Rollo's Philosophy. [Air] by Jacob Abbott
Rollo's Philosophy. [Air] by Jacob Abbott 1803-1879
The main design in view, in the discussions which are offered to the
juvenile world, under the title of THE ROLLO PHILOSOPHY, relates rather
to their effect upon the little reader's habits of thinking, reasoning,
and observation, than to the additions they may make to his stock of
knowledge. The benefit which the author intends that the reader shall
derive from them, is an influence on the cast of his intellectual
character, which is receiving its permanent form during the years to
which these writings are adapted.
The acquisition of knowledge, however, though in this case a secondary,
is by no means an unimportant object; and the discussion of the several
topics proceeds accordingly, with regularity, upon a certain system of
classification. This classification is based upon the more obvious
external properties and relations of matter, and less upon those which,
though they are more extensive and general in their nature, and,
therefore, more suitable, in a strictly-scientific point of view, for
the foundations of a system, are less apparent, and require higher
powers of generalization and abstraction; and are, therefore, less in
accordance with the genius and spirit of the _Rollo_ philosophy.
As teachers have, in some cases, done the author the honor to introduce
some of the preceding works of this class into their schools, as reading
books, &c., considerable reference has been had to this, in the form and
manner of the discussion, and questions have been added to facilitate
the use of the books in cases where parents or teachers may make the
reading of them a regular exercise of instruction.
LOST IN THE SNOW,
AIR IN MOTION,
AIR AT REST,
LOST IN THE SNOW.
One pleasant morning, very early in the spring, Rollo's cousin Lucy came
to call for Rollo to go on an expedition, which they had planned the day
before. It was near the end of March, and the snow had become so
consolidated by the warm sun in the days, and the hard frosts at night,
that it would bear the children to walk upon it. The children called it
the crust; but it was not, strictly speaking, a crust, for the snow was
compact and solid, not merely upon the top, but nearly throughout the
whole mass, down to the ground.
Rollo and Lucy were going to have an expedition upon the crust. Rollo
had a sled, and they were going to put upon the sled such things as they
should need, and Rollo was to draw it, while Lucy and Nathan, Rollo's
little brother, were to walk along by his side.
Rollo's sled was ready at the back door, when Lucy came. Lucy brought
with her some provisions for a luncheon, in a basket. This was her part
of the preparation. Rollo got his axe, and one or two boards a little
longer than the sled, which he said were to make seats. He also had a
tinder-box, and some matches, to enable him to make a fire. When all
things were ready, the three children set out together.
Rollo drew the sled, with the boards, the basket, and some other things
upon it, all bound together securely with a cord. The load appeared to
be considerable in bulk, but it was not heavy, and Rollo drew it along
very easily. They were not obliged to confine themselves to the roads
and paths, for the snow was hard in every direction, and they could go
over the fields wherever they pleased. In one place, where the snow was
very deep on the side of a hill, they went right over the top of a stone
It was a cloudy day, but calm. This was favorable. The sky being
overcast, kept the sun from thawing the snow; but yet their father told
them that probably it would begin to grow soft before they came home,
and, if so, they would have to come home in a certain sled road, which
Jonas had made that winter by hauling wood. He advised them not to
encamp at any great distance from the sled road.
They came at last to a pleasant spot on the margin of a wood, near where
there was a spring. The rocks around the spring were all covered with
snow, and the little stream, which in summer flowed from the spring, was
frozen and buried up entirely out of sight. But the spring itself was
open, which Rollo said was very fortunate, as they might want some water
Here they encamped. Rollo cut some stakes, which he drove down into the
snow, and contrived to make a rude sort of table with his boards. He
also cut a large number of hemlock branches, which Lucy and Nathan
dragged out and spread around the table for them to sit upon. Then
Rollo built a fire of sticks, which he gathered in the wood. The ground
was covered with snow, so that it would have been very difficult for him
to have found any sticks, were it not that some kinds of trees, in the
woods, have a great many small branches near the bottom, which are dead
and dry. These Rollo cut off, and Lucy and Nathan dragged them out, and
put them on the fire when he had kindled it. The fire was a little way
from the table, with the carpet of hemlock boughs between.
There was a high hill covered with snow at a little distance, and, after
they had eaten their luncheon, Rollo said,- -
"O Lucy, we will play go up the mountains. There is a hill for us. That
shall be Chimborazo."
"Well," said Lucy, "if you will cut us some long staves."
Accordingly Rollo went into the wood, and selected some tall and slender
young trees, about an inch in diameter, and cut two for Lucy, two for
Nathan, and two for himself. These he trimmed up smoothly, and each of
the children took one in each hand. They played that Rollo was the
guide, and Lucy was the philosopher. Nathan was the philosopher's
servant. Rollo conducted them safely to the summit; but just after they
got there, it began to snow.
The snow descended in large flakes, and Rollo was delighted to see it;
but Lucy seemed a little anxious. She said that, if there should be much
snow, it would make it hard for Nathan to get home, and she thought that
they had better go down the mountain immediately, and set out for home.
Rollo was rather unwilling to go, but he allowed himself to be
persuaded, and so they all came down the mountain together.
They packed up their things as quick as they could, leaving the
fire to burn itself out, only Rollo first piled on all the hemlock
branches,- -which made a great crackling. The snow began to fall faster.
The air was full of the large flakes, which floated slowly down, and
lodged gently upon the old snow.
The children went along very successfully for some time, but at length
Rollo lost his way. The air was so full of snow-flakes, that he could
see only a very little way before him; and the old snow covered the
ground, so as to hide all the old marks, and to alter the general
aspect of the fields so much, that Rollo was completely lost. He,
however, did not say anything about it, but wandered on, Lucy and Nathan
wondering all the while why they did not get home; until at length they
came across a track in the snow.
"O! see this track," said Rollo. "Here is a track, where somebody else
has been along with a sled."
"Yes," said Lucy, "some boys, who have gone out to slide, perhaps."
The track was partly obliterated by the snow which had fallen upon it
since the boys that