1874 BUBBLES BY JOEL STACY St Nicholas Volume 1
This is a moralistic tale with a soap bubble theme and packaged for kids.
That said, I think it's an interesting read and well written. Entertaining even.
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BUBBLES by Joel S. Stacy
IT is so long since it happened, my dears, that whenever I think about it, the youngest of my acquaintances fade quite out of sight; dear middle- aged faces grow rosy and youthful; Mary, my grave little wife, suddenly goes dancing down the garden path with a skipping-rope; our worn-out old Dobbin becomes a frisky colt; the tumbled-
down affair yonder, behind the pile of brush, straightens itself into a trim, freshly-painted wood- shed; and-well the long and short of it is this : the memory of that day always carries me back to the time when I was a little bit of a boy.
You see, I sat on the porch blowing soap-bubbles. I remember it just as if it were yesterday. The roses were out and the wheelbarrow had a broken leg ; the water in the well was low, and if you tried to climb up on the curb to look down into it you'd have someone screeching for you to "come away from there." But you could do what you pleased on the porch. It was so warm and sunny that mother let me leave off my shoes as a matter of course. It seems to me that I can remember just how the hot boards felt to the soles of my tiny, bare feet. Certainly I can recall how Ponto looked exactly (he has been dead these dozen years, poor fellow!). The lather must have been precisely right, for I know it worked beautifully. Such bubbles as I blew that morning I What colors they displayed I How lightly they sailed up into the clear air I Sometimes a little one with a bead at the end-a failure-would fall upon Ponto's nose and burst so quickly that I couldn't tell whether its bursting made him blink or his blinking made it burst. Sometimes a big one would float off in the sunlight and slowly settle upon the soft grass, where it would rock for an instant, then snap silently out of sight, leaving only a glistening drop behind. And sometimes - - But here I must begin afresh.
The little girl who lived next door very soon came and leaned her bright head out of the win- dow. A bubble had just started at the end of my pipe. I didn't look up; but I knew she was watching me, and so I blew and blew just as gently and steadily as I could, and the bubble grew big- bigger, bigger, until at last it almost touched my nose. Looking down upon it I saw first the blue sky, then perfect little apple-tree branches, with every speck of a leaf complete, then I saw the house, then the window, with the sash lifted, and then I saw the little girl!
This made me shout with joy. I looked up, but the little girl was gone. Probably she had bobbed her bead back into the room. It was just like little girls, to do so, you know. Then I 'blew others', and knew she was watching me again ; and, all of a sudden, mother called me. " Is that all? Did n't the little girl fall out of the window, or nothing?"
Heart alive I What ever put such a thought into your heads?
Fall out of the window, indeed I can't remember much more about that summer. It seems to me. that there were peaches, and that Ponto learned to draw a wagon ; but I'm not sure whether that happened just then or a year or two afterward.
The next thing that comes up is a school-room. I must have been a big boy by that time, for I remember having my pockets full of marbles, also I remember having a black eye on account of a fellow named Townley. (Townley is in the cigar business now.) Besides, I was in fractions, and, though I didn't care very much for study, I didn't want her to think I was stupid. Who? Did n't I tell you? Why, a little girl who went to the same school,-a little girl in a pink calico dress and a white sun-bonnet. She had a way of dropping her books on her way home from school, I remember, and w.e fellows used to grab for them so as to have the fun of handing them to her. Well, the way I used to try to get up head in the classes when she was there was astonishing. The other fellows tried to show off in the same way, too; but I knew by the way that she didn't ever notice me. unless I spoke to her that she thought my bubble was the biggest. You see it was only blowing bubbles again, after all.
Well, time flew along, and at last a war came.
I was a fine, stout fellow then ; mother said I could go,-bless her brave heart l-and I went. Ah, children I such sights as I saw I Such scenes as we passed through I But we won't talk of them now. It's enough to say, that though I felt patriotic and all that, I wanted to distinguish myself -well, I don't mind telling you in confidence-so that Somebody with brown, laughing eyes and a gentle voice would be almost as proud as mother to see me coming back with honors.
Blowing bubbles again, you’ll observe.
Once more time flew along. Why not ? And again I found myself trying-this time to make money. The day, as I look back, is so close that the old faces put on their own look again, and the young acquaintances come to light once more, and Mary, my wife, no longer skipping down the garden path, sits at her little work-table sewing.
Well, as I remarked, this time I am trying to make money. There is a great excitement in Wall street. Men are being made rich or poor in an hour. I have a good, steady clerkship, but a chance for blowing a great big, big bubble comes to me. I can see a happy face already looking up at me from its golden surface.
She shall be rich now I blow and blow, and the bubble bursts I All gone,-gone in a flash,-the savings of years I Ruined ! ruined I hurry home-though it is but the middle of the day. No one there. I sit down in a chair and think. Ruined? Not a bit of it. Haven't I health and honesty and strength? Have n't I mother and haven't I Mary and haven't I little Joe?
With this thought I stepped to the back window and looked out. Surely enough there sat the little fellow, and, as sure as I live, if the young scamp was n't blowing bubbles I And, if you '11 believe me, the little girl next door was leaning out of the window watching him I Just then, Mary came in, - I mean just now, for the fact is I'm writing about this very day. And Mary and I both think it isn't such a very dreadful thing, after all, to lose a few hundred dollars, for I have my clerkship yet, and I 'm determined never to speculate with my savings again. No, I'm going to be a steady, faithful, hard-working fellow, and Mary and mother and Joe and I are going to be just as comfortable and happy as chippy birds -and - you see, I am blowing this new bubble so slowly and cautiously in the sunlight that I know it will be all safe. And right in the heart of it I see Mary- Mary who has looked brightly up at me from every bubble that I have ever blown in all my life.