4ND OTHEk: TA4L ES.
By J-ULIANA HORATIA EWING
AWdwr of."Jacleamajes," "Six 10 Sixteen." I F'al 1ron 14 Fr.,!
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LONDON: GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
The Baldwin Library
& fRi Lm Borid.
AND OTHER TALES.
BY JULIANA HORATIA EWING,
AUTHOR OF JACKANAPESS," "SIX TO SIXTEEN," "A FLAT
IRON FOR A FARTHING," ETC. ETC.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE CR UIKSHANK.
GEORGE BELL AND SONS,.YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
MY VERY DEAR AND HONOURED MOTHER.
J. H. E.
THE BROWNIES. Illustrated (Frontispiece) 9
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS .32
THREE CHRISTMAS TREES. Illustrated .48
AN IDYLL-OF THE WOOD .55
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS. Illustrated. .. .62
AMELIA AND THE DWARFS. Illustrated. 76
TIMOTHY's SHOES. Illustrated 92
BENJY IN BEASTLAND. Illustrated. 108
THE BROWNIES AND OTHER TALES.
A LITTLE girl sat sewing and crying on "We're all in it," was the reply; and
a garden seat. She had fair floating apparently the fog was thickening, for the
hair, which the breeze blew into her eyes, voice grew less and less distinct-" the
and between the cloud of hair, and the boys and everybody. It's all about for-
mist of tears, she could not see her work getting, and not putting away, and leaving
very clearly. She neither tied up her locks, about, and borrowing, and breaking, and
nor dried her eyes, however; for when one that sort of thing. I've had father's new
is miserable, one may as well be cor- pocket-handkerchiefs to hem, and I've
pletely so. been out climbing with the boys, and
What is the matter ? said the Doctor, kept forgetting and forgetting, and Mother
who was a friend of the Rector's, and came says I always forget; and I can't help it.
into the garden whenever he pleased. I forget to tidy his newspapers for him,
The Doctor was a tall stout man, with and I forget to feed Puss, and I forgot
hair as black as crow's feathers on the top, these; besides, they're a great bore, and
and grey underneath, and a bushy beard. Mother gave them to Nurse to do, and
When young, he had been slim and hand- this one was lost, and we found it this
some, with wonderful eyes, which were morning tossing about in the toy-cup-
wonderful still; but that was many years board."
past. He had a great love for children, It looks as if it had been taking violent
and this one was a particular friend of exercise," said the Doctor. "But what
his. have the boys to do with it? "
"What is the matter? said he. Why, then there was a regular turn out
"I'm in a row," murmured the young of the toys," she explained, "and they're
lady through her veil; and the needle all in a regular mess. You know, we always
went in damp, and came out with a jerk, go on till the last minute, and then things
which is apt to result in what ladies called get crammed in anyhow. Mary and I did
."puckering." tidy them once or twice; but the boys
"You are like London in a yellow fog," never put anything away, you know, so
said the Doctor, throwing himself on to what's the good ?"
the grass, "and it is very depressing to What, indeed !" said the Doctor.
my feelings. What is the row about, and "And so you have complained of them ?"
how came you to get into it ? Oh no !" answered she. We don't
io 7HE BROWNIES.
get them into rows, unless they are very Doctor. "I sent them last Saturday as
provoking; but some of the things were ever was. What a world we live in-! Any
theirs, so everybody was sent for, and I more news? Poor Tiny here has been
was sent out to finish this, .and they are crying her eyes out."
all tidying. I don't know when it will be I'm so sorry, Tiny," said the brother.
done, for I have all this side to hem; and But don't bother about it. It's all square
the soldier's box is broken, and Noah is now, and we're going to have a new shelf
lost out of the Noah's Ark, and so is one put up."
of the elephants and a guinea-pig, and so Have you found everything ? asked
is the rocking-horse's nose; and nobody Tiny.
knows what has become of Rutlandshire "Well, not the Wash, you know. And
and the Wash, but they're so small, I don't the elephant and the guinea-pig are gone
wonder; only North America and Europe for good; so the other elephant and the
are gone too." other guinea-pig must walk together as a
The Doctor started up in affected horror, pair now. Noah was among the soldiers,
" Europe gone, did you say? Bless me and we have put the cavalry into a night-
what will become of us light box. Europe and North America
"Don't! said the young lady, kicking were behind the book-case; and, would
petulantly with her dangling feet, and try- you believe it ? the rocking-horse's nose
ing not to laugh. "You know I mean has turned up in the nursery oven."
the puzzles; and if they were yours, you I can't believe it," said the Doctor.
wouldn't like it." The rocking-horse's nose couldn't turn
"I don't half like it as it is," said the up, it was the purest Grecian, modelled
Doctor. "I am seriously alarmed. An from the Elgin marbles. Perhaps it was
earthquake is one thing: you have a good the heat that did it, though. However,
shaking, and settle down again. But you seem to have got through your troubles
Europe gone-lost- Why, here comes very well, Master Deordie. I wish poor
Deordie, I declare, looking much more Tiny were at the end of her task."
cheerful than we do; let us humbly hope So do I," said Deordie ruefully. But
that Europe has been found. At present I tell you what I've been thinking, Doctor.
I feel like Aladdin when his palace had Nurse is always knagging at us, and we're
been transported by the magician ; I don't always in rows of one sort or another, for
know where I am." doing this, and not doing that, and leaving
You're here, Doctor; aren't you ? our things about. But, you know, it's a
asked the slow curly-wigged brother, squat- horrid shame, for there are plenty of ser-
ting himself on the grass. vants, and I don't see why we should
Is Europe found?" said the Doctor be always bothering to do little things,
"Yes," laughed Deordie. "I found "Oh come to the point, please," said
it." the Doctor; you do go round the square
"You will be a great man," said the so, in telling your stories, Deordie. What
Doctor. And-it is only common charity have you been thinking of?"
to ask-how about North America?" "Well," said Deordie, who was as good
"Found too," said Deordie. "But the tempered as he was slow, "the other day
Wash is completely lost." Nurse shut me up in the back nursery for
And my six shirts in it!" said the borrowing her scissors and losing them;
THE BROWNIES. In
but I'd got Grimm' .inside one of my me come, Doctor," she inquired, "if I do
knickerbockers, so when she locked the as you said?"
door, I sat down to read. And I read the "To be sure I will," he answered.
story of the Shoemaker and the little Elves "Let me look at you. Your eyes are
who came and did his work for him before swollen with crying. How can you be
he got up; and I thought it would be so such a silly little goose?"
jolly if we had some little Elves to do Did you never cry ?" asked Tiny.
things instead of us." "When I was your age ? Well, perhaps
"That's what Tommy Trout said," ob- so."
served the Doctor. You've never cried since, surely," said
"Who's Tommy Trout? asked Deor- Tiny.
die. The Doctor absolutely blushed.
"Don't you know, Deor ?" said Tiny. "What do you think? said he.
" It's the good boy who pulled the cat out "Oh, of course not," she answered.
of the what's-his-name. You've nothing to cry about. You're
Who pulled her out ? grown up, and you live all alone in a beau-
Little Tommy Trout.' tiful house, and you do as you like, and
never get into rows, or have anybody but
Is it the same Tommy Trout, Doctor? I yourself to think about; and no nasty
never heard anything else about him ex- pocket-handkerchiefs to hem."
cept his pulling the cat out; and I can't "Very nice; eh, Deordie ?" said the
think how he did that." Doctor.
"Let down the bucket for her, of "Awfully jolly," said Deordie.
course," said the Doctor. But listen to "Nothing else to wish for, eh?"
me. If you will get that handkerchief "I should keep harriers, and not a
done, and take it to your mother with a poodle, if I were a man," said Deordie;
kiss, and not keep me waiting, I'll have "but I suppose you could, if you wanted
you all to tea, and tell you the story of to."
Tommy Trout." "Nothing to cry about, at any rate ?"
This very night ?" shouted Deordie. I should think not! said Deordie.-
"This very night." There's Mother, though; let's go and ask
Every one of us ? inquired the young her about the tea ;" and off they ran.
gentleman with rapturous incredulity. The Doctor stretched his six feet of
"Every one of you.-Now Tiny, how length upon the sward, dropped his grey
about that work ?" head on a little heap of newly-mown grass,
"It's just done," said -Tiny.-" Oh and looked up into the sky.
Deordie, climb up behind, and hold back "Awfully jolly-no nasty pocket-hand-
my hair, there's a darling, while I fasten kerchiefs to hem," said he, laughing to
off. Oh Deor, you're pulling my hair himself. "Nothing else to wish for; no-
out. Don't." thing to cry about."
"I want to make a pig-tail," said Deor. Nevertheless, he lay still, staring at the
"You can't," said Tiny, with feminine sky, till the smile died away, and tears
contempt. "You can't plait. What's the came into his eyes. Fortunately, no one
good of asking boys to do anything? was there to see.
There! it's done at last. Now go and What could this awfully jolly Doctor
ask Mother if we may go.-Will you let be thinking of to make him cry? He was
12 THE BRO WNIES.
thinking of a grave-stone in the churchyard frost still remained. And no further mis-
close by, and of a story connected with fortune happened to him that I ever heard
this grave-stone which was known to every- of; and as time went on he grew a beard,
body in the place who was old enough to and got stout, and kept a German poodle,
remember it. This story has nothing to and gave tea parties to other people's chil-
do with the present story, so it ought not dren. As to the grave-stone story, what-
to be told. ever it was to him at.the end of twenty
And yet it has to do with the Doctor, years, it was a great convenience to his
and is very short, so it shall be put in, friends; for when he said anything they
after all. didn't agree with, or did anything they
couldn't understand, or didn't say or do
THE STORY OF A GRAVE-STONE. what was expected of him, what could be
easier or more conclusive than to shake
ONE early spring morning, about twenty one's head and say,
years before, a man going to his work at "The fact is, our Doctor has been a
sunrise through the churchyard, stopped little odd, ever since-! "
by a flat stone which he had lately helped
to lay down. The day before, a name had THE DOCTOR'S TEA PARTY.
been cut on it, which he stayed to read;
and below the name some one had scrawled THERE is one great advantage attendant
a few words in pencil, which he read also upon invitations to tea with a doctor. No
--Pitfully behold the sorrows of our hearts. objections can be raised on the score of
On the stone lay a pencil, and a few feet health. It is obvious that it must be fine
from it lay the Doctor, face downwards, as enough to go out when the doctor asks
he had lain all night, with the hoar frost you, and that his tea-cakes may be eaten
on his black hair. with perfect impunity.
Ah these grave-stones (they were ugly Those tea-cakes were always good; to-
things in those days; not the light, hope- night they were utterly delicious; there
ful, pretty crosses we set up now), how they was a perfect abandon of currants, and the
seem remorselessly to imprison and keep amount of citron peel was enervating to
our dear dead friends away from us And behold. Then the housekeeper waited in
yet they do not lie with a feather's weight awful splendour, and yet the Doctor's
upon the souls that are gone, while GOD authority over her seemed as absolute as
only knows how heavily they press upon if he were an Eastern despot. Deordie
the souls that are left behind. Did the must be excused for believing in the
spirit whose body was with the dead, stand charms of living alone. It certainly has
that morning by the body whose spirit was its advantages. The limited sphere of
with the dead, and pity him ? Let us only duty conduces to discipline in the house-
talk about what we know. hold, demand does not exceed supply in
After this it was said that the Doctor the article of waiting, and there is not that
had got a fever, and was dying, but he got general scrimmage of conflicting interests
better of it; and then that he was out of which besets a large family in the most
his mind, but he got better of that, and favoured circumstances. The housekeeper
came out looking much as usual, except waits in black silk, and looks as if she had
that his hair never seemed quite so black no meaner occupation than to sit in a
again, as if a little of that night's hoar rocking chair,and dream of damson cheese.
THE BROWNIES. 13
Rustling, hospitable, and subservient, to a tailor. When the farm came into your
this one retired at last, and- hands, your wife died, and you have never
Now," said the Doctor, "for the ve- looked up since. The land is sold now,
randah; and to look at the moon." but not the house. No no! you're right
The company adjourned with a rush, enough there' but you've had your
the rear being brought up by the poodle, troubles, son Thomas, and the lads are
who seemed quite used to the proceedings ; idle I "
and there under the verandah, framed It was the Tailor's mother who spoke.
with passion flowers and geraniums, the She was a very old woman, and helpless.
Doctor had gathered mats, rugs, cushions, She was not quite so bright in her intellect
and arm-chairs, for the party; while far as she had been, and got muddled over
up in the sky, a yellow-faced harvest moon things that had lately happened; but she
looked down in awful benignity. had a clear memory for what was long
"Now!" said the Doctor. "Take your past, and was very pertinacious in her
seats. Ladies first, and gentlemen after- opinions. She knew the private history of
wards. Mary and Tiny race for the Ame- almost every family in the place, and who
rican rocking-chair. Well done Of course of the Trouts were buried under which old
it will hold both. Now boys, shake down. stones in the churchyard; and had more
No one is to sit on the stone, or put their tales of ghosts, doubles, warnings, fairies,
feet on the grass; and when you're ready, witches, hobgoblins, and such like, than
I'll begin." even her grandchildren had ever come to
We're ready," said the girls, the end of. Her hands trembled with age,
The boys shook down in a few minutes and she regretted this for nothing more
more, and the Doctor began the story of than for the danger it brought her into of
spilling the salt. She was past housework,
"THE BROWNIES." but all day she sat knitting hearth-rugs out
of the bits and scraps of cloth that were
BAIRNS are a burden," said the Tailor shred in the tailoring. How far she be-
to himself as he sat at work. He lived in lived in the wonderful tales she told, and
a village on some of the glorious moors the odd little charms she practised, no one
of the north of England; and by bairns exactly knew; but the older she grew, the
he meant children, as every Northman stranger were the things she remembered,
knows. and the more testy she was if any one
"Bairns are a burden," and he sighed, doubted their truth.
"Bairns are a blessing," said the old Bairns are a blessing !" said she. "It
lady in the window. ," It is the family is the family motto."
motto. The Trouts have had large fami- "Are they ?" said the Tailor emphati-
lies and good luck for generations; that is, cally.
till your grandfather's time. He had one He had a high respect for his mother,
only son. I married him. He was a good and did not like to contradict her, but he
husband, but he had been a spoilt child, held his own opinion, based upon personal
He had always been used to be waited experience; andnotbeing ametaphysician,
upon, and he couldn't fash to look after did not understand that it is safer to found
the farm when it was his own. We had opinions on principles than on experience,
six children. They are all dead but you, since experience may alter, but principles
whb were the youngest. You were bound cannot.
14 THE BROWNIES.
Look at Tommy," he broke out sud- cherub in a chronic state of longitudinal
denly. That boy does nothing but whittle squeeze. They were locked together by
sticks from morning till night. I have two grubby paws, and had each an armful
almost to lug him out of bed o' mornings, of moss, which they deposited on the floor
If I send him an errand, he loiters; I'd as they came in.
better have gone myself. If I set him to I've swept this floor once to-day," said
do anything, I have to tell him everything; the father, "and I'm not going to do it
I could sooner do it myself. And if he again. Put that rubbish outside."
does work, it's done so unwillingly, with Move it, Johnnie !" said his brother,
such a poor grace; better, far better, to do seating himself on a stool, and taking out
it myself. What housework do the boys his knife and a piece of wood, at which he
ever do but looking after the baby ? And cut and sliced; while the apple-cheeked
this afternoon she was asleep in the cradle, Johnnie stumbled and stamped over the
and off they went, and when she awoke, moss, and scraped it out on to the door-
I must leave my work to take her. I step, leaving long trails of earth behind
gave her her supper, and put her to bed. him, and then sat down also.
And what with what they want and I have And those chips the same," added the
to get, and what they take out to play with Tailor; I will not clear up the litter you
and lose, and what they bring in to play lads make."
with and leave about, bairns give some "Pick 'em up, Johnnie," said Thomas
trouble, Mother, and I've not an easy Trout, junior, with an exasperated sigh;
life of it. The pay is poor enough when and the apple tumbled up, rolled after the
one can get the work, and the work is hard flying chips, and tumbled down again.
enough when one has a clear day to do it in; "Is there any supper, Father? asked
but housekeeping and bairn-minding don't Tommy.
leave a man- much time for his trade. No! "No, there is not, Sir, unless you know
no I Ma'am, the luck of the Trouts is gone, how to get it," said the Tailor; and taking
and 'Bairns are a burden,' is the motto his pipe, he went out of the house.
now. Though they are one's own," he Istherereally nothing to eat, Granny?"
muttered to himself, "and not bad ones, asked the boy.
and I did hope once would have been a "No, my bairn, only some bread for
blessing." breakfast to-morrow."
"There's Johnnie," murmured the old "What makes Father so cross, Granny?"
lady, dreamily. "He has a face like an He's wearied, and you don't help him,
apple." my dear."
And is about as useful," said the Tailor. What could I do, Grandmother ?"
"He might have been different, but his "Many little things, if you tried," said
brother leads him by the nose." the old lady. He spent half-an-hour to-
His brother led him in as the Tailor day, while you were on the moor, getting
spoke, not literally by his snub, though, turf for the fire, and you could have got it
but by the hand. They were a handsome just as well, and he been at his work."
pair, this lazy couple. Johnnie especially "He never told me," said Tommy.
had the largest and roundest of foreheads, You might help me a bit just now, if
the reddest of cheeks, the brightest of eyes, you would, my laddie," said the old lady
the quaintest and most twitchy of chins, coaxingly; these bits of cloth want tear-
and looked altogether like a gutta-percha ing into lengths, and if you get 'em ready,
THE BROWNIES. 15
I can go on knitting. There'll be some It was nothing of the sort as a tomb-
food when this mat is done and sold." stone," said the old lady with dignity.
I'll try," said Tommy, lounging up It's a good half-mile from the church-
with desperate resignation. "Hold my yard. And as to white petticoats, there
knife, Johnnie. Father's been cross, and wasn't a female in the house; he wouldn't
everything has been miserable, ever since have one; and his victuals came in by the
the farm was sold. I wish I were a big pantry window. But never mind Though
man, and could make a fortune.-Will it's as true as a sermon."
that do, Granny ?" Johnnie lifted his head from his brother's
The old lady put down her knitting and knee.
looked. "My dear, that's too short. "Let Granny tell what she likes,
Bless me I gave the lad a piece to mea- Tommy. It's a new ghost, and I should
sure by." like to know who he was, and why his
"I thought it was the same length. Oh, victuals came in by the window."
dear I am so tired;" and he propped "I don't like a story about victuals,"
himself against the old lady's chair, sulked Tommy. "It makes me think of
"My dear don't lean so you'll tipple the bread. 0 Granny dear do tell us a
me over !" she shrieked, fairy story. You never will tell us about
"I beg your pardon, Grandmother. the Fairies, and I know you know."
Will that do ?" "Hush! hush said the old lady.
"It's that much too long." There's Miss Surbiton's Love Letter, and
"Tear that bit off. Now it's all right." her Dreadful End."
But, my dear, that wastes it. Now "I know Miss Surbiton, Granny. I
that bit is of no use. There goes my think she was a goose. Why don't you
knitting, you awkward lad !" tell us about the Fairies?"
"Johnnie, pick it up !-Oh Grand- "Hush! hush! my dear. There's the
mother, I am so hungry." Clerk and the Corpse-candles."
The boy's eyes filled with tears, and the I know the Corpse-candles, Granny.
old lady was melted in an instant. Besides, they make Johnnie dream, and he
"What can I do for you, my poor wakes me to keep him company. Why
bairns?" said she. "There, never mind won't you tell us about the Fairies?"
the scraps, Tommy." My dear, they don't like it," said the
"Tell us a tale, Granny. If you told old lady.
us a new one, I shouldn't keep thinking of 0 Granny dear, why don't they? Do
that bread in the cupboard.-Come, tell! I shouldn't think of the bread a bit,
Johnnie, and sit against me. Now then !" if you told us about the Fairies. I know
I doubt if there's one of my old-world nothing about them."
cracks I haven't told you," said the old He lived in this house long enough,"
lady, unless it's a queer ghost story was said the old lady. But it's not lucky to
told me years ago of that house in the name him."
hollow with the blocked-up windows." O Granny, we are so hungry and
Oh! not ghosts Tommy broke in; miserable, what can it matter ?"
we've had so many. I know it was a "Well, that's true enough," she sighed.
rattling, or a scratching, or a knocking, or "Trouts' luck is gone; it went with the
a figure in white; and if it turns out a Brownie, I believe."
tombstone or a white petticoat, I hate it." "Was that he, Granny ?"
16 THE BROWNIES.
Yes, my dear, he lived with the Trouts (a witch, my dear !) who took the shape of
for several generations." a bird, but couldn't change her voice, and
"What was he like, Granny ?" that that's why the owl sits silent all day
Like a little man, they say, my dear." for fear she should betray herself by speak-
"What did he do? ing, and has no singing voice like other
He came in before the family were up, birds. Many people used to go and con-
and swept up the hearth, and lighted the suit the Old Owl at moonrise, in my young
fire, and set out the breakfast, and tidied days."
the room, and did all sorts of house-work. Did you ever go, Granny ?"
But he never would be seen, and was off Once, very nearly, my dear."
before they could catch him. But they "'Qh tell us, Granny dear.-There are
could hear him laughing and playing about no Corpse-candles, Johnnie; it's only
the house sometimes." '* moonlight," he added consolingly, as
'"What a darling! Did they give him Johnnie crept closer to his knee, and
any wages, Granny ?" pricked his little red ears.
, No! my dear. He did it for love. It was when your grandfather was
They set a pancheon of clear water for courting me, my dears," said the old
him over night, and now and then a bowl lady, "and I couldn't quite make up my
of bread and milk, or cream. He liked mind. So I went to my mother, and said,
that, for he was very dainty. Sometimes 'He's this on the one side, but then he's
he left a bit of money in the water. Some- that on the other, and so on. Shall I say
times he weeded the garden, or threshed yes or no ?' And my mother said, 'The
the corn. He saved endless trouble, both Old Owl knows;' for she was fairly
to men and maids." puzzled. So says I, 'I'll go and ask her
Granny I why did he go ?" to-night, as sure as the moon rises.'
"The maids caught sight of him one So at moon-rise I went, and there in
night, my dear, and his coat was so ragged, the white light by the gate stood your
that they got a new suit, and a linen shirt grandfather. 'What are you doing here
for him, and laid them by the bread and at this time o' night?' says I. 'Watching
milk bowl. But when Brownie saw the your window,' says he. 'What are you.
things, he put them on, and dancing round doing here at this time o' night?' 'The
the kitchen, sang, Old Owl knows,' said I, and burst out
'What have we here? Hemten hamnten crying."
Here will I never more tread nor stampen,' What for ?" said Johnnie.
I can't rightly tell you, my dear," said
and. so danced through the door, and the old lady, but it gave me such a turn
never came back again." to see him. And without more ado your
"0 Grandmother! But why not? grandfather kissed me. 'How dare you?'
Didn't he like the new clothes ?" said I. 'What do you mean?' 'The
"The Old Owl knows, my dear; I Old Owl knows,' said he. So we never
"Who's the Old Owl, Granny ? How stupid said Tommy.
I don't exactly know, my dear. It's Tell us more about Brownie, please,"
what my mother used to say when we said Johnnie. "Did he ever live with
asked anything that puzzled her. It was anybody else ? "
said that the Old Owl was Nanny Besom, "There are plenty of Brownies," said
TIlE BROWNIES. 17
the old lady, "or used to be in my mother's rosier and rosier as he slept, a tumbled
young days. Some houses had several." apple among the grey heather. But not
"Oh I wish ours would come back !" so lazy Tommy. The idea of a domesti-
cried both the boys in chorus. He'd- cated Brownie had taken full possession
"tidy the room," said Johnnie; of his mind; and whither Brownie had
"fetch the turf," said Tommy; gone, where he might be found, and what
"pick up the chips," said Johnnie; would induce him to return, were mys-
Ssort your scraps," said Tommy; teries he longed to solve. There's an
"and do everything. Oh! I wish he owl living in the old shed by the mere,"
hadn't gone away." he thought. It may be the Old Owl her-
What's that ? said the Tailor, coming self, and she knows, Granny says. When
in at this moment. Father's gone to bed, and the moon rises,
"It's the Brownie, Father," said Tommy. I'll go." Meanwhile he lay down.
"We are so sorry he went, and do so wish
we had one."
"What nonsense have you been telling The moon rose like gold, and went up
them, Mother?" asked the Tailor. into the heavens like silver, flooding the
Heighty teighty," said the old lady, moors with a pale ghostly light, taking the
bristling. "Nonsense, indeed! As good colour out of the heather, and painting
men as you, Son Thomas, would as soon black shadows under the stone walls.
have jumped off the crags, as spoken Tommy opened his eyes, and ran to the
lightly of them, in my mother's young days." window. The moon has risen," said he,
"Well, well," said the Tailor, I beg and crept softly down the ladder, through
their pardon. They never did aught for the kitchen, where was the pan of water,
me, whatever they did for my forbears; but no Brownie, and so out on to the
but they're as welcome to the old place as moor. The air was fresh, not to say
ever, if they choose to come. There's chilly; but it was a glorious night, though
plenty to do." everything but the wind and Tommy
"Would you mind our setting a pan of seemed asleep. The stones, the walls,
water, Father?" asked Tommy very gently. the gleaming lanes, were so intensely still;
"There's no bread and milk." the church tower in the valley seemed
"You may set what you like, my lad," awake and watching, but silent; the
said the Tailor; "and I wish there were houses in the village round it had all
bread and milk for your sakes, Bairns. their eyes shut, that is; their window-
You should have it, had I got it. But go blinds down; and it seemed to Tommy
to bed now." as if the very moors had drawn white
They lugged out a pancheon, and filled sheets over them, and lay sleeping also.
it with more dexterity than usual, and Hoot! hoot !" said a voice from the
then went off to bed, leaving the knife in fir plantation behind him. Somebody else
one corner, the wood in another, and a was awake, then. "It's the Old Owl,"
few splashes of water in their track. said Tommy; and there she came, swing-
There was more room than comfort in ing heavily across the moor with a flapping
the ruined old farm-house, and the two stately flight, and sailed into the shed by
boys slept on a bed of cut heather, in the mere. The old lady moved faster
what had been the old malt loft. Johnnie than she seemed to do, and though
was soon in the land of dreams, growing Tommy ran hard she was in the shed
i8 THE BROWNIES.
some time before him. When he got in, "In your house," said the Owl.
no bird was to be seen, but he heard a Tommy was aghast.
crunching sound from above, and looking "In our house!" he exclaimed. "Where-
up, there sat the Old Owl, pecking and about? Let me rummage them out. Why
tearing and munching at some shapeless do they do nothing ?"
black object, and blinking at him- One of them is too young," said the
Tommy-with yellow eyes. Owl.
Oh dear !" said Tommy, for he didn't But why don't the others work ? asked
much like it. Tommy.
The Old Owl dropped the black mass They are idle, they are idle," said the
on to the floor; and Tommy did not care Old Owl, and she gave herself such a
somehow to examine it. shake as she said it, that the fluff went
"Come up! come up!" said she flying through the shed, and Tommy
hoarsely. nearly tumbled off the beam in his fright.
She could speak, then! Beyond all "Then we don't want them," said he.
doubt it was the Old Owl, and none other. "What is the use of having Brownies if
Tommy shuddered. they do nothing to help us? "
"Come up here come up here !" said "Perhaps they don't know how, as no
the Old Owl. one has told them," said the Owl.
The Old Owl sat on a beam that ran "I wish you would tell me where to
across the shed. Tommy had often find them," said Tommy; "I could tell
climbed up for fun; and he climbed up them."
now, and sat face to face with her, and "Could you?" said the Owl. "Oohoo!
thought her eyes looked as if they were Oohoo !"and Tommy couldn't tell whether
made of flame. she were hooting or laughing.
Kiss my fluffy face," said the Owl. Of course I could," he said.. They
Her eyes were going round like flaming might be up and sweep the house, and
.catherine wheels, but there are certain re- light the fire, and spread the table, and
quests which one has not the option of re- that sort of thing, before Father came
fusing. Tommy crept nearer, and put his down. Besides, they could see what was
lips to the round face out of which the wanted. The Brownies did all that in
eyes shone. Oh it was so downy and Granny's mother's young days. And then
warm, so soft, so indescribably soft. they could tidy the room, and fetch the,
Tommy's lips sank into it, and couldn't turf, and pick up my chips, and sort
get to the bottom. It was unfathomable Granny's scraps. Oh there's lots to
feathers and fluffyness. do."
"Now, what do you want?" said the "So there is," said the Owl. "Oohoo!
Owl. Well, I can tell you where to find one of
Please," said Tommy, who felt rather the Brownies; and if you find him, he will
re-assured, can you tell me where to find tell you where his brother is. But all this
the Brownies, and how to get one to come depends upon whether you feel equal to
and live with us ? undertaking it, and whether you will follow
Oohoo !" said the Owl, "that's it, is my directions."
it? I know of three Brownies." I am quite ready to go," said Tommy,
Hurrah !" said Tommy. "Where do "and I will do as you shall tell me. I
they live? feel sure I could persuade them. If they
THE BROWNIES. 19
only knew how every one would love them "Why, there's no one but myself !I' said
if they made themselves useful! Tommy. And what can the word be ?
Oohoo oohoo said the Owl. Now I must l'ave done it wrong."
pay attention. You must go to the north Wrong I said the Echo.
side of the mere when the moon is shining Tommy was almost surprised to find
-(' I know Brownies like water,' muttered the echo awake at this time of night.
Tommy)-and turn yourself round three Hold yourtongue!" said he. "Matters
times, saying this charm: are provoking enough of themselves. Belf!
'Twist me, and turn me, and show me the Elf- Celf Delf! Felf! Gelf Helf! Jelf!
I looked in the water, and saw-' What rubbish There can't be a word to
When yu have gt so far, lk ito th fit it. And then to look for a Brownie,
When you have got so far, look into the and see nothing but myself !'
water, and at the same moment you will a Myself," said the Echo.
see the Brownie, and think of a word that "Will you be quiet" said Tommy.
will fill up the couplet, and rhyme with "If you would tell one the word there
the first line. If either you do not see the ould be some sense in your interference
Brownie, or fail to think of the word, it would be some sense in your interference;
Brownie, or fail to think of the word, it but to roar 'Myself!' at one, which neither
Is the Brownie a merman," said rhymes nor runs-it does rhyme though,
om writing himse alg the beam, as it happens," he added; and how very
Tommy, wriggling himself along the beam odd it runs too-
" that he lives undef water ?"
"That depends on whether he has a 'Twist me, and turn me, and show me the Elf;
fish's tail," said the Owl, and this you I looked in the water, and saw myself,'
can discover for yourself." which I certainly did. What can it mean?
"Well, the moon is shining, so I shall The Old Owl knows, as Granny would
go," said Tommy. "Good-bye, and thank say; so I shall go back and ask her."
you, Ma'am and he jumped down and Ask her said the Echo.
went, saying to himself as he ran, "I be- Didn't I say I should? said Tommy.
lieve he is a merman all the same, or else How exasperating you are It is very
how could he live in the mere? I know strange. Myself certainly does rhyme,
more about Brownies than Granny does, and I wonder I did not think of it long
and I shall tell her so;" for Tommy was ago."
somewhat opinionated, like other young "Go," said the Echo.
people. ."Will you mind your own business, and
The moon shone very brightly on the go t sleep ?" said Tommy. "I am going;
centre of the mere. Tommy knew the I said I should."
place well, for there was a fine echo there. And back he went. There sat the Old
Round the edge grew rushes and water Owl as before.
plants, which cast a border of shadow. Oohoo! said she, as Tommy climbed
Tommy went to the north side, and turn- up. "What did you see in the mere ? "
ing himself three times, as the Old Owl I saw nothing but myself," said Tommy
had told him, he repeated the charm- indignantly.
Twist me, and turn me, and show me the Elf- "And what did you expect to see ?"
I looked in the water, and saw-" asked the Owl.
Now for it! He looked in, and saw- "I expected to see a Brownie," said
the reflection of his own face. Tommy; "you told me so."
20 THE BROWNIEE.
"And what are Brownies like, pray?" "And what would you do meanwhile?"
inquired the Owl. asked the Owl. "Be idle, I suppose;
"The one Granny knew was a useful and what do you suppose is the use of a
little fellow, something like a little man," man's having children if they do nothing
said Tommy. to help him ? Ah if they only knew how
"Ah !" said the Owl, "but you know every one would love them if they made
at present this one is an idle little fellow, themselves useful !"
something like a little man. Oohoo! oohoo But is it really and truly so ? asked
Are you quite sure you didn't see him ? Tommy, in a dismal voice. "Are there
Quite," answered Tommy sharply. I no Brownies but children ? "
saw no one but myself." "No, there are not," said the Owl.
"Hoot! toot How touchy we are "And pray do you think that the Brownies,
And who are you, pray? whoever they may be, coine into the house
I'm not a Brownie," said Tommy. to save trouble for the idle healthy little
"Don't be too sure," said the Owl. boys who live in it? Listen to me,
"Did you find out the word ? Tommy," said the old lady, her eyes shoot-
"No," said Tommy. "I could find no ing rays of fire in the dark corner where
word with any meaning that would rhyme she sat. Listen to me, you are a clever
but myself.'" boy, and can understand when one speaks;
"Well, that runs and rhymes," said the so I will tell you the whole history of the
Owl. "What do you want? Where's Brownies, as it has been handed down in
your brother now? our family from my grandmother's great-
In bed in the malt-loft," said Tommy. grandmother, who lived in the Druid's
"Then now all your questions are an- Oak, and was intimate with the fairies.
swered," said the Owl, "and you know And when I have done- you shall tell me
what wants doing, so go and do it. Good- what you think they are, if they are not
night, or rather good-morning, for it is children. It's the opinion I have come
long past midnight;" and the old lady to at any rate, and I don't think that wis-
began to shake her feathers for a start, dom died with-our great-grandmothers."
Don't go yet, please," said Tommy "I should like to hear if you please,"
humbly. "I don't understand it. You said Tommy.
know I'm not a Brownie, am I ?" The Old Owl shook out a tuft or two of
"Yes, you are," said the Owl, and a fluff, and set her eyes a-going and began :
very idle one too. All children are "The Brownies, or as they are some-
Brownies." times called, the Small Folk, the Little
But I couldn't do worklike a Brownie," People, or the Good People, are a race of
said Tommy. tiny beings who domesticate themselves
"Why not?" inquired the Owl. in a house of which some grown-up human
"Couldn't you sweep the floor, light the being pays the rent and taxes. Theyarelike
fire, spread the table, tidy the room, fetch small editions of men and women, they
the turf, pick up your own chips, and sort are too small and fragile for heavy work;
your grandmother's scraps? You know theyhave not the strength of a man, but are
'there's lots to do.' a thousand times more fresh and nimble.
"But I don't think I should like it," They can run and jump, and roll and
said Tommy. "I'd much rather have a tumble, with marvellous agility and endu-
Brownie to do it for me." rance, and of many of the aches and pains
_THE BROWNIES. 21
which men and women groan under, they pain to excuse them, who untidy instead
do not even know the names. They have of tidying, cause work instead of doing it,
no trade or profession, and as they live and leave little cares to heap on big cares,
entirely upon other people, they know till the old people who support them are
nothing of domestic cares; in fact, they worn out altogether."
know very little upon any subject, though Don't !" said Tommy. "I can't bear
they are often intelligent and highly in- it."
quisitive. They love dainties, play, and I hope when Boggarts grow into men,"
mischief. They are apt to be greatly be- said the Old Owl, that their children will
loved, and are themselves capriciously be Boggarts too, and then they'll know
affectionate. They are little people, and what it is !"
can only do little things. When they are "Don't!" roared Tommy. "I won't
idle and mischievous, they are called Bog- be a Boggart. I'll be a Brownie."
garts, and are a curse to the house they "That's right," nodded the Old Owl.
live in. When they are useful and con- I said you were a boy who could under-
siderate, they are Brownies, and are a stafid when one spoke. And remember
much-coveted blessing. Sometimes the that the Brownies never are seen at their
Blessed Brownies will take up their abode work. They get up before the household,
with some worthy couple, cheer them with and get away before any one can see them.
their romps and merry laughter, tidy the I can't tell you why. I don't think my
house, find things that have been lost, grandmother's great-grandmother knew.
and take little troubles out of hands full Perhaps because all good deeds are better
of great anxieties. Then in time these done in secret."
Little People are Brownies no longer. "Please," said Tommy, "I should like
They grow up into men and women. They to go home now, and tell Johnnie. It's
do not care so much for dainties, play, or getting cold, and I am so tired !"
mischief. They cease to jump and tumble, "Very true," said the Old Owl, "and
and roll about the house. They know then you will have to be up early to-
more, and laugh less. Then, when their morrow. I think I had better take you
heads begin to ache with anxiety, and home."
they have to labour for their own living, "I know the way, thank you," said\
and the great cares of life come on, other Tommy.
Brownies come and live with them, and "I didn't say skew you the way, I said
take up their little cares, and supply their take you-carry you," said Owl. "Lean
little comforts, and make the house merry against me."
once more." I'd rather not, thank you," said
How nice said Tommy. Tommy.
"Very nice," said the Old Owl. "But "Lean against me," screamed the Owl.
what"-and she shook herself more fiercely Oohoo how obstinate boys are to be
than ever, and glared so that Tommy ex- sure !"
pected nothing less than that her eyes Tommy crept up very unwillingly.
would set fire to her feathers and she would Lean your full weight, and shut your
be burnt alive. But what must I say of eyes," said the Owl.
the Boggarts? Those idle urchins who Tommy laid his head against the Old
eat the bread and milk, and don't do the Owl's feathers, had a vague idea that she
work, who lie in bed without an ache or smelt of heather, and thought it must be
22 TIYE BROWNIES.
from living on the moor, shut his eyes, and fire ? Think of all the bonfires we have
leant his full weight, expecting that he made And I don't think I should mind
and the Owl would certainly fall off the having a regular good tidy-up either. It's
beam together. Down-feathers-fluff- that's stupid putting-away-things-when-
he sank and sank, coul feel nothing solid, you've-done-with-them that I hate so !"
jumped up with a start to save himself, The Brownies crept softly down the
opened his eyes, and found that he was sit- ladder and into the kitchen. -There was
ting among the heather in the malt-loft, the blank hearth, the dirty floor, and all
with Johnnie sleeping by his side. the odds and ends lying about, looking
How quickly we came !" said he; cheerless enough in the dim light. Tommy
" that is certainly a very clever Old Owl. felt quite important as he looked round.
I couldn't have counted ten whilst my eyes There is no such cure for untidiness as
were shut. How very odd!" clearing up after other people; one sees
But what was odder still was, that it so clearly where the fault lies.
was no longer moonlight, but early dawn. Look at that door-step, Johnnie," said
"Get up Johnnie," said his brother, the Brownie-elect, what a mess you made
"I've got a story to tell you." of it If you had lifted the moss care-
And while Johnnie sat up, and rubbed fully, instead of stamping and struggling
his eyes open, he related his adventures with it, it would have saved us ten minutes'
on the moor. work this morning."
Is all that true ? said Johnnie. I This wisdom could not be gainsaid, and
mean, did it really happen? Johnnie only looked meek and rueful.
Of course it did," said his brother; I am going to light the fire," pursued
"don't you believe it ?" his brother;-" the next turfs, you know,
"Oh yes," said Johnnie. "But I thought we must get-you can tidy a bit. Look
it was perhaps only a true story, like at that knife I gave you to hold last night,
Granny's true stories. I believe all those, and that wood-that's my fault though,
you know. But if you were there, you and so are those scraps by Granny's chair.
know, it is different-" What are you grubbing at that rat-hole
"I was there," said Tommy, "and it's for?"
all just as I tell you : and I tell you what, Johnnie raised his head somewhat
if we mean to do anything we must get up: flushed and tumbled.
though, oh dear I should lile to stay in "What do you think I have found?"
bed. I say," he added, after a pause, said he triumphantly. "Father's measure
"suppose we do. It can't matter being that has-been lost for a week !"
Boggarts for one night more. I mean to "Hurrah !" said Tommy, "put it by
be a Brownie before I grow up, though. his things. That's just a sort of thing for
I couldn't stand boggarty children." a Brownie to have done. What will he
"I won't be a Boggart at all," said say? And I say, Johnnie, when you've
Johnnie, "it's horrid. But I don't see tidied, just go and grub up a potato or
how we can be Brownies, for I'm afraid two in the garden, and I'll put them to
we -can't do the things. I wish I were roast for breakfast. I'm lighting such a
bigger !" bonfire "
I can do it well enough," said Tommy, The fire was very successful. Johnnie
following his brother's example and getting went after the potatoes, and Tommy
up. "Don't you suppose I can light a cleaned the door-step, swept the room,
THE BROWNIES. 23
dusted the chairs and the old chest, and and hurried back again, for fear the Tailor
set out the table. There was no doubt he should have come down-stairs.
could be handy when he chose. They were depositing the last mush.
I'll tell you what I've thought of, if we room in a dish on the table, when his foot.
have time," said Johnnie, as he washed steps were heard descending.
the potatoes in the water that had been set "There he is! exclaimed Tommy.
for Brownie. We might run down to Remember, we mustn't be caught. Run
the South Pasture for some mushrooms, back to bed."
Father said the reason we found so few Johnnie caught up the handkerchief,
was that people go by sunrise for them to and smothering their laughter, the two
take to market. The sun's only just rising, scrambled back up the ladder, and dashed
we should be sure to find some, and they straight into the heather.
would do for breakfast." Meanwhile the poor Tailor came wearily
There's plenty of time," said Tommy; downstairs. Day after day, since his
so they went. The dew lay heavy and wife's death, he had come down every
thick upon the grass by the road side, and morning to the same desolate sight-yes-
over the miles of network that the spiders terday's refuse and an empty hearth. This
had woven from blossom to blossom of morning task of tidying was always a sad
the heather. The dew is the Sun's break- and ungrateful one to the widowed father.
fast; but he was barely up yet, and had His awkward struggles with the house-
not eaten it, and the world felt anything work in which she had been so notable,
but warm. Nevertheless, it was so sweet chafed him. The dirty kitchen was dreary,
and fresh as it is at no later hour of the the labour lonely, and it was an hour's time
day, and every sound was like the return- lost to his trade. But life does n6t stand
ing voice of a long absent friend. Down still while one is wishing, and so the Tailor
to the pastures, where was more network did that for which there was neither re-
and more dew, but when one has nothing medy nor substitute; and came down this
to speak of in the way of boots, the state morning as other mornings to the pail and
of the ground is of the less consequence, broom. When he came in he looked
The Tailor had been right, there was no round, and started, and rubbed his eyes;
lack of mushrooms at this time of the looked round again, and Tubbed -them
morning. All over the pasture they stood, harder: then went up to the fire and held
of all sizes, some like buttons, some like out his hand, (warm certainly)-then up
tables; and in the distance one or two to the table and smelt the mushrooms,
ragged women, stooping over them with esculentt fungi beyond a doubt)-handled
baskets, looked like huge fungi also. the loaf, stared at the open door and
This is where the fairies feast," said window, the swept floor, and the sunshine
Tommy. "They had a large party last pouring in, and finally sat down in stunned
night. When they go, they take away the admiration. Then he jumped up and ran
dishes and cups, for they are made of to the foot of the stairs, shouting,-
gold; but they leave their tables, and we Mother !* Mother! Trout's luck has
eat them." come again." And yet, no! he thought,
"I wonder whether giants would like to "the old lady's asleep, it's a shame to
eat our tables," said Johnnie. wake her, I'll tell those idle rascally lads,
This was beyond Tommy's capabilities they'll be more pleased than they deserve.
of surmise ; so they filled a handkerchief, It was Tommy after all that set the water
24 THE BROWNIES.
and caught him." "Boys boys !" he I tell you what," said Tommy, with
shouted at the foot of the ladder, the the decisiveness of elder brotherhood,
Brownie has come !-aud if he hasn't we'll keep quiet for a bit for fear we should
found my measure !" he added on return- leave off; but when we've gone on a good
ing to the kitchen, "this is as good as a while, I shall tell him. It was only the
day's work to me." Old Owl's grandmother's great grand-
There was great excitement in the small mother who said it was to be kept secret,
household that day. The boys kept their and the Old Owl herself said grand-
own counsel. The old Grandmother was mothers were not always in the right."
triumphant, and tried not to seem sur- "No more they are," said Johnnie;
prised. The Tailor made no such vain "look at Granny about this."
effort, and remained till bed-time in a state "I know," said Tommy. "She's in a
of fresh and unconcealed amazement, regular muddle."
I've often heard of the Good People," So she is," said Johnnie. But that's
he broke out towards the end of the even- rather fun, I think."
ing. And I've heard folk say they've And they went to sleep.
known those that have seen them capering Day after day went by, and still the
round the grey rocks on the moor at mid- Brownies "stuck to it," and did their
night: but this is wonderful! To come work. It is no such very hard matter after
and do the work for a pan of cold water! all to get up early when one is young and
Who could have believed it ? light-hearted, and sleeps upon heather in a
You might have believed it if you'd be- loft without window-blinds, and with so
lived me, Son Thomas," said the old lady many broken window-panes that the air
tossily. I told you so. But young people comes freely in. In old times the boys
always know better than their elders !" used to play at tents among the heather,
"I didn't see him," said the Tailor, be- while the Tailor did the house-work; now
ginning his story afresh; "but I thought they came down and did it.for him.
as I came in I heard a sort of laughing and Size is not everything, even in this ma-
rustling." trial existence. One has heard of dwarfs
My mother said they often heard him who were quite as clever, (not to say as
playing and laughing about the house," powerful,) as giants, and I do not fancy
said the old lady. "I told you so." that Fairy Godmothers are ever very large.
"Well, he sha'n't want for a bowl of It is wonderful what a comfort Brownies
bread and milk to-morrow, anyhow," said may be in the house that is fortunate
the Tailor, "if I have to stick to Farmer enough to hold them! The Tailor's
Swede's waistcoat till midnight." Brownies were the joy of his life; and day
But the waistcoat was finished by bed- after day they seemed to grow more and
time, and the Tailor set the bread and more ingenious in finding little things to
milk himself, and went to rest. do for his good.
"I say," said Tommy, when both the Now-a-days Granny never picked a scrap
boys were in bed, the Old Owl was right, for herself. One day's hearings were all
and we must stick to it. But I'll tell you neatly arranged the next morning, and
what I don't like, and that is Father think- laid by her knitting-pins; and the Tailor's
ing we're idle still. I wish he knew we tape and shears were no more absent with-
were the Brownies." out leave.
So do I," said Johnnie; and he sighed. One day a message came to him to
Tl7E E.1ROWNI.ES. 25
offer him tw;o or three days' tailoring in a why, my Bill, or your eldest boy, perhaps.
farmhouse some miles up the valley. This And he was dressed in rags, with an old
was pleasant and advantageous sort of cloak on, and stamping with passion at a
work; good food, sure pay, and a cheerful cobweb he couldn't get at with his broom.
change; but he did not know how he They've very uncertain tempers, they
could leave his family, unless, indeed, the say. Tears one minute, and laughing the
Brownie might be relied upon to "keep next."
the house together," as they say. The You never had one here, I suppose?"
boys were sure that he would, and they said the Tailor.
promised to set his water, and to give as "Not we," she answered; and I think
little trouble as possible; so, finally, the I'd rather not. They're not canny after
Tailor took up his shears and went up the all; and my master and me have always
valley, where the green banks sloped up been used to work, and we've sons and
into purple moor, or broke into. sandy daughters to help us, and that's better
rocks, crowned with nodding oak fern. than meddling with the Fairies, to my
On to the prosperous old farm, where he mind. No no !" she added, laughing,
spent a very pleasant time, sitting level If we had had one you'd have heard df
with the window geraniums on a table set it, whoever didn't, for I should have had
apart for him, stitching and gossiping, some decent clothes made for him. I
gossiping and stitching, and feeling secure couldn't stand rags and old cloaks, mess-
of honest payment when his work was ing and moth-catching in my house."
done. The mistress of the house was a They say it's not lucky to give them
kind good creature, and loved a chat; and clothes, though," said the Tailor; they
though the Tailor kept his own secret as don't like it."
to the Brownies, he felt rather curious to Tell me said the dame, as if any
know if the Good People had any hand in one that liked a tidy room, wouldn't like
the comfort of this flourishing household, tidy clothes, if they could get them. No!
and watched his opportunity to make a few no I when we have one, you shall take his
careless inquiries on the subject, measure, I promise you."
"Brownies?" laughed the dame. "Ay, And this was all the Tailor got out of
Master, I have heard of them. When I her on the subject. When his work was
was a girl, in service at the old hall, on finished, the Farmer paid him at once;
Cowberry Edge, I heard a good deal of and the good dame added half a cheese,
one they said had lived there in former and a bottle-green coat.
times. He did housework as well as a That has been laid by for being too
woman, and a good deal quicker, they small for the master now he's so stout,"
said. One night one of the young ladies she said; but except for a stain or two
(that were then, they're all dead now,) hid it's good enough, and will cut up like new
herself in a cupboard, to see what he was for one of the lads."
like." The Tailor thanked them, and said fare-
And what was he like ? inquired the well, and went home. Down the valley,
Tailor, as composedly as he was able. where the river, wandering between the
A little fellow, they said;" answered green banks and the sandy rocks, was
the Farmer's wife, knitting calmly on. caught by giant mosses, and bands of
" Like a dwarf, you know, with a largish fairy fern, and there choked and struggled,
head for his body. Not taller than- and at last barely escaped with an exis-
26 THIE BRO WNIES.
tence, and ran away in a diminished much to me. But it was new clothes that
stream. On up the purple hills to the drove the Brownie out before, and Trout's
old ruined house. As he came in at the luck went with him."
gate he was .struck by some idea of change, I know, Mother," said the Tailor,
and looking again, he saw that the garden "and I've been thinking of it all the way
had been weeded, and was comparatively home; and I can tell you why it was.
tidy, The truth is, that Tommy and Depend upon it, the clothes didn't ft. But
Johnnie had taken advantage of the I'll tell you what I mean to do. I shall
Tailor's absence to do some Brownie's measure them by Tommy-they say the
work in the daytime. Brownies are about his size-and if ever I
"It's that Blessed Brownie 1" said the turned out a well-made coat and waistcoat,
Tailor "Has he been as usual?" he they shall be his."
asked, when he was in the house. Please yourself," said the old lady, and
"To be sure," said the old lady; "all she would say no more.
has been well, Son Thomas." "I think you're quite right, Father,"
"I'll tell you what it is," said the Tailor, said Tommy, "and if I can, I'll help you
after a pause. "I'm a needy man, but I to make them."
hope I'm not ungrateful. I can never re- Next day the father and son set to work,
pay the Brownie for what he has done for and Tommy contrived to make himself so
me and mine; but the mistress up yonder useful, that the Tailor hardly knew how
has given me a bottle-green coat that will he got through so much work.
cut up as good as new; and as sure as "It's not like the same thing," he broke
there's a Brownie in this house, I'll make out at last, "to have some one a bit help-
him a suit of it." ful about you; both for the tailoring and
"You'll what ?" shrieked the old lady. for company's sake. I've not done such
" Son Thomas, Son Thomas, you're mad a pleasant morning's work since your poor
Do what you please for the Brownies, but mother died. I'll tell you what it is,
never make them clothes." Tommy," he added, "if you were always
"There's nothing they want more," said like this, I shouldn't much care whether
the Tailor, "by all accounts. They're all Brownie stayed or went. I'd give up his
in rags, as well they may be, doing so help to have yours."
much work." "I'll be back directly," said Tommy,
If you make clothes for this Brownie, who burst out of the room in search of his
he'll go for good," said the Grandmother, brother."
in a voice of awful warning. I've come away," he said, squatting
"Well, I don't know," said her .son. down, "because I can't bear it. I very
"The mistress up at the farm is clever nearly let it all out, and I shall soon. I
enough, I can tell you; and as she said wish the things weren't going to come to
to me, fancy any one that likes a tidy me," he added, kicking a stone in front
room, not liking a tidy coat !" For the of him. "I wish he'd measured you,
Tailor, like most men, was apt to think Johnnie."
well of the wisdom of womankind in other I'm very glad he didn't," said Johnnie.
houses. I wish he'd kept them himself."
"Well, well," said the old lady, "go Bottle-green, with brass buttons," mur-
your own way. I'm an old woman, and mured Tommy, and therewith fell into a
my time is not long. It doesn't matter reverie.
THE BROWNIES. 27
The next night the suit was finished, He pushed in, and this was the sight that
and laid by the bread and milk. met his eyes:
We shall see," said the old lady, in a The kitchen in its primeval condition of
withering tone. There is not much real chaos, the untidy particulars of which were
prophetic wisdom in this truism, but it the less apparent, as everything was more
sounds very awful, and the Tailor went to or less obscured by the clouds of dust,
bed somewhat depressed. where Johnnie reigned triumphant, like a
Next morning the Brownies came down witch with her broomstick; and, to crown
as usual. all, Tommy capering and singing in the
"Don't they look splendid?" said Brownie's bottle-green suit, brass-buttons
Tommy, feeling the cloth. When we've and all.
tidied the place I shall put them on." "What's this?" shouted the astonished
But long before the place was tidy, he Tailor, when he could find breath to
could wait no longer, and dressed up. speak.
Look at me he shouted; bottle- "It's the Brownies," sang the boys;
green and brass buttons Oh, Johnnie, I and on they danced, for they had worked
wish you had some." themselves up into a state of excitement
It's a good thing there are two from which it was not easy to settle down.
Brownies," said Johnnie, laughing, "and "Where is Brownie?" shouted the father.
one of them in rags still. I shall do the "He's here," said Tommy; "we are
work this morning." And he went flourish- the Brownies."
ing round with a broom, while Tommy "Can't you stop that fooling?" cried
jumped madly about in his new suit. the Tailor, angrily. This is past a joke.
" Hurrah! he shouted, I feel just like Where is the real Brownie, I say?"
the Brownie. What was it Granny said "We are the only Brownies, really,
he sang when he got his clothes ? Oh, I Father," said Tommy, coming to a full
know- stop, and feeling strongly tempted to run
SWhat have we here? Hemten hamten, down from laughing to crying. "Ask the
Here will I never more tread nor stampen.' Old Owl. It's true, really."
The Tailor saw the boy was in -earnest,
And on he danced, regardless of the and passed his hand over his forehead.
clouds of dust raised by Johnnie, as he "I suppose I'm getting old," he said;
drove the broom indiscriminately over the I can't see daylight through this. If you
floor, to the tune of his own laughter. are the Brownie, who has been tidying the
It was laughter which roused the Tailor kitchen lately ?"
that morning, laughter coming through We have," said they.
the floor from the kitchen below. He But who found my measure? "
scrambled on his things and stole down- I did," said Johnnie.
stairs. "And who sorts your grandmother's
"It's the Brownie," he thought; I scraps ?"
must look, if it's for the last time." We do," said they.
At the door he paused and listened. And who sets breakfast, and puts my
The laughter was mixed with singing, and things in order ?"
he heard the words- "We do," said they.
What have we here? -Hemten hamten, But when do you do it ?" asked the
Here will I never more tread nor stampen." Tailor.
28 THE BROWNIES.
Before you come down," said they. "Well, be quiet for five minutes," he
"But I always have to call you," said said.
the Tailor. "We'll be as quiet as mice," said the
We get back to bed again," said the children.
boys. And as quiet as mice they were. Very
But how was it you never did it be like mice, indeed. Very like mice behind
fore?" asked the Tailor doubtfully. a wainscot at night, when you have just
"We were idle, we were idle," said thrown something to frighten them away.
Tommy. Death-like stillness for a few seconds, and
The Tailor's voice rose to a pitch of then all the rustling and scuffling you
desperation- please. So the children sat holding their
But if you did the work," he shouted, breath for a moment or two, and then
" Where is the Brownie ? shuffling feet and smothered bursts of
Here cried the boys, and we are laughter testified to their impatience, and
very sorry that we were Boggarts so long." to the difficulty of understanding the pro-
With which the father and sons fell into cess of story-making as displayed by the
each other's arms and fairly wept. Doctor, who sat pulling his beard, and
staring at his boots, as he made up "a
little more end."
It will be believed that to explain all "Well," he said, sitting up suddenly,
this to the Grandmother was not the work the Brownies went on with their work in
of a moment. She understood it all at spite of the bottle-green suit, and Trout's
last, however, and the Tailor could not luck returned to the old house once more.
restrain a little good-humoured triumph Before long Tommy began to work for the
on the subject. Before he went to work farmers, and Baby grew up into a Brownie,
he settled her down in the window with and made (as girls are apt to make) the
her knitting, and kissed her. best house-sprite of all. For, in the
What do you think of it all, Mother ? Brownie's habits of self-denial, thoughtful-
he inquired, ness, consideration, and the art of little
Bairns are a blessing," said the old kindnesses, boys are, I am afraid, as a
lady tartly, "I told you so." general rule, somewhat behindhand with
their sisters. Whether this altogether pro-
"That's not the end, is it ?" asked one ceeds from constitutional deficiency on
of the boys in a tone of dismay, for the these points in the masculine character, or
Doctor had paused here. is one result among many of the code of
"Yes it is," said he. bye-laws which obtains in men's moral
But couldn't you make a little more education from the cradle, is a question
end ? asked Deordie, to tell us what on which everybody has their own opinion.
became of them all ?" For the present the young gentlemen may
I don't see what there is to tell," said appropriate whichever theory they prefer,
the Doctor. and we will go back to the story. The
"Why, there's whether they ever saw Tailor lived to see his boy-Brownies be-
the Old Owl again, and whether Tommy come men, with all the cares of a prospe-
and Johnnie went on being Brownies," rous farm on their hands, and his girl-
said the children. Brownie carry her fairy talents into another
The Doctor laughed. home. For these Brownies-young ladies I
THE BROWNIES. 29
-are much desired as wives, whereas a the pale moon. "Good-bye!" they shouted
man might as well marry an old witch as a as she disappeared; first the departing
young Boggartess." owl, then a -shadowy body with flapping
"And about the Owl? clamoured the sails, then two wings beating the same
children, rather resentful of the Doctor's measured time, then two moving lines
pausing to take breath, still to the old tune, then a stroke, a fancy,
Of course," he continued, the Tailor and then-the green sky and the pale
heard the whole story, and being both moon, but the Old Owl was gone.
anxious to thank the Old Owl for her "Did she never come back?" asked
friendly offices, and also rather curious to Tiny in subdued tones, for the Doctor had
see and hear her, he went with the boys paused again.
one night at moon-rise to the shed by the "No," said he; "at least not to the
mere. It was earlier in the evening than shed by the mere. Tommy saw many
when Tommy went, for before daylight owls after this in the course of his life;
had vanished-and at the first appearance but as none of them would speak, and as
of the moon, the impatient Tailor was at most of them were addicted to the uncon-
the place. There they found the Owl ventional customs of staring and winking,
looking very solemn and stately on the he could not distinguish his friend, if she
beam. She was sitting among the shadows were among them. And now I think that
with her shoulders up, and she fixed her is all."
eyes so steadily on the Tailor, that he felt "'Is that the very very end ?" asked Tiny.
quite overpowered. He made her a civil The very very end," said the Doctor.
bow, however, and said- "I suppose there might be more and
"I'm much obliged to you, Ma'am, for more ends," speculated Deordie-" about
your good advice to my Tommy." whether the Brownies had any children
The Owl blinked sharply, as if she when they grew into farmers, and whether
grudged shutting her eyes for an instant, the children were Brownies, and whether
and then stared on, but not a word spoke they had other Brownies, and so on and
she. on." And Deordie rocked himself among
"I don't mean to intrude, Ma'am," said the geraniums, in the luxurious imagining
the Tailor, but I was wishful to pay my of an endless fairy tale.
respects and gratitude." "You insatiable rascal!" said the
Still the Owl gazed in' determined Doctor. "Not another word. Jump up,
silence. for I'm going to see you home. I have to
"Don't yourememberme?"said Tommy be off early to-morrow."
pitifully. "I did everything you told me. Where?" said Deordie.
Won't you even say good-bye?" and he "Never mind. I shall be away all day,
went up towards her. and I want to be at home in good time in
The Owl's eyes contracted, she shud- the evening, for I mean to attack that crop
dered a few tufts of fluff into the shed, ofgroundsel between the sweet-pea hedges.
shook her wings;'and shouting Oohoo !" You know, no Brownies come to my home-
at the top of her voice, flew out upon the stead !"
moor. The Tailor and his sons rushed And the Doctor's mouth twitched a
out to watch her. They could see her little till he fixed it into a stiff smile.
clearly against the green twilight sky, flap- The children tried hard to extract some
ping rapidly away with her round face to more ends out of ihim on the way to the
30 THE BROW NIES.
Rectory; but he declined to pursue the "And which of the three styles do you
history of the Trout family through indefi- prefer ?" said the Doctor.
nite .generations. It was decided on all Not tickly and bristly," said Tiny with
hands, however, that Tommy Trout was firmness; and she strutted up the walk
evidently one and the same with the for a pace or two, and then turned round
Tommy Trout who pulled the cat out of to laugh over her shoulder.
the well, because "it was just a sort of "Good-night shouted her victim,
thing for a Brownie to do, you know !" shaking his fist after her.
and that Johnnie Green (who, of course, The other children took a noisy fare-
was not Johnnie Trout,) was some un- well, and they all raced into the house to
worthy village acquaintance, and "a tho- give joint versions of the fairy tale, first to
rough Boggart." the parents in the drawing-room, and then
Doctor said Tiny, as they stood by to Nurse in the nursery.
the garden-gate, "how long do you think The Doctor went home also, with his
gentlemen's pocket-handkerchiefs take to poodle at his heels, but not by the way he
wear out ?" came. He went out of his way, which
"That, my dear Madam," said the was odd; but then the Doctor was "a
Doctor, "must depend, like other terres- little odd," and moreover this was always
trial matters, upon circumstances; whether the end of his evening walk. Through
the gentleman bought fine cambric, or the church-yard, where spreading cedars
coarse cotton with pink portraits of the and stiff yews rose from the velvet grass,
reigning Sovereign, to commence with; and where among tombstones and crosses
whether he catches many colds, has his of various devices lay one of older and
pockets picked, takes snuff, or allows his uglier date, by which he stayed. It was
washerwoman to use washing powders. framed by a border of the most brilliant
But why do you want to know ? flowers, and it would seem as if the Doctor
I sha'n't tell you that," said Tiny, who must have been the gardener, for he picked
was spoilt by the Doctor, and consequently off some dead ones, and put them absently
tyrannized in proportion; but I will tell in his pocket. Then he looked round as
you what I mean to do. I mean to tell if to see that he was alone. Not a soul
Mother that when Father wants any more was to be seen, and the moonlight and
pocket-handkerchiefs hemmed, she had shadow lay quietly side by side, as the
better put them by the bath in the nursery, dead do in their graves. The Doctor
and perhaps some Brownie will come and stooped down and took off his hat.
do them." Good-night, Marcia," he said, in a
Kiss my fluffy face !" said the Doctor low quiet voice. "Good night, my dar-
in sepulchral tones. ling! The dog licked his hand, but
"The owl is too high up," said Tiny, there was no voice to answer, nor any
tossing her head. that regarded.
The Doctor lifted her four feet or so, Poor foolish Doctor! Most foolish to
obtained his kiss, and set her down again, speak to the departed with his face earth-
"You're not fluffy at all," said she in a wards. But we are weak mortals, the best
tone of the utmost contempt; "you're of us; and this man (one of the very best)
tickly and bristly. Puss is more fluffy, and raised his head at last, and went home
Father is scrubby and scratchy, because like a lonely owl with his face to the moon
he shaves." and the sky.
THE BROWNIES. 31
: affecting a great appearance of severity,
A BORROWED BROWNIE. "you're my Brownie, not his. Supposing
Tommy Trout had gone and weeded
"I can't imagine," said the Rector, .Farmer Swede's garden, and brought back
walking into the drawing-room the follow- his weeds to go to seed on the Tailor's''
ing afternoon; "I can't imagine where flower-beds, how do you think he would
Tiny is. I want her to drive to the other have liked it?"
.end of the parish with me." Tiny looked rather crestfallen When
"There she comes," said his wife, look- one has fairly carried through a splendid
ing out of the window, "by the garden- benevolence of this kind, it is trying to
gate, with a great basket; what has she find oneself in the wrong. She crept up
been after ?" to the Rector, however, and put her golden
The Rector went out to discover, and head upon his.arm.
met his daughter looking decidedly earthy, But, Father dear," she pleaded,- "I
and seemingly much exhausted by the didn't mean not to be your Brownie; only,
weight of a basketful of groundsel plants. you know, you had got five left at home,
"Where have you been? said he. and it was only for a short time, and-the
"In the Doctor's garden," said Tiny Doctor hasn't any Brownie at all. Don't
triumphantly; "and look what I have you pity him ?"
done I've weeded his sweet-peas, and And the Rector, who was old enough to
brought away-the groundsel; so when he .remember that grave-stone story we wot
gets home to-night he'll think a Brownie of, hugged his Brownie in his arms, and
has been in the garden, for Mrs. Pickles answered-
has promised not to tell him." My Darling, I do pity him !
S"But look here!" said the Rector,
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
AN EARTHQUAKE IN THE NURSERY. "Don't care fell into a goose-pond,
Miss Dot," said nurse, on one occasion of
IT was certainly an aggravated offence, the kind.
It is generally understood in families "I don't care if he did," said Miss Dot:
that "boys will be boys," but there is a and as nurse knew no further feature of
limit to the forbearance implied in the ex- the goose-pond adventure which met this
tenuating axiom. Master Sam was con- view of it, she closed the subject by
demned to the back nursery for the rest of putting Dot into the corner.
the day. In the strength of Don't care, and her
He always had had the knack of break- love for Sam, Dot bore much and long.
ing his own toys,-he not unfrequently Her dolls perished by ingenious but un-
broke other people's; but accidents will timely deaths. Her toys were put to pur-
happen, and his twin sister and factotum, poses for which they were never intended,
Dot, was long-suffering, and suffered accordingly. But Sam was
Dot was fat, resolute, hasty, and de- penitent and Dot was heroic. Florinda's
votedly unselfish. When Sam scalped her scalp was mended with a hot knittiing-
new doll, and fastened the glossy black needle and a perpetual bonnet, and Dot
curls to a wigwam improvised with the rescued her paint-brushes from the glue-
curtains of the four-post bed in the best pot, and smelt her india-rubber as it
bedroom, Dot was sorely tried. As her boiled down in Sam's waterproof manu-
eyes passed from the crownless doll on the factory, with long-suffering forbearance.
floor to the floss-silk ringlets hanging from There are, however, as we have said,
the bed-furniture, her round rosy face limits to everything. An earthquake cele-
grew rounder and rosier, and tears burst brated with the whole contents of the toy
from her eyes. But in a moment more cupboard is not to be borne.
she clenched her little fists, forced back The matter was this. Early one morn-
the tears, and gave vent to her favourite ing Sam announced that he had a glorious
saying, I don't care." project on hand. He was going to give a
That sentence was Dot's bane and anti- grand show and entertainment, far surpas-
dote; it was her vice and her virtue. It sing all the nursery imitations of circuses,
was her standing consolation, and it conjurors, lectures on chemistry, and so
brought her into all her scrapes. It was forth, with which they had ever amused
her one panacea for all the ups and downs themselves. He refused to confide his
of her life (and in the nursery where Sam plans to the faithful Dot; but he begged her
developed his organ of destructiveness to lend him all the toys she possessed, in re-
there were ups and downs not a few); and turn for which she was to be the sole spec-
it was the form her naughtiness took when tator of the fun. He let out that the idea
she was naughty, had suggested itself to him after the sight
IHE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 33
of a Diorama to which they had been taken, Sam, waving his hand politely towards the
but he would not allow that it was any- rocking-chair, "you see the great city of
thing of the same kind ; in proof of which Lisbon, the capital of Portugal--"
she was at liberty to keep back her paint- At this display of geographical accuracy
box. Dot tried hard to penetrate the Dot fairly cheered,'and rocked herself to
secret, and to reserve some of her things and fro in unmitigated enjoyment.
from the general conscription. But Sam -- as it appeared," continued the
was obstinate. He would tell nothing, showman, on the morning of November
and he wanted everything. The dolls, the Ist, 1755."
bricks (especially the bricks), the tea- Never having had occasion to apply
things, the German farm, the Swiss cot- Mangnall's Questions to the exigencies of
tages, the animals, and all the dolls' furni- every-day life, this date in no way dis-
ture. Dot gave them with a doubtful turbed Dot's comfort.
mind, and consoled herself as she watched "In this house," Sam proceeded, "a
Sam carrying pieces of board and a green party of Portuguese ladies of rank may be
table cover into the back nursery, with the seen taking tea together."
prospect of the show. At last, Sam threw "Breakfast, you mean," said Dot, "you
open the door and ushered her into the said it was in the morning, you know."
nursery rocking-chair. Well, they took tea to their breakfast,"
The boy had certainly some construc- said Sam. "Don't interrupt me, Dot.
tive as well as destructive talent. Upon a You are the audience, and you mustn't
sort of impromptu table covered with green speak. Here you see the horses of the
cloth he had arranged all the toys in rough English ambassador out airing with his
imitation of a town, with its streets and groom. There you see two peasants-no i
buildings. The relative proportion of the they are not Noah and his wife, Dot, and
parts was certainly not good; but it was if you go on talking I shall shut up. I
not Sam's fault that the doll's house and say they are peasants peacefully driving
the German farm, his own brick buildings, cattle. At this moment a rumbling sound
and the Swiss cottages, were all on totally startles every one in the city "-here Sam
different scales of size. He had ingeni- rolled some croquet balls up and down in
ously put the larger things in the fore- a box, but the dolls sat as quiet as before,
ground, keeping the small farm-buildings and Dot alone was startled,-" this was
from the German box at the far end of the succeeded by a slight shock "-here he
streets, yet after all the perspective was shook the table, which upset some of the
extreme. The effect of three large horses buildings belonging to the German farm.
from the toy stables in front, with the -" Some houses fell."-Dot began to look
cows from the small Noah's Ark in the anxious.-" This shock was followed by
distance, was admirable; but the big dolls several others."-" Take care," she begged
seated in an unroofed building, made with of increasing magnitude" Oh,
the wooden bricks on no architectural Sam !" Dot shrieked, jumping up, you're
principle but that of a pound, and taking breaking the china !"-" The largest build-
tea out of the new china tea things, looked ings shook to their foundations,"-" Sam!
simply ridiculous. Sam! the doll's house is falling," Dot
Dot's eyes, however, saw no defects, cried, making wild efforts to save it: but
and she clapped vehemently. Sam held her back with one arm, while
Here, ladies and gentlemen," said with the other he began to pull at the
34 THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
boards which formed his table-" Sud- only the periodical return of gifts and
denly the ground split and opened with a kindness, and the store of family histories
fearful yawn "-Dot's shrieks shamed the that no one else can tell; but we all owe
impassive dolls, as Sam jerked out the something to such an aunt or uncle-the
boards by a dexterous movement, and fairy godmothers of real life.
doll's house, brick buildings, the farm, the The benefits which Sam and Dot reaped
Swiss cottages, and the whole toystock of from Aunt Penelope's visits, may be sum-
the nursery sank together in ruins. Quite med up under the heads of presents and
unabashed by the evident damage, Sam stories, with a general leaning to indul-
continued-" and in a moment the whole gence in the matters of punishment, les-
magnificent city of Lisbon was swallowed sons, and going to bed, which perhaps is
up. Dot! Dot! don't be a muff! What natural to aunts and uncles who have no
is the matter? It's splendid fun. Things positive responsibilities in the young
must be broken sometime, and I'm sure it people's education, and are not the daily
was exactly like the real thing. Dot! why sufferers by the lack of due discipline.
don't you speak? Dot my dear Dot! Aunt Penelope's presents were lovely.
You don't care, do you? I didn't think Aunt Penelope's stories were charming.
you'd mind it so. It was such a splendid There was generally a moral wrapped up
earthquake. Oh trynot to go on like that!" in them, like the motto in a cracker-bon-
But Dot's feelings were far beyond her bon; but it was quite in the inside, so to
own control, much more that of Master speak, and there was abundance of smart
Sam, at this moment. She was gasping paper and sugar-plums.
and choking, and when at last she found All things considered, it was certainly
breath it was only to throw herself on her most proper that the much-injured Dot
face upon the floor with bitter and uncon- should be dressed out in her best, and have
trollable sobbing. access to dessert, the dining-room, and
It was certainly a mild punishment that Aunt Penelope, whilst Sam was kept up-
condemned Master Sam to the back nur- stairs. And yet it was Dot who (her first
sery for the rest of the day. It had, how- burst of grief being over), fought stoutly
ever, this additional severity, that during for his pardon all the time she was being
the afternoon Aunt Penelope was expected dressed, and was afterwards detected in
to arrive, the act of endeavouring to push fragments
of raspberry tart through the nursery key-
AUNT PENELOPE. hole.
Aunt Penelope was one of those dear, "You GOOD thing !" Sam emphatically
good souls, who, single themselves, have, exclaimed, as he heard her in fierce con-
as real or adopted relatives, the interests flict on the other side of the door with the
of a dozen families, instead of one, at nurse who found her-" You GOOD thing!
heart. There are few people whose youth leave me alone, for I deserve it."
has not owned the influence of at least one He really was very penitent. He was
such friend. It may be a good habit, the too fond of Dot not to regret the unex-
first interest in some life-loved pursuit or pected degree of distress he had caused
favourite author, some pretty feminine art, her; and Dot made much of his penitence
or delicate womanly counsel enforced by in her intercessions in the drawing-room.
those narratives of real life that are more "Sam is so very sorry,' she said; "he
interesting than any fiction: it may be says he knows he deserves it. I think
71ZE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 35
he ought to come down. He is so vey "But what will you do?" said Sam. -
sorry !" "Oh, I don't care," said Dot, scram-
Aunt Penelope, as usual, took the le- bling back into her place. "Now, Aunty,
nient side, joining her entreaties to Dot's, please."
and it ended in Master Sam's being hur- And Aunt Penelope began.
riedly scrubbed and brushed, and shoved
into his black velvet suit, and sent down- "THE LAND OF LOST Toys.
stairs, rather red about the eyelids, and
looking very sheepish. "I suppose people who have children
Oh, Dot! he exclaimed, as soon as transfer their childish follies and fancies to
he could get her into a corner, I am so them, and become properly sedate and
very, very sorry! particularly about the grown-up. Perhaps it is because I am an
tea-things." old maid, and have none, that some of my
Never mind," said Dot, "I don't care; nursery whims stick to me, and I find my.
and I've asked for a story, and we're going self liking things, and wanting things, quite
into the library." As Dot said this, she out of keeping with my cap and time of
jerked her head expressively in the direc- life. For instance. Anything in the
tion of the sofa, where Aunt Penelope was shape of a toy-shop (from a London bazaar
just casting on stitches preparatory to be- to a village window, with Dutch dolls,
ginning a pair of her famous ribbed socks leather balls, and wooden battledores)
for Papa, whilst she gave to Mamma's quite unnerves me, so to speak. When I
conversation that sympathy, which (like see one of those boxes containing a jar, a
her knitting-needles) was always at the churn, a kettle, a pan, a coffee-pot, a caul-
service of her large circle of friends. Dot dron on three legs, and sundry dishes, all
anxiously watched the bow on the top of of the smoothest wood, and with the im-
her cap as it danced and nodded with the memorial red flower on one side of each
force of Mamma's observations. At last it vessel, I fairly long for an excuse for play-
gave a little chorus of jerks, as one should ing with them, and for trying (positively
say, "Certainly, .undoubtedly." And then for the last time) if the lids do come off,
the story came to an end, and Dot, who and whether the kettle will (literally, as
had been slowly creeping nearer, fairly took well as metaphorically) hold water. Then
Aunt Penelope by the hand, and carried if, by good or ill luck, there is a child
her off, knitting and all, to the library. flattening its little nose against the window
Now, please," said Dot, when she had with longing eyes, my purse is soon
struggled into a chair that was too tall for empty; and as it toddles off with a square
her. parcel under one arm, and a lovely being
"Stop a minute! cried Sam, who was in black ringlets and white tissue paper in
perched in the opposite one, "the horse- the other, I wish that I were, worthy of
hair tickles my legs." being asked to join the ensuing play.
"Put your pocket-handkerchief under Don't suppose there is any generosity in
them, as I do," said Dot. Now, Aunt this. I have only done what we are all glad
Penelope." to do. I have found an excuse for in-
"No, wait," groaned Sam; "it isn't big dulging a pet weakness. As I said, it is
enough; it only covers one leg." not merely the new and expensive toys
Dot slid down again, and ran to Sam. that attract me ; I think my weakest corner
"Take my handkerchief for the other." is where the penny boxes lie, the wooden
36 THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
tea-things (with the above-named flower in one of the yellow sticks of the climbing
miniature), the soldiers on their lazy tongs, monkeys. The monkey was gone, and the
the nine-pins, and the tiny farm. stick broken. It set me thinking as I
"I need hardly say that the toy booth walked along.
in a village fair tries me very hard. It What an untold number of pretty and
tried me in childhood, when I was often ingenious things one does (not wear out in
short of pence, and when the Feast' came honourable wear and tear, but) utterly lose,
once a year. It never tried me more than and wilfully destroy, in one's young days
on one occasion, lately, when I was re- -things that would have given pleasure
visiting my old home. to so many more young eyes, if they had
"It was deep Midsummer, and the been kept a little longer-things that one
Feast. I had children with me of course would so value in later years, if some of
(I find children, somehow, wherever I go), them had survived the dissipating and
and when we got into the fair, there were destructive days of Nurserydom. I re-
children of people whom I had known as called a young lady I knew, whose room
children, with just the same love for a was adorned with knick-knacks of a kind
monkey going up one side of a yellow I had often envied. They were not plaster
stick and coming down the other, and just figures, old china, wax-work flowers under
as strong heads for a giddy-go-round on a glass, or ordinary ornaments of any kind.
hot day and a diet of peppermint lozenges, They were her old toys. Perhaps she had
as their fathers and mothers before them. not had many of them, and had been the
There were the very same names-and here more careful of those she had. She had
and there it seemed the very same faces- certainly been very fond of them, and had
I knew so long ago. A few shillings were kept more of them than any one I ever
indeed well expended in brightening those knew. A faded doll slept in its cradle at
familiar eyes: and then there were the the foot of her bed. A wooden elephant
children with me. . Besides, there stood on the dressing-table, and a poodle
really did seem to be an unusually nice that had lost his bark put out a red-flannel
assortment of things, and the man was tongue with quixotic violence at a windmill
very intelligent (in reference to his wares): on the opposite corner of the mantelpiece.
. Well, well! It was two o'clock Everything had a story of its own. In-
P.M. when we went in at one end of that deed the whole room must have been re-
glittering avenue of drums, dolls, trumpets, dolent with the sweet story of childhood, of
accordions, workboxes, and what not; but which the toys were the illustrations, or like
what o'clock it was when I came out at the a poem of which the toys were the verses.
other end, with a shilling and some coppers She used to have children to play with them
in my pocket, and was cheered, I can't sometimes, and this was a high honour.
say, though I should like to have been able She is married now, and has children of
to be accurate about the time, because of her own, who on birthdays and holidays
what followed, will forsake the newest of their own posses-
"I thought the best thing I could do was sions to play with 'mamma's toys.'
to get out of the fair at once, so I went up "I was roused from these recollections
the village and struck off across some by the pleasure of getting into the wood.
fields into a little wood that lay near. (A If I have a stronger predilection than
favourite walk in old times.) As I turned my love for toys, it is my love for woods,
out of the booth, my foot struck against and, like the other, it dates from child-
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 37
hood. It was born and bred with me, and I suppose the rain and so forth wears
I fancy will stay with me till I die. The them away in time,' I said vaguely.
soothing scents of leaf mould, moss, and I suppose it does,' said the beetle
fern (not to speak of flowers)-the pale politely; 'will you walk in?'
green veil in spring, the rich shade in "Idon'tknowwhylwasnotsooverpower-
summer, the rustle of the dry leaves in ingly astonished as you would imagine. I
autumn, I suppose an old woman may think I was a good deal absorbed in con-
enjoy all these, my dears, as well as you. sidering the size of the hole, and the very
But I think I could make 'fairy jam' of foolish wish that seized me to do what I
hips and haws in acorn cups now, if any had often longed to do in childhood, and
child would be condescending enough to creep in; I had so much regard for pro-
play with me. priety as to see that there was no one to
This wood, too, had associations, witness the escapade. Then I tucked my
"I strolled on in leisurely enjoyment, skirts round me, put my spectacles into
and at last seated myself at the foot of a my pocket for fear they should get broken,
tree to rest. I was hot and tired; partly and in I went.
with the mid-day heat and the atmosphere "I must say one thing. A wood is
of the fair, partly with the exertion of cal- charming enough (no one appreciates it
culating change in the purchase of articles more than myself), but, if you have never
ranging in price from three farthings up- been there, you have no idea how much
wards. The tree under which I sat was nicer it is inside than on the surface. Oh,
an old friend. There was a hole at its the mosses-the gorgeous mosses The
base that I knew well. Two roots covered fretted lichens! The fungi like flowers
*with exquisite moss ran out from each for beauty, and the flowers like nothing
side, like the arms of a chair, and between you have ever seen !
them there accumulated year after year a "Where the beetle went to I don't
rich, though tiny store of dark leaf-mould. know. I could stand up now quite well,
We always used to say that fairies lived and I wandered on till dusk in unwearied
within, though I never saw anything go in admiration. I was among some large
myself but wood beetles. There was one beeches as it grew dark, and was begin-
going in at that moment. ning to wonder how I should find my way
How little the wood was changed I (not that I had lost it, having none to
bent my head for a few seconds, and, lose), when suddenly lights burst from
closing my eyes, drank in the delicious every tree, and the whole place was illu-
and suggestive scents of earth and moss minated. The nearest approach to this
about the dear old tree. I had been so scene that I ever witnessed above ground
long parted from. the place that I could was in a wood near the Hague in Hol-
hardly believe that I was in the old land. There, what look like tiny glass
familiar spot. Surely it was only one of tumblers holding floating wicks, are fas-
the many dreams in which I had played tened to the trunks of the fine o'd trees,
again beneath those trees But when I at intervals of sufficient distance to make
reopened my eyes there was the same the light and shade mysterious, and to
hole, and, oddly enough, the same .beetle give effect to the full blaze when you
or one just like it. I had not noticed till reach the spot where hanging chains of
that moment how- much larger the hole lamps illuminate the 'Pavilion' and the
was than it used to be in my young days. open space where the band plays, and
38 THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
where the townsfolk assemble by hundreds 'I don't like beetles,' interrupted the
to drink coffee and enjoy the music. I spider, stretching each leg in turn by
was the more reminded of the Dutch sticking it up above him, 'all shell, and
'bosch' because, after wandering some no flavour. You never tried-walking on
time among the lighted trees, I heard anything of that sort, did you?' and he
distant sounds of music, and came at last pointed with one leg to a long thread that
upon a glade lit up in a similar manner, fastened a web above his head.
except that the whole effect was incom- "' Certainly not,' said I.
parably more brilliant. I'm afraid it wouldn't bear you,' he
"As I stood for a moment doubting observed slowly.
whether I should proceed, and a good "' I'm quite sure it wouldn't,' I hastened
deal puzzled about the whole affair, I to reply. 'I wouldn't try for worlds. It
caught sight of a large spider crouched would spoil your pretty work in a moment.
up in a corner with his stomach on the Good-evening.'
ground and his knees above his head, as And I hurried forward. Once I looked
some spiders do sit, and looking at me, back, but the spider was not following me.
as I fancied, through a pair of spectacles. He was in his hole again, on his stomach,
(About the spectacles I do not feel sure. with his knees above his head, and looking
It may have been two of his bent legs in (apparently through his spectacles) down
apparent connection with his prominent the road up which I came.
eyes.) I thought of the beetle, and said I soon forgot him in the sight before
civilly, 'Can you tell me, sir, if this is me. I had reached the open place with
Fairyland ?' The spider took off his the lights and the music; but how shall I
spectacles (or untucked his legs), and took describe the spectacle that I beheld ?
a sideways run out of his corner. I have spoken of the effect of a toy-
Well,' he said, 'it's a Province. The shop on my feelings. Now imagine a toy-
fact is, it's the Land of Lost Toys. You fair, brighter and gayer than the brightest
haven't such a thing as a fly anywhere bazaar ever seen, held in an open glade,
about you, have you ?' where forest-trees stood majestically be-
"'No,'Isaid,'I'm sorryto say Ihave not.' hind the glittering stalls, and stretched
This was not strictly true, for I was not at their gigantic arms above our heads, bril-
all sorry; but I wished to be civil to the old liant with a thousand hanging lamps. At
gentleman, for he projected his eyes at me the momerit of my entrance all was silent
with such an intense (I had almost said and quiet. The toys lay in their places
greedy) gaze, that I felt quite frightened, looking so incredibly attractive that I re-
"' How did you pass the sentries ?' he flected with disgust that all my ready cash,
inquired. except one shilling and some coppers, had
"' I never saw any,'.I answered, melted away amid the tawdry fascinations
"' You couldn't have seen anything if of a village booth. I was counting the
you didn't see them,' he said; 'but per- coppers (sevenpence halfpenny), when all
haps you don't know. They're the glow- in a moment a dozen sixpenny fiddles
worms. Six to each tree, so they light leaped from their places and began to
the road, and challenge the passers-by. play, accordions of all sizes joined them,
Why didn't they challenge you?' the drumsticks beat upon.the drums, the
"' I don't know,' I began, unless the penny trumpets sounded, and the yellow
beetle- flutes took up the melody on high notes,
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 39
and bore it away through the trees. It was but he never ate that potato. When he
weird fairy-music, but quite delightful, died it rolled out of the corner, and was
The nearest approach to it that I know of swept into the ashes. Then it came down
above ground is to hear a wild dreamy air here.'
very well whistled to a pianoforte accom- "' What a sad story !' I exclaimed.
paniment. The beetle seemed in no way affected.
"When the music began, all the toys "' It is a curious thing,' he rambled on,
rose. The dolls jumped down and began 'that potato takes quite a good place
to dance. The poodles barked, the pan- among the toys. You see, rank and pre-
nier donkeys wagged their ears, the wind- cedence down here is entirely a question
mills turned, the puzzles put themselves of age; that is, of the length of time that
together, the bricks built houses, the balls any plaything has been in the possession
flew from side to side, the battledores and of a child; and all kinds of ugly old things
shuttlecocks kept it up among themselves, hold the first rank; whereas the most
and the skipping-ropes went round, the costly and beautiful works of art have often
hoops ran off, and the sticks ran after been smashed or lost by the spoilt children
them, the cobbler's wax at the tails of all of rich people, in two or three days. If
the green frogs gave way, and they jumped you care for sad stories, there is another
at the same moment, whilst an old-fashioned queer thing belonging to a child who
go-cart ran madly about with nobody in- died.'
side. It was most exhilarating. "It appeared, to be a large sheet of
I soon became aware that the beetle canvas with some strange kind of needle-
was once more at my elbow. work upon it.
There are some beautiful toys here,' "' It belonged to a little girl in a rich
I said. household,' the beetle continued; 'she
"'Well, yes,' he replied, and some odd- was an invalid, and difficult to amuse. We
looking ones, too. You see, whatever has have lots of her toys, and very pretty ones
been really used by any child as a play- too. At last some one taught her to make
thing gets a right to come down here in caterpillars in wool-work. A bit of work
the end; and there is some very queer was to be done in a certain stitch and
company, I assure you. Look. there.' then cut with scissors, which made it look
I looked, and said, It seems to be a like a hairy caterpillar. The child took to
potato.' this, and cared for nothing else. Wool of
'So it is,' said the beetle. It belonged every shade was procured for her, and she
to an Irish child in one of your great cities, made caterpillars of all colours. Her only
But to whom the child belonged I don't complaint was that they did not turn into
know, and I don't think he knew himself. butterflies. However, she was a sweet,
He lived in the corner of a dirty, over- gentle-tempered child, and she went on,
crowded room, and into this corner, one hoping that they would do so, and making
day the potato rolled. It was the the new ones. One day she was heard talking
only plaything he ever had. He 'stuck and laughing in her bed for joy. She said
two cinders into it for eyes, scraped a nose that all the caterpillars had become butter-
and mouth, and loved it. He sat upon it flies of many colours, and that the room
during the day, for fear it should be taken was full of them. In that happy fancy she
from him, but in the dark he took it out died.'
and played with it. He was often hungry, "'And the caterpillars came down here?'
40 THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
Not for a long time,' said the beetle; themselves into houses andgetting knocked
'her mother kept them while she lived, down when the band begins to play,
and then they were lost and came down. feathers, rabbits'-tails-
No toys come down here till they are "'Ah I have heard about the rabbits'
broken or lost.' tails,' I said.
What are those sticks doing here ?' "' There they are,' the beetle continued;
I asked, and when the band plays you will see how
The music had ceased, and all the toys they skip and run. I don't believe you
were lying quiet. Up in a corner leaned would find out that they had no bodies,
a large bundle of walking-sticks. They are for my experience of a warren is, that when.
often sold in toy-shops, but I wondered on rabbits skip and run it is the tails chiefly
what grounds they came here. that you do see. But of all the amateur
"'Did you ever meet with a too bene- toys the most successful are the boats.
violent old gentleman wondering where on We have a lake for our craft, you know,
earth his sticks go to?' said the beetle, and there's quite a fleet of boats made out
'Why do they lend them to their grand- of old cork floats in fishing villages. Then,
children ? The young rogues use them as you see, the old bits of cork have really
hobby-horses and lose them, and down been to sea, and seen a good deal of ser-
they come, and the sentinels cannot stop vice on the herring nets, and so they quite
them. The real hobby-horses won't allow take the lead of the smart shop ships, that
them to ride with them, however. There have never been beyond a pond or a tub
was a meeting on the subject. Every stick of water. But that's an exception. Ama-
was put through an examination. "Where teur toys are mostly very dowdy. Look
is your nose? Where is your mane? at that box.'
Where are your wheels ?" The last was a I looked, thought I must have seen it
poser. Some of them had got noses, but before, and wondered why a very com-
none of them had got wheels. So they mon-looking box without a lid should
were not true hobby-horses. Something affect me so strangely, and why my me-
of the kind occurred with the elder- mory should seem struggling to bring it
whistles.' back out of the past. Suddenly it came
"'The what?' I asked. to me-it was our old Toy Box.
"' Whistles that boys make of elder "I had completely forgotten that nur-
sticks with the pith scooped out,' said the sery institution till recalled by the familiar
beetle. The real instruments would not aspect of the inside, which was papered
allow them to play with them. The elder with proof-sheets of some old novel on
whistles said they would not have joined which black stars had been stamped by
had they been asked. They were amateurs, way of ornament. Dim memories of how
and never played with professionals. So these stars, and the angles of the box, and
they have private concerts with the combs certain projecting nails interfered with the
and curl-papers. But, bless you, toys of letter-press and defeated all attempts to
thiskindare endlesshere! Teetotums made trace the thread of the nameless narrative,
of old cotton reels, tea-sets of acorn cups, stole back over my brain; and I seemed
dinner-sets of old shells, monkeys made once more, with my head in the Toy Box,
of bits of sponge, all sorts of things made to beguile a wet afternoon by apoplectic
of breastbones and merrythoughts, old endeavours to follow the fortunes of Sir
packs of cards that are always building Charles and Lady Belinda, as they took a
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 41
favourable turn in the left-hand corner at skin beard, whose eyes were intently fixed
the bottom of the trunk. on me. He was very like my old Jack-in-
"'What are you staring at?' said the a-box. My back began to creep, and I
beetle. wildly meditated escape, frantically trying
"'It's my old Toy Box !' I exclaimed, at the same time to recall whether it were
The beetle rolled on to his back, and I or my brother who originated the idea of
struggled helplessly with his legs : I turned making a small bonfire of our own one 5th
him over. (Neither the first nor the last of November, and burning the old Jack-
time of my showing that attention to in-a-box for Guy Fawkes, till nothing was
beetles.) left of him but a twirling bit of red-hot
That's right,' he said, set me on my wire and a strong smell of frizzled fur.
legs. What a turn you gave me! You At this moment, he nodded to me and
don't mean to say you have any toys here ? spoke.
If you have, the sooner you make your "'Oh that's you, is it?' he said.
way home the better.' No it's not,' I answered, hastily; for
'Why?' I inquired. I was quite demoralized by fear and the
Well,' he said, there's a very strong strangeness of the situation.
feeling in the place. The toys think that Who is it, then?' he inquired.
they are ill-treated, and not taken care of I'm sure I don't know,' I said; and
by children in general. And there is some really I was so confused that I hardly
truth in it. Toys come down here by did.
scores that have been broken the first day. "'Well, we know,' said the Jack-in-a-
And they are all quite resolved that if any box, 'and that's all that's needed. Now,
of their old masters or mistresses come my friends, he continued, addressing the
this way they shall be punished.' toys who had begun to crowd round us,
"'How will they be punished?' I in- 'whoever recognizes a mistress and re-
quired, members a grudge--the hour of our re-
Exactly as they did to their toys, their venge has come. Can we any of us for-
toys will do to them. All is perfectly fair get the treatment we received at her hands?
and regular.' No When we think of the ingenious
"' I don't know that I treated mine par- fancy, the patient skill, that went to our
ticularly badly,' I said; 'but I think I manufacture; that fitted the delicate joints
would rather go.' and springs, laid on the paint and varnish,
I think you'd better,' said the bettle. and gave backhair-combs, and ear-rings to
'Good-evening !' and I saw him no more. our smallest dolls, we feel that we deserved
I turned to go, but somehow Ilost the more care than we received. When we
road. At last, as I thought, I found it, reflect upon the kind friends who bought
and had gone a few steps when I came on us with their money, and gave us away
a detachment of wooden soldiers, drawn in the benevolence of their hearts, we
up on their lazy tongs. I thought it better know that for their sakes we ought to
to wait till they got out of the way, so I have been longer kept and better valued.
turned back, and sat down in a corner in And when we remember that the sole ob-
some alarm. As I did so, I heard a click, ject of our own existence was to give plea-
and the lid of a small box covered with sure and amusement to our possessors, we
mottled paper burst open, and up jumped have no hesitation in believing that we de-
a figure in a blue striped shirt and a rabbit- served a handsomer return than to have
42 THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
had our springs broken, our paint dirtied, locket after I was grown up. No one could
and our earthly careers so untimely shor- say I had ill-treated her. Indeed, she
tened by wilful mischief or fickle neglect. fixed her eyes on me with a most encou-
My friends, the prisoner is at the bar.' raging smile--but then she always smiled,
"' I am not, I said; for I was deter- her mouth was painted so.
mined not to give in as long as resistance 'All whom it may concern, take notice,'
was possible. But as I said it I became shouted the Jack-in-a-box, at this point,
aware, to my unutterable amazement, that that the rule of this honourable-court is
I was inside the go-cart. How I got there tit for tat.'
is to this moment a mystery to me-but "'Tit, tat, tumble two,' muttered the
there I was. slate in a cracked voice. (How well
There was a great deal of excitement I remembered the fall that cracked it,
about the Jack-in-a-box's speech. It was and the sly games of tit tat that varied
evident that he was considered an orator, the monotony of our long multiplication
and, indeed, I have seen counsel in a real sums !)
court look wonderfully like him. Mean- "'What are you talking about?' said
while, my old toys appeared to be getting the Jack-in-a-box, sharply; if you have
together. I had no idea that I had had grievances, state them,.and you shall have
so many. I had really been very fond of satisfaction, as I told you before.'
most of them, and my heart beat as the '- and five make nine;' added the
sight of them recalled scenes long forgot- slate promptly, 'and six are fifteen, and
ten, and took me back to childhood and eight are twenty-seven-there we go again!
home. There were my little gardening I wonder why I never get up to the top of
tools, and my slate, and there was the big a line of figures right. It will never prove
doll's bedstead, that had a real mattress, at this rate.'
and real sheets and blankets, all marked His mind is lost in calculations,' said
with the letter D, and a workbasket made the Jack-in-a-box, 'besides-between our-
in the blind school, and a shilling School selves-he has been cracky" for some
of Art paint box, and a wooden doll we time. Let some one else speak, and ob-
used to call the Dowager, and innumer- serve that no one is at liberty to pass a
able other toys which I had forgotten till sentence on the prisoner heavier than what
the sight of them recalled them to my me- he has suffered from her. I reserve my
mory, but which have again passed from judgment to the last.'
my mind. Exactly opposite to me stood I know what will be,' thought I; oh
the Chinese mandarin, nodding as I had dear oh dear that a respectable maiden
never seen him nod since the day when I lady should live to be burnt as a Guy
finally stopped his performances by ill- Fawkes !'
directed efforts to discover how he did it. "'Let the prisoner drink a gallon of
And what was that familiar figure iced water at once, and then be left to die
among the rest, in a yellow silk dress and of thirst.'
maroon velvetcloak andhood trimmed with "The horrible idea that the speaker
black lace ? How those clothes recalled might possibly have the power to enforce
the friends who gave them to me! And his sentence diverted my attention from
surely this was no other than my dear doll the slate, and I looked round. In front
Rosa-the beloved companion of five of the Jack-in-a-box stood a tiny red flower-
years of my youth, whose hair I wore in a pot and saucer, in which was a miniature
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 43
cactus. My thoughts flew back to a bazaar ing, and that the other toys were pro-
in London where, years ago, a stand of nouncing sentence against me.
these fairy plants had excited my warmest "' Tie a string round her neck and take
longings, and where a benevolent old her out bathing in the brooks,' I heard an
gentleman whom I had not seen before, elderly voice say in severe tones. It was
and never saw again, bought this one and the Dowager Doll. She was inflexibly
gave it to me. Vague memories of his wooden, and had been in the family for
directions for repotting and tending it re- more than one generation.
preached me from the past. My mind It's not fair,' I exclaimed, the string
misgave me that after all it had died a was only to keep you from being carried
dusty death for lack of water. True, the away by the stream. The current is strong,
cactus tribe being succulent plants do not and the bank steep by the Hollow Oak
demand much moisture, but I had reason Pool, and you had no arms or legs. You
to fear.that, in this instance,' the principle were old and ugly, but you would wash,
had been applied too far, and that after and we loved you better than many waxen
copious baths of cold spring water in the beauties.'
first days of its popularity it had eventually Old and ugly !' shrieked the Dowager.
perished by drought. I suppose I looked 'Tear her wig off! Scrub the paint off
guilty, for it nodded its prickly head to- her face Flatten her nose on the pave-
wards me, and said, Ah! you know me. ment! Saw off her legs and give her no
You remember what I was, do you ? Did crinoline Take her out bathing, I say,
you ever think of what I might have been ? and bring her home in a wheelbarrow with
There was a fairy rose which came down fern roots on the top of her.'
here not long ago-a common rose enough, "I was about to protest again, when
in a broken pot patched with string and the paint-box came forward, and balancing
white paint. It had lived in a street where itself in an artistic, undecided kind of way
it was the only pure beautiful thing your on two camel's-hair brushes which seemed
eyes could see. When the girl who kept to serve it for feet, addressed the Jack-in-a
it died there were eighteen roses upon it. box.
She was eighteen years old, and they put "' Never dip your paint into the water.
the roses in the coffin with her when she Never put your brush into your mouth-'
was buried. That was worth living for. 'That's not evidence,' said the Jack-
Who knows what I might have done? in-a-box.
And what right had you to cut short a life "'Your notions are crude,' said the paint-
that might have been useful?' box loftily; 'it's in print, and here, all of
Before I could think of a reply to these it, or words to that effect;' with which he
too just reproaches, the flower-pot enlarged, touched the lid, as a gentleman might lay
the plant shot up, putting forth new his hand upon his heart.
branches as it grew; then buds burst from "' It's not evidence,' repeated the Jack-
the prickly limbs, and in a few moments in a box. Let us proceed.'
there hung about it great drooping blossoms 'Take her to pieces and see what she's
of lovely pink, with long white tassels in made of, if you please,' tittered- a pretty
their throats. I had been gazing at it German toy that moved to a tinkling
-some time in silent and self-reproachful musical accompaniment. 'If her works
admiration when I became aware that the are available after that it will be an era in
business of this strange court was proceed- natural science.'
44 THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
"The idea tickled me, and I laughed. "'That you are not, Miss," snapped the
"' Hardhearted wretch !' growled the dowager; 'I was in the family for fifty
Dowager Doll. years.'
"'Dip her in water and leave her to "'In the family. Yes,ma'am; but you
soak on a white soup plate,' said the paint- were never her doll in particular. I was
box; 'if that .doesn't soften her feelings, her very own, and she kept me longer than
deprive me of my medal from the School any other plaything. My judgment must
of Art !' be first.'
Give her a stiff neck !' muttered the "' She is right,' said the Jack-in-a-box,
mandarin. 'Ching Fo! give her a stiff neck.' 'and now let us get on. The prisoner is
"' Knock her teeth out,' growled the delivered unreservedly into the hands of
rake in a scratchy voice; and then the our trusty and well-beloved Rosa-doll of
tools joined in chorus. the first class-for punishment according
Take her out when it's fine and leave to the strict law of tit for tat.'
her out when it's wet, and lose her in-- I shall request the assistance of the
The coal hole,' said the spade, pewter tea-things,' said Rosa, with her
'"'The hay field,' said the rake. usual smile. 'And now, my love,' she
"'The shrubbery,' said the hoe. added, turning to me, 'we will come and
"This difference of opinion produced a sit down.'
quarrel, which in turn seemed to affect the Where the go-cart vanished to I can-
general behaviour of the toys, for a dis- not remember, nor how I got out of it; I
turbance arose which the Jack-in-a-box only know that I suddenly found myself
vainly endeavoured to quell. A dozen free, and walking away with my hand in
voices shouted for a dozen different punish- Rosa's. I remember vacantly feeling the
ments and (happily for me) each toy in- rough edge of the stitches on her flat kid
sisted upon its own wrongs being the first fingers, and wondering what would come
to be avenged, and no one would hear of next.
the claims of any one else being attended "' How very oddly you hold your feet,
to for an instant. Terrible sentences were my dear,' she said; 'you stick out your
passed, which I either failed to hear through toes in such an eccentric fashion, and you
the clamour then, or hive forgotten now. lean on your legs as if they were table legs,
I have a vague idea that several voices instead of supporting yourself by my
cried that I was to be sent to wash in some- hand. Turn your heels well out, and
body's pocket; that the work-basket wished bring your toes together. You may even
to cram my mouth with unfinished needle- let them fold over each other a little; it
work; and that through all the din the. is considered to have a pretty effect among
thick voice of my old leather ball monoto- dolls.'
nously repeated: Under one of the big trees Miss Rosa
"'Throw her into the dust-hole.' made me sit down, propping me against
"Suddenly a clear voice pierced the the trunk as if I should otherwise have
confusion, and Rosa tripped up. fallen; and in a moment more a square
"'My dears,' she began, 'the only box of pewter tea-things came tumbling up
chance of restoring order is to observe to our feet, where the lid burst open, and
method. Let us follow our usual rule of all the tea-things fell out in perfect order;
precedence. I claim the first turn as the the cups on the saucers, the lid on the
prisoner's oldest toy.' teapot, and so on.
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 45
"'Take a little tea, my love?' said fond of your needle, I think. I fear you
Miss Rosa, pressing a pewter teacup to must go to bed in your clothes, my dear.'
my lips. You are very kind,' I said, 'but I am
I made believe to drink, but was only not tired, and-it would not bear my
conscious of inhaling a draught of air with weight.'
a slight flavour of tin. In taking my Pooh pooh said Rosa. My love !
second cup I was nearly choked with the I remember passing one Sunday in it with
teaspoon, which got into my throat. the rag-doll, and the Dowager, and the
"'What are you doing?' roared the Punch and Judy (the amount of pillow
Jack-in-a-box at this moment; 'you are their two noses took up I shall never
not punishing her.' forget !), and the old doll that had nothing
"' I am treating her as she treated me,' on, because her clothes were in the dolls'
answered Rosa, looking as severe as her wash and did not get ironed on Saturday
smile would allow. I believe that tit for night, and the Highlander, whose things
tat is the rule, and that at present it is my wouldn't come off, and who slept in his
turn.' kilt. Not bear you? Nonsense! You
It will be mine soon,' growled the must go to bed, my dear. I've got other
Jack-in-a-box, and I thought of the bon- things to do, and I can't leave you lying
fire with a shudder. However, there was about.'
no knowing what might happen before his "' The whole lot of you did not weigh
turn did come, and meanwhile I was in one quarter of what I do,' I cried des-
friendly hands. It was not the first time perately. I cannot, and will not get into
my dolly and I had sat together under a that bed; I should break it all to pieces,
tree, and, truth to say, I do not think she and hurt myself into the bargain.'
had any injuries to avenge. Well, if you will not go to bed I
"' When your wig comes off,' murmured must put you there,' said Rosa, and with-
Rosa, as she stole a pink kid arm tenderly out more ado, she snatched me up in her
round my neck, 'I'll make you a cap with kid arms, and laid me down.
blue and white rosettes, and pretend that Of course it was just as I expected. I
you have had a fever.' had hardly touched the two little pillows
I thanked her gratefully, and was glad (they had a meal-baggy smell from being
to reflect that I was not yet in need of an stuffed with bran), when the woodwork
attention which I distinctly remember gave way with a crash, and I fell-fell-
having shown to her in the days of her fell-
dollhood. Presently she jumped up. Though I fully believed every bone in
"' I think you shall go to bed now, my body to be broken, it was really a re-
dear,' she said, and, taking my hand once lief to get to the ground. As soon as I
more, she led me to the big doll's bed- could, I sat up, and felt myself all over.
stead, which, with its pretty bedclothes A little stiff, but, as it seemed, unhurt.
and white dimity furniture, looked tempt- Oddly enough, I found that I was back
ing enough to a sleeper of suitable size. It again under the tree; and more strange
could not have supported one quarter of still, it was not the tree where I sat with
my weight. Rosa, but the old oak-tree in the little
I have not made you a night-dress, wood. Was it all a dream? The toys
my love,' Rosa continued; 'I am not fond had vanished, the lights were out, the
of my needle you know. You were not mosses looked dull in the growing dusk,
46 THE LAND OF LOST TOYS.
the evening was chilly, the hole no larger "So it is," said Dot, getting up. "I
than it was thirty years ago, and when I was only joking. What is the idea?"
felt in my pocket for my spectacles I found I don't think I shall tell you till I have
that they were on my nose. finished my shop. I want to get to it
I have returned to the spot many now, and I wish you would take a turn at
times since, but I never could induce a the glue-pot."
beetle to enter into conversation on the Sam was apt to want a change of occu-
subject, the hole remains obstinately im- pation. Dot, on the other hand, was
passable, and I have not been able to re- equally averse from leaving what she was
peat my visit to the Land of Lost Toys. about till it was finished, so they suited
"When I recall my many sins against each other like Jack Sprat and his wife.
the playthings of my childhood, I am con- It had been an effort to Dot to leave the
strained humbly to acknowledge that per- night-dress which she had hoped to finish
haps this is just as well." at a sitting; but when she was fairly set to
S work on the glue business she never
moved till the glue was in working order,
and her face as red as a ripe tomato. '
SAM SETS UP SHOP. By this time Sam had set up business
in the window-seat, and was fastening a
"I think you might help me, Dot," large paper inscription over his shop. It
cried Sam in dismal and rather injured ran thus:
It was the morning following the day of
the earthquake, and of Aunt Penelope's MR. SAM.
arrival. Sam had his back to Dot, and his
face to the fire, over which indeed he had Doll'sDoctorand Toymenderto Her Majesty
bent for so long that he appeared to be the Queen, and all other Potentates.
"What do you want?" asked Dot, who
was working at a doll's night-dress that. "Splendid!" shouted Dot, who was
had for long been partly finished, and now serving up the glue as if it had been a
seemed in a fair way to completion. kettle of soup, and who looked herself
It's the glue-pot," Sam continued, very like an overtoasted cook.
" It does take so long to boil. And I Sam took the glue, and began to bustle
have been stirring at the glue with a stick about.
for ever so long to get it to melt. It is "Now, Dot, get me all the broken toys,
very hot work. I wish you would take it and we'll see what we can do. And here's
for a bit. It's as much for your good as a second splendid idea. Do you see that
for mine." box? Into that we shall put all the toys
"Is it?" said Dot. that are quite spoiled and cannot possibly
"Yes it is, Miss," cried Sam. "You be mended. It is to be called the Hos-
must know I've got a splendid idea." pital for Incurables. I've got a placard
"Not another earthquake, I hope ?" for that. At least it's not written yet, but
said Dot, smiling, here's the paper, and perhaps you would
Now, Dot, that's truly unkind of you. write it, Dot, for I am tired of writing, and
I thought it was to be forgotten." I want to begin the mending."
THE LAND OF LOST TOYS. 47
"For the future," he presently resumed, months after these events, Dot (assisted
"when I want a doll to scalp or behead, by Mamma and Aunt Penelope), had pre-
I shall apply to the Hospital for Incura- pared for him a surprise that was more
bles, and the same with any other toy that than equal to any of his own "splendid
I want to destroy. And you will- see, my ideas." The whole force of the toy cup-
dear Dot, that I shall be quite a blessing board was assembled on the nursery table,
to the nursery; for I shall attend the dolls to present Sam with a fine box of joiner's
gratis, and keep all the furniture in repair." tools as a reward for his services, Papa
Sam really kept his word. He-had a kindly acting as spokesman on the occa-
natural turn for mechanical work, and, sion.
backed by Dot's more methodical genius, And certain gaps in the china tea-set,
he prolonged the days of the broken toys some scars on the dolls' faces, and a good
by skilful mending, and so acquired an many new legs, both amongst the furni-
interest in them which was still more fa- ture and the animals, are now the only
vourable to their preservation. When his remaining traces of Sam's earthquake.
birthday came round, which was some
THREE CHRISTMAS TREES.
THIS is a story of Three Christmas- tide, that "the Governor's amiable and
Trees. The first was a real one, but admired lady" (as she was styled in the
the child we are to speak of did not see local newspaper) sent out notes for her
it. He saw the other two, but they were first children's party. At the top of the
not real; they only existed in his fancy. notepaper was a very red robin, who car-
The plot of the story is very simple; and, ried a blue Christmas greeting in his mouth,
as it has been described so early, it is easy and at the bottom-written with A. D. C.'s
for those who think it stupid to lay the best flourish-were the magic words, A
book down in good time. Christmas Tree. In spite of the flourishes
Probably every child who reads this has -partly perhaps, because of them-the
seen one Christmas-tree or more; but in A. D. C.'s handwriting, though handsome,
the small town of a distant colony with was rather illegible. But for all this, most
which we have to do, this could not at of the children invited contrived to read
one time have been said. Christmas-trees these words, and those who could not do
were then by no means so universal, even so were not slow to learn the news by
in England, as they now are, and in this hearsay. There was to be a Christmas-
little colonial town, they were unknown. Tree! It would be like a birthday party,
Unknown that is, till the Governor's wife with this above ordinary birthdays, that
gave her great children's party. At which there were to be presents for every one.
point we will begih the story. One of the children invited lived in a
The Governor had given a great many little white house, with a spruce fir-tree be-
parties in his time. He had entertained fore the door. The spruce fir did this
big wigs and little wigs, the passing mili- good service to the little house, that it
tary, and the local grandees. Everybody helped people to find their way to it; and
who had the remotest claim to attention it was by no means easy for a stranger to
had been attended to: the ladies had had find his way to any given house in this
their full share of balls and pleasure par- little town, especially if the house were
ties: only one class of the population had small and white, and stood in one of the
any complaint to prefer against his hos- back streets. For most of the houses were
pitality; but the class was a large one- small, and most of them were painted
it was the children. However, he was a white, and the back streets ran parallel
bachelor, and knew little or nothing about with each other, and had no names, and
httle boys and girls : let us pity rather were all so much alike that it was very con-
than blame him. At last he took to him- fusing. For instance, if you had asked the
self a wife; and among the many advan- way to Mr. So-and-So's, it is very probable
tages of this important step, was a due that some friend would have directed you
recognition of the claims of these young as follows: Go straight forward and take
citizens. It was towards happy Christmas- the first turning to your left, and you will
THREE CHRISTAIAS-TREES. 49
find that there are four streets, which run Of all the children who looked forward
at right angles to the one you are in, and to the Christmas-tree, he looked forward
parallel with each other. Each of them to it the most intensely. He was an im-
has got a big pine in it-one of the old aginative child, of a simple, happy nature,
forest trees. Take the last street but one, easy to please. His father was an Eng-
and the fifth white house you come to is lishman, and in the long winter evenings
Mr. So-and-So's. He has green blinds he would tell the child tales of the old
and a coloured servant." You would not country, to which his mother would listen
always have got such clear directions as also. Perhaps the parents enjoyed these
these, but with them you would probably stories the most. To the boy they were
have found the house at last, partly by new, and consequently delightful, but to
accident, partly by the blinds and coloured the parents they were old; and as regards
servant. Some of the neighbours affirmed some stories, that is better still.
that the little white house had a name; "What kind of a bird is this on my
that all the houses and streets had names, letter ?" asked the boy on the day which
only they were traditional and not recorded brought the Governor's lady's note of invi-
anywhere; that very few people knew station. "And oh what is a Christmas-
them, and nobody made any use of them. tree ?"
The name of the little white house was The bird is an English robin," said his
said to be Trafalgar Villa, which seemed father. "It is quite another bird to that
so inappropriate to the modest peaceful, which is called a robin here : it is smaller
little home, that the man who lived in it and rounder, and has a redder breast and
tried to find out why it had been so called. bright dark eyes, and lives and sings at
He thought that his predecessor must have home through the winter. A Christmas-
been in the navy, until he found that he tree.is a fir-tree-just such a one as that
had been the owner of what is called a outside the door-brought into the house
" dry-goods store," which seems to mean a and covered with lights and presents. Pic-
shop where things are sold which are not ture to yourself our fir-tree lighted up with
good to eat or drink-such as drapery. tapers on all the branches, with dolls, and
At last somebody said, that as there was a trumpets, and bon-bons, and drums, and
public-house called the Duke of Welling- toys of all kinds hanging from it like fir-
ton" at the corner of the street, there pro- cones, and on the tip-top shoot a figure of
bably had been a nearer one called "The a Christmas Angel in white, with a star
Nelson," which had been burnt down, and upon its head."
that the man who built The Nelson had Fancy !" said the boy.
built the house with the spruce fir before And fancy he did. Every day he looked
it, and that so the name had arisen. An at the spruce fir, and tried to imagine it
explanation which was just so far probable, laden with presents, and brilliant with
that public-houses and fires were of fre- tapers, and thought how wonderful must
quent occurrence in those parts, be that "old country "-Home, as it was
But this has nothing to do with the called, even by those who had never seen
story. Only we must say, as we said be- it-where the robins were so very red, and
fore, and as we should have said had we where at Christmas the fir-trees were hung
been living there then, the child we speak with toys instead of cones.
of lived in the little white house with one It was certainly a pity that, two days be-
spruce fir just in front of it. fore the party, an original idea on the sub-
50 THREE CHRISTMAS-TREES.
ject of snowmen struck one of the children did feel it, and that so severely that the
who used to play together, with their sleds children were obliged to give up the game,
and snow-shoes, in the back streets. The and, taking the stick out his stiff little arms,
idea was this : That instead of having a to lead him home.
common-place snowman, whose legs were It appears that it is with snowmen as
obliged to be mere stumps, for fear he with some othermen in conspicuous posi-
should be top-heavy, and who could not tions. It is easier to find fault with them
walk, even with them; who, in fact, could than to fill their place.
do nothing but stand at the corner of the The end of this was a feverish cold, and,
street, holding his impotent stick, and when the day of the party came, the ex-
staring with his pebble eyes, till he was snowman was still in bed. It is due to
broken to pieces or ignominiously carried the other children to say that they felt the
away by a thaw,-that, instead of this, disappointment as keenly as he did, and
they should have a real, live snowman, that it greatly damped the pleasure of the
who should walk on competent legs, to the party for them to think that they had pre-
astonishment, and (happy thought!) per- vented his sharing in the treat. The most
haps to the alarm of the passers-by. This penitent of all was the deviser of the ori-
delightful novelty was to be accomplished ginal idea. He had generously offered to
by covering one of the boys of the party stay at home with the little patient, which
with snow till he looked as like a real was as generously refused; but the next
snowman as circumstances would admit, evening he was allowed to come and sit on
At first everybody wanted to be the snow- the bed, and describe it all for the amuse-
man, but, when it came to the point, it was ment of his friend. He was a quaint boy,
found to be so much duller to stand still this urchin, with a face as broad as an
and be covered up than to run about and American-Indian's, eyes as bright as a
work, that no one was willing to act the squirrel's, and all the mischief in life lurk-
part. At last it was undertaken by. the ing about him, till you could see roguishness
little boy from the Fir House. He was in the very folds of his hooded Indian
somewhat small, but then he was so good- winter coat of blue and scarlet. In his
natured he would always do as he was hand he brought the sick child's present:
.asked. So he stood manfully still, with a dray with two white horses, and little
'his arms folded over a walking-stick upon barrels that took off and on, and a driver,
-his breast, whilst the others heaped the with wooden joints, a cloth coat, and every-
snow upon him. The plan was not so thing, in fact, that was suitable to the
.successful as they had hoped. The snow driver of a brewer's dray, except that he
would not stick anywhere except on his had blue boots and earrings, and that his
shoulders, and when it got into his neck hair was painted in braids like a lady's,
he cried with the cold; but they were so which is clearly the fault of the doll manu-
anxious to carry out their project, that facturers, who will persist in making them
they begged him to bear it "just a little all of the weaker sex.
longer;" and the urchin who had devised "And what was the Christmas-tree
the original idea wiped the child's eyes like? asked the invalid.
with his handkerchief, and (with that hope- Exactly like the fir outside your door,"
fulness which is so easy over other people's was the reply. Just about that size, and
matters) dared say that when all the snow planted in a pot covered with red cloth.
was on, he wouldn't feel it." However, he It was kept in another room till after tea,
52 THREE CHRISTMAS-TREES.
and then when the door was opened it was familiar branch, toys of the most fascinating
like a street fire in the town at night- appearance hung like fruit,.and on the tip-
such a blaze of light-Candles every- top shoot there stood the Christmas
where And on all the branches the most Angel. He tried to count the candles, but
beautiful presents. I got a drum and a somehow it was impossible. When he
penwiper." looked at them they seemed to change
Was there an angel ? the child asked, places-to move-to become like the
"Oh, yes !" the boy answered. "It angel, and then to be candles again, whilst
was on the tip-top branch, and it was the flames nodded to each other and re-
given to me, and I brought it for you, if peated the blue greeting of the robin, A
you would like it; for, you know, I am so Merry Christmas and a Happy New
very, very sorry I thought of a snowman Year !" Then he tried to distinguish the
and made you ill, and I do love you, and presents, but, beautiful as the toys looked,
beg you to forgive me." he could not exactly discover what any of
And the roguish face stooped over the them were, or choose which he would like
pillow to be kissed; and out of a pocket best. Only the Angel he could see clearly
in the hooded coat came forth the Christ- -so clearly It was more beautiful than
mas Angel. In the face it bore a strong the doll under his pillow; it had a lovely
family likeness to the drayman, but its face like his own mother's, he thought,
feet were hidden in folds of snowy muslin, and on its head gleamed a star far brighter
and on its head glittered a tinsel star. than tinsel. Its white robes waved with
How lovely! said the child. Father the flames of the tapers, and it stretched
told me about this. I like it best of all. its arms towards him with a smile.
And it is very kind of you, for it is not I am to go and choose my present,"
your fault that I caught cold. I should thought the child; and he called "Mother !
have liked it if we could have done it, but Mother dear please open the window."
I think to enjoy being a snowman, one But his mother did not answer. So he
should be snow all through." thought he must get up himself, and with
They had tea together, and then the an effort, he struggled out of bed.
invalid was tucked up for the night. The But when he was on his feet, every-
dray was put away in the cupboard, but thing seemed changed Only the fire-
he took the angel to bed with him. light shone upon the walls, and the cur-
And so ended the first of the Three tains were once more firmly closed before
Christmas-Trees, the window. It had been a dream, but
so vivid that in his feverish state he still
thought it must be true, and dragged the
Except for a warm glow from the wood curtains back to let in the glorious sight
fire in the stove, the room was dark; but- again. The fire-light shone upon a thick
about midnight it seemed to the child that coating of frost upon the panes, but no
a sudden blaze of light filled the chamber. further could he see, so with all his strength
At the same moment the window curtains he pushed the window open and leaned
were drawn aside, and he saw that the out into the night.
spruce fir had come close up to the panes The spruce fir stood in its old place;
and.was peeping in. Ah! how beautiful but it looked very beautiful in its Christ-
it looked It had become a Christmas- mas dress. Beneath it lay a carpet of pure
tree. Lighted tapers shone from every white. The show was clustered in exqui-
7YTREE CHRISTMAS-TREES. 53
site shapes upon its plumy branches; Trees, but to show that the story is a
wrapping the tree top with its little cross happy one, as is right and proper; that
shoots, as a white robe might wrap a figure the hero lived, and married, and had
with outstretched arms. children, and was as prosperous as good
There were no tapers to be seen, but people, in books, should always be.
northern lights shot up into the dark blue Of course he died at last. The best
sky, and just over the fir-tree shone a and happiest of men must die; and it is
bright, bright star. only because some stories stop short in
"Jupiter looks well to-night," said the their history, that every hero is not duly
old Professor in the town observatory, as buried before we lay down the book.
he fixed his telescope; but to the child it When death came for our hero he was
seemed as the star of the Christmas Angel. an old man. The beloved wife, some of
His mother had really heard him call, his children, and many of his friends had
and now came and put him back to bed died before him, and of those whom he
again. And so ended the second of the had loved there were fewer to leave than
Three Christmas-Trees, to rejoin. He had had a short illness,
With little pain, and was now lying on his
deathbed in one of the big towns in the
It was enough to have killed him, all North of England. His youngest son, a
his friends said; but it did not. He lived clergyman, was with him, and one or two
to be a man, and-what is rarer-to keep others of his children, and by the fire sat
the faith, the simplicity, the tender- the doctor.-
heartedness, the vivid fancy of his child- The doctor had been sitting by the
hood. He lived to see many Christmas- patient, but now that he could do no more
trees "at home," in that old country where for him he had moved to the fire; and
the robins are redbreasts, and sing in they had taken the ghastly, half-emptied
winter. There a heart as good and gentle medicine bottles from the table by the
as his own became one with his; and once bedside, and had spread it with a fair linen
he brought his young wife across the sea cloth, and had set out the silver vessels of
to visit the place where he was born. They the Supper of the Lord.
stood near the little white house, and he The old man had been "wandering'
told her the story of the Christmas-trees. somewhat during the day. He had talked
"This was when I was a child," he much of going home to the old country,
added. and with the wide range of dying thoughts
But that you are still," said she; and he had seemed to mingle memories of
she plucked a bit of the fir-tree and kissed childhood with his hopes of Paradise. At
it, and carried it away. intervals he was clear and collected-one
He lived to tell the story to his children, of those moments had been chosen for his
and even to his grand-children; but he last sacrament-and he had fallen asleep
never was able to decide which of the two with the blessing in his ears.
was the more beautiful-the Christmas- He slept so long and so peacefully that
Tree of his dream, or the Sprtce Fir as it the son almost began to hope that there
stood in the loveliness of that winter might be a change, and looked towards
night. the doctor, who still sat by the fire with
This is told, not that it has anything to his right leg crossed over his left. The
do with any of the Three Christmas- doctor's eyes were also on the bed, but at
54 THREE CHRISTMAS-TREES.
that moment he drew out his watch and "Light !" he murmured. "The Angel!
looked at it with an air of professional the Star !"
conviction, which said, "It's only a ques Again there was silence; and then he
tion of time." Then he crossed his left stretched forth his hands, and cried pas-
leg over his right, and turned to the fire sionately,
again. Before the right leg should be "The Angel is beckoning to me!
tired, all would be over. The son saw it Mother! Mother dear! Please open the
as clearly as if it had been spoken, and he window."
too turned away and sighed. The sash was thrown open, and all eyes
As they sat, the bells of a church in the turned involuntarily where those of the
town began to chime for midnight service, dying man were gazing. There was no
for it was Christmas Eve, but they did not Christmas-tree--no tree at all. But over
wake the dying man. He slept on and on. the house-tops the morning star looked
The doctor dozed. The son read in pure and pale in the dawn of Christmas
the Prayer Book on the table, and one of Day. For the night was past, and above
his sisters read with him. Another, from the distant hum of the streets the clear
grief and weariness, slept with her head voices of some waits made the words of
upon his shoulder. Except for a warm an old carol heard-words dearer for their
glow from the fire, the room was dark. association than their poetry-
Suddenly-the old man sat up in bed, and,
in a strong voice, cried with inexpressible While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
enthusiasm, The Angel of the Lord came down,
How beautiful! And glory shone around."
The son held back his sisters, and asked
quietly. When the window was opened, the soul
Vhat, my dear Father ?" passed; and when they looked back to
"The Christmas Tree !" he said in a the bed the old man had lain down again,
low, eager voice. "Draw back the and like a child, was smiling in his sleep-
curtains." his last sleep.
They were drawn back; but nothing And this was the Third Christmas-
could be seen, and still the old man gazed Tree.
as if in ecstacy.
AN IDYLL OF THE WOOD.
TELL us a story," said the children, a grow. You know where the wren sits on
sad one, if you please, and a little her eggs, and, like good children, pass by
true. But, above all, let it end badly, for with soft steps and hushed voices, that
we are tired of people who live happily you may not disturb that little mother.
ever after." You know (for I have shown you) where
"I heard one lately," said the old man the rare fern grows-a habitat happily yet
who lived in the wood; it is founded on unnoted in scientific pages. We never
fact, and is a sad one also; but whether it add its lovely fronds to our nosegays, and
ends badly or no I cannot pretend to say. if we move a root it is but to plant it in
That is a matter of taste: what is a bad another part of the wood, with as much
ending ? mystery and circumspection as if we were
"A story ends badly," said the children performing some solemn druidical rite. It
with authority, when people die, and no- is to us as a king in hiding, and the places
body marries anybody else, especially if it of its abode we keep faithfully secret. It
is a prince and princess." will be thus held sacred by us until, with
A most lucid explanation," said the all the seed its untouched fronds have
old man. "I think my story will do, for scattered, and all the offshoots we have
the principal character dies, and there is propagated, it shall have become as plen-
no wedding." tiful as Heaven intends all beautiful things
Tell it, tell it!" cried his hearers, to be. Every one is not so scrupulous.
"and tell us also where you got it from." There are certain ladies and gentlemen
"Who knows the riches of a wood in who picnic near my cottage in the hot
summer?" said the old man. In sum- weather, and who tell each other that they
mer, do I say? In spring, in autumn, or love a wood. Most of these good people
in winter either. Who knows them? have nevertheless neither eyes nor ears for
You, my children? Well, well. Better what goes on around them, except that
than some of your elders, perchance. You they hear each other, and see the cold
know the wood where I live; the hollow collation. They will picnic there summer
tree that will hold five children, and after summer, and not know whether they
Queen Mab knows how many fairies, sit under oaks or ashes, beeches or elms.
(What a castle it makes And if it had All birds sing for them the same song.
but another floor put into it, with a sloping Tell them that such a plant is rare in the
ladder-like one of the round towers of neighbourhood, that there are but few
Ireland-what a house for children to live specimens of it, and it will not long be
in I With no room for lesson-books, their fault if there are any. Does any one
grown-up people, or beds !) direct them to it, they tear it ruthlessly up
You know the way to the hazel copse, and carry it away. If by any chance a
and the place where the wild strawberries root is left, it is left so dragged and pulled
56 AN IDYLL OF THE WOOD.
and denuded of earth, that there is small I heard it," said the old man. But,
chance that it will survive. Probably, also, as I tell you, one hears and one hears. I
the ravished clump dies in the garden or don't say that everybody would have heard
pot to which it is transplanted, either from it, merely by sleeping in my chamber ; but,
neglect, or from ignorance of the condi- for the benefit of the least imaginative, I
tions essential to its life; and the rare will assure you that it is founded on fact."
plant becomes yet rarer. Oh without "Begin begin !" shouted the children.
doubt they love a wood. It gives more Once upon a time," said the old man,
shade than the largest umbrella, and is there was a young thrush, who was born
cheaper for summer entertainment than a in that beautiful dingle where we last
tent: there you get canopy and carpet, planted the fern. His home-nest
fuel and water, shade and song, and beauty was close to the ground, but the lower one
-all gratis; and these are not small is, the less fear of falling; and in woods,
matters when one has invited a large party the elevation at which you sleep is a matter
of one's acquaintance. There are insects, of taste, and not of expense or gentility.
it is true, which somewhat disturb our He awoke to life when the wood was
friends; and as they do not know which dressed in the pale fresh green of early
sting, and which are harmless, they kill all summer; and believing, like other folk,
that come within their reach, as a safe that his own home- was at least the princi-
general principle. The town boys, too pal part of the world, earth seemed to him
They know the wood-that is to say, they so happy and so beautiful an abode, that
know where the wild fruits grow, and how his heart felt ready to burst with joy. The
to chase the squirrel, and rob the birds' ecstacy was almost pain, till wings and a
nests, and snare the birds. Well, well, my voice came to him. Then, one day, when,
children; to know and love a wood truly, after a grey morning, the sun came out at
it may be that one must live in it as I have noon, drawing the scent from the old pine
done; and then a lifetime will scarcely that looks in at my bedroom window, his
reveal all its beauties, or exhaust its lessons, joy burst forth, after long silence, into song,
But even then, one must have eyes that and flying upwards, he sat on the topmost
see, and ears that hear, or one misses good branch of the pine, and sang as loud as
deal. It was in the wood that I heard this he could sing to the sun and the blue
story that I shall tell you." sky.
"How did you hear it?" asked the "'Joy! joy!' he sang. 'Fresh water
children. and green woods, ambrosial sunshine and
"A thrush sang it to me one night." sunflecked shade, chattering brooks and
"One night ?" said the children. "Then rustling leaves, glade, and sward, and dell.
you mean a nightingale." Lichens and cool mosses, feathered ferns
"I mean a thrush," said the old man. and flowers. Green leaves Green leaves !
"Do I not know the note of one bird Summer! summer! summer!'
from another? I tell you that pine tree by "It was monotonous, but every word
my cottage has a legend of its own, and came from the singer's heart, which is not
the topmost branch is haunted. Must all always the case. Thenceforward, though
legends be about the loves and sorrows of he slept near the ground, he went up every
*our self-satisfied race alone ?" day to this pine, as to some sacred high
But did you really and truly hear it ?" place, and sang the same song, of which
they asked, neither he nor I were ever weary.
AN IDYLL OF THE WOOD. 57
"Let one be ever so inoffensive, how- favoured hunchback, who accompanied
ever, one is not long left in peace in this her on a tambourine, swore and scowled
world, even in a wood. The thrush sang at her. She sang a song of sentiment,
too loudly of his simple happiness, and with a refrain about
some boys from the town heard him and
snared him, and took him away in a dirty And joys of youth-'
cloth cap, where he was nearly smothered.
The world is certainly not exclusively com- on which the melody dwelt and quavered
posed of sunshine, and green woods, and as if in mockery. As she sang, a sailor
odorous pines. He became almost sense- came down the street. His collar was
less during the hot dusty walk that led to very large, his trousers were very wide,
the town. It was a seaport town, about his hat hung on the back of his head more
two miles from the wood, a town of narrow, as an ornament than for shelter; and he
steep streets, picturesque old houses, and had one of the roughest faces and the
odours compounded of tar, dead fish, and gentlest hearts that ever went together
many other scents less agreeable than forest since Beauty was entertained by the Beast.
perfumes. The thrush was put into a His hands were in his pockets, where he
small wicker-cage in an upper room, in could feel one shilling and a penny, all the
one of the narrowest and steepest of the spare cash that remained to him after a
streets. friendly stroll through the town. When
I shall die to-night,' he piped. But he saw the street singer, he stopped, pulled
he did not. He lived that night, and for off his hat, and scratched his head, as was
several nights and days following. The his custom when he was puzzled or inte-
boys took small care of him, however. -He rested.
was often left without food, without water, "' It's no good keeping an odd penny,'
and always with too little air. Two or he said to himself; 'poor thing; she looks
three times they tried to sell him, but he bad enough 1' And, bringing the penny
was not bought, for no one could hear to the surface out of the depths of his
him sing. One day he was hung outside pocket, he gave it to the woman. The
the window, and partly owing to the sun hunchback came forward to take it, but
and fresh air, and partly because a woman the sailor passed him with a shove of his
was singing in the street, he began to carol elbow, and gave it to the singer, who
his old song. handed it over to her companion without
The woman was a street singer. She moving a feature, and went on with her
was even paler, thinner, and more destitute- song.
looking than such women usually are. In I'd like to break every bone in your
some past time there had been beauty and ugly body,' muttered the sailor, with a
feeling in her face, but the traces of both glance at the hunchback, who scowled in
were well-nigh gone. An indifference al- return.
most amounting to vacancy was there now, "' I shall die of this close street, and of
and, except that she sang, you might al- all I have suffered,' thought the thrush.
most have fancied her a corpse. In her Green leaves green leaves !' he
voice also, there had once been beauty sang, for it was the only song he knew.
and feeling, and here again the traces were My voice is gone,' thought the hunch-
small indeed. From time to time, she was back's companion. He'll beat me aga in
stopped by fits of coughing, when an ill- to-night; but it can't last long:'
58 AN IDYLL OF THE WOOD.
Love and truth, The canary died last voyage,' he mut-
And joys of youth-" tered apologetically to himself, 'and the
she sang, for that was the song she had money always does go somehow or other.'
learned; and it was not her fault that it "The sailor's hands were about three
was inappropriate, times as large and coarse as those of the
But the ballad-singer's captivity was boy who had carried the thrush before,
nearly at an end. When the hunchback but they seemed to him three times more
left her that evening to spend the sailor's light and tender-they were handy and
penny with the few others which she had kind, and this goes farther than taper
earned, he swore that when he came back fingers.
he would make her sing louder than she The thrush's new home was not in the
had done all day. Her face showed no narrow streets. It was in a small cottage
emotion, less than it did when he saw it in a small garden at the back of the town.
hours after, when beauty and feeling seemed The canary's old cage was comparatively
to have returned to it in the peace of roomy, and food, water, and fresh turf
death, when he came back and found the were regularly supplied to him. He could
cage empty, and that the long prisoned see green leaves too. There was an apple
spirit had flown away to seek the face of tree in the garden, and two geraniums, a
love and truth indeed. fuchsia, and a tea-rose in the window.
"But how about the thrush ? Near the tea-rose an old woman sat in the
"The sailor had scarcely swallowed the sunshine. She was the sailor's mother, and
wrath which the hunchback had stirred in looked very like a tidily kept window plant
him, when his ear was caught by the song herself. She had a little money of her own,
of the thrush above him. which gave her a certain dignity, and her
You sing uncommon well, pretty one,' son was very good to her; and so she
he said, stopping and putting his hat even dwelt in considerable comfort, dividing
farther back than usual to look up. He her time chiefly between reading in the
was one of those good people who stop a big Bible, knitting socks for Jack, and
dozen times in one street, and look at raising cuttings in bottles of water. She
everything as they go along; whereby you had heard of hothouses and forcing frames,
may see three times as much of life as but she did not think much of them. She
other folk, but it is a terrible temptation believed a bottle of water to be the most
to spend money. It was so in this in- natural, because it was the oldest method
stance. The sailor looked till his kindly eye she knew of, and she thought no good
perceived that the bird was ill-cared for. came of new-fangled ways, and trying to
It should have a bit of sod, it should,' outdo Nature.
he said emphatically, taking his hat off, and "' Slow and sure is best,' she said, and
scratching his head again; and there's stuck to her own system.
not a crumb of food on board. Maybe, What's that, my dear ?' she asked,
they don't understand the ways of birds when the sailor came in and held up the
here. It would be a good turn to men- handkerchief. He told her.
tion it.' 'You're always a-laying out your
"With this charitable intention he en- money on something or other,' said the
tered the house, and when he left it, his old lady, who took the privilege of her
pocket was empty, and the thrush was years to be a little testy. 'What did you
carried tenderly in his handkerchief. give for that?'
AN IDYLL OF THE WOOD. 59
A shilling, ma'am.' Jack, the ship was home. He had never
"'Tst! tst! tst!' said the old lady, lived in a wood, and carolled in tree-tops.
disapprovingly. He preferred blue to green, and pine
"'Now, Mother, don't shake that cap masts to pine trees; and he smoked his
of yours off your head,' said the sailor, pipe very comfortably in the forecastle,
' What's a shilling? If I hadn't spent it, whilst the ship rolled to and fro, and
I should have changed it; and once change swung the bird's cage above his head. To
a shilling, and it all dribbles away in cop- the thrush it was only an imprisonment
pers, and you get nothing for it. But spend that grew worse as time went on. Each
it in the lump, and you get something you succeeding day made him pine more bit-
want. That's what I say." terly for his native woods-for fresh air
"'Iwant no more pets,' said the old and-green leaves, and the rest and quiet,
lady, stiffly, and sweet perfumes, and pleasant sounds
"' Well, you won't be troubled with this of country life. His turf dried up, his
one long,' said her son; 'it'll go with me, groundsel withered, and no more could
and that's soon enough.' be got. He longed even to be back with
"Any allusion to his departure always the old woman-to see the apple tree,
melted the old lady, as Jack well knew. and the window plants, and be still. The
She became tearful, and begged him to shudder of the screw, the blasts of hot air
leave the thrush with her. from the engine and cook's galley, the
"'You know, my dear, I've always ceaseless jangling, clanging, pumping
looked to your live things as if they were noises, and all the indescribable smells
Christians; and loved them too (unless it which haunt a steam-ship, became more
was that monkey that I never could do wearisome day by day. Even when the
with!). Leave it with me, my dear. I'd cage was hung outside, the sea breeze
never bother myself with a bird on board seemed to mock him with its freshness.
ship, if I was you.' The rich blue of the waters gave him no
"'That's because you've got a hand- pleasure, his eyes failed with looking for
some son of your own, old lady,' chuckled green, the bitter, salt spray vexed him, and
the sailor; I've neither chick nor child, the wind often chilled him to the bone,
ma'am, remember, and a man must have whilst the sun shone, and icebergs gleamed
something to look to. The bird '11 go with upon the horizon.
me.' The sailor had been so kind a master,
And so it came to pass that just when that the thrush had become deeply at-
the thrush was becoming domesticated, tached to him, as birds will; and while at
and almost happy at the cottage, that one the cottage he had scarcely fretted after
morning the sailor brought him fresh turf his beloved wood. But with every hour
and groundsel, besides his meal-cake, and of the voyage, home sickness came more
took the cage down. And the old woman strongly upon him, and his heart went
kissed the wires, and bade the bird good- back to the nest, and the pine-top, and
bye, and blessed her son, and prayed the old home. When one sleeps soundly,
Heaven to bring him safe home again; it is seldom that one remember's -one's
and they went their way. dreams; but when one is apt to be roused
The forecastle of a steam-ship (even by an unexpected lurch of the ship, by the
of a big one) is a poor exchange for a moan of a fog-whistle, or the scream of an
snug cottage to any one but a sailor. To engine, one becomes a light sleeper, and
60 AN IDYLL OF THE WOOD.
the visions of the night have a strange use this ;" and I never will again. Poor
reality, and are easily recalled. And now bird! it was a sweet singer.' And he
the thrush always dreamt of home. turned his face aside.
One day he was hung outside. It was "' It may have the sense to come back,'
not a very fine day, but he looked droop- said one of the crew. The sailor scratched
ing, and the pitying sailor brought him his head, and shook it sadly.
out, to get some air. His heart was sore Noah's bird came back to him, when
with home sickness, and he watched the she found no rest,' he said, 'but I don't
sea-birds skimming up and down with think mine will, Tom.'
envious eyes. It seemed all very well for "He was right. The thrush returned
poor men, who hadn't so much as a wing no more. He did not know how wide
to carry them over the water, to build was the difference between his own
lumbering sea-nests, with bodies to float strength and that of the bird he followed.
in the water like fish, and wings of canvas The sea-fowl cut the air with wings of ten-
to carry them along, and to help it out fold power; he swooped up and down, he
with noisy steam-engines-and to endure stooped to fish, he rested on the ridges of
it all. But for him, who could fly over a the dancing waves, and then, with one
hundred tree-tops before a man could steady flight, he disappeared, and the
climb to one, it was hard to swing outside thrush was left alone. Other birds passed
a ship, and to watch other birds use their him, and flew about him, and fished, and
wings, when his, which quivered to fly rocked upon the waters near him, but he
homewards, could only flutter against the held steadily on. Ships passed him also,
bars. As he thought, a roll of the ship but too far away for him to rest upon;
threw him forward, the wind shook the whales spouted in the distance, and
wires of the cage, and loosened the fasten- strange fowl screamed; but not a familiar
ing; and, when the vessel righted, the object broke the expanse of the.cold sea.
cage-door swung slowly open. He did not know what course he was
"At this moment, a ray of sunshine taking. He hoped against hope that he
streaked the deep blue water, and a gleam- was going home. Although he was more
ing sea-bird, which had been sitting like a faint and weary than he had ever yet
tuft of foam upon a wave, rose with out- been, he felt no pain. The intensity of
stretched pinions, and soared away. It his hope to reach the old wood made
was too much. With one shrill pipe of everything seem light; even at the last,
hope, the thrush fluttered from his cage, when his wings were almost powerless, he
spread his wings, and followed him. believed that they would bear him home,
When the sailor found that the wind and was happy. Already he seemed to
was getting up, he came to take the cage rest upon the trees, the waters sounded
down, and then his grief was sore indeed, in his ears like the rustling of leaves, and
The canary died last voyage,' he the familiar scent of the pine tree seemed
said, sadly. 'The cage was bought on a to him to come uppn the breeze.
Friday, and I knew ill luck would come In this he was not wrong. A country
of it. I said so to Mother; but the old of pine woods was near; and land was in
lady says there's no such thing as luck, sight, though too far away for him to
and she's Bible-learned, if ever a woman reach it now. Not home, but yet a land
was. "That's very true," says I, but if of wondrous summer beauty; of woods,
..I'd the money for another cage, I wouldn't and flowers, and sun-flecked leaves-of
AN IDYLL OF THE WOOD. 61
sunshine more glowing than he had ever heard it, liked a sad ending no better than
known-of larger ferns, and deeper other children do (in which, by-the-by, we
mosses, and clearer skies-a land of balmy hold them to be in the right, and can
summer nights, where the stars shine hardly forgive ourselves for chronicling
brighter than with us, and where fireflies this "ower true tale").
appear and vanish, like stars of a lower "Yes," said the old man, "he died;
firmament, amid the trees. As the sun but it is said that the sweet dingle which
broke out, the scent of pines came strong was his home-forsaken by the nightin-
upon the land breeze. A strange land, gale-is regarded by birds as men regard
but the thrush thought it was his own. a haunted house; for that at still summer
I smell woods,' he chirped faintly; midnight, when other thrushes sleep, a
'I see the sun. This is home !' shadowy form, more like a skeleton leaf
"All round him, the noisy crests of the than a living bird, swings upon the tall
fresh waves seemed to carol the song he tree-tops where he sat of old, and, rapt in
could no longer sing-' Home, home a happy ecstacy, sings a song more sweet
fresh water and green woods, ambrosial and joyous than thrush ever sang by
sunshine and sun-flecked shade, chatter- day."
ing brooks and rustling leaves, glade and Have you heard it ?" asked the
sward and dell, lichens and cool mosses, children.
feathered ferns and flowers. Green The old man nodded. But not another
leaves I green leaves Summer! sum- word would he say. The children, how-
mer! summer !' ever, forthwith began to lay plans for get-
"The slackened wings dropped, the ting into the wood some midsummer
dying eyes looked landward, and then night, to test with their own ears the truth
closed. But even as he fell, he believed of his story, and to hear the spectre
himself sinking to rest on Mother Earth's thrush's song. Whether the authorities
kindly bosom, and he did not know it, permitted the expedition, and if not, whe-
when the cold waves buried him at sea." their the young peopled baffled their vigi-
"Oh, then, he did die !" cried the lance-whether they heard the song, and
children, who, though they were tired of if so, whether they understood it--we are
stories that end happily, yet, when they not empowered to fell here.
IT was Christmas-eve in an old-fashioned As the candles got lower, and the log
country-house, where Christmas was flared less often, weird lights and shades,
being kept with ol'd-fashioned form and such as haunt the twilight, crept about the
custom. It was getting late. The candles room. The tutor's shadow, longer, lanker,
swaggered in their sockets, and the yule and more grotesque than himself, mopped
log glowed steadily like a red-hot coal. and mowed upon the wall beside him.
The fire has reached his heart," said The snapdragon burnt blue, and as the
the tutor: he is warm all through. How raisin-hunters stirred the flaming spirit, the
red he is I He shines with heat and hos- ghastly light made the tutor look so
pitality like some warm-hearted old gen- hideous that the widow's little boy was on
tleman when a convivial evening is pretty the eve of howling, and spilled the raisins
far advanced. To-morrow he will be as he had just secured. (He did not like
cold and grey as the morning after a fes- putting his fingers into the flames, but he
tival, when the glasses are being washed hovered near the more adventurous school-
up, and the host is calculating his ex- boys and collected the raisins that were
penses. Yes! you know it is so;" and scattered on the table by the hasty grabs of
the tutor nodded to the yule log as he braver hands.)
spoke; and the log flared and crackled in The widow was a relative of the house.
return, till the tutor's face shone like his She had married a Mr. Jones, and having
own. He had no other means of reply. been during his life his devoted slave, had
The tutor was grotesque-looking at any on his death transferred her allegiance to
time. He was lank and meagre, with a his son. The late Mr. Jones was a small
long body and limbs, and high shoulders. man with a strong temper, a large appetite,
His face was smooth-shaven, and his skin and a taste for drawing-room theatricals.
like old parchment stretched over high So Mrs. Jones had called her son Mac-
cheek-bones and lantern jaws; but in their ready; "for," she said, "his poor papa
hollow sockets his eyes gleamed with the would have made a fortune on the stage,
changeful lustre of two. precious gems. In and I wish to commemorate his talents.
the ruddyfirelight they were like rubies, and Besides, Macready sounds better with Jones
when he drew back into the shade they glared than a commoner Christian name would
green like the eyes of a cat. It must not be do."
inferred from the tutor's presence this even- But his cousins called him MacGreedy.
ing that there were no Christmas holidays "The apples of the enchanted garden
in this house. They had begun some days were guarded by dragons. Many knights
before; and if the tutor had had a home went after them. One wished for the
to go to, it is to be presumed that he would apples, but he did not like to fight the
have gone. dragons."
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS. 63
It was the tutor who spoke from the dark Miss Letitia was a cousin. She was
corner by the fireplace. His eyes shone dark, high-coloured, glossy-haired, stout,
like a cat's, and MacGreedy felt like a and showy. She was as neat as a new
half-scared mouse, and made up his mind pin, and had a will of her own. Her hair
to cry. He put his right fist into one eye, was firmly fixed by bandoline, her gari-
and had just taken it out, and was about baldis by an arrangement which failed
to put his left fist into the other, when he when applied to those of the widow, and
saw that the tutor was no longer looking her opinions by the simple process of
at him. So he made up his mind to go looking at everything from one point of
on with the raisins, for one can have a view. Her forte was dress and general
peevish cry at any time, but plums are not ornamentation; not that Miss Letitia was
scattered broadcast every day. Several extravagant-far from it. If one may use
times he had tried to pocket them, but the expression, she utilized for ornament a
just at the moment the tutor was sure to hundred bits and scraps that most people
look at him, and in his fright he dropped would have wasted. But, like other artists,
the raisins, and never could find them she saw everything through the medium of
again. So this time he resolved to eat her own art. She looked at birds with an
them then and there. He had just put eye to hats, and at flowers with reference
one into his mouth when the tutor leaned to evening parties. At picture exhibitions
forward, and his eyes, glowing in the fire- and concerts she carried away jacket pat-
light, met MacGreedy's, who had not even terns and bonnets in her head, as other
the presence of mind to shut his mouth but people make mental notes of an aerial
remained spellbound, with a raisin in his effect, or a bit of fine instrumentation.
cheek. An enthusiastic horticulturist once sent
Flicker, flack The schoolboys stirred Miss Letitia a cut specimen of a new
up snapdragon again, and with the blue flower. It was a lovely spray from a lately-
light upon his features the tutor made so imported shrub. A botanist would have
horrible a grimace that MacGreedy swal- pressed it-an artist must have taken its
lowed the raisin with a start. He had portrait-a poet might have written a son-
bolted it whole, and it might have been a net in praise of its beauty. Miss Letitia
bread pill for any enjoyment he had of the twisted-a piece of wire round its stem,
flavour. But the tutor laughed aloud, and fastened it on to her black lace bon-
He certainly was an alarming object, pul- net. It came on the day of a review, when
ling those grimaces in the blue brandy Miss Letitia had to appear in a carriage,
glare; and unpleasantly like a picture of and it was quite a success. As she said
Bogy himself with horns and a tail, in a to the widow, "It was so natural that no
juvenile volume upstairs. True, there one could doubt its being Parisian."
were no horns to speak of among the "What a strange fellow that tutor is!"
tutor's grizzled curls, and his coat seemed said the visitor. He spoke to the daughter
to fit as well as most people's on his long of the house, a girl with a face like a sum-
back, so that unless he put his tail in his mer's day, and hair like a ripe corn-field
pocket, it is difficult to see how he could rippling in the sun. He was a fine young
have had one. But then (as Miss Letitia man, and had a youth's taste for the sports
said) With dress one can do anything and amusements of his age. But lately he
and hide anything." And on dress Miss had changed. He seemed to himself to
Letitia's opinion was final, be living in a higher, nobler atmosphere
64 CHRISTMAS CRACKERS.
than hitherto. He had discovered that they are so kindly used; I wonder he has
he was poetical-he might prove to be a not brought out any playthings for us to-
genius. He certainly was eloquent, he night."
could talk for hours, and did so-to the Playthings ?" inquired the young man.
young lady with the sunshiny face. They "Yes; on birthdays or festivals like this
spoke on the highest subjects, and what a he generally brings something out of those
listener she was So intelligent and ap- huge pockets of his. He has been all over
preciative, and with such an exquisite pose the world, and he produces Indian puzzles,
of the head-it must inspire a block of Japanese flower-buds that bloom in hot
wood merely to see such a creature in a water, and German toys with complicated
listening attitude. As to our young friend, machinery, which I suspect him of manu-
he poured forth volumes; he was really facturing himself. I call him Godpapa
clever, and for her he became eloquent. Grosselmayer, after that delightful old
To-night he spoke of Christmas, of time- fellow in Hoffman's tale of the Nut
honoured custom and old association; and Cracker."
what he said would have made a Christ- "What's that about crackers ? "inquired
mas article for a magazine of the first the tutor, sharply, his eyes changing colour
class. He poured scorn on the cold nature like a fire opal.
that could not, and the-affectation that I am talking of Nussnacker und Mause-
would not, appreciate the domestic fes- kdnig," laughed the young lady. "Crackers
tivities of this sacred season. What, he do not belong to Christmas; fireworks
asked, could be more delightful, more come on the 5th- of November."
perfect than such a gathering as this, of "Tut, tut !" said the tutor; "I always
the family circle round the Christmas tell your ladyship that you are still a tom-
hearth ? He spoke with feeling, and it boy at heart, as when I first came, and you
may be said with disinterested feeling, for climbed trees and pelted myself and my
he had not joined his family circle himself young students with horse-chestnuts. You
this Christmas, and there was a vacant think of crackers to explode at the heels of
place by the hearth of his own home. timorous old gentlemen in a November
He is strange," said the young lady fog; but I mean bonbon crackers, coloured
(she spoke of the tutor in answer to the crackers, dainty crackers-crackers for
above remark); but I am very fond of young people with mottoes of sentiment"
him. He has been with us so long he is -(here the tutor shrugged his high
like one of the family; though we know shoulders an inch or two higher, and
as httle of his history, as we did on the day 'turned the palms of his hands outwards
he came." with a glance indescribably comical)-
"He looks clever," said the visitor. "crackers with paper prodigies, crackers
(Perhaps that is the least one can say for with sweetmeats-suck sweetmeats !" He
a fellow-creature who shows a great deal of smacked his lips with a grotesque contor-
bare skull, and is not otherwise good- tion, and looked at Master MacGreedy,
looking.) who choked himself with his last raisin,
"He is clever," she answered, "won- and forthwith burst into tears.
derfully clever; so clever and so odd that The widow tried in vain to soothe him
sometimes I fancy he is hardly 'canny.' with caresses, he only stamped and howled
There is something almost supernatural the more. But Miss Letitia gave him
about his acuteness and his ingenuity, but some smart smacks on the shoulders to
CHRISTMIAS CRACKERS. 65
cure his choking fit, and as she kept up help me to make a swing with ladders in-
the treatment with vigour, the young gen- stead of single ropes, so that I could run
tleman was obliged to stop and assure her up and down the rigging whilst it was in
that the raisin had gone the right way full go."
at last. If he were my child," Miss Letitia "That would be something like your
had been known to observe, with that con- fir-tree prank, Tom," said his sister. Can
fidence which characterises the theories of you believe," she added, turning to the
those who are not parents, I would, &c. visitor, that Tom lopped the branches of
&c. &c.;" in fact, Miss Letitia thought a tall young fir-tree all the wayup, leaving
she would have made a very different little bits for foothold, and then climbed
boy of him-as, indeed, I believe she up it one day in an awful storm of wind,
would. and clung on at the top, rocking back-
"Are crackers all that you have for us, wards and forwards ? And when Papa
sir?" asked one of the two schoolboys, as sent word for him to come down, he said
they hung over the tutor's chair. They parental authority was superseded at sea
were twins, grand boys, with broad, good- by the rules of the service. It was a
humoured faces, and curly wigs, as like as dreadful storm, and the tree snapped very
two puppy, dogs of the same breed. They soon after he got safe to the ground."
were only known apart by their intimate "Storm !" sneered Tom, "a capful of
friends, and were always together, romp- wind. Well, it did blow half a gale at the
ing, laughing, snarling, squabbling, huffing last. But oh it was glorious "
and helping each other against the world. Let us see what we can make of the
Each of them owned a wiry terrier, and in crackers," said the tutor-and he pulled
their relations to each other the two dogs some out of his pocket. They were put
(who were marvellously alike) closely fol- in a dish upon the table, for the company
lowed the example of their masters, to choose from; and the terriers jumped
"Do you not care for crackers, Jim?" and snapped, and tumbled over each
asked the tutor: other, for they thought that the plate con-
"Not much, sir. They do for girls: trained eatables. Animated by the same
but, as you know, I care for nothing but idea, but with quieter steps, Master Mac-
military matters. Do you remember that Greedy also approached the table.
beautiful -toy of yours-' The Besieged "The dogs are noisy," said the tutor,
City ? Ah! I liked that. Look out, too noisy. We must have quiet-peace
Tom! you're shoving my arm. Can't and quiet." His lean hand was once more
you stand straight, man ?" in his pocket, and he pulled out a box,
R-r-r-r-r-r, snap from which he took some powder, which
Tom's dog was resenting contact with he scattered on the burning log. A slight
Jim's dog on the hearthrug. There was a smoke now rose from the hot embers, and
hustle among the four, and then they sub- floated into the room. Was the powder
sided. one of those strange compounds that act
"The Besieged City was all very well upon the brain? Was it a magician's
for you, Jim," said Tom, who meant to be powder? Who knows? With it came a
a sailor; but please to remember that it sweet, subtle fragrance. It was strange-
admitted of no attack from the sea; and every one fancied he had smelt it before,
what was there for me to do? Ah, sir and all were absorbed in wondering what
you are so clever, I often think you could itwas,andwheretheyhadmetwithit. Even
66 CHRIS7TAAS C'AA CK1ERS.
the dogs sat on their haunches with their and it was rather a joke against him that
noses up, sniffing in a speculative manner. he illustrated a large variety of subjects by
It's not lavender," said the grand- reference to his favourite topic, the holiday
mother, slowly, and it's not rosemary. of his life.
There is a something of tansy in it (and a It smells of gunpowder," said Jim, de-
very fine tonic flavour too, my dears, cidedly, and something else. I can't tell
though it's not in fashion now). Depend what."
upon it, it's a potpourri, and from an ex- "Something one smells in a seaport
cellent receipt, sir "-and the old lady town," said Tom.
bowed courteously towards the tutor. "Can't be very delicious then," Jim
" My mother made the best potpourri in retorted.
the county, and it was very much like this. It's not quite the same," piped the
Not quite, perhaps, but much the same, widow; but it reminds me very much of
much the same." an old bottle of attar of roses that was
The grandmother was a fine old gentle- given to me when I was at school, with a
woman of the old school," as the phrase copy of verses, by a young gentleman who
is. She was'very stately and gracious in was brother to one of the pupils. I re-
her manners, daintily neat in her person, member Mr. Jones was quite annoyed
and much attached to the old parson of when he found it in an old box, where I
the parish, who now sat near her chair. am sure I had not touched it for ten years
All her life she had been very proud of or more; and I never spoke to him but
her fine stock of fair linen, both household once, on Examination Day (the young
and personal; and for many years past gentleman, I mean). And it's like-yes
had kept her own graveclothes ready in a it's certainly like a hair-wash Mr. Jones
drawer. They were bleached as white as used to use. I've forgotten what it was
snow, and lay amongst bags of dried laven- called, but I know it cost fifteen shillings
der and potpourri. Many times had it a bottle; and Macready threw one over a
seemed likely that they would be needed, few weeks before his dear papa's death,
for the old lady had had severe illnesses and annoyed him extremely."
of late, when the good parson sat by her Whilst the company were thus engaged,
bedside, and read to her of the coming of Master MacGreedy took advantage of the
the Bridegroom, and of that "fine linen general abstraction to secure half a dozen
clean and white," which is "the right- crackers to his own share; he retired to a
eousness of the saints." It was of that corner with them, where he meant to pick
drawer, with its lavender and potpourri them quietly to pieces by himself. He
bags, that the scented smoke had re- wanted the gay paper, and the motto, and
minded her. the sweetmeats; but he did not like the
"It has rather an overpowering odour," report of the cracker. And then what
said the old parson; it is suggestive of he did want, he wanted all to himself.
incense. I am sure I once smelt some- "Give us a cracker," said Master Jim,
thing like it in the Church of the Nativity dreamily.
at Bethlehem. It is very delicious." The dogs, after a few dissatisfied snorts,
The parson's long residence in his parish had dropped from their sitting posture,
had been marked by one great holiday, and were lying close together on the rug,
With the savings of many years he had dreaming and uttering short commenting
performed a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; barks and whines at intervals. The twins
68 CHRISTMAS CRACKERS.
were now reposing lazily at the tutor's feet, phosphoric light, and as the ship held
and did not feel disposed to exert them- steadily on her course, poured past at the
selves even so far as to fetch their own rate of twelve knots an hour in a silvery
bonbons. stream. Faster than any ship can sail his
"There's one," said the tutor, taking a thoughts travelled home; and as old times
fresh cracker from his pocket. One end came back to him, he hardly knew
of it was of red and gold paper, the other whether what he looked at was the phos-
of transparent green stuff with silver lines. phor-lighted sea, or green gelatine paper
The boys pulled it. barred with silver. And did the tutor
a* speak? Or was it the voice of some sea
The report was louder than Jim had ex- monster sounding in his ears?
pected. "The spirits of the storm have gone
"The firing has begun," he murmured, below to make their report. The treasure
involuntarily; steady, steady!" these gained from sunk vessels has been rec-
last words were to his horse, who seemed koned, and the sea is illuminated in honour
to be moving under him, not from fear, of te spoil."
but from impatience. Whathad been the *
red and gold paper of the cracker was now The visitor now took a cracker and held
the scarlet and gold lace of his own cavalry it to the young lady. Her end was of
uniform. He knocked a speck from his white paper with a raised pattern; his of
sleeve, and scanned the distant ridge, from dark-blue gelatine with gold stars. It
which a thin line of smoke floated so- snapped, the bonbon dropped between
lemnly away, with keen, impatient eyes. them, and the young man got the motto.
Were they to stand inactive all the day? It was a very bald one-
Presently the horse erects his head. "My heart is thine.
His eyes sparkle-he pricks his sensitive Wilt thou be mine?"
ears-his nostrils quiver with a strange de- Wh
light. It is the trumpet! Fan farra Fan Hewas ashamed to show t to her. What
farra! The brazen voice speaks -the could be more meagre ? One could write
horses move-the plumes wave-the hel- a hundred better couplets "standing on
mets shine. On a summer's day they ride one leg," as the saying is. He was trying
slowly, gracefully, calmly down a slope, to to improvise just one for the occasion,
Death or Glory. Fan farra Fan farraL when he became aware that the blue sky
Fan farr! over his head was dark with the shades of
night, and lighted with stars. A brook
S rippled near with a soothing monotony.
Of all this Master Tom knew nothing. The evening wind sighed through the trees,
The report of the cracker seemed to him and wafted the fragrance of the sweet bay-
only an echo in his brain of a sound that leaved willow towards him, and blew a
had been in his ears for thirty-six weary stray lock of hair against his face. Yes !
hours. The noise of a heavy sea beating She also was there, walking beside him,
against the ship's side in a gale. It was under the scented willow bushes. Where,
over now, and he was keeping the mid- why, and whither he did not ask to know.
night watch on deck, gazing upon the She was with him-with him; and he
liquid green of the waves, which heaving seemed to tread on the summer air. He
and seething after storm, were lit with had no doubt as to the nature of his own
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS. 69
feelings for her, and here was such an op- Then the bonbon motto was avenged,
portunity for declaring them as might and there was silence. Eloquent, perfect,
never occur again. Surely now, if ever, he complete, beautiful silence Only the wind
would be eloquent! Thoughts of poetry sighed, through the fragrant willows, the
clothed in words of fire must spring unbid- stream rippled, the stars shone, and in the
den to his lips at such a moment. And neighboring copse the nightingale sang,
yet somehow he could not find a single and sang, and sang.
word to say. He beat his brains, but not *
an idea would come forth. Only that When the white end of the cracker
idiotic cracker motto, which haunted him cae into the young lady's hand, she was
with its meagre couplet. full of admiration for the fine raised pattern.
My heart is thine. As she held it between her fingers it sud-
Wilt thou be mine?" denly struck her that she had discovered
Meanwhile they wandered on. The pre- what the tutor's fragrant smoke smelt like.
cious time was passing. He must at least It was like the scent of orange-flowers, and
make a beginning. had certainly a soporific effect upon the
What a fine night it is !" he observed, senses. She felt very sleepy, and as she
But, oh dear That was a thousand times stroked the shiny surface of the cracker
balder and more meagre than the cracker she found herself thinking it was very soft
motto; and not another word could he for paper, and then rousing herself with a
find to say. At this moment the awkward start, and twonderg father owl in foy i
silence was broken by a voice from a she was e thus, of white slk which
neighboring copse. It was a nightingale she was dressed, and of which she was
singing to his mate. There was no lack holding up the skirt between her finger
singing to his mate. There was no lack and thumb, as if she were dancing a
of eloquence, and of melodious eloquence, and thumb,, as if she were dancing a
there. The song was as plaintive as old t' grandmamma'segg-sellbrocade
memories, and as full of tenderness as the It's grandmamma's egg-shell brocade
eyes of the young girl were full of tears. Gandmamma Have
They were standing still now, and with her you given it to me? That lovely old
graceful head bent she was listening to the thing But I thought it was the family
bird. He stooped his head near hers, and wedding-dress, and that I was not to have
a it till I was a bride."
spoke with a simple natural outburst al- And so you are, my dear. And a fairer
most involuntary. "And so you are, my dear. And a fairer
Do you ever think of old timesary bride the sun never shone on," sobbed the
yo you e ver thi old hous td te fn old lady, who was kissing and blessing her,
remember the old house, and the fun and wishing her, in the words of the old
we used to have ? and the tutor whom you formula-
pelted with horse-chestnuts when you were
a little girl? And those cracker bonbons, "Health to wear it,
and the motto we drew- Strength to tear it,
And money to buy another."
'My heart is thine. "There is no hope for the last two
Wilt thou be mine?'"
things, you know," said the young girl;
She smiled, and lifted her eyes (" blue as "for I am sure that the flag that braveda
the sky, and bright as the stars," he thought) thousand years was not half so strong as
to his, and answered Yes," your brocade ; and as to buying another,
70 CHRISTMAS CRACKERS.
there are none to be bought in these de- that the grandmother and the parson pulled
generate days." together. The old lady had insisted upon
The old lady's reply was probably very it. The good rector had shewn a tendency
gracious, for she liked to be complimented to low spirits this evening, and a wish to
on the virtues of old things in general, and withdraw early. But the old lady did not
of her eggshell brocade in particular. But approve of people shirking (as boys
of what she said her granddaughter heard say) either their duties or their pleasures;
nothing. With the strange irregularity of and to keep a "merry Christmas" in a
dreams, she found herself, she knew not family circle that had been spared to meet
how, in the old church. It was true. She in health and happiness, seemed to her to
was a bride, standing there with old friends be both the one and the other.
and old associations thick around her, on It was his sermon for next day which
the threshold of a new life. The sun shone weighed on the parson's mind. Not that
through the stained glass of the windows, he was behindhand with that part of his
and illuminated the brocade, whose old- duties. He was far too methodical in his
fashioned stiffness so became her childish habits for that, and it had been written
beauty, and flung a thousand new tints before the bustle of Christmas week began.
over her sunny hair, and drew so powerful But after preaching Christmas sermons
a fragrance from the orange blossom with from the same pulpit for thirty-five years,
which it was twined, that it was almost he felt keenly how difficult it is to awaken
overpowering. Yes It was too sweet- due interest in subjects that are so familiar,
too strong. She certainly would not be and to give new force to lessons so often
able to bear it much longer without losing repeated. So he wanted a quiet hour in
her senses. And the service was going his own study before he went to rest, with
on. A question had been asked of her, the sermon that did not satisfy him, and
and she must reply. She made a strong the subject that should be so heart-stirring
effort, and said, Yes," simply and very and ever new,-the Story of Bethlehem.
earnestly, for it was what she meant. But He consented, however, to pull one
she had no sooner said it than she became cracker with the grandmother, though he
uneasily conscious that she had not used feared the noise might startle her nerves,
the right words. Some one laughed. It and said so.
was the tutor, and his voice jarred and Nerves were not invented in my young
disturbed the dream, as a stone troubles days," said the old lady, firmly; and she
the surface of still water. The vision took her part in the ensuing explosion
trembled, and then broke, and the young without so much as a wink..
lady found herself still sitting by the table As the crackers snapped, it seemed to
and fingering the cracker paper, whilst the the parson as if the fragrant smoke from
tutor chuckled and rubbed his hands by the yule log were growing denser in the
the fire, and his shadow scrambled on the room. Through the rhist from time to
wall like an ape upon a tree. But her time the face of the tutor loomed large,
" Yes had passed into the young man's and then disappeared. At last the clouds
dream without disturbing it, and he dreamt rolled away, and the parson breathed clear
on. air. Clear, yes, and how clear! This
brilliant freshness, these intense lights and
shadows, this mildness and purity in the
It was a cracker like the preceding one night air--
CHRISTLMAS CRACKERS. 71
"It is not England," he muttered, "it past as unfolded in dusty records written
is the East. I have felt no air like this by the hand of man, one may realize how
since I breathed the air of Palestine." absorbing must have been that science
Over his head, through immeasurable which professed to unveil the future, and
distances, the dark-blue space was lighted to display to the eyes of the wise the fate
by the great multitude of the stars, whose of dynasties written with the finger of GOD
glittering ranks have in that atmosphere a amid the stars."
distinctness and a glory unseen with us. The dark-robed figures were so still that
Perhaps no scene of beauty in the visible they might almost have been carved in
creation has proved a more hackneyed stone. The air seemed to grow purer and
theme for the poet and the philosopher purer; the stars shone brighter and
than a starry night. But not all the super- brighter; suspended in ether the planets
abundance of simile and moral illustration seemed to hang like lamps. Now a shoot-
with which the subject has been loaded ing meteor passed athwart the sky, and
can rob the beholder of the freshness of its vanished behind the hill. But not for this
grandeur or the force of its teaching; that did the watchers move; in silence they
noblest and most majestic vision of the watched on-till, on a sudden, how and
handiwork of GOD on which the eye of whence the parson knew not, across the
man is herepermitted to rest. shining ranks of that immeasurable host,
As the parson gazed he became con- whose names and number are known to
scious that he was not alone. Other eyes GoD alone, there passed in slow but obvious
besides his were watching the skies to- motion one brilliant solitary star-a star
night. Dark, profound, patient, eastern of such-surpassing brightness that he in-
eyes, used from the cradle to the grave to voluntarily joined in the wild cry of joy
watch and wait. The eyes of star-gazers and greeting with which the Men of the
and dream-interpreters; men who believed East now prostrated themselves with their
the fate of empires to be written in shining faces to the earth.
characters on the face of heaven, as the He could not understand the language
"Mene, Mene," was written in fire on the in which, with noisy clamour and gesticu-
walls of the Babylonian palace. The old lation, they broke their former profound
parson was one of the many men of real and patient silence, and greeted the por-
learning and wide reading who pursue tent for which they had watched. But he
their studies in the quiet country parishes knew now that these were the Wise Men
of England, and it was with the keen of the Epiphany, and that this was the
interest of intelligence that he watched Star of Bethlehem. In his ears rang the
the group of figures that lay near him, energetic simplicity of the Gospel narra-
Is this a vision of the past ? he asked tive, When they saw the Star, they re-
himself. "There can be no doubt as to joiced with exceeding great joy."
these men. They are star-gazers, magi, With exceeding great joy! Ah! happy
and, from their dress and bearing, men of magi, who (more blest than Balaam the
high rank; perhaps 'teachers of a higher son of Beor), were faithful to the dim
wisdom' in one of the purest philosophies light vouchsafed to you; the Gentile
of the old heathen world. When one church may well be proud of your me-
thinks," he pursued, of the intense inte- mory. Ye travelled long and far to bring
rest, the eager excitement which the student royal offerings to the King of the Jews,
of history finds in the narrative of the with a faith not found in Israel. Ye saw
72 CHRISTM'AS CRACKERS.
Him whom prophets and kings had desired fancied I gave it to Jemima when her first
to see, and were glad. Wise men indeed, baby was born," she muttered dreamily.
and wise with the highest wisdom, in that It was darned and yellow, but it carried
ye suffered yourselves to be taught of her back all the same, and recalled happy
GoD. hours with wonderful vividness. She re-
Then the parson prayed that if this were membered the post-chaise and the postil-
indeed a dream he might dream on ; might lion. "He was such a pert little fellow,
pass, if only in a vision, over the hill, and how we laughed at him! He must
following the footsteps of the magi, whilst be either dead or a very shaky old man
the Star went before them, till he should by now," said the old lady. She seemed
see it rest above that city, which, little to smell the scent of meadow-sweet that
indeed among the thousands of Judah, was so powerful in a lane through which
was yet the the birthplace of the Lord's they drove; and how clearly she could
Christ. see the clean little country inn where they
"Ah !" he almost sobbed, "let me spent the honeymoon She seemed to be
follow! On my knees let me follow into there now, taking off her bonnet and
the house and see the Holy Child. In shawl, in the quaint clean chamber, with
the eyes of how many babies I have seen the heavy oak rafters, and the jasmine
mind and thought far beyond their powers coming in at the window, and glancing
of communication, every mother knows. with pardonable pride at the fair face re-
But if at times, with a sort of awe, one flected in the mirror. But as she laid her
sees the immortal soul shining through things on the patchwork coverlet, it seemed
the prison-bars of helpless infancy, what, to her that the lace veil became fine white
oh what must it be to behold the GOD- linen, and was folded about a figure that
head veiled in flesh through the face of a lay in the bed; and when she looked
little child!" round the room again everything was
The parson stretched out his arms, but draped in white-white blinds hung be-
even with the passion of his words the fore the windows, and even the old oak
vision began to break. He dared not chest and the press were covered with
move for fear it should utterly fade, and clean white cloths, after the decent cus-
as he lay still and silent, the wise men tom of the country; whilst from the church
roused their followers, and led by the tower without the passing bell tolled slowly.
Star, the train passed solemnly over the She had not seen the face of the corpse,
distant hills, and a strange anxiety came over her to
Then the clear night became clouded count the strokes of the bell, which tell if
with fragrant vapour, and with a sigh the it is a man, woman, or child who has
parson awoke, passed away. One, two, three, four, five,
six, seven! No more. It was a woman,
and when she looked on the face of the
When the cracker snapped and the dead she saw her own. But even as she
white end was left in the grandmother's looked the fair linen of the grave clothes
hand, she was astonished to perceive (as became the buoyant drapery of another
she thought) that the white lace veil which figure, in whose face she found a strange
she had worn over her wedding bonnet recognition of the lineaments of the dead
was still in her possession, and that she with all the loveliness of the bride. But
was turning it over in her fingers. "I ah! more, much more! On that face
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS. 73
there was a beauty not doomed to wither, One was of a sallowish salmon-colour, and
before those happy eyes lay a future un- transparent, the other was of brick-red
shadowed by the imperfections of earthly paper with a fringe. As Miss Letitia
prospects, and the folds of that robe were turned them over, she saw, to her un-
white as no fuller on earth can white them. speakable delight, that there were several
The window curtain parted, the jasmine yards of each material, and her peculiar
flowers bowed their heads, the spirit passed genius instantly seized upon the fact that
from the chamber of death, and the old in the present rage for double skirts there
lady's dream was ended, might be enough of the two kinds to com-
bine into a fashionable dress.
It had never struck her before that a
Miss Letitia had shared a cracker with dirty salmon went well with brick red.
the widow. The widow squeaked when "They blend so becomingly, my dear,"
the cracker went off, and then insisted she murmured; "and I think the under
upon giving up the smart paper and every- skirt will sit well, it is so stiff."
thing to Miss Letitia. She had always -The widow did not reply. The fumes
given up everything to Mr. Jones, she did of the tutor's compound made her sleepy,
so now to Master MacGreedy, and was and though she nodded to Miss Letitia's
quite unaccustomed to keep anything for observations, it was less from appreciation
her own share. She did not give this ex- of their force, than from inability to hold
plantation herself, but so it was. up her head. She was dreaming uneasy,
The cracker that thus fell into the hands horrible dreams, like nightmares; in which
of Miss Letitia was one of those new from time to time there mirgled expres-
fashioned ones that have a paper pattern sions of doubt and dissatisfaction which
of some article of dress wrapped up in fell from Miss Letitia's lips. "Just half a
them instead of a bonbon. This one was yard short-no gores-false hem" (and
a paper bonnet made in the latest mode- the melancholy reflection that) flounces
of green -tissue paper; and Miss Letitia take so much stuff." Then the tutor's face
stuck it on the top of her chignon with an kept appearing and vanishing with hor-
air that the widow envied from the bottom rible grimaces through the mist. At last
of her heart. She had not the gift of carry- the widow fell fairly asleep, and dreamed
ing off" her clothes. But to the tutor, on that she was married to the Blue Beard of
the contrary, it seemed to afford the most nursery annals, and thaton his return from
extreme amusement; and as Miss Letitia his memorable journey he had caught her
bowed gracefully hither and thither in the in the act of displaying the mysterious
energy of her conversation with the widow, cupboard to Miss Letitia. As he waved
the green paper fluttering with each em- his scimitar over her head, he seemed un-
phasis, he fairly shook with delight, his accountable to assume the form and fea-
shadow dancing like a maniac beside him. tures of the tutor. In her agitation the
He had scattered some more powder on poor woman could think of no plea against
the coals, and it may have been that the his severity, except that the cupboard was
smoke got into her eyes, and confused her already crammed with the corpses of his
ideas of colour, but Miss Letitia was struck previous wives, and there was no room for
with a fervid and otherwise unaccountable her. She was pleading this argument
admiration for the paper ends of the when Miss Letitia's voice broke in upon
cracker, which were most unusually ugly. her dream with decisive accent:
74 CHRISTfAS CRACKERS.
There's enough for two bodies." and trembling as an arrowroot blanc-
The widow shrieked and awoke. mange.
High and low," explained Miss Le- In obedience to the widow's entreaties
titia. My dear, what are you screaming the tutor opened a window, and tried to
about?" carry MacGreedy to the air; but that
I am very sorry indeed," said the young gentleman utterly refused to allow
widow; I beg your pardon, I'm sure, a the tutor to approach him, and was borne
thousand times. -But since Mr. Jones's howling to bed by his mamma.
death I have been so nervous, and I had With the fresh air the fumes of the fra-
such a horrible dream. And, oh dear grant smoke dispersed, and the company
oh dear !" she added, what is the matter roused themselves.
with my precious child? Macready, love, "Rather oppressive, eh ?" said the
come to your mamma, my pretty lamb." master of the house, who had had his
Ugh! ugh! There were groans from dream too, with which we have no
the corner where Master MacGreedy sat concern.
on his crackers as if they were eggs, and The dogs had had theirs also, and had
he hatching them. He had only touched testified to the same in their sleep by low
one, as yet, of the stock he had secured. growls and whines. Now they shook
He had picked it to pieces, had avoided themselves, and rubbed against each
the snap, and had found a large comfit other, growling in a warlike manner through
like an egg with a rough shell inside, their teeth, and wagging peaceably with
Every one knows that the goodies in their little stumpy tails.
crackers are not of a very superior quality. The twins shook themselves, and fell to
There is a large amount of white lead in squabbling as to whether they had been
the outside thinly disguised by a shabby to sleep or no; and, if either, which of
flavour of sugar. But that outside once them had given way to that weakness.
disposed of, there lies an almond at the Miss Letitia took the paper bonnet from
core. Now an almond is a very delicious her head with a nervous laugh, and after
thing in itself, and doubly nice when it looking regretfully at the cracker papers
takes the taste of white paint and chalk put them in her pocket.
out of one's mouth. But in spite of all The parson went home through the
the white lead and sugar and chalk frosty night. In the village street he
through which he had sucked his way, heard a boy's voice singing two lines of
MacGreedy could not come to the almond, the Christian hymn-
A dozen times had he been on the point
A dozen times had he been on the point Trace we the Babe Who hath redeemed our loss
of spitting out the delusive sweetmeat; From the poor Manger to the bitter Cross;"
but just as he thought of it he was sure to
feel a bit of hard rough-edge, and thinking and his eyes filled with tears.
he had gained the kernel at last, he held The old lady went to bed and slept in
valiantly on. It only proved to be a rough peace.
bit of sugar, however, and still the inter- In all the thirty-five years we have
minable coating melted copiously in his been privileged to hear you, sir," she told
South; and still the clean, fragrant almond the rector next day after service, I never
evaded his hopes. At last with a groan heard such a Christmas sermon before."
he spat the seemingly undiminished bon- The visitor carefully preserved the blue
bon on to the floor, and turned as white paper and the cracker motto. He came
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS. 75
down early next morning to find the white and a merry one too." In the corner
half to put with them. He did not find lay the heap of crackers which Master
it, for the young lady had taken it the MacGreedy had been too ill to remember
night before. when he retired. The tutor pocketed
The tutor had been in the room before them with a grim smile.
him, wandering round the scene of the As to the comfit, it was eaten by one of
evening's festivities, the dogs, who had come down earliest of
The yule log lay black and cold upon all. He swallowed it whole, so whether
Sthe hearth, and the tutor nodded to it. it contained an almond or not, remains a
"I told you how it would be," he said; mystery to the present time.
"but never mind, you have had your day,
AMELIA AND THE DWARFS.
M Y godmother's grandmother knew a perhaps because they were so easy-going,
good deal about the, fairies. Her her parents spoiled her. She was, beyond
grandmother had seen a fairy rade on a question, the most tiresome little girl in
Roodmas Eve, and she herself could re- that or any other neighbourhood. From
memberr a copper vessel of a queer shape her baby days her father and mother had
which had been left by the elves on some taken every opportunity of showing her to
occasion at an old farm-house among the their friends, and there was not a friend
hills. The following story came from her, who did not dread the infliction. When
and where she got it I do not know. She the good lady visited her acquaintances,
used to say it was a pleasant tale, with a she always took Amelia with her, and if
good moral in the inside of it. My god- the acquaintances were fortunate enough
mother often observed that a tale without to see from the windows who was coming,
a moral was like a nut without a kernel; they used to snatch up any delicate knick-
not worth the cracking. (We called fire- knacks, or brittle ornaments lying about,
side stories "cracks" in our part of the and put them away, crying, "What is to
country.) This is the tale. be done? Here comes Amelia !"
When Amelia came in, she would stand
AMELIA. and survey the room, whilst her mother
saluted her acquaintance; and if anything
A couple of gentlefolk once lived in a struck her fancy, she would interrupt the
certain part of England. (My godmother greetings to draw her mother's attention
never would tell the name either of the to it, with a twitch of her shawl, "Oh,
place or the people, even if she knew it. look, Mamma, at that funny bird in the
She said one ought not to expose one's glass case !" or perhaps, "Mamma,
neighbours' failings more than there was Mamma There's a new carpet since we
due occasion for.) They had an only we were here last;" for, as her mother
child, a daughter, whose name was Amelia. said, she was a very observing child."
They were an easy-going, good-humored Then she would wander round the
couple; "rather soft," my godmother said, room, examining and fingering everything,
but she was apt to think anybody "soft" and occasionally coming back with some-
who came from the southern shires, as thing in her hand to tread on her mother's
these people did. Amelia, who had been dress, and break in upon the ladies' con-
born farther north, was by no means so. versation with -" Mamma Mamma!
She had a strong resolute will, and a What's the good of keeping this old basin ?
clever head of her own, though she It's been broken and mended, and some
was but a child. She had a way of her of the pieces are quite loose now. I can
own too, and had it very completely. feel them :" or-addressing the lady of the
Perhaps because she was an only child, or house-" That's not a real ottoman in the
AMELIA AND THE DWARFS. 77
corner. It's a box covered with chintz. I day. I am saving up my money to be
know, for I've looked." rich. You may cut me an orange; no,
. Then her mamma would say, reprov- I'll take it to Mr. Brown, he peels it with
ingly, My dear Amelia a spoon and turns the skin back. Mr.
And perhaps the lady of the house Brown! Mr. Brown Don't talk to Mam-
would beg, "Don't play with that old ma, but peel me an orange, please. Mr.
china, my love; for though it is mended, Brown! I'm playing with your finger-
it is very valuable;" and her mother would glass."
add, My dear Amelia, you must not." And when the finger-glass full of cold
Sometimes the good lady said, You water had been upset on to Mr. Brown's-
must not." Sometimes she tried-" You shirt-front, Amelia's mamma would cry-
must not." When both these failed, and Oh dear, oh dear-r-Ramelia !" and carry
Amelia was balancing the china bowl on her off with the ladies to the drawing-
her finger ends, her mamma would get room.
flurried, and when Amelia flurried her, she Here she would scramble on to the
always rolled her r's, and emphasized her ladies' knees, or trample out the gathers
words, so that it sounded thus: of their dresses, and fidget with their orna-
"My dear-r-r-r-Ramelia You MUST ments, startling some luckless lady by the
NOT." announcement, I've got your bracelet
At which Amelia would not so much as undone at last!" who would find one of
look round, till perhaps the bowl slipped the divisions broken open by force, Amelia
from her fingers, and was smashed into un- not understanding the working of a clasp.
mendable fragments. Then her mamma Or perhaps two young lady friends would
would exclaim, Oh, dear-r-r-r, oh dear- get into a quiet corner for a chat. The
r-Ramelia !" and the lady of the house observing child was sure to spy them, -and
would try to look as if it did not matter, run on to them, crushing their flowers and
and when Amelia and her mother departed, ribbons, and crying-" You two want to
would pick up the bits, and pour out her talk secrets, I know. I can hear what
complaints to her lady friends, most of you say. I'm going to listen, I am. And
whom had suffered many such damages at I shall tell, too." When perhaps a knock
the hands of this "very observing child." at the door announced the nurse to take
When the good couple received their Miss Amelia to bed, and spread a general
friends at home, there was no escaping rapture of relief.
from Amelia. If it was a dinner party, Then Amelia would run to trample and
she came in with the dessert, or perhaps worry her mother, and after much teasing,
sooner. She would take up her position and clinging, and complaining, the nurse
near some one, generally the person most would be dismissed, and the fond mamma
deeply engaged in conversation, and either would turn to the lady next to her, and
lean heavily against him or her, or climb say with a smile-" I suppose I must .let
on to his or her knee, without being invited, her stay up a little. It is such a treat to
She would break in upon the most inte- her, poor child !"
resting discussion with her own little chil- But it was no treat to the visitors.
dish affairs, in the following style- Besides tormenting her fellow-creatures,
I've been out to-day. I walked to the Amelia had a trick of teasing animals.
town. I jumped across three brooks. Can She was really fond of dogs, but she was
you jump?. Papa gave me sixpence to- still fonder of doing what she was wanted
78. AMELIA AND THE DWARFS.
not to do, and of worrying everything and bulldog and burn Amelia with a red-hot
everybody about her. So she used to poker-or leave it alone; and whether
tread on the tips of their tails, and pretend Amelia or the bulldog has chloroform or
to give them biscuit, and then hit them on bears it without-it seems to be death or
the nose, besides pulling at those few, madness everyway!"
long, sensitive hairs which thin-skinned And as the doctor did not come fast
dogs wear on the upper lip. enough, she ran out without her bonnet to
Now Amelia's mother's acquaintances meet him, and Amelia's papa, who was
were so very well-bred and amiable, that very much distressed too, ran after her
they never spoke their minds to either the with her bonnet. Meanwhile the doctor
mother or the daughter about what they came in by another way, and found
endured from the latter's rudeness, wilful- Amelia sitting on the dining-room floor
ness, and powers of destruction. But this with the bulldog, and crying bitterly. She
was not the case with the dogs, and they was telling him that they wanted to shoot
expressed their sentiments by many a him, but that they should not, for it was
growl and snap. At last one day Amelia all her fault and not his. *But she did not
was tormenting a snow-white bulldog (who tell him that she was to be burnt with a
was certainly as well-bred and as amiable red-hot poker, for she thought it might
as any living creature in the kingdom), and hurt his feelings. And then she wept
she did not see that even his patience was afresh, and kissed the bulldog, and the
becoming worn out. His pink nose be- bulldog kissed her with his red tongue,
came crimson with increased irritation, and rubbed his pink nose against her, and
his upper lip twitched over his teeth, be- beat his own tail much harder on the floor
hind which he was rolling as many warning than Amelia had ever hit it. She said the
Rs as Amelia's mother herself. She finally same things to the doctor, but she told him
held out a bun towards him, and just as he also that she was willing to be burnt with-
was about to take it, she snatched it away out chloroform if it must be done, and
and kicked him instead. This fairly ex- if they would spare the bulldog. And
asperated the bull-dog, and as Amelia though she looked very white, she meant
would not let him bite the bun, he bit what she said.
Amelia's leg. But the doctor looked at her leg, and
Her mamma was so distressed that she found it was only a snap, and not a deep
fell into hysterics, and hardly knew what wound; and then he looked at the bull-
she was saying. She said the bull-dog dog, and saw that so far from looking mad,
must be shot for fear he should go mad, he looked a great deal more sensible than
and Amelia's wound must be done with a anybody in the house. So he only washed
red-hot poker for fear she should go mad Amelia's leg and bound it up, and she was
(with hydrophobia). And as of course not burnt with the poker, neither did she
she couldn't bear the pain of this, she must get hydrophobia; but she had got a good
have chloroform, and she would most pro- lesson on manners, and thenceforward she
bably die of that; for as one in several always behaved with the utmost propriety
thousands dies annually under chloroform, to animals, though she tormented her
it was evident that her chance of life was mother's friends as much as ever.
very small indeed. So, as the poor lady Now although Amelia's mamma's ac-
said, "' Whether we shoot Amelia and bur quaintances were too polite to complain
the bull-dog-at least I mean shoot the before her face, they made up for it by
AMELIA AND THE DWARFS. 79
what they said behind her back. In allu- not realize what the tasks were which her
sion to the poor lady's ineffectual remons- carelessness imposed on other people.
trances, one gentleman said that the more Whenr every hour of Nurse's day had been
mischiefAmelia did, the dearer she seemed spent in struggling to keep her wilful
to grow to her mother. And somebody young lady regularly fed, decently dressed,
else replied that however dear she might and moderately well-behaved (except, in-
be as a daughter, she was certainly a very deed, those hours when her mother was
dear friend, and proposed that they should fighting the same battle downstairs); and
send in a bill for all the damage she had when at last, after the hardest struggle
done in the course of the year, as a round of all, she had been got to bed not more
robin to her parents at Christmas. From- than two hours later than her appointed
which it may be seen that Amelia was not time, even then there was no rest for
popular with her parents' friends, as (to do Nurse. Amelia's mamma could at last
grown-up people justice) good children lean back in her chair and have a quiet
almost invariably are. chat with her husband, which was not
If she was not a favourite in the draw- broken in upon every two minutes, and
ing-room, she was still less so in the nur- Amelia herself was asleep ; but Nurse
sery, where, besides all the hardships must sit up for hours wearing out her
naturally belonging to attendance on a eyes by the light of a tallow candle, in
spoilt child, the poor nurse was kept, as fine-darning great, jagged, and most un-
she said, on the continual go by Ame- necessary holes in Amelia's muslin dresses.
lia's reckless destruction of her clothes. Or perhaps she had to wash and iron
It was not fair wear and tear, it was not clothes for Amelia's wear next day. For
an occasional fall in the mire, or an acci- sometimes she was so very destructive,
dental rent or two during a game at Hunt that towards the end of the week she had
the Hare," but it was constant wilful de- used up all her clothes and had no clean
struction, which Nurse had to repair as best ones to fall back upon.
she might. No entreaties would induce Amelia's meals were another source of
Amelia to "take care" of anything. She trouble. She would not wear a pinafore;
walked obstinately on the muddy side of if it had been put on, she would burst the
the road when Nurse pointed out the clean strings, and perhaps in throwing it away
parts, kicking up the dirt with her feet; if knock her plate of mutton broth over the
she climbed a wall she never tried to free tablecloth and her own dress. Then she
her dress if it had caught; on she rushed, fancied first one thing and then another;
and half a skirt might be left behind for she did not like this or that; she wanted
any care she had in the matter. "They a bit cut here or there. Her mamma
must be mended," or, "They must be used to begin by saying, "My dear-r-
washed," was all she thought about it. Ramelia, you must not be so wasteful,"
"You seem to think things clean and and she used to end by saying, "The
mend themselves, Miss Amelia," said poor dear child has positively no appetite;"
Nurse one day. which seemed to be a good reason for not
No, I don't," said Amelia, i-dely. "I wasting any more food upon her; but
think you do them; what are you here with Amelia's -mamma it only meant that
for?" she might try a little cutlet and tomato
But though she spoke in this insolent sauce when she had half finished her
and unladylike fashion, Amelia really did roast beef, and that most of the cutlet
80 AMELIA AND THE DWARFS.
and all the mashed potato might be ex- "I want to go out," said Amelia. They
changed for plum tart and custard; and will take away those cocks before I can get
that when she had spooned up the custard at them in the morning, and there will be
and played with the paste, and put the no more jumping and tumbling. I shall
plum stones on the tablecloth, she might go out and have some fun now."
be tempted with a little Stilton cheese and My dear Amelia, you must not," said
celery, and exchange that for anything her mamma; and her papa added, I
that caught her fancy in the dessert won't hear of it." So Amelia went up-
dishes. stairs to grumble to Nurse; but Nurse only
The Nurse used to say, Many a poor said, "Now, my dear Miss Amelia, do go
child would thank GOD for what you waste ,quietly to bed, like a dear love. The field
every meal time, Miss Amelia," and to is all wet with dew. Besides, it's a moon-
quote a certain good old saying, Waste light night, and who knows what's abroad?
not want not." But Amelia's mamma You might see the fairies-bless us and
allowed her to send away on her plates sain us !-and what not. There's been a
what would have fed another child, day magpie hopping up and down near the
after day. house all day, and that's a sign of ill-
UNDER THE HAYCOCKS. I don't care for magpies," said Amelia;
"I threw a stone at that one to-day."
It was summer, and haytime. Amelia And she left the nursery, and swung
had been constantly in the hayfield, and downstairs on the rail of the banisters.
the haymakers had constantly wished that But she did not go into the drawing-room;
she had been anywhere else. She mislaid she opened the front door and went out
the rakes, nearly killed herself and several into the moonshine.
other persons with a fork, and overturned It was a lovely night. But there was
one haycock after another as fast as they something strange about it. Everything
were made. At tea time it was hoped looked asleep, and yet seemed not only
that she would depart, but she teased her awake but watching. There was not a
mamma to have the tea brought into the sound, and yet the air seemed full of half
field, and her mamma said, "The poor sounds. The child was quite alone, and
child must have a treat sometimes," and yet at every step she fancied some one
so it was brought out. behind her, on one side of her, some-
After this she fell off the haycart, and where, and found it only a rustling leaf or
was a good deal shaken, but not hurt. So a passing shadow. She was soon in the
she was taken indoors, and the haymakers hayfield, where it was just the same; so
worked hard and cleared the field, all but a that when she fancied that something
few cocks which were left till the morning, green was moving near the first haycock
The sun set, the dew fell, the moon she thought very little of it, till, coming
rose. It was a lovely night. Amelia closer, she plainly perceived by the moon-
peeped from behind the blinds of the light a tA man dressed in green, with a
drawing-room windows, and saw four hay- tall, poised hat, and very, very long tips
cocks, each with a deep shadow reposing to his sloes, tying his shoestring with his
at its side. The rest of the field was foot on a stubble stalk. He had the most
swept clean, and looked pale in the moon- wizened of faces, and when he got angry
shine. It was a lovely night. with his shoe, he pulled so wry a grimace
AMELIA AND THE I WARFS. !I
that it was quite laughable. At last he these haycocks as she can," snarled the
stood up, stepping carefully over the dwarf, angrily; and he shook his fist as
stubble, went up to the first haycock, and much as to say, "If she did come, I
drawing out a hollow grass stalk blew should not receive her very pleasantly."
upon it till his cheeks were puffed like Now with Amelia, to hear that she had
footballs. And yet there was no sound, better not do something, was to, make her
only a half-sound, as of a horn blown in wish at once to do it; and as she was not
the far distance, or in a dream. Presently at all wanting in courage, she pulled the
the point of a tall hat, and finally just such dwarf's little cloak, just as she would have
another little wizened face poked out twitched her mother's shawl, and said
through the side of the haycock. (with that sort of snarly whine in which
"Can we hold revel here to-night?" spoilt children generally speak)-" Why
asked the little green man. V- shouldn't I come to the haycocks if I want
"That indeed you cannot," answered to? They belong to my papa, and I shall
the other; we have hardly room to turn come if I like. But you have no business
round as it is, with all Amelia's dirty here."
frocks." "Nightshade and hemlock !" ejaculated
"Ah, bah!" said the dwarf; and he the little man, "you are not lacking in
walked on to the next haycock, Amelia impudence. Perhaps your Sauciness is
cautiously following, not quite aware how things are distributed
Here he blew again, and a head was put in this world ? saying which he lifted his
out as before; on which he said-- pointed shoes and began to dance and
Can we hold revel here to-night ?" sing-
How is it possible ? was the reply, "All under the sun belongs to men,
"when there is not a place where one can And all under the moon to the fairies.
so much as set down an acorn cup, for So, so, so! Ho,ho, ho!
Amelia's broken victuals." All under the moon to the fairies."
Fie fie !" said the dwarf, and went As he sang "Ho, ho, ho !" the little man
on to the third, where all happened as turned head over heels; and though by
before; and he asked the old question- this time Amelia would gladly have got
Can we hold revel here to-night ?" away, she could not, for the dwarf seemed
"Can you dance on glass and crockery to dance and tumble round her, and always
sherds?" inquired the other. "Amelia's to cut off the chance of escape; whilst
broken gimcracks are everywhere." numberless voices from all around seemed
Pshaw !" snorted the dwarf, frowning to join in the chorus, with-
terribly; and when he came to the fourth
haycock he blew such an angry blast that All unde ts oon othf h ries."
the grass stalk split into seven pieces.
But he met with no better success than "And now," said the little man, "to
before. Only the point of a hat came woyk! And you have plenty of work be-
through the hay, and a feeblgoice piped fore you, so trip on, to the first haycock."
in tones of depression-" The broken "I shan't l" said Amelia.
threads would entangle our felt. It's all "On with you !" repeated the di~arf.
Amelia's fault. If we could only get hold "I won't.!" said Amelia.
of her But the little man, who was behind her,
"If she's wise, she'll keep as far from pinched her funny-bone with his lean
82 AMELIA AND THE DWARFS.
fingers, and, as everybody knows, that is a light like stars. But Amelia cared for
agony; so Amelia ran on, and tried to none of this. She only struggled to peep
get away. But when she went too fast, through the hay, and she did see her
the dwarf trod on her heels with his long- father and mother and nurse come down
pointed shoe, and if she did not go fast the lawn, followed by the other servants,
enough, he pinched her funny-bone. So looking for her. When they saw the stock
for once in her life she was obliged to do they ran to raise it with exclamations of
as she was told. As they ran, tall hats pity and surprise. The stock moaned
and wizened faces were popped out on all faintly, and Amelia's mamma wept, and
sides of the. haycocks, like blanched al- Amelia herself shouted with all her might.
monds on a tipsy cake; and whenever the "What's that? said her mamma. (It
dwarf pinched Amelia, or trod on her heels, is not easy to deceive a mother.)
the goblins cried "Ho, ho, ho!" with "Only the grasshoppers, my dear," said
such horrible contortions as they laughed, Papa. Let us get the poor child home."
that it was hideous to behold them. The stock moaned again, and the mother
Here is Amelia !" shouted the dwarf said, Oh dear oh dear-r-Ramelia !" and
when they reached the first haycock. followed in tears.
"Ho, ho, ho !" laughed all the others, "Rub her eyes," said the dwarf; on
as they poked out here and there from the which Amelia's eyes were rubbed with
hay. some ointment, and when she took a last
"Bring a stock," said the dwarf; on peep, she could see that the stock was
which the hay was lifted, and out ran six or nothing but a hairy imp, with a face like
seven dwarfs, carrying what seemed to the oldest and most grotesque of apes.
Amelia to be a little girl like herself. And "--- and send her below;" added
when she looked closer, to her horror and the dwarf. On which the field opened,
surprise the figure was exactly like her-it and Amelia was pushed underground.
was her own face, clothes, and everything. She found herself on a sort of open
"Shall we kick it into the house?" heath, where no houses were to be seen.
asked the goblins. Of course there was no moonshine, and
No," said the dwarf; "lay it down by yet it was neither daylight nor dark.
the haycock. The father and mother are There was as the light of early dawn, and
coming to seek her now." every sound was at once clear and dreamy,
When Amelia heard this she began to like the first sounds of the day coming
shriek for help; but she was pushed into through the fresh air before sunrise.
the haycock, where her loudest cries Beautiful flowers crept over the heath,
sounded like the chirruping of a grass- whose tints were constantly changing in
hopper. the subdued light; and as the hues changed
It was really a fine sight to see the in- and blended, the flowers gave forth diffe-
side of the cock. rent perfumes. All would have been
Farmers do not like to see flowers in a charming but that at every few paces the
hayfield, but the fairies do. They had paths were-blocked by large clothes-baskets
arranged all the buttercups, &c., in pat- full of dirty frocks. And the frocks were
terns on the haywalls; bunches of mea- Amelia's. Torn, draggled, wet, covered
dow-sweet swung from the roof like cen- with sand, mud, and dirt of all kinds,
sers, and perfumed the air; and the ox- Amelia recognized them.
eye daisies which formed the ceiling gave "You've got to wash them all," said the
AMELIA AND THE DWARFS.
84 AMELIA AND 7IE DWARFS.
dwarf, who was behind her as usual; Her back ached with stooping over the
" that's what you've, come down for-not wash-tub; her hands and arms grew
because your society is particularly plea- wrinkled with soaking in hot soapsuds,
sant. So the sooner you begin the better." and sore with rubbing. Whatever she did
I can't," said Amelia (she had already not know how to do, the woman of the
learnt that "I won't" is not an answer for heath taught her. At first, whilst Amelia
every one); send them up to Nurse, and was sulky, the woman of the heath was
she'll do them. It is her business." sharp and cross; but when Amelia be-
"What Nurse can do she has done, and came willing and obedient, she was good-
now it's time for you to begin," said the natured, and even helped her.
dwarf. Sooner or later the mischief The first time that Amelia felt hungry
done by spoilt children's wilful disobe- she asked for some food.
dience comes back on their own hands. By all means," said one of the dwarfs;
Up to a certain point we help them, for "there is plenty down here which belongs
we love children, and we are wilful our- to you;" and he led her away till they
selves. But there are limits to everything, came to a place like the first, except that
If you can't wash your dirty frocks, it is it was covered with plates of broken meats ;
time you learnt to do so, if only that you. all the bits of good meat, pie, pudding,
may know what the trouble is you impose bread and butter, &c., that Amelia had
on other people.. She will teach you." wasted beforetime.
The dwarf kicked out his foot in front I can't eat cold scraps like these," said
of him, and pointed with his long toe to a Amelia, turning away.
woman who sat by a fire made upon the "Then what did you ask for food for
heath, where a pot was suspended from before you were hungry ? screamed the
crossed poles. It was like a bit of a gipsy dwarf, and he pinched her and sent her
encampment, and the woman seemed to about her business.
be a real woman, not a fairy-which was After a while she became so famished
the case, as Amelia afterwards found. She that she was glad to beg humbly to be
had lived underground for many years, and allowed to go for food; and she ate a cold
was the dwarfs' servant. chop and the remains of a rice pudding
And this was how it came about that with thankfulness. How delicious they
Amelia had to wash her dirty frocks. Let tasted She was surprised herself at the
any little girl try to wash one of her good things she had rejected. After a
dresses; not to half wash it, not to leave time she fancied she would like to warm
it stained with dirty water, but to wash it up some of the cold meat in a pan, which
quite clean. Let her then try to starch the woman of the heath used to cook her
and iron it-in short, to make it look as if own dinner in, and she asked for leave to
it had come from the laundress-and she do so.
will have some idea of what poor Amelia "You may do anything you like to
had to learn to do. There was no help make yourself comfortable, if you do it
for it. When she was working she very yourself," said she; and Amelia, who had
seldom saw the dwarfs; but if she were been watching her for many times, became
idle or stubborn, or had any hopes of quite expert in cooking up the scraps.
getting away, one was sure to start up at As there was no real daylight under-
her elbow and pinch her funny-bone, or ground, so also there was no night. When
poke her in the ribs, till she did her best. the old woman was tired she lay down
AMELIA AND THE DWARFS. 85
and had a nap, and when she thought peevish, selfish, wilful, useless, and ill-
that Amelia had earned a rest, she allowed mannered little miss, that neither the
her to do the same. It was never cold, fairies nor anybody else were likely to
and it never rained, so they slept on the keep you any longer than necessary. But
heath among the flowers, now you are such a willing, handy, and
They say that" It's a long lane that has civil little thing, and so pretty and grace-
no turning," and the hardest tasks come ful withal, that I think it is very likely
to an end some time, and Amelia's dresses that they will want to keep you altogether.
were clean at last; but then a more weari- I think you had better make up your mind
some work was before her. They had to to it. They are kindly little folk, and will
be mended. Amelia looked at the jagged make a pet of you in the end."
rents made by the hedges: the great "Oh, no no !" moaned poor Amelia;
gaping holes in front where she had put "I want to be with my mother, my poor
her foot through; the torn tucks and dear mother! I want to make up for
gathers. First'she wept, then she bitterly being a bad child so long. Besides, surely
regretted that she had so often refused to that stock,' as they called her, will want
do her sewing at home that she was very to come back to her own people."
awkward with her needle. Whether she As to that," said the woman, after a
ever would have got through this task time the stock will affect mortal illness,
alone is doubtful, but she had by this time and will then take possession of the first
become so well-behaved and willing that black cat she sees, and in that shape leave
the old woman was kind to her, and, pity- the house, and come home. But the
ing her blundering attempts, she helped figure that is like you will remain lifeless
her a great deal: whilst Amelia would in the bed, and will be duly buried. Then
cook the old woman's victuals, or repeat your people, believing you to be dead,
stories and pieces of poetry to amuse her. will never look for you, and you will
How glad I am that I ever learnt any- always remain here. However, as this
thing!" thought the poor child: "every- distresses you so, I will give: you some
thing one learns seems to come in useful advice. Can you dance? "
some time." "Yes," said Amelia; "I did attend
At last the dresses were finished, pretty well to my dancing lessons. I was
Do you think I shall be allowed to go considered rather clever about it."
home now ? Amelia asked of the woman "At any spare moments you find," con-
of the heath, tinued the woman, dance, dance all your
"Not yet," said she; "you have got to dances, and as well as you can. The
mend the broken gimcracks next." dwarfs love dancing."
"But when I have done all my tasks," "And then ?" said Amelia.
Amelia said; "will they letme go then?" "Then, perhaps some night they will
"That depends," said the woman, and take you up to dance with them in the
she sat silent over the fire; but Amelia meadows above ground."
wept so bitterly, that she pitied her and "But I could not get. away. They
said-" Only dry your eyes, for the fairies would tread on my heels-oh! I could
hate tears, and I will tell you all I know never escape them."
and do the best for you I can. You see, I know that," said the woman; "your
when you first came you were-excuse only chance is this. If ever, when dancing
me !-such an unlicked cub.; such a in the meadows, you can find a four-leaved
86 AMELIA AND THE D WARFS.
clover, hold it in your hand, and wish to as in one place, where a grotesque and
be at home. Then no one can stop you. grimy old dwarf sat forging rivets to mend
Meanwhile I advise you to seem happy, china and glass. A fire in a hollow of the
that they may think you are content, and boulder served for a forge, and on the
have forgotten the world. And dance, flatter part was his anvil. The rocks were
above all, dance !" covered in all directions with the knick-
And Amelia, not to be behindhand, knacks, ornaments, &c., that Amelia had
began then and there to dance some pretty at various times destroyed.
figures on the heath. As she was dancing If you please, sir," she said to the
the dwarf came by. dwarf, "I am Amelia."
Ho, ho said he, "you can dance, The dwarf left off blowing at his forge
can you ?" and looked at her.
When I am happy, I can," said Amelia, Then I wonder you're not ashamed of
performing several graceful movements as yourself," said he.
she spoke. I am ashamed of myself," said poor
"What are you pleased about now?" Amelia, "very much ashamed. I should
snapped the dwarf, suspiciously. like to mend these things if I can."
Have I not reason?" said Amelia. "Well, you can't say more than that,"
"The dresses are washed and mended." said the dwarf, in a mollified tone, for he
"Then up with them !" returned the was a kindly little creature; "bring that
dwarf. On which half a dozen elves popped china bowl here, and I'll show you how
the whole lot into a big basket and kicked to set to work."
them up into the world, where they found Poor Amelia did not get on very fast,
their way to the right wardrobes somehow, but she tried her best. As to the dwarf,
As the woman of the heath had said, it was truly wonderful to see how he
Amelia was soon set to a new task. When worked. Things seemed to mend them-
she bade the old woman farewell, she selves at his touch, and he was so proud
asked if she could do nothing for her if of his skill, and so particular, that he gene-
ever she got at liberty herself. rally did over again the things which
"Can I do nothing to get you back to Amelia had done after her fashion. The
your old home ?" Amelia cried, for she first time he gave her a few minutes in
thought of others now as well as herself. which to rest and amuse herself, she held
No, thank you," returned the old out her little skirt, and began one of her
woman; I am used to this, and do not prettiest dances.
care to return. I have been here a long "Rivets and trivets !" shrieked the
time-how long I do not know; for as little man, How you dance It is charm-
there is neither daylight nor dark we have ing! I say it is charming On with you !
no measure of time-long, I am sure, very Fa, la fa! La, fa la! It gives ne the
long. The light and noise up yonder fidgets in my shoe points to see you !"
would now be too much for me. But I and forthwith down he jumped, and began
wish you well, and, above all, remember capering about.
to dance !" I am a good. dancer myself," said the
The new scene of Amelia's labours was a little man. "Do you know the 'Hop,
more rocky part of the heath, where grey Skip, and a Jump' dance ?"
granite boulders served for seats and tables, I do not think I do," said Amelia.
and sometimes for workshops and anvils, "It is much admired," said the dwarf,
AMELIA AND THE DWARFS. 87
"when I dance it;" and he thereupon By all means," said Amelia; and she
tucked up the little leather apron in which began to explain the dance to the best of
he worked, and performed some curious her ability.
antics on one leg. Charming, charming cried the
That is the Hop," he observed, pausing dwarf. "We have no such dance our-
for a moment. "The Skip is thus. You selves. We only dance hand in hand,
throw out your left leg as high and as far and round and round, when we dance to-
as you can, and as you drop on the toe of gether. Now I will learn the step, and
your left foot you fling out the right leg in then I will put my arm round your waist
the same manner, and so on. This is the and dance with you."
Jump," with which he turned a somersault Amelia looked at the dwarf. He was
and disappeared from view. When Amelia very smutty, and old, and wizened. Truly,
next saw him he was sitting cross-legged a queer partner I But "handsome is that
on his boulder, handsome does;" and he had done her a
"Good, wasn't it?" he said. good turn. So when he had learnt the
"Wonderful Amelia replied, step, he put his arm round Amelia's waist,
Now it's your turn again," said the and they danced together. His shoe
dwarf. points were very much in the way, but
But Amelia cunningly replied-"I'm otherwise he danced very well.
afraid I must go on with my work." Then he set to work on the broken or-
Pshaw said the little tinker. Give naments, and they were all very soon as
me your work. I can do more in a minute good as new." But they were not kicked
than you in a month, and better to boot. up into the world, for, as the dwarfs said,,
Now dance again." they would be sure to break on the road.
Do you know this ? said Amelia, So they kept them and used them; and I
and she danced a few paces of a polka fear that no benefit came from the little
mazurka. tinker's skill to Amelia's mamma's ac-
"Admirable !" cried the little man. quaintance in this matter.
"Stay "-and he drew an old violin from "Have I any other tasks?" Amelia
behind the rock; "now dance again, and inquired.
mark the time well, so that I may catch "One more," said the dwarfs; and she
the measure, and then I will accompany was led farther on to a smooth mossy
you." green, thickly covered with what looked
Which accordingly he did, improvising like bits of broken thread. One would
a very spirited tune, which had, however, think it had been a milliner's work-room
the peculiar subdued and weird effect of from the first invention of needles and
all the other sounds in this strange region, thread.
"The fiddle came from up yonder," What are these? Amelia asked.
said the little man. "It was smashed to They are the broken threads of all
atoms in the world and thrown away.' But, the conversations you have interrupted,"
ho, ho, ho There is nothing that I can- was the reply; "and pretty dangerous
not mend, and a mended fiddle is an work it is to dance here now, with threads
amended fiddle. It improves the tone. getting round one's shoe points. Dance
Now teach me that dance, and I will patch a hornpipe in a herring-net, and you'll
up all the rest of the gimcracks. Is it a know what it is !"
bargain?" Amelia began to pick up the threads,
88 AMELIA AND THE DWAr 'S.
but it was tedious work. She had cleared danced and played with them, and never
a yard or two, and her back was aching showed a sign of discontent; but her heart
terribly, when she heard the fiddle and ached for home, and when she was alone
the mazurka behind her; and looking she would bury her face in the flowers and
round she saw the old dwarf, who was cry for her mother.
playing away, and making the most hideous One day she overheard the dwarfs in
grimaces as his chin pressed the violin, consultation.
"Dance, my lady, dance !" he shouted. "The moon is full to-morrow," said
"I do not think I can," said Amelia; one-(" Then I have been a month down
"I am so weary with stooping over my here," thought Amelia; it was full moon
work." that night ")-" shall we dance in the
Then rest a few minutes," he answered, Mary Meads ? "
"and I will play you a jig. A jig is a "By all means," said the old tinker
beautiful dance, such life, such spirit! dwarf; "and we will take Amelia, and
So !" dance my dance."
And he played faster and faster, his Is it safe ?" said another.
arm, his face, his fiddle-bow all seemed "Look how content she is," said the
working together; and as he played, the old dwarf; "and, oh! how she dances;
threads danced themselves into three my feet tickle at the bare thought."
heaps. "The ordinary run of mortals do not
"That is not bad, is it ?" said the dwarf; see us," continued the objector ; but she
"and now for our own dance," and he is visible to any one. And there are men
played the mazurka. Get the measure and women who wander in the moonlight,
well into your head. LA, la f6 Ia! LA, and the Mary Meads are near her old
laf la! So!" home."
And throwing away his fiddle, he caught I will make her a hat of touchwood,'
Amelia round the waist, and they danced said the old dwarf, "so that even if she is
as before. After which, she had no diffi- seen it will look like a will-o'-the-wisp bob-
culty in putting the three heaps of thread bing up and down. If she does not come,
into a basket. I will not. I must dance my dance. You
"Where are these to be kicked to?" do not know what it is We two alone
asked the young goblins, move together with a grace which even
"To the four winds of heaven," said here is remarkable. But when I think
the old dwarf. There are very few draw- that up yonder we shall have attendant
ing-room conversations worth putting to- shadows echoing our movements, I long
gether a second time. They are not like for the moment to arrive."
old china bowls." So be it," said the others; and Amelia
wore the touchwood hat, and went up
BY MOONLIGHT. with them to the Mary Meads.
Amelia and the dwarf danced the ma-
Thus Amelia's tasks were ended; but zurka, and their shadows, now as short as
not a word was said of her return home. themselves, then long and gigantic, danced
The dwarfs were now very kind, and made beside them. As the moon went down,
so much of her that it was evident that and the shadows lengthened, the dwarf
they meant her to remain with them. was in raptures.
Amelia often cooked for them, and she "When one sees how colossal one's very
AMELIA. AND THE DWARFS. 89
shadow is," he remarked, "one knows they are good-humoured little folk, and do
one's true worth. You also have a good not mind a tumble.
shadow. We are partners in the dance, "Ha, ha, ha !" laughed Amelia, for she
and I think we will be partners for life. had fallen with her fingers on a four-leaved
But I have not fully considered the matter, clover.
so this is not to be regarded as a formal She put it behind her back, for the old
proposal." And he continued to dance, tinker dwarf was coming up to her, wiping
singing, "La, la, fa, l1, lI, la, f6, 1I." It the mud from his face with his leather
was highly admired, apron.
The Mary Meads lay a little below the "Now for our dance !" he shrieked.
house where Amelia's parents lived, and And I have made up my mind-partners
once during the night her father, who was now and partners always. You are incom-
watching by the sick bed of the stock, parable. For three hundred years I have
looked out of the window, not met with your equal."
How lovely the moonlight is !" he But Amelia held the four-leaved clover
murmured; "but, dear me! there is a above her head, and cried from her very
will-o'-the-wisp yonder. I had no idea heart-" I want to go home !"
the Mary Meads were so damp." Then he The dwarf gave a hideous yell of dis-
pulled the blind down and went back into appointment, and at this instant the stock
the room. came tumbling head over heels into the
As for poor Amelia, she found no four- midst, crying-" Oh the pills, the pow-
leaved clover, and at cockcrow they all ders, and the draughts! oh, the lotions
went underground. and embrocations oh, the blisters, the
"We will dance on Hunch Hill to-' poultices, andthe plasters! men may well
morrow," said the dwarfs. be so short-lived !"
All went as before; not a clover plant And Amelia found herself in bed in her
of any kind did Amelia see, and at cock- own home.
crow the revel broke up.
On the following night they danced in AT HOME AGAIN.
the hayfield. The old stubble was now
almost hidden by green clover. There By the side of Amelia's bed stood a
was a grand fairy dance-a round dance, little table, on which were so many big
which does not mean, as with us, a dance bottles of medicine, that Amelia smiled to
for two partners, but a dance where all think of all the stock must have had to
join hands and dance round and round in swallow during the month past. There
a circle with appropriate antics. Round was an open Bible on it too, in which
they went, faster and faster, the pointed Amelia's mother was reading, whilst tears
shoes nowmeeting in the centre like the trickled slowly down her pale cheeks.
spokes of a wheel, now kicked out behind The poor lady looked s6 thin and ill, so
like spikes, and then scamper, caper, hurry! worn with sorrow and watching, that
They seemed to fly, when suddenly the Amelia's heart smote her, as if some one
ring broke at one corner, and nothing had given her a sharp blow.
being stronger than its weakest point, the Mamma, Mamma Mother, my dear,
wholei.circle were sent flying over the dear Mother!"
field. The tender, humble, loving tone of
"Ho, ho, ho !" laughed the dwarfs, for voice was so unlike Amelia's old imperious
90 AMELIA AND TIiL W, VARIS.
snarl, that her mother hardly recognized COn hearing this rhodomontade, Amelia's
it; and when she saw Amelia's eyes full of mother burst into tears, for she thought
intelligence instead of the delirium of the poor child was still raving with fever.
fever, and that (though older and thinner But the doctor smiled pleasantly, and said
and rather pale) she looked wonderfully -" Ay, ay, to be sure," with a little nod,
well, the poor worn-out lady could hardly as one should say, "We know all about
restrain herself from falling into hysterics it; and laid two fingers in a casual man-
for very joy. ner on Amelia's wrist.
"Dear Mamma, I want to tell you all But she is wonderfully better, madam,"
about it," said Amelia, kissing the kind he said afterwards to her mamma; "the
hand that stroked her brow. brain has been severely tried, but she is
But it appeared that the doctor had for- marvellously improved: in fact, it is an
bidden conversation; and though Amelia effort of nature, a most favourable effort,
knew it would do her no harm, she yielded and we can but assist the rally; we will
to her mother's wish and lay still and change the medicine." Which he did, and
silent, very wisely assisted nature with a bottle of
Now, my love, it is time to take your pure water flavoured with tincture of roses.
medicine." And it was so very kind of him to give
But Amelia pleaded-" Oh, Mamma, me his directions in poetry," said Amelia's
indeed I don't want any medicine. I am mamma; "for I told him my memory,
quite well, and would like to get up." which is never good, seemed going com-
Ah, my dear child! cried her mother, pletely, from anxiety, and if I had done
"what I have suffered in inducing you to anything wrong just now, I should never
take your medicine, and yet see what good have forgiven myself. And I always found
it has done you." poetry easier to remember than prose,"-
I hope you will never suffer any more which puzzled everybody, the doctor in-
from my wilfulness," said Amelia; and cluded, till it appeared that she had
she swallowed two tablespoonfuls of a ingeniously discovered a rhyme in his
mixture labelled "To be well shaken be- orders
fore taken," without even a wry face. 'To be kept cool and quiet,
Presently the doctor came. With light nourishing diet.'
"You're not so very angry at the sight
of me to-day, my little lady, eh ?" he Under which treatment Amelia was soon
said. pronounced to be well.
"I have not seen you for a long time," She made another attempt to relate her
said Amelia; but I know you have been adventures, but she found that not even
here, attending a stock who looked. like Nurse would believe in them.
me. If your eyes had been touched with "Why you told me yourself I might
fairy ointment, however, you would have meet with the fairies," said Amelia, re-
been aware that it was a fairy imp, and a proachfully.
very ugly one, covered with hair. I have So I did, my dear," Nurse replied,
been living in terror lest it should go back "and they say that it's that put it into
underground in the shape of a black cat. your head. And I'm sure what you say
However, thanks to the four-leaved clover, about the dwarfs and all is as good as a
and the old woman of the heath, I am at printed book, though you can't think that
home again." ever I would have let any dirty clothes
AMELIA AND 7HE D HARlS. r
store up like that, let alone your frocks, and nearly choked by the desperate efforts
my dear. But for pity sake, Miss Amelia, which had finally effected his escape from
don't go on about it to your mother, for the stable. And he jumped straight on to
she thinks you'll never get your senses the end of Amelia's bed, where he lay,
right again, and she has fretted enough tludding with his tail, and giving short
about you, poor lady; and nursed you whines of ecstasy. And as Amelia begged
night and day till she is nigh worn out. that he might be left, and as it was evident
And anybody can see you've been ill, Miss, that he would bite any one who tried to
you've grown so, and look paler and older take him away, he became established as
like. Well, to be sure, as you .say, if you'd chief nurse. When Amelia's meals were
been washing and working for a nonth in brought to the bedside on a tray, he kept
a place without a bit of sun, or a bed to a fixed eye on the plates, as if to see if her
lie on, and scraps to eat, it would be appetite were improving. And he would
enough to do it; and many's the poor even take a snack himself, with an air of
child that has to, and gets worn and old great affability.
before her time. But, my dear, whatever And when Amelia told him her story,
you think, give in to your mother; you'll she could see by his eyes, and his nose,
never repent giving in to your mother, my and his ears, and his tail, and the way he
dear, the longest day you live." growled whenever the stock was mentioned;
So Amelia kept her own counsel. But that he knew all about it. As, on the other
she had one confidant. hand, he had no difficulty in conveying to
When her parents brought the stock her by sympathetic whines the sentiment
home on the night of Amelia's visit to the Of course I would have helped you if I
haycocks, the bull-dog's conduct had been could; but they tied me up, and this dis-
most strange. His usual good-humour gusting old rope has taken me a month to
appeared to have been exchanged for in- worry through."
comprehensible fury, and he was with So, in spite of the past, Amelia grew up
difficulty prevented from flying at the good and gentle, unselfish and conside-
stock, who on her part showed an anger rate for others. She was unusually clever,
and dislike fully equal to his. as those who have been with the Little
Finally the bull-dog had been confined People are said always to'be.
to the stable, where he remained the And she became so popular with her
whole month, uttering from time to time mother's acquaintances that they said-
such howls, with his snub nose in the air, "We will no longer call her Amelia, for it
that poor Nurse quite gave up hope of is a name we learnt to dislike, but we will
Amelia's recovery, call her Amy, that is to say, 'Beloved.'"
"For indeed, my dear, they do say that *
a howling dog is a sign of death, and it
was more than I could abear." "And did my godmother's grandmother
But the day after Amelia's return, as believe that Amelia had really been with
Nurse was leaving the room with a tray the fairies, or did she think it was all fever
which had carried some of the light ravings?"
nourishing diet ordered by the doctor, she That, indeed, she never said, but she
was knocked down, tray and all, by the always observed that it was a pleasant tale
bull-dog, who came tearing into the room, with a good moral, which was surely enough
dragging a chain and dirty rope after him, for anybody."
THE FAIRY GODMOTHER. mother, too !); "the baby is a very fine
boy, and if you will let me know when the
TIMOTHY'S mother was very conscien- christening-day is fixed, I will come and
Stious. When she was quite a young give him a present. I can't be god-
woman, just after the birth of her first mother, though; I'm too old, and you've
baby, and long before Timothy saw the talked about responsibilities till I'm quite
light, she was very much troubled about alarmed." With which the old lady kissed
the responsibilities of having a family. her goddaughter, and nearly put out the
Suppose," she murmured, "they catch baby's eye with the point of her peaked
measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, hat, after which she mounted her broom-
scarlatina, croup, or inflammation of the stick and rode away.
lungs, when I might have prevented it; "A very fine boy," continued the young
and either die, or have weak eyes, weak mother. "Ah that's just where it is; if
lungs, or a chronic sore throat to the end it had only been a girl I shouldn't have
of their days. Suppose they have bandy felt so much afraid. Girls are easily
legs from walking too soon, or crooked managed. They have got consciences,
spines from being carried too long. Sup- and they mend their own clothes. You
pose, too, that they grow up bad-that can make them work, and they can amuse
they go wrong, do what one will to keep themselves when they're not working. Now
them right. Suppose I cannot afford to with boys it is quite different. And yet I
educate them properly, or that they won't shouldn't wonder if I have a large family
learn if I can afford to have them taught, of boys, just because I feel it to be such a
Suppose that they die young, when I responsibility."
might have kept them alive; or live only She was quite right. Years went by;
to make me think they had better have one baby after another was added to the
died young. Oh dear, it's a terrible re- family, and they were all boys. "Twenty
sponsibility having a family !" feet that want socks," sighed the good
"It's too late to talk about that now, woman, and not a hand that can knit or
my dear," said her godmother (a fairy god- darn !"
But we must go back to the first christen-
SSome time after the appearance of Timothy's ing. The godmother arrived, dressed in
Shoes," in "Aunt Judy's Magazine," I was told plum-coloured satin, with a small brown-
by a friend that a tale about a very similar pair of
shoes had appeared in an American publication, paper parcel in her hand.
My friend had forgotten the title, and I have not Fortunatus's purse !" whispered one
yet seen the story, but it is perhaps due to the of the guests, nudging his neighbour with
writer of it to apologize for any unintentional simi- his elbow. The dear child will always
larity, and to myself to say that my little shoes
were cobbled in my own brain,.and not on a bor- be welcome in my poor establishment," he
rowed last.-J. H. E. added aloud to the mother.
TIMOTHY'S SHOES. 93
"A mere trifle, my love," said the fairy will step into one another's shoes just at
godmother, laying the brown-paper parcel the age when little feet are most destruc-
beside her on the table and nodding kindly tive." With which the old lady carefully
to her goddaughter. wound the string on her finger into a neat
"That means a mug," said one of the twist, and folding the bit of brown paper,
godfathers, decidedly. "Rather shabby put both in her pocket, for she was a very
I've gone as far as a knife, fork, and spoon economical dame.
myself." I will not attempt to describe the scan-
Doubtless; 'tis of the more precious dalized buzz in which the visitors expressed
metal," said Dr. Dixon Airey, the school- their astonishment at the meanness of the
master (and this was his way of saying fairy's gift. As for the young mother, she
that it was a gold mug), "and not impro- was a sensible, sweet-tempered woman,
bably studded with the glittering diamond, and very fond of her old godmother, so
Let us not be precipitate in our conclu- she set it down to a fretk of eccentricity;
sions." and, dismissing a few ambitious day-dreams
At this moment the fairy spoke again, from her mind, she took the shoes, and
"My dear goddaughter," she began, laying thanked the old lady pleasantly enough.
her hand upon the parcel, "I have too When the company had departed, the
often had reason to observe that the gift godmother still lingered, and kissed her
of beauty is far from invariably proving a goddaughter affectionately. If your chil-
benefit to its possessor." (" I told you it dren inherit your good sense and good
was a purse," muttered the guest.) temper, my love, they will need nothing
" Riches," continued the fairy, are hardly an old woman like- me can give them,"
a less doubtful boon; and the youth who said she; "but, all the same, my little gift
is born to almost unlimited wealth is not is not quite so shabby as it looks. These
always slow to become a bankrupt. In- shoes have another quality besides that of
deed, I fear that the experience of many not wearing out. The little feet that are
centuries has almost convinced us poor in them cannot very easily go wrong. If,
fairies that extraordinary gifts are not when your boy is old enough, you send
necessarily blessings. This trifle," she him to school in these shoes, should he be
continued, beginning to untie the string disposed to play truant, they will pinch
of the parcel, is a very common gift to and discomfit him so that it is probable he
come from my hands, but I trust it will will let his shoes take him the right way';
prove useful." they m71 in like manner bring him home
"There cried the godfather, didn't at the proper time. And- "
I say it was a mug? Common? Why "Mrs. Godmother's broomstick at the
there's nothing so universal except, indeed, door shouted the farming man who was
the knife, fork, and spoon." acting as footman on this occasion.
But before he had finished his sentence Well, my dear," said the old lady,
the parcel was opened, and the fairy pre- you will find out their virtues all in good
sented the young mother with-a small time, and they will do for the whole family
pair of strong leather shoes, copper tipped in turn; for I really can come to no more
and heeled. They'll never wear out, my christenings. I am getting old-besides,
dear," she said; "rely upon it, you'll find our day is over. Farewell, my love." And
them 'a mother's blessing,' and however mounting her broomstick, the fairy finally
large a family you may have, your children departed.
94 TIMOTHY'S S.".Hu
them, and Tim's face looked just as in-
KINGCUPS. credulous as yours would look if you were
told that there was a bogy in the store-
As years went by, and her family in- closet who would avenge any attack upon
creased, the mother learned the full value the jam-pots with untold terrors. At last
of the little shoes. Her nine boys wore the good woman let go her hold, and Tim
them in turn, but they never wore them went off like an arrow from a bow, and he
out. So long as the fairy shoes were on gave not one more thought to what his
their feet they were pretty sure to go where mother had said.
they were sent and to come back when The past winter had been very cold, the
they were wanted, which, as all parents spring had been fitful and stormy, and
know, is no light matter. Moreover, during May had suddenly burst upon the coun-
the time that each boy wore them, he-got try with one broad bright smile of sun-
into such good habits that he was thence- shine and flowers. If Tim had loitered
forward comparatively tractable. At last on the school path when the frost nipped
they descended to the ninth and youngest his nose and numbed his toes, or when
boy, and became-Timothy's shoes, the trees were bare and the ground muddy,
Now the eighth boy had very small feet, and the March winds crept up his jacket-
so he had worn the shoes rather longer, 'sleeves, one can imagine the temptations
and Timothy got them somewhat later to delay when every nook had a flower and
than usual. Then, despite her conscien- every bush a bird. It is very wrong to
tiousness, Timothy's mother was not above play truant, but still it was very tempting.
the weakness of spoiling the youngest of Twirr-r-r-r-r-up into the blue sky went the
the family; and so, for one reason or larks; hedge-birds chirped and twitted in
another, Master Timothy was wilful, and and out of the bushes, the pale milkmaids
his little feet pretty well used to taking opened their petals, and down in the
their own way, before he stepped in the dark marsh below the kingcups shone like
fairy shoes. But he played truant from gold.
the dame's school and was late for dinner Once or twice Tim loitered to pick milk-
so often, that at length his mother resolved maids and white starflowers and speed-
to bear it no longer; and one morning well; but the shoes pinched him, and he
the leather shoes were brightly blacked ran on all the more willingly that a newly-
and the copper tips polished, and Master fledged butterfly went before him. But
Tim was duly shod, and dismissed to when the path ran on above the marsh,
school with many a wise warning from his and he looked down and saw the kingcups,
fond parent, he dismissed all thoughts of school. True,
Now, Tim, dear, I know you will be a the bank was long and steep, but that only
good boy," said his mother, a strong con- added to the fun. Kingcups he must have.
viction that he would be no such thing The other flowers he flung away. Milk-
pricking her conscience. "And mind you maids are wan-looking at the best; star-
don't loiter or play truant, for if you do, flowers and speedwell are ragged; but
these shoes will pinch you horribly, and those shining things that he had not seen
you'll be sure to be found out." for twelve long months, with cups of gold
Tim's mother held him by his right and leaves like water-lilies-Tim flung his
arm, and Tim's left arm and both his legs satchel on to the grass, and began to
were already as far away as he could stretch scramble down the bank. But though he
TIZOT7HY'S SHOES. 95
turned his feet towards the kingcups, the with a small cotton pocket-handkerchief,
shoes seemed resolved to go to school; and thought he would go on to school.
and as he persisted in going towards the Now, with all his faults, Tim was no
marsh, he suffered such twitches and coward and no liar, so with a quaking
twinges that he thought his feet must heart and a stubborn face he made up his
have been wrenched off. But Tim was a mind to tell the dame that he had played
very resolute little fellow, and though his truant; but even when one has resolved
ankles bid fair to be dislocated at every to confess, the words lag behind, and Tim
step, he dragged himself, shoes and all, was still composing a speech in his mind,
down to the marsh. And now, provok- and had still got no farther than, "Please,
ingly enough, he could not find a kingcup ma'am," when he found himself in the
within reach; in very perversity, as it school and under the dame's very eye.
seemed, not one would grow on the safe But Tim heeded not her frown, nor the
edge, but, like so many Will-o'-the-wisps, subdued titters of the children; his eyes
they shone out of the depths of the trea- were fixed upon the schoolroom floor,
cherous bog. And as Tim wandered where-in Tim's proper place in the class
round the marsh, jerk, wrench-oh, dear -stood the little leather shoes, very
every step was like a galvanic shock. At muddy, and with a kingcup in each.
last, desperate with pain and disappoint- "You've been in the marsh, Timothy,"
ment, he fairly jumped into a brilliant said the dame. Put on your shoes."
clump that looked tolerably near, and was It will be believed that when his punish-
at once ankle-deep in water. Then, to his ment and his lessons were over, Tim
delight, the wet mud sucked the shoes off allowed his shoes to take him quietly
his feet, and he waded about among the home.
rushes, reeds, and kingcups, sublimely
happy. THE SHOES AT SCHOOL.
And he was none the worse, though he
ought to have been. He moved about When Timothy's mother heard how he
very cautiously, feeling his way with a had been in the marsh, she decided to
stick from tussock to tussock of reedy send him at once to a real boys' school, as
grass, and wondering how his eight he was quite beyond dame's management.
brothers had been so feeble-minded as So he was sent to live with Dr. Dixon
never to think of throwing the obnoxious Airey, who kept a school on the moors,
shoes into a bog and so getting rid of assisted by one usher, a gentleman who
them once for all. True, in fairy stories, had very long legs and used very long
the youngest brother always does accom- words, and who wore common spectacles
plish what his elders had failed to do: of very high power on work days, and
but fairy tales are not always true. At last green ones on Sundays and holidays.
Tim began to feel tired; he hurt his foot And Timothy's shoes went with him.
with a sharp stump. A fat yellow frog On the whole he liked being at school.
jumped up in his face and so startled him He liked the boys, he did not hate Dr.
that he nearly fell backwards into the Airey much, and he would have felt
water. He was frightened, and had culled kindly towards the Usher but for certain
more kingcups than he could carry So exasperating circumstances. The Usher
he scrambled out, and climbed the 1bank, was accustomed to illustrate his lessons
and cleaned himself up as well as he c oulId by examples from familiar objects, and as
96 / TIMOTHY'S SHOES.
he naturally had not much imagination the worst of going down in class for Timo-
left after years of grinding at the rudiments thy was that his shoes were never content
of everything with a succession of lazy to rest there. They pinched his poor feet
little boys, he took the first familiar oI- till he shuffled them off in despair, and
jects that came to hand, and his examples then they pattered back to his proper
were apt to be tame. Now though Timo- place, where they stayed till, for very
thy's shoes were well known in his native shame, Tim was obliged to work back to
village, they created quite a sensation in them: and if he kept down in class for
Dr. Dixon Airey's establishment, and the two or three days, for so long he had to sit
Usher brought them into his familiar ex- in his socks, for the shoes always took the
amples till Timothy was nearly frantic, place that Tim ought to have filled.
Thus: "If Timothy's shoes cost 8s. 7d. But, after all, it was pleasant enough at
without the copper tips, &c. ;" or, illus- that school upon the moors, from the time
treating the genitive case, "Timothy's when the cat-heather came out upon the
shoes, or the shoes of Timothy," or again: hills to the last of the blackberries; and
" The shoes. Of the shoes. To or for even in winter, when the northern snow
the shoes. The shoes. O shoes! By, lay deep, and the big dam was safe" for
with, or from the shoes." skaters, and there was a slide from the
"I'll run away by, with, or from the Doctor's gate to the village post-office-
shoes shortly," groaned Timothy, see if one steep descent of a quarter of a mile on
I don't. I can't stand it any longer." the causeway, and as smooth as the glass
I wouldn't mind it, if I were you," re- mountain climbed by the princess in the
turned Bramble minor. "They all do it. fairy tale. Then Saturday was a half-
Look at the fellow who wrote the Latin holiday, and the boys were allowed to
Grammar! He looks round the school- ramble off on long country walks, and if
room, and the first thing that catches his they had been particularly good they were
eyes goes down for the first declension, allowed to take out Nardy.
forma, a form. They're all alike." This was the Doctor's big dog, a noble
But when the fruit season came round, fellow of St. Bernard breed. The Doctor
and boys now and then smuggled cherries called him Bernardus, but the boys called
into school, which were forfeited by the him Nardy.
Usher, he sometimes used these for illus- Sometime.s, too, the Usher would take
trations instead of the shoes, thus (in the one or two boys for a treat to the neigh-
arithmetic class) : "Two hundred and bouring town, and when the Usher went
fifty-four cherries added to one thousand out holidaying, he always wore the green
six. hundred and seventy-five will make spectacles, through which he never saw
?- anything amiss, and indeed (it was whis-
A very big pie cried Tim on one of pered) saw very little at all.
these occasions. He had been sitting Altogether Timothy would have been
half asleep in the sunshine, his mind happy but for the shoes. They did him
running on the coming enjoyments of the good service in many ways, it is true.
fruit season, cooked and uncooked; the When Timothy first came, the little boys
Usher had appealed to him unexpectedly, groaned under the tyranny of a certain big
and the answer s- out of his lips before bully of whom all were afraid. One day
S--simself. Of course he when he was maltreating Bramble minor
was sent to the jb6tom of the class; and ip/a shameful and most unjust fashion,
TIMOTHY'S SHOES, 97
Timothy rushed at him and with the And the boys liked him all the better,
copper tips of his unerring shoes he kicked aiid did not on the whole behave any the
him so severely that the big bully did not worse for this occasional lenity.
get over it for a week, and no one feared Four times in the year, on certain Sun-
him any more. Then in races, and all day afternoons, the young people of the
games of swift and skilful chase, Timothy's neighbourhood were publicly catechised in
shoes won him high renown. But they the old church after the second lesson at
made him uncomfortable whenever he Evening Prayer, and Dr. Dixon Airey's
went wrong, and left him no peace till he young gentlemen with the rest. They all
went right, and he grumbled loudly against filed down the nave in a certain order, and
them. every boy knew beforehand which question
"There is a right way and a wrong and answer would fall to his share. Now'
way in all sublunary affairs," said the Timothy's mother had taught him the
Usher. Hereafter, young gentleman, Catechism very thoroughly, and so on a
you will appreciate your singular felicity certain Sunday he found that the lengthy
in being incapable of taking the wrong answer to the question, "What is thy duty
course without feeling uncomfortable." towards thy neighbour? had been given
"What's the use of his talking like that?" to him. He knew it quite well; but a
said Timothy, kicking the bench before stupid, half-shy, and wholly aggravating
him with his "copper tips." "I don't fit came upon him, and he resolved that
want to go the wrong way, I only want to he would not stand up with the others to
go my own way, that's all." And night and say his Catechism in church. So when
day he beat his brains for a good plan to they were about half-way there, Timothy
rid himself of the fairy shoes, slipped off unnoticed, and the Usher-all
confidence and green spectacles-took the
THE SHOES AT CHURCH. rest of the party on without him.
SOh, how the shoes pinched Tim's feet
On Sunday, Dr. Dixon Airey's school as he ran away over the heather, and how *
went to the old church in the valley. It Tim vowed in his heart never to rest till
was a venerable building with a stone he got rid of them At last the wrench-
floor, and when Dr. Dixon Airey's young ing became so intolerable that Tim tore
gentlemen came in they made such a clat- them off his feet, and kicked them for very
tering with their feet that everybody looked spite. Fortunately for Tim's shins the
round. So the Usher very properly made shoes did not kick back again; but they
a point of being punctual, that they might were just setting off after the Usher, when
not disturb the congregation. Tim snatched them up and put them in
The Usher alys went to church with his pocket.' At last he found among the
... t'e 's'ys- e--% s-;-gxea, grey rocks that peeped out of the heather
spectacles; It has teen hinted that on and bracken, one that he could just move,
Sunday and holidays he was slow to see and when he had pushed it back, he
anything amiss. Indeed if he were directly popped the shoes under it, and then rolled
told of misconduct he would only shake the heavy boulder back on them to keep
his head and say : them fast. After which he ate bilberries
Humanum est errare, my dear boy, as till his teeth were blue, and tried to forget
Dr. Kerchever Arnold truly remarks in the shoes and to enjoy himself. But he
one of the exercises." could not do either.
98 TIMOTHY'S SHOES.
As to the Usher, when he found that they discussed the matter seriously after
Timothy was missing, he was very much they went to bed.
vexed; and when the Psalms were ended What a gift it is to be able to dispose in
and still he had not come, the Usher took one trenchant sentence of a question that
off his green spectacles and put them into has given infinite trouble to those princi-
his pocket. And Bramble minor, who pally concerned! Most journalists have
came next to Timothy, kept his Prayer- this talent, and Bramble minor must have
Book open at the Church Catechism and had some of it, for when Timothy had
read his Duty to his Neighbour instead of been stating his grievance in doleful and
attending to the service. At last the time hopeless tones, his friend said:
came, and all the boys filed down the "What's these of putting them under
nave. First the parish schools and then stones and leaving them in bogs? Give
Dr. Dixon Airey's young gentlemen; and your shoes to some one who wants 'em,
just as they took their places, between my boy, and they'll be kept fast enough,
Bramble minor and the next boy-in the you may be sure "
spot where Timothy should have been- "But where am I to find any one who
stood Timothy's shoes, wants them ?" asked Timothy.
After service the shoes walked home Why, bless your life !" said Bramble
with the boys, and followed the Usher into minor, "go to the first poor person's cot-
Dr. Dixon Airey's study. tage you come to, and offer them to the
"I regret, sir," said the Usher, "I deeply first person you see. Strong shoes with
regret to have to report to you that Timo- copper tips and heels will not be refused
thy was absent from Divine worship this in a hurry, and will be taken very good
evening." care of, you'll find."
"And who did. his Duty to his Neigh- With which Bramble minor rolled over
bour ?" asked the Doctor, anxiously. in his little bed and went to sleep, and
Bramble minor, sir." Timothy turned over in his, and thought
"And how did he do it?" asked the what a thing it was to have a practical
Doctor. genius-like Bramble minor! And the
"Perfectly, sir." first half-holiday he borrowed a pair of
"Mrs. Airey and I," said the Doctor, shoes, and put his own in his pocket, and
"shall have much pleasure in seeing set forth for the nearest poor person's
Bramble minor at tea this evening. I be- cottage.
lieve there are greengage turnovers. We He did not go towards the village (it
hope also for the honour of your company, was too public he thought); he went over
sir," added the Doctor. "And when the moors, and when he had walked about
Timothy retraces his erring steps, tell him half a mile, down by a sandy lane just be-
to come andfetch his shoes." low him, he saw a poor person's cottage.
The cottage was so tumble-down, and so
old and inconvenient, there could be no
THE POOR PERSON. doubt but that it belonged to a poor per-
son, and to a very poor person indeed !
I regret to say that the events just re- When Timothy first rapped at the door
lated only confirmed Timothy in his de- he could hear no answer, but after knock-
sire to get rid of his shoes. He took ing two or three times he accepted a faint
Bramble minor into his confidence, and sound from within as a welcome, and
7~ :_sTIMOTHY'S SHOESZ
100 TIMOTHY'S SHOLS.
walked into the cottage. Though more Perhaps' /hey might like a pair-"
comfortable within than without, it was began Timothy; but the old man had
unmistakably the abode of a "poor per- gone on without heeding him.
son," and the poor person himself was "And all four on 'em married and
sitting crouched over a small fire, cough- settled, and me alone; for my old woman
ing after a manner that shook the frail went Home twenty years back, come next
walls of the cottage and his own frailer fift' o' March."
body. He was an old man, and rather "I daresay you have grandchildren,
deaf. then?" said Tim.
"Good afternoon," said Timothy, for "Ay, ay. Tom's wife's brought .him
he did not know what else to say. eleven, so fur; and six on 'em boys."
"Good day to ye," coughed the old "They're not very rich, I daresay," said
"And how are you this afternoon?" "Rich!" cried the old man; "why,
asked Tim. bless ye, last year Tom were out o'
"No but badly, thank ye," said the old work six month, and they were almost
man; "but I'm a long age, and it's what I clemmed."
mun expect." "I'm so sorry," said Tim; "and will
You don't feel as if a small pair of you please give them these shoes? They're
strong leather shoes would be of any use sure to fit one of the boys, and they are
to you ? asked Tim in his ear. very very strong leather, and copper-tipped
"Eh? Shoes? It's not many shoes and heeled, and-
I'm bound to wear out now. These'll last But as Tim enumerated the merits of
my time, I expect. I'm a long age, sir. his shoes the old man tried to speak, and
But thank ye kindly all the same." could not for a fit of coughing, and as he
Tim was silent, partly because the ob- choked and struggled he put back the
ject of his visit had failed, partly with awe shoes with his hand. At last he found
of the old man whose time was measured voice to gasp,-" Lor', bless you, Tom's
by the tattered slippers on his feet. in Osstraylee."
"You be one of Dr. Airey's young "Whatever did he go there for?" cried
gentlemen, I reckon," said the old man at Tim, impatiently, for he saw no prospect
last. Tim nodded, of getting rid of his tormentors.
"And how's the old gentleman? He "He'd nowt to do at home, and he's
wears well, do the Doctor. And I expect doing well out yonder. He says he'll send
he's a long age, too ? me some money soon, but I doubt it won't
"He's about sixty, I believe," said be in time for my burying. I'm a long
Timothy. age," muttered the old rpan.
"I thowt he'd been better nor seventy," Tim put the shoes in his pocket again,
said the old man, in almost an injured and pulled out a few coppers, the remains
tone, for he did not take much interest in of his pocket-money. These the old man
any one younger than threescore years and gratefully accepted, and Tim departed.
ten. And as he was. late, he took off the bor-
"Have you any children?" asked Tim, rowed shoes and put on his own once
still thinking of the shoes. more, for they carried him quicker over
Four buried and four living," said the the ground.
old man. And so they were still Timothy's shoes.