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On the way back through the garden, Mr. Peterkin asked some more about the camelopard, or giraffe.
“ The French call it the giraffe," said Elizabeth Eliza.
“Let us call it the giraffe, then,” said Mr. Peterkin ; “then we shall learn a little French ; and, to be wise, it is best to learn all we can."
“ It feeds on the leaves of trees,” said Solomon John. “ It is tall enough to crop them.”
Mrs. Peterkin stopped, and exclaimed, “ An animal like a rabbit turned the other way, tall enough to feed on the leaves of trees! Solomon John, you must be mistaken!”
“ The trees in that country,” said Elizabeth Eliza, “are not so high, perhaps." “Do let us go and see,” cried the little boys, impatiently.
Well,” said Mr. Peterkin, " perhaps we had better not wait any longer." They all went out into the street, and walked along in a row,- Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin, Agamemnon and Elizabeth Eliza, Solomon John and the little boys.
It might have made people stare, but all the other families in the village were on their way to the menagerie, which was open for the first time that afternoon.
The little boys would have liked to stop outside to see the picture of the Two-Headed Woman, but Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin hurried them in.
There was a great crowd inside the tent, and Elizabeth Eliza thought she heard some bears roar. The little boys stopped the first thing to look at the monkeys.
“Papa,” they asked, “ do not monkeys usually have grinding organs ? "
“I have seen them with grinding organs in the streets,” said Mr. Peterkin, “but I should not expect it in a menagerie.”
Mrs. Peterkin passed on to the ostrich.
The family hurried her on. “ That is the ostrich ; don't you see it is a bird ?” said Agamemnon.
“Let us stop and look at it,” said Mr. Peterkin.
“ It does look like a camel, ma'am,” said the keeper, “and, like the camel, it inhabits the desert. It will eat leather, grass, hair, iron, stones, or anything that is given, and its large eggs weigh over fifteen pounds."
“Dear me, how useful !” said Mrs. Peterkin ; “ I think we might keep one to eat up the broken crockery, and one egg would last for a week ; and what a treasure to have at Thanksgiving !”
But there were so many things to look at, the Peterkins had very little chance to talk or to ask questions.
There was a polar bear, walking up and down his cage, as if he were looking for the North Pole.
Then there were some porcupines with orange-colored teeth, and some owls whose eyes were very large and round.
“ I should like an owl,” said Mr. Peterkin to his wife; “they look very wise.". “ Yes,” said Mrs. Peterkin, “ their wisdom must come from looking at things, their eyes are so very large.”
So she opened her eyes wide, and went and looked at a jaguar.
They soon came to the giraffe. “It is a tall animal,” exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin ; “ do they have many of them in the country this comes from ?" she asked of the keeper.
“ Half of him is a 'ship of the desert,'” cried one of the little boys, " the other half is a leopard."
But no one paid any attention to what he said.
“ It must be hard to ride him," said Solomon John, “there is such a slope from his head to his tail."
“ He is quite different from a rabbit,” said Mrs. Peterkin ; “there is such a difference in the length of the legs, and this animal is very much taller than a rabbit.”
One of the little boys thought he should like to have a giraffe by a cherrytree, then he could coast down his back when he wanted to come down the tree.
The Peterkins stayed at the menagerie till it was quite dark, wandering round, and asking questions, and wondering at the strange animals they saw. At last, when they were outside the tent again, they counted up the children, and found the little boys were missing.
“ They must have stayed in with the monkeys,” said Elizabeth Eliza.
They all turned back to look for them ; but the doorkeeper would not let them go in without paying again.
To this Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin objected, and Mrs. Peterkin begged and entreated the doorkeeper to let her in ; how hard-hearted he was !
“Suppose his little boys should be left as food for lions,” she cried.“ “ Had not he any feelings ?”
The doorkeeper was so moved, that at'last he let in Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin, and Elizabeth Eliza, while Agamemnon and Solomon John waited outside.
But in vain they looked round; no little boys were found. Mrs. Peterkin stopped a long time in front of the tiger's cage ; the tiger looked quite wicked enough to have eaten the little boys, but the keeper explained to her that they could not have got in between the wires, even if they had tried.
Elizabeth Eliza looked closely among the monkeys, but could not find the little boys ; she could have told them by their india-rubber boots.
A number of stray little boys were brought to Mrs. Peterkin, but they were not the right ones.
The crowd was growing less, so it could be easily seen the little boys were not there, and they went sadly out.
Solomon John then suggested that perhaps they had gone in to see the Two-Headed Woman, so his father gave him a ticket to go in and see. He saw the Two-Headed Woman, but no little boys.
Mrs. Peterkin was filled with the blackest fears, and wanted to sit down and cry ; but the postmaster and his daughter came along, and the daughter advised Mrs. Peterkin to go home; she thought they might find them there, and she agreed to go home with her and Elizabeth Eliza. Meanwhile the postmaster and Mr. Peterkin were to walk round the enclosure in one direction, and Agamemnon and Solomon John in another direction, and two policemen were to pass through the middle.
This was done, and all the parties met in a place behind the tent of the Two-Headed Woman. And just there, sitting on a log, were the two little boys, each eating AN APPLE TART!
Lucretia P. Hale.
THE fields are filled with a smoky haze.
The golden spears
Of the ripening ears
'Tis very fine weather, Just as the almanac foretold. In early summer the brigand crow
Made ruthless raids
On the sprouting blades;
The shy field-mouse
Has filled her house, And the blackbirds are flocking from no one knows where. But now his time has come: hurrah !
To the field, lads ! to-day
Our work will be play.
Come along, one and all, boys !
Big boys and small boys,
Bring sickles to reap, or blades to strike.
Before they have lost
In sun and frost
Left standing too long,
They grow woody and strong ;
Set the stalks upright,
And pack them tight