Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Our Young Folks—Vol. I, No. II, February 1865 An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls   By:

Book cover

First Page:


An Illustrated Magazine



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by TICKNOR AND FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


Who of my young friends have read the sorrowful story of "Enoch Arden," so sweetly and simply told by the great English poet? It is the story of a man who went to sea, leaving behind a sweet young wife and little daughter. He was cast away on a desert island, where he remained several years, when he was discovered, and taken off by a passing vessel. Coming back to his native town, he found his wife married to an old playmate, a good man, rich and honored, and with whom she was living happily. The poor man, unwilling to cause her pain and perplexity, resolved not to make himself known to her, and lived and died alone. The poem has reminded me of a very similar story of my own New England neighborhood, which I have often heard, and which I will try to tell, not in poetry, like Alfred Tennyson's, but in my own poor prose. I can assure my readers that in its main particulars it is a true tale.

One bright summer morning, more than threescore years ago, David Matson, with his young wife and his two healthy, barefooted boys, stood on the bank of the river near their dwelling. They were waiting there for Pelatiah Curtis to come round the Point with his wherry, and take the husband and father to the Port, a few miles below. The Lively Turtle was about to sail on a voyage to Spain, and David was to go in her as mate. They stood there in the level morning sunshine talking cheerfully; but had you been near enough, you could have seen tears in Anna Matson's blue eyes, for she loved her husband, and knew there was always danger on the sea. And David's bluff, cheery voice trembled a little now and then, for the honest sailor loved his snug home on the Merrimack, with the dear wife and her pretty boys. But presently the wherry came alongside, and David was just stepping into it, when he turned back to kiss his wife and children once more.

"In with you, man," said Pelatiah Curtis. "There's no time for kissing and such fooleries when the tide serves."

And so they parted. Anna and the boys went back to their home, and David to the Port, whence he sailed off in the Lively Turtle. And months passed, autumn followed the summer, and winter the autumn, and then spring came, and anon it was summer on the river side, and he did not come back. And another year passed, and then the old sailors and fishermen shook their heads solemnly, and said that the Lively Turtle was a lost ship, and would never come back to port. And poor Anna had her bombazine gown dyed black, and her straw bonnet trimmed in mourning ribbons, and thenceforth she was known only as the Widow Matson.

And how was it all this time with David himself?

Now you must know that the Mohammedan people of Algiers and Tripoli, and Mogadore and Sallee, on the Barbary coast, had for a long time been in the habit of fitting out galleys and armed boats to seize upon the merchant vessels of Christian nations, and make slaves of their crews and passengers, just as men calling themselves Christians in America were sending vessels to Africa to catch black slaves for their plantations. The Lively Turtle fell into the hands of one of these roving sea robbers, and the crew were taken to Algiers, and sold in the market place as slaves, poor David Matson among the rest.

When a boy he had learned the trade of a ship carpenter with his father on the Merrimack; and now he was set at work in the dock yards. His master, who was naturally a kind man, did not overwork him. He had daily his three loaves of bread, and when his clothing was worn out, its place was supplied by the coarse cloth of wool and camel's hair woven by the Berber women. Three hours before sunset he was released from work, and Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabbath, was a day of entire rest... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books