here to live. Our winter home is in Tombstone, a town about thirty
We spent last summer at Nahant, Massachusetts, with
Uncle Martin and Auntie Anna. We had never seen the ocean miles from here. There are live-oaks all over the place, and we think it ought to be called Oak Cañon instead of Ash.
till we came there, and Uncle Martin made up a verse about us; We had quite an excitement, last spring, about the Indians (the perhaps you would like to hear it. Apache tribe), who came out of their reservation and were killing people all through New Mexico and Arizona; but there were twelve “Cornelius and Alfred came out from the West men here, so we were not much afraid, and most of the danger is
All on a bright summer's day, past now.
To see the great ocean, so bright and so blue, The only things we are much afraid of now are rattlesnakes, taran
To read the St. Nick, and make hay." tulas, centipedes, and scorpions; some of each of them have been found here since we came.
Aunt Anna says the poetry is trash, but we like it immensely! All the girls on the ranch have been poisoned by the poison oak We found a very funny flower that grows in Montana, and we do vine. The poison comes out on the face and hands; they swell up not know the name. Perhaps you or some of your readers can tell and a sort of rash spreads over them; it is anything but pleasant. us, as we have often seen questions answered in your dear Letter
We have a great many pets,- six dogs, four cats, five pigeons, box. It had six long, dark-red petals, with a bright yellow center; a canary-bird, a burro (donkey), and ever so many cows and horses the stamens were rather short with large heads; and the stem was and chickens.
long and thin. We must now say good-bye, as we are afraid this letter will be too
We think the St. NICHOLAS is the very best book there is, and long, and we want it to be published, as it is the first we have ever “ His One Fault" perfectly fine. written to a magazine.
PENELOPE AND DOROTHY.
Please thank Mr. Trowbridge for us, and do print our letter in the
ALFRED SIMPSON NDEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I want to tell you about a cat that we know. Her name is Daisy, and she is a Maltese. Her master has taught her to stand on a table, about two and a half yards off from him, while in one hand he holds a hoop covered with tissue paper, through which she jumps, and lands on his shoulder. Jumping
ST. PETERSBURG, Sept. 29, 1885, through two rings - one inside the other - and through a very small Dear St. NICHOLAS: America is my native country, but just one just large enough to let her body go through, are some of her now I am traveling in Europe with my parents, brother, and two tricks. Daisy can also swing: jump over her master's hands, turn friends; and I thought you might like to hear from one of your liule somersaults and walk the tight-rope. Of course, after cach trick readers in the far-off city of Petersburg her master gives her a piece of meat.
One day we all took a drosky ride, and as a drosky accommoYour constant reader, E. F. G. dates but one passenger, we each had a separate one except brother