Dwe Baldwdn Librm
-------- ------- -
" COMB ALOXG WITEE MB, SHA SAID,"
WHAT SHE SAW AND WHAT SHE HEARD.
MRS. C. A. READ,
AUTHOR OF "MILLY DAVIDSON," SILVERMERE," OUR DOLLY,"
BLACKIE & SON, 49 OLD BAILEY, E.C.;
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.
I. TOPH, ..... ...... 7
II. TIBBY'S IDLE CURIOSITY . ..... 20
III. A DANGEROUS ADVENTURE, .. 30
IV. POOR ROBIN, .. . .. 47
V. GONE AWAY .... . 66
VI. AFTER THREE YEARS' BANISIIMENT, .... .77
VII. How MIss JANE DEALS WITH HARRY, 101
VIII. How ELLA RAN AWAY, . . .122
IX. How ELLA'S RUNAWAY ENDED,. . 140
X. A GIPSY AT MOUNTAIN HOUSE,. .. 159
XI. CONCLUSION OF THE FAIRY'S STORY, ... .185
WHAT SHE SAW AND WHAT SHE HEARD.
T is quite common for men and women to
S write about their travels and experiences
Sfor the benefit and amusement of others.
Indeed the fashion is set by the great ones of the
earth, kings and queens and princes, so that it is
not surprising if I, a descendant in direct line
from the illustrious Titania, queen of the fairies,
should make known my experiences during my
last visit to the habitation of mortals, more par-
ticularly as it is scarcely probable any of our
race in future will care to visit a world becoming
so matter of fact and sensible-so realistic as
they call it.
8 FAIRY FANCY VISITS A MORTAL,
Of course all well-read little girls and boys
know that when people crowded into the world,
we fairies crowded out of it by degrees. What
you call science almost entirely wiped us out; in
fact we should be all clean gone but for the faith
of a few poetically minded persons and young
children. There is a law among us which
compels us to remain on earth so long as a single
person believes in us, and we exist in proportion
to the number of believers.
The family to which I belonged had retired
inside one of your wild Scotch mountains, be-
cause a poet and his family lived near its foot.
I, for one, was not contented, and often wished
to see the world, for I had only visited mortals
about half-a-dozen times since the flood. My
mother at length consented that I should have
my wish gratified in due time, and that night,
when we came out to hold our revels, 1 felt tired,
and curled myself up to sleep in a broom
Once I used to know a mortal who wrote a
meditation upon a broomstick-and upon a
broomstick depended my future, as you shall
hear. I suppose I slept, for I knew no more
after lying down inside the blossom till I found
a pair of human eyes fixed upon me as I lay. I
AND BABY SEES HER.
ought to mention that to rouse me into life among
mortals some one must recognize me. But, dear
me, I was no longer on the side of our Scotch
mountain, but on the top of a broomstick, and
__ __ ,,
the pair of eyes belonged to a half-naked little
baby. Somethings else saw me as well as the
baby, but without understanding me in the least,
a robin-redbreast, a butterfly, and a wooden doll
lying on the floor. The sunlight almost blinded
ill ~ :
the pir ofeyesbelon-ed o a hlf-nked lttle
bay.Soetins ls awmeaswel s h
baby:I:,, bu ihotudesadigm i h lat
I a, I-)ng ls awm a el s h
10 FANCY IN THE HOME OF THE POET.
me at first, but I soon got used to it, and pre-
sently I took courage and crept out from the
blossom and down the broomstick, so that just
when a cross nurse came and picked up the baby
I had managed to hide quite comfortably inside
his breast. I ought to tell you that my name is
Phantastikos-a long name, you will say, but our
family used to live in Greece ages ago, so that
my name is a Grecian one, but you can call me
"Fancy"-" the Fairy Fancy."
Nurse carried the baby into a pretty room, and
closing the door she shook him and slapped him,
at the same time calling him naughty, for crawl-
ing out of the nursery just when she had left
him for a moment. I whispered in his ear a
pretty poem about fairy bells, birds and bees,
and mountain blossoms, so that he scarcely heard
the cross nurse at all, and forgot to cry for her
punishment. Then she dressed him quickly and
brought him his breakfast, and I could see that
she tried to make up for her temper by being
extra kind to him. I soon found that I had not
got so far away from my mountain home after
all, for it was in the poet's house I had taken up
my abode, and by degrees I got to know every
member of the family, and, after a while, the
NURSE LEAVES HER PITCHER.
There was a cat called Tibby, and a dog named
Tray, inside the house. There were hens and
cocks outside, and a fox used to visit them. At
first I thought he might be a friend of Tray's,
but I soon learned the difference. There was
another visitor of whom the master of the house
was very fond, and that was a raven; and my
baby Ernest liked him too, and used to try and
talk with him; but every one else hated him,
because they said he was a thief, and got them
into trouble. Master called him Mephistopheles,
but no one else cared to pronounce the long
name, so they usually called him "Toph the
Thief," and he knew his name well, and had
learned lots of words from the family, so that
the servants thought he was an evil spirit, and
they were quite right too, for doing mischief
was his greatest delight. He liked the master's
notice, and hated everything else he paid any
One day Nurse took a pitcher to fetch some
water from the lake below the house. Ernest
cried to go with her, but she said she couldn't
carry him and the pitcher too. I followed her
and whispered in her ear that she ought to fetch
the baby, and that he could toddle a little way,
so she needn't carry him. Ellen wasn't an ill-
12 TOPI SEES A CHANCE OF MISCHIEF.
natured girl, so she put down the pitcher beside
a bunch of tall grass, and ran back to the house.
She had only turned away when who should
swoop down but Toph. There was a twinkle in
his eye, such as I knew boded mischief; then he
looked into the pitcher, and I knew he felt sorry
that there was not something in it either good to
eat or to destroy. Next moment he tumbled it
over with his strong beak against a stone, and
smashed it in two pieces, then he croaked twice,
his method of laughing, and flew away into a
grove of trees at a little distance to watch the
result. Presently Tray came racing along, and I
TIBBY FALSELY ACCUSED.
knew Nurse and Ernest could not be far behind.
He stopped when he came to the jar, smelt all
round it and looked puzzled, then he gave a
short sharp bark. I had noticed Tibby, the cat,
at the other side of the clump of grass sitting
watching for a field-mouse to come out of its
hole, but when she heard Tray bark she thought
she had better come
and see what he
I have noticed that
cats are very like
little girls in being
curious about what
doesn't concern them,
and they frequently
get into trouble over
.. ... :. -.,
their curiosity, as poor
She had just emerged from the underwood as
Nurse came up with Ernest in her arms. She
mewed loudly, and in her language said:
"Naughty Tray, you've been and broken the
"Bow wow!" cried Tray angrily, which meant:
"I didn't, you did it yourself."
"0 dear, what shall I do!" cried Ellen; then
catching sight of poor Tibby she exclaimed, "I'll
A BAD COMPANION
pay you, Miss Pussy. You broke it as you did
the jug the other day."
"She did break it," chimed in Tray with his
Then to Ellen's surprise Tibby flew at Tray
and scratched his face; and Tray defended him-
self and then attacked the cat. Pussy turned
and ran away, Tray following her at full speed
"_.- -" S L '- '-T a ^ *i s .
!' ,-u .^ 2 i
till she reached the very tree where Toph sat
laughing till he shook all his feathers.
When Tibby got to the top she began to com-
plain of the unjust treatment she had received
from her friend Tray. He told her that he knew
Tray broke the pitcher. She was quite right in
that, and he encouraged her in her bad feeling
to her former companion, on the principle that
when friends fall out the common enemy is sure
to find their weak points.
So Ellen carried Ernest home again, and had a
good scolding from the cook for her carelessness,
TOPH ON THE WATCH.
and the baby tried to tell her that Nurse did not
break the pitcher, but he couldn't put what he
wanted to say in words.
Meantime Tibby kept up in the tree all day,
and although she was dreadfully hungry she
never attempted to come down till it was quite
dark, and she knew that Nurse would be gone to
bed, and Tray asleep on the rug in the hall. All
this time Toph kept her company, and heard her
tales of the family she lived with. It was re-
markable that no small birds attempted to rest
on that tree while these two remained. At
length Tibby said she must go home for she was
awfully hungry, and she hoped the larder might
chance to be open. Toph offered to accompany
her, for he wanted to find how she managed to
get into the house and all the doors closed, but
Tibby was too cunning to permit him to see her
plan, and she excused herself, telling him that
another time she would be happy to admit him,
but not to-night.
Tibby met with the fate of most untruthful
people in not being believed, and Toph deter-
mined to watch her; so when Pussy reached the
foot of the tree he rose in the air, and slowly
flew in the direction she ran. He noted her
make her way through the orchard, then climb
a tree, spring to the garden wall, and running
along this till she came opposite the conservatory.
She sprang on its roof, clambered up to the
sloping roof of the house, and soon reached a
window in a gable. She gave it a slight push
with her paw and walked inside, closing the
window after her. "Bravo!" said Toph to him-
self, "I can do what I like now;" and alighting
on the window-sill, he too pushed the window
with his strong beak, and flew inside, closing it
after him as Tibby had done. He put his head
to one side to listen, and soon heard the pat of
her velvet feet down the stairs. She went right
down to the basement, and then ran along a
stone passage and past a large window, through
which the moonlight streamed upon the opposite
wall. Toph noticed a window on the side
covered with wire net-work, and the next
moment Tibby had sprung upon the sill to try if
the frame were fastened. To her joy she found
that Cook had neglected this precaution, and then
she skilfully pushed the sliding frame across
with her paw, and sat looking into the larder.
"That's another wrinkle for me," thought
Toph, ruffling his feathers with delight. "One
never loses anything by being civil. I wonder
what she is looking at?"
CAT, RAT, AND TRAP.
He did not wonder long, for he managed to fly
near enough to peep in, and he saw a fine fat rat
just in the act of helping himself to a nice piece of
salmon. Tibby crept nearer, and then there was
a fearful spring, a short struggle, and the rat lay
quivering in its last agony. Then Tibby took
about a minute to recover breath, and spurning
her fallen foe with
her paw she at
once attacked the
dish of salmon.
Her appetite was
so keen that she
had no time to
pause and look
round or she would
'tar ~4 *'Ih'
have seen her friend, the raven, swoop in through
the window and carry off the dead rat in his
beak. Once outside he laid down the body,
and with all the cunning he was master of he
set himself to discover some means of fastening
the window. He soon discovered a little brass
bolt, and closing the frame without noise he
slipped it in; then he could restrain his delight
no longer, but shouted through the window:
"Good night, Miss Tibby; thank you for my
supper. I hope you'll enjoy yourself in there,
THE FOOLISH HEN.
particularly when they come to open the door in
Poor Tibby rushed frantically to the window,
and finding it fastened mewed her appeal for
liberty, but Mr. Toph was already on his way
through the house.
He croaked with delight, so that Ernest
awoke and called Nurse, who lay in the next
room. She came in pale and trembling, for she
had heard the rush of wings.
"It's a ghost, Baby," she said, while her teeth
chattered with fright. Baby clapped his hands,
crowed, and pointed to the door, for he knew it
was his own raven, and he wanted Nurse to open
the door, but of course she wouldn't understand
I have often wondered how little grown-up
people understand babies.
At length she got him to sleep by singing a
hymn, while Toph carried his rat to the farm-
yard and devoured it. He was about to fly
away to his nest, when he noticed a foolish hen
straying away from its companions, no doubt
mistaking the moonlight for daylight, and trying
to practise crowing like a cock. He stopped his
flight to muse upon this curious sight, when he
noticed the fox too observing her closely. She was
MR. ARTFUL FOX OUTWITTED.
in the midst of her practice, and trying to strut
like a cock when the fox pounced upon her, and
in an instant the poor foolish hen was dead.
Then Toph gave a mighty croak of delight, so
loud that the startled fox dropped the hen and
ran away. Now was Toph's opportunity; he
soon flew down and regaled himself on the choice
portions of the poor foolish hen. He rose lazily
in the air and flew towards his nest, determined
to have a sound sleep after so much good food.
Presently the frightened fox crept back to find
only a few bones left for him to pick.
I have noticed that girls who try to look and
act like boys attract more observation than is
pleasant for them, and they are always punished,
if not so severely as the poor hen, yet in a
manner very mortifying to their self-love and
i -M 4 :,
TIBBY'S IDLE CURIOSITY.
HEN Tibby found that she couldn't get
out, she made terrible havoc among the
Provisions within her reach, and when
quite gorged she curled herself up on a
piece of matting in one corner and fell soundly
Now, although you children who read this
may laugh at me, I can tell you that animals
brought up within the sound of a human voice
are apt to partake of their master's qualities, and
Tibby had something very like a conscience. She
knew that she had been a thief, that she had
eaten her master's favourite dish, besides smashing
a lot of turkey eggs provided especially for him,
and she feared punishment in the morning; and
in fact she could trace the whole trouble back
to her feminine curiosity, so that while she slept
she started and even mewed uneasily. It was
POOR TIBBY SENTENCED.
my custom to visit the poet's study early every
morning, for I found that he liked me and
could recognize me easily; and better than all he
never talked or made a fuss, only scribbled away.
On this morning he was reading something
earnestly. It was a
newspaper, and I
knew he seldom read
the news. Suddenly -
I heard him exclaim:
"Ah! that is .why
they sent the paper. "
He is dead, poor :- .
fellow. I must show
this to Bessie, and have the children down here
till their mother gets settled."
He rose and left the room. I could see that his
mind was too much disturbed for work that
morning. I next visited Ernest and found his
nurse dressing him, and when he was almost
finished Cook opened the door and rushed in.
She was dreadfully excited and angry while she
told how Tibby had been hidden in the larder
and what she had destroyed. Ernest listened,
and lisped something that no one tried to under-
She must be put out of the house," said the
22 BABY TRIES TO HELP A FRIEND.
angry cook as a wind-up. I'll tell Missis so, and
have her drowned this very night."
"Where is she now?" asked Nurse.
"I whipped her well and put her in an empty
hamper, and carried it to the odds-and-ends room.
I'll get John to drown her to-night if missis don't
Ernest talked loudly. I knew he was pleading
for Tibby's life, but of course Nurse didn't under-
stand him, and only told him to hold his tongue.
He was vexed and angry and scarcely touched
his bread-and-milk breakfast. I knew he was
thinking how he could help Tibby. After break-
fast Nurse put on his hat and sent him out into
the garden. She knew he was quite safe there,
for a high wall guarded it all round. He walked
about for a little while, but did not run and play
as usual. Presently he stopped opposite the
open French windows of the drawing-room, as
if a thought occurred to him, and then he went
inside the room, turned the handle of the door,
and passed through the hall till he came to the
odds-and-ends room, and walked in. He had
made up his mind to find Tibby and let her free
"Croak, croak, croak," sounded from the win-
dow, and Ernest looked up to see the raven
"THAT VILLAIN OF A RAVEN."
perched on the upper sash, which stood open, and
stare down into the room. I knew he was laugh-
ing at Tibby in the basket and taunting her with
being a prisoner. She replied by a series of loud
mews, and then Ernest noticed the hamper and
went over to open it. But, alas! Cook had taken
the precaution to set a heavy box on the top
of it. In vain Pussy pleaded in cat language
to be let out, and in vain Ernest tried to move
the box, while Toph nearly choked himself with
his kind of laughter, but it seemed to be loud
croaking; so that, what with Tibby mewing, and
the raven croaking, the noise was so great that
it attracted Cook to the door.
Why, my goodness! but little ones are ever
an' always at mischief. Is it a trying' to bring
down that box upon you? I wonder what your
nurse is about, to let you get in here."
While Cook spoke she picked Ernest up in her
arms. He kicked and screamed, of course; but she
held him fast till she reached the nursery, and
then put him down inside, and rang the bell for
Nurse, to whom she related where she found him.
"That there villain of a raven was a sitting'
croakin' away," she concluded; "I do wish as
Master would shoot him."
Ernest stopped screaming instantly, and tried
THE WRETCHED PRISONER.
to tell her he wouldn't have the raven shot, but
he lisped so that both servants began to laugh
at him, and then he danced and screamed; he
couldn't help it, they seemed such fools to him.
"What a temper he has got, to be sure!" re-
marked the cook; "I shouldn't care to be his
He's very trying, indeed," replied Nurse, "and
I sha'n't leave him alone again. I suppose he got
in by the drawing-room window."
"Ain't he knownn; who'd think it now?" said
Cook as she left the room.
That was a terrible day for the prisoner in
the basket. She got nothing to eat, and her cries
were heart-rending. Even Toph, who came fre-
quently to the window, at length began to repent
himself of his share in the mischief, and yet he had
no idea for what fate poor Tibby was reserved.
The master of the house had his study in a
remote wing at the back, from whence he could
look out upon the grand mountains, my former
home. Here no sound from the house penetrated,
and Tibby's agony continued unheeded. A new
baby had come to the house a fortnight before,
so that the mistress had not yet begun to go
about. And although Cook said she would con-
sult the missis about getting rid of Tibby, she
THE PLACE OF EXECUTION.
did not take the trouble, but when night came,
John, the man-servant, entered the room, and
pushing off the heavy box, he took the hamper
containing Tibby under his arm and walked out
of the servants' door.
Just then Ernest was being put to bed in the
room above. He was very unhappy and gave
Nurse a lot of trouble; of course she did not know
why, but I did. He felt that something evil was
being done in the house, although he could not
tell what, and it made him miserable, all the
more so because it did not take definite shape.
Curious to see the tragedy played out, I fol-
lowed the man and listened to poor Tibby, whose
cries for help were growing fainter and fainter.
Like a thing of evil the raven too flew slowly
overhead in perfect silence. At length we reached
the lake, and it did look lovely in the moonlight.
There was a little island in the centre on which
shrubs and grass grew, and one giant tree lifted
its head into the clouds. Just as John paused
a stately swan sailed out of its nest in the island.
The moon broke forth from a bank of dark
clouds and silvered the white plumage of the
bird, and the rippling water. The raven flitted
overhead and rested on a branch of the tree,
waiting anxiously to see what was going to hap-
THE FATE OF TIB.
pen. The quiet beauty of the scene had no
softening effect on the man. He stood for an
instant opposite the island, then threw the hamper
from him into the water, where the light fell
upon it. There was a long-drawn agonizing
shriek from Tibby as the water flooded in and
she felt herself sinking. The man turned and
walked rapidly in the direction of home after
performing his vile work.
I wondered if Toph would laugh now at poor
Tibby being murdered, and all through him; but
to my surprise I saw him swoop down from the
tree, croak some words of encouragement to the
u ;3;3r ;~
i .i "' ai
TOPH TO THE RESCUE.
half-drowned cat as he caught the lid of the
hamper in his strong beak and towed it to the
"Never go back to your old home again," he
advised as the poor wet Tibby dragged herself
up the bank.
"You have saved my life, and I thank you,"
she whined in a weak voice.
"You had better go to Widow Green's cottage,"
suggested Toph after a moment's thought; "she
likes cats, and keeps two already."
"Thank you, sir, I'll try her," said Tibby
humbly. It seems to me as if I'd never be dry
or warm again."
0, yes, but you will, no fear for you," said the
raven as he flew away; and Pussy took the road
leading to the widow's house.
I have often remarked how much cats and
females of the human race resemble each other
in their powers of endurance; they can bear and
live after treatment that one would suppose
enough to kill them.
Ernest wandered about the house for days
after this looking for Tibby, and Toph tried to
tell him that she was safe, and although Ernest did
not understand, yet the presence of the raven
somehow comforted him.
28 THE RAVEN'S FRIEND GETS TIB'S PLACE.
That same evening, about the usual supper
time of the household, I happened to look out
of the dining-room window, and noticed Toph
perched on the tree opposite it where he usually
sat when the family were at meals; he was talk-
ing to something on the grass below.
Go into the house boldly," he said. "They
want a cat, and
even the dog Tray
will be glad to see
A "- you, for he misses
Tibby to fight
with." I looked
S down and saw a
fine white and -
gray cat sitting below, and looking up anxiously
at the window of the room. It was plain to me
that Toph was an acquaintance of hers and had
informed her of the opening in the house. Two
or three days afterwards I saw her trotting
about and feeling quite at home. Cook looked
upon her as a nice well-conducted cat; of course
she had no idea of the understanding between
her and the raven.
When a little boy and girl arrived one morning
I could see what the master meant that day in
his library. They were the children of a friend,
ERNEST AND THE NEW BABY.
and were to stop for a few weeks till their
mamma had arranged a new home for them.
The raven used to watch them curiously, and
wonder where they came from; but somehow
Ernest did not get along well with them, because
they were so much older than he was. About
this time he was allowed to see his new sister
baby, and he felt so delighted with her that he
did not seem to want anything else to play with.
He would sit gazing at her for an hour at a time,
admiring the tiny dimpled hands and wondering
how she could do without teeth and hair. Once
he put out his finger to try what her eyes felt
like. He never attempted that again, for Nurse
thrust him from the room, calling him a naughty
I have often noted how men and women call
things by wrong names. A simple mistake, a little
experiment, is naughty, as well as a falsehood or a
piece of wilful cruelty; so that the poor child is
puzzled to know right from wrong.
[ ,r.I f'-'a <.. i- -n
A DANGEROUS ADVENTURE.
* HE little strangers who arrived at our house
on a visit were from a distant town, and
S the country ways and sights pleased them
greatly because of their novelty. Neither of the
children could see me, as I said before there
were only two persons at Mountain Lodge who
could see me, Baby Ernest, and his papa, the poet.
I often half-suspected that the raven could see
me, but I have since come to believe that he
The little girl Fanny soon noticed Toph, but
she disliked him very much, and took no pains
to conceal her fear of him. Her brother Willie
had no fear of the raven. On the contrary, he
would whistle to him, and try to teach him to
talk. Fanny was in the habit of feeding the
little birds which flew to the nursery window.
Ernest liked her to do it, and one had grown so
FANNY'S PET BIRD.
tame that it would hop inside and even pick
crumbs from her hand. Toph felt angry and
jealous at this.
At length one morning while it picked crumbs
out of her hand at the table, near the open
i'" I .. ,HM
,,.1,1 ., -
window, I noticed Toph sitting on the sill, his
eyes glittering maliciously.
Presently Willie, her brother, called Fanny
away for a walk, and she left the nursery with
him, and the bird flew away. But Toph did not
fly away; he entered the empty room and perched
on the chimney-piece with a wicked look on his
face and his feathers ruffled in anger. He had
his eyes fixed on a cage sitting on the window-
sill; it was used by Ernest as a toy, for it resembled
a baby-house somewhat; the door stood open, and
some crumbs of bread were scattered over the
The raven sat watching the cage patiently; he
had a strong will, and he was waiting now to
bring the little bird back again to the window.
This may seem a curious power, but I can
assure little boys and girls that they all possess
it, and if they would only use their will for good
it would accomplish wonders for them.
For an hour there was no sign of anything
stirring, and yet Toph waited. Presently a
rushing of wings was audible, and the tame bird
flew in and rested for a moment on the table.
Finding no food there, it almost instantly walked
across to the window-sill and entered the cage
by the open door. It had often done so before.
Now was Toph's opportunity, for which he had
waited so long, longer than he had sat in that
room, for the plan had occurred to him quite a
week before. He flew to the window silently, and
all the intimation of his presence that the poor
doomed bird had, was a black shadow obscuring
the light. This was while Toph closed the door
and pushed in a little peg which answered for a
bolt; then with his strong beak he threw the cage
from the window, and it fell among the weeds
and dank grass which grew thickly underneath.
Just then Fanny came in hastily to look for her
gloves, and after a search she found them. She
glanced towards Toph sitting quietly on the win-
dow-sill as she left the room. In her haste she
had tossed a pair of very bright tiny scissors from
a drawer, and forgot to put them back again.
The door had scarcely closed behind her when
Toph pounced upon
them, with difficulty '
restraining his croaks .. --.., ..
of delight at this
chance of being re-
venged. Only the
day before Nurse had -
put away these very
scissors, and shaking her head at Toph, who was
sitting on the window-sill as usual, she said:
"I mustn't leave anything bright lying about
for you to steal, you thief."
Toph flew straight out of the window, and
across a plantation of young trees, and over
several meadows and fields of grain, till he
reached a farmyard. I wondered why he had
taken the trouble to carry the scissors so far, but
I soon found out, for he descended slowly and
dropped them into a trough from which a pig
was just eating his dinner. The animal stopped
FANNY'S PLEASANT WALK.
and sniffed at this addition to his mess, then, as
if satisfied, he went on devouring voraciously.
Toph croaked with delight. The farmer's chil-
dren and some of the servants heard him and
threw all sorts of handy missiles at him, scream-
"The raven, the raven."
Toph only laughed or croaked louder as he
flew out of their reach. He had disappeared
altogether when the farmer himself hurried up
with his gun, vowing that next time the unlucky
bird came on his land he would shoot him.
I could see that this family had some un-
reasoning fear of the raven as well as a dislike
I now turned to follow Fanny and Willie on
their walk, being curious to watch these strangers.
Just after they set out Fanny started and
screamed at the bellowing of an innocent cow,
and a little further on she ran away from a flock
of geese, who gave chase for the fun of the thing.
Willie laughed at her folly, but tried to make her
forget her fears by pointing out the beauty of
the scenery, the silvery lake at their feet, and the
lofty mountains in the background. Close to
their base and beyond the meadows and the
grove of trees lay a portion of uncultivated land,
THE SHEPHERD'S ADVICE.
a kind of common; it was covered with yellow
gorse and purple broom, and here the children
wandered, and here I followed them, for it was
nearer my old home on the mountain. They
climbed up higher and higher till they could see
the whole country spread out like a map below
Here they sat down to rest, and Fanny listened
with delight to a sound most people who have
visited mountains or heather-clad hills are
familiar with, that is a tinkle, tinkle, as if in-
numerable fairy bells were in motion. This is
the only comparison I can make, as I am best
acquainted with fairy bells. Suddenly there
was heard just above them a mighty rushing of
feet, and Fanny screamed wildly and threw her-
self flat on the heather, drawing the skirt of her
dress over her head in an agony of terror. On
came the terrible enemies as she supposed them
to be, till they rushed past her, and Willie laughed
heartily, for it was only a flock of sheep.
"What's the lassie greetin' aboot?" asked a
rough, but not unkindly voice.
"She's frightened at the sheep," said Willie as
well as he could reply for laughing.
"Hoots, lassie, one wad think ye'd seen a
kelpie, lettin' sic a skirl," and the shepherd
IN THE GROVE.
watched her as she put down her skirts and
looked up at him.
"Dinna be feart o' naething, lassie," he said
rather in a contemptuous tone; "or ye'll be na
wiser than the sheep, running' frae their ain
shadows." The shepherd was mistaken in this,
however, for it was the appearance of our friend
Mr. Fox that had frightened them, and I felt
that Toph could not be far away, he knew how
to wait for the spoil.
The shepherd asked the children where they
had come from, and being satisfied on this point
he advised them not to wander too far from home,
and then went after his sheep.
Fanny proposed that they should turn back,
but Willie had made up his mind to walk as far
as a grove of trees which crowned the summit
of a little hill in the distance, and Fanny would
FANNY HEARS HER NAME CALLED, 37
not dare to go back alone, so they walked on to-
gether till they reached the grove. It was much
larger than they imagined, in fact almost a forest,
and they found a pretty rustic seat under one
of the trees, where they sat down to rest.
Presently Willie noticed smoke curling up a little
way off among the trees, as he supposed, and he
asked Fanny to come with him and find what it
meant; but she told him that she felt too tired,
and she would sit here till his return and shouldn't
feel at all afraid. So Willie started in the
direction of the smoke, and for a time Fanny sat
*quite still enjoying the shade after the hot sun-
shine. Then she heard a voice in the distance
She felt frightened at first; then concluding
that it must be Willie, she ventured out from the
shelter of the tree and walked in the direction
he had taken. Again her name was called; this
time the sound came from far in advance of her,
and she quickened her pace. Suddenly a cry.
"Fanny, Fanny!" sounded a little to the left,
and so close that she replied:
"I'm coming, Willie, where are you '" and she
left the little beaten path between the trees and
plunged in among the grass and shrubs at the
38 AND WILLIE IS CALLED ALSO.
side. She paused when she had got a yard or
two, and looked round again, asking:
"Where are you, Willie?"
Her name was repeated in a still louder key,
and she went forward another few yards and
again paused. She did not see the mischievous
raven flitting about among the trees a little in
advance of her. Again her name was repeated,
this time in tones of entreaty, and she ran
through the underwood towards the open ground
she could see between the trees in the distance.
Meantime Willie had satisfied his curiosity
respecting the smoke-it was from the keeper's
hut-and he returned to the seat where he had
left Fanny, to find that she was gone. Knowing
her timidity, he at once believed that some harm
had happened to her, and he bitterly reproached
himself with leaving her for even a few moments.
Suddenly he heard his name called in curious
choked tones, and he ran in the direction from
whence the voice proceeded, calling:
"Fanny, Fanny!" in his turn. The more haste,
a proverb says, the worse speed, and so it was
with poor Willie, for his toe caught on a project-
ing root of a tree and he fell at full length upon
the turf. Just then he heard a wicked croak,
croak, in front of him. It was Toph: he could
THE SPITEFUL CROAKER.
not help laughing at the two children hunting
for each other, and all through him.
"I see you," cried Willie glancing up, while he
rose from the ground slowly; "you have been
calling and not Fanny." As if to verify his
words Toph screamed:
Willie! Fanny!" alternately, and then croaked
"What am I to do?" said Willie to himself
when he regained his feet, she is always getting
into trouble." Then he called his sister's name
loudly, and Toph rose slowly in the air, and flying
in an opposite direction screamed "Fanny, Fanny!"
I really pitied the boy's perplexity, for should his
sister hear her name called in different directions
she would be completely puzzled. Then he
40 WILLIE FINDS THE SHEPHERD.
thought of the shepherd; if he could only meet
him again he might help him to find Fanny. He
gave up calling now and ran along, but more
carefully than at first. He rather ascended
towards the hills while Fanny had taken quite
an opposite direction towards the lake. Presently
he could see the sheep dotted here and there a
little beyond, and he hastened on more rapidly,
so that he came upon the shepherd stretched at
full length behind a cluster of whin bushes.
"Have you seen my sister?" he asked breath-
lessly. The shepherd sat up and looked at the
"Is it the feckless' lassie that's bauld enough
to rin awa' by herself? he asked.
"Yes, yes; she was afraid of the sheep, but she
came to look for me, and I suppose she has lost
"I didna see her. She's maybe gane doon till
the water side; lassies is likest to gang doon, I
ken. If Mad Peg meets her she'll be scared oot
o' her senses."
"Where does Mad Peg live?" asked Willie.
The shepherd pointed with his finger across the
country, in the direction of the lake, to a pile of
crumbling walls without a roof.
THEY GO IN SEARCH OF FANNY.
"It was ance her father's homestead and she
staps in it whiles."
Willie waited for nothing more, but set off in
the direction indicated.
The shepherd looked after the boy for a
moment, then jumped to his feet suddenly and
whistled for his dog, gave him some directions
about taking care of the sheep, and hurried off
with his long strides after Willie.
"Haith it wadna be neighbourly to let them
bairns rin aboot an' lose themselves; I'll gang
a bit wi' him," he said to himself.
In a few minutes he had overtaken Willie, who
was very glad of his company.
We must return to Fanny, whom we left
running along, as she fancied, in the direction her
brother had taken, and as the shepherd remarked
it happened to be down towards the lake. It
was much easier to go down than to climb up,
so Fanny went on pretty rapidly. The sun was
shining, the birds were singing, and the little girl
felt happy, as she thought, even should Willie
not turn up, she could find her way home by the
shores of the lake.
I have often noted that mortals without much
fancy or imagination are frequently most easy
and confident in their minds when nearest to
great danger. So it was with poor Fanny. She
actually began to sing in company with the birds,
but her song was changed to a wild cry of terror
when she felt her arm grasped firmly, and looked
up to see the face of a strange woman, and a
pair of wild blue eyes bent upon her inquiringly.
You're Janet Clysdel," she said rapidly; I've
waited for you long, and now-" she paused, while
her wrinkled face was brought closer down to
the child's, and she smiled hideously. Fanny
could not utter a word after that first scream,
but all the tales she had read and heard of witches
came into her mind; they were few, but im-
Surely this old woman with her small wrinkled
face, wild eyes, long hooked nose, and thin lips
closed tightly over toothless gums, must be a
witch. Then she wore an enormous bonnet of
bygone fashion, decorated with coloured ribbons
and wild flowers, while an old cloak of faded red
was clasped round her shoulders.
"Come along with me," she said, as if satisfied
with her scrutiny of the child's face. But sheer
terror forced Fanny to speak.
"I can't go with you, I don't know you."
"Dear me! not know me, is it? an' you coming
that evening; it was a bonny evening too, and
THE MAD WOMAN'S THREAT.
you took away my Polly with you, you did, and
pushed her into the water. The law let you off,
but I won't. Do you hear? Come along."
"I don't know what you mean; pray let my
arm go, you are hurting me," said Fanny, the
tears starting to her eyes.
"I'll kill you here if you won't come quietly,"
hissed the women in her ear. Fanny called
"Willie, Willie!" It was of no use, and only
caused the mad woman to grip her arm more
tightly, and almost drag her along towards the
lake. She begged of her to let go her arm, and
.promised to walk with her, but the only result
was a bitter mocking laugh from the woman.
They had almost reached the lake when I noticed
Toph wheeling about in the air over their heads;
he was croaking viciously,and sometimes laughing
in his own fashion. Poor Fanny gave herself
up for lost; she thought this terrible woman must
intend to murder her, and she was not far wrong.
At length they reached the edge of the lake, and
the woman paused; she was tired with her hasty
walk, and Fanny felt so weak that she could
scarcely stand on her feet.
"Now you thought to escape me, you did,
and I've waited and watched for this day; I
THE LAST MOMENT.
knew it would come some time; revenge is
"Croak, croak, croak," screamed the raven
overhead, and once more Fanny called:
"Willie, Willie, save me."
"How dare you scream?" asked the woman.
"My Polly didn't scream, she went down, down
into the water-it was cold, very cold-you must
try it too, then you'll be quiet as she was, and
white and cold."
"Willie, Willie, Willie!" screamed the raven.
He had been flying in circles overhead, and
wheeling nearer and nearer. The mad woman
had grasped the child's arm tighter, and pushed
her close to the edge of the water. The scream
of the bird startled her, and she relaxed her
hold. With a strength born of terror Fanny
wrenched her arm out of the slackened grasp
and sped away along the bank. But the effort
was a vain one; the mad woman rushed after
her, and once more held her in a vice-like grasp.
Again Fanny screamed for help, this time not in
vain. She had given herself up for lost, and
scarcely resisted as the woman dragged her back
to the spot she had quitted a moment before.
"Here you pushed her in, here you shall-"
the woman paused exhausted. Fanny had closed
JUST IN TIME.
her eyes so as to shut out the dark water from
her sight, and the face of the terrible woman.
"You stand with your face to the water, and
your back to me. Face foremost she went in,
face down you shall go. Now-"
"Pray have mercy upon me, I never pushed
any one in," exclaimed the child, clutching the
woman's cloak in her agony.
There was a hurried rush of feet across the
rank grass, and next moment the shepherd had
grasped the woman and dragged her back from
the water by main force. She dropped her hold
on the child's arm, while Willie hurried forward
"Fanny, Fanny, I have had such a job to find
you, but what-what's the matter?" he exclaimed.
The child had turned quite pale, and fell fainting
on the grass. He brought some water in his hat
instantly, and sprinkled it on her face by the
"Poor lassie, she's been frightened amaist to
death; it's war nor my sheep. But hoo daur you
meddle wi' her?" he asked of the woman.
"She's Janet-Janet that enticed my Polly
and drowned her," she replied. "I must drown
her, I've sworn it."
"She's no Janet; ye're daft, Peggy-Janet's
46 SAFE ONCE MORE.
dead lang years agone. Gae hame, guid woman,
an' let either folks' bairLs alane."
The woman looked at him for a moment as if
vainly trying to remember something, then with-
out giving another look towards the little girl
she turned and walked away. Fanny had re-
covered her consciousness by this time, but both
children were thankful when the honest shepherd
offered to see them safe home.
SIHE kind shepherd saw the children safe
I home, and had a talk with the poet him-
self about the poor maniac, telling him
the history of her life, and why she had lost her
senses. From the bare outline the poet guessed
the thoughts and feelings which had sent the
mind astray, and he said he would make it a
point to see her some day soon, and try and have
her placed where she would be taken care of.
Her story he afterwards made into a very
Fanny related to Nurse and Ernest what had
befallen her; the latter sat with his eyes wide
open and his thumb in his mouth, listening eager-
ly; and although Nurse did not think he heard
or understood the story, yet he knew enough of
it to raise in his little head all sorts of foolish fears
and which would trouble him some other day.
THE DEAD ROBIN.
There was no more wandering away from the
house for the children, but they had plenty of
room in the grounds to amuse themselves, and
Fanny became more of a companion for Ernest
in the walled garden which we have mentioned
They were out playing here on one sunshiny
morning about two days after Fanny's adventure,
when Ernest's keen eyes noticed something lying
among the long grass just under the nursery
window, and Fanny ran off to see what it was.
"It's your cage-house, Ernest," she said, as she
picked it up and carried it out to the path.
"Why, it's fastened, and there's something in-
To open the cage and take out the bird was
the work of a moment.
0 dear! it's dead, dead," she exclaimed, hold-
ing it up and looking at it pitifully, till the tears
came into her eyes. "My pretty robin redbreast
that I fed in the nursery."
Ernest toddled across to her and looked at the
bird with awe and curiosity. She put it down
on the grass carefully, and still Ernest watched
it, then he went nearer and touched the wing
and turned it over.
"It's dead," repeated Fanny.
WHO IS THE MURDERER?
Ernest had no idea of what she meant; he had
never seen death. He brought out a piece of
cake from the pocket of his pinafore and put it
to the bird's beak, but of course it never moved.
He crumbled it down and then stood watching
ly for some sign of
wondered if lhe
what it meant. Pre-
sently a sparrow i
hopped down from ',.'
a tree and began to 4
pick up the crumbs.
The contrast be-
tween the living bird W
and the dead one
was too much for Ernest; he suddenly compre-
hended the pain and the mystery, and burst into
tears, sobbing so violently that the sparrow took
fright and flew away.
Willie heard Ernest's voice while passing the
garden gate, and he came in to see what was the
"Why, who has killed Cock Robin?" he asked,
lifting the bird and looking at it. "Some one
fastened the door of the cage and threw it down
here, and the poor thing has been starved to
death," replied Fanny indignantly.
"Croak, croak, croak," sounded just above
them. It was Toph, of course, perched on the
tree quite near, and looking down on his dead
rival. He was laughing, as usual, at the mischief.
"There's that naughty raven," said Fanny,
looking up at the tree; "I shouldn't wonder but
he did it."
"I'm sure he didn't," said Willie confidently.
"How could he fasten the door as you say it
was fastened? it must have been Nurse, or Ernest
might have done it in mistake."
What's that you say about me?" asked Nurse,
looking out of the window. "I wish you would
tell me, Miss Fanny, what you have done with
my little scissors. I have been a-looking for
them this half hour."
"I don't know anything about them, Nurse; I
haven't had them for a long time; but do you see
the poor Robin I used to feed?" and she pointed
to the dead bird. Willie says you must have
shut the door of the cage upon it, and some one
pushed it down here by accident, perhaps Ernest,
and it was starved to death."
"I'm sure I wouldn't take the trouble to shut
NURSE SUSPECTS TOPH.
up a bird in a cage, Miss Fanny. I'll come down
and see it."
So Susan came down and heard all about the
finding of it, while Ernest, who had ceased
sobbing to listen, now sat on the grass, his face
all tear-stained, and his consolation in his mouth.
It was that raven did it, and no one else,"
affirmed Nurse on hearing the story. "I missed
the cage after you left for your walk that day,
and Ernest was asleep when you left, so he
couldn't have done it; and my scissors too, that
thief has stolen them, I'm sure."
Croak, croak, croak," said the raven, much as
he might have laughed ha! ha! ha!
"I do hate that bird," said Nurse, looking up.
"I wish as master would shoot him; he's unlucky
about the house, I know."
Dood Toph, poor birdie," lisped Ernest, first
looking at the raven and then at the dead bird.
Toph knew his name, and perched a little nearer,
setting his head knowingly on one side.
"I hardly think Toph could have done it,"
"Susan, Susan," screamed Toph in high glee at
being noticed. Susan was Nurse's name.
"You see he blames it on you," said Willie
laughing, but Ernest and Fanny kept grave;
THE CHIEF MOURNER.
they couldn't laugh while looking at the dead
"I must have my scissors anyhow," said Nurse,
going towards the house, "and if that thief has
them I'll make him turn them up. There's
Pussy, if you don't bury Robin she'll eat him for
you;" and she laughed.
"Nurse is very naughty," said Fanny, as she
lifted up the bird. "Pussy wouldn't eat it."
"Wouldn't she? Try her," laughed Willie.
"Even Toph would eat it."
"Gib birdie to Baby," lisped Ernest.
"Why, it begins to smell," said Willie. "Let's
have a funeral, that's fine fun."
"It's no fun at all, Willie," said his sister
gravely, "but we had better bury the poor thing
"Toph, come along, Toph, you'll be chief
mourner, you are properly dressed in black;" and
Willie whistled and held out his finger.
Toph came flying down, his eyes twinkling
with delight. Then, as if he understood what
was required of him, he seated himself at a
respectful distance from the dead bird, drooping
his black wings like plumes, and bowing his
head as if in woe-only for the twinkle in his
eye he had all the appearance of chief mourner.
"Dood Toph," said Ernest caressingly.
Clever as he was it never entered his little head
that the raven was the murderer of his robin
redbreast. Willie meantime had gone away and
routed out a pasteboard box with a lid, and
Fanny brought a pretty piece of print she had
saved to dress her dolls. Ernest watched her
fold this carefully round the bird and then place
it in the box. Willie brought a toy cart of
Ernest's and put the box in it; then he left them
and went away to a distant corner of the garden
to dig a hole under a laburnum tree. They
waited patiently for his return, Ernest wondering
why the bird was put in a box, and Toph quite
enjoying the whole affair. Presently Willie
returned and put the procession in order. He
went first, drawing along the hearse, as he called
the cart. Ernest followed it closely, while Toph
was with some difficulty persuaded to hop along
by its side, and Fanny brought up the rear.
Presently the procession reached the grave, not
in the order they started certainly, for Ernest
wanted to peep into the hole, and Toph hopped
about in a lively fashion, very unbecoming to the
chief mourner. Willie placed the coffin in the
grave, and proposed that they should sing a
hymn over it. To this Fanny had no objection;
54 THE DIRGE SUNG OVER ROBIN.
even Ernest forgot his trouble so far as to clap
his hands; and Toph croaked loudly, varying the
exercise by crowing like a cock and barking
like Tray. These imitations he gave when par-
ticularly pleased. He knew the robin was shut
up in the box, and that he was in favour. His
plan had succeeded, and he was happy; he had
no sorrow, no remorse. After some little arrange-
ment as to which tune they should sing, for their
stock was limited, and a slight alteration of
words to suit the solemn occasion, Willie struck
up a doleful ditty with the following words:
'Poor pet Robin, all the children cry,
Poor pet Robin, once sang in the sky,
Poor pet Robin, came down for bread,
Got caged and starved, now he is dead,
Poor pet Robin, hide him under ground,
Strew bright flowers, o'er his little mound,
Poor pet Robin, never more you'll sing,
Sitting at our window, in the early spring.
Good-bye, Robin, sleep the long night through,
Till the world grows young, and all that's old grows new.
Good-bye, Robin, in that endless Spring,
In that fadeless sunlight, we shall hear thee sing.
Chorus-Good-bye, Robin, sleep the long night through,
Till the world grows young, and all that's old grows new."
Fanny did her best to assist Willie in the
hymn, as he called it. Ernest sang lustily, and
SAILING WILLIE'S SHIP.
attempted to lisp the words, while Toph croaked
and crowed alternately, and looked the very
picture of a cunning fellow, highly delighted, but
trying to seem as grave as possible. During the
singing Willie had put the earth over the little
grave with his toy shovel, and then they all
turned away, Toph hopping after them quite
familiarly. The day now commenced to be
oppressively hot, even under the shade of the
trees, and Willie proposed that they should
accompany him to the porch of the wash-house,
and they could sail his toy ship on a tub of water
he had noticed standing there. Fanny objected,
for she knew Nurse would be angry if Ernest
played with water, because one day he had come
in with his shoes and socks all wet, and she
forgot to change them, so he caught a bad cold,
and she was blamed for not taking care of him.
Willie ran off by himself, and left his sister and
Ernest to amuse themselves as they best might.
But Ernest caught Fanny's hand, and begged
her as well as he could to only allow him to see
"You mustn't touch the water, Ernest," she
said as she took the child's hand and followed
Willie. But Ernest said nothing, for he was
thinking he would touch the water if he could
56 FANNY LEFT ALONE WITH ERNEST.
get near enough, just because he was forbidden.
They soon came to the porch, and Ernest shouted
with delight when he saw Willie on his knees
beside the tub, and puffing out his cheeks to
make the wind to blow his boat along.
"Well, so you came after all. You try and be
a wind, Ernest," said Willie, rising to his feet.
"No, no, he'd
Best not go near
the water," said
FL anny. "He
might make all
1his clothes wet."
ds" S'all go an
-=- be wind," lisped
S Ernest, and suit-
ing the action to the word he went over beside
the tub and blew vigorously. He tried to clutch
the ship, but Willie would not permit him to
"No, no, Ernest, you might smash the masts."
"Master Willie, Master Willie, where are you?
Master's going to fish, would you like to go with
"I should very much," replied Willie, jumping
up and hurrying away. "You take care Ernest
doesn't break my ship, Fanny," he shouted back.
"I wish I could go with them," thought Fanny;
"he is not kind at all to run off like that and
leave me with only Baby."
Ernest was too busy blowing the ship to take
any notice of Willie's departure. Suddenly a
voice which seemed to come from the garden
Now Fanny was not at all a thoughtful child,
or careful of others. She was a little bit selfish,
and just then she was thinking how nice it would
be if Willie should relent and bring her too.
The voice seemed an answer to her thoughts, and
she ran round the house to the front, where the
call came from.
I couldn't follow her just then, for a dreadful
fear came over me as if something was about to
happen to my charge, Ernest, and I would not
leave him. In vain I tried to whisper some of
my fears to him, but he was quite deaf to my
warnings, and completely engrossed by the toy.
Suddenly he looked round and found himself
alone. Now he thought he would grasp the
toy. It had floated to the further side of the
large tub, and instead of walking round to it
he reached across. He gave a little scream as
he overbalanced, and plumped in head foremost.
58 FAIRY FANCY SAVES ERNEST.
What should I do? I was in agony, for I had
no power to save him; must I watch him die?
Suddenly Tray came up and began to bark, then
I heard Toph croak wildly over the porch. Only
to be able to help I would give up a portion of
my allotted time upon earth. The power I
wished for was mine. I assisted Ernest to raise
his head, then to scramble out. He began to
tremble and cry bitterly; no matter, he was
alive. Tray redoubled his barking, and Toph
called, "Willie, Fanny, Susan," alternately.
After a long time Nurse came, and, horrified at
seeing the dripping Ernest, took him up in her
arms and tried to stop his crying, and carried
him inside, asking him how he got into the tub,
for she could see he had been in, and above all
how he got out; but Ernest was too much
frightened to reply.
Before I followed him I saw Toph swoop down
and pick up the toy ship in his strong beak, then
he rose higher and higher in the air, and dis-
appeared behind the grove of trees. When I
went inside I found Nurse had undressed Ernest
and put him to bed, after giving him a warm
bath. The little fellow had fallen into a pleasant
"You had no business to leave him, Miss
FARMER JONES'S QUESTIONS. 59
Fanny," she was saying to the little girl as I
entered the nursery. "He got into the tub some-
how, and I'm surprised that he could get out at
all, for it's deep, and he was wet right over."
"I thought some one called me, and I know
they did too," she said in defence.
"There's no excuse for you, Miss Fanny," said
Nurse severely. "I wouldn't have left the child,
only that I thought you would take care of
"Here's Farmer Jones a-wantin' to see the
master," said Cook, putting in her head at the
door and speaking softly. "He says as he's got
something belonging to this house, and he wants
to see all of us servants first. How's the Baby
"O, all right again, I hope," replied Nurse,
glancing towards the bed. "He's sleeping nicely."
"Then just step down for a minute. I do
wonder what he wants," said Cook.
The nurse walked down-stairs quietly, and
Fanny, quite as curious as Tibby had been once,
followed her. The parlour-maid was talking to
the farmer, and the nurse and cook joined them.
"Are you all the women folks in the house?"
"All except missis an' her nurse; they're both
60 WHERE THE LOST SCISSORS WERE FOUND.
upstairs this three weeks past, you know," said
"Yes, yes, we heard tell o' it. I hopes the lady
an' the bairn's doin' well."
"Yes, thank you."
"Then I s'pose one of you has lost something
about ten days ago? Think a bit."
The servants looked at each other, but none of
them remembered losing anything.
"You lost your scissors, Nurse," said Fanny,
"So I did, of course, Miss Fanny, but what
could Mr. Jones know about that? Just go right
back to the nursery, and don't meddle with what
don't concern you." While she spoke the farmer's
face was overspread with a broad grin, and he
put his hand in his waistcoat pocket, and taking
out a pair of scissors he said, "Don't be too fast,
young woman, the child's right enough, if these
be yours;" and he held forward the article for in-
"Why, yes, they are, to be sure," exclaimed
Nurse in surprise; "but however did you get
"Get them?" exclaimed the farmer excitedly;
"they've cost me siller, I can tell you; killed one
of my prime pigs, stuck in his throat. I knew
A BAD LOOK-OUT FOR TOPH.
something' was bound to happen when that villain-
ous raven came near."
"The raven?" "Toph the thief?" asked the
servants in chorus.
"I suppose he stole them and hid them where
your pig got them," said Nurse, examining the
"Stole them an' put them in his mess, lassie,
that's what he did; an' now I want to see the
governor, and settle with him about killing' that
same raven. I've watched him a-comin' to and
fro between here and the farm, and I won't have
him about no more."
"And you're right too, no one could blame
you," said Nurse. "He's a bad, thieving bird,
besides being unlucky."
"That he is," replied the farmer; "didn't my
best plough-horse go lame when he flew across
the field, and didn't I lose my purse at the fair
when he flew across the road after I started for
"Croak, croak, croak."
"There he's now, hanged if he ain't!" ejaculated
the farmer, rushing out, followed by the servants.
But he was only in time to see Toph rise in the
air and disappear towards the mountains.
"A cunnin' thief!" remarked the farmer as he
62 THE WHITE CAT HEARS IT ALL.
turned inside and accepted a seat in the parlour,
determined to wait for the master's return.
"I mean to ask the governor to poison him, or
hand him over to me, for I hear he's quite at
home in this house, and I can never get a shot
at him, he's so cunnin'." The cook had come
into the room to have a chat.
Master's rare fond o' him, I believe," she said
"Fond or no fond, if he's an honest man he'll
not object to have a thief put out of the way.
Hangin' or drownin's too good for him."
I'm sure he won't make no objection, Mr.
Jones, for there never was a nicer or juster
gentleman than our master, though I say it," said
Cook, wiping the table with her apron as an
excuse for lingering in the room, "an' there's not
one of us as don't hate that same raven."
"Poor Pussy," said the good-natured farmer
looking down at the white cat, who had come
over from the rug, and was purring and rubbing
herself against his legs. "She's a fine cat and
"Yes, that she is; we had one a terrible thief,
like the raven, but we drowned her; that's
what ought to be done with him." She left the
room for some time, and then returned with the
news of her master's approach. "There's master
now a-coming in at the gate; he's caught no fish,
I can see; he's a-goin' to his own study. I'll tell
him you're waiting' to see him;" and Cook went
out to return in a minute with the message that
her master would see Mr. Jones in his own room.
So the farmer followed her along the hall and
up the stairs, while I noticed that the white cat
looked round slyly, then trotted off through the
garden. Once there she leaped the wall, and
then ran through the shrubbery at the back of
the house like a hare, across the fields to the
common, and still at the same headlong scamper,
till she had got half-way up the hill. Here she
paused and looked round, mewing in a peculiar
fashion. Presently Toph joined her, and they
began to talk earnestly together.
Now I found that this new cat was a friend
of Toph's, and that she was warning him of his
danger. He heard what she had to say, then
sent her back to learn more, desiring her to meet
him at midnight in this same spot.
Pussy hurried back to the house, and I
followed. Instead of going upstairs she turned
into the scullery, and sitting down on the mat at
the door she watched Willie eagerly. He had
got a little fish in a glass dish full of water, and
was amusing himself by watching its motions.
The cat watched it too, but Willie never noticed
her, and when she heard Cook's voice in the
passage I observed that she ran and hid herself
under the table, so that no one could see her.
"Time for bed, Master Willie," said Cook;
.- .1. -
"Nurse's a-callin' you. Best put that glass dish
on the table; nothing won't hurt it till you come
back in the morning. "
Willie left his treasure reluctantly, and Cook
put the dish on the table.
"It wouldn't do to have Master Ernest see it,"
she remarked, "for he nigh drowned himself
after your ship this day, but he don't often come
"I forgot about it," said Willie as he ran away.
"I must get my ship before I go to bed."
Cook went out and closed the door. The
white cat listened till her steps died away in the
distant stone passage, then she made a spring
upon the table. A dextrous movement of her
paw sent the dish over, and the unfortunate fish
disappeared down Pussy's throat. She licked
her lips with satisfaction, washed her face clean,
then sprung through the open window, and in
two minutes more she was lying apparently
asleep on the rug in the parlour, where the
farmer had noticed her.
SHAD not heard the chat between the far-
mer and my master (I cannot help calling
S the poet master, because he knew me so
well and could make use of me when he pleased);
but when I visited his study that night, after
every one had retired to rest, I saw that he
looked more thoughtful than usual, and instead
of sitting at his desk writing, he walked about
his room talking aloud at times, and smoking his
meerschaum. The window stood open, for the
night was very sultry, and the lamp on his table
burned low. Presently the door opened and a
lady came in. She looked very thin and delicate,
and almost as white as the garment she wore,
but she was very pretty.
So you start to-morrow for the south coast,
my dear!" he said. I have had a letter saying
your apartments are quite ready for you; it will
do you and Baby immense service."
TOPH IS TO MAKE A JOURNEY, 67
"You will follow us in a week?" she said; "I
shouldn't be happy without you." He smiled as
"Of course the house here won't look like
home for me."
Then I heard their plans discussed. Ernest and
Nurse were to go with mamma, as well as her own
maid, while Cook and a housemaid were to remain.
I want you to take an addition to the family,
if possible," said the poet. "That unfortunate
raven, no doubt he is mischievous, but I believe
more is laid to his charge than he is guilty of.
There is my neighbour farmer Jones; he declares
the scissors his pig swallowed were put in the
trough by the bird, and that he is most unlucky
about a place. Only that the man believes what
he says sincerely, I could laugh at him."
"The scissors belong to Ernest's nurse," said
No doubt, my dear, but we get milk from the
farm, do we not?"
Well, is it not likely enough that one of the
servants sent with it morning and evening had
found the scissors lying somewhere about the
garden or grounds. Ernest might have carried
them out, or Fanny, or perhaps Nurse herself."
AND TO BE MADE PRISONER.
"I never thought of that," said the lady, "but
it is quite probable."
"More than probable, almost certain," said the
poet, and all sorts of possibilities floated through
his mind as I perched upon his shoulder. "It
would be a shame to have the bird shot, just to
please an ignorant and superstitious prejudice.
Mr. Jones is a very decent man, and his loss is a
serious one. No doubt his family would encour-
age him to believe that a dumb bird was guilty
rather than one of themselves. Now instead of
giving up the raven to his tender mercies, I pro-
pose that we take him with us, my dear, if you
have no objection; he is almost tame, and is
certain to prove very amusing to the children."
"I have no objection at all; but to his being
dumb, as you say, that is a mistake; he has learned
to say several words, and you remember what
Willie told us of his calling him on that day he
and Fanny got lost."
"O,yes, he knows the names of the family pretty
well. So it is settled; when Toph pays his first
visit we shall detain him and cage him. There is an
old parrot cage that will answer for him. I must
ask some one to rout it out of the lumber room."
So it was settled Toph was not to be shot, but
made a prisoner. I wondered where his friend
A MARK OF CONFIDENCE.
the white cat could be now, while this discussion
was going on.
The master had scarcely done speaking when
I heard the fluttering of wings at the open win-
dow, and Toph himself appeared perched upon
the sill. The moon had not yet risen, and the
night was rather darker than usual, so that Toph
looked weird and strange as he sat with the
lamplight shining upon him, and revealing his
form dimly, and his glittering eyes against the
"Why, there he is!" exclaimed the lady, sud-
denly looking up.
"And the lamplight o'er him streaming, throws
his shadow on the floor," quoted the poet.
"Yes, but we want something more than the
shadow," said the lady smiling. And she began
to talk to Toph, and encourage him to come in.
I have noticed that poetically-minded people,
or fanciful people, generally manage to get along
best with practical, sensible people. Now the
poet, my master, was all feeling and fancy, while
his wife was remarkably practical.
Toph took no notice of her coaxing for a long
time, but kept his eyes fixed upon the poet's face.
Come in, Toph, he said reassuringly. "We
mean you no harm."
ONLY FOR HIS GOOD.
Then gravelythe bird flitted inside the room and
seated itself on the table, while the lady walked
to the window and closed the casement noiselessly.
"He looks as if he knew what was going to
happen," said my master. And I knew he did;
he felt he was in danger from the farmer, and he
knew the poet was his friend; so far his instinct
carried him. Then the bell was rung and the
parlour-maid answered it. She was desired to
bring the parrot cage from the lumber-room, and
a piece of meat for Toph. There was no sign that
the bird understood the order, only an extra bright-
ening of the eye when his name was mentioned.
When the servant returned with the articles she
had cunningly placed the beef inside the cage, and
set it down in a dark corner of the room, and the
white cat came in with her, and lay down on the
hearth-rug without glancing towards the bird.
"A contrast," remarked the poet; "white cat
and black bird, no doubt they are mortal enemies.
It seems a mean thing to do," he went on as he
lifted the cage, and put it full in view of the
raven, pointing to the piece of meat at the same
time, "but it is only for his good; the farmer
would be sure to take his life."
The raven, still preserving his gravity, hopped
over in leisurely fashion towards the cage, and
FAIRY FANCY DEPARTS. 71
once inside, the lady closed the door, slipping the
I observed that the white cat lay blinking from
her place on the hearth-rug at the whole business.
"Poor Toph prisoned at last," said the poet
as he lifted the cage and set it on a side-board.
"I can't bear him to look at me; I feel guilty."
"Never mind," said his wife, "he'll soon like
his new home, I have no doubt."
I heard a few dismal croaks from the raven
when, after swallowing the meat, he found himself
a prisoner; but I could not stay to learn any more,
as I had received a summons which I dared not
disobey; and as closed doors and bolts made no
difference to me, I found myself in a shorter time
than it takes to say, Hey presto!" on my moun-
tain side, among the gorse, and broom, and heather,
and in the presence of my mother.
She was very stern and severe in her manner
towards me, for I had broken one of her com-
mands in assisting Ernest.
"The time for assisting mortals with physical
aid is past," she said sternly. "In the olden
days, when they had not denied our power and
our very existence as they do now, we might aid
them, but now that power is no longer to be
exercised by us."
TOPH HAS DISAPPEARED.
I shall never disobey again," I pleaded, "if
I am forgiven this time."
"You cannot escape the penalty," she said.
"And that penalty?" I asked.
"You must leave the family you live in for
three years," she said.
I begged permission just to see Ernest once
again, before I retired from his presence. I would
have borne twice as much to save the child from
death. My prayer was granted, and next mor-
ning, as the sun rose, I peeped into the room
where Ernest slept. I gazed upon him till I
could gaze no more. What might not happen
during my long absence. And I had come to love
the child as no mortal could love, because it was
a pure and unselfish feeling. I wandered all
over the house, and saw that preparations for
departure were being made rapidly. Then I
heard that Toph, the raven, had somehow escaped
during the night; the cage had been unfastened,
and he had disappeared, leaving only one black
feather behind to tell of his presence
The servants looked at each other and whis-
pered mysteriously; they always knew that he
was no raven, but an evil spirit. Even the poet
himself was surprised, and could not account for
the cage being opened. No one thought of the
FAIRY FANCY'S FAREWELL VISIT.
white cat, but I knew how the whole thing was
managed, and Toph of course knew how to get
out of the attic window.
I have often noticed that mortals are too
stupid to account for many natural things that
happen, and put them down to something super-
natural, and those incidents which are really
supernatural they set
down to natural causes,
and are quite proud
when they find an ex- r
planation for them. 'j, Q
The last look I had ,
at Ernest was after his : *- -
breakfast. Nurse had ,
set him down on the
carpet, and put a slate into his hand to amuse
him, while she packed up his clothes in a trunk.
He would be a boy of six years old when I should
see him again, if I ever saw him.
I wandered about the garden, looking at every
spot where Ernest had played; and then from
the garden to the meadow beyond, with its
gnarled oak-tree in the middle, and the lake lying
so calmly at its foot.
Here I saw Willie and Fanny; they were out
already to enjoy the beauties of the country,
THE BIRD'S NEST.
before returning once more to their mother in
town. I had heard they were to go with the
poet's wife and Ernest part of their way home
that afternoon. I wondered what they were so
much pleased with, and found it was a bird's
nest. A lark flew singing overhead, but I felt
as if I could cry. You needn't laugh, for fairies
can cry like mortals, unfortunately.
"I should so like to have that pretty speckled
egg!" said Willie.
"What would the poor birdie say when she
found it gone?" put in Fanny.
"Ah! yes," I thought; "she is more careful of
the happiness of others than the boy. I wonder
if that is the nature of girls, or if she is better
than most of them."
I dare not return to the house again, so I
A LAST LOOK AT BABY ERNEST.
wandered about in the woods like a restless
spirit, as I was, waiting to have one more look
at Ernest as he passed along the road. Two
little girls were picking flowers, they were
daughters to farmer Jones, and they chatted
and laughed in the bright sunshine.
Somehow the air seemed purer and sweeter
that day, and all the world looked brighter as
I was going to leave it, for our home was far
below the lake and the mountain, although at
times we were permitted to ascend, and hold high
revel on the mountain side.
"There's the coach, Maggie," called out the
youngest of the girls. She was standing at an
opening between the trees, from which the road,
winding like a white thread, was visible.
I saw the coach too; the windows were open,
but, alas! the blinds were closed, to keep out the
sun I suppose, and I could not see inside it.
There was a pile of luggage on the top. Yes,
they were gone, and I must go too, for the
moment was at hand on which I had been roused
into life from the blossom of the broom by that
look of Ernest's eyes, and that same moment my
absence of three years was to begin.
"The lady and the children too are gone," said
the eldest sister.
76 FAREWELL FOR THREE YEARS.
"And that bad raven, he's with them. The
gentleman told father he'd send him."
"I'm so glad!" replied the other.
"And I'm so sorry!" I said to myself. Just
then I heard the fairy bells tinkle. So farewell
Ernest and his home for three years to come.
iI ----- -,- ,- ,^ ,1" ., i-
AFTER THREE YEARS' BANISHMENT.
,4 I LLINGLY would I relate my experience
ii Fairy-land during those three years,
.,.it I am not permitted to do so, and I
must begin where I left off.
This time I had not to wait for some human
being to recognize me,
I had only to mount
upon a thistle-down 0,_.7,
and float in through
the open window with .
a sunbeam. Ah, yes!
the room was exactly -
the same; tables and '
chairs as if I had left
them yesterday, but
who could that little boy be, seated at the table
with his eyes fixed so steadily on an open book ?
MARKS OF SORROW.
Could it be my baby Ernest? Yes, it must be;
the eyes were the same, the hair the same, and
the same soul lit up the face. He had changed
and grown greatly, that was certain.
How is it, I wonder, that chairs and tables
remain the same, and human beings change? I
suppose those who have least soul change least-
that's worth noting.
The door opened and Susan came in. Yes it
was Susan, although she had changed too. She
was dressed in black. Some one must be dead
in the family; could it be the poet? Her words
settled this point-for she said:
I wish you'd go and put on a clean collar,
Master Ernest; your papa and aunt will be here
presently. I do hope as she'll not be cross and
faultfinding like most old maids; if she do I
Ernest looked up while she talked. He had not
heard half of what she said, that was evident, for
he never moved, but went on reading. She lifted
a handsome flower-vase from the mantelpiece.
"I must fill this to make the place look as
bright as possible," she said. She was leaving
the room when Ernest suddenly looked up.
"Is Harry gone out?" he asked.
"Yes, he's always out and about mischief. If
THE BROKEN VASE.
I was your papa I'd never bring a boy like that
to be with my son."
"He's my cousin, you know, Susan," said
"Cousin or no," muttered the girl as she went
out, "I know your poor dear mamma, if she were
alive, wouldn't have him under the roof."
So that pale delicate lady was dead, and what
had become of the baby Ernest used to be so
fond of? it would now be able to run about. I
was wondering at this and many other things,
when Susan came into the room in a hurry with
the vase full of flowers. She set it down on the
table, just at Ernest's elbow, and went out again;
but a cat came in with her, not Tibby, nor the
white one, but a gray and white new cat. I was
speculating as to whether this cat was related
to the white one, and what had become of her,
when pussy sprang on the chair, then planted
her front paws on the table, and gave a loud
mew to attract Ernest's attention. He was so
interested with his book that he contented him-
self by putting over his hand to caress the cat.
A loud crash startled him; his arm had over-
turned the vase, it was broken in fragments. He
sprang to his feet hastily, picked up a piece and
looked at it for a moment, then burst into tears.
"O dear, what shall I do? It was mamma's, and
she gave it to me; and papa will be vexed too."
The cat had dropped from the table, and stood
on the chair looking from the broken vase to the
Just then the door opened, and a boy I had
never seen before came in. He had bright black
eyes, and dark hair, inclined to curl; there was a
reckless bold look about his face, and somehow I
disliked him altogether, although he was very
handsome. I could see that in disposition and
love of mischief he nearly equalled Toph, and
there was less excuse for him.
What's the matter, Ernest?" he asked.
I broke that vase by accident," said Ernest. I
am so sorry, for'I know papa will be vexed, and-"
"Hold on!" exclaimed the boy, clutching
Ernest's arm, and looking sly and clever. "What
a muff you are, to be sure! Can't you say the cat
did it? It's likely enough; there she is looking
as if she did it too."
I trembled for Ernest, but I was relieved when
"That wouldn't be true, Harry; pussy didn't
"What matter?" urged the tempter. "She can't
tell, and it won't hurt her. If she didn't break
it, she has broken lots of other things, I dare-
say." Ernest shook his head.
"It mightn't matter for pussy, but it would
for me; I should feel mean and cowardly if I
told an untruth, and besides it would be a sin."
~. ~Ld;.tC' L-~
"It ain't a sin to tell a little fib like that.
You're a fool, Ernest, and I'm no coward either;
I could fight you, I bet;" and he closed his hands
and threw himself into an attitude such as I
have seen cowardly bullies assume when they
wanted to look brave.
"I don't like fighting," said Ernest, picking up
THE POET'S GRIEF.
the pieces of the vase, and vainly striving to fit
them together. "And why should we fight? we
are cousins, of course."
0, yes, I knew you wouldn't fight, but you
ought to learn; it is a nice thing to be able to
knock a fellow down, I can tell you; make him
turn up anything you take a fancy to."
"Do you mean anything of his?" asked Ernest,
looking up with a very red face.
"Of course; what's the fun but that?"
"Then I think it's no better than being a thief,
or a highwayman, making boys weaker than
yourself give you what belongs to them," said
What reply Harry might have made was cut
short by the hasty entrance of Susan to announce
the arrival of Ernest's papa and his aunt. Both
boys left the room at once, but Ernest carried
the pieces of the broken vase in his hand. I
followed, curious to see my master, the poet, and
feeling very unhappy, I could scarcely tell why,
except that the air seemed thick and difficult foi
me to live in. It used to be pure and fresh; now
the presence of sorrow perhaps had changed it.
And my master, too, he looked ten years older
than when I saw him last in his study on that
summer night. All the brightness had gone out
of his face, his dark hair was threaded with
silver, and a look of settled melancholy seemed
impressed upon his features. The lady with him
looked older a great deal than he did. She
appeared not only grave, but stern as well. She
was tall and angular, and I could see that she
thought herself a very amiable and proper
person, and could make no excuse at all for faults
in anyone. I felt as if a cold wind were blowing
through the room as I looked at her. Of course
she was too practical and common-sense to
believe in fairies, or have fancies about anything
This is your Aunt Jane, Ernest," said the poet;
"she is coming to live with us, and try to supply
your dear mamma's place in our lonely house;"
here his voice faltered. "I hope you will be, as
you always have been, a good obedient boy."
"I will do my best, papa," he said promptly, as
he came forward shyly to the lady, who reached
out her hand to shake his in a cold fashion.
"What is that you have got there?" she asked
rather sharply, as she sat down on a chair.
"It's a vase, papa," said Ernest, turning in-
stinctively to his father. I broke it by accident,
and I am very sorry?"
So am I, Ernest," said the poet; he had been
examining the fragments as his son spoke, "but
you are a good boy to be honest about it."
"It must have been very costly," said Aunt
Jane. It is a shame for a boy to be so careless."
Ernest was about to reply hastily, for I saw his
face flushed, but his papa spoke quietly:
"Ernest is not at all careless usually; quite
the contrary; and I know he wouldn't do this
above all things if he could avoid it."
Ernest looked gratefully at his father. "Put
the pieces in my study, I'll see if it is not
possible to put them together somehow."
Ernest left the room to do as he was desired,
and Aunt Jane turned her attention to Harry.
He had been too busy pursuing a blue-bottle fly
on the window pane to take any particular
notice of what was going on.
"And who is that nice boy?" asked the lady.
"That is Harry Thompson," said the poet, "you
know, a cousin of Ernest's."
0!" ejaculated the lady, a son of your wife's
brother. I hope he is not living here alto-
"He is only on a visit for his midsummer
"Isn't there a little girl too?" she asked.
"Yes, my little daughter Ella, but you won't
A BOX OF TOYS.
have anything to do with her at present, the
nurse is very kind and careful."
"I am glad of it, for you'll find few servants
answer to that description nowadays. Is it
killing flies you are?" she asked angrily of Harry.
He turned round promptly, and replied with-
out a blush:
"No, I ain't."
"Yes, but you were; I saw you catch one just
now, a blue-bottle."
"0, yes, they're bad; Cook likes them all
killed; they do mischief in the larder," he
"Well, I know they do, yet she oughtn't to set
you to kill them."
The poet smiled and left the room. Harry
followed him, and Cook came in to hand over
the keys to Miss Jane.
"Your father has sent a box of toys for you,
Harry," said the poet, as he passed through the
hall. "There is a train for you, a ball for Ernest,
and a doll for Ella. You will see his letter in
the box with the toys."
Harry hurried away to the nursery to examine
the box, and his papa sent Ernest. There was a
train and a drum for Harry himself, a book and
a ball for Ernest, and a doll for Ella. I had not
LITTLE ELLA IN TROUBLE.
seen her yet, and I was very anxious to find out
if she was at all like Ernest, and to contrast her
with her brother. Susan brought her into the
nursery, and Harry made a great fuss about
giving her the doll. She sat down in a corner
by herself and began to examine it. Somehow
she didn't seem so much pleased with the doll as
"Don't you like it, Ella?" he asked.
"Yes, like it," she replied, and I remarked
that she scarcely lisped at all, but seemed to
make her answers as short as possible.
"Then why don't you look pleased?" said
Ernest, who was already deep in his new book.
"'Cause I's cross," said Ella pouting.
"And why?" asked Harry. She did not speak
for a long time, then she jerked her doll up
rudely by the arms, and looked in its face in a
cross fashion as she said:
"Pinafores ain't made to eat, littlee girl."
Harry burst out laughing, and Ernest looked
up from his book.
What do you mean, Ella?" asked Harry when
he had somewhat sobered down.
"Aunty Dane ain't dood," she said decidedly;
"spoke't to Ella like dat."
"She's a cross old maid," said Harry; "I
UNKIND AND KIND WORDS.
shouldn't like her to order me about. What do
you think, Ernest?" he asked.
"About what?" asked Ernest, looking up.
"About your new Aunt Jane, of course."
"Well, I don't quite know yet. She doesn't
seem pleasant; but
when we get used to,
her we may like her
"S'an't like her,
hates her," said the ..
little girl, shaking her _,
"0, Ella, you ought-
n't to hate anybody,
it isn't good," said .-.
"People can't be like you," said Harry; "I don't
think you could hate anything."
"Yes, I could," replied Ernest quickly, "I could
hate telling untruth or being mean. Aunt Jane
is a stranger here, and we oughtn't to talk about
her, and-and she's papa's sister."
"We know all about that," sneered Harry; "I
heard from my mother. She's an odd one. When
your father married your mother she wouldn't
speak to him, or know him at all, and now-"
A HOUSE OUT OF WINDOWS.
"I know all about it too, Harry," said Ernest,
closing his book. "That is quite true, but papa
told me she went to see mamma at last, and
stopped with her a week before--before-" here
he paused, for his voice was choked with emotion.
I could have cried for his sorrow. Ella dropped
her doll on the carpet, and coming over she reached
up her arms and drew down his face for a kiss.
"Before mamma died," he went on with an
effort. "Aunt promised her to take care of us, and
you must try to love her, Ella."
"S'an't love no one but papa, own mamma, and
you, Ernest," she said, shaking her head, as usual
"Then you must obey her; do what she tells
you anyhow, Ella, if you want me to love you."
"Don't you love me, Ella?" asked Harry
smiling, "I gave you that doll."
"Don't love peoples for divin' sings, but I feels
nice to dem."
0, you feel nice to me then," said Harry
laughing. She nodded her head and left the
room to find Nurse and exhibit her doll.
It took Aunt Jane quite a fortnight before she
could get the house into Christian order, as she
called it. She had vast changes made, and
wonderful turnings up of concealed dust and
THE "OLD MAID" IS MASTER.
lumber. All this was to be done before she
settled down to the task of looking sharply after
the children, as she called it. She meant to
begin by teaching Ella her letters, and the
catechism by rote. Willie could read very well,
and as his papa instructed him, she only intended
to take charge of the religious part of his edu-
cation. The servants shared Ella's dislike to the
new mistress. She fussed about too much for
the cook, and was too orderly and methodical in
her habits for the younger servants. The atmo-
sphere of the house for that first fortnight was
most irritating to the poet, although he kept his
own room except when he went out for a sharp
walk or a ramble on the mountains. But at length
the storm blew over; things were arranged just
as Miss Jane liked, and a calm succeeded. Some-
how no one thought of questioning or contradict-
ing any order she gave, and even the cook shrank
from offending her. In the first place all her
plans were sensible and correct, and in the second
she had got absolute authority from the master,
and instant dismissal was to be the fate of any
servant who displeased her; so she threatened,
and they could see they had a very different
person to deal with from their former gentle
mistress. She had nerves of iron herself, she
POOR LITTLE ELLA.
expected others to have the same. She never
got weary working; change of work was her
rest, she used to say, and she expected every one
to be like herself. In every respect as a manager
and economist of time and money Miss Jane was
admirable, and she honestly meant to do her best
by her brother and his family, but she wanted
one important quality-sympathy-for any one
unlike herself. She was perfection, she expected
perfection, she had been a model little child,
never soiled her pinafores, never disobeyed her
parents, always learned her lessons, and said her
prayers. Of course poor Ella, being very differ-
from all this, had no sympathy from Miss Jane,
and instead of her aunt improving in her regard
as time went on, Ella only got to dislike her
more and more, and avoided her presence when-
ever she could.
Ernest was wiser and more thoughtful than
many children twice his age; he did not judge
his aunt by her hard outside, and as tine passed
he liked her a little better than at first, but he
could not possibly feel any affection for her
Harry's holidays were drawing to a close, and
Miss Jane felt that his absence would be a relief,
for he was constantly at the bottom of some mis-
AN ARTFUL BOY.
chief, and there was no possibility of finding it
out so clearly as to fix it upon him.
Ernest felt sorry at the prospect of losing his
companionship. Although he did not like Harry's
character, yet good boys will even take a com-
panionthey do not quitelike,rather than have none.
This morning Ernest was with his papa in the
study, repeating a
lesson, while Harry .... '." ..'
amused himself as
besthemightinthe .. Y.. ; .
nursery, waiting '-2:f
till Ernest would -
be ready to go out -
with him for a
ramble. I watched -
him for a while; he
was a curiosity to me. I could understand Toph
being fond of mischief, in fact putting evil for
his good; but a boy with a soul, who knew good
from evil, to choose the evil, and only think it
good fun, I could not understand. He looked
very quiet and amiable as he drew his toy train
across the carpet in the nursery; but I could read
his thoughts, and he was planning a story just
then to induce Ernest to accompany him into a
meadow he wished very much to cross, because
THE READING LESSON.
at its further side he had found a bank full of
wild strawberries. A labourer seeing him in it
one day had ordered him out, but he had deter-
mined to try again, and if any one caught them
his cousin would be as bad as himself; besides, he
did not care to go alone. When he had made up
his mind to manage anything Harry generally
saw it out. This would have been a very good
quality if he had been bent upon doing good.
I have noticed that precisely the same qualities
of mind lead to good and to evil, just as the per-
sons possessing them use them; but why some
should turn to good and some to evil I cannot
understand, because good is so much pleasanter
afterwards and evil-doing always ends in sorrow
Harry picked up his whip from the floor, and
strolled out of the room; he knew that Ernest
would soon finish his lesson. As he passed the
dining-room door he paused, for he heard Miss
Jane's voice speaking in a very sharp tone. He
opened the door, and saw Ella standing before
the lady, book in hand. He seated himself in a
window recess; the child had not noticed him,
and Miss Jane heeded him no more than she
would a fly. She was too busy and anxious just
then with the little rebel before her.
A HARD TEACHER.
"Go on, Ella, I'm listening to you," she said,
while she knitted away vigorously. There was
something commanding in the very click of the
"S-O--lo," said Ella in a sing-song tone, as if
she felt very weary.
"Have you no ear at all, child? S-O, I have
told you, spells so, and L-O, lo."
Ella did not seem to hear or to heed, she
went on calling so-lo most provokingly, and
sometimes she would call go-so.
"You cannot be so stupid," said Miss Jane
putting down her knitting on her lap, "it must
be bad temper or sulks." She forgot that Ella
was learning her letters as well as putting them
together. If you think to escape you are mis-
taken, for you shall stand there all day, till you
do those four words properly."
Ella began to cry quietly.
"One would require the patience of Job to
manage you," said Miss Jane. "How long do
you mean to cry for nothing?"
She thought it was nothing to stand there all
day spelling stupid words, while the sun shone
outside, and the little birds sang sweetly among
Look at your brother." Ella looked round
A GENTLE BROTHER.
instantly. "How he does his lessons!" continued
Miss Jane after smiling contemptuously at the
child's mistake. "I want to do out, p'ease," said
"I have told you that you sha'n't leave this
room till you spell those four words." And her
aunt took up her knitting, closed her lips firmly,
and went on with her work as if she could sit
contentedly till the following morning, if neces-
sary. The child stole a look at her, there was
no relenting in the face, nothing that tears or
entreaties could move, and she once more began
to labour over the four, to her hateful words, but
with very little better success. Harry had quite
enough of Miss Jane's presence; and glad that he
was not in her power like Ella, he opened the
door and left the room. In the hall he met Ernest.
"I've been waiting for you," he exclaimed.
"Let us have a ramble."
"I wonder if Ella has left aunt; she went in
as I went to papa," said Ernest, pausing before
"She'll never finish, come on," said Harry im-
"But Ernest was too kind a brother to go out
and enjoy himself while poor little Ella was en-
during what he knew she looked upon as torment.
THE RIGHT WAY TO LEARN.
"I shall be with you in a minute or two,
Harry," he said, as he opened the door and walked
into the room. Here he found Ella as Harry had
found her, standing before Aunt Jane, only the
lady was looking more determined than ever, and
her needles were going at double speed. Ernest
knew what these signs meant.
"Not finished yet, Ella?" he said cheerfully;
" why, you ought to work harder."
"She won't try," said Miss Jane. "She is
obstinate and sullen. I never knew a child like
That was quite probable, for she had never
tried to teach any child before.
"Why, how much have you got to learn? let
me see." Ella pointed out the four words very
readily; she had great faith in Ernest's power of
making rough places smooth.
He talked to her very prettily, as Aunt Jane
said afterwards, asking her if she would like to
go into the woods, or go in a coach, or go in a
"You could not lo in a boat, could you?" he
She smiled as she replied readily:
"No, go in boat." Then he got her to under-
stand how the other little words fitted in, and all
difficulty was at an end. The four words were
repeated to Miss Jane, but Ella kept her eyes
fixed on Ernest's face while she said them-had
she looked at her aunt she would have made her
former mistakes over again-and the lady was
quite pleased to get over the difficulty, so that
Ella left the room with Ernest in triumph.
I thought you would never come," said Harry.
"Why have you not got to stand all day over
those silly little words?" he asked of Ella.
She did not deign to reply, but ran away into
the garden, where Susan noticed her, and carried
out her sun-bonnet.
"Now, come along," said Harry; and the boys
walked down the long avenue in front of the
house, and out upon the narrow country road.
"See here, Ernest," Harry said when they had
got away a good distance from the house. "You
know that meadow I wanted you to come into
"Yes, I know."
And you wouldn't come, because you said the
farmer your father used to know, who lived there,
had gone back to England again. He didn't like
these hills, and there were strangers at the farm
now, and you wouldn't take any liberty."
"Yes, you have a good memory, Harry."
Well, I have got liberty from the old fellow."
"The farmer himself?"
"Yes, and we can go into the field and pick
as many strawberries as we like."
Ernest knew that Harry was not in the habit
of telling the truth, and he felt that he should
not take his word on the subject; but then his
cousin was to leave in two days, and he did not
care to vex him by refusing, and above all Ernest
would like very much to go into the meadow
himself, and alone he would not attempt it. So
he said nothing, but walked along beside Harry
till they came to the field. The gate was closed
and locked. This ought to have been a warning
to Ernest, but when Harry climbed over the
fence he followed him without question, only
his conscience whispered all the time that he was
doing wrong; and yet he thought, even should
their new neighbour object, it was not a great
thing after all. They crossed the meadow, and
reached the further end where the strawberries
grew. They were very fine and ripe, so fine that
Ernest regretted they could not have Ella with
them; but he took care to gather a lot, and put
them on some grass in the crown of his hat.
This was suggested by Harry. Then instead of
returning by the way they came, he also proposed
HARRY ON HORSEBACK.
that they should climb a fence into another field,
cross it, and go out on the common, from which
only a wooden fence divided it.
Ernest could see no objection to this, and they
climbed over easily, and crossed the wide meadow,
Ernest carefully carrying his hat full of straw-
Look, look!" exclaimed Harry, when they had
got half across. "That's a nice horse tied to the
fence, I should like a ride upon him, should you?"
I wouldn't care much," replied Ernest.
But Harry ran on before, and soon mounted
the fence and sat upon the animal's back. The
horse didn't seem to mind him at all, but went
on nipping the tops off the grass, as if no little
boy were on his back.
"How nice it is, Ernest!" he said as the boy
came up. "I wish you would untie the bridle
and give it to me, I think I could ride him along
a little way."
At first Ernest refused, but Harry over-per-
suaded him, and he untied the knot and put the
halter in Harry's hand. The horse behaved very
well, for instead of running away, when it got
its liberty, it only moved along quietly, and
stooped its head to eat a piece of fresh grass, now
and then. Harry at length brought it to a stop,