"COME, Charlie, let's help John drive up the

cows," and Fred threw down his mallet, and ran

over the lawn to where the farmer was driving

the pretty Alderneys.

There was Bessie, the registered cow, and her

one-year-old calf, so like her mother, with soft,

brown eyes and gentle face. Then there were

Dolly, and Bouncer, and Tricksey, and Tricksey's

youngest daughter, Midget. It was great fun for

the boys to go up the long hill to the barn, and watch

the cows as they stood quietly to be milked, all as

patient as could be save Tricksey, who was in-

clined to be a bit mischievous, and would some-

times slyly kick over the milk-pail if the chance

was given her. She had done so more than once,

and all were cautious at milking-time, fearing Mrs.

Tricksey would play the same prank again.

"Please cut us a stick, John, so we can help

you drive," cried Fred, as he reached the farmer's

side. "Here is a nice little tree—it would make

a splendid cane,—do cut it down for me," and he

began pulling at the leaves of a stout-stalked, miniature

tree, which grew in the shade of the garden


"Not that one, Master Fred," said the good-natured farmer.

"Your grandfather sets a store by

that 'ere tree. He would rather you took any

other on the place."

"I don't see why. What makes him like it so

much, John?" questioned Charlie, who was looking

with very wide-open eyes at the sturdy little

sapling. "Would he really rather have the big

oak cut down, or the chestnut, or that elm at the

front gate?"

"Well, I can't just say, Master Charlie; ye'll

have to ask your grandpa about it. I have heard

tell, though, that that little tree came from the

Indies, and is the kind of wood they make furniture

out of."

The boys were all curiosity. They were fond of

studying about plants and flowers, and often, in the

evening, they would bring to their grandfather the

strange leaves and blossoms they had found during

the day, and ask him to tell them their names, and

explain their different uses. They were boys who

went about with their eyes open, to see all that

was new and strange, and now John's words made

them eager to hear about this wonderful little tree.

"It can't be black walnut," said Charlie, "nor

ash, though the leaves are just a little alike. I

wonder what other furniture woods we have?

There are the mahogany sofas and tables—"

"But it ain't mahogany; that only grows in hot

countries," said Fred.

Fred was a year older than Charlie, and, like a

great many other little boys, he thought he knew

very much more than his younger brother. They

each picked a leaf, and having watched the cows

milked and driven into the night pasture, raced

swiftly down the hill to see who could first ask

grandpa about the tree from the Indies.

"Grandpa," called Fred, who, all hot and out of

breath, reached the piazza ahead of Charlie, "won't

you please tell us about this leaf; it comes from

the 'furniture tree,' John says, and he would not

let us cut it down."

"I should think not," said grandpa, laughing.

"I would have been sorry enough to have that

little tree destroyed. It is a rarity in this part of

the world."

"Did it really come from the Indies?" asked

the boys.

"Well, not exactly. I think I shall have time

to tell you its history before supper. It is the

mahogany tree."

"There, Fred," cried Charlie, triumphantly,

while Fred looked a little crest-fallen, as he exclaimed,—


"I thought mahogany came from the south—

 from real hot countries."

"So it does, my boy; but it is a mahogany tree

nevertheless, even if it is far away from its native

land. The mahogany tree grows in the West

Indies and in Central America.' I do not think it

is ever found much north of these countries. At

any rate this, and one or two others springing from

the same parent tree, are all I have ever seen in

the United States. You know your mother's Aunt

Lucy has a fine old homestead in northern New

Jersey. Right in front of the house, and near the

road, is standing a great tree, which has been

growing there these many years. It was a favorite

with the whole family, though none knew its name.

People often stopped in passing to wonder what it

could be. Aunt Lucy had called it the bean tree.'

Just after she was married, her husband received

a bag of coffee from St. Domingo—that was the

name years ago of the West Indian island now

known as Hayti. When the bag was opened, lying

 right among the coffee berries, was a strange,

rough, brown seed-pod. Aunt Lucy, never having

seen anything of the kind, thought she would

experiment with it, and so she planted it in a box,

and carefully tended it, watching and waiting till

it came up a tiny sprout. This she transplanted

after it was strong and hardy; and as the years

went by, it gradually grew taller and broader, until

it has become as large as that fine elm yonder.

Your aunty was very proud of it, you may be sure,

although she did not know what it really was. One

day, a few years ago, two gentlemen were walking

by Aunt Lucy's gate. Suddenly they spied the

remarkable tree, and stopped, seemingly so much

surprised and interested that Aunt Lucy ran out

to ask if they could tell her its name. 'It is the

mahogany tree,' said one, and I am wondering at

seeing it here in the north.' Then Aunt Lucy told

how she had found the seed in the bag of coffee,

which had come all the way from St. Domingo.

My little tree and several others have come from

the mother tree, and I prize it very much, too much

to have you cut it down, you see."

"Did the mahogany that made your tables and

chairs, grandpa, come from St. Domingo?" asked


"Yes, some did, and some came from Honduras.

There are two kinds of mahogany. That of St.

Domingo, and the other West Indian islands, is

finer, closer-grained, and better in color and

durability, than that of Honduras, and is called

Spanish mahogany. It is an expensive wood, and

often-times to make a little go a great way, cabinet-

makers cut it in thin layers, and put it on the out-

side of pine and other cheap woods. This is called

veneering. Rosewood is treated in the same way."

"Have they always used mahogany for furniture,

grandpa?" asked Charlie.

"No, my boy. The story is that in the time of

good Queen Bess, three hundred years ago, you

know, Sir Walter Raleigh, a very great navigator,

visited this continent. At the island of Trinidad,

one of the West Indies, his ships needed repairing,

and mahogany was used for the purpose. That

was the first it was known to Englishmen; but it

was not until early in 1700 that it was used at all

in England for furniture. At that time a number

of mahogany planks were brought to England as

ballast by a sea captain. His father was building

a house, and he gave them to him. They were too

hard to be worked by ordinary tools, however, and

were thrown aside as useless. They lay unnoticed

until a cabinet-maker found them, and used them

in making a bureau, which was so rich in color,

and so highly polished, that it attracted much

attention; and when one of the nobility bought it,

the wood became fashionable, and has been

employed ever since."


"Have you seen the tree growing in the South;

Grandpa?" asked one of the boys.

"Yes, I saw last year, in Jamaica, many

mahogany trees. They are very lofty and widely

branched, and are beautiful, particularly when

covered with the small clusters of white and

yellowish blossoms. When you are older, you will

enjoy learning from your botany all the different

parts of a plant. Each has a peculiar name. Look

at this glossy leaf. You see three or four pairs of

leaflets growing opposite each other on the one

common stalk? Botanists call them pinnate leaves,

and for everything else about the tree they have

scientific names. Some time you can find out all

this for yourselves; but here comes grandma, and

we must go to supper."



Mary Scott Boyd.