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“ You can't put her out,” said Martha to her husband; "she's the best little thing; but it is wonderful the mischief she does. She just goes from one thing to another all day long."
The fact is, baby once got a pan of molasses pulled over on her head, and once fell, head first, into her mother's wash-tub, which luckily had not at the time very hot water in it; and once she pulled the tap out of her mother's cask of beer, and got herself pretty well blinded and soaked with the spurting liquid. But all these things did not disturb her serenity, and she took all the washings and dressings and scoldings that followed with such jolly good humor that the usual amusement, when her father and brothers came home, was the recital of Pussy's adventures for the day; and Pussy, sitting on her father's knee and discovering herself to be the heroine of the story, would clap her hands and crow and laugh as loud as any of them.
“She's got more laugh in her than a whole circus,” said John Primrose. “I don't want no theatre nor no opera when I can have her"; - and her brothers, who used to be gone whole evenings over at a neighboring tavern, gradually took to staying at home to have a romp with little Pussy. When the hay about the old house was mown, they had capital times, tumbling and rolling with little Pussy in the sweet grass, and covering her up and
letting her scratch out again, and toss the hay about in her little fat hands, enchanted to find that there was one thing that she could play with and not be called “ Naughty baby!” or have “No! no !” called in her ear.
In my next I will tell you all about what little Pussy had to play with, and what she did, when she got older.
Harriet Beecher Stowe. VOL. II. — NO. X.
AFLOAT IN THE FOREST :
OR, A VOYAGE AMONG THE TREE-TOPS.
AN HOUR OF SUSPENSE.
C CARCE had the canoe with its living freight faded out of sight, when
Trevannion repented his rashness in permitting his nephew to risk his life in a scheme so ill understood as the tapuyo's.
He had no suspicion of the Indian's good faith. It was not that that caused him regret; only a certain compunction for having so easily consented to expose to a dread danger the life of his brother's son,-a life intrusted to his care, and for which he should be held answerable by that brother, should it be his fortune ever to see him again.
But it was of no use to indulge in these regrets. They were now idle. The act which had caused them was beyond recall. The canoe must go on to its destination. What was that ? Trevannion could not even conjecture. He only knew that Munday had started for the malocca ; but his purpose in going there was as much a mystery as though he had pretended to have gone on a voyage to the moon.
Trevannion even felt angry with the tapuyo, now that he was out of reach, for having concealed the plan of his enterprise and the extent of the danger to be encountered. But there was now no alternative but to await the return of the tapuyo, or the time that would tell he was never more to return.
It had been fixed by the Indian himself, in a speech whispered into the ear of Trevannion as he pushed off the canoe. It was this :—“A word, Patron! If we 're not back before daylight, stay where you are till to-morrow night. Then, if it be dark, do as we proposed for to-night. Steal out and away. But don't fear of our failing. I only say that for the worst. The Mundurucú has no fear. Pa terra! in an hour's time we shall be back, bringing with us what we 're in need of, — something that will carry us clear of our enemies and of the Gapo.”
So the party remained seated on the log. Each had his own conjecture about Munday's plan, though all acknowledged it to be a puzzle.
The surmise of Tipperary Tom was sufficiently original. “I wondher now,” said he, “if the owld chap manes to set fire to their town! Troth, it 's loike enough that 's what he 's gone afther. Masther Dick sayed it was ericted upon scaffolds wid bames of wood an' huts upon them that looked loike the laves of threes or dry grass. Shure them would blaze up loike tindher, an' create a moighty conflagrayshin.”
The opinion of Tom's auditors did not altogether coincide with his. To set the malocca on fire, even if such a thing were possible, could do no good. The inhabitants would be in no danger from conflagration. They would only have to leap into the flood to save themselves from the fire; and, as they could all swim like water-rats, they would soon recover a footing among the trees. Besides, they had their great rafts and canoes, that would enable them to go wherever they wished. They could soon erect other scaffolds, and construct other huts upon them. Moreover, as Munday and Richard had informed them, the scaffolds of the malocca were placed a score of yards apart. The flames of one would not communicate with the other through the green foliage of that humid forest. To fire the whole village with any chance of success, it would be necessary to have an incendiary under each scaffold, all applying the torch together. It could not be for that purpose the tapuyo had gone forth.
While engaged in the debate, they got so engrossed by it as to become neglectful of a duty enjoined upon them by the tapuyo, to keep a strict watch over the captive. It was Tipperary Tom and the Mozambique who had been charged with this guardianship. Both, however, confident that it was impossible for the savage to untie himself, had only glanced now and then to see that he was there, his bronze-colored body being scarcely visible in the obscurity.
As it grew darker, it was at length impossible for them to distinguish the captive from the brown surface of the ceiba, except by stooping down over him, and this both neglected to do. Little dreamt they of the sort of creature they were dealing with, who could have claimed rivalry with the most accomplished professors of the famous rope-tricks.
As soon as he saw that the eyes of his sentinels were no longer upon him, he wriggled himself out of the sipos with as much ease as if he had been an eel, and, sliding gently from the log, swam off.
It was a full half-hour after his departure before either of the sentinels thought of giving any attention to the state of their prisoner. When they did so, it was to find him gone, and the coils of tree-rope lying loosely upon the log. With simultaneous exclamations of alarm, they turned towards Trevannion, and then all looked in the direction of the lagoa, thinking they might see a swimmer going out. Instead of that they saw, through the dim light, what appeared to be a fleet of canoes, with men in them violently wielding their paddles, and directing their crafts right into the arcade!
SCUTTLING THE CANOES.
THE Mundurucú and his young companion, having paddled their craft out of the little creek, turned its head towards the Mura village. Though the fires were no longer blazing so brightly as at an earlier hour of the night, there was still a red glow seen here and there, that told the position of the scaffolds, and served as a beacon to direct their course. But they needed no such pilotage. The border of the forest was their guide, and along this