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IT WAS terrible! All day long the< slaughter had gone on. First the torpedo battalions had marched on the field in their white and pink uniforms; and pafflbang! they had died, shattered against stone walls and sidewalks. They were the skirmishers. After them came the advance guard of the mixed troops, chasers and percussion caps and similar small fry. They, too, died where they stood, littering the field with their bodies. But long before they had all fallen the real line of battle had been form ed—the firecracker brigades, rank on rank in their red uniforms; and when they opened the engagement all along the front there was little to be heard of the scattered battles where the skirmishers were still dying by the thousand. Fierce soldiers were they, with royal Chinese blood in their veins. They loved to boast that they could trace back to ancestors who were set off by Confucius when he was a boy; and they were vain because some of their biggest relatives had not only died the death of heroes in battle, but had been mistaken for cannon when they exploded. So, although brigade after brigade of them was annihilated as fast as it, marched out, there was no fear or hesitation among those who were called on to take the place of the dead. Straight and firm they strode forth and exploded with military pre cision. They were fine men. General Punk, the commander-in-chief of the battle, looked at them with admiring fire in his eye as they dressed front before him—the big grenadier troops con sisting entirely of giants, each of whom was warranted to make the windows tremble; the fusiliers, who were three times as big as the rank file; the engineers, who were only half as tall as the fusiliers, but still towered over the heads of the rank and file; and the rank and file itself, numbering more than a thousand times a hundred thousand. "Goodness me!" muttered one of the flowerpots in the box on the < veranda, looking cautiously over the rim and immediately scuttling back into the box, "this is frightful. What on earth is the matter?'' "It's the great annual battle of Fourth of July, stupid," said a bat tered old veteran. He was scarred and mutiliated, for he had served through three years as a toy pistol, and had become a great military au thority. "I should imagine that you would know what you had enlisted for." "Alas! no, sir," said the flowerpots in chorus. "We thought that we were enlisted only to act as a sort of bodyguard." "Well," said the old toy pistol, scowling ferociously, "you will find out when dusk comes. All you troops in the box here are reserves; you will get orders to charge when the fire cracker brigades have met their glori ous deaths in battle. "I don't know exactly why v I am kept in reserve with you," continued the old veteran, "unless it be to com mand you. Usually my place is at the very front, and I am always call ed out before dawn. Two years ago 1 had shot two very fair wounds into a hoy before breakfast, and last year Uncle Sam's Birds WHILE Uncle Sam is busy getting ready to dig interoceanic canals and building up colonies and administering the great affairs of a do main extending from sunrise to sunrise, he still is not too busy to look after little things., such as birds. Indeed, the birds of the country are fast getting to be one of his hobbies. He takes his birds as he takes wars, and he is busy ing himself about everything connected with them, from their nests* to their food. The latter especially is some thing that interests him, for he wants tb hnd out just which birds, if any, do harm by eating crops and which ones help the country by eating insects. And even when he finds that certain birds eat insects exclusively, he isn't satisfied, because he wants to know whether or not they eat only harmful insects or whether they eat insects "that are valuable to the farmers, such as lady bugs and ichneumon flies, which kill the harmful bugs. So Uncle Sam has a small army of m.en scattered throughout the continent, all studying his birds. He has examined the stomachs of nearly forty-nine thousand hirds to determine exactly what they eat, and so care fiillv has this been done that he now possesses tables of figures showing the exact number and kinds of insects, -e°pds etc that were found m each stomach. Thi< work has been a sort of enlightened repetition of the strange work of the Middle Ages when people nL-Tto carry birds and animals solemnly before a judge ,idhave them tried for ruining crops If they were found guilty, they were sentenced to be hanged or d owned or burned alive. Uncle Sam's birds have been t ri ed for the same crimes, and the result has been not only that many species of birds have been acquitted triumphantly of the charge of being harmful, but the arSs have learned that by protecting certain b.rds the? Sn save time and money, because the feathered helpers destroy insects that otherwise would ruin whole \\\ birds aren't innocent, however. And as a result Uncle Sam?has established a regular quarantine against some birds to prevent them •■fromientenngthe country S?ll kmong these are the English starlings, which rp n larrelsome and belligerent that they • drive our are, bo Svp birds away Some of these have . managed to OWlV^f^s^Uh^^ctia>w ; . and , have established SloniS'afo^ts .of Middle; Atlantic seaboard. I nearly killed a calf before noon. This is too tame." "Oh, we don't think so at all," the pinwheels cried in chorus. "We haven't the faintest desire to burst like the firecrackers. Ugh! Think of our beautiful variegated dress uni forms, all made of the finest paper, af ter an explosion!"' "Well," growled the toy pistol, "you may think of your clothes all you please, but when the night comes they will order you out. You are the troops that will have to be nailed to your posts. And there you must stay whirling and twirling till you burst. There is really no way out of it." "Is that my old friend Sergeant Toy Pistol speaking?' asked a crack ed voice from the bottom of the box. "If so, perhaps he will condescend to talk a bit on this glorious anniversary with a superannuated comrade, Ser geant-Major Cannon." "Cannon! Cannon! My dear old tent-mate!" cried the toy pistol. "Why, I thought that you were dead and gone long ago. The last 1 saw of you, you were flying high up in the air after being loaded to the muzzle with powder and nails." "That was, indeed, a fierce engage ment,'' said Sergeant-Major Cannon, drawing himself up proudly andc leer ing at the flowerpots, who were look ing at him with admiration. "It is there that I got the rent in my side which has forced me to retire. I be lieve that I have been called out with these night reserves to act as a ham mer to drive the nails for the pin wheels." "Have you heard what my ,duties are to be?" asked the toy pistol. "My poor friend," replied the can non regretfully, "you are a prisoner. You were tried by court-martial and found guilty of having caused so many disasters that it was decided to keep you out of action hereafter." Instead of looking ashamed at these words, the toy pistol swelled up with vanity and stared so boldly at the pinwheels that they blushed. » "Ah," said, he, "I have certainly done my share of fighting in my time. The very first time I went off I took the tip of the finger off General Small boy, and he immediately exchanged me \Wth all the honors of war for a whole regiment of firecrackers. Un der my new commander I was charg ed to the muzzle, and every time I was fired I made so terrific a noise that we extracted ransom from a maiden aunt whose nerves were not good." "Do you remember the day you and I fought a duel?" asked Sergeant- Major Cannon with a. chuckle that made the p^per creep on the flower pots. "Do I?" responded the toy pistol, laughing a hoarse, blood-thirsty laugh. "I shot a hole into the dining room window and nearly killed old Uncle Moniman, and he revoked his will, and left all his wealth to an asy lum for teaching deaf Indians to make neckties." "And I, comrade." said the cannon, "hurled a pebble with such unparal leled precision and force that it went clean across the field and frightened the deacon's horse so that it upset the cart and stepped around in the crates of guaranteed fresh-laid eggs till there wasn't a single one left." "Ah, yes!" said the toy pjstol. "What rascals we were in our palmy days! It is hard to believe now." "But we had our sufferings, too," said the cannon. "I cannot describe the pain that shot through me when I got my wound. There I lay among Dorothy Ficken's Funny People We all meet this person. Natural ists call him the Gawkwalker, because he cannot walk without gawking. He steps into open coal holes and i on people's toes, and runs into chil- I dren and upsets their toys. the dead and mutitated of all ranks and degrees, and nobody to attend to me, for it was in the height fof battle. "I remember that a firecracker lay near me with a great hole blown into his side and he was crying for water, for he was afire and was burning up. But the generals were all too busy. My general, who was mounted on a magnificent charger of bamboo'with a big silver head, galloped up to me and said, 'Well, you're busted,' and that was all I got after my faithful service."' The fireworks in the box listened to tliis conversation with lively emo tions of apprehension and dismay. "Dear me," said a big can of Bengal fire, trying to pull down its lid even tighter than it was. "dear me! Is there no way of escaping from this scene of carnage?" "If we were' all to try at the same moment," said a pinwheel, "we might overturn the box and roll away into the grass, where we-could hide." "That isn't a bad idea," said the flowerpots. "Let us hold a meeting and decide on ways and means." The flowerpots knew'just how to do it. because some of the paper of which they were made consisted of The Gawkwalkei. SUNDAY MORNING, JULY 3, 1904. copies of the Congressional Record. This made it possible for them to speak eloquently on any subject, even one about which they knew nothing at all. But they were not allowed to go any further. The skyrocket, which had said nothing until now, but had stood in dignified silence in the cor ner of the box, spoke suddenly: "Do you mean to say that you would desert?" • The other fireworks were so abash ed that they did not answer with a single word. The Bengal fires, which had been just about to second the mo tion of the flowerpots enthusiastical ly, made believe that they had intend ed to cough. And the pinwheels said, "Hear! Hear!" and applauded softly. "It is. no doubt, hard to look for ward to death and destruction," said the skyrocket, "but* you have been made to burst, and you must do your duty. We must march forward brave ly, and at the word of command we must do all we can to make the most terrific report of which we are capable. That is required by our mili tary honor." The other fireworks were so im pressed that they immediately assumed Delights of the Amazon , ,"|I^^EOPLE wonder why the Amazon River still L^ is only half known," said a South American X traveler last week. "After a man has ascended - .. it a few hundred miles he knows the reason. "There is probably no region of the world that com bines so many big and little discomforts, as the Ama zon. Miserable weather, bad climate, poor food, diffi cult country, and dangers from men, beasts, serpents, insects, water and forest beset the explorer every foot of the way. "It is true that the grandeur of the primeval wilder ness along the mighty river is such as to remain in one's "heart and brain forever after one experience of it. But it is a grandeur so full of gloom, and even terror, that after a few weeks of traveling through it it be comes positively awesome and lies on one like a heavy weight and a warning of doom. "The gloom of the everlasting darkness of the for ests is hard enough to bear alone. For days at a time the explorer passes under over-arching trees, hung with serpentine creepers, through which not a ray of sun can penetrate, so that it is like going through a vast, damp cellar. The moisture is so constant and excessive that before long everything, from clothing to food, is reeking with a nauseating, mildewing wetness. And as there is no Sun to dry them, the result is that things soon begin to rot. "And all this while there is no road, either on land or river. The forest trails are usually half under water. The channel of the river is obstructed every little while by fallen trees. So the journey is an endless succession of paddling, wading, floundering through the woods, car rying the canoes over, rocks and fallen trees, around rapids, and even swimming occasionally. "Insects swarm around the party day and night. The worst of them all is our own familiar friend, the mos quito, which is the curse of the Amazon, being so fierce and plentiful that it drives even the hardened Amazon Indjans in wid flight to the upland at times. I have seen Indians whose bodies were masses of sores from the bites of mosquitoes. "Hardly a day passes without an adventure with snakes. There is a species of deadly tree snake, which is green and has the pleasant habit of hanging from a branch over the river till a canoe passes underneath, when it drops into the craft." grim looks of determination and ap peared so martial that Sergeant Toy Pistol and Sergeant-Major Cannon shook hands with tears of jojr and ex claimed: "This is the finest body of troops that we ever commanded.' Now, in reality, the skyrocket was the most frightened of them all. For it stood so tall on its three spraddly legs that it could see far and wide; so it saw the terrible sights of the battle —the obedient torpedoes, flying all to pieces as they struck; the nim ble chasers, darting here and there with blind courage, only to die in fire and smoke; and, worse than all, the regiments and corps and armies of the redcoats' the brave firecrackers, being hurled on the field in platoons to meet their terrible explosive deaths. Everywhere they lay; some smoul dering slowly away in agony; others with their bodies torn in two; still others with gaping holes in their straight, soldierly backs and sides; and thousands blown apart so utterly that there was nothing left of them except brilliant shreds of uniform. It was, however, not only the sight of the battle that made the skyrocket shudder. It had imagination and am bition, for it was made of paper on which a poet had written his thoughts. : The world- had not cared about them enough to read them; and, if the truth must be told, it was not very good poetry, for it was weak in pgjtt WCHg 5 construction and rheumatic in metre, and the rhyme did not always fit. So, instead of being printed, the poetry was respectfully declined by so many publishers that at last the poet, in stead of sending it out any more, of fered himself as a contribution to Death, who accepted him at once. The poetry wandered around from refuse heap to ash man, and from ash man to junk man till it reached the fireworks factory, where it was es teemed so much (not on account of the poetry, but on account of the quality of the paper) that it was re served for the very special skyrockets that were to cost not less than $2 each at retail. So, after all, it was doomed to rise high in the world, although not just as the poet had expected. Being so full of poetry, it was natural that the skyrocket should long for noble things and for fame. "Alas!" it sighed inwardly. "It is not death that I fear, but this inglori ous end of merely exploding. If I could only do one thing before I died to show a new beauty to the world, I would be content. But to burst into nasty, smoking, ill-smelling frag ments like these firecrackers!" And the skyrocket shuddered anew. It was natural that the skyrocket should suppose that all firework? were made only to burst with a loud noise into ugly pieces, for it saw noth ing else all day until the soft dusk came. Hardly had it become quite dark when the skyrocket was seized and carried out on the lawn. "This is going to be a beauty," said a voice. "Watch nw!" The skyrocket knew that the mo ment of its death had come and held its breath. All the poetry inside of it commenced to sing, and it was not poor poetry at all any more, but truly majestical and excellent. The nexi moment General Punk approached, and with an appalling hiss and scream the poetical skyrocket shot up in the air. Up, up it went, leaving a dazzling tail of tire behind it. It drove straight for a big red star, and for a moment the exulting skyrocket actually hoped that it would continue to fly till it got to him. But just then its heart grew flam ing hot. That was the burning pow der. And the next instant, with a bang! that was heard deep below on earth, the skyrocket burst. All the poetry flew out—each vcr^c by itself, in red. green, blue, gold ami purple, all glittering like spangles as they rained downward slowly, turning and twisting this way and that, and glittering with a new brilliancy with every motion. "Do you know what it looks like?" said a little girl to her father, who was a real poet. "It looks as if the gemmy feathers from the angel's wings were falling from heaven." "Why, you are a poet yourself!' • said her father, kissing her. He wrote it down, and one day he made a beautiful poem out of it—a poem that men are reciting and sing ing to-day. And it became so famous that at last the poet was asked how he came to write it. So he told them that it came from what his little girl had said when she saw the firework-. But you and I know how it really was—that it came from the poetry that was written by the poor, dead poet whose poetry, really was not good at all till it was made into a skyrocket. JULIUS MULLER.