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m iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii i ii !............ . .................... i ................... .................... ..ARMY ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Pru and NAYSOIS I Q LE TOIE.S....i Ii " ........ i ii i ..A Ulirm forilom an Old, i ni six lm. T l '1 = '0 i n x `' .d- Pe vol, $1.0. C oth F-Y.I., 5c.J~~h.B0 Sio 3oy th ortue Jak lTte Mrohia nty.tSomirs in t Navy.ia fesne ativiacty Y n ou ng V oyagers.wows oke hi orelio 'Yagcie, X td s onl r Chr u o is tmasf (3 i fllt eptei adAdvntre y of a Na iO ...33wt-e 01a Salit, orLf onli rRiiSomersii iinlt Aiii iand iii ti ,rJC'h eS 'Y oiig L eCIel.Or Thear Adventres o and Amynur Officer.1?een,obi rino n d Crse, rs .IF1151itivi"d Toed or then Fotnsa Staff Officer..DRY, ~ ~ ~ Ph GyteEdtr S at o ld 'Ehiria le, r.*,,TkeTC ES wriin ofOie ptca h ostla P.n 'Th e rc 3:)o-So e thin g nd Sc l.CubRwl fittedo Ucun -d-ic of ny-kT= sa frUEsh. "itan --tyaesno* ublihed Aitixii ..he h ht o kep ther lYoneci T h b e efi wh ch T &ci g nt c w l o ed i w ith ... of th no 11 u of Oli tveOraiii ~ ~ ~ ~ al c fro reactun, the health dccitos ulo pi& ~ ~ ~ e Ilutae. A e al hnFavce a god mo[,am full ofxe vdlfea wtal, ctaiin ae fumii ealDlnteRino on"9hs aeb mvimvn mled with instructionakof N71ry "NRER intoona. is almos nc&1cul& h uti o.ad hbt, 2bisdi Made. oendtue. to hatain walhi inr st bft e st.-uLE HPR, Publishers, BostOn. LEE & SHEPARD, PulsesBotn
GeV... -. .. ....----------------------.. .. -- --------- --------.--- ---- ---- ------ --... ...............................OLIVER OPTICS OLIVER OPTIC'SLAKE SHORE SERIES. STARRY FLAG SERIES.SIX VOLS., ILLUST. PER VOL., $1.25. SIX VOLS., ILLUST. PER VOL., $1.25.----+>--------Through by Daylight; The Starry Flag;Or, The Young Engineer of the Lake O The Young Fisherman of Cape Ann.Shore Railroad.Away;Lightning Express; Breaking Away;Or, The Rival Academies. Or, The Fortunes of a Student.On Time; Seek and Find;Or, The Young Captain of the Ucayga Or, The Adventures of a Smart Boy.Steamer.Freaks of Fortune;Switch Off; Or, Half Round the World.Or, The War of the Students.Make or Break;Brake Up; Or, The Rich Man's Daughter.Or, The Young Peacemakers.Bear and Forbear; Down the River;Bearll andiU F e UlOr, Bradford and his Tyrants.Or, The Young Skipper of Lake Ucayga. Or, Bdck Bradford and his Tyrants.These books are exciting narratives, and full ofOliver Optic owes his popularity to a pleasant stirring adventures, but the youthful heroes of thestyle, and to a ready sympathy with the dreams, stirring adventures, but the youthful heroes of thehopes, aspirations, and fancies of the young people stories are noble, self-sacrificing, and courageous,for whom he writes. He writes like a wise, over- and the stories contain nothing which will dogrown boy, and his books have therefore a fresh- injury to the mind or heart-of the youthful reader.ness and raciness rarely attained by his fellowor heart of the youthful reader.scribes. Christian Advocate. Webster Times.LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston. LEE & SHEPARP, Publishers, Boston.OLIVER OPTIC'S OLIVER OPTIC'SBOAT CLUB SERIES. WOODVILLE STORIES.SIx VOLS., ILLUST. PER VOL., $1.25. Six VOLS., ILLUST. PeR VOL.. $1.25.- ,.---O---EOOI-----LThe Boat Club; Rich and Humble;Or, The Bunkers of Rippleton. Or, The Mission of Bertha GrantAll Aboard; In School and Out;Or, Life on the Lake. Or, the Conquest of Richard GrantNow or Never Watch and Wait;Now or Never;. Or, The Young Fugitives.Or, the Adventures of Bobby Bright. The Yo F tivesTr An Work and Win;Try Again; Or, Noddy Newman on a Cruise.Or, The Trials and Triumphs of HarryWest. Hope and Have;oor an Prod Or, Fanny Grant among the Indians.Poor and Proud;Or, The Fortunes of Katy Redburn. Haste and Waste ;i Or, The Young Pilot of Lake Cham-Little by Little; plain.Or The Cruise of the Flyaway.Oliver Optic is the apostolic successor, at theBoys and girls have no taste for dry and tame "Hub." of Peter Parley. He has just conpletedthings; they want something that will stir the the "Woodville Stories," by the publication ofblood and warm the heart. Optic always does "Haste and Waste." The best notice to give ofthis, while at the same time he improves the taste them is to mention that a couple of youngstersand elevates the moral nature. The coming gen- pulled them out of the pile two hours since, anderation of men will never know how much they are yet de\ ouring them out in the summer-houseare indebted for what is pure and enobling to his (albeit autumn leaves cover it) oblivious to muffinwritings. R. L Schoolmate. time. Y. Leader.LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston. LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.. ......................................... .......................S..---..------------...
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THIE PROVERB SERIES.FINE FEATHERSDO NOT MAKE FINE BIRDS.BYKATE J. NEILY,AUTHOR OF "THE WHITE KITTEN," "ELLIE RANDOLPH," " MARION'SSUNDAYS," "THE COCOANUT BASKET," ETC.BOSTON:LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS.NEW YORK:LEE, SHEPARD AND DILLINGHAM.1872.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, byLEE AND SHEPARD,In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.ELECTROTYPED AT THEBOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY,NO. 19 SPRING LANE.
THE PR OVERB SE RIES.TO BE COMPLETED IN SIX VOLS.I. BIRDS OF A FEATHER.2. FINE FEATHERS DO NOT MAKE FINEBIRDS.3. HANDSOME IS THAT HANDSOME DOES.(Others in preparation.)(5)
FINE FEATHERSDO NOT MAKE FINE BIRDS.CHAPTER I.T HERE was great excitement in PublicSchool No. 8, that 23d of December.The usual soldier-like order and drill seemedentirely suspended; and all through the greatbuilding, from the Primary Department, throughthe Intermediate, and away up to the Gram-mar divisions, a bustle and confusion prevailed,which showed that something very unusual wasgoing on.A peep through any of the great glass doorsrevealed the occupants of each class-room busy,not with lessons, but with a great deal pleasanterwork, in their opinion at least, if one mightjudge by the eager importance of each sunnyface. The desks, the long benches, and eventhe .floor, were heaped with great boughs of(7)
8 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTevergreens; broad branches of pine, with itsneedle-like leaves; clustering bunches of laureland hemlock; trailing wreaths of ivy and myrtle;and sprigs of holly, with its glossy, sharp-pointedleaves and ruby-like berries. The whole air wasfragrant with their spicy perfume, and the chil-dren were as busy as bees in clover, twiningthem into garlands, with which to wreathe everypost and pillar, every window and door. Theteachers were there, of course, to direct them;and the older girls, and even some of the boys,had already become tolerably skilful in theirgraceful work; so that now, at two o'clock inthe afternoon, the great bare school-room hadbegun to be transformed into fairy bowers ofevergreen bloom.The large audience-room in front looked espe..cially well; the principal's desk was quite likea throne, all draped in scarlet cloth, borderedwith shining holly, and overhung with cluster-ing boughs. A heavy green wreath was sus-pended from the arch above, and a beautifulflag of silk, mounted with silver, was gracefullydraped before it.Some of the taller girls were busy twining thechandeliers with slender wreaths of myrtle; and<-y
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 9Ned White, the head boy of the school, and aregular six-footer, was mounted on a ladder, andnailing upon the wall great card-board letters,which he himself had cut in the most floridGerman text, and sprinkled thick with pow-dered cedar, cemented with paste. These let-ters were grouped into all sorts of appropriatemottoes: "iMerry Christmas ; " "Welcome toour Friends; " " Hurrah for the Holidays! ""Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men," and everso many more. And the children watched, withgreat interest, the process of fastening them uponthe walls.Everybody was busy, and everybody of coursewas noisy accqrdingly. Not that the childrenwere. allowed to run from class to class, orreally to jump and shout; but there was a greatdeal of going back and forth with twine, andtacks, and hammers, and a great many directionsto be given. Neither was talking in a low toneamong themselves forbidden to the children; sothat any of my little readers who have ever at-tended a great public school can imagine whata busy and noisy scene I have invited them tolook in upon.Miss Kavanagh's room was the quietest of all,
10 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTfor Miss Kavanagh was one of those faithfullaborers in the Master's vineyard, who " sowbeside all waters;" and she never missed anopportunity to plant the seed of a good thoughtin the hearts of her scholars. She was talkingto them now, in her pleasant way, not a bit likea sermon or a lecture, about Christmas, and thereason why the whole Christian world unite tomake it a season of joyousness and kindly feeling- a time for the interchange of good wishes andloving gifts. Not that it was the real birthdayof Christ: no one could tell that precisely; butit was a day set apart in remembrance of hiscoming to bring peace on earth, good will toSmen, and therefore the brightest, and happiest,and most blessed day of the whole year. Notthat there was no true peace on earth beforeChrist came, Miss Kavanagh said. Everybodyhad evil hearts then, as now; but, although God'smercy. brought salvation to all who trusted inhim, the eye of faith looked for the prom-ised Messiah. And, at last, the Son of God,graciously pitying the sad condition of men,consented to leave his glorious home in heaven,where he sat enthroned at the right hand of theFather, and humble himself to be born of a
MAKE FINE BIRDS. IIwoman; to come down and dwell upon.earth;to live among the poor and lowly, often havingno roof to cover- his head; to pass his life inteaching men what they must do to be savedfrom the wrath of God, and in doing good toall; and finally, to give up that precious life, tobear the shameful death of the cross, that hemight be the propitiation for our sins, and that,by taking our punishment upon himself, we mightbe saved from the doom of eternal death; sothat now, all we needed to do was to feel thatwe were really sinful, that we deserved God'sanger, and that of ourselves we had no powerto help ourselves; and to be willing to be savedentirely for Christ's sake; after that, to try, bythe help of his Spirit, to lead a life after the pat-tern of Him who went about doing good.It was the thought of all this wonderful work,which Christ had done for them, which madereal Christians feel such a holy pleasure inChristmas Day, Miss Kavanagh said; and shewanted all her scholars to add this sacred joy tothe mirth and gayety of the season. It wouldnot take from their merriment at all, but add asweeter and purer zest to it; the memory ofthat first Christmas Day, so many, many years
12 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTago, when the child Jesus, who had come to bethe Savior of the world, lay, a tiny infant, by hismother's side, in his manger-cradle.All this, and more Miss Kavanagh said, whileher fingers were busy twining holly and bay, andher eyes here and there, over her class; and shespoke so pleasantly, although seriously, as be-came such solemn truths, that the girls did notget tired at all, but listened with much interest,going on with their work all the time, and feel-ing a truer spirit of Christmas coming into theirhappy little hearts.Only one little girl, with eyes as black as sloes,and long black hair braided tightly about hersmart little head, was very plainly not interestedat all in what her teacher was saying, or evenin the pretty wreath of myrtle and "creepingJenny" that was growing beneath her fingers.She fidgeted and twisted, jerked the sprigs ofevergreen about, flashed impatient glances atMiss Kavanagh, and at length, when that ladyhad finished talking, whispered to the girl nexther, almost loud enough to be heard, -" There, she has done her long lecture at last."Her companion looked up in surprise." Why, Nelly," she said, " it wasn't a bit like
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 13a lecture. I like to hear Miss Kavanagh talk,and I like her."'" Well, I don't, then, I can tell you; and Ishouldn't think you would, Maggie Lang, afterher keeping you in till four o'clock, the otherday, about your grammar lesson.""Maggie's fair cheek reddened, but she an-swered, .stoutly," It was my own fault; I could have learnedit in fifteen minutes, if I had chosen; but I wassulky, and wouldn't. She had a better right tobe angry with me for keeping her here so long,waiting for me."" 0, 0! I've pricked my finger " was Nelly'sonly answer to this speech; " see, Maggie, itlooks like one of the holly berries doesn't it? "And she held up her little brown forefinger,where a drop of bright red blood had followedquickly the puncture of the sharp-pointed leaf."0, that's too bad! Doesn't it hurt, Nelly?Here, let me wrap my handkerchief round it,"said kind-hearted little Maggie, with ready sym-pathy. " I haven't pricked myself yet, but myfingers are all sticky with this pine. Pitch, tar,and turpentine,' as the geography says. I don'tthink I shall forget, after to-day, that they comefrom pine trees."*- .. i t
14 FINE FEATHERS DO NOT" 0, don't talk of geography now " exclaimedNelly, impatiently. " All that is done for oneblessed week, anyhow. I'm so glad Christmasis coming aren't you, Maggie? Just to get ridof school.""Yes, to be sure, I'm glad Christmas is com-ing; but I like school too," said Maggie, stanch-ly. "I don't wan't to grow up a dunce; and,besides, I shouldn't know what to do with my-self, staying at home all the time."" Shouldn't you? " said Nelly, disdainfully."Indeed I should, then. I'd do fancy work;embroider my under-clothes. I hate to wear plainthings, and mother says it's all nonsense, andwon't do it for me. And then I'd practise doingmy hair after the patterns in the fashion-plates.0, I do love to see hair done up in new styles,and when I'm a young lady, I'll never wearmine the same way twice."Nelly tossed her glossy black head with aproud consciousness, of having beautiful hair/outside of it, which was to her of a great dealmore importance than the quantity of brainsinside of the same; and Maggie looked, halfadmiring, and half doubtful, and said, -" I don't think I should care to take so muchtrouble."
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 15"Trouble? Better take trouble about yourlooks than about those stupid lessons, I think,"said Nelly, in her usual pert, positive way. "Andthat reminds me, Maggie: how are you going towear your hair to-morrow?"" To-morrow? to the school reception? I don'tknow. I haven't thought about it; just as it isnow, I suppose, only with my new net on."" O, but nets are so old-fashioned now -don'tyou know? Do have it put up in papers, orsomething. I'm going to wear mine, as I did atmy birthday party, all loose down my back--French style, you know. I've had it braided uptight for a week, and to-morrow it'll crinklebeautifully, and it comes away below my waist.If it only was the fashionable color, -golden, youknow, I'd be so glad! But I can't help it; andanyhow, I expect the fashion will change beforeI'm grown, and everybody be wishing for blackhair."" O, Nelly, fashion in the color of one's hair "said Maggie, laughing, but secretly pleased tothink that her hair, even if it was too short to" crinkle," and wear floating over her shoulders,was of the " stylish ". color a true sunny yellow.""Yes, indeed, fashion in everything, nowa-
16 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTdays," said Nelly, with an air of conscious su-periority to simple-minded little Maggie. " Butyou haven't told me what dress you're going towear to-morrow."" My Sunday one, of course. You know it ablue and green plaid poplin; and I've a ribbon tomatch for my hair."" What!" exclaimed Nelly, in surprise anddisdain; " going to wear that dull, woollenthing to a public reception? Why, MaggieLang! I shouldn't think of wearing my churchdress, though it's a bright red merino, and a greatdeal more suitable than yours. I am going towear my white Swiss, the one I had made formy party, with my bronze boots, and my corn-colored sash."" Well, Nelly, you'll freeze. Your mother'11never let you."" No, I shan't freeze; the school-rooms arewarm, and my hair'll be as thick as a shawl overmy shoulders. As for my mother, I'll managethat."Nelly nodded her smart little head, with aknowing look, and Maggie, -still unconvinced,objected." But, Nelly, no one else will wear white, II>
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 17am sure; and how queer you'll feel being theonly one! "" Sure, are you.? Well, then, I'll just tell yousomething; but mind, it's a secret, and youmustn't tell. When Miss Kavanagh sent me intothe front room for a ball of twine, a while ago, Isaw ever so many of the first class girls standingunder the chandelier, fixing a wreath. I passedclose to them, and they didn't see me, and Istopped to hear what they were saying; andAnnie Arthur said, I'm going to wear a whitealpaca;' and Sue Remsen said she was goingto wear a white barege; and Lucy Grant saidshe had a light blue grenadine. So you see,Miss Maggie, the girls in the first class are goingto dress in party style, and I shall do the same.They think they're very smart, and that they'llcome here to-morrow looking better than any oneelse; but they'll find I'm too sharp for them.And if I were you, Maggie, I would be so too;I'd wear a light dress of some kind, and not belike the little dowdies in the lower classes."Maggie shook her head sorrowfully, and herchildish blue eyes looked ready to fill with tears.This was dreadful, to look like a dowdy, shethought.2
"I8 FINE FEATHERS DO NOT" I've got a beautiful white muslin," she said;" but I know my mother won't let me wear it."" Wear it without her knowing it, then; that'swhat Iexpect to have to do," said Nelly, boldly;and then, seeing her companion's look of con-sternation, she added, hastily, " 0, that's onlymy fun; of course I wouldn't do such a thing.I mean, coax your mother, as I intend to;" andthen she began to empty her lap of the bits andtwigs of greens.:' I'm tired of working at this stupid wreath.I'm going to ask Miss Kavanagh to let me helpher," she said, and went hastily off, leaving poorlittle Maggie alone at her desk, and very low-spirited indeed.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 19CHAPTER II.P OOR little Maggie! good-tempered andright-principled though she was, she hadsome feminine vanity, and liked to look as wellas her neighbors. So the idea of sitting in herhigh plaid frock beside her desk-mate, all gor-geous in white muslin and corn-colored ribbons,took all the pleasure out of her anticipations ofthe morrow, and she felt as if she had almostrather not come to the reception at all.She had no faith in the "coaxing" whichNelly had suggested. She knew her motheralways considered carefully the right and pro-priety of a matter, and was not apt to changeher mind when once it was made up. Still sheknew also that her mother liked to make her littledaughter happy; and while there was life therewas hope; so with this comforing thoughtsimple little Maggie brightened up, and went onwith her wreath, wishing, meanwhile, that thetime for dismissal would come soon, that she
20 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTmight hurry home, and make an appeal to hermother's heart on the matter that lay nearesther own.She was heartily glad when it was all over,the wreaths, the emblems, and the mottoes allput up, and the great rooms left to the janitors tobe swept and dusted for the morrow. Even then,however, she could not go home, for Miss Kava-nagh wanted her class to come into the library,and rehearse the " piece," as the children calledit, which was to form their share in the enter-tainment of the visitors at the reception.It was Poe's famous poem of " The Bells;"and each verse, the Sledging Bells, the WeddingBells, the Fire Bells, and the Funeral Bells, wasto be recited by a different girl, selected for thepurpose, while the whole class chimed in mostmusically, in the " tintinnabulation" of the bellsin the chorus.Nelly Morgan had the verse about the FuneralBells. Her voice was uncommonly deep andstrong for a little girl, and she rolled out thesolemn line --" Hear the tolling of the bells,Iron bells!What a world of solemn thought'Their monody compels!"
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 21in a hollow, resonant tone, which was reallyvery expressive, and added greatly to the effectof the recitation.Maggie Lang, with her merry blue eyes, andbright, silvery voice, was the very one for themerry sledging bells; and it was really quite amusical treat to hear her repeat the crisp, ring-ing lines,-" How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,On the icy air of night,While the stars that oversprinkleAll the heavens, seem to twinkleIn a crystalline delight," -and then the whole class chime in,--" Keeping time, time, time," -and so on, through the whole of the wonderfuland fascinating poem.Indeed, all the parts had been carefully dis-tributed and diligently practised, and Miss Kav-anagh seemed quite satisfied with the successof the rehearsal this afternoon." Be sure you all come early to-morrow morn-ing," she said, as the girls bade her good after-noon, "and we'll try this over once more before
22 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTthe exercises begin, just to make sure that noneof your little bells have lost their tongues! " Andthey all laughed, and promised they would beon the spot, and up to time; and then they ranoff, eager to tell their mothers how beautiful therooms looked, and what a grand time they weresure to have at the Christmas Eve celebration.Maggie Lang only started off with a slow stepand a heavy heart; for, impatient as she hadbeen to get home and prefer her request, nowthat the time had come, she felt really ashamedto ask of her mother what she felt in her ownwise little heart was such a very silly and im-prudent thing. Her clouded face, as she enteredthe house, was so unlike her usual sunny looks,that her mother noticed it at once, and asked, insurprise, what had happened, and what ever San-ta Claus would say to such a doleful phiz as thaton the day before Christmas Eve.But Maggie did not smile at this jest, as shewould ordinarily have done; she pouted a littleinstead, and rejoined, rather pertly, -"There's no such person as Santa Claus, atall. I should think I ought to know that, whenI'm eleven years old. And, besides, Miss Kav-anagh told us all about Christmas this afternoon,
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 23and the true reason why it ought to be such ahappy time; and it was a great deal nicer thanabout any Santa Claus."Mrs. Lang looked at her little daughter insurprise at her sharp, almost disrespectful tone;but she saw the troubled look in the usually sun-shiny face, and how the blue eyes were all mistywith tears, bravely kept back, but waiting theirchance to shower down. So she uttered no wordof reproof, but said, gravely, -" I am very glad, Maggie, to think that youunderstand what should make the real joy ofChristmas; but I should like, too, to see that youfeel it. You don't look very happy this after-noon. What has happened?"Maggie colored with shame at her own pettish-ness and her mother's kindness, and one brighttear forced itself out, and twinkled on her eye-lash. Still she tried to answer in an indifferenttone, -"O, nothing has happened; only Nelly Mor-gan has made me feel as if I was going to lookso mean at the reception to-morrow. She'sgoing to wear her Swiss muslin, and she saysall the girls in the first class intend to wearwhite too, and I expect ever so many will in our
24 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTdivision; and I'd rather stay at home, for I don'twant to look like a dowdy, in a thick, dark dress;and I think you might let me, mother, now !""Might let you what?" answered Mrs. Lang,scarcely able to .keep from laughing at the puck-ered up face, and the incoherent speech pouredout faster and faster, and ending at last in thatalmost spasmodic " now," which was a greatword with Maggie when she was excited."Might let me wear my white dress, too,"said Maggie, half laughing herself, amid hertears."That is to say, might let you have afirst-rate chance to get the croup, and the diph-theria, and the pneumonia, and the pleurisy, and.I don't know how many more terrible thingsin those great, chilly rooms to-morrow! Why,Maggie, your father would think we were bothcrazy if you were to come down to breakfast ina low white dress !"" But, mother, Nelly said-""But, Maggie, Nelly said a great deal morethan she knew, no doubt. I don't believe theteachers will allow any such nonsense and im-prudence at school to-morrow, and I want youto have as much faith in your mother as in such
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 25a vain and silly girl as I'm sorry to say I thinkNelly Morgan is. I never sent you anywhereyet looking 'like a dowdy'-did I, Maggie?""N-no, but -" said Maggie, hesitatingly; buther mother interrupted her, cheerily,--" Then trust me that I shall not do it to-mor-row either; and now, if you have got nicelywarm, I'll tell you what we will do. We'll goout to the florist's, and see if we can't have himmake up a pretty bouquet for you to take to MissKavanagh to-morrow. You say all the teachershave them don't they? Would you likethat?"The clouds cleared up on Maggie's face in amoment; the rain-drops dried, and the sun shoneout as bright as ever." 0, mother, how nice of you!" she ex-claimed, in delight; "I never gave Miss Kav-anagh anything, and she's so kind! 0, that's agreat deal nicer than wearing a white dress; andthere shall be roses, and geraniums, and helio-trope, and everything! shan't there, mother ?""Not quite everything, I'm afraid, Maggie,"said her mother, smiling, "but whatever youlike best in Mr. Budd's greenhouse; and now
26 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTyou mind baby, and I will go and put mythings on."So Maggie sat down, with her foot on therocker, happy as could be, while Mrs. Lang wentto her room glad at heart that at least her littledaughter was not sullen or selfish.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 27CHAPTER III."M EANWHILE, Nelly Morgan, as shewalked home from school, was arranginga very artful plan in her own mind for the carry-ing out of her wished-for project. She knewthat her mother would not consent, any morethan Maggie's, for her to run the risk of takinga serious cold by making such a decided changein her dress in midwinter; but yet she wasquite determined in some way, by fair means ifpossible, if not, by foul, to fulfil her purpose, andenjoy the triumph of dazzling the whole schoolby her brilliant toilet, and proving to the oldergirls, whose ranks she ardently desired to join,that, if she did only belong to the second class,she was quite as much of a young lady as thetallest of them.How fortunate it was, she thought, as she wentslowly along by herself, not joining any of thegroups of merry chattering girls, nor stopping tolook in at any of the bright shop windows, so
28 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTtempting just now in the glory of their Christ-mas adornment, -how fortunate that her littlebaby brother was only a week old, and so hermother could not be present at the reception,nor even leave her room to superintend Nelly'sdressing in the morning!"I'm always lucky," thought Nelly, exult-ingly ; " but that's the luckiest thing that everdid happen to me. " She'll never know what Iwear; and now, if I can only manage to keepAnne out of the way, and those troublesomelittle young ones, -Jennie and Frank, why, Ishall be all right. And I will manage it some-how or other- see if I don't. But first, I'vegot to be terribly good, and put everybody in agood humor! "By the time she had reached this virtuousconclusion, Nelly found herself at her own door,and was about to run up the steps and ring thebell as usual. Then she remembered her ideaof putting everybody in a good humor, andturned and went in at the basement door. Whenshe got in the hall, she made such a noise wipingher feet on the door mat, that Anne, the ser-vant, came to the kitchen door to see what itwas.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 29" Dear me! how very careful yiz are all of asudden, miss! " she said, as she saw Nelly busilycleaning her shoes. " An' you raally did man-age to come in the airy way, an' save me thethrouble of answerin' the dhoor- did yiz?"" 0, well, it's Christmas times, and peopleought to be obliging, Anne, you know," an-swered' Nelly, with a smile of pretended good-nature; and the Irish girl said, " Yis; blissedbe the howly Christ for it," and went back toher work, thinking Miss Nelly must surely have" met with a change."Very lightly, so as to make no noise, Nellyran up stairs, and, laying off her cloak andhat in her own room, went straight to hermother's. Very softly she opened the door,to show how careful she was not to disturb eithermother or baby if they should be asleep; andvery gently she went up to the bedside, and in-quired how they were, and if baby had had anymore colic, or mother any more backache, andwhat there was that she could do for either ofthem.It was not usually Nelly's way to be so thought-ful and tender, and Mrs. Morgan was pleased tosee her little daughter so affectionate and ready to
30 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTbe of use. So she gave her the baby, who wasa little fretful, to hold for a while; and Nelly satin a low chair by the fire, nursing the little soft,wriggling thing on her lap, cooing to it, andcaressing it, and, between whiles, amusing hermother with a description of the day at school,the making of wreaths, and trimming of rooms,while her mother looked on, and listened, andwas pleased to see Nelly so kind and cheerful.The "troublesome little young ones," too,--Jennie and Frank, who were too small to go tothe great public school, but belonged to a little" kindergarten " nearer home, gathered round herchair to hear what she was saying, and to tell intheir eager way about the Christmas doings thatwere to take place at their own school; and Nellydid not seem to find them troublesome at all,but listened with an appearance of interest to allthey had to say, and talked to them in a lowtone, which had the effect of quieting them.Then, when the little wee baby had wriggledand " snoozled" itself to sleep, and Mrs. Morganbegan to look' rather tired with all the talking,she laid the little live bundle softly back in thebed, and invited the children so pleasantly tocome down to the sitting-room with her, and
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 31hear all about Kriss Kringle, that they went offat once in delight, and Mrs. Morgan turned onher pillow to take a little nap before her husbandshould come home, thinking what a good daugh-ter Nelly could be when she tried, and hopingthat during the coming new year she would per-haps try oftener.When Nelly got down stairs, however, out ofher mother's sight, her extraordinary good-natureproved very short-lived. She soon grew tiredof talking to Frank and Jennie, and began tofind them "troublesome young ones" again;and after answering, in a rather impatient way,some of their innumerable questions about " St.Nick," she summed' up the whole matter byreading to them, as fast as she could speak,their favorite poem,-"'Twas the night before Christmas," -and then, coaxing them to go off to the nursery,she set them down to building towers and castleswith their blocks.9When she saw them really busy and interested,she breathed a long sigh of relief, and saying toherself, "Thank goodness! now I can go andattend to my own affairs for a little while !" she
32 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTslipped softly away across the hall to the " spareroom," and proceeded to make sure of no inter-ruptions by locking the door. When all wassecure, she moved quietly over the floor, so asnot to attract the attention of her mother, whoseroom was just below, and paused in fi-ont of thebureau. She hesitated a moment, and then,saying half aloud, as if to encourage herself,--"Pooh! who cares? they're my own things,and I've a right to do what I please with 'em !"she opened one of the drawers, and took out alarge package, carefully pinned up in tissue-paper. Unfastening this, she shook out of itsfolds the pretty muslin dress which had beenmade for a birthday party, and never wornsince.After stopping to admire it a good while, andto think, with a flush on her cheek and a flash inher eyes, how she would outshine all her classto-morrow, and how envious Maggie Lang wouldbe, she spread it out carefully on the high, whitebed, and turned to the drawer again. She tookout next the* pretty bronze boots, the workedstockings, the broad sash, and little embroideredhandkerchief, which belonged to the costume,handling each article of finery with tender touch,
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 33and gazing upon it with fond, proud eyes, asthough it was the object of her dearest affec-tion.They were laid carefully, one by one, uponthe bed beside the gauzy pile of muslin that laythere like a white cloud; and then Nelly took outstill another parcel from the drawer, which wasthe shrine of her most precious possessions.Very delicately she unpinned the wrappings ofsoft paper, and revealed to view the wreath ofpink daisies, the white gloves, and dainty littlesilk fan, which had been the gifts of an indulgentauntie, on the grand occasion of Nelly's first par-ty. She looked at these with longing eyes, andwished she only might dare venture to wearthem. She even tried the wreath over her blackbraids, and stood before the glass, fluttering thelittle feathery fan, and putting on all the airs ofa mincing young lady; but, delightful as was theview to Nelly's self-admiring eyes, her commonsense interfered to prevent her from being tooridiculous.""Ah, no! I suppose it really won't do towear a wreath and white gloves to the school-house; and as for the fan, I'm afraid it will berather too chilly for me to need it," she de-.* 3
34 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTcided at last; and so, with a long sigh, and withloving, lingering fingers, she pinned them againinto their folds of tissue paper, and placed themback in the drawer.There were still her clean underclothes -to belaid out; and by the time all was ready the tea-bell rang, and Nelly started, like a guilty thing,and hastened out of the room at once, lockingthe door carefully behind her, and almost flyingdown stairs, so as to be at the table ready to pourout her father's tea before any one could possiblyinquire where she was.Her hand trembled a little as she lifted thecup, for she was conscious of a wrong and se-cret purpose; but she had presence of mindenough to control her agitation, and to remem-ber just how much milk and how many lumpsof sugar her father liked in his tea. She waitedon him so nicely, and was so kind to the children,that Mr. Morgan was quite pleased, and said itwas almost as good as having the dear motherherself at the table; and Nelly's face flushed athis praise, half in pride, half in shame, as sheremembered how she was only acting a part,and all the time plotting in her heart to de-ceive both him and the mother who lay ill andhelpless in her bed.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 35This thought did not serve to weaken her pur-pose, however; and she went on carrying outher plan of being very kind and useful, andmaking it difficult to suspect her of doing wrong.She arranged her mother's tea nicely on a tray,and carried it up to her herself; then took thebaby while the nurse went down to get her ownsupper; and by and by, when little Jennie saidshe was sleepy, she offered at once to put her tobed, and was altogether so thoughtful and sogood that everybody was quite delighted; andMrs. Morgan said she did not feel so very badlynow about being sick, and leaving the houseentirely to the tender mercies of Annie.As Nelly kissed her mother good night, shesaid, in an indifferent tone, as though it were amatter of very little consequence to her, -" I suppose it doesn't make any difference toyou, mother, does it, what I wear to'morrow?"And her mother, suspecting nothing, said, kind-ly, -" 0, no, my dear; wear just what you like-only be sure that you look neat and tidy."Nelly's black eyes sparkled with triumph asshe heard these words. She knew very wellthat her mother did not dream of her wearing a
36 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTthin white dress, but merely meant to allow herto choose from her winter wardrobe her scarletmerino, or her last year's plaid, or even the bluechecked silk, which was her best summer dress,but was made high, with long sleeves, and,therefore, warm enough in a warm room. ButNelly did not care for the real truth of the mat-ter: all she wanted was some word from hermother which sle could claim as an excuse ifshe were ever detected in what she intended todo; and having got this word, she felt safe, andgave no thought either to the right or thewrong.So her heart was full of nothing but pride inthe success of her cunning plot, and of gratifiedvanity as she stood before the mirror in herroom, in her night dress, unbraiding her thickblack hair, and screwing it up again into tighterplaits than ever, that it might be sure to " crin-kle " well to-morrow.No thought of the real meaning of Christmascame into her mind; no remembrance of MissKavanagh's talk, only that afternoon, about theheavenly Babe who came to earth, not arrayedin fine raiment, and dwelling in kings' palaces,but-
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 37"Meanly wrapped in swaddling bands,And in a manger laid."No thought of the Savior, who had given upthe glories of heaven to wander about the earth,homeless and poor, clad in coarse garments,"1 despised and rejected of men, a man of sor-rows and acquainted with grief," all for her sake,and that of sinners like her. No; no thoughtof anything but her own silly vanity; and shelaid her head upon her pillow and went to sleep,to dream of the morrow's triumph, with never aprayer to Him who alone could preserve herthrough the dark night, and add another mor-row to her life.
38 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTCHAPTER IV.WHEN Nelly awoke next morning, it wasbroad daylight; and she sprang out ofbed, and began to dress as quickly as possible,for she had two toilets to make, and a great dealof managing to do, and it was necessary tohave plenty of time. -As soon as she was readyshe went down stairs to hurry Anne with thebreakfast, and then flew up again to hasten thedressing of the children. She was so energeticthat she inspired every one else to be brisk, andby half past seven she had them all seated at thetable, and everything going on famously. Onlyonce she was a little disconcerted, when herfather, noticing that she wore her every-daydress, said, -"Why, how's this, little woman? I thoughtI shoul'd see you come out as a red bird thismorning! Isn't there some sort of fandango atschool to-day?"But she answered, quickly, " 0, yes, there is;
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 39but I was afraid I might soil my dress pouringthe coffee or something;" and Mr. Morganonly smiled at her extra carefulness, and nevernoticed how hastily she spoke, or how hercheeks burned as red as the scarlet dress.Breakfast was over at last; her father gone offto his business, her mother's tray sent up, andthe children coaxed to go and play in the nursery;and Nelly was free to run up to the spare room,and begin again to offer her devotions at theshrine of vanity.She had no time now to linger to admireeither her finery or herself. Her shoes were ex-changed rapidly for the delicate bronze boots;her hair let down in a black, rippling mass overher shoulders, and the white muslin dress dulyput on. She had hard work managing the hooksand eyes, the clasps of her coral, and the bow ofher sash, alone; but perseverance conquers allthings, and Nelly's persistence was worthy of abetter cause. She overcame every difficulty bypatient effort, and was all ready before nineo'clock, even to the rubber boots, which wereto conceal her thin shoes, and the water-proofcloak, which was long and full, and covered herdress entirely.
40 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTThe only thing now was to get off without herdqception being detected; and this was not diffi-cult, as it happened. The children were safe inthe nursery; Anne was busy clearing up thebreakfast things; nurse was dressing the baby;and only her mother was at liberty to notice herdress. This, however, Nelly did not intend togive her a chance to do. Drawing up the hoodof her water-proof over her head, gathering in allthe mass of waving hair, she ran down stairs asif in the greatest hqste, just put her head in ather mother's door, and saying, breathlessly,"Good by, mother! I haven't a minute tostop Miss Kavanagh wants us for somethingparticular, and I'm late already " was off downthe stairs, and out of the front door, never stop-ping to hear her mother's kind " Well, my dear,good by, and be sure to have a nice time."How merry and Christmas-like the streetslooked as Nelly stepped out upon them theWhite snow lying everywhere; the sleighs dash-ing swiftly by with jingling bells; the peoplehurrying along with eager faces, already busywith the Christmas Eve shopping; the windowsgay with all manner of pretty things, and sur-rounded by admiring groups of children.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 41But Nelly didn't stop to look to the right handor the left. She would not feel quite safe untilshe was really in the school-room; and so sIehurried on, scarcely stopping to take breath,until she found herself within the school-house,and away up stairs in the long wardrobe, wherethe girls took off their wrappings before enteringthe class-rooms. The merry hum of voiceswithin showed Nelly that she was one of thelast comers; and she took off her cloak in a hur-ry, her cheeks flushing quick with gratified van-ity at the murmur of surprise that broke fromthe two or three stragglers in the wardrobe. Shetook it for admiration and envy; and, noticingthat they had on high dark dresses and high boots,she felt quite a friendly pity for them. She onlystopped to shake out the folds of her gauzydress, to settle her sash, and to give one or twofinal twitches to her curls, and then, with glow-ing cheeks and sparkling eyes, she marchedproudly into the school-room.It was not quite nine yet, and none of theclasses were in order. The girls were scatteredhere and there, laughing and chatting; the teach-ers were standing in a group, talking to eachother; and naturally every one looked round at
42 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTthe rustle of such an imposing entrance as Nel-ly's. She fluttered up the long, narrow aisle,through rows of staring children, to her ownclass-room, quite conscious that every eye wasupon her, and quite delighted with the conscious-ness. She spread out her stiff skirts as she satdown, as a peacock spreads his tail, and lookedround her with as complacent an air as that con-ceited bird is assumed always to wear; but thenext moment her look of satisfied vanity wassuddenly changed to one of surprise and chagrin.The rooms were filled with girls; all theyoung ladies of the first class were present, and,to Nelly's amazement and mortification, not oneof them was dressed in white. There was everyvariety of color, blue, and green, and crimson,purple, and garnet, and fawn,-but all madehigh, with sleeves to the wrist; and she alonefound herself fluttering in gauzy-white draperies,with uncovered neck and arms.Now, Nelly was vain enough to like to surpassother girls; but she was not independent enoughto like to be entirely different fi-om them; andeven if they had not all stared and tittered so,she would have found it very unpleasant to beso conspicuously singular on such a public occa-sion,
dilL WV' hLillUi 'S I I '1 ii 1 lii iAU I"j J i'I _ItIIlkIIII ililll~;r~i I5/L/7~ii~\~~~la~~ -5--ti l~~~~ i/I I)l~~lI I~~I~~I ~ 1116"'II "LP~>N-P' 1/1/// / /_ e/NELLY'S VANITY- Pagre 42.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 43But then they did stare and titter very muchindeed, as school-girls will, no matter howmuch they are lectured; and the glow of tri-umph on Nelly's face quickly deepened into aburning blush of shame and anger as she caughtone and another teasing whisper from thosearound her."I say, girls," said one little mischief in Nel-ly's own class," we've made a mistake; this isa full-dress party, not a school reception; theshutters will be closed, and the gas lighted pres-ently; we'd better hurry home, and get on ourkids while there is time."Of course this sally, though not very brilliant,set the girls into a giggle, and another and an-other uttered some comical speech, which Nellycould not help hearing; and the children, fullof fun and spirits, would laugh and draw away,pretending they were afraid of crushing herfinery, until the quick-tempered girl could standit no longer. She sprang up from her seat, hereyes snapping, and her cheeks flaming withanger, and cried out, in a rage, -" You're a poor, mean, miserable set; you'vegot nothing fit to wear yourselves, and you'reonly'jealous of those who have. I shall go
44 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTright home, and tell my mother of you. Andyou may get along the best you can with-your piece, for I won't stay to say it with you-now "And in a moment she had swept down theaisle, and slammed out of the door.The teachers looked round at the noise, andMiss Kavanagh came down the room to see whatwas the matter in her class. The girls all beganto speak at once, and it was some time beforeshe could quiet them in their excitement, andfind out the true state of the case. When shediscovered that Nelly Morgan, for whom she hadbeen waiting to begin her rehearsal, had reallycome and gone again, with the determinationnot to return, she was very much annoyed andperplexed." Dear, dear! what is to be'done?" she said,in a vexed tone. "Didn't you know, girls, asoften as you have been told, that it was very rudeto laugh at a companion for anything? You hadmuch better have come and told me she washere, and I would have made her put on a scarf,or something, and we would have gone on withour rehearsal. Now we shall have to give upour exercise altogether, for we can't possibly do
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 45without her. I depended on her not only for herown verse, but to lead the chorus, and I shallnot undertake it without her."" 0, O, Miss Kavanagh " began a chorus ofdisappointed voices; and Maggie Lang jumpedup and said, " I know where she lives, MissKavanagh; let me run after her and coax her,or beg her mother to send her back. I'll tellher we're all sorry, and I'll be sure to bring her.May I go, please?"" 0, yes, Miss Kavanagh, let her go, please! "echoed the chorus of voices again; but theirteacher hesitated." I never like to send my scholars on errands,you know," she said, " and it is within a minuteof nine o'clock; but, as you all feel so badlyabout giving up your recitation, you may go, foronce, Maggie. I don't think it will be of anyuse, however; Mrs. Morgan will naturally beoffended at the way in which Nelly was treated.I hope it will be a lesson to you all. It is a veryvexatious affair altogether."Miss Kavanagh looked thoroughly displeasedas she rose to go and inform the principal thatthe exercise of her class would probably have tobe omitted from the programme. Maggie Lang
46 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTslipped quietly out on her errand, and the othergirls waited her return in very uncomfortablesilence.Meanwhile the principal's bell rang for o'rder,and the little buzz and flutter ceased throughoutthe rooms, and each class presented a beautifularray of silent and motionless girls, prettilydressed, and with bright, expectant faces. Vis-itors began to pour in from the lower rooms,where they had been attending the Christmasexercises of the inale department; the audience-room was soon filled with parents and friends ofthe pupils, and the trustees of the school; andthe business of the morning began with a merrysong of welcome, which the whole tunefulthrong, numbering hundreds of girls, sangstanding to the spirited -accompaniment of thepiano. Under cover of all this burst of song,and screened from view by the rows of tall girlsin the front classes, little Maggie slipped up thelong aisle, and, in a low voice, reported thesuccess of her mission to her teacher." I went to Nelly's house," she said, half outof breath with the haste she had made, " and Iasked the girl at the door if I couldn't see Nelly.And she looked astonished, and said Nelly was
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 47gone to school long ago ; and I told her, yes, butshe had gone home again; and she said she wasstire she wasn't 4n the house, for she couldn'thave come in without her hearing her. And shesaid she hoped Nelly wasn't up to any mischief,for her mother was very sick, and it would worryher so much. So I thought I wouldn't say anymore, for fear she'd tell Mrs. Morgan, and makeher worse; and so I said, maybe there was somemistake, and came right back. But it's too bad--isn't it, Miss Kavanagh, for Nelly to behaveso, and for us to lose saying our pretty piece,after we've taken so much trouble practising it? ""It is too bad," said Miss Kavanagh, lookingboth vexed and anxious; " and I only hope, too,that Nelly may not be doing anything wrong. Ican scarcely believe that Mrs. Morgan but nomatter;" and she checked herself suddenly,not thinking it right to communicate her sus-picions to her pupils. "At any rate we shallhave to give up our recitation; and I do hope itWill be a lesson to you all to make you rememberthe Golden Rule a little better. No matter howridiculous any of you might ever chance toappear, -you Would not like to be laughed atany more than. Nelly."
48 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTMaggie withdrew to her seat, looking verycrestfallen; for, though she had said nothingteasing to Nelly, she had joined in the generallaugh raised by the whole class at the sight of"her finery and her airs. She had felt, too, a littlethrob of exultation to think that it was Nelly,and not herself, as Nelly had predicted, who hadappeared ridiculous in the eyes of the school;but now she felt ashamed to remember that shehad indulged such a wrong feeling, and thoughtsorrowfully how poor a way this was to enterupon the real joy of Christmas, of which MissKavanagh had talked only yesterday.The rest of the class, who were still standing,singing their song of welcome, had, however,kept their eyes fixed upon their teacher andMaggie; and, although they could not hearwhat was said, they read very plainly on theirfaces the fate of their share in the day's enter-tainment. The ill-tidings were confirmed by adecided shake of Miss Kavanagh's head in replyto their eager looks of inquiry as they took theirjsats; and, though they had to accept their dis-appointment in silence, the pleasure was allgone out of the morning for them, and a verydark cloud hung over the usually bright-facedand orderly second division.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 49And yet it was a very pleasant reception.There were a great many guests, and they wereentertained by recitations and declamations,compositions and dialogues, music of all kinds,- grave and gay, solos, duets, and chorals;and,.prettiest of all, with graceful and healthfulexercises in calisthenics. The two hours spedrapidly away, and the final addresses had beenmade, all sorts of nice compliments and Christ-mas greetings been paid to teachers and pupils,and the visitors had taken their departure; everyface was full of smiles and Christmas cheer, andevery one in high good humor, except the unfor-tunate second class.They felt decidedly cheated, and looked dis-consolate enough in the midst of the generalcomplacency. They brightened up a little, how-ever, when, after all the guests had departed, andonly the pupils remained in their seats waitingfor dismissal, Mr. Thurston, the chairman of theschool committee, rose on the platform, and saidhe had just one more word to whisper in theirear. The little stir and bustle in the room wasquieted at once, for the children always liked toShe a r w h a t M r T h u r s to n h a d t o s a y H e h a dsuch a good and genial face, such pleasant blueA
50 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTeyes, and such a cordial smile, that one couldnot but be sure of his having a kind heart; thenhe always talked so that they could understandhim, never forgetting to throw in a merry wordto brighten them in the midst of his good advice.So, though they were often horribly bored bythe pompous, stupid harangues which were fre-quently inflicted upon them by gentlemen visit-ors, they were never tired of listening to Mr.Thurston.And, indeed, they could not well help Deinginterested to-day, for his " one word more" wasto tell them that he and the whole committee hadbeen very much pleased with what they hadheard of their industry and good conduct duringthe past term; and that now, as Christmas was athand, when every one was expected to feelhappy, and as the committee wished the chil-dren to have the pleasantest of associations con-nected with their school, these gentlemen hadprovided an entertainment, different, it was true,but he trusted quite as agreeable, as the feast ofreason" and the flow of soul which the childrenhad furnished to them that morning. If theteachers would allow them to adjourn to theplay-room below, he thought they would make
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 51a discovery which could not fail to give thempleasure; that is, if they were anything like him,when he was a little boy, or a little girl either,for that matter.Applause was rather contrary to the order ofthings in a public school; but this was too muchfor the children's powers of restraint. Moreover,Christmas was a privileged time, and with oneaccord, as Mr. Thurston finished speaking, thechildren started in their seats; eager hands wentclap, clap, clap! glad feet went stamp, stamp,stamp and a good, generous hurrah! for thecommittee, with a tiger for the chairman, rangfrom room to room of the great building.The gentlemen bowed their acknowledg-ments, and a touch of the principal's bell re-stored silence at once. With eager, beamingfaces the school waited for orders; a teacher tookher place at the piano, and struck up the liveliestof marches; and class by class, in regular mili-tary order, though on the double-quick, fileddown the long staircases, away, away dow-n tothe very ground floor, where an immense play-room occupied the entire space.This had been gayly decorated with evergreensby men whom the committee had sent there the
52 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTevening before ; and that very morning, whilethe children were busy with their songs, theirspeeches, and their gymnastics, a whole army ofwaiters had been just as busy, putting up im-promptu tables, covering them with cloths, andspreading them with all manner of Christmascheer.There were turkeys O, how many -just asmany as eight hundred children could possiblydispose of; and geese and chickens besides; mincepies, and pumpkin pies, and apple pies; basketsfill of cake, and others heaped with motto can-dies, nuts and raisins, oranges and apples; andjust as much lemonade as any one wanted.Many of the children had never sat down to sucha feast before; and never did Christmas Eve shineupon happier faces than were gathered roundthose long tables in the great school play-room.The gentlemen of the committee staid and tookluncheon with the children, and felt themselvesfully repaid for their generosity in witnessingthe pleasure they had given. The principal andteachers were also there, of course, to share thefeast, and keep'the youngsters from being entirelycarried away by their high spirits.Not that there was much effort at order at-
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 53tempted, however. When the repast was con-cluded, and every one had eaten as much as hewished, and each child had been furthermore de-lighted with the present of an orange, and a cor-nucopia of candy, to take home to a little brotheror sister, the waiters came in again, and packedup the dishes in great baskets, and carried themoff. Then the boys fell to work, and took apartthe tables, which were only boards laid upontrestles; and in double-quick time the great roomwas cleared, and the word was given that allwho chose might remain an hour or two longer,and engage in whatever games they liked.This announcement was received with anotherburst of applause; and, of course, every one choseto stay. The teachers, who enjoyed it all as muchas the children, took a general superintendence ofthings, suggesting games, and separating the littleones from the great ones, so that they would bein no danger of being run down in the midst ofthe frolic. Very soon all manner of merry playswere going on all over the great hall. Of course,there were the old favorites, " Oats, peas, beans,and barley grow," " Sister, 0 Phoebe," " Herewe tread the green grass," " Fox ahd geese," andso on; besides " Sell the button," Turkish
54 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTmerchant," and various "guessing games," forthe quieter ones.Everybody joined in, and everybody was inthe best of humors; so that, altogether, it wasone of the very happiest days that any of themcould remember, even to the second class, whohad forgotten all about the disappointment of themorning; and all went home in high spirits,delighted with their " Surprise Party," gratefulto the gentlemen who had so kindly planned itfor them, and prepared ever after to connect amost agreeable association of Christmas withschool.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 55CHAPTER V.A S the girls were gathered in the longwardrobes, putting on cloaks and hats,and chattering, like so many magpies, over thedelights of that most delightful day, some onecalled out,--" Here's a pair of rubber boots, tucked up inthe corner here; who owns them? Nobody?Well, then, let's put them up at auction. Whobids for this fine pair of rubber boots, warrantedto keep out everything?"" Even the feet," said another laughing girl,as the little mischief held the-unclaimed bootshigh above her head; and another cried mer-rily, -" Let's settle it as they did about the little glassslipper. Let's all try them on, and see who isthe Cinderella amongst us."But by this time Maggie Lang had got aglimpse of the boots about to be so unceremoni-ously disposed of, and she recognized them at
56 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTonce as belonging to her deskmate, Nelly Mor-gan." Have they got blue straps inside to pull themon with? " she asked: " yes, I thought so; I knewthey were Nelly Morgan's; I've seen her drythem at the register many a time. Give themto me, and I'll take them home to her; she'llbe sure to want them before the holidays areover, and the school-house will be locked up,you know."" Take them home to her?" repeated one ofthe girls, in surprise. " Indeed, I wouldn't takeany such trouble for such a mean, disobligingcreature.""Yes, if it hadn't been for her, we wouldn'thave had to appear so stupid that we couldn'ttake any part in the reception exercises," saidanother; and still another chimed in with alaugh of ridicule." O, well, girls, she came in as the show-piece,you know. Everything is spectacular, nowa-days, as my father says, when he puts on hisglasses."A burst of laughter followed this brilliant sallyfrom the " witty" young lady of the first class;and, under cover of the noise, Maggie went upand took possession of the boots.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 57It was too bad, thought the kind-hearted littlegirl, that poor Nelly should lose the use of herrubbers all through the holiday week, when shewould want to be going out more than usual, andwhen the melting snow would be sure to make itmuddy, as well as to have lost all the pleasure ofthat happy day. It must have been a very dullday to her, indeed, thought Maggie, going homewith such bitter feelings as she had done, andnot a bit like Christmas Eve. And she felt quiteglad that' she had an excuse to go round toNelly's house, and tell her how sorry she felt, andperhaps cheer her up a little, by telling her whatmerry times they had had in the great play-room,and how much she had wished for her there. Soshe wrapped up the boots in a piece of paper, andstarted off with them tucked under her arm. Shestopped at her own home first, of course, and ranup stairs to tell her mother all the wonderfulhistory of the day; and Mrs. Lang was quite asmuch interested and pleased as Maggie coulddesire." I concluded something special must be goingon at the school, when you staid so long," shesaid; "for I knew my Maggie would not go offanywhere else without asking mother. Well, it
58 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTcertainly was very kind of Mr. Thurston and theother gentlemen; and I hope you, for one, Mag-gie, will show that you remember it, by tryingto be more diligent than ever next term. Thosehorrid, horrid sums' Maggie; and Mrs. Langsmiled .significantly at her little daughter. Mag-gie colored a little, and answered, quickly, " Yes,indeed, mother, I shall study harder than ever, toplease the gentlemen and dear Miss Kavanagh,too. 0, mother, she was so pleased with thebouquet I brought her; it was the prettiest oneshe had; but, mother, she was vexed with me,too, to-day with all of us; and it was about thestrangest thing. I'll tell you all about it."So then came all the story of Nelly Morgan'sstrange performances; of her sudden appearancein glory, and her equally sudden disappearancein shame; of Maggie's going to her house, andnot finding her there, and of the disappoint'mentwith regard to their recitation." So the bells didn't ring in your class to-day,in spite of its being Christmas Eve !" said Mrs.Lang, with a smile, as Maggie finished her story;but for all that, she looked grave, and in her ownmind felt tolerably certain that there was some-thing wrong connected with Nelly's behavior.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 59She did not say so, however, and Maggie wenton to tell about the finding of the rubbers. " Ihave them here, mother," she said, " and if youdon't mind, I'd like to run round and take themto Nelly, and tell her how sorry I am she missedall the fun, and give her this paper of candy, ifshe'll have it. It's only four o'clock, and Iwon't stay long. May I go?"Mrs. Lang hesitated a moment; she did notlike to have her little daughter intimate with agirl who, she feared, was not possessed of verystrict principles of right; but neither could shebear to check her in her kindly impulse; so shesaid, "Yes, you may go; but don't stay verylong." And Maggie promised, and tying on herhood again, started off on her kindly errand.We must hasten on before her, however, andfind out how it has fared with Nelly all throughthis Christmas Eve, which she had thought wasgoing to be such a proud and happy day. Shewas in such a tempest of rage when she rushedout of the school-room that she scarcely knewwhat she was doing. Her chief desire was toget away as quickly as possible from the sceneof her mortification and disappointment; andshe had thrown on her wraps, and rushed off
60 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTin such mad haste that she had entirely forgottenher overshoes; nor did she remember them until,as she ran along the street, not noticing, in herblind passion, where she was going, she feltthesnow, which lay in pools of melting slush onevery crossing, penetrating the delicate kid ofher pretty boots, and wetting her feet to the skin.Then she remembered, in consternation, thatwater would spoil the bright bronze coloring;and, looking down at her feet, she discovered, toher despair, that her beautiful shoes were entire-ly ruined !Tears of sorrow and of fear rushed to hereyes. Her beautiful bronze boots! they wereso handsome, and so costly! She had neverhad such a pair before, and they fitted her soperfectly, and every one admired them so much!How could she bear to give them up? And,worst of all, how could she account to hermother for their condition? how could she tellher of the deception she had practised upon her,and of the mortification in which it had ended?" It will never do; she would tell father, andhe would be, O, so angry " thought the unhappygirl, still hastening along the -sloppy streets, andtrying to force back her tears, that people might
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 61not stare at her for crying. " I must hide themaway when I get home, and I must try somehowor other to earn the money to buy aiother pairjust like them. I can knit sontags and breakfastshawls, and I'll take the dollar my father alwaysgives me at Christmas to buy the worsted for thefirst one. Thank fortune, they're party shoes,and mother won't know but that they're safe inthe drawer. I only hope I shan't be asked to asingle party this winter."With this not very cheering hope for her onlycomfort, the miserable girl reached her home,and stole in at the basement door, trembling forfear that Anne should suddenly come out of thekitchen, and starting like a guilty thing at everysound she heard. She met no one, however, onher way up stairs. The children had not yet re-turned from their little school, and the nurse wastaking care of Mrs. Morgan and the baby in theirown room; so that Nelly made her way, unseenand unheard, up to the empty guest chamber,which had been the scene of her triumphantvanity only an hour or two before.There, with very different feelings from thosewith which she had put them on, she took off herfine clothes, and began to lay them, with tears of
62 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTshame and anger, back in the drawer. But whenshe went to fold up her dress, sle found not onlythat it was considerably tumbled by the heavycloak, but that worse and worse the inside ofthe hem, all across the back breadth, was spottedwith mud which had splashed up underneath inher mad race home through the slush.This was too much, and Nelly dropped, allundressed as she was, into a chair, and sobbedaloud. What should she do with this fresh mis-/fortune? The shoes she might possibly replace;but how could she ever account to her mother forthe splashes on a dress which, as she supposed,had never been worn out of the house? She didnot dare wash them off, for Swiss muslin alwaysshowed when it had been washed, as it lost inthe water the peculiar pale bluish tinge which ithas when new; besides, the starch would comeout, and that breadth would look all limp andunlike the others; and O, her mother would besure to notice the difference, and what should shedo ? Poor Nellv it never occurred to her to dothe only safe, because the only right thing- goto her mother, acknowledge her fault, tell all itsunhappy consequences, and ask forgiveness, inreal penitence of heart, and determination neverto attempt to deceive again.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 63It did not occur to Nelly because she did notfeel real sorrow for her fault; she only felt angerat the failure of her plans, and fear of discovery;and she attached so much more importance tofine dress herself than to truth and honor, thatshe could not believe her mother would be will-ing to let the accident to the shoes and the frockpass unpunished, merely because she was honestenough to confess how it had happened. Shehad not yet experienced the truth of the sweetpromise, -"If we confess our sins, God is faithfuland just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanseus from all unrighteousness."And thus she felt only the cowardice of theguilty, with none of the trustful courage of thepenitent and believing.So, as the poor girl sat shivering in the cold,any way and every way except the right way ofgetting out of her trouble came into Nelly'smind. She could think of nothing better, how-ever, than letting the mud dry on the dress, andthen trying to rub it off with a brush. So shespread out the gauzy white skirt on the oacksof two chairs, looked at it in a helpless sort ofway, and then put on her every-day dress, and
64 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTwrapped her cloak around her; for there was nofire in the spare room, and Nelly began to find itvery cold indeed.She did not dare, however, to go down into awarm room, for fear her mother would hear thatshe was at home, and want to know why shehad left school so early. She did not even dareto walk about to keep herself warm, lest sheshould be heard; and there was nothing for herto do but wrap'her cloak tight around her, andsit down in the great cushioned rocking-chair,and tuck her poor little cold feet under her, tokeep them from getting quite numb.There were no books in the room that Nellycared to read, no work, no playthings; and 0,how drearily this Christmas Eve passed by tothe disappointed, and mortified, and anxiousgirl! While her classmates were passing thehours so pleasantly, she had nothing to do butchafe her chilly hands, and look disconsolately ather ruined finery, and listen for every sound,every footfall, so as to spring and hide it awayif any step should be heard approaching theroom; no companions but her own bitter, andangry, and fearful thoughts, and no memory ofthe day which was not inexpressibly painful.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 65And yet this was Christmas Eve, and heldsacred by the whole Christian world, in memoryof that wondrous Eve, hundreds of years ago,when the wise men beheld the Star in the East,that heralded the birth of the Prince of Peace,and when the angels sang the triumphant song, -" On earth peace good will to men! "But there was no peace, no good will to men, inour poor foolish Nelly's heart that day.Never was the sound of the great City Hallbell, booming out twelve o'clock, more welcomethan it was to this poor little half-frozen prisonerof her own misdeeds; for that was the hourwhen school was to have been dismissed, andnow she might appear before her mother withoutexciting any remark. The light splashes of mudon the dress were now quite dry, too; and Nellytook a clothes-brush from the bureau, and triedvery carefully to rub them off. To her great re-lief, she was able to efface them almost entirely.Only a few slight stains remained, and Nellytrusted to her quick wit to prevent them frombeing noticed the next time she had occasion to- wear the dress.The shoes now remained to be disposed of.5
66 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTThese were still quite wet, and entirely dis-colored; and Nelly looked at them with a pangof regret, not for her sin, but for their loss. Shehad decided that the safest place in which to hidethem was a certain hole in the plaster of theattic wall; and accordingly she stole up the nar-row stairs in her stocking feet, creeping softlyas a cat, and listening, and looking sharply, forfear that Anne might be up in her room andhear her.But no sign of any one appeared, and Nellyclimbed up on a chair, and thrust the proofs ofher deception safe out of sight, drawing back herhand hastily, lest a hungry rat, mistaking it for.apiece of cheese, might nibble a bit of it for hisChristmas dinner. Then she crept down stairsagain, folded away her dresses, tidied the room,and, taking her cloak and hood, closed the door,and stole softly down to the front hall. Thereshe changed her manner very suddenly. Sheopened the street door and shut it again with abang; burst out into a snatch of a Christmascarol, and then ran noisily up stairs, singing allthe way, as though happy as a child ought tobe on Christmas Eve. When she reached her
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 67mother's door, she stopped her song, as thoughafraid of disturbing her or baby, and, turning theknob softly, she entered the room, and presentedherself before her mother as having just arrivedfrom school.
68 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTCHAPTER VI." TELL, my daughter," said Mrs. Morgan,VV turning over in the bed, and greetingNelly with a smile, " you come in singing; soI suppose you've had a very pleasant time.But, child," she went on, as she noticed Nelly'spale and strange looks, " you're blue with thecold, and your teeth are chattering. Is it sovery cold out?"" It was chilly in the school-room," answeredNelly, evasively; " but never mind me, mother;I'll soon get warm here before your bright fire.How are you, and how is baby? I scarcely hadtime to peep at you this morning."" O, doing nicely as can be; the little fellowsleeps'As if he were fed on dormouse pie,With sauce of sirup of poppy.'But. tell me what kind of a morning you'vehad."" 0, pretty nice -just like all the receptions.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 69Stupid things, I think, they are. I was gladwhen it was over."" I'm afraid you don't feel very well," said Mrs,Morgan, anxiously, as Nelly answered in this dull.listless way. " I hope you haven't taken cold.I think the janitor ought to have the rooms prop-erly warmed, at least. You shall have some ofmy warm gruel, if you will. I expect yourushed off with half a breakfast this morning."But Nelly declined the gruel. Her mother'skindness made her feel uncomfortable, conscionsas she was of planning to deceive her; and shewanted to escape from it by quitting the room.So she said, -" No, thank you, mother. I won't rob youof your sick dainties. I guess I'll go down inthe dining-room, and see what Anne can giveme for lunch."She got up to go, and Mrs. Morgan only stoppedher to beg that she would keep near .the fireuntil she had got thoroughly warmed through;and Nelly smiled, and said yes, and stopped tokiss the sleeping baby, who lay all rolled up in apuff-ball, as she went out; but when the door hadclosed behind her, the smile vanished from herface, and the tired and sullen look came back.
70 FINE FEATHERS DO NOT" That ain't much of a Christmas face you'vebrought back from the school wid ye, MissNelly," said the good-natured Anne, as shecame, bringing the tea-tray into the dining-room, where Nelly sat cowering gloomily overthe fire. "An' sure, an' I should think ye'dlook as bright as a button to-day, seein' the greatturkey yer father's sent home for the dinner to-morrow, an' the raisins and currants for thepuddin', an' the oranges and nuts for dessert; for-bye the bit o' Santa Claus he'll be sure to fetchhome in his pockets to night for all of yez. In-dade, an' I think it's a fine Christmas Eve, an'blissed be the name o' Jesus, that gives us a hap-py time once a year !"Nelly did not look up, or make any answer tothis cheerful speech of the simple-hearted Irishgirl; and Anne came close up to her, and sawhow pale she looked."Is it sick, thin, ye are?" she asked, withready sympathy. " 0, but that's too bad intirelyon Christmas Eve. It's chilled through I thinkye've got--ye look all of a shiver. Here now,here's a cup o' nice hot tay, strong enough forgrown folks, and some nice apple fritters: youlike apple fi-itters. Eat and drink a bit, Miss
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 71Nelly, an you'll feel better," said the kind-heart-ed girl, drawing up a chair between the fire andthe table, and almost forcing Nelly to sit downin it."And there's-the other childer poundin' at thedoor; I must go an' let 'em in; but you takeyour lunch comfortable all by yourself, MissNelly, while I take off their cloaks and mit-tens."She went out, and shut the door behind her;but even her kind good-nature could not makeNelly feel "comfortable."She felt both cold and hot; quick chills ranthrough her frame, succeeded by as quick flashesof heat; her head ached; her limbs were stiff;and she found, when she attempted to eat, thather throat was so sore that it was painful toswallow. It was evident that she had taken asevere cold from wetting her feet, and then sit-ting for hours in a fireless room; and poor Nellyhad the added pains of illness to all the miseriesof that most wretched day. She could notenjoy even her favorite apple fritters, but drank,with an effoft, part of a cup of tea, and thenwent and lay down on the dining-room lounge,too tired and uncomfortable to sit up, and yetI '*
72 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTnot wishing to*go up stairs, where she would belikely again to meet her mother's watchful andanxious glance.The children came rushing in, in a few min-utes, their cheeks rosy, and their eyes bright withtheir race home in the snow, and instantly be-sieged Nelly with eager histories of their day atthe kindergarten, and as eager inquiries abouther morning at school." 0, Nelly, it was such fun !" said little Frank,his round face all in a glow with excitement; " wehad such a cunning little Christmas tree, withsuch a jolly old Santa Claus on top of it, allpowdered with snow, and wagging his head,and laughing to us ""Yes, and we each had an orange and somecandy," interrupted Jennie, and Frank broke inagain; "and every fellow had a present, andevery girl, too; see, here's mine !" putting a tintrumpet close to Nelly's ear, and blowing a terrificblast. But Nelly did not laugh." Get away, you naughty boy! How dare youdo such a thing?" she cried, raising herself onthe couch, and giving her little brother a heartypush. " Don't come near me again, either ofyou; I'm sick, and I want to be let alone.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 73Make haste, and eat your lunch, and go up stairs.I don't want you down here. I'm sick, I tellyou."" Well, you needn't be so awful cross about itif you are," answered Frank, angrily; " andmind how you push a fellow about next time,please.""Stop saying 'fellow' so much; you knowmother doesn't like it!" said Nelly, sharply;" and eat your lunch, I say, and go. I'm tiredof your noise.""How cross you are to-day, Nelly, and youwere so nice yesterday!" said Jennie, in a com-plaining tone; but before her sister could answer,Anne appeared to bring in more fritters." Come now, be good childer," she said, " anddon't tease yer sister; she don't feel well to-day,and you must lave her alone. Sure, Miss Nelly,an' ye'll get yer death o' cold lyin' there withnothin' over ye; just let me fetch my shawl; it'shangin' in the hall since I came in from the gro-cery." And the good-natured girl went for itimmediately, and spread the warm plaid all overthe poor little, unhappy figure that lay shivering,even in this fire-lit room, on the lounge.The children, who were good-hearted little
74 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTthings, accepting Anne's word that there reallywas something amiss with their sister, quieteddown into a low, confidential chat over theirfritters; and when the last of the smoking pilehad disappeared, they jumped down, and ran upstairs, to coax nurse to let them into their moth-er's room, that they might pour the story of theday's delights into her more sympathetic ear.Meanwhile Anne cleared the table, tidied theroom, stirred the fire, and, bidding Miss Nelly to" lay still, and take a bit of a nap," went off intothe kitchen, and left her to her repose.But Nelly did not find it such an easy thing togo to sleep. Her body was too full of aches,ajd her heart too full of bitter and anxiousthoughts, for that. The events of the day, fromher first eager springing up to this her drearylying down again, would keep passing in and outof her mind, scene after scene shifting to and fro,like a kaleidoscope, in spite of her efforts to putaway the memory of it all; and her head ached,and the soreness in her throat amounted to pos-itive pain. Worst of all was the ever-returningthought, which would not be. driven away, thather misfortunes were all caused by her ownwrong-doing; and a verse she had learned at
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 75Sunday school -" The way of the transgressoris .hard"-kept sounding in her ears all thetime.It grew fainter, however, at last; apd thechanging images of the day settled into oneindistinct mass, and kind sleep came at lengthto the weary and heavy-hearted girl, and she" forgot her sorrow, and remembered her miseryno more."Her mother sent Jennie down to inquire whyshe did not come up stairs, and Anne sent backword that she was sleeping so nicely it was apity to disturb her; and so the hours of theChristmas Eve wore away quietly enough inthat house, while out of doors the streets werealive with the rushing of sleighs, the jingling ofbells, the shouts of merry children, and thehurrying to and fro of eager shoppers; in manya happy home Christmas trees were being plantedand hung with their own peculiar fruit in lockedrooms by loving mammas and aunties; kind-hearted people were packing baskets of pro-visions and warm clothing to be sent to thehouses of the poor and the needy; and the wholeChristian world seemed to have paused an instantin the eager race of toil and of pleasure, to
"76 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTdraw breath, and be glad, and thank God, ifonly by a cheerful face and a kindly mood, forthe gift of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.It was after four o'clock, and Nelly was stillsleeping, when a little girl knocked at the base-ment door, and asked to see her."I have brought her rubber boots, which sheforgot, and left at school to-day," she said; andAnne exclaimed aloud,-"There, then, that's what's the matter withher, then Sure, an' it's no wonder she's chokedup with cold, if she come home without over-shoes in all this slush! She'll be much obligedto ye, miss, I'm sure, an'--" But just there'she was interrupted.Even in her sleep Nelly was not unconsciousof her deception, and the danger of its beingfound out; and the sound of voices, in connec-tion with her name, and school, and overshoes,startled her like -a thunder-clap. She sprang upfrom the lounge, her cheeks pale and her hairdisordered, and rushed out into the hall, eagerto prevent Maggie from making any disclosures." Why in the world didn't you ask the younglady in out of the cold?" she asked, sharply, ofAnne, who stared at her in amazement. " A
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 77pretty way to treat my company, to be sure!Come into the dining-room, Maggie; I'm verymuch obliged to you, indeed, for bringing homemy boots."And she took Maggie's hand, and drew her inalmost by force, while the little girl looked ather in surprise at her excited manner; and Annemuttered, as she went back to the kitchen,-" Sure, an' she's the disagree'blest spokenchild iver I see, whin she's a mind to be!Ketch me coverin' her up wi' my best shawlagain in a hurry.!"The warmth of Nelly's hospitality cooleddown, however, as soon as she had got Maggiesafely out of Anne's hearing. She decided atonce to treat her so coldly that she would notbe likely to visit her again; and so, pushing achair carelessly towards her little guest, shethrew herself back upon the lounge, and groanedout, in a vexed tone,-" 0, dear, dear! how my head aches! I wasasleep, and the noise at the door woke me withsuch a start!""Why, I'm sure there wasn't such a greatdeal of noise," said Maggie, merrily; " I guessyou couldn't have been very sound asleep, Nelly.
78 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTAnd, anyhow, what are you doing asleep onChristmas Eve? The very idea of such athing !"" Don't speak to me of Christmas! I hate thevery sound of the word !" exclaimed Nelly, sobitterly that Maggie started back shocked andfrightened." don't say that, Nelly," she said, coaxing-ly; " you mustn't mind what happened this morn-ing so much. Of course you had a right to wearwhatever you and your mother chose, and itwas very rude in us girls to tease and laugh atyou. I've felt sorry about it all day, Nelly, andI was real glad to find your boots, so that I mighthave a chance to come round and tell you so.""Much good it does to be sorry, after mywhole day is spoiled," said Nelly, sullenly. "Iwonder how you'd have liked it to be made funof in that way. I guess you'd have been madenough to go off and forget your rubbers, too.And now I've taken cold, getting my feet soak-ing wet, and I suppose I shall be laid up all theholidays. And you talk to me about merryChristmas!"" It is too bad. I'm just as sorry as I can be,"said Maggie, in a real distress of sympathy. "But
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 79maybe you'll get over it in a day or two, if youtake some medicine right away. And yourshoes, Nelly,-your beautifil bronze shoes,-did they get all spoiled with the mud?"Nelly started, and the blood rushed to her face.She was afraid to let any one know what hadhappened to the shoes, and she wished heartilythat Maggie Lang, with her troublesome ques-tions, would go away, and never come to see heragain." No," she said presently, speaking very impa-tiently; "they're not spoiled at all; only thesoles got wet -they're so thin. 0, dear, howmy head aches!""I'm so glad to hear it-I mean that theshoes were not hurt-not that your head aches,Nelly," said the unsuspecting Maggie; " though,indeed, I don't see how you could help wettingthe sides, too; you must have flown home, Nel-ly. But what did your mother say when youcame back so early: did you tell her the girlslaughed at you, Nelly?"" Of course I did " said Nelly, sharply; " andshe was angry enough, I can tell you. I don'tthink she'll ever want to lay eyes on any ofthem again."
80 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTMaggie crimsoned with shame and woundedfeeling. "You needn't be afraid," she said,proudly; "I shall not trouble your mother withmy presence, nor you, either, since you feel sobitter about it. I've told you, over and over again,how very sorry I was for what little share Ihad in making you miss such a pleasant day, thegrand surprise, and all; and I must say that, con-sidering it was mostly your own fault, you'revery unkind about it. I'm not sorry I broughtyou your boots, but I shall not trouble you withany more visits, Nelly."Maggie rose with much dignity, and wasabout to take her departure; but Nelly's curi-osity was roused, and, though she was reallyglad she would not be likely to cotpe again withquestions and remarks that might betray all herown deception, still she did not want her to gountil she had told her all about the day at school.So she endeavored to assume a cordial tone, andsaid, -" 0, no, Maggie, don't go yet! I'm sure itwas very good of you to bring my boots, and I'mmuch obliged. My head aches so it makes mefeel cross; but you mustn't mind it. What doyou mean by the '-grand surprise'? Whathappened at school after I went away?"
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 8I"0, sure enough, you haven't heard aboutwhat a fine time we had! What a pity youmissed it, Nelly! " And the good-natured Mag-gie sat down again, and began to tell of thegrand dinner, and the famous sport in the greatplay-room. But Nelly did not listen with pleas-ure; her face grew darker than ever with jeal-ousy and anger, and she broke out, at last, -" It is too, too mean There never was any-thing meaner than that I should have been theonly one to be kept out of all the fun, and madesick into the bargain."" It is too bad, Nelly," began Maggie, in apitying tone; but Nelly interrupted her sharply."There, I don't want to hear any more aboutit," she said, savagely. "I wish I need nevergo to the old school again, or see anybody thatever belonged there. I hate it all."Maggie rose again, this time really indignant."Good by, Nelly," she said. "I hope you willnot be very sick, but I shall not take the libertyto come and inquire.""1 Nobody cares if you don't," muttered Nelly,turning over on the lounge, and. covering her facewith the shawl. And Maggie walked off, herlittle round face all in a flush of wounded feeling.6
S2 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTHer indignation had begun to melt into com-passion for poor Nelly's unhappiness, however,before she reached her home; and when she mether father on the stoop, his pockets all bulgedout with mysterious-looking parcels, she forgoteverything but that it was Christmas Eve, andthat she, at least, was very happy.
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 83CHAPTER VII.M EANWHILE, while Maggie was merrilyguessing at the contents of the myste-rious-looking parcels, and her father was asmerrily declaring all her guesses to be wrong,Nelly lay still on the lounge in the now darken-ing room, thinking over and over all the troublesof the day, and feeling more bitter than ever,now that she knew how much enjoyment she hadmissed. Presently Anne came in to light thegas and lay the cloth for supper; and Nelly roseslowly, and made her way, painfully, with stiffand aching limbs, up stairs.Her father, too, had just come in, and wastaking off his overcoat in the hall. His pocketsbulged out suspiciously also; but Nelly felt tooill to care what they contained, and was onlyanxious to escape his questions as to why shelooked so dull, and if that was the kind of facefor Christmas Eve.She had to run another gantlet of questions
84 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTwhen sh'e went into her mother's room; and shewas thankful when supper was at last over, andshe could creep off to bed. Not that the nightbrought her much relief; her temples throbbedwith pain; her limbs ached, and the chokingsensation in her throat grew worse and worse,so that by morning she was scarcely able tospeak, and felt quite too ill to rise. Her fatherwas alarmed when he came in to see her, andwent immediately for the doctor, who came andpronounced.the disease to be a decided case ofdiphtheria, which would necessitate confinementto her room for at least a fortnight." A pretty idea this, for you to be getting sickon Christmas Day! " said the good doctor, with akindly smile. " I guess you must have run andromped too much at the school, yesterday. Mylittle daughter was telling me you youngsters hada grand Panjandrum there eh, Miss Nelly ?"Nelly grew, if possible, paler than she wasalready. She had quite forgotten that Dr. Law-son's little daughter Annie went to No. 8; andnow surely all the shameful story about herwould come out. For a moment her heartseemed to stop beating with terror, and sheturned her eyes imploringly, first on the doctor,
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 85and then on her father. But with the next in-stant came the remembrance that little AnnieLawson belonged- to the Primary Department,and wouldn't be likely to know the cause of herleaving school, even if she had happened tonotice that she was absent. The blood cameback again to her heart and her cheek, and sheanswered, hoarsely, -"0, no; that isn't the reason, doctor, for Ididn't stay to play at all. I didn't feel very well,and I came home quite early."" 0, that's it," said the doctor, cheerily." Well, well, you've taken a pretty bad coldsomehow or other, my child; but we'll pull yousafely through it, God willing. And even ifyou can't be up and about, enjoying what SantaClaus brought you, and can't even have yourshare of the turkey and mince pies, which ispretty hard, I confess, why, still you've a gooddeal to make it a 'Merry Christmas' for you.Here's your good papa, now, ready to do any-thing in the world for you; you've got a snugroom, and a warm fire, while many poor chil-d.ren, as sick as you, are shivering with the cold;and the blessed sun is shining as bright as if it
86 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTwas bran new; and the church bells are ringing,and all the world is happy, keeping Christ'sbirthday; and you must try to be as patient asyou can won't you, my little maid? and I'll bein again this evening, to see how you're gettingalong."He was off, with a kind good by, and Anne,who had just come in with some arrowroot forNelly, said, "What a nice gintleman, for sure,Dr. Lawson was !" But Nelly thought sullenlythat it was very easy for those who were welland happy to preach to others that they ought tobe so too, and swallowed her breakfast in novery cheerful mood. Meanwhile her father, whohad accompanied the doctor down stairs, cameback, bringing his hands full of pretty Christmasgifts, which he spread out on the bed around her.There was a handkerchief-box, of beautifullyornamented card-board, from her. mother, whoknew that Nelly's handkerchiefs were very aptto lie scattered over her drawer, in anything butan orderly way; and a little scent-bag, smellingas sweet as a bed of violets in spring time, wasput in as little Jennie's present to her sister; awhole set of the " Meadowgrass Stories," six
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 87dainty volumes in green and scarlet, crimsonand brown, purple and buff, from her father; acoral bracelet, to match her necklace, from theaunt who had given her that and a little straw-berry emery cushion as Frank's present.Santa Claus had certainly not forgotten Nelly;and yet his gifts did not afford much pleasure tothe unhappy girl. Her face lit up for a momentat the sight of the bracelet, which appealed toher strongest passion, love of dress, and sheclasped it languidly round her wrist for a mo-ment; but she was suffering too much to beable to enjoy even an ornament, which, at an-other time, would have filled her heart withrapture, and she asked presently to have all thethings taken away.Then she asked that the blinds might be shut,and the shades drawn down; she did not wantto see the sunshine, nor to hear the merry soundof the bells; and then she turned her face to thewall, and drew the covers close up to her chin,as though she wanted to be alone; and her fatherwent out, hoping that she would be able to goto sleep. Then, after stopping to see how themother and baby were getting on, and to reportthat Nelly was a little more comfortable, he took
88 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTFrank and Jennie, who were beginning to feelthat it was rather dull in the house with so manysick people, round to the church to share in theChristmas-tree festival there.Nurse came in and out to give Nelly her med-icine, and to bring her loving messages from hermother, who felt it rather hard that she and herdaughter should have to be separated in their ill-ness, but begged Nelly to bear it bravely, as shewas trying to do. Anne took special pains toflavor her food as nicely as possible; "it wastoo bad, anyway, the pore little craythur shouldbe havin' to ate sick messes on Christmas Day,whin there was the turkey brownin' so beau-tiful, and the puddin' jist as full o' plums as itcould stick !" said the good-natured handmaiden.Everybody, indeed, was as kind as could be;but still the day passed very heavily by to thesick girl.The pain of her illness would have been hardenough to bear of itself, but when to this wasadded a heart full of such unhappy thoughts, itwas hard indeed. And the doctor's words hadbrought yet another anxiety. Diphtheria! thatwas a dangerous disease. Nelly had had a littlecousin die of it a year or two ago; and only last
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 89winter two of her schoolmates had been broughtto the grave, after only a single night's illness,with this terrible disease. What if this shouldbe her fate--if she should die? Was sheready to die?Ah, no-never! and least of all, just now,with this burden of sin and deception on hersoul. Nelly was obliged to acknowledge this inher own secret heart. Now, in the possible nearapproach of death, she could no longer pretendto excuse herself for what she had done, and shefelt keenly enough how false, and mean, andwicked she must appear in the sight of God.She knew, too, that she had no right to hope forhis forgiveness until she was willing to confessher fault to her mother, and acknowledge all thefalsehoods, spoken and acted, of which she hadbeen guilty; all the evil.tempers, the anger, andjealousy, which had filled her heart with bitter-ness since yesterday morning.But this she was not willing to do unless shewas obliged to. It would cost her infinite shameand mortification, and, perhaps, after all, it mightnot be necessary. She did not believe she wasgoing to die this time, and, after she got well, she.would go hard to work, and replace the spoiled
90 FINE FEATHERS DO NOT.shoes; and then no one need ever know whatshe had done. And, meanwhile, she felt quitesorry enough without having to lose the confi-dence of her father and mother, and she wasresolved never to do such a thing again. Shesupposed it was wrong, as every one kept tellingher, to be so fond of dress; and after this shewould try never again to care about anythingexcept to be neat and nice. Indeed, she wouldbe quite a different girl every way, and even tryto become a Christian; and what more could beexpected of her?So the poor foolish girl deluded herself, anddeceived her own heart with false promises ofgreat things to be done in the future, while sherefused to do the duty near at hand to tell hermother all the story of yesterday. And, thoughher mind was far from being at rest, and herconscience troubled her continually, still, as thedisease grew no worse, and the dread of possibledeath became fainter and fainter, she closed herears to its warnings, and persisted in her sinfulsilence.Thus the Christmas week passed by, merrilyenough to the world outside, amid the sunshine,the bustle, and the gay jingling of sleigh-bells,
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 91but drearily enough to Nelly, in her darkenedchamber, with her cheerless thoughts. NewYear's Day, too, came, with its added gayety;everywhere the sidewalks were crowded withgentlemen, hastening from house to house torenew the last year's friendships, and bid to alla Happy New Year; everywheie the streetsthronged with flying sleighs, and every dooropening and reopening at the sound of thecalling bell.Still Nelly was confined to her own room, andcould not even see her mother or the baby; for,though the first day of her illness had been theworst, and she was daily getting better, thedoctor thought it best that she should run norisk of taking fresh cold, and that no one elseshould be exposed to the possibility of sharingher disease. So another long, dull week draggedslowly by, and at length the freedom of the housewas granted to her; and, with a sigh of inexpres-sible relief, she found herself no more a prisonerin her dark, close room, and felt at last entirelysafe from her haunting fear of death.Did she remember now all the promises whichshe had made, in the hour of her dread, to Godand her own soul?We shall see.
92 FINE FEATHERS DO NOTCHAPTER VIII.THE anxiety about the shoes was, of course,never absent from Nelly's mind; and nowthat her strength was coming back, and she feltable to work, she persuaded Anne to go out andinvest for her the dollar which had come asNew-Year pocket money from her father insundry packages of gay-colored worsteds; andfor a while she almost forgot the disagreeableobject of the work in her pleasure in sortingand winding the bright shades of scarlet wool.Nelly had always preferred what she called"fancy work" to plain sewing; and she couldcrochet and knit with considerable skill and taste.She had decided on making a breakfast cape; shesaw a great many of them always hanging inthe windows of shops where worsted work wassold, and knew that they were an article of verygeneral wear with ladies on cold winter morn-ings. She thought she could easily sell it for atleast four dollars, the retail price in the shops
MAKE FINE BIRDS. 93was five, and if she failed in that, she wouldpersuade the girls in her class to club together,and buy it for Miss Kavanagh, whose birthday,she knew, was near at hand.To her mother she said -forgetting all her sol-emn vows never again to be guilty of deception- that she intended to present it to her teacher,herself; and Mrs. Morgan, always pleased atany manifestation of interest in school on Nel-ly's part, and glad that she should have somepleasant occupation to beguile the tedium of herconfinement, approved entirely of the plan, andwatched the progress of the work with a verykindly interest.The little shawl grew apace under Nelly's busyfingers, and was at last finally completed, fringe,tassels, and all, and very handsome and comforta-ble looking in its warm shades of red, the veryevening before the day on which it was decidedthat Nelly was.well enough to return to school.She wrapped it up carefully, and took it toschool with her, to present to Miss Kavanagh,as she told her mother, to try and get the longed-for money.which should replace her shoes, andsave her from detection, as she told herself. Shehad to pass, on her way to school, several small