The Baldwin Library
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TWO LITTLE COUSINS
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Two LITTLE COUSINS
MARCUS WARD & CO., 67, CHANDOS STREET
AND ROYAL ULSTER WORKS, BELFAST
MY TWO LITTLE COUSINS,
bitflh ant falrndr UnIttniqr.
I.-THE TWO 9
II.--AN ODD BOY. 16
III.-ROSES AND LILIES 28
IV.-THERE AND BACK 36
V.-A SUNDAY STORY 51
VI.-Two BIRTHDAYS 59
VII.-ALL WORK 73
VIII.-A LITTLE LAMB 85
IX.-"ONLY FOR FUN" 98
X.-DoG DUCK 116
XII.-BATTLEDORE AND SHUTTLECOCK 147
CROQUET A FAILURE (p. 24). Frontispiece.
THE BIRTHDAY PROCESSION 34
SIx HAPPY LITTLE GIRLS 72
A GOOD GAME .152
TWO LITTLE COUSINS.
CHAP. I.-THE TWO.
S "I AM sure I shall hate
him, Belle, and I don't care
Sif it is naughty to say so;
it would be worse to tell
a story. And you need not
look at me like that; I will say the true
truth, and I will hate him."
Here the small speaker stopped, more from
lack of breath than words, and with a flourish
10 Two Little Cousins.
of her croquet-mallet, and a stamp of her
tiny foot on the grass, she looked half-
defiantly at her cousin.
Dolly was a dark-eyed, golden-haired little
lady, and her cousin Isabel-or Belle, as she
was always called-had the same golden hair,
but her eyes were very different; there was
a pleading, don't-hurt-me look in Belle's grey
eyes, whilst Dolly's, on the contrary, flashed
and shone straight at you, especially when
she had quite made up her mind on any
important point, such as the present. With
regard to ages I shall leave you to guess,
only saying that both of these children could
read Little Arthur's History of England,
had begun to write copies and letters with
ink, and also accomplished the multiplication
table as far as the line of 7; the line of 6
was bad enough, but 7 was so much worse,
The Two. 11
and led to such sad consequences, that I dare
not say any more about it just yet.
Well, it is not to be supposed that Dolly
was kept waiting all this time for some
answer to her speech; she would certainly
have made several more in between, sand-
wich fashion, if she had. At first, poor Belle
was almost frightened at the determined look
shot at her by those bright eyes, and did not
know what to say; on second thoughts,
which some copy-books tell us, in round
hand, are best, she quietly remarked-
Don't you know, Dolly dear, that mother
says it is worse than naughty to hate-it is
Now Dolly knew that this was true, but
she also always liked to be in the right, and
would not give in yet, so, twirling round and
round to relieve her feelings, she continued-
12 Two Little Cousins.
"It is all very well, Belle, for you to
preach" (poor Belle winced at this), "and it
is easy enough for you to be good; all I can
tell you is, that I can't do what I can't, and
I don't intend to try; I am going to hate
This was in truth a sad case: here were
two little cousins living happily together at
the edge of a large town, with the kindest
mother and aunt ever heard of, either out of
a book or in one, and a father and uncle to
match. Dolly and Belle were just like
sisters, and had birthdays with only a week
between; they had lived together all their
lives, for Belle's mother died when she was
born, leaving her to be like a real sister to
Dolly; indeed there were other things besides
to make these two happy. Such a pretty
home, all but hidden by large trees, with a
The Two. 13
high bank at one side, and then a large field,
where more fine trees made shade in summer,
and were beautiful all the year round, and
where two swings hung from strong branches
that thought nothing of even two children
swinging at once. Inside the house it was
just as nice in a different way, except when
it rained and you had set your heart on
going out, and would not believe what older
and wiser people said on the matter. Was
there not a parrot with a grey back and a red
tail, that barked, mewed, and talked, and
had a look in his eye that told you better
than words that he knew more than words
could tell ? Then Romp, the white dog, who
was young yet, and therefore foolish too, and
had a steady belief that chickens were only
hatched for him to play with, and slippers
made for him to tear up into hopeless rags.
14 Two Little Cousins.
Only one more attraction will I mention
now; you will hear more of it in the next
sad chapter, provided you can manage to
get through it without crying, it tells of
such a sorry deed. On your right hand side,
as you walked along the shady drive, was
the croquet-ground; not a bit of bold sun-
shiny lawn, but a modest, cool, green spot,
with a tall bank at one side, and trees
looking on it all round-friendly old trees,
whose branches did not ever stick out like
stiff arms to catch hold of little boys' best
hats, or to tear the pretty dresses of small
girls. Very likely you know as well as I do
that Dolly and Belle were now standing on
this very croquet-ground, but unless I told
you in a whisper, for fear of frightening
them away, you would hardly believe that a
pair of sparrows were perched in a neigh-
The Two. 15
bouring oak, listening hard to all that was
going on. Before they began to listen, they
had been quarrelling over a straw that they
neither of them really wanted; which habit,
I am sorry to say, they had learnt from birds
of older growth. The straw now fell to a
lower branch and was blown away, just as
Well, Belle, I always thought you liked
me best and called me sister, and now I do
believe you are going to love this horrid
boy; I daresay you will lend him your
mallet, and let him have first turn, and not
care how ugly his clothes are-for boys'
clothes are always ugly--and I should not
wonder if you asked him to sit by you at tea."
Again was breathless Dolly forced to stop,
so Belle put in a word or two.
"Indeed, dear Dolly, I'll-I'll try not to
16 Two Little Cousins.
like him if you wish; not as much as you, I
mean, for he never could be- "
"That's no use," interrupted her cousin.
"Belle, when will you learn to make up
your mind like me, and be 'certain sure,' as
By this time poor Belle was on the brink
of tears, and a look at Dolly's angry face
"made the tears flow over. It was not often
that Belle really cried out loud-she never
howled; Dolly could do both, but now Dolly
herself was fairly overcome.
"Oh, Belle dear, darling Belle II am so
sorry; I only meant that we were so very
happy, just we two, you know. Don't cry; I
will do anything you like; I will never make
up my mind again at all. Why, there is the
gong; we must go in, and how nurse will
scold me for making you cry!"
The Two. 17
However, nurse had cut her wisdom teeth
many years ago, and forgotten the date,
therefore she wisely shut her eyes to things
that she was not wanted to see. It takes a
long time to learn this-more than a life-
time to some people, in spite of wisdom
teeth. Don't puzzle over this just now, it is
a bad plan before tea, and worse afterwards.
Dolly and Belle puzzled over nothing that
evening, except why it was that Polly learnt
to talk without being taught; as, according
to that, why should not they in the same
way manage the line of 7, and other dreadful
difficulties in books with dull covers, instead
of all the trouble of lessons ?
CHAP. II.--AN ODD BOY.
AVE you ever noticed how some things,
"that you liked very much when you
first had them, gradually grew ugly ? This
once happened to a book of Nursery Rhymes;
it was called lovely, dear, and darling when
new, and both Dolly and Belle hugged it,
especially at the picture pages; but curious
indeed it was to see how, day by day, this
once lovely thing grew first dull, then stupid,
and, last of all, ugly. The pictures certainly
had most of them changed colour, having
been improved by the two cousins on wet
days, when paint-boxes were indeed treasures.
An Odd Boy. 19
In spite of strange clouds of red running into
blue, and losing themselves in bright yellow,
you could still see a group of little girls,
nicely dressed in ribbons and laces, with
sweet pretty faces to match, whilst under-
neath these was a complimentary verse,
which I daresay you know by heart. But
alas! on the opposite page stood a row of
hapless boys, with a thick wriggly black
dash for ground under their miserable feet,
and orange and scarlet trees as background.
I hope you can guess what these little boys
were made of ?
The poor puppy dogs
That had lost their tails;
The widowed slugs,
And the orphan snails,
could tell you far better than I can.
Dolly and Belle had had many a talk over
20 Two Little Cousins.
these two pictures. Dolly had at once con-
demned the boys, and painted them accord-
ingly very fast, with her brush quite full;
Belle thought it hardly fair, and still believed
that it was only the line of young gentlemen
in the old book that deserved such a fate-
not agreeing at all with Dolly, who held it
to be a fact (some people invent their facts)
that all boys were horrid.
Being little girls themselves, of course they
thought that the other picture was exactly
right, and beautiful streaks of Belle's best
paints went over it accordingly. That small
person was at this very moment thinking
that a touch of pink would make it perfection;
she might have acted upon her thoughts, as
there was a whole quarter of an hour before
dinner, if a sound of carriage wheels had not
driven every other idea out of her head.
An Odd Boy. 21
Dolly was at the window. "How tire-
some!" she exclaimed; "what is the good of
this window, I should like to know, when
we cannot see who comes up to the front
door. I wonder mamma likes us to look at
nothing but butchers and bakers and carts."
"But, Dolly," said Belle, "you ought to
be glad you do not see this time, as I do
believe that is the boy."
Down dashed Miss Dolly, ran to the door,
peeped over the banisters, and was rewarded
by hearing the drawing-room door shut, and
Of course I might take this opportunity to
tell you that Dolly was served quite right
for her curiosity, and that looking over the
banisters was a most unladylike and shocking
thing to do; also, that one day Dolly looked
over the banisters once too often, fell over,
22 Two Little Cousins.
broke her neck-arm, I mean-and was ill for
many sad weeks; whilst other good, obedient,
dull, ladylike little girls ran about and were
happy all day. As I cannot do this without
hatching an untruth, I will tell you instead
what really happened.
A bell rang.
"The young ladies are wanted in the
drawing-room, if you please."
Down they gravely went; the carriage
had driven away just before. On the sofa
sat Dolly's mother, Mrs. Carrington, always
called by Belle, "Auntie." Standing near
her was a small boy, not at all horrid to
look at, but then you often cannot tell by
that; they are sometimes lovely to look at
outside for a short time, but, when you come
to try them daily, they disagree with you
An Odd Boy. 23
"Come here, Dolly and Belle, and shake
hands with Lionel," said Mrs. Carrington.
They did so with a gravity that I cannot
describe, then all three looked solemnly and
fixedly at one another.
It was a little better at dinner, especially
as there happened to be gooseberry fool,
which is a soothing thing, you know; they
said little, and ate more.
Afterwards croquet was thought of. Off
they all marched, each carrying a mallet and
ball; but Belle did not lend Lionel hers.
Dolly had determined not to speak a single
word-not one, and held her nose so high in
the air, that that celestially inclined feature
was not seen to advantage.
On the croquet-ground matters did not
improve at first; Lionel was very polite, but
he did not say much, and yawned twice. Belle
24 Two Little Cousins.
proposed playing all against all, which is the
fairest and most natural of games. Now
Lionel had on a red linen suit braided with
white; his hat was the other way up, white
trimmed with red: as he was carrying the
red mallet, it was certainly right that he
should have the red ball. However, Dolly
sat herself on the grass, and held the red
ball tight. Belle tried every usual plan to
make her give it up, but no, she would not.
Lionel was too perfect a little gentleman to
take the ball by force of arms-indeed he did
not really care at all which he had-and stood
leaning on his mallet, looking about him;
but Belle was miserable-she knew from one
or two other times what Dolly was when she
had that look. Croquet would not do at all.
"Shall we talk a little while ?" suggested
Belle desperately to Lionel.
An Odd Boy. 25
"What ?" replied he.
Belle repeated her idea, and was answered
by a nod.
This was not at all a rude answer, only a
way he had; they all have their ways.
"Will you begin ?" said Belle; "or shall I ?"
"You," said he, briefly.
"Do you like Sundays ?" she asked.
"Like Sundays ? Yes. Why, don't yer
know I have treats on Sundays ?"
So have we," continued Belle. "What
are yours ?"
"Egg on Sunday, and toast and-and-
don't yer know ?"
Belle shook her head, and looked wonder-
ingly at the fair-haired, slight, pale boy by
her side, who evidently considered her rather
ignorant than not, but never thought such
things out loud.
26 Two Little Cousins.
"Why, don't yer know ?" said Lionel, with
a jerk of his thumb over his shoulder;
"church, yer know-church." And a pretty
pink colour stole over his face, and he
wriggled about nervously, thinking that
there was no telling what Belle might ask
However, Belle had no time to think of a
next to ask, as Dolly suddenly jumped up,
and offered to show Lionel Polly, Romp, the
cows and donkey, and the cat and the old dog
by the stables. The last-named animal was
the most interesting, as both little girls said
decidedly that he was deaf and dumb. His
mission in life was that of a watch-dog,
which caused Lionel much grief of spirit
afterwards, as his two sisters and five brothers
at home would not believe that a watch-dog
could be deaf and dumb.
An Odd Boy. 27
The rest of the afternoon flew, it was so
happy. Nobody knew why Dolly suddenly
changed her mind about Lionel, or why she
never thought boys horrid again; perhaps
she had made up her mind a different way.
Some little girls do this often ; I have heard
that old girls do the same.
'" ,~ -- A .~
CHAP. III.-ROSES AND LILIES.
"Nor did she not do it; that is to say, she did do it."
O you call three weeks a long time ?
I should say not at all; but then,
you see, three weeks might be short to
me and long to you, and yet we should
not quarrel about it; at all events, this
short or long time passed, lingered, ran, or
It was Mrs. Carrington's birthday, and
Belle had an idea. As a rule she kept ideas,
having been advised to do so by a tall sailor
Roses and Lilies. 29
cousin, who had been round the world so
many times that he knew how rare ideas
were; his own were particularly so.
Belle woke up very early, and crept into
Dolly's bed, to ask her whether she thought
this idea need be kept.
"Of course not," said Dolly; "why do
you always believe all that Cousin John
says? I never do. Why, I daresay, .Belle,
you thought it all true about the cuckoos in
Australia cuckooing the wrong way up, and
the wagtails wagging their tails sideways
instead of up and down !"
"And, Dolly, the cherry-stones grow
outside the cherries; and people look for
birds' nests on the ground instead of up in
Time to get up," said nurse's voice; and
out they both tumbled. Before long, two
30 Two Little Cousins.
neat little girls ran off to Mrs. Carrington's
room, were let in, and received a warm
welcome. Dolly begged her mother to be
very, very quick that morning-not that
anything odd was likely to be upon her
plate at breakfast, but still it might be as
well to look.
"Verily, a strange breakfast, Carrie," said
Mr. Carrington to his wife, as they all saw a
queer-shaped parcel on the birthday plate;
it was wider at one end than the other, had
a hump at the wide end, and grew very thin
"Mother! Auntie! do look!" cried the
cousins; "you will never guess."
"Is it alive ?" inquired Mr. Carrington
anxiously, pushing his chair a little back,
and putting on his spectacles to take a side-
ways view of the parcel.
Roses and Lilies. 31
It was undone at last, and out came a very
pretty Russia leather case. What could be
inside? The case was quickly opened, and
there, in a row, looking over one another's
heads, stood six pairs of scissors.
You never saw such scissors before. Cut I
why, they would cut anything, from your
beard to a doll's pocket-handkerchief. Mrs.
Carrington was delighted-all the more so,
because she knew that both little girls had
spent nothing lately on themselves, and that
all their weekly sixpences had been saved up
for this gift.
"But, uncle," asked Belle, "what is your
present to auntie ?"
A handsome gold chain, my love," he
"Why, papa, how can you tell such
stories?" demanded Dolly; "you know you
32 Two Little Cousins.
gave her that chain last birthday, and the
one before too !"
The guilty gentleman in question could
say nothing; he sat silent, was much over-
come, shed floods of tears, and hid his face
behind his tea-spoon.
I am sorry to say that neither Belle nor
Dolly pitied him at all; in fact, they said that
they could not just then think of any
punishment bad enough for him.
By the time the afternoon came, which it
certainly did in double-quick time, the
cousins could both have declared that the
day was only just begun. Nevertheless, the
cuckoo clock struck four, and that little bird
was always to be trusted; it was no relation
whatever to the tiresome, whispering bird
who knows all that naughty children do, and
repeats it on the most awkward occasions.
Roses and Lilies. 33
It happened that Belle had mentioned that
idea of hers to a very dear friend, Helen
Bold. This friend was nine, and an only
child, and had at once decided to seize the
idea and do it. You will now find out what
it was, for sounds of several wheels were
heard, and forth from two carriages came six
little maidens, "all of the olden time," laden
with flowers, the sweetest of birthday offer-
ings. Right quaintly dressed were they-
look at their portraits, and at Helen's tall
white cap, as she led the procession, and
gracefully placed her offering of roses and
lilies at Mrs. Carrington's feet. Behind were
five other little girls, one of them Rosa Bell,
all rosily dressed according to her name, with
a branch of tall white lily in her hand.
Mrs. Carrington was fairly overwhelmed
with the lovely flowers, and with surprise at
34 Two Little Cousins.
seeing the ancient damsels who bore the
Helen would not rest until Dolly and
Belle were dressed up also, in which trans-
formation scene Aunt Carrie's clever fingers
came into active play; she was a capital
hand at such things. I have heard it
whispered, after bed-time, that in the days
of her youth she had dressed as so many
different people, that it was a wonder she
ever sorted herself again; she also climbed
trees, tore her clothes, and altogether entirely
dumbfoundered (do not try to understand
this long word) her elder sister Mary, who
was of a slow and somewhat dull turn; her
clothes wore better than Carrie's.
Nothing pleased the children more than to
get Aunt Carrie to tell them stories of what
she did when she was a child; it was one of
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Roses and Lilies. 35
these stories that now reminded them it
would be good fun to play at being queen.
A gold paper crown which had figured in
many a charade and tableau was found, and
they all took it in turns to wear it. The mere
fact of having it on made you feel yourself a
queen at once, and behave accordingly.
Then came tea, aided and abetted by
strawberries, cherries, and other joys of the
sponge-cake and bun kind, followed by Dumb
Crambo and learned games of the same sort;
last of all wheels again, and then "home,
CHAP. IV.-THERE AND BACK.
HICH should it be ? By road, rail, or
The first was too common, the second too
hot, the third too slow.
As a last resource, Aunt Carrie advised
tossing up, or drawing lots. Her first
idea was rejected with fright, on account
of the objections to tossing which would
assuredly arise from the donkeys, if from
nothing else; the second notion, after due
consideration, was followed out thus-
Three slips of paper were cut, with Road,
There and Back. 37
Rail, and Donkeys written thereon; and, to
avoid invidious distinctions, party feeling,
or unfairness, nurse was to draw.
On unfolding the paper-
"Donkeys is it!" exclaimed Dolly, regard-
less of grammar.
Accordingly, the next day donkeys were
it-that does not sound right, but it is
highly objectional to enquiree within upon
everything;" there is no knowing what
you may meet if you do this, so pray be
At eleven o'clock the children stood
watching with eyes and ears, as near the
front gates as they were allowed to go; the
sound of trotting feet, and a cry of "Goo
on !" were heard afar off.
"There they come !" cried the children;
and in a few minutes two grey donkeys and
38 Two Little Cousins.
a white one appeared, a boy behind them
carrying a strong stick. Belle looked at the
procession in some doubt, but soon left off
doing so. Dolly begged hard for the white
ass, and rode it joyfully. The awkward part
was, to persuade nurse to ride one of the
others; it had to be done by artifice. Aunt
Carrie had intended to go, but a sudden rush
of letters to write, work to do, and an array
of afternoon occupations in store afterwards,
By the time they had reached a lonesome
by-way, with tall hedges on either side, and
no one at each end, nurse thought she would
just try; she could get off if it turned out
Really those donkeys were patterns of
goodness. After the by-way came a piece of
road, with short grass on one side. Dolly's
There and Back. 39
steed instantly took to this, and began
trotting fast, greatly to her delight; Belle
hoped hers would not follow this example,
but it did, and at the same moment nurse's
started off also.
The boy of course thought that this pace
was desired by all, and shouted vigorously-
"Run on-I'm a-comin'!" with a zeal
worthy of a better cause.
In vain did the riders beg for mercy;
the boy was rather hard of hearing, like his
father before him.
Dolly's hat flew back, and hung on behind;
Belle's followed suit; and as to poor nurse's
costume, it was sorely disturbed-all her
hair-pins went on voyages of discovery in
different directions; but she wore her own
hair, having a soul above fiction. At last
Belle's donkey saw a thistle in the hedge,
40 Two Little Cousins.
enchanting in the distance, irresistible when
The temptation succeeded well, as all three
pulled up short and sharp-too much so for
Dolly, who found herself on the grass instead
of the white ass; nurse's alarm made her
forget her own troubles, and she was quickly
at the child's side. Dolly laughed heartily
at her own fall, especially as the gallant
white steed stood looking at her mildly, as
though quietly approving all she did.
Nurse found that words availed nothing
with regard to the boy, whose mind she was
trying to impress with the sins of that
" contrary donkey," his only reply being-
"What say ?"
This was discouraging.
Dolly soon remounted, and so did nurse,
although she regarded the donkeys with
There and Back. 41
increasing distrust. The aim of the expedition
was, to get to a certain farm, too far off for a
walk, whose owners were both remarkable for
their great weakness towards children, Dolly
and Belle in particular; added to which, Mrs.
Westrip, the farmer's wife, was nurse's great
friend; they had been next-door neighbours
in the days of their youth, and, now that age
had become too delicate a point for even the
most distant allusion, they kept up the
friendship of "auld lang syne as firmly as
Certainly there were a few things about
which nurse could not entirely agree with
" Sarah," as she always called Mrs. Westrip,
whilst that worthy woman was also at times
sure that Martha (such was nurse's name)
was every now and then quite in the wrong;
but these little differences of opinion did not
42 Two Little Cousins.
matter in the least. Their taste in dress
was also widely apart, for nurse chose sober
colours, and delighted in a good wearing
material of quiet grey in summer, or down-
right brown for winter, and Mrs. Westrip
preferred a grass-green gown for every day,
with shot violet and blue silk for best, not
to mention the gaiety of her caps, the
brilliancy of her bonnets, and the grandeur
of her jewellery.
Dolly's ambition was to have a watch
chain like Mrs. Westrip's; she did not care
half so much for the brooch from which it
always hung in noble loops, as it encased a
frowning photograph of the farmer himself,
sitting square in his Sunday suit, with an
amazingly large hand on either knee, looking
just as Dolly had never seen him look.
Belle cared more for the garden and farm-
There and Back. 43
yard, provided the turkey-cock was out of
sight. That pugnacious bird had once nearly
seized her by the leg, in towering rage at her
red cloak, and she was haunted with the fear
lest he should at last succeed in making an
end of her altogether; for, if a swan could
break a man's arm with a blow from its
wing, surely a turkey could quickly settle a
At half-past twelve they reached the
farm without further accident, although the
donkeys had refused to go out of a walking
pace for the last mile. This delayed their
arrival, and Mr. Westrip was seen spying
about from a hilly field in search of them.
He made some joyful sign to his wife, whose
green garment was soon seen fluttering
around her hurried footsteps, as she hastened
to welcome them all most heartily.
44 Two Little Cousins.
Dinner was the first consideration-and
oh, what a dinner it was Belle and Dolly
both felt afterwards as if they did not want
another for many days, either because the
feast could not be equalled, or else for some
other reason of which they were not sure.
"And now let the little dears play about
a bit in the shade, bless their bonny faces,"
said Mrs. Westrip, when it had become a
matter beyond doubt that no more fruit and
cream could be managed; "and I'll just
help to clear up a bit, as the master is as
neat as ever, and can't suffer things left
nohow. He's a right good husband too,
though I says it as oughtn't; and I wish you
just such another, Martha-that I do, as I've
said this many a year."
Here nurse showed signs of great concern
as to her precious charges not getting too
There and Back. 45
warm, and otherwise busied herself about
them, after which she stopped further re-
marks of the same kind by starting an
anxious enquiry as to a certain Mrs. Brown
living near. Off went Mrs. Westrip again
in a cheery flow of talk-her weakest point;
and every detail of the said Mrs. Brown's
sayings and doings, graphic accounts of the
children-seven of them all down with the
measles at once-and other facts of equal
interest, were poured forth.
In the meantime, Dolly and Belle took a
tour round the garden, playing at geography,
and calling one part France, another Spain,
a third the Cannibal Islands, and any other
places within easy reach.
First they always went together, but
finding this not as new a plan as might be,
they divided into two parties, agreeing to
46 Two Litlie Cousins.
meet at certain points and tell their different
Dolly boldly examined the farm-yard,
regardless of bullocks, horses, or any other
animals. One cow stared at her so hard,
that she wondered what could be wrong with
her appearance, and hurriedly put on her
gloves, in case the lady-like cow objected
to little girls without them. Her next
thought was to have a look at the pigs.
They showed their joy at this attention by a
grunting and squeaking far from musical to
hear. A small stick was near, which Dolly
seized, in order to stir up the pigs a little,
and punish those who objected to the process.
One large black member of the pork family
was most tiresome, and would not come near
enough to be touched. He knocked over
some, pushed others, and altogether behaved
There and Back. 47
as though he only was monarch of the sty.
Dolly tried again and again to hit him, and
at last succeeded well enough to tempt her
to venture another effort; this time she stood
on a piece of wood sticking out from the sty,
near the top of the low wall in front of it;
he should have a real whipping now, as he
had that minute rolled over a small relative,
who was squealing piteously for mercy.
In just wrath Dolly leant forward to deal
the blow, lost her balance, and fell into the
very middle of the twelve pigs !
If they had never grunted properly before,
they certainly made up for lost time now.
So alarming was the noise, that Balaam
the cow-man came to discover the cause of
it, and pulled the hapless child out of her
unpleasant situation. In haste did Dolly run
off, and great was the pity she had from Belle.
48 Two Little Cousins.
Nurse and Mrs. Westrip were sitting in
"Engaged in converse sweet,
And thoughts too shadowy to repeat,"
the subject thereof being chiefly the "worrit
neighbour Green had from that good-for-
nothing son of his, with his fine-gentleman
airs and graces, as if he was worth more than
his parents, just because he had a better coat
to his back, and a blue satin tie with red and
yellow stripes for Sundays. To see his waist-
coat buttons too was enough to make one
feel right sorry for his poor old mother, and
she as honest a body as ever stepped."
Here nurse suddenly rose from her seat at
the sight of two small figures advancing
slowly, and exclaimed-
"Why, bless my heart alive, Sarah! look
at them children !"
There and Back. 49
In disgraceful plight was Dolly, in sym-
pathetic tears was Belle, for they both had
started in clean print frocks, as the day
was hot, and no others were at hand.
Although Mrs. Westrip had no children of
her own, she was blessed with a tribe of
nephews and nieces, and entertained a firm
belief that children could not enjoy them-
selves thoroughly without getting clothes,
faces, and hands ready for the wash. So she
brightened up the sad three, telling nurse
there was no colour in this world like pink
and white for washing-" warranted fast,
she was sure, or her name was not Sarah
As to the green stains on Belle's dress,
why, they were rather pretty than not, and
what did it matter as long as they were
50 Two Little Cousins.
Tea settled any remaining griefs, and soon
after off they all set towards home, both Mr.
and Mrs. Westrip going with them as far as
they possibly could, and making them promise
to come again very soon; "they were as
welcome as flowers of May, that they were."
The donkeys showed respect for nurse's
feelings, and sincere regard for Dolly and
Belle, as never once did they forget what was
due to ladies, either young, or not as young
as they had been.
The donkey-boy also woke up, thanks to
the good cheer he had enjoyed at the farm.
He said nothing, certainly, but then he let the
poor animals enjoy life as far as might be,
and was never once possessed with the delusion
that to "run on" was the aim and object
desired by all.
CHAP. V.-A SUNDAY STORY.
UNT CARRIE looked in at the school-
room door on Sunday afternoon, and
saw the two cousins curled up on the sofa,
reading out of the same book. There was a
little awkwardness in this plan, as Dolly read
so fast-she had a contempt for stops, and
skipped the dull parts, whilst Belle did not
miss a single word; the consequence of this
was, that what stayed in Dolly's mind after
reading was rather like froth, pretty and
light, but only fizz after all. I will leave
you to find out if Belle's way of reading was
52 Two Little Cousins.
Mrs. Carrington smiled as Dolly looked
up, and said-
It is too wet to go to church; would you
like to come into the drawing-room, and
listen to a Sunday story ?"
The question was quickly answered. It
"was hot in spite of the rain--a steamy day;
very trying to bad tempers, and apt to make
good ones limp.
That drawing-room was a pleasant place,
the cool green- carpet and venetian blinds,
the pretty chintzes of different patterns, but
not large hot blossoms jumping from a light
ground; no, it was all quiet and nice. Aunt
Carrie was quiet and 'nice in all she did, and
the room looked liked her. She sat in a low
chair by one of the three windows, Dolly at
her feet on the floor, and Belle on a funny
little chair shaped like a corner, and drawn
A Sunday Story. 53
as near Aunt Carrie as it would go. The
"It was a hot day; the sunshine threw a
yellow light on the trees, and gave a golden
glow to the sandy earth; it was all beauti-
fully but not restfully light.
"Standing alone in this lovely spot was a
boy, fair to look upon, and with bright
clothes. He shaded his eyes with his hand
and looked all round, as though he would
fain find something he had lost.
"But who was that coming towards him ?
Surely one. of those he sought. He came
nearer and nearer. It was a stranger, who,
seeing the question in the boy's face, asked
him for what he was seeking; and, in answer
to a question asked in return, directed the
lad to go further yet and he would find all
54 Two Little Cousins.
"The sun poured down hot golden rays,
the very earth glowed again, and the air was
still. The searcher heeded it not; he was sent
by his father, and, in obeying him, he felt
neither fatigue nor heat.
"Once again he stood still and looked
intently forward; yes, afar off under the
shade of a few trees reposed a group of men.
"The boy ran eagerly to them, but'there
was no kindly welcome in their eyes, save in
those of one, who, when the others spoke
roughly and taunted the weary lad with bitter,
jeering words, spoke not, but kept apart,
watching sadly to see how this would end.
Not much was said, but a cruel deed was
done; the brothers seized the poor boy, and
rudely tore from him the bright clothes that
loving hands had made. He was then let
down into a deep pit, perhaps once a well
A Sunday Story. 55
of cool fresh water, but now dried up and
"He was not frightened; he knew that
One watched over him in either light or
darkness, and that all would be right at last.
"It did seem rather a long time down
there, and he was faint and hungry too. A
bit of pure blue sky above looked down
kindly at him, and seemed to take his
thoughts away with it for a time, till he
suddenly remembered his old father at home.
"This was almost too much; he could not
bear to think of that reverend grey head
bowed down with grief, of the tears that
would come from those loved and loving
eyes, and the desolate sadness that would
now reign in that once happy home.
"Oh, surely it could not be right! God
had forgotten him at last !
56 Two Little Cousins.
"This thought had hardly flashed through
his mind, when strange voices were heard;
he was hastily drawn up from the pit, and
his bewildered eyes, half-blinded by the
sudden change from dark to light, rested
confusedly on a crowd of faces. His brothers
talked with other men, and many pieces of
money passed from hand to hand.
"Something was being bought or sold.
What could it be ?
"Why was he suddenly given over to
those strangers, and placed amongst their
"Could it be that his brothers had sold
him, their own brother ?
"It seemed all unreal at first; it must be
a dream; he often dreamt.
"But no, they moved onward. The strange
men were kind to the tired boy; he was
A Sunday Story. 57
gently borne along farther and farther from
those cruel brothers and his old home, and
nearer and nearer to his God."
I know, mamma I have known nearly
all the time !" exclaimed Dolly ; "it is Joseph,
of course. Oh, do not make it so sad; it all
came right at last, you know."
Belle said nothing, her face was hidden,
and Mrs. Carrington put her arm gently
round her, as she said to Dolly-
My darling, it always all comes 'right at
last,' if we can but believe that God orders it
all for us. It is a hard lesson to many, dear;
but if we begin when we are young, it grows
with our growth, and the thorns in life's
pathway get hidden by the fair flowers God
keeps for us in the end."
"Don't cry, Belle dear," said Dolly, kneel-
ing before her and kissing her.
58 Two Little Cousins.
Belle had felt it all to be so real, she
followed the story with her heart.
Aunt Carrie told them no more then; it
was fine now, although the rain-drops fell
heavily from the trees in the beautiful wood
at the back of the house. They put on
waterproof cloaks, and went out. How fresh
and lovely it all was after the rain; the soft
light wandered through the trees, and the
children looked wonderingly at it as they
walked along the broad path through the
wood-it was lovely indeed. A tall fox-
glove reared itself up, as if it scorned the
grass beneath it; but though its stalk was
ever proudly erect, its fair flowers hung
gracefully down to make up for the un-
bending support they had.
It was all right, you see; it always is with
CHAP. VI.-TWO BIRTHDAYS.
NE by one did the pretty flowers fall
from the proud foxglove, and one by
one did the days pass on, till June was
quite forgotten, and July getting middle-
"How I wish it was Tuesday I" sighed
Dolly, as she sat perched in a large tree
from which hung one of the swings. "I
don't believe it will ever come."
Belle was swinging, and as soon as she
could stop enough for talking on such a grave
subject, she said-
60 Two Little Cousins.
"Well, Dolly, last Tuesday went quickly
enough, I am sure, so I do not suppose next
week will be very long in coming; why, it is
Friday now. Come and have a swing, I
cannot get on alone; let us have a good high
Upon this hint Dolly came down. She
had not far to come, as the tree had stood
there so long that its stem had become thick
enough for three children to hide behind it;
there were comfortable roots and knobs
sticking out, evidently intended for small
feet to use as steps. The great, strong
branches spread out and up very quickly
from the stem, therefore it was not much of
a climb, unless you wandered along those
same branches, which Belle had never done,
and Dolly only as yet thought about.
I wish you could have seen the two
Two Birthdays. 61
swinging, or have been one of them to enjoy
it as they did.
It is all very well to be swung, especially
when you get to such ancient years as mine;
but even I have a lingering pleasure in the
independent feeling of swinging myself,
particularly if I can get a young and active
cousin to stand up with me and do all the
Dolly and Belle seemed to fly through the
air; their hair streamed behind them; and,
yes, at last they reached the desired height.
If you went really high enough, your hat,
head, or hair caught in certain little in-
quisitive branches; of course hats always
resented this by casting themselves recklessly
on the ground. Some people are in frightful
doubt as to their hair as well, and many lose
their heads if they fly too high; however,
62 Two Little Cousins.
Belle and Dolly always wished their hats to
go off-it was a good sign; and to crush
through the leafy twigs was still better-the
tree did not care at all.
If all the time between this and Tuesday
had flown as fast as it did in the swing,
Dolly would have had no reason to complain.
But I am sorry to be obliged to tell you-I
will do it as gently as I can-that there was
one great difference between these two cousins
which often caused them to agree to differ:
one wanted everything at once, the other
In Dolly's view of the present matter, it
was dreadful to have to wait three whole
days and a bit before her birthday came;
whilst to Belle, there was so much enjoyment
in thinking of the pleasure to come, that
waiting a few days more or less was not
Two Birthdays. 63
difficult. Certainly Dolly did not help
to clear away rocks ahead; indeed they
cannot be always cleared away, but you may
pick your way carefully and get safely over
them, or else set to work to help others to do
this, which smooths the path for yourself in
the most charming manner.
Only the day after the capital swing of
which I have just told you, Dolly took a
header," so to speak, over a rock, and not
only hurt herself, but rolled over someone
The consequences were sad.
I daresay you will have already noticed
that Dolly and Belle had plenty of play-time,
and that they were trusted out of doors by
themselves. Aunt Carrie had a silver whistle,
with which she used to call them in if out
of sight, and if time happened to be no
64 Two Little Cousins.
object to them, which was often the case.
They were not allowed to go beyond the
garden, croquet-ground, two fields, or the
You would imagine that there was plenty
of room in all those pretty places for two
little girls to play and amuse themselves.
Belle would agree with you; Dolly would
Saturday were always half-holidays, and
the Saturday before Dolly's birthday it was
rather cold : for this reason the children had
on warmer jackets than usual, were told to
run about a little after dinner near the house,
and nurse would take them for a walk
Now this arrangement was not pleasing,
though wholesome; you will remark that in
many things, the older you grow.
Two Birthdays. 65
Nurse herself was very nice, but nurse's
idea of a walk was not so. She would always
walk straight along one particular road, and
considered it the whole duty of children to
do. the same; she also insisted on gloves
being worn, no flowers gathered, and, in fact,
a certain perfection .of manners rare to see,
especially on country roads.
Dolly had long thought over a secret
revenge for such barbarous rules about taking
their walks; surely a fit opportunity had come
at last. She was just in the right mood, as
she had done her lessons badly that morning,
and also been withered at dinner by a oUort
and sharp speech from her mother to the
followingeffect :-" Little girls that cannot
eat rice pudding, but are hungry for jam,
will live to be thankful for a hard, dry
66 Two Little Cousins.
Dolly felt that the dull walk in prospect
was more than she could bear.
It was like the well-known straw that
broke the camel's long-suffering back, in
spite of being a mere straw after all. You
can think this over.
"Belle, let us have races down the drive,"
proposed Dolly the daring.
"Not out of sight," replied Belle the
"Well, then, it will not be any fun at all.
Why, what is the harm if we run back
Thus persuaded, Belle gave in, and the
At the second race Dolly proposed an
improvement-to run beyond the gates, just
across the road. This would not be right,
she knew and I am afraid she wished to do
Two Birthdays. 67
it all the more. Belle refused thus to disobey
her aunt's orders, upon which Dolly called
her a coward, and ran across the road several
times to show that no harm came of it.
On the opposite side were other gates and
a lodge, and the children had often wished to
know who lived in the latter. Dolly thought
that now was the time to find out, so she
pushed open one gate and ran through, but
was instantly startled back by a small,
yelping dog that dashed out at her; the
great, heavy gate swung towards her, and
in a moment knocked her down flat on her
face, whilst the dog ran up and seized her
frock, worrying it in a way that tore the
trimming very much.
Belle was quickly at Dolly's side, helping
her to get up, and trying to frighten the dog
68 Two Little Cousins.
At this critical moment, who should appear,
in evident alarm at the children's cries, but
That most proper person stood for a
moment aghast at the impropriety of what
she saw-Miss Dolly fallen on the ground,
her dress all dusty and torn; Miss Belle
almost as bad, with a strange dog jumping
round her, barking wildly.
Dolly was crying with mingled fright and
the pain of her fall; her cheek was cut and
bruised by some small, sharp stones, and the
blood trickled slowly down on her white silk
tie and grey jacket.
In Belle's haste to defend Dolly against
nurse's just wrath, she quite forgot to defend
herself; so that, when the two were led
before Mrs. Carrington, she naturally thought
both were equally to blame.
Two Birthdays. 69
This comes of judging by appearances;
don't do it. Dolly began to explain, but was
far too excited to do anything but make
matters worse; so it ended by Aunt Carrie
saying, in her most severe voice-you cannot
think what a voice that was-
"Children, you have both been most dis-
obedient, and you know that I always punish
that more than any fault." An awful
pause. "I shall not allow any birthday
party next Tuesday; and it will entirely
depend on yourselves whether there is one
on Tuesday week, Belle's birthday. Go to
It almost makes me cry to tell
"What tears were shed by Dolly and Belle.
Indeed I could not go through the next
few days, even if you bribed me with
70 Two Little Cousins.
hundreds of white sugar mice of the largest
Everything looked grey ; the very clouds
wept, and the sun hid his face; the trees were
limp, and the sparrows chirped in whispers.
To call Dolly and Belle good the next few
days is hardly enough; they were so perfect in
their behaviour that it was quite annoying;
and Mr. Carrington said to his wife one day,
that if things went on long like this, he must
break something, or in some way wake up
and brighten the veil of grey goodness that
hung over everything and everybody.
At last the Monday before Belle's birthday
came. Nothing was said.
Tuesday morning arrived; the sun shone
brightly, the birds sang regardless of fatigue,
the bright green of the trees was lovelier and
more refreshing than ever, and not a cloud
Two Birtkdays. 71
was to be seen, either out of the house
or in it.
Hand-in-hand did Belle and Dolly go
wonderingly and hopefully down to break-
fast; their tall, sailor cousin was there-
he had given them an encouraging wink at
the top of the stairs.
There, in quaint form and size, upon the
two plates in front of Dolly and Belle's
respective chairs, were many parcels.
New paint-boxes, books both grave and
gay, a dainty little work-basket for each,
with "Enquire Within" in large letters on
papers fastened to their covers; many other
gifts beside; and, the best one of all, that
needed no paper and string to do it up, and
no money to buy it, the free forgiveness of
72 Two Little Cousins.
An untold number of kisses did she receive
and give, and right merrily did that day fly
In the afternoon four more little girls
came, and many a game they had near the
swings; you may see them, hand-in-hand,
dancing the dance of youth, health, and
happiness, as bright and contented a group
as could gladden the hearts of all who love
Nothing went wrong that day, or for many
a day after. Dolly and Belle never forgot
the dire punishment of which I have had to
tell you, and had both determined never to
be disobedient again.
If you wish to see whether this determina-
tion was wise or not, try it.
. .... .7 .0
*, .-" .- _
.L ~~T~f1* m
CHAP. VII.-ALL WORK.
ELLE, I wish you would not get on so
fast, it makes me slow."
Belle looked up at this statement of Dolly's
with widely-opened, questioning blue eyes.
"Indeed it is true," continued Dolly;
"I wish handkerchiefs had not four sides,
and that hemming had never been invented.
Now, Belle, you know quite well that we
were much happier before we learnt to work.
Needles always prick my fingers-I believe
they do not like me a bit better than I do
them-and my cotton always gets into
74 Two Little Cousins.
knots on purpose; there it is again, but it
shall come through this time."
Acting upon this decision, the cotton had
such a pull that it instantly paid the highest
compliment to Dolly's power of pull by
breaking off short. Yet she was not at all
Stupid, horrid cotton !" exclaimed Dolly;
"and the needle has unthreaded itself too.
I shall never get my bit done; and there you
go, Belle, on and on. I do wish you would
stop a minute."
In a secret corner in Belle's heart there
was hidden as decided a dislike to work as
They had neither of them learnt long
enough for it to grow easy. Many things
are hedged round with stiff rows of difficulties
at first, and if you expect to smooth them
4A Work. 75
down in a few days, why, all I can say is,
expect at the same time to find yourself in
"How much had we to do before tea,
Dolly ? I forget," said Belle.
"Why, a whole half of a side," replied her
cousin, jumping up to have a nearer look at
Belle's work, whereupon her thimble took
advantage of so good a chance, and rolled
quietly off into a confidential corner.
Upon measuring with great care, the
cousins found that after all they had done
almost exactly the same length. This was
cheering to Dolly, although her mother
afterwards told her that her stitches ought to
be better friends; they stood as far apart as
if each one had quarrelled with its next-door
neighbour; this was even worse than standing
too near and treading on each other's heels.
76 Two Little Cousins.
Belle gave Dolly some cotton out of her
new work-basket, in case it might be of a
less knotty temper, and the two settled to
try and see who would get done first.
In order not to be tempted to watch one
another, they sat back to back and deter-
mined to start at once.
The thimble heard all this, but said
nothing. Dolly began looking for it in her
basket, where it always was kept, except
when it happened to be anywhere else.
"How tiresome!" she said; "now my
thimble is gone; wherever can it be ?"
Belle put her work admiringly down, for
it really was getting on beautifully, and both
of them began looking about in every possible
and impossible place they could think of.
One little girl was under the table, with
nothing to be seen of her but a pair of small
All Work. 77
feet, just like an advertisement of her dear,
tiny self, and the other child was flat on the
floor, trying to see into the narrow space
between the fender and the rug, when there
was a sudden bounce against the door, and in
He seemed to understand the case at once,
and sniffed about with his sharp nose in great
Dolly showed him Belle's twin thimble,
and explained to him most carefully that it
was all important that the lost one should be
found before tea-time.
At this Romp gave several short barks,
and ran here and there, in evident delight at
the hunt, in spite of thimbles not being good
to eat, or of any use to him personally what-
Matters began to look serious. Belle
78 Two Little Cousins.
had just suggested using her thimble by
turns, when Romp began rolling over and
over, biting something hard.
He has found it shouted Dolly, eagerly.
" Give it up, Romp; drop it !"
But no. Romp, though young, was not
to be cheated out of his play in that fashion.
He tossed the thimble up in the air, let it
roll a little way, caught it again, gave it
several bites if it went too far, and was now
evidently under the delusion that it was his
business to keep it from the children, and
theirs to get it from him.
The greatest sufferer in this little game
was the poor thimble itself. Its once rounded
form had many a dent; it lost its shape
more and more.
Dolly was in despair; despair soon turned
to anger, and she seized Romp by the head,
All Work. 79
calling on Belle to sit on him to keep him
quiet, the "naughty, naughty dog," whilst
she took the thimble out of his mouth.
This was easier said than done.
In the first place, Belle could not sit on
Romp, as he wriggled so; instead of sitting
on a dog, she would have found herself
sitting on nothing.
This would have been hardly comfortable
for Belle, neither would it have helped Dolly.
There was once a little girl who tried to
sit on the wind; a very strong wind it was,
and a very weak little girl.
There was another child, first cousin to
the one I have just named, who had been
told by her looking-glass that she was pretty,
and quite believed it, except that certain
impertinent freckles spoilt her otherwise
lovely complexion. She mourned over this
80 Two Little Cousins.
aloud, and her kind mother, who was equal
to all or any occasion, advised her to get up
with the early birds on the first of May, and
bathe her face in the morning dew, and then
rub off the freckles.
Anxiously did she try this, and was quite
sure she felt them coming off into her hands.
She ran to her looking-glass; alas! in it
she saw herself very plain, and the freckles
as brown as ever.
We will hope that no little girls who read
this story are any relation to the two of
whom I have just told you such tales.
But I must now return to Dolly and Romp,
who went rolling over and over one another
so fast, that you could hardly tell where dog
began or child ended, or which was which.
It was most confusing.
At last the angry child seized him by the
All Work. 81
throat; a violent choking was the con-
sequence, but no thimble was to be seen.
Oh dear !" said Belle, he has swallowed
it, I am sure; what shall we do ?"
"Hold him up by the tail," replied Dolly;
"come and help directly."
But this was a liberty that Romp always
resented. Being dragged by the head he did
not mind, he was hardened to it; besides, it
very likely was meant for a hug, and affection
does take such odd turns sometimes.
To be pulled by the tail was quite another
thing; he knew no one would ever think of
hugging his tail, and to pull it was rude.
Accordingly he wrenched himself free with
a jerk, the choking suddenly stopped, the
swallowed thimble resigned itself to its un-
timely fate, and Romp stood master of the
82 Two Litlle Cousins.
The two children were fairly beaten, and
stopped breathless, when Mrs. Carrington
She soon heard the whole story.
Of course you would have thought she
would have been very grave about it, and
have read the Riot Act, and at once con-
demned all three to severe punishment. No
such thing. She actually laughed, which was
so catching that Dolly and Belle laughed too,
whilst Romp barked gaily.
The tea-bell rang.
"Well, you two most industrious young
ladies," said Aunt Carrie, "I suppose you
must get ready for tea, as tea is evidently
ready for you; all I have to say is, do not
copy Romp, and take to eating thimbles
and butter, instead of bread; also, the
next time you lose anything, get a wiser
All Work. 83
person to help you to find it. Come into
the drawing-room after tea, and I will see if
I cannot show you how to get on faster with
Many a joke was there in after days about
Romp and the thimble, and strange advice
did Dolly get about the proper food for
young dogs, and the correct places for
thimbles to be kept in.
On the next Valentine's Day she received
an enormously tall parcel: in it was a huge
thimble, which turned out to be artfully
made of pasteboard and silver paper, with a
suggestion that perhaps this one would
swallow Romp instead of the dog swallowing
it. Dolly kept this great-grandfather of all
the thimble family for a long time, and learnt
something from it, which was, always take
care of your thimble, and never get a dog to
84 Two Little Cousins.
help you to find anything of swallowable
After tea Aunt Carrie's welcome idea was
carried out; she looked at the handkerchiefs,
started them off afresh with lovely sloping
stitches, also, by the most extraordinary
chance, found a little silver gift in her own
workbox for Dolly, which fitted exactly, and
made it seem rather a good thing than not
that the old one was lost. In order to make
the work get on faster, Mrs. Carrington
proposed telling them a short story, which
would just last till bed-time. This was how
CHAP. VIII.-A LITTLE LAMB.
TrHERE were three of them playing
together in a pretty day-nursery. Per-
haps you would like to know more about
the room itself, and afterwards I will describe
the children in it, upon the "last but not
The paper was so covered with pictures
that but little of it was seen ; the trellis-like
pattern of green leaves and rosebuds peeped
out where it could, very much as the wall of
a greenhouse does behind the flowers.
Many of the pictures were those large
86 Two Little Cousins.
coloured ones for which you have to thank
the march of civilisation and the Illustrated
London News. The chief favourites amongst
these were "The Babes in the Wood" and
"Little Goody Two Shoes."
There was a square table in the middle
of the room, covered with a cloth of uncertain
age and colour-so many odd things had
happened upon it that it did not much
matter what befel it next.
In one corner of the nursery was a large
doll's house; it had four rooms in it-draw-
ing-room, nursery, bedroom, and kitchen, all
furnished according to taste, and inhabited
by dolls to match; some of them had not a
leg to stand on, but this did not matter in
the least if you leant them against the wall,
or placed them in graceful attitudes on a
sofa, or tucked them up in bed-so many
A Little Lamb. 87
defects can be hidden with a little manage-
There was another small table, that had
once been in the real drawing-room, rather
the shape of a shamrock leaf at the top, and
covered with green velvet that had seen
better days. The peculiarity of this table was,
that it had not done as most things do that
are getting worn out, namely, gone down
in the world; on the contrary, it had
mounted up as high as the nursery, and
was there treated with the respect that was
Four chairs, all evidently members of the
same family, were in different parts of the
A bird hung in the window-it was a
greenfinch, and a great favourite, being tame
to an almost absurd degree. The children
88 Two Little Cousins.
had once been grievously insulted by an aunt
of theirs, who told them that their much-
loved bird was only a sparrow.
On the window itself stood a pink
geranium-not quite happy apparently, but it
had to stay there all the same.
The eldest of the three children was a
girl about eight years old, called Mabel; she
was not pretty, which would not have
mattered if she had not looked so prim and
been too fond of keeping the younger ones in
order. Next came Cecil, six years of age, a
bright-eyed boy with a curly head, and whose
hands, if idle, would certainly find some
"mischief still to do."
Last of all, dear little Minnie, who as
just four and everyone's darling; her pale
golden hair was like a glory round her face,
and her deep blue eyes had a look in them
A Little Lamb. 89
that made one feel she was nearer heaven
Certainly she was different from other
children, and yet it was difficult to say in
what particular way.
You might not notice it at first, but as
you were with her day by day it became
more and more certain. Mabel and Cecil
loved her very much, but were sometimes
rather jealous of the attentions that little
Minnie received. They had not long been
home from India with their gentle young
mother: her black dress and white cap told
the sad tale of the father and husband who
was taken from them. Mabel and Cecil
well remembered how little Minnie had
always been dear papa's favourite, and that
even the captain on board the big ship that
brought them home had always a passing word
90 Two Little Cousins.
and smile for her, and would stroke her
golden hair as he passed ever so gently,
although, instead of little girls at home, he
had four great boys at school.
Minnie was now sitting on the floor,
with her feet stretched out as far as they
would go, so that she might make a lap for
Mabel's new doll.
A most charming doll it was, dressed like
a real baby; it had blue eyes and real hair,
a pretty long white dress, its sleeves tied up
with blue ribbons, and a sash of the same
colour; in fact, Miss Dolly was got up quite
regardless of expense.
"Now, Minnie darling," said Mabel, "sit
quite still and let baby go to sleep."
Minnie obeyed orders gravely, and held
the baby as carefully as if she had been made
of wax, which indeed she was. Cecil looked
A Little Lamb. 91
on in silence for a minute, and then said he
did not believe Minnie liked Mabel's doll
half as well as her own old thing, because
when mamma had wanted to give her a new
one she would not have it. As for him, he
did not see the good of dolls at all, especially
sleepy ones like Mabel's, which shut its eyes
directly it was put flat on its back; if he
might look inside its head, and see how that
was managed, it would be some fun; and as
for the dolls in the babyhouse, he would like
to put them all in a row, and chop off their
heads with his new knife, only of course he
Minnie listened to all this, then, giving
the new doll back to her sister, she went to
look for her own darling, in case Cecil might
carry out any of his present ideas: she did
not exactly believe he would, as, although a
92 Two Little Cousins.
very naughty boy at times, he was quite
good enough on other occasions to make up
for it, and keep the balance true; yet the
very thought of possible harm befalling any-
thing dear to her was painful. She ran into
the night-nursery, and found her own doll,
Hilda, lying in bed quite safe. This bed
was a tiny cradle, lined with pink; its
muslin curtains were pushed back, as Hilda
was rather a tight fit, and could only be
made comfortable in bed by having her head
pressed against the top of the cradle, and her
feet touching the other end.
Her face was pink all over, her nose the
worse for many a fall, and her mouth vague;
a pair of staring blue eyes gazed placidly
straight before her, and had an astonished
expression, from the fact of any trace of eye-
brow having quite faded away.
A Little Lamb. 93
The less I say about her hair the better,
as there was so little left to say anything
Hilda was dressed in white spotted
muslin, a red sash, and no shoes; she had a
hat made of white knitting, trimmed with
red wool and a brown hen's feather.
The most unfortunate thing about her
was that she had only one arm; however,
the more her misfortunes increased, the more
did her mamma, as Minnie called herself,
It was the nature of that little heart to
love once and always, and to cling with a
trustful firmness to those around her, sym-
pathising keenly with any suffering, and
shrinking sensitively from new faces and
Before she could speak, her mother had
94 Two Little Cousins.
begun to tell her about God and Jesus; it
was all a beautiful truth to little Minnie;
she knew that she was not only watched
over and loved by those near her on earth,
but that eyes that she could not see looked
with untiring, watchful love down on her,
the eyes of "Our Father which art in
That day passed away, and many others,
till winter came. The pink geranium had
to come into the house, and Hilda had a new
red cloak to wear when she went out.
In the evenings the nursery looked snug
and warm, with its curtained window and
The children always had their bath at
night near the cheerful blaze, but were not
allowed to go beyond a particular distance,
in case of danger.
A Little Lamb. 95
It had been snowing fast all day, and the
cold north wind found its way into the house
itself, making one get close to the fire, and
even then not getting warm through.
In the evening, the little ones went up to
bed as usual. They had all had their baths,
and were standing a minute on the hearth-rug
watching the funny changes in the red-hot
cinders, though Cecil liked best the bright
flames at the back.
It was Saturday, and nurse had gone
down with the clean clothes to be aired; the
children's mamma was in the room, but went
out of it to call to nurse for something. At
that minute the fire blazed up brighter than
ever, and little Minnie sprang forward, for-
getting orders. The draught from the open
door sent the flames sideways towards her; in
a moment her night-dress was on fire, and a