By this time grandpapa had finished reading his newspaper and came to the children. He took them to the cow-house to see the new calf, and he lifted Annie up to let her stroke it; but the mother looked so fierce that they did not care to stay long there. Then they went into the yard to see the pigs. The little pigs looked so funny running about the large, clean sty, as if they loved the bright sunshine and liked to play about in it. But when they fed they would put their feet in the trough, and this was not very mannerly of them.
By the time the children had paid a visit to all the old places they were getting rather tired, and then they went back to the house.
LISTENING IN THE WOODS.
“I hear the blackbird telling
His love-tale to his mate;
And the merry skylark swelling
The choir at ‘heaven’s gate.’
The cuckoo away in the thicket
Is giving his two old notes;
And the pet doves hung by the wicket
Are talking with ruffled throats.
The honey-bee hums as he lingers
Where shadows on clover heads fall;
And the wind with leaf-tipped fingers,
Is playing in concert with all.”
Now grandpapa’s house, Woodside, stood on the side of a wood; in fact there was only a grassy road between the gates and the wood itself.
Such a wood! with large old elms and oaks and other trees. In the more open spaces were trees and bushes of hawthorn, now completely covered with white blossom, the pretty May-bloom. There too grew primroses, violets, wild hyacinths, besides a long list of other wild flowers, ferns, and feathery green moss.
One fine day grandmamma took the children herself across the road into the wood. She sat down in one of the open spaces upon the trunk of a fallen tree, while the children played at hide-and-seek among the bushes or picked the wild flowers.
By-and-by they came back to grandmamma, who was reading while they were playing about, and said, “Grandmamma, will you tell us about papa when he was a little boy?”
Grandmamma took off her spectacles, shut her book, and the children sat down quite close to her, on the grass at her feet.
Then she began:—“When your father and your uncle and aunts, were about as old as you are now, they came with me into this very place one summer day.
“After they had played awhile they came to me, and I said to them, ‘Children, what do you hear?’
“‘Hear, mother?’ they said; ’why, nothing in particular. What is there to hear?’
“‘Well,’ I said, ’now all of you shut your eyes and listen, and don’t speak till I tell you.’
“After a short time I told them to open their eyes; and I asked John, who was the eldest, what he had heard.