The Bedtime Stories Club "Outing" of October 1915

Here is the full text of the New York Globe's Bedtime Stories Outing story.

Army of Kiddies at Bedtime Club Outing

The Globe's Youthful Family Enjoys Wonderful Day at Bronx Park--Boys and Girls Listen to Stories, See Peter Rabbit and Real Live Lions and Tigers, Eat Goodies, Win Prizes, and Go Home Tired but Happy.

"It was the very biggest thing ever."

That is the way that people who were at the Bedtime Stories Club outing of The Globe yeterday afternoon or those who, happening to be in the park at the time, saw it from the ouside, today are characterising that very wonderful party.

This morning when it is all over, the city is re-echoing with the marvel of that vast ordely assemblage of children, the entertainment that was given them, and the beautiful detail with which every feature of the outing was handled. Enthusiastic mothers have ben keeping the phone of the Bedtime Stories Club editor busy, thanking him for themselves and their children. Perhaps fifty mothers have already requested that a Mother's branch of the Bedtime Stories Club be organized.

One woman, who was present from first to last at yesterday's outing, and who wants to keep her name a secret for the present, has offered $1000 toward a Bedtime Stories camp next summer.

"It was one of the most inspiring sights I have ever seen," she told Horace S. Tibbs, the Bedtime Story editor. 

9,000 children counted

By actual ballot there were 9,000 children present. This number was augmented by hundreds and hundreds more who poured into the central meeting place by entrance other than those designated in preliminary arrangements and who were thus not counted. This number was augmented again by hundreds and tens of hundreds of adults--teachers, mothers, fathers, and big brothers and sisters. It is estimated that full 50 per cent of the children were accompanied by adults and guests.

In their eagerness to be ready for everything that might be going on fully 3,000 children had assembled at the Botanical Garden gates by 12 o'clock, although the time for meeting had been given as 1:15. It was an orderly crowd of Bedtime Stories members, though, and, though the park policemen never for a moment relaxed in their vigilant surveillance of everything and everybody, they had but little work to do in keeping order among the children.

"I'm proud to be among children like these," one woman told Mr. Tibbs. "It's the most remarkable aggregation of children I ever saw. I've been all over the crowd and I haven't in one instance seen an evidence of disorderliness from the biggest child to the smallest."

The Boy Scouts in charge of Mr. Nessiage were in every place at once, solemnly active in the pursuance of their duties. Every company of children was escorted by these valiant chaps, and hardly had the children left a given spot when that spot was restored as if by magic, rid of its papers and strings and picnic refuse by the khaki-clad boys, who were guided by the Saratoga Troop of scouts from Brooklyn.

Will Long Be Remembered

It's over now, of course, and there's nothing left but the memory, and the very beautiful souvenir magazine which the Bedtime Stories Club editor had printed for the occasion. But just the same, for weeks and weeks and weeks, and probably months and months and months, the story of that club outing is going to be the favorite bedtime thought of a great many of the boys and girls in this city.

Everything throughout the entire afternoon's programme went off without a single hitch. The thousands of children met at the Botanical Gardens and formed into companies, each company with its own numbered scarlet banner, quite as though it had all been rehearsed beforehand. As soon as each division formed it marched in military order with its escort of Boy Scouts to the meeting place--a great natural grass-grown arena halfway between the gardens and the zoo.

It was an impressive procession. There were mothers wheeling little tiny bits of babies in go-carts and "buggies," and there were wee boys and girls, so tiny that they looked as though they, too, ought to be in go-carts, and from the little go-cart size ones, the members of that procession progressed all the way up until the older boys and girls looked almost like the grown-ups, who had come to be chaperones at the outing. 

There were all kinds and conditions of costumes too. One diminutive chap wore all during the afternoon heavy gray gloves just like a society man promenading on Fifth Avenue. The little boy who walked next to him had bare feet as well as ungloved hands. There were little girls all dressed up like pinks in a posy patch and there were little girls whose dresses were faded and whose hair was scraggly and whose stockings were torn. There was one whole white striped blazers which made them look exactly like family of peppermint candy children.

But it didn't matter what they all had on, for when those vast cohorts of thousands and thousands of boys and girls assembled in the green ampitheatre, they looked just as though Mother Nature had planted them there like flowers and everyone knows that Mother Nature couldn't plant an ugly flower to save her life. And among the flower children there was a more vivid splash of color, here and there where the crimson banners marked the whereabouts of the various companies. It looked as though a rich and novel piece of patchwork had been flung over a section of the park and the park looked very well pleased indeed with itself and its patchwork.

When the army of young crusaders against cruelty to all the Little Folks of the Forest and the Meadow had at last assembled on its battlefield of peace the programme began. There were music and daylight fireworks, these last sending fluttering down toward the delighted children amazingly lifelike inflated balloons in the shape of enchantingly funny animals.

After the fireworks Editor Tibbs mounted the platform and introduced himself and was greeted with a lusty cheer. He introduced Jason Rogers, publisher of the Globe, who welcomed the children, and after that Mr. Burgess, creator of Peter Rabbit and all the other Little People who figure in the Bedtime Stories, spoke to the children.

"I spoke to Peter Rabbit just before I came away," said Mr. Burgess, who is tall and slender and with a kindly, humorous face--just the kind of face boys and girls love--"I talked to Peter, and asked him if he didn't want to come to this meeting; but Peter was shy, and said that I should come for him, and bring you all his love."

Which shows that even Mr. Burgess wasn't entirely in Peter Rabbit's confidence, for, as you probably know by this time, Peter Rabbit did come after all.

However, Mr. Burgess told the children all about how there are other Bedtime Stories clubs scattered about the country and how all the hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who are enrolled as members on these organizations are pledged to be kind to dumb animals.  And before Mr. Burgess left the platform, he told a new and delightful story--all about why it is that Peter Rabbit can never fold his arms.  Mr. Burgess was greeted with a deafening round of hand clapping and cheers, and "tigers" and whistles.  It seemed as though the boys and girls could never get through telling how they love the Bedtime Stories and how grateful they are to the author for writing them.

Just at this point of the proceedings Mr. Tibbs received a telegram--a monster telegram, so big that even the children away back in the far-away rows could read it. The telegram said:

"Missed my train. Will be with you in ten minutes."

Of course, that raised expectation to the very top notch of excitement, and it's doubtful whether the children could have kept quiet and listened if there had been anyone less interesting Ernest Thompson Seton waiting to speak to them. He told the children many things about animals and especially about wolves, and he imitated a number of wolf howls for them and told them how, if you imitate the wolf-howl just exactly right, you feel a mysterious prickling sensation in your back hair, and every boy and girl in the audience, at his invitation, made a concerted effort to do that wolf-howl in such a way.

It must be that Peter Rabbit, even if he is shy, as Mr. Burgess said he was, hasn't any nerves at all, for that was just the moment Peter Rabbit chose to appear. He drove up in his taxicab and jumped upon the platform with the most rabbitlike of hops.  He had such a dear rabbity face and the pinkest of ears and a little red coat and green vest just exactly the way the Bedtime Stories Peter Rabbit has.  And when he appeared and hopped onto the stage there were cries from all over the field of "Oh, it is PETER RABBIT! It really IS!" until you wouldn't have blamed Peter a bit for coming away a very conceited rabbit, to think how popular he was.

Peter was nearly knocked off the platform by the rush of boys and girls who wanted to shake hands with him and after that there was a grand exodus to the Zoological Gardens.

And then, after every idiosyncrasy of every animal had been sufficiently admired and commented upon--after the pacing lions had roared, after the seals had poked their sleek slickery heads up from the water and gazed at their visitors with wide, wondering brown eyes, after the monkeys had performed their cleverest tricks, after the elephants had swung their trunks aloft until, as one little boy said, "They almost bumped the sky,"--after all this came the biggest treat of all the afternoon, which was, of course, ice cream.

Great counters had been arranged and from these, cones and cones and cones and more cones filled with velvety Riker-Hegeman ice cream were passed in a never ending supply to the eager sea of hands and arms that struggled toward them. And there was Borden's milk too, and Huyler's chocolates and souvenir tins of Runkel's cocoa for every child.

And, though every child who was at this remarkable "get-together" party was in a maze of happiness and wonder before it was all over, there were still a fortunate few who bore away additional trophies of joy in their arms. For the prizes which have been worked for so long by the Bedtime Stories Club members were awarded on this occasion--and such prizes as they were!

There was a twelve-volume, limp leather set of the "Bedtime Stories" donated by Loeser & Co. of Brooklyn; there was a Waterman fountain pen and an Eastman Kodak; there was a Persian pussy cat and a brindle bull pup, and there was a whole cageful of sweet, cuddly, pink-eyed bunnies, which were fitted into small baskets one at a time and given to the fortunate prize winners. The official list of prize winners will be announced by Editor Tibbs in the Bedtime Stories Club Department tomorrow. 

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