I thought I would not begin moral lectures at once, but seize a more opportune time to compare the relative claims of Sunday-school and circus.
“You’ve got things fixed up mighty handy here, haven’t yer? It’s most as good as Woodward’s Gardens,—fishes—’nd c’nary birds—’nd flowers—’nd pictures—is there stories to any of ’em?”
“Stories to every single one, Patsy! We’ve just turned that corner by the little girl feeding chickens, and to-morrow we shall begin on that splendid dog by the window.”
Patsy’s face was absolutely radiant with excitement. “Jiminy! I’m glad I got in in time for that!—’nd ain’t that a bear by the door thar?”
“Yes; that’s a mother bear with cubs.”
“Has he got a story too?”
“Everything has a story in this room.”
“Jiminy! ’ts lucky I didn’t miss that one! There’s a splendid bear in a s’loon on Fourth Street,—mebbe the man would leave him go a spell if you told him what a nice place you hed up here. Say, them fishes keep it up lively, don’t they?—s’pose they’re playin’ tag?”
“I shouldn’t wonder,” I said smilingly; “it looks like it. Now, Patsy, I must be going home, but you shall come to-morrow, at nine o’clock surely, remember! and the children will be so glad to have another little friend. You’ll dress yourself nice and clean, won’t you?”
“Well, I should smile! but these is the best I got. I got another part to this hat, though, and another pocket belongs with these britches.” (He alternated the crown and rim of a hat, but was never extravagant enough to wear them at one time.) “Ain’t I clean? I cleaned myself by the feelin’!”
“Here’s a glass, dear; how do you think you succeeded?”
“Jiminy! I didn’t get much of a sweep on that, did I now? But don’t you fret, I’ve got the lay of it now, and I’ll just polish her off red-hot to-morrer, ’n don’t you forgit it!”
“Patsy, here’s a warm bun and a glass of milk; let’s eat and drink together, because this is the beginning of our friendship; but please don’t talk street words to Miss Kate; she doesn’t like them. I’ll do everything I can to make you have a good time, and you’ll try to do a few things to please me, won’t you?”
Patsy looked embarrassed, ate his bit of bun in silence, and after twirling his hat-crown for a few seconds hitched out of the door with a backward glance and muttered remark which must have been intended for farewell.
TWO ’PRENTICE HANDS AT PHILANTHROPY.
“With aching hands and
We dig and heap, lay stone on stone;
We bear the burden and the heat
Of the long day and wish ’t were done.
Not till the hours of light return
All we have built do we discern.”
Patsy had scarcely gone when the door opened again the least bit, and a sunny face looked in, that of my friend and helper.