Read THE LITTLE SOLDIERS of Sugar and Spice, free online book, by James Johnson, on

Robert and Henry Graham were handsome, rich little fellows; but very fast and fond of imitating. Indeed, they were more like little men than young boys. And as their parents gave them plenty of pocket-money, they did many things that otherwise they would not have done. Added to this, they were spoiled by their father. You see, it’s generally ‘mother’ who does this; so for a wonder we’ll have a change.

Well, one day the two boys went to the family tailor, and Robert said, very big, “Haw! measure us for two suits of military clothes, officers’ ones, haw! and see that you send home with them at the same time swords, muskets, canes, sentry box, tents, and all, haw! necessarythings for playing at soldiers!”

Now, don’t let it slip out of your mind that a bit before this, the boys’ rich uncle had bought them some beautiful sets of boxes of soldiers.

When the clothes and other things came home, these young fellows, followed by the dog, which they called their army, dressed themselves, cleverly set up their tents, and went to work in good earnest. Billy, the dog, sniffed at the butt of the musket to make quite sure that it was not loaded. Robert put his glass to his right eye, and having posted Henry as a sentry, began to officer over, him, commanding him rather more than his brother liked.

It’s not a nice thing to see a soldier cry; but if you look at Harry, you will find that he feels hurt very much.

“Haw! hem! sir!” roared Robert, “with, haw! the help of my glass I see, haw! a speck of rust on one of your buttons, haw! as big as the tip of a fly’s eyelash!”

The dog at this set up a howl. The howl called their mother’s attention to the garden, and then she saw them. With a funny smile she took all their toy soldiers and walked to her children.

“Haw! Pre-sent, Fire!” cried Bob.

“Certainly,” said his mother; and almost before they knew what she was about, all the soldiers were set out, just like two armies, and Mrs. Graham called the gardener to lay a train of gunpowder, and called mimicking Robert “Present, Fire!” and set fire to it, and there was heard a tremendous “pop,” followed by a “puff,” and then; no! there wasn’t a bit of one of all those soldiers and horses left large enough to make a match of.

The boys began to cry.

“Now,” said their mother, “others, you see, can play at soldiers. What right had you to go to the tailor and order clothes of him! neither I nor your father gave you permission; I have a great mind to make you go to school in those soldiers’ suits; and nice fun your play fellows would make of you!”