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IN THE GARDEN [See pge "
,_______^------------- /1 1
N E I B E E,
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD; AND 14, PICCADILLY,
0;P ( rUnrt
o aao i.
+FIVT E + LITrII +] BIRDIES+
CHAPTER .-A NEW HOME.
i. had just come home all But she was very kind to them and did her
;_ the way from India, these best, and they loved her. And the people on
I five little Birdies. Nannie board ship were good to the poor little lonely
was eight years old, and children. Their real name was Bird," but
S Felix was seven, and Gracie they were very often called "The Little
was six, and Teddie was Birdies." One friend began doing so, and
five, and little Lina, or others took it up.
Dottie, as everybody called Now they had left the ship, and had come a
her, was a little trot of four. long way by train. And at last they had left
The poor little Birdies were orphans. Three the train too, and were driving in a carriage
months before they left India their mamma through green lanes. Uncle Arthur, who had
had died, and then their papa had meant to met them when they first reached England,
bring them home; but just at last he too fell had Gracie and Teddie on his knees, and
ill, and died. So they had no one to take care Nannie by his side. Ayah, on the other seat,
of them on the way to England, except their had Felix beside her, and Dottie in her arms.
brown Indian ayah or nurse. So they drove on and on. It seemed a long
6 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
way to the tired children, though Nannie and Uncle Arthur stepped to the ground, and
Felix and Gracie were pleased to look about lifted out four of the children, and ayah came
them, and to see things so unlike what they last with Dottie. Then Uncle Arthur took the
had been used to see in India. Nannie liked hands of Nannie and Gracie, and led them to
very much this uncle of hers. He was quite a door which he opened.
young still, but he seemed to Nannie so old Mother," he said, here we all are."
and grown up that she would have been A lady came forward quickly-a kind-look-
surprised to hear him called almost a boy ing lady, not so old as Nannie had expected.
by some people. And quite a young lady stood behind, younger
I wonder how soon we'll be there," sighed even than Uncle Arthiir, for she was scarcely
Teddie, leaning his curly head against Uncle seventeen years old, and he was eighteen.
Arthur's coat. Will grandma be glad to see But the young lady said nothing at all. She
us ? did not even kiss the children. She gave just
Indeed she will, Teddie, very glad. She one look at them all, and ran away out of the
loves you all so much. But see-there is the room. But Mrs. Cliff did not run away. She
gate. We shall be at home in a minute now." only turned very pale, and put her arms round
The fly drove through the open gate, and Nannie, and hid her face.
round the grass lawn. There was a large tree "Mother, the children are very tired and
in the middle of the lawn, with low branches. shy," said Arthur.
And the door had a green porch, and a pretty And just then Teddie burst out sobbing, and
creeper growing all over it. But by this time said, I'm so hungry-so hungry."
it was so dark that nothing showed very Mrs. Cliff stood up and gave a deep sigh.
plainly. "Yes, they must all be hungry," she said
Now, Nannie-Felix-now, little ones." Poor little darlings Where is Bessie ?"
MRS. CLIFF PUT HER ARMS ROUND NANNIE.
THE PAST. 9
Auntie Bessie has run away," Gracie said, Bessie, and she came back with red eyes, as
gravely. "And mamma said she would love us." if she had been crying, and kissed all the
So she will, Gracie," whispered Arthur children. "Bessie, the children are hungry,"
to the little girl. But don't speak of your said Mrs. Cliff.
mamma just now, because poor grandma can't "Tea is quite ready," said Bessie. "Arthur
bear it yet." and I will take them in. Don't come just now,
Felix overheard the whisper, and he looked mother." Mrs. Cliff turned away to the
hard at Mrs. Cliff's sad face, but did not window without speaking, and Bessie took
speak. Some one was sent to call Aunt Nannie's hand to lead her to the next room.
._ *-- __
CHAPTER II.-THE PAST.
IIE four elder little Birdies "Is Dot always so shy ? asked Bessie.
were soon seated at the big "I think she is the most shy of us all," said
Stable in the dining-room, Nannie, in her slow quiet way of speaking.
with Aunt Bessie pouring And Dottie does love ayah so much."
out tea at one end, and "I don't know what the poor little thing
Uncle Arthur cutting bread will do without her," said Arthur.
and butter at the other end. "She must not go for a time," said Bessie.
Dottie was so sleepy and Arthur and Bessie were not speaking to the
shy that ayah very soon had to take her off children; but Nannie knew what they meant,
to bed, for she would not eat, and only cried and she said, "Ayah cried last night because
when spoken to. of leaving Dot."
Io FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
It will not be yet," said Arthur. train-it goes so fast. Uncle, what is the big
But she said she would not be able to tree on the grass in the garden ?"
stay, uncle, because there is a lady who wants A cedar of Lebanon. It is a fine big
ayah to go back with her to India." tree, is it not ? Do you ever climb trees ?"
"My dear little Nannie, no lady who has "I haven't begun yet," said Felix, "but I
come in your ship would be going back at want to begin. Mamma said I should."
once," said Arthur, thinking Nannie must "Will I see the pussy-cat to-night ?" asked
have made a mistake. Teddie, coming to the end of a piece of seed-
No, I know that," Nannie said. But cake, which had kept him very busy till that
there was a lady on board who made ayah moment.
promise to go out with some other lady, and I "Of course you shall," said Bessie; "I'll
know it is to be now directly. Ayah did not fetch it."
want to do it at first, and the lady said she And she went out of the room, and was
would give her more money, and then ayah gone some little time. When she came back
said 'Yes.' she looked as if she had been crying again.
"I see you know all about it," said Bessie. But she had in her arms a large white cat
"Ayah told me, Aunt Bessie. I didn't try with long hair, and a black ear, and three
to find out," said Nannie, flushing up. black feet. "There, what do you think of
"Well, we must see what we can do, her, Teddie?"
Nannie," said Arthur. "Gracie, you little Teddie's fingers softly stroked pussy's thick
quiet puss, how do you like English bread fur, and the other children came close round.
and jam?" Gracie smiled, but had no remarks "She is a beauty," said Gracie. "And so
to make about the jam. nice and warm, and she does not scratch a bit.
"I like it," said Felix. "And I like the What is her name, auntie ?"
THE PAST. II
Her name is Blackfoot," said Arthur. moment. Are you very tired, dear little
" She never scratches unless she is very much Nannie ? "
teased. But if you are kind to her, she will No," said Nannie; "not very, grandma."
be so fond of you." Nannie had something that she wanted to
I'd like her in my arms," said Teddie. say, yet she scarcely knew how to say it. But
And you shall have her," Bessie said. Mrs. Cliff helped her.
"You shall hold her for five minutes, and "Darling Nannie, you are very little, but I
then you must go to bed." think you may be able to tell me something
Teddie's arms were aching before the five about your dear mamma. Did you see much
minutes were over, and he was glad to give up of her when she was so ill? Did she ever
his heavy burden. Then he and Gracie and speak to you of me?"
Felix were all taken upstairs; but Nannie did Nannie's lips began to tremble. "No, never
not go quite so soon, for Bessie led her again mind now," said Mrs. Cliff. "After a night's
into the drawing-room. Mrs. Cliff was lying rest my little girl will find it easier. I am
on the sofa; and she sat up, and took the little selfish to ask it now."
girl on her knee. I'd rather, please," half sobbed Nannie.
"Yes," she said, softly, "the child is like "Please, I'd rather tell now, because-"
-very like." And Nannie knew that Mrs. And then Nannie cried too much to say any
Cliff was thinking of her dear mamma, more, and Mrs. Cliff tried to comfort her.
Mother, don't you advise Bessie to take "Tell what, my pet ? she asked again.
her to bed ?" said Arthur. "It is getting Only what mamma said," replied Nannie,
late." in a broken whisper. She told me to give
"Yes, she must soon," said Mrs. Cliff, you her love, grandmamma; and she said-she
sighing. "Very soon, but not just this said-she was going-"
12 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
Nannie had to stop again. Dear child, I Nannie nodded her head. "And mamma
will wait till to-morrow to hear," said Mrs. Cliff. said you were to tell me this ?" asked Mrs.
But Bessie thought it might be best to get Cliff, kissing the wet little face.
over the giving of the message at once, and "Yes; and she said-said, grandma-that
she said, "Nannie may as well finish what we must go too-and you-would teach us
she has to say, mother, and then she will feel --about Him-" And then Nannie's voice
more happy. What was it that dear mamma failed. She put her little head down on Mrs.
said, Nannie ? She was going-" Cliff's shoulder, and cried till she could cry
"Going," sobbed Nannie, "to be with- no more; after which Aunt Bessie took her
with-" upstairs and put her to bed; and Nannie
"With Jesus ? asked Bessie, softly. soon fell asleep.
CHAPTER III.-OUT IN THE GARDEN.
4 is'' IE next morning Nannie felt dew-drops. This room was at the back of the
quite bright and happy house, and Nannie could see the cocks and
when she woke up. She hens walking about over the back lawn.
jumped out of bed and How pretty they were !
ran to the window. It It was a very nice room that the two little
was such a lovely spring girls were in. There was one bed, in which
morning. Not a cloud Nannie and Gracie slept side by side. Gracie
could be seen in the blue was sound asleep still, with one plump arm
sky, and the green grass quite shone with thrown up over the pillow, and her brown hair
OUT IN THE GARDEN. 13
all tossed back from her face. She looked I am sure I could not help being sorry,"
such a dear little girl that Nannie stole up she said; I did love my own darling mamma
on tiptoe and gave her a soft kiss. Gracie so." And Nannie put her head down into the
woke up. pillow.
"I did not mean to make you open your "So did I," said Gracie, and I do now.
eyes," said Nannie. "Are you sleepy still ?" But I think it is very nice that she is so happy
Gracie shut her eyes and opened them again and comfy, and she won't be tired any more.
before speaking. "No," she said, "not very. And I'm glad."
Will grandmamma cry all to-day, do you Gracie clasped her little hands and lay still,
think ?" and soon Nannie lifted her head.
I don't suppose so," said Nannie; "but "Won't you get up, Gracie ?"
she must be sorry, you know." "Ayah has not called us yet."
I don't think she ought to be sorry when "No, but I'll begin to dress you."
mamma is in heaven," said Gracie, in a sober So Gracie sat up, and shook back her hair,
tone. Because mamma is just as happy as and stepped out upon the floor. Nannie was
happy can be, and I think we ought to be such a handy little maiden that she had often
glad." dressed Gracie as well as herself. The bath
0 Gracie, but you are sorry ?" said Nannie, was all ready, and soon there was a great
hardly knowing what to make of this. splashing. In a little while the black frocks
I think I shall not be sorry any longer," were on, and Nannie began brushing away at
said Gracie. Gracie's hair.
Nannie was puzzled, and did not quite know Then ayah came in, wearing a funny striped
how to meet Gracie's thoughts. The two little red and yellow sort of dress, not in the least
sisters were very unlike in their ways. like an English gown. Little Dottie held to a
14 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
corner of it tightly, and would not leave ayah Gracie meant India when she spoke of
for a moment. "home."
Ayah laughed to see the little girls nearly Mamma always said there were more pretty
ready, and she soon did all the rest that had flowers in English gardens," said Nannie.
to be done. Then she told Nannie that they But I would rather have the compound, and
might run out into the garden, till the big bell papa and mamma again."
rang. The front door was wide open, and Nannie
Yes, that will be nice," said Nannie. and Gracie walked out, hand in hand. They
"But we have not said our prayers yet, found indeed that an English garden was very
ayah." unlike an Indian garden or compound, but they
Nannie made Gracie kneel down by the bed, also found it to be very pretty. Gracie began
and say her little prayer aloud; and then to spring with delight at the sight of all the
she knelt down herself. She tried to get clusters of red and white roses, and then she
Dot to repeat the tiny prayer which had been took to dancing along the path.
taught her, but Dottie was cross this morn- 0 Nannie, are not the flowers lovely ? I do
ing, and would only cling to ayah and cry. like them. Look--pink, and blue, and yellow,
Nannie had to give up the attempt, for ayah and white. And here's a big red flower. I
always let Dottie do just what she pleased, wonder what it is called !"
which was very bad for poor little spoilt "So do I," said Nannie; "I dare say we
Dottie. shall know soon."
Shall we go into the front garden?" asked I mean to ask Uncle Arthur, or Auntie
Gracie, as she walked downstairs with Nannie. Bessie. Isn't Auntie Bessie nice?" said Gracie.
"I wonder if it is like the compound at "She cried last night. But I like her, only
home." she isn't the least bit like our mamma."
OUT IN THE GARDEN. 15
"Auntie Bessie is mamma's own sister, killed one last week, and had it cooked for
though," said Nannie. And mamma used to dinner."
play about with her here when she was a big Gracie looked very grave.
girl and Auntie Bessie was quite small. Look, Why, lots of hens are killed," said Felix.
there's Felix." "We used to eat them in India."
Felix rushed up, hot and panting. I have But mamma did not killthem," said Gracie.
been out ever so long," he said. I want you "No; but she had them killed. That is
to come round to the back and see the cocks what grandmamma does. I don't mean that
and hens." she kills them herself."
The little girls were very willing; and they And Gracie, who had pictured grandmamma
all three ran round, hand in hand, to the lawn walking out into the garden to strangle her own
behind the house. There they found a fine poor hens, gave a sigh of relief.
white cock, with a red comb, marching about Just then a window above was thrown
in grand style. A number of white and grey open, and the children looked up.
and speckled hens were all over the lawn. Nannie, Gracie, Felix, go indoors at once."
"They are lovely !" said Gracie, clasping her "It's so nice here," said Felix.
hands. "Do you think they are grandma's Go indoors at once," said Mrs. Cliff. I
very own?" cannot have you out there all alone. What
"I know they are," said Felix; "grandma was ayah thinking about?"
can do whatever she likes with them. She can Come, Felix," said Nannie, and she took
kill them, if she likes." his hand. He pulled hard the other way, but
Oh, no," said Gracie; grandmammaa can't Nannie with Gracie's help managed to get
kill them." him indoors. There they waited, not knowing
"But I tell you she can," said Felix. "She what to do next.
16 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
CHAPTER IV.-CHAIR .
o there are our little In- "There are only four," said Gracie. "I
dians," said Bessie, cor- wish there were five. Auntie Bessie, why are
ing downstairs, and giving there only four ?"
each Birdie a kiss. "Because there were only four of us,
S"We've all been in the Gracie."
garden," said Felix; "and Nannie came near, and asked softly, "Which
grandma called out to us to was mamma's chair ?"
come in. Why did she ?" "The biggest, dear, for she was the oldest;
I suppose she was afraid of such little that one with the red pattern. The tiny one
children getting into mischief;" said Bessie. was mine, and that next to it was Uncle
" Were you alone ? Arthur's, and the other was Aunt Lily's."
"No," said Felix. "Nannie and Gracie "I should like to see Aunt Lily," said
were there. Mamma always let Nannie take Felix, while Nannie sat down in the largest
care of us. Ayah is upstairs with Teddie of the four chairs, and tried to fancy her
and Dottie." mamma sitting there.
"Oh, what dear little darling chairs," cried "So you will, I hope, some day. Here
Gracie, as Bessie began to take some tea from comes grandmamma."
the caddy. Look, aren't they lovely ?" Uncle Arthur walked in after Mrs. Cliff,
That is just big enough for you," said and when the bell was rung for prayers, ayah
Nannie. brought in Teddie and Dottie. She took
Dottie away for breakfast, but the four elder mamma was happy. Doesn't she want to have
ones had it in the dining-room. us with her ? "
After breakfast they all went out again into I am sure she does, and I am sure she
the garden. It was such a nice bright will look out for you all to go there," said
morning. Bessie tried to make friends with Mrs. Cliff. "And the time will not seem so
the two shy little ones, and Arthur picked long to her as to us."
flowers for Gracie. Nannie walked gravely I wish I knew exactly where she is," said
by Mrs. Cliff's side, and told many little Nannie.
things about the voyage home, and about her "I can't tell you that, darling, because the
mamma's illness. Bible does not tell us. But I know she has
Nannie, you must never forget your dear gone to live with the Lord Jesus, and she must
mamma," Mrs. Cliff said. be very very happy. There cannot be any
No," said Nannie, in a low voice, "I sorrow where she is."
couldn't. But Gracie says mamma is so Then Gracie came bounding up with a white
happy that we ought not to be sorry." rose-bud in her hand.
Mrs. Cliff looked round at Gracie, who was 0 Nannie, Uncle Arthur says I may give
laughing gaily over her flowers, you this," cried the little breathless girl.
"But Gracie cannot help being sorry, dear, Isn't it lovely Oh, thank you," Nannie
if she loved mamma; Gracie does not quite said. May I put it in water, grandma ? "
understand. We are not sorry for mamma, "Uncle Arthur says I may call you
but for ourselves." 'grannie,'" said Gracie to Mrs. Cliff, "be-
Nannie wished her grandma would not cry. cause that sounds nice and short. May I ?"
Gracie loved mamma ever so much," she Mrs. Cliff gave her a kiss for answer.
said. "But Mrs. Price told us often that And I shall too," shouted Felix, who had
18 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
been galloping about on a stick. "And oh, "Nannie doesn't," said Felix. "I thumped
grannie, may we go and see the chickens ?" Gracie one day last week, and Gracie scratched
Oh, do, please do let us," chimed in the me, and Nannie cried for mamma, and a lady
others. gave us all a lot of sugar-plums."
Grannie could not refuse so many pleading "I don't think I shall give you sugar-plums
voices. So off they went to the hen-house. if you thump Gracie in this house," said Mrs.
And there, sure enough, was a speckled hen in Cliff. "What made you do such a naughty
one corner on a brood, and a grey hen in a thing? "
second corner on a second brood. Felix hung his head. "I don't know,"
"I like Speckle's chickens best," said he said, slowly. Gracie would not give me
Gracie. They stick out their beaks through my ball of string."
her feathers. And there's one sweet little white "No, because you would not ask me
one. Oh, look, the black one is trying to push proper," said Gracie, holding her head up.
out the white one." "I told you to say 'please.' "
And the mother is stretching her wing so "I wasn't going to do as you told me," said
as to cover them all," said Felix. Felix.
She's a dear cosy old mother," said "Come, come, we are not going to have
Gracie. the quarrel over again," said Arthur, tapping
"But I don't think she likes her little ones the little boy's shoulder. I think you and
to quarrel, any more than I should like my Gracie were both naughty. We must not
little ones to quarrel," said Mrs. Cliff. Two or have anything of that sort here."
three faces looked up half-smiling into hers. And Bessie added-" Felix and Gracie both
"But perhaps these big chickens of ours forgot to 'suffer long' and to 'be kind' that
never do quarrel," said Arthur. day."
S-r.,n-- rir had to go away in three It was quite sad to see Dottie, she was so
days, and that made all the unhappy. She had been a good deal spoilt since
children feel sorrowful. For her mamma's death, and had had her own way
S- they loved ayah-poor ayah, too much, and she could not think why she
with her brown skin, and might not have it now. And she thought, no
her strange dress, and her doubt, that if she went on fretting very much,
I:odd way of speaking. She ayah would be sure to come back.
-i had been very good to them, "I do wish Dottie would not cry so," poor
and it was no wonder they Nannie said, after dinner, with tears in her
loved her. Poor Ayah could not bear to eyes; for all over the house Dottie's cries for
say good-bye to Dottie. So when Dottie was "Ayah! ayah !" could be heard.
sound asleep in the middle of the day, ayah "So do I, dear," said Mrs. Cliff. "But we
went from the house. When Dottie woke up, must have patience. It will take a little while
ayah was gone. to comfort her. Perhaps she will like the new
Poor little Dottie! how she cried! She nurse who is coming to-night."
would not allow any of them to kiss her or com- Oh, but Dottie doesn't like new faces,"
fort her. She only put her face down into the said Nannie. "I am afraid that will make
pillow and sobbed aloud for "Ayah! ayah! her worse."
And when Bessie wanted to take her up, Lina She will grow used to the change in a
only said, "No, no, I want ayah I do want little while. Listen-she is not calling out
my dear dear ayah." now. Shall we go and see her?"
20 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
They found Bessie upstairs, taking care of I like story-books," said Gracie. But
Dottie. But Dottie would not sit upon her Dottie can't read."
knee. She had left off crying aloud, and was Well, we will see. I think a doll might be
sitting in a corner, half behind a curtain, look- best. I am going to give each of you a shilling
ing very grave. to spend on yourselves. Here, Nannie-Gracie
Don't speak to her just now," said Bessie, -Felix-Teddie. Don't lose the shillings.
softly. She will begin again if you do." Now let us see who can be ready first."
"Will you take the other children out, Soon the party of five started, going through
Bessie, while I stay here ?" asked Mrs. Cliff. the front garden. Bessie picked four white
Bessie nodded, and led Nannie out of the room. pinks, and gave them to the children. Nannie
Mayn't I just kiss Dottie?" asked Nannie. walked on one side of Bessie, and Teddie on
"Better leave her quiet just now. She her other side, and Gracie and Felix marched
screams if she is touched. I have a plan in my in front.
head. What do you say to going to a shop There were some nice big houses in gardens
and buying a nice toy for Dottie to amuse her to be passed first. And then there was a long
and keep her from thinking about ayah ? lane with a hedge on each side. The children
"Oh,wouldn't that be nice," cried Felix, who wanted to find wild flowers; but Bessie told
was in the passage with Gracie and Teddie. them they would be more likely to do so in
What shall we get ? asked Aunt Bessie. certain fields near, and she promised to take
"A doll," said Nannie. them there some other day. They had to be
I should like a picture-book for her," said content now with a few daisies.
Gracie. When they reached the toy-shop, it became
Little puss, are you the bookish one ? quite a serious matter for each to choose some-
said Bessie. thing. Gracie went about with a grave face,
looking at this and that, and Felix thought his is the right price. You are quite sure you
shilling would buy every single thing he saw, would rather have a book than a toy ? "
but he soon found his mistake. And Nannie Please," said Gracie. 0 auntie, I can
stood quiet, waiting for her turn. read this. It does look so easy."
There were toys, and books, and all sorts of Then Gracie paid her shilling, and walked
pretty ornaments in the shop. about hugging the book in her arms, and
"I know what I should like," said Felix. looking very happy.
' I should like that box of red soldiers; only Felix had settled by this time to take the
perhaps there's something else nicer." box of soldiers, and Teddie was charmed with
"And I think I shall have a book," said a brown bear which had a wire handle on one
Gracie; "because it is like a grown-up person side. When the handle was turned, a little
to have a book." mouse sprang up and jumped down the bear's
"But, Gracie, you cannot read well yet," red throat. Teddie laughed and clapped his
said Bessie. hands with delight each- time that the mouse
I can read all the easy words." was swallowed afresh.
"You don't think a doll would be nicer ?" "And what is Nannie going to buy?" asked
Gracie shook her head and said, "No Bessie.
May I have a book?" "I should like a sixpenny purse, please,"
Bessie went to the counter and began to said Nannie, for I haven't any purse now,
look through the volumes lying there. Some and I'll keep the other sixpence in it till I
she did not like, and some were too difficult, want something. I don't want anything yet."
But at last she found a small one, with a blue What a happy little girl to have no
cover, which she gave to Gracie. wants," Bessie said, smiling.
I think that will just do," she said. It The woman brought a tray full of pink
22 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
and blue and brown purses with clasps, unhappy, and when Bessie gave her the toys,
Nannie chose a blue one, and gave her she would not seem pleased, but let them fall
shilling to the woman, and had sixpence back to the ground, and puckered up her face, and
in exchange. said, I want ayah." But Bessie showed no
"And now for Dottie's present," said Bessie. anger. She did not try to coax Dottie. She
They had all thought so much about spend- only picked up the toys, and took them to the
ing their own shillings, that they had quite table. Then she filled the can and bath with
forgotten Dottie, all except Nannie. water, and fetched a tiny bit of soap and flan-
Auntie, I saw such lovely little china dolls nel, and began to wash the china doll, talking
and tin baths," said Nannie; "I do think very friendly to it as she did so.
they would be nice for Dottie." And soon Nannie, who stood beside her, saw
Bessie made Nannie show her the place that Dottie was peeping and listening. Bessie
where the china dolls lay each in its bath, all went on washing the doll, and in a little while
ready to be washed, though they were clean Dottie crept close to the table and stood
enough already. "Look, Auntie Bessie; we looking. Bessie talked away to the doll, and
could soap and scrub them, and Dottie would sometimes spoke to Dottie too.
think that such fun. There's a nice can for The next thing was that Dottie began to
water, meant to go with the bath." smile, and the next thing after was that Dottie
Bessie did just what Nannie wanted. She sat on Bessie's knee. And Bessie washed and
bought the prettiest of the china dolls, and a soaped and rubbed the doll for two hours
nice green bath, and a green water-can, and a without stopping. By that time Dottie was
wooden chest of drawers to hold its clothing, quite friendly, and she grew very fond of
Then they all walked home very fast. Bessie from that day. What a clean doll it
Dottie was still looking very solemn and must have been after so much scrubbing!
BESSIE TALKED AWAY TO THE DOLL.
S N a short time the five But Gracie did not get tired so soon as
little Birdies began to feel Bessie expected. She really was much more
quite at home. They loved fond of books than Nannie.
Sgrandmamma very much, The first thing after breakfast every day
and Aunt Bessie and Uncle was a walk with nurse, and they most often
Arthur. Also they had a went for a run upon the breezy common. It
good kind nurse in the was such fun to have a good scamper over the
place of ayah. grass, with the wind blowing the little girls'
Aunt Bessie gave lessons every day to her hair about, and giving them all rosy cheeks.
little nieces and nephews, all except Dottie. Sometimes they found a few wild flowers for
Nannie and Gracie and Felix had each two their grandmamma.
hours in the morning; and Nannie had half By half-past ten they had to be back, and
an hour of music besides, and Teddie had the elder children went to the school. Felix
about half an hour of lessons. Bessie had did not like lessons, and he was often very care-
not meant to teach Gracie so long, but she less about them. Nannie tried to do her best,
begged not to have less time than the others. but she did not enjoy learning as Gracie did.
She liked lessons so much, she said, and she By the time lessons were over, dinner was
was only just one year younger than Felix. near. After dinner came plenty of play-
So Aunt Bessie laughed and said they would either in the'nursery, or in the garden, or in a
try; only she thought Gracie would soon be field; or else they would have a walk in the
tired of lessons, afternoon, and play games in the evening.
26 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
One sad day Gracie was not a good little sum. And if you do not get it right by the
girl over her lessons. No one quite knew how time Nannie has finished her music, you will
it began; but something made her feel cross, have no drive to-day."
and then all went wrong. Now these drives were a great treat.
First, she read badly; and after that, she Grannie had a drive every day, and sometimes
wrote badly; and next, she did her sum she took out one child. It was Gracie's turn,
badly. And this of course made Gracie feel and she was to have gone this very afternoon.
badly. She could not be happy while she was But at the moment when Bessie spoke,
naughty, yet she would not try to be good. Gracie felt so cross that even the drive did not
Gracie, what makes you such a careless seem worth trying for. She took her slate
girl this morning ? asked Aunt Bessie. and sat down in the corner, but she would not
Gracie hung her head. go through the sum to find out her mistakes.
Are you going to try now or not ?" Bessie She remained quite idle all the while that
went on. Nannie was playing her little scales and her
But Gracie would not answer. She squeezed new piece. By-and-by Bessie stood up and
up her lips, and said nothing. said,
0 Gracie, dear, do please be good," said "L Nannie's music is done. Bring the sum,
No; Gracie did not choose to be good. She Gracie came very slowly. She was a little
was silent still, afraid, and she began to wish that she had
I am afraid you are not only careless, but tried to do the sum.
wilful too," said Bessie. If you cannot tell Bessie took the slate and glanced at it.
me that you are sorry and mean to try more, Then she put the slate down and looked at
you must go and sit in that corner to do your Gracie.
You have not tried at all, Gracie," she "I don't want the garden-I want to
said. Gracie knew she had not, and could drive," said Gracie.
make no answer. But I cannot allow you to have the drive.
"I am very sorry," Bessie said, "and I Now, no more talking. Put away the books,
think you will be sorry too before long. children."
Felix will go for the drive to-day, and you will Bessie went out of the room, and Gracie
lose this turn, Gracie. While we are out, you stood and cried, while Nannie carried all the
must stay in your room, and I shall expect books to the cupboard and arranged them
to find the sum done when I come back. If neatly on the shelves. Nannie tried to comfort
not-or at least if you have not tried-you Gracie, but Gracie felt very cross still; and
will go to bed an hour earlier than usual to- when they were in the garden, she would not
night." run or play, or answer when spoken to. She
Gracie began to long very much indeed for was quite sure that if only Auntie Bessie would
the drive. She could not think how it was let her have the drive, she would feel good
that she had not cared. Tears rushed into directly. But Bessie loved Gracie too well to
her eyes, and she said, Oh, please-" give way to her when she was naughty.
Please-what?" So all dinner-time Gracie was silent and
"Mayn't I do it now? I will try," sobbed tearful. Felix laughed and talked a great
Gracie. deal, but Nannie looked almost as sober as
"No," said Bessie, gently. "You have Gracie.
been long enough over lessons, and I could Very soon after dinner the carriage came to
not now let you go out with grannie. You the front door. And the horse looked so
must get a few minutes' run in the garden lively, and the day was so sunshiny, that Gracie
before dinner." could hardly bear the thought of staying
28 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
behind. Mayn't I go ? she said, sobbing, Gracie burst into loud crying, and ran away
to Bessie. Oh, please, please, mayn't I go ?" to the little room which she shared with
"No, Gracie dear. You must go to your Nannie. There she found her slate and
own room and do your sum. When you have pencil lying on the table. But instead of
quite finished it, and proved it to be right, you setting to work she only cried on, and thought
may come out in the garden, but till then you how very very hard it was that she should
must be alone, and Nannie must not go to you." have to stay indoors.
CHAPTER VII.-- RACE.
wISHr, oh, I do wish Gracie wish she were," thought Nannie, sadly. "But
were good," thought Nan- Gracie was naughty with her too sometimes.
nie, as she walked about in I wish I could do something. But I must
the garden, not go to Gracie, and if I might I could not
,"-B- rNannie did not care to make her good. She has not looked so cross
.^ --..r run or skip this afternoon, for a long long while. If only she would stop
_:- She did not feel as if she crying and do the sum."
could do anything, except Nannie walked up and down again, and then
stand about on the pathway just under sighed. I am sure she isn't trying to do it.
Gracie's window, and listen for the sobbing to She is crying too much. I wonder if I mightn't
stop. But it went on and on, till poor Nannie's just call out and tell her to make haste and
heart felt very sore. begin." Nannie opened her lips, and then
Oh, I do wish mamma were here-I do stopped. Was it right?
GRA CIE. 29
Auntie Bessie said I must not go to her; make dear little Gracie sorry for being so
she didn't say I must not speak." naughty, and let her be good again.
Nannie half opened her lips again, and then Nannie felt much happier after this, and she
looked round to see if any one was near. went back into the garden. But the sobbing
I shouldn't like Uncle Arthur to hear me. still went on. And all at once-yes-there
Then it must be wrong. Of course I shouldn't were the carriage-wheels. Nannie heard them
mind being heard if it was quite right. I plainly.
suppose I must not call. But, oh dear, what A sudden thought came into her head, She
can I do ? rushed as fast as she could to the gate, and
Nannie felt very much like crying aloud to reached it just before the carriage stopped
keep poor Gracie company. And all at once there. 0 Auntie Bessie, please-please-"
she thought, God can make Gracie sorry. I cried Nannie.
wonder if I could ask Him." What is the matter, dear ?"
It was perhaps the first time that little Only-O auntie, please-" said Nannie,
Nannie had thought of asking for something quite out of breath, please-Gracie has been
which she really wanted for herself. She said crying all the whole time, and if I might go to
her prayers morning and evening, and she said her-I think she would do the sum-I think
them thoughtfully, yet often without really she would. Mayn't I just try ? Oh, do please
wanting what she prayed for. So this was a let me."
new feeling to her. You have not been to her room, Nannie ?"
She went to the schoolroom, which was quite said Bessie.
empty, and she shut the door and knelt down No, auntie; I've been outside, under her
by the table. Then she asked God, in a soft window. And I wanted to call out, but I
whisper, if He would please, for Jesus' sake, didn't. Only I thought I would ask you if
30 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
I mightn't just go and see her before you pencil and brought them to her sister. Gracie's
do." head was turned away.
Bessie thought for a moment, and then "It won't be finished if you don't make
she opened the carriage door and stepped out. great haste. O Gracie, darling, do please. It
"I am going to a cottage near," she said. is dreadful to have you up here. I don't care
"I shall not be long, Nannie, but you may try to play a bit without you. And auntie will
what you can do with Gracie. You had better have to punish you if you won't try. Auntie
jump into the carriage and drive to the front Bessie didn't seem to care for her drive to-day,
door. Only you must not help Gracie with and grannie looked quite sad. Do please be
the sum." good, sweet Gracie;" and the coaxing child
Oh, no, I won't. Oh, thank you, auntie," threw her arms round her little sister.
cried the now joyful little girl. She sprang Won't you, darling ? Oh, I do wish you
in with the help of Mrs. Cliff's hand, and the would."
moment they were before the house she jumped Gracie's face changed, and the sullen lock
down again, and ran straight upstairs to the began to vanish.
bedroom. "Look, here's the slate," said Nannie.
"Gracie, Gracie, is the sum done?" she "There are only just a few minutes, Gracie.
cried, hurrying in. Auntie Bessie will soon come. Won't you
"No," said Gracie, sullenly, with very red begin now directly, and try to be very very
eyes and a very unhappy face. quick ? "
Because Auntie Bessie will be home very "Yes, I'll try," said Gracie, with a deep
soon. She has gone to a cottage, and I begged sigh, as if the resolve were not easy.
her to let me come here. O Gracie, do get the Nannie seated herself on the foot of her bed,
sum done." Nannie picked up the slate and and did not utter another word. And Gracie
GRA CIE. 31
bent over the slate, murmuring softly, Two "Yes," said Gracie. "I wish I'd been out
and two make four. And four and one make to drive."
five. And five and two make-seven. And And you don't feel the least sorry that
seven and three make-make-ten. And ten you have been naughty," said Bessie, gently.
and three make-eleven-twelve-thirteen. "Not the very least, Gracie? You don't
Put down three and carry one." mind having grieved dear grandmamma and
That was how Gracie began. Presently the me, and made Nannie's day unhappy ? And
door opened and Bessie came in. But it was you don't mind having grieved the loving
not too soon, for the task was finished. Bessie Lord Jesus ? What do you think He felt, to
took the slate which Gracie held out and see little Gracie behaving so ? "
glanced through the figures. Gracie flushed quite red, and her eyes filled
"Yes, quite right," she said. And laying with tears.
the slate down, she added, Gracie, are you I want you to think of that," Bessie said,
sorry ?" putting her arm round Gracie. For you
I'm very glad the sum is done," said know He loves you very much, and He wants
Gracie. you to try to please Him. And I don't think
You could have done it quite easily this He could have been pleased with little Gracie
morning," said Bessie. "Why did you not?" all this morning. I think it must have made
Gracie hung her head, and seemed rather Him so sorry."
ashamed. I won't do it ever again," said Gracie,
"Don't you wish you had now?" asked almost sobbing. "I will try not, Auntie
32 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
CHAPTER VIII.-- AIN-DROPP.
E'RE going to have tea out "You may trust me. But I am glad I am
1- on the back lawn to-day," not a daisy."
S cried Gracie. Only they can't feel. I wouldn't put them
SThere was nothing which round the urn if they could feel."
S the "five little Birdies "I think they will feel the heat enough to
liked better than tea on the wither very quickly," said Arthur.
lawn. And grannie often "Then I'll twist them round the biscuit
gave it to them there when glass. That will be nice and cool."
the weather was warm and dry. Few daisies were to be found in front of the
Oh, I'm so glad," said Nannie; and Felix house, for the grass was too well mown to
jumped with joy. allow them to flourish. So Gracie went round
"And I am going to pick a heap of daisies, to the back, and through a gate into a small
and make a long chain to put round the urn," field, where she and Nannie might go when
said Gracie. Won't it be fun ? I think they liked. Grannie knew by this time that
grannie will be so pleased." Nannie and Gracie were careful little girls,
Will the daisies be pleased too ? asked a and that they might be trusted. The field
voice. was her own, and no strangers came into
0 Uncle Arthur, I didn't mean you to it, so the children were very safe there. A
hear," said Gracie. "You won't tell, will few trees grew in it, near the hedge.
you ? I think I shall find plenty of daisies here,"
said Gracie, looking round. "I mean to then I'll go on," murmured Gracie, drowsily.
pick ever so many." My fingers are.so tired."
Then she set to work. She did not stop to The minute passed, but Gracie did not open
play, but went on filling her little basket, her eyes. She had quite forgotten all about
from time to time turning out its contents on her chain, and about tea on the lawn, for she
the ground under an old tree, and then filling had dropped sound asleep. The bees buzzed
it again; at length there was quite a pile of round her, and the birds chirped, and the
pink-tipped flowers lying there. leaves rustled, but Gracie heard none of them.
"I'll begin my chain now,"said Gracie aloud. No one came near her. Somehow she was
So she seated herself beside the little heap, not missed for a good while. Mrs. Cliff and
and took out the needle and the long piece of Bessie were busy with callers, and they
thread which she had brought with her. Then thought Gracie was with nurse, while nurse
she broke off the daisy-heads, one by one, thought she was with her grandmamma.
running her needle through each and throwing Nannie supposed her to be picking daisies at
the stalks away. the back of the house, but no one dreamt of
It was a very very hot day, and working so her being asleep in the field.
hard had made Gracie feel quite sleepy. She Presently the sunshine went away, and
nodded and nodded over her chain and tried clouds came very quickly over the sky. Then
to be wakeful, and found it very difficult, there was a low rumble of thunder. If Gracie
By-and-by she laid her head back on a big had been awake she would have heard Nannie
root standing up close behind, and shut her calling at the back door-" Gracie, Gracie,
eyes, letting the half-made chain drop, and come in, it is going to rain."
folding her hands together. But Gracie was asleep, so she did not hear.
"I think I'll just stop for one minute, and Nannie called again, and then thought
34 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
" Gracie must have gone upstairs." As she wet, and the water began soaking through
said this to herself, a servant came up with the leafy roof overhead, and falling on Gracie
the words, Miss Nannie, your grandmamma herself. But it fell so softly that it did not
wants you in the drawing-room to see some rouse her, for she was a very sound sleeper.
one." Nannie quite forgot Gracie just then. Gracie had a funny dream as she lay there.
The clouds grew blacker, and the wind rose, She thought nurse was plunging her into a
and the birds left off chirping. But the little cold bath, and she did not like it at all. She
Birdie under the old tree never stirred. thought she struggled and cried and tried to
Drop, drip, splash came the rain. Splash, get away. But still she did not wake. The
drip, drop, and then, patter, patter, patter, on little white pinafore and black cotton frock
the leaves over Gracie's head. Harder and were soon quite wet. Yet the drops fell still
faster it came, till all the grass around was so gently, that they did not arouse Gracie.
CHAPTER I)-.-WILLJE AND ,(UCY.
I'' --- ANNIE left the back door and "Come, Nannie, and speak to Mr. and Mrs.
S went into the drawing- Gray," said her grandmamma.
l r:':m, where she found Mrs. "Is this the eldest of the poor little
'liff, Bessie, and Felix. things ?" asked the lady. How old are you,
There were also a strange my dear?"
t!. g.-ntleman and lady, and a Eight," said Nannie.
little boy and girl. Nannie Just Willie's age, and Lucy is seven."
had never seen them before. "Nannie is only a year older than me,"
WILLIE AND LUCY. 35
said Felix. "So I'm nearly as old as that summer before we went to the seaside; but
boy." I don't know what we shall do this summer."
"You needn't call me 'that boy,' said Where is abroad' ?" asked Felix.
Willie. "My name is Willie Gray." "Switzerland," said Willie.
And mine is Felix Bird," said Felix. "I "Yes, but, Willie, it does not mean only
like my name much the best." that," said Lucy. Because mamma said that
"Felix, don't forget to be polite," Aunt abroad' meant any place out of England."
Bessie's voice said softly, close to his ears. Then I have been abroad," said Felix;
Nannie, go to the other end of the room "India is out of England."
with Willie and Lucy," said Mrs. Cliff. You haven't been to India? said Willie.
Nannie looked shyly at them and said, "Yes, I have," said Felix. "And we've
"Will you come, please?" Then she walked only come back a little while."
down the room, and the others walked after Yes; but you did not go there away from
her. There they all four stood still and England?" said Willie.
looked at each other. Nannie thought Lucy "Yes, but I did," said Felix. Didn't I,
seemed a nice little girl, and Lucy thought Nannie ?"
the same of Nannie. But they did not know Felix was a wee baby when mamma took
what to talk about. him out there," said Nannie.
"Have you ever been abroad?" asked "0 well, then he doesn't know much about
Willie Gray of Felix. that," said Willie. "I know all about our
I don't know," said Felix. "Have you ?" journey abroad."
Yes; papa and mamma, and nurse and And I know all about India, and about
Lucy and I went last summer," said Willie, coming home," said Felix. And India is a
holding his head rather high. And the great, great way off."
36 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
"So is Switzerland," said Willie Gray, But Gracie was not in the bedroom, and
though he knew that it was not nearly so far. she was not in the nursery. Nurse was quite
I don't believe it is such a long way as startled to hear that Nannie had not seen
India," said Felix. Gracie for some time. Nannie ran to the
Well, I'd rather go to Switzerland," said school-room, but Gracie was not there. She ran
Willie. The truth is, Willie Gray never could to the dining-room, but Gracie was not there.
bear the thought of any other little boy doing By this time Mrs. Cliff had to be told
or seeing more than himself. This was a pity. about the missing little girl, for they were
Willie was a nice little boy, and it made him calling her name over the house. Quite a
seem cross at times about nothing. grand hunt took place, but Gracie was not
I wouldn't," said Felix; I like India." to be found indoors. Yet it was raining so
"But, Felix, you have not seen Switzer- fast that they all felt sure she could not be
land," said wise little Nannie. in the garden.
At this moment there came a flash of light- Nurse put her apron over her head, and
ning, and a low growl of thunder. ran off to the arbour at the end of the
"Children, don't stand too near the win- kitchen-garden. She thought Gracie might
dow," said Mrs. Cliff. There is going to be have been caught there in the rain. But no
a storm, Mrs. Gray; you must not think of Gracie was in the arbour. Poor nurse came
driving home till after tea." back looking quite pale.
Mr. and Mrs. Gray seemed very glad to wait Auntie Bessie, there is the thunder again,"
a little longer. Mrs. Cliff told Nannie to show said Nannie. "Oh what shall we do?" And
Lucy up to her room, where she could take off Nannie sat down on the lowest step of the
her hat. "And then you can find Gracie," stairs and began to cry. Lucy sat down by
added Bessie. her, and tried to comfort her.
WILLIE AND LUCY. 37
"Bessie, you, and nurse must hunt all over "But we have all looked in all the corners,"
the house again, and I will take a careful look sighed Nannie.
through the garden," said Arthur. The Then I'll tell you what," said Lucy, quite
child must be hiding somewhere. It is a brightly. I think she must have got into a
piece of fun on her part, I dare say." cupboard, and shut the door, and not been able
Graie wouldn't do that," sobbed Nannie; to open it again."
"I'm quite sure a gipsy has come and car- But there isn't one single cupboard in the
ried her off, like one of the little girls in house that nurse hasn't opened," said Nannie,
stories." in a mournful tone.
Oh, no, I don't think so," said Lucy, for Then maybe she has got into a bed and
other people were too busy to attend to gone to sleep by mistake."
Nannie. "I'm sure she is safe somewhere. This really was a little nearer the truth,
You'll soon see." only instead of being in bed, Gracie was on
"But where can she be ? asked Nannie. the grass.
"I don't know. Oh, perhaps-perhaps- "Ah, but I saw nurse putting the bed-
perhaps-" clothes down on all the beds," said Nannie.
Lucy did not know what to say, so she "Then I am sure I don't know where
stopped a moment to think, she can be," said Lucy, slowly. "I'm almost
Perhaps-perhaps she's gone up in the a little afraid, Nannie, that it must be a
"But nurse has looked there." And Nannie put down her head and began
Well, perhaps she's in a corner of one of to sob. She thought she should never see
the rooms," said Lucy. dear little Gracie again.
38 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
CHAPTER ).-F FOUND.
.' ErnY strange noises woke did not like to be away from the shelter of the
S -Iracie up. She started big tree, where she would see the lightning
to her feet, and could not more plainly. Gracie did not know that the
think what was going on. worst thing she could do was to stay near a
Rumble, rumble growl, tree in a storm.
g' -rowl-and then a start- All at once she heard Arthur's voice calling:
ling crash over her head. "Gracie, Gracie, come here, Gracie! Don't
Gracie turned quite pale, hide yourself, Gracie. Gra-cie Gra-cie "
and gave a little shriek. She would not have I'm here !" screamed Gracie, with all the
minded it at any other time. But waking up strength of her little voice. And she went
suddenly out of sleep, and hardly knowing out from the shade of the low branches, and
where she was, no wonder she was a little cried again, "I'm here, Uncle Arthur. Oh,
afraid. please come; I don't like the lightning."
Rain was pouring hard all round, and rain- Gracie, Gracie, Gracie called Arthur.
drops came dropping through quite thickly "I'm here, I'm here !" shouted Gracie; and
upon Gracie. How wet and strange and cold Arthur jumped straight over the hedge from
she felt-yes, quite cold, though it was a warm the kitchen-garden, a little way off.
summer's day. Why, Gracie, what are you doing ? Where
There came a flash of lightning, a bright, have you been?"
dazzling flash. Gracie wanted to run home, but Gracie was going to say, "I've been to sleep."
she did not like to go out into the rain. She But at that very moment there was a bright
forked flash in front of her eyes, and a crash she said. "I couldn't help it; I only went
of thunder. Arthur rushed up and caught to sleep."
Gracie in his arms, and ran towards the Sound asleep under the tree in the field,
house. and only roused by the storm," added Arthur.
I don't like the lightning. Please, please, She must get her things off at once, and
keep under the trees !" begged Gracie. go to bed," said Mrs. Cliff, moving quickly
No, no, Gracie; there is danger under towards the stairs. "Bring her to the nursery,
trees in such a storm as this. What made you Arthur. We must not lose a moment, or she
stay there so long, dear? Grannie is quite will take cold."
frightened about you." Oh, please, please, not bed," sobbed Gracie,
I didn't know it was a storm," said Gracie. in great distress. "I didn't mean to be
"I was tired, and I went to sleep, and I've naughty, and I've made such a nice daisy-
only just woke up. I couldn't help it." chain, and we're going to have tea in the
When they reached the house Mrs. Cliff garden."
took hold of Gracie and gave her a kiss-so Gracie turned quite pale at the very idea of
thankful that the little girl was found; and losing the treat.
Nannie ran to throw her arms round Gracie. "My dear Gracie, there can be no tea out
And they both exclaimed at the same mo- of doors after all this rain," said Bessie, pull-
ment, Oh, how wet she is ing off Gracie's frock with all speed. The
"Gracie, what have you been doing ?" grass will be soaked; don't cry, darling, for
asked Mrs. Cliff, in a grave voice, for she nobody thinks you naughty."
thought Gracie had been playing a trick to "Please, please, don't let me go to bed!"
alarm them all. pleaded Gracie, in very mournful tones.
Gracie began to sob. "I couldn't help it," Bessie and nurse would have insisted, but
40 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
grandmamma could not bear to see Gracie cry I don't want to be blind man," said Lucy.
and think herself in disgrace, and she said "Both boys cannot be blinded at once,"
Gracie might stay up. They put on dry clothes said Bessie. "I think Willie, as our guest,
and gave her something hot to drink, must have the first turn."
She is all right now, isn't she ?" said Bessie found a little scarf, and tied it over
Nannie. Willie's eyes, and they had a fine romp.
Oh, yes, I'm quite perfectly well, and not Willie caught Bessie, and Bessie caught
at all cold," Gracie said, and then she gave a Teddie, and for a long while Teddie could
shiver.. "At least I'm not at all wet." touch no one, till at length Felix walked
"You look rather blue still," Bessie said. straight into his arms. Then Felix caught
"I think we must have some games of play to Lucy, and Lucy caught Gracie, and Gracie
warm you, after tea." caught Nannie. That was how they went
When tea was over, Bessie took Willie and on.
Lucy and the four elder children into the Gracie was as full of fun as any one. Only
school-room, and asked what game they would by-and-by, as evening came on, she did not
like. seem well. Her hands were hot, and her
Blind man's buff, please. Blind man's cheeks looked red. She was made to go to
buff cried many voices, bed quite early, and she cried and fretted at
"And let you be blinded man, Auntie doing so, and was unlike herself.
Bessie, because it's such fun," said Teddie. Next day she was very poorly, with a bad
"But I want to be blinded," said Felix. cold, and could not do any lessons.
"I like catching people much best." The night after, when Nannie had been
"So do I," said Willie. "It isn't half such asleep for some time, she woke up to find lights
fun to have to run away." in the room and people talking. Somebody
was wrapping a shawl round her, and lifting "Oh, mayn't I stay with Gracie ? Nannie
her out of bed. Nannie said, "Where am I asked, in great distress.
going ? Oh, don't, please." "No, dear, you must stay here," Arthur
Hark, Nannie, be a good child," Bessie said. "The doctor is coming, and I hope
said softly. And Nannie turned her head to Gracie will soon be better. But you must be
see poor little Gracie sitting up in bed, a good child, and not give any trouble."
with burning cheeks, coughing and strug- "No, I won't; only do please tell me soon
gling for breath. She had no time for more; how Gracie is," Nannie said, in a very sorrow-
Arthur carried her into the next room. ful voice, and Arthur promised that he would.
r :iinur stayed a little while doctor was able to go away, saying that
S7 with Nannie to comfort he would come back again in the morning.
S. h .- r. Mrs. Cliff and Bessie Nannie had not been able to sleep much all
Sand nurse were all with through the night, and Arthur had gone in
(.racie, and soon after- again and again to tell her how Gracie was
)I wards the doctor came. doing.
'- IHe stayed a long while, When the clock struck seven, Nannie
for Gracie was very very thought she might get up. She slipped out of
ill. It was an anxious night for them all. bed softly, and washed and dressed. Then
But after some hours of waiting and fear, she knelt down to say her morning prayer, and
Gracie began to be a little better, and the tried to pray for dear little Gracie too in her
42 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
own easy words. And when she had done, and with no one to look after her except Felix and
was standing up again, nurse came in. Teddie. Bessie was with Gracie, and Mrs.
Oh, nurse, how is Gracie ?" asked Nannie. Cliff was resting after being up all night.
She's a little better this morning, Miss Nannie took Dottie on her knees, and like
Nannie; but we have had a bad time with her, a kind sister tried to make her happy. Then
poor child." Arthur came in and was surprised to find the
"Was it the wet grass? asked Nannie, children alone.
sadly. "Everybody is busy," said Nannie. "And
"Yes, she got a chill," said nurse. "We Teddie says he wants his breakfast so; but it
shall have to take great care she don't get isn't quite time yet."
another." Little boys are often hungry," said Arthur.
And will she be quite well again directly?" Suppose we all have breakfast now, without
asked Nannie. waiting for the others. We will have prayers
"Yes; I shouldn't wonder in a few days," after breakfast to-day. Do you think you can
said nurse. pour out the tea, Nannie ? "
"May I see her, nurse ?" Nannie looked rather afraid, and yet pleased.
"Not now," said nurse. She has gone to Arthur told her exactly how to manage, and
sleep, arid we mustn't disturb her. The doctor Nannie was so neat and careful in her ways,
doesn't want her to talk. You'd best go down- that she really did it very nicely.
stairs, Miss Nannie, and help keep the little When the cups were filled, and the little
ones quiet. Then you'll be of some use. I've ones were eating bread and butter, they talked
enough on my hands." about Gracie. Arthur told Nannie how gentle
Nannie went softly down the broad staircase, and patient she had been all through the night,
and found Dottie fretting in the dining-room, in her pain and distress. Even when she could
hardly breathe, she had tried to say Thank down beside Nannie and sighed. He was a
you for whatever was done to give her relief, very merry little boy at other times, but he did
Dear little Gracie Nannie could not help not feel merry to-day.
crying as she listened. She felt as if she could I wish Gracie would get better," he said.
hardly bear to have this darling sister so ill. Why doesn't the doctor make Gracie well,
It was a long sad day to the little Birdies. Nannie? I'd make her well if I was a
Gracie was not so much better as she had doctor."
seemed in the morning, and when evening He tries all he can," said Nannie. "But
came on she grew worse again. All that night, you know, Felix, it is only God that can make
and the next day, and the next night, Gracie her well. Auntie Bessie said so to-day."
was very ill. The doctor stayed such a great while this
The day after was Sunday, and still Gracie morning," said Felix. "Does he always stay
could not be called really better. Arthur took longest when Gracie is worse? "
the two elder children to church in the morn- "I'm afraid he does," said Nannie, sadly.
ing, and in the afternoon Nannie, made her- I wish she hadn't gone to sleep on the
self very useful with the younger ones. Nurse grass," said Felix. "She's such a darling.
was with Gracie, and Mrs. Cliff was resting, I like her ever so much better than Lucy
and Bessie was gone to church with Arthur. Gray."
Nannie showed pictures to Teddie and Dottie, So do I too," said Nannie. But I dare
and read a little story aloud, and taught say Willie thinks Lucy the nicest."
Teddie a short text. "Yes, of course, because she is his own
Presently Dottie fell asleep on the ground, sister," said Felix. But I like you and
with her curly head against Nannie, and then Gracie best; and now Gracie is ill, I like her
Teddie went to sleep also. And Felix sat the very best of all."
44 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
CHAPTER XII.--PINK TEA-THINQ .
1aE next day was the first made a sign that she might go to the sofa.
T on which Gracie began to So Nannie moved on, and stood by the side
be really better. Three of it without a word.
or four more days passed Gracie was lying there, wrapped in shawls,
I before Mrs. Cliff said to with her eyes shut. Nannie thought she must
Nannie one afternoon- be asleep. Such a thin white little Gracie it
'- Would you like to see was-not a bit like the plump rosy Gracie of
Gracie ?" ten days before.
Nannie was sitting in the Nannie did not speak. She kept as still as
nursery window, reading to the little ones. a little mouse. But soon Gracie's eyes half
Dottie looked up and said, "Me too." opened, and looked about in a tired sort of
"No, not Dottie to-day," said Mrs. Cliff. way, and all at once she lifted them up and
" Teddie and Dottie will stay here, and I am saw Nannie's face.
coming to tell them a nice story." Gracie gave quite a cry of joy. She put her
Nannie was too happy to speak; she went two little thin arms round Nannie's neck, and
after grandmamma to Gracie's room, and held her tightly for a long while. She was
grandmamma just opened the door, and told too weak to hug as she used to do, but she
her to be very quiet and good, and then went would not let Nannie go. Once Bessie said,
away again. '"Gracie, dearest, you will be tired;" but
Auntie Bessie was there, and Nannie walked Gracie said, Oh, please, do let me."
in very softly. Bessie nodded to her, and So Bessie said no more, and in a little while
I li,1',.i,'1,'II 'I
,I III ,
/i I ,, iii ,
I I ,, l
GRAVE PUT HER THIN ARMS ROUND NANNIE'S NECK.
'~il l ~I ; ; I I;l;,'1 :l,' j
,' I ',~ II
I,, !,I ii, i ,,,
., --_- ..
GRAClE PUT HER THIN ARMS ROUND NANNIE'S NECK,
PINK TEA-THINGS. 47
Nannie stood upright again by the side of the May we have the sweet little pink cups
sofa, with both Gracie's hands in hers. and saucers ? Oh, but there isn't a third for
I do love you so," said Gracie. Oh, I you."
did want you so much." No, so I shall take my tea with grannie."
"I couldn't come, you know," said Nannie. Gracie lay with her hands clasped, and her
"Were you too ill to have me, Gracie ? eyes shining. She was so pleased.
I suppose so," said Gracie, in her thought- "I think it is nice to be ill," she said.
ful way. 0 Gracie dear, it isn't nice at all," said
"But you're not going to be ill now." Nannie.
No, I'm quite well," said Gracie. "I'd "A little bit," said Gracie. "Because I
like to get up and dress." get such a many kisses, you know, and
"You would not like it long, Gracie, if people all love me, and the pink cups and
you were to try," said Bessie, coming to her saucers are so pretty. You can't think how
side. "You don't know how weak you pretty they are, Nannie. And there's a pink
are, little Birdie. Is it nice to see your china teapot, and a pink china milk-jug, and a
Nannie ?" pink china sugar-basin, and a wee little pink
"So nice," said Gracie. china slop-basin, and they are all on a dear
"Would you like Nannie to have tea with little pink china tray. Auntie Bessie says
you to-night, on the little round table? they are made for people who are ill. Only
Gracie's eyes looked very wistful. I'm not ill now, am I ?"
She shall, if you wish it-if you don't get Gracie's own white cheeks grew almost pink
too tired." with delight as she chatted on.
S I'm not tired--hardly a bit," said Gracie. You'll be tired, Gracie," said Nannie, like
" It'll be like going out to a party almost, a careful little woman.
48 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
Suppose Nannie talks to Gracie, instead of But you might have had to bear it," said
Gracie to Nannie," said Bessie. little Gracie. I didn't know I was so ill,
I don't know what to talk about," said Nannie, but grannie did cry so sometimes.
Nannie. May I read to Gracie ? And I asked Uncle Arthur why to-day, and
"l'd like that," said Gracie. "Auntie he said it was because she thought perhaps
Bessie has read me lots to-day. 0 Auntie Jesus wanted to take me to heaven. And he
Bessie, won't you tell us a story ? That's says I'm not going now, because the doctor says
nicer than reading." I'm getting quitewell. He is such a nice, dear
To keep Gracie quiet, Bessie did as she was doctor, Nannie, isn't he ?-and he does come
asked. She made it last a good while too. such lots of times, and he kisses me too, and
Now I am going to see after your tea," says I'm good-only of course I'm not really
said Bessie, rising. "Nannie, you must take good, you know. It's nice to be getting well,
care of Gracie while I am gone, and call me if but I think it would have been a little nicer
she wants anything." to have got to heaven, and seen darling
Bessie went away, and Gracie gave a sigh mamma. Don't you think she must have been
and shut her eyes. sorry not to have me go ? "
"I think you are tired," said Nannie. Nannie looked very much puzzled what
"I'm not very," said Gracie. "It's as nice to say. But you wouldn't have liked to go
as can be to have you here. Nannie, would away from us all, Gracie," she said, with
you have been sorry if I had died ?" some reproach.
Gracie folded her hands together and smiled Oh, no, of course I shouldn't," said Gracie.
quietly as she spoke. "Only I don't think I should have been
"0 Gracie, don't talk about it-I couldn't frightened, Nannie, because Jesus does love me
bear that," said Nannie, tearfully. so. Auntie Bessie has told me lots about His
AT THE SEA-SIDE. 49
loving me, while I've been ill. And I do love Then Auntie Bessie came in, bearing the
Him. Don't you too, Nannie ?" pink tray and the pink tea-things. The two
Nannie put her head down on the sofa- little sisters had a happy meal together at the
cushion, and Gracie's soft cheek came close small round table. But it was not only the
to her. pink china which made Gracie look so happy,
I like to think about Jesus," Gracie said. or only having Nannie with her again. Gracie
" Auntie Bessie says He does like us so to was beginning to learn something of the great
love Him. And I love Him ever so much. and beautiful truth which we all may learn-
And you must too, Nannie, because you are of how the Lord Jesus loves those for whom
such a darling sweet own sissy of mine." He died upon the cross. It was only a slight
Yes," said Nannie, with a little sigh that glimmer of the truth which had come to little
was almost a sob, "I'm sure I love Him, Gracie's mind, but it was enough to make her
Gracie, because He has made you well again." feel so happy.
CHAPTER III.-AT THE (EA-JIDE.
I 'RAcIE was soon able to be The other children had begun lessons again,
T about the house again, but Gracie could not do them yet.
but she did not get well One day Bessie was called away from the
so quickly as grand- school-room. Mrs. Cliff wanted to speak to her.
'mamma wished. She When she came back Nannie was writing a copy,
looked white and thin and Felix was learning some spelling, and
still, and the least little thing made her tired. Gracie was curled up sound asleep on the sofa.
50 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
"Who wants to hear some news?" said "Shall we stay long, auntie ?" asked
Aunt Bessie. Nannie.
Oh, I do," cried Felix, very glad to leave "I don't know. Perhaps a month, if it does
off his spelling for a minute. Gracie good."
"And so I do too," said Nannie. While "Is it sea-side?" asked Gracie.
even Gracie opened her eyes to listen. "Yes, only not open sea, and not blue. It
Grannie has just had a letter from Mrs. is brown, and there is land on the other side."
Gray, You know Mrs. Gray ? Brown sea! Oh, how funny," cried Felix.
Oh, yes," said Felix. "Willie is her And shall we do lessons there ? "
boy." "No, no lessons at all, unless you are a
"Well, Mr. and Mrs. Gray, and Willie naughty boy, you know," said Bessie, smiling.
and Lucy have all gone to stay at a place I shan't be naughty, Auntie Bessie.
called Clevedon. And grannie thought she Shall we go for walks with Willie and Lucy?"
would like to take her little Birdies there. She "I hope so, a great many walks."
wrote to ask Mrs. Gray about lodgings, and "And shall we play on the shore ?" asked
Mrs. Gray has written back to tell of some nice Gracie.
ones in the very same house where they are Often, darling. There is only a little
staying. So we all want to go off the day shore, but you will play there."
after to-morrow." "And shall we have breakfast and dinner
Nannie clapped her hands, and Felix took and tea with Mr. and Mrs. Gray, and Willie
to jumping round the room, and Gracie's and Lucy?" asked Felix.
cheeks looked quite pink. They asked all No, we shall have our meals apart."
sorts of questions, and talked so fast that "And are we going to start early in the
Auntie Bessie could hardly answer them. morning ? asked Nannie.
AT THE SEA-SIDE. 51
"No, not early, because we have so much engine meant to start that very minute. What
packing to do." should they do if Uncle Arthur were left behind.
When they had asked as many questions as "Why, then, he must come on by the next
they wished, Auntie Bessie told them to put train," said Bessie.
all the lesson-books away. She would be too But that did not comfort Gracie at all. She
busy to teach them the next two days. Felix thought it would be quite dreadful, and she
jumped about afresh when he heard this. Then sat squeezing Nannie's hand in alarm, till
they all three went to the nursery to talk over Uncle Arthur's face peeped in at the window.
the happy news. Gracie looked so bright that Here I am, and here are the tickets. How
nurse was quite pleased and felt sure the are you all ?"
change would do her good. Quite right, only Gracie is afraid of your
The day on which they were to go seemed being left behind."
a long way off, but at last it came. Boxes Oh, please, do get in, Uncle Arthur," said
were packed, and some of them had been Gracie, in a very anxious tone. "Because we
corded the night before. After early dinner, haven't got any tickets, and if we were to goo
there came two flys to the door. Grand- off, they'd put us in prison."
mamma, and Bessie, and Arthur, and Gracie, Arthur laughed heartily at Gracie's funny
went into one; and nurse, and Nannie, and fancy. He stepped in, and took Gracie on his
the three other Birdies went into the second, knee, and she asked-
Then the two flys drove to the station, "Shouldn't we be put into prison ?"
where all the five Birdies had to be taken out "No, I'm sure we shouldn't," said Felix.
and put into a train. How the engine puffed I'd fight the men if they wanted to do it."
and snorted Arthur had gone to see after "No need for that," said Arthur.
the luggage, and Gracie was so afraid the "Felix couldn't fight men. He isn't big
52 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
enough," said Gracie. "What would they do But Nannie and Felix were not sleepy.
if we hadn't any tickets ? They wanted so much to go out and see the
I think grannie would explain that I was place. After tea there came a message from
coming on by the next train with all the Mrs. Gray, asking whether they would like a
tickets in my pocket. And then, if they little walk with Willie and Lucy.
did not quite believe her, she might have Oh, may we? may we ?" cried Nannie and
to buy fresh tickets; and when they found Felix at once.
it was true, they would give her back the "Run and get your hats," was Mrs. Cliff's
money. That is the very worst they would smiling answer. And Nannie and Felix were
do." not long in dressing, you may be sure.
Gracie seemed to find this a comfort. The Now go downstairs, and knock at the door
next thing she did was to put her head down under our drawing-room," said Mrs. Cliff.
on Arthur's shoulder and fall sound asleep. Nannie was rather afraid, but Felix marched
She did not once open her eyes again till they bravely down in front of her, and rapped hard
reached Clevedon Station. with his knuckles-a little too hard to be quite
It was a quiet little station. They all polite. But Mr. Gray opened the door and
packed into two carriages again and drove to was very kind. Willie and Lucy were quite
the lodgings, and Arthur carried tired little ready, and so was nurse. And all the four
Gracie into the house straight up into her children started off at a quick pace down
bedroom, where nurse took off her things and the hill from Elton Road till they gained the
put her to bed. Gracie just drank a cup of shore.
tea, and ate some bread and butter, and then There they had a happy hour. Nannie and
she went sound asleep again, and did not know Lucy sat down and built little houses of the
anything more till morning came. shingles, and began to be great friends. Lucy
CLE VEDON. 53
was a very pleasant little girl, and Nannie to the sea before it was a blue sea, and it
liked her more and more. Nurse had her hadn't any hills beyond."
work, sitting near them; and the two boys ran "That was real sea," said Nannie. Blue is
and jumped about near the water's edge. nicer than brown. But I like this too, only
I like the sea, though it is brown," said not quite so much. I wonder what makes this
Nannie. "I think it is very pretty. Look water so brown ?"
what a funny green streak is on the water over "Papa says it is the mud," said Lucy. "I
there." bathed in the sea last Tuesday, and I could see
"And the hills on the other side are pretty," the mud all floating about in the water quite
said Lucy. "When papa and mamma took us thick. It was so funny."
NE day the five little Birdies, "I wish we could have a game out here,"
and the two little Grays, said Lucy.
and the two nurses all sat Couldn't we ? asked Nannie.
Son a seat in the copse, side "Ah, if we had my tin soldiers," said
by side. The copse was a Willie, "we might make them stand on the
sort of very small and pretty seat and fight a battle."
wood in the middle of the "Yes, only we have not got them," said
town. When it was too hot Felix. "Couldn't we have-let me see-
for the shore or for a long walk they all used to couldn't we have-a game-a game of-"
go there. It was cool and shady under the trees. "Hide-and-seek," said Willie.
54 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
But nurse says it is too hot for us to race stand or run about. And Felix and Willie
about just now," said Nannie. wanted to teach, because it seemed more grand
"You girls can walk," said Willie; I than learning.
can run." "Who else won't ?" asked Lucy again.
Oh, do have a sitting-still game," pleaded "Which of the boys ? "
Gracie. "I can't go on walking all the while." "I'm not going to be taught by Felix,
Tired, Miss Gracie ? asked nurse, because I'm the eldest," said Willie.
"No, only it's so hot, nursie, and Willie "Then if you're master I won't play,"
wants hide-and-seek. And Willie says we said Felix.
can walk, and I know we'll have to run." "I'll tell you what," said Lucy; "wouldn't
"I wouldn't have hide-and-seek," said nurse. it do if both of you were pupils, and Nannie
"Suppose you were to play at being a school." or Gracie was the mistress ? "
That isn't a boy's game," said Willie. Girls can't manage us," said Willie.
Oh, yes, it is, because boys go to school," "They needn't," said Lucy. You'll have
said Nannie. to be naughty, you know."
Willie did not know what to answer, and Lucy was quite a little peace-maker. The
Gracie asked, Who is to teach ?" boys liked the thought of being naughty, and
"I I I! Me cried many voices, they gave way at once.
"But we can't all teach," said Lucy. I And I suppose Nannie is going to teach,"
won't. Who else won't? said Gracie, with a little sigh.
Nannie wanted to teach very much. She Nannie knew she ought to give up her right
thought she had a right, because she was the as eldest to Gracie. But she did want so much
eldest of the girls. And Gracie wanted to to be the mistress. So she tried to smother
teach, because then she would not need to down the little voice which spoke, and she
CLE VEDON. 55
said to herself, Gracie is so much better for going to have our spelling. Jack-you are
coming here-it won't hurt her to stand a Jack, Willie-"
little. Of course the pupils must stand to No, I'm not," said Willie. "M y name is
say their lessons-and I'm the eldest-and Horatio."
I do so like to be teacher." I hope I shan't forget," said Nannie.
So Nannie took her seat on the end of the Then Felix can be Jack."
bench, and the others stood in front of her. No, I'll be Tom," said Felix.
She was going to make believe to give a lesson "And I'll be Lucilla," said Lucy. What
in spelling, and she put on a very grave look will you be, Gracie ?"
and said- "I don't mind," Gracie said; "Anna, if
"My dears, you are very late this morning you like."
-very. You all deserve a good beating. "And Teddie and Dot shall have their
But if you will be good, and say your spelling real names, Edward and Lina," said Nannie.
quite properly, I'll forgive you, only you must Tom, how do you spell cat ?"
have bad marks. O Felix," and Nannie "B-o-x," said Felix.
spoke in her natural voice, "what shall we "Tom, you are a bad, naughty boy. I said
do for marks ?" cat, not box."
Pretend you write them on a stone," said "T-a-k," shouted Felix.
Felix, and he picked up a flat one and gave "Tom, I shall pass you over. Spell cat,
it to her. Willie-Horatio, I mean."
So Nannie pretended to mark it with a little A-t-c," said Willie, and there was a fresh
stick. burst of laughter from the merry group.
"There, six bad marks to begin with. "C-a-t," put in Lucy.
It's very sad, my dear children. Now we are "Good girl," said Nannie. "You shall
___ ^ __ ^ ^ [_
56 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
have a good mark, and you may go to the top "Mayn't I leave off ? asked Gracie.
of the class, right above the boys." Oh, don't; I wish you could go on just
"No, she shan't," said Felix and Willie. a little longer," said Nannie, who was always
"Boys, I shall have to punish you." very fond of playing at schoolmistress.
"You'd better, ma'am," said Willie, bowing. The boys did not like being left out of the
"But you know, Willie, you mustn't be too game any better than Gracie liked being kept
naughty," said Nannie, rather puzzled what in it. They made a promise to be more quiet,
steps to take next. "You must pretend to be and the game went well for a while, till all at
a little afraid of me-just a little." once Gracie said, 0 nurse-0 Nannie-"
The boys did not think they could be too "What?" said Nannie. "Attend to your
naughty. They took no notice of Nannie's lessons, Anna."
wish. And the worst of the matter was that Gracie burst into tears. 0 nurse, I'm so
they played at being naughty and rough till tired," she said; and before nurse could
they really became so. Nurse spoke to Felix, start up, she had turned quite pale and dropped
and the other nurse spoke to Willie, but they down flat on the ground. Nurse hurried for-
were getting too wild to heed what was said. ward, and had Gracie in her arms in a moment,
Dottie was pushed down between them and as she gave a little gasp and began to sob.
had a cry, and Gracie sighed and said, Oh, Oh, nurse, what is the matter ? asked
dear, I don't like this game at all." Nannie in alarm.
SDon't you ?" said Nannie. "I think it is "She's tired out and faint," said nurse,
such a nice game, if only the boys would be- much vexed with herself for having let Gracie
have properly. Suppose you and Lucy and do so much. "She had no business to be
the two little ones are my pupils, and Willie standing all this while."
and Felix can play alone." How guilty Nannie felt! If only she had
NANNIE AND A UNTIE. 57
not thought of herself, but had let Gracie be l"Miss Nannie ought to have known better.
the schoolmistress. But there-so ought I myself."
I don't mean to be naughty. I wouldn't These words put the finishing stroke to
cry if I could help it," sobbed little Gracie. Nannie's misery, and though she said not a
"You're not naughty, dear," said nurse. word, she felt as if she should never hold up
"You felt queer all of a sudden, didn't you ? her head again.
"Yes," and Gracie put her head down on It would not do for Gracie to walk home;
nurse's shoulder. "I'm so tired. Need I be so Lucy's nurse fetched a fly from the hotel,
Nannie's pupil any more ? and nurse carried Gracie out of the copse, and
"I should just think not," said nurse; she was driven back.
CHAPTER XV,--NANNIE AND AUNTIE.
ANNIE crouched in a corner, Gracie turned pale and fell down, that Nannie
behind one of the window- could not get over it at all. Dismal fancies
curtains in the dining- came into her head, and she almost thought
room, crying and thinking she should not be happy again.
about the play in the Gracie had begun to seem better lately.
copse. She did feel so Would she be ill again now, all because of what
very, very sorry that she Nannie had done ? "Oh, dear, I wish I hadn't,"
had not made Gracie the sobbed Nannie to herself, "I wish I hadn't;
teacher. It had given her such a fright when I do wish I hadn't. Oh, I do wish Gracie had
58 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
been our teacher, and then she needn't have But instead of that, Nannie crept back again
stood. Oh, I do wish Gracie was quite, quite to her corner with her eyes full of tears.
well again, like what she used to be. I can't Gracie must be very ill; she felt sure of it
bear her to be as she is now. Oh, I wish I now. And Nannie put her face down into
hadn't tired her so to-day. I don't know what the folds of the curtain and cried softly but
I shall do. And if Gracid were to die, like very sadly, almost as if her heart would
papa and mamma-" break.
Nannie did not feel as if she could bear it Why, Nannie, my dear little Nannie! is
at all. Her little tender heart was quite full. that you ?" asked a voice.
She crept out of her corner and made her way Nannie was crying too much to answer. So
softly towards the drawing-room. Yes, there Auntie Bessie came up to her corner and bent
were voices inside; she could hear them quite over her.
plainly. Nurse had said Gracie was lying Come, my dear little woman, what is the
down on the sofa. Was she very ill there- matter? "
very ill indeed? Had the doctor been sent Nannie turned her face away, and sobbed
for ? more than ever. She really had no voice with
She could not hear Gracie's voice. That which to speak.
was what Nannie wished for most of all. Bessie sat down on a big stool which was
Gracie's dear little voice seemed to be silent, close at hand, and took Nannie into her arms
Was she too ill to talk ? and gave her some kisses.
It was a pity Nannie did not stay just two "Now you must tell me what is wrong,"
minutes longer in the passage, for then she she said. Let us see if I can't set it right.
would have heard Gracie's voice chatting quite Has dolly broken her arm ? Or have you lost
brightly. your thimble? Or what is it ?"
NANNIE AND AUNTIE. 59
Oh, no-no-it's Gracie," was all Nannie "So you felt Gracie's being unwell was
could say. your doing. How was it, darling?"
"Gracie ? What, are you crying like this "It was a game," said Nannie, her chest
because Gracie was tired?" heaving and her lips trembling; "and I did
"Oh, please, auntie, is she-is she-very want so to be teacher. And they said I might.
ill?" gasped Nannie. And Gracie wanted it. She was tired and
Ill! no, dear. Had you taken that fancy didn't want to stand, and I wouldn't give
into your little head? Why, Nannie !" and up-"
Bessie quite smiled, and then kissed her again, "Why did you want to be teacher, Nannie ?"
"Gracie is much better now than she was "I like it," said Nannie; "and I'm the
before we came to Clevedon." eldest. I didn't want to play at learning from
"Oh, but not-not to-day," said Nannie. Gracie."
"It is very hot to-day, and she stood about Bessie was silent for a few seconds, and then
too much. She was only a little faint and she said-
tired. We shall have her quite strong soon, 'Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in
I hope. Was that all, Nannie?" heart.' You know whose words those are,
Oh, no," sobbed Nannie; it was-it was Nannie."
-0 auntie, it was all my fault. I made The Lord Jesus," said Nannie.
Gracie stand-and I wouldn't let her teach "Was it meek and lowly to care so much
and sit down." about being first, darling ? "
Bessie understood it all now. She saw Oh, no," Nannie said, in a whisper.
that Nannie had been in the wrong, and that Bessie stroked her hair fondly.
Nannie's conscience could not rest. And she "Nannie, you are a gentle little girl to
said- all of us, and you love us very much, and
60 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
you love Gracie dearly. Still, there is a "Yes, I know," whispered Nannie, hiding
proud little heart here which loves to have her face.
its own way. My darling must not yield to After a minute's silence she lifted it to say,
the pride." May I see Gracie ?"
"I'll try not," said Nannie. Of course you may. Come along, darling."
Will trying be enough ?" They went to the drawing-room, and Nannie
No, I'll have to pray," said Nannie. heard such a merry laugh inside as the door
"You will have to tell the Lord Jesus all was opened. The laugh was Gracie's.
about it, and to take the pride to His feet, "Here is a little girl who has been very
and to ask for His Holy Spirit in your heart, unhappy because Gracie was tired," said
He can make you meek and lowly, darling, Bessie.
but you can't make yourself so." 0 Nannie!" said Gracie, for the elder
Nannie squeezed Auntie Bessie's two hands sister's red eyes told a tale; "0 Nannie, I
very hard. didn't mind a bit, except the first minute.
"I think my little Nannie really does Why, I am well as can be now."
want to please the Lord Jesus," said Bessie, But Nannie nearly began to cry again as
softly. she returned Gracie's hug.
Another squeeze was Nannie's answer. "I'm so very sorry I didn't let you be
And He sees that and knows it, and I am teacher," she whispered.
sure it makes Him glad," said Bessie. He "Ah, but I'll be your pupil again next
loves dear little Nannie so very much." time," said Gracie, shaking her little head.
THE LAST EVENING. 61
CHAPTER XVI.-THE J-LAT EVENING.
--- WHOLE month had passed She was not so strong as before her illness,
away, and next day the and they had to take great care that she did
five little Birdies were not catch cold; but she was quite well again
going home again with now, and no one was anxious about her.
Mrs. Cliff, and Bessie, and The two nurses were sitting and working,
Arthur, and nurse. with Teddie and Dot close to them. .acd
It had been a very plea- Willie and Felix were perched up on a little
sant month to them all. rock at the edge of the water, with the
Nannie and Lucy were great friends, and Gracie waves creeping up round them. Gracie
was very fond of Lucy too; and Felix and was sitting on a little tiny rock all alone,
Willie were always together and hardly ever looking at the sea in a thoughtful way; and
had a quarrel. Nannie and Lucy had made two little cosy
This last evening the two nurses and the nests of shingles for themselves, side by side.
seven children had all walked to the bay at "I'm so glad we have been here all this
Walton. It was so quiet there. They were month," Nannie was saying. Grannie says
down on the little shingle beach, and the I may write to you, Lucy. You'll write to
green hills behind shone quite brightly in the me, won't you ? "
sun-light. The brown water looked almost Yes, I'll write," said Lucy. I can't
blue, and a great many boats and ships were make long letters, but I'll make a short one.
passing by. But mamma says we'll be home again in a
Gracie had grown plump and rosy again, month, you know."
62 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
I wish you lived quite close to our house down into the water-quite over his ankles.
-next door," said Nannie. He did not mind this, but scrambled, laughing,
"So do I," said Lucy. It is such a long up the shingle.
way to drive. But mamma wants you and "Now, Master Felix, don't wait a mo-
Felix and Gracie to come and spend a whole ment," said nurse. "We shall have to take
day with us some time after we get back. you home to change your boots."
Wouldn't you like that ? Willie wants Felix But I say, nurse, I can't jump that," cried
to see Pepper." Felix, in dismay, as another wave ran softly up
"Yes, and I want to see Pepper too," said the beach, a good way beyond his rock.
Nannie. "Oh, look, the waves are splashing "It is worse every moment," said nurse.
right round the rock. How are the boys to "Don't wait, Master Felix. The water is
get off ? going back now-now-now "
Just then both nurses called out, Master She went very near and held out her hand
Willie Master Felix come off at once." to help him. Felix waited just a moment too
"All right, nurse," said Willie, jumping up long. Then he made a jump, but missed her
and down. "Now, Felix, you go first." hand and fell flat down on his face. And up
No, you," said Felix. rushed the next wave, pouring right over him
"No, I'm eldest, so I'll stay last." and round nurse's feet, making her clothes
They were so long in settling who should quite wet. She pulled Felix up in a moment,
take the first leap, that the water came creep- and he did not cry, but he seemed very near it.
ing up higher and higher. That's the same sort of trick Master Willie
"Willie, Willie, if you don't come you'll played me once," said the other nurse. Oh,
get so wet! cried Lucy, in distress. dear, dear, how dripping you are, to be sure."
All at once Willie gave a jump and splashed "No, I didn't," said Willie. "I made a
SNO W. 63
sand-hill and stood on it, and it went down. pleasant month, the children thought; but it
But I was quite a little boy then." could not be helped. Felix would have been
Well, you have both been naughty boys glad enough by this time not to have been so
to-night," said nurse, gravely, as she wrung out silly, and he trudged along with a very dull
her skirt. "I shall just have to unpack a box, face. When he reached home, and Mrs. Cliff
to get dry things out for us both. It's a great told him to go straight to bed, tears came, in
trouble, when we were almost ready for our spite of all his efforts. It was his own fault,
journey. You had no business to stay so long she said, and it was right that he should suffer
on the rock. We must go home at once and for being so troublesome.
walk fast too, or Master Felix will take cold." Next morning the little Birdies said good-
It was rather a dismal ending to their bye to the little Grays, and started for home.
CHAPTER XVII.-- NOW.
i r;ow had been falling all night, year, had such a weight of snow to bear
and now it lay thickly over that its branches were quite pressed down.
the ground and on the trees The five little Birdies stood all in a row,
-- and shrubs. A little strip looking out of the drawing-room window.
of pathway had been swept I like the snow," said Dottie, clapping
clear from the door to the her hands. "I like it so much. Pretty
garden-gate. But the great snow ,"
cedar tree, which always "I wonder if we shall go for a walk in the
kept its dark green leaves through the snow," said Nannie.
64 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
Oh, do let us," begged Gracie. "Which birdies? These?" asked Bessie,
"We shall see by-and-by," said Auntie touching his head.
Bessie. "Not before the middle of the day, "No, not me," said Teddie. "The little
I think. What are you all going to do till brown birdies out there. Are you going to
then?" feed them, auntie?"
The five little Birdies did not quite know, Bessie opened the window, and threw out
for the Christmas holidays had begun. This I the crumbs on the pathway. And all the
was Friday, and Wednesday had been Christ- birds flew away.
mas Day. Lessons had stopped, and the "They are gone-quite gone," said Teddie,
Birdies could do what they liked, in a mournful voice. They needn't be afraid,
It was very nice to be without lessons, of because we wouldn't hurt them, would we,
course, and nice to have so much time for play. Gracie? I wish they hadn't gone away."
Only it was not always quite easy to know "Patience, Teddie. See how soon they will
what to do. come back," said Bessie.
"I like to look at the snow," said Felix. The five Birdies indoors stood and watched
"There's a sparrow hopping about on the for the birdies out of doors. They had to wait
pathway-and there are two more sparrows; some time. But soon-hop came one pert little
and one of them hasn't got any tail. And brown sparrow down upon the path. He put
there is a robin. They do look so hungry." his head on one side, and then flew off again
Yes, they do," said Bessie. And she in a great fright. But in a minute he came
went out of the room, and came back with a back-hop-down upon the path again. And
plateful of crumbs. this time he flew away with a big crumb in
Is that for the birdies' breakfast ?"' asked his mouth.
Teddie. Then, hop, came a second sparrow, and,
SNO W. 65
hop, came a third. Yes, and a fourth and a I think I saw five very hungry little Birdies
fifth came after. Then Teddie gave a cry of indeed this morning."
joy, for the little red-breasted robin had flown Only we're not starving," said Gracie.
down among them. All the brown birdies Oh, the dear little birds are all going away.
heard his cry, and flew off among the trees. Auntie Bessie, what shall we do now ?"
"0 Teddie, you've driven them away. "Why, that is the question," said Bessie.
Oh, how could you?" said Felix. "Is it to be work, or play, or reading ? I think
I didn't mean to," said Teddie. Won't I will take out you three elder ones in an hour.
they ever come back, Auntie Bessie ?" But what will you do till then ? "
Oh, yes, very soon," said Aunt Bessie. Let's draw," said Felix. "I like drawing."
"Look, there they are." "Oh, yes, so do I," said Gracie.
One sparrow flew down, and then a second, So Bessie gave each of them a piece of
and then the robin, and then many other birds. paper, and a black and a blue and a red pencil
Soon they were all hopping about, leaving tiny to draw with.
claw-marks on the smooth snow, and eating a I'll tell you what," said Nannie; "we'll
good breakfast. each draw a picture-our very best-and then
Isn't it nice? said Gracie, with a sigh. Auntie Bessie can tell us what it means. Will
"I do like the poor little hungry birdies to you, Auntie Bessie?"
have the crumbs." I'll try," said Bessie, laughing.
Just as I like my hungry Birdies to have a So the five little Birdies sat upon five chairs,
good meal," said grannie. and scratched away at their bits of paper for a
But we're not so hungry as those little long while. By-and-by one called out, "I've
birdies, are we?" asked Gracie. done," and a second called out, I've done."
"I don't know," said grannie, laughing. And soon all were done.
66 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
"Now, Auntie Bessie," cried Felix. Well, I don't quite know," she said; "but
Bessie came to the table, and went first to I rather think it must be the inside of a sort of
Nannie. furnace, with a number of mutton-chops lying
Ah, that is quite easy," she said. I see in the middle of the flames."
a house with some palings and a garden, How the Birdies laughed! Gracie giggled
and some red chimney pots, and red and till tears ran down her cheeks.
blue flowers in the garden-bed, and a little "What, have I guessed wrong? Really,
girl." Gracie, you have quite puzzled me."
No, it's an old woman," said Nannie. "It's a house on fire shouted Felix;
I see-an old woman in a red cloak, "and those are the pieces of the house all
coming out of the door; or is it a window ? lying about." Auntie Bessie laughed more
"It's a door," said Nannie. Please go to than any of them. No wonder she had not
Felix now." been able to guess.
"That is easy too," said Auntie Bessie. "And now, Teddie," said Nannie, when the
" A big steamer with two red chimneys, and a merry little party grew more quiet.
number of funny-looking boys dressed in blue; Teddie held out his sheet, with a smile on
or are they little girls ? his face, which showed how pleased he was
No, they're sailors," said Felix. Do you with it. Aunt Bessie looked hard again. She
like my picture, auntie ? could see some straight black marks, and some
"I shouldn't like to be on board your crooked blue ones, and some red smudges.
ship," said Bessie, smiling. It does not look But what did it mean?
very safe. Now, Gracie." No, I really can't tell," said Auntie
Aunt Bessie had to look very hard at Bessie. "Is it a garden, Teddie, with two
Gracie's picture. little blue ponds, and some red grass-plats?"
A SLIP. 67
No, no, no," cried Teddie. It's Auntie "And now Dot," said Nannie. But Dot was
Bessie's face." And he put his fingers on the shy. She put both her arms over her paper,
blue marks and said gravely, Auntie Bessie's and her head down upon her arms, and would
eyes." let no one look.
How they all laughed again! Bessie had to Never mind," said Bessie. Don't
put up her finger at last, and said, Hush, tease her, Felix. Teddie and Dottie must go
hush! too much noise." to nurse now, and we will have our walk."
CHAPTER XVIII.-A rLIp.
HE children sprang up gaily, pranced about like a young colt, and part
.,: *I i and paper and pencils were of the way Gracie ran with him. Nannie
i Ii quickly put away. Nannie, liked best to walk beside Bessie, holding
'^ .-Felix, and Gracie rushed her hand.
"i away to dress, and they The sun shone brightly, and the day was
made great haste, so it so lovely that they went for quite a long walk.
'- was not long before they Bessie had not meant to take the children so
started. far, but they begged to go on. The ground
The snow looked lovely out of doors, as the was white and hard, and their feet sank
children walked through the lanes. Felix hardly at all into the snow, if they kept to
liked to choose the deeper parts, where his the middle of the road. Here and there a
feet sank in to the ankles. He ran and little deeper snow had been blown by the
68 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
wind to one side; and sometimes the people "Oh, yes," said Nannie. "And Willie and
in a cottage had brushed it away from the Lucy have seen snow in summer-real snow-
road into a heap. on the Swiss mountains. Auntie, wouldn't it
"Isn't winter fun?" said Felix. "Oh, I be nice to go to Switzerland ? "
wish I could learn to skate. Look, Auntie Very nice; but I don't think we are
Bessie, there is a pond and some boys skating likely to go," said Bessie. You must wait
on it." till you are older."
Two of them are skating," said Bessie, Shall we go when we are older ? asked
"the others are only sliding. I dare say Gracie. "Willie has told us all sorts of
Uncle Arthur will teach you to slide, Felix, things he saw there-shall we go, auntie? "
if the frost lasts." "Very likely, some day, dear, but I can't
"I'd like it to last a whole year," said promise. What did Willie see ?"
Felix. Oh, the big, big mountains," said Felix;
"No, you would be tired of it long before and clouds coming down on them like a
the end of a year," said Bessie. I think of night-cap. And the lake-and it is like a
spring with all its nice flowers, and of small sea, only it isn't salt, and it has not got
summer with its hayfields. Do you want to any tides. I'd like to see the lake."
be a whole year without flowers ? And the flowers," said Nannie. "Auntie,
"No," said Felix. But I like winter they found one, such a lovely flower; I don't
best. I like snow; there isn't any snow in mean only one, you know, but one sort. It
India." was called-Gracie, what was it called ? We
Not where you were living," said Bessie. tried to learn the name."
" There is snow on the tops of the high Gracie considered. "I don't know. It
mountains." isn't in my head now," she said. It was a
;FE A _--_
"I CAN'T GO ANY FARTHER," SAID BESSIE.
A SLIP. 71
blue flower, and sometimes it has a long stalk, to smile ; it won't be so bad in a little
and sometimes a short one." while."
Was the name 'gentian ?'" asked Aunt And she put her hands over her face and
Bessie. waited, half sitting on the ground where she
Oh, yes, that was it," said Nannie. "I had fallen. But the pain did not get better.
wish we had one in our garden." Bessie looked up again bravely: "I must try
And there are the Swiss too," said Gracie. to get home. Don't cry, Gracie. You are all
"Willie told us about them, and they are going to help me, you know."
like the wooden one under the glass in the It was hard work for poor Bessie. She did
drawing-room, only bigger. Oh, auntie. Oh !" manage to struggle to her feet, and then she
Two other distressed voices joined in the stood leaning on Nannie and Felix; but she
Oh For Bessie all at once stepped on a wanted more support than they could give.
slide, and in trying to save herself she went I must get on," she said; "I have to get
down backwards, with such a heavy fall. home. Tell me if I lean too hard, children.
Poor Auntie Bessie and poor little Birdies I must not mind a little pain."
They were all alone in this country lane, with Bessie moved slowly step by step, and she
hedges on both sides, and not even a cottage pressed her lips together. Gracie sobbed
near. No one heard them call out. Bessie aloud, and Nannie could hardly keep herself
gave one little cry as she fell, and then she from doing the same.
tried to get up; but the pain was so bad that Bessie soon came to a stop at a log of wood,
for a minute she could hardly move or speak, with snow on it, and a white bank behind.
and her face turned quite white. 0 auntie, She sat down and leant back against the
what shall we do ?" sobbed Gracie. snow. It is of no use," she said; I can't
"Don't be frightened," said Bessie, trying go any farther."
72 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
CHAPTER .IX.--FIJDINQ THE WAY.
iELIX, I mean to go home and Nannie took Gracie's hand, and led her
] tell grannie," said Nannie, away, feeling sore at heart. The four little
softly, checking her tears. feet went pit-a-pat quickly side by side along
"Oh, no, you can't," the snowy road. They were both trembling
said Felix. "But I must. too much to walk as fast as they wanted to do,
.- Auntie can't walk, and and once Gracie said, "Nannie, I'm so tired
she mustn't stay here. I I can't go so quick."
know the way." Poor Auntie Bessie!" said Nannie. I
Nannie went closer to the log of wood. do want to make haste. I wish I could have
" Auntie Bessie," she said. "May I go and come alone, and then I might have run."
tell grannie ? I'll try to run," said Gracie. "Only my
Do you think you know the way ?" legs ache so. How far is home ?"
"Yes, I'm sure I do," said Nannie. "Oh, I don't know. It's such a twisting about
please let me, I know it quite well." road. I don't know how many twists there
Well, I don't know what else to do," said are. Maybe only two or three."
Bessie, sighing. "I can't walk home. But "Does this road go all the way straight
you must take Gracie with you. I can't let back? asked Gracie.
you go quite alone. Felix shall stay with No, there's a big crooked tree on one side,
me. Ask grannie to send the carriage very and a road turns off there and goes home,"
quickly, darling." said Nannie. "Auntie Bessie showed me last
FINDING THE WA Y. 73
time I came round this way. If we were to have to go back. But Nannie could not bear
walk straight on along this way, we'd get to the thought of doing that. It would be so
Mr. and Mrs. Gray's house by-and-by. But dreadful to get no help for Auntie Bessie.
that is so far off." The little girls were growing afraid. It
"When shall we see the big crooked tree ?" was a long lonely road, and they had never
asked Gracie. been so far from grown-up people before.
"I don't know," said Nannie. It wasn't Once an old man passed by, and when Nannie
far, I am quite sure of that." and Gracie saw him they scrambled over a
But they walked far, both of them, or it low stile and hid behind the hedge till he
seemed so to the tired little legs, and no big was gone. Nannie wondered a little whether
crooked tree was to be seen. Nannie had felt she ought to have asked him to help Auntie
sure she would know the way; and so she Bessie, but she felt too frightened of him to
would have done very likely in summer, even do so.
without the tree. But the snow made things Gracie, we must have passed the tree a
look different. And she did not know that long, long while," she said at last. "I'm
the crooked tree had been quite lately cut quite sure of it. And we shan't get home at
down and taken away. all this way."
The two little girls walked on and on. 0 Nannie, I'm so tired," said Gracie.
They did not know what else to do. Gracie "I wish we were back with auntie."
was crying a little to herself--she was so tired, We'll go back to her," said Nannie,
and so sorry for Auntie Bessie. turning round; "and maybe we'll meet
Once Nannie turned back a little way, some one on the way. I shouldn't wonder."
thinking that they might have passed the tree. Gracie clung to her as they walked side by
She began to wonder whether they might not side. How very, very long the road seemed.
74 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
They were too tired to talk much. Once 0 Nannie! Nannie! what has she done?
Gracie said, with a little gasp, "0 Nannie, Where has she gone?" cried poor little
suppose a gipsy was to come." Gracie. "I knozv a gipsy has come,"
"Never mind," said Nannie. "I don't Oh, no, Gracie, a gipsy can't have carried
think one will. You know, Gracie, God is her off," said Nannie, trying to be brave.
taking care of us." I'll tell you what. I think some one has
"Will He take care of Auntie Bessie?" found her out, and taken her off home."
asked Gracie, in a whisper. I'm so tired," sobbed Gracie, sitting down
"Yes, I am sure He will," said Nannie, on the log of wood. Oh, I don't know what
slowly. "Because Auntie Bessie loves the to do."
Lord Jesus, I know He'll take care of her." "I don't either," said Nannie, slowly.
"I wish I was at home," sighed Gracie. "Because-I'm afraid-I'm afraid I can't find
" Oh, I do wish I was !" my way home."
Then they went walking on, and on, and on. "And they won't know where to find us,
When zould they come to Auntie Bessie ? and we'll never get home," said Gracie.
"It wasn't far from here," said Nannie, Oh, yes, we shall, because, Gracie, God
after a while, as the little feet plodded will take care of us," said Nannie, softly.
along in heavy, tired fashion. I know I I'm sure He will. I've been asking Him
saw that white pile of snow under that wall, down in my heart. Won't you too, Gracie ? "
just as we were talking about the gentians." And Gracie did not speak for a few seconds.
Oh, yes, and there-why, Nannie !" "Yes, I have," she said. "Shall we try
"Why, Gracie to find our way back again ?"
The two little sisters stood still in amaze and It was a good thing Nannie was such a
distress, for Auntie Bessie was not there. thoughtful little girl. Most children in her
FINDING THE WAY. 75
place would have started off, and hurried along Gracie began to sob. I can't. I am so
the roads, and gone farther and farther from tired. My legs do ache so."
home. But Nannie did not do so. So did Nannie's, only she was stronger than
"No," she said, slowly. Gracie, I'll tell Gracie.
you what; I think we'll wait here, because "But you mustn't sit," she said again.
they're sure to come and look for us some- It wouldn't be right, Gracie darling. I'm
where near where auntie was if they can't sure nursie wouldn't let you. Gracie, don't
find us. But if we go anywhere else they you want to do right?"
won't know where to look." Gracie gave one sigh, and then she stood
"Very well," said Gracie, in a sleepy tone. up and began to walk as Nannie wished.
She was sitting on the log, leaning against Only I don't think I can very long," she
Nannie. But Nannie dared not let her sit so. said, in a patient voice. I don't mean to be
She was afraid Gracie might get a bad cold, naughty, Nannie, and I will try. But I'm
as she had done with lying under the tree in sure I can't long."
the rain. And that was summer, and this was Ah, but I hope some one will come soon,"
winter. Nannie had heard nurse talk so often said Nannie. "We'll just keep in this lane."
about taking care of Gracie that she could not They went pacing up and down-up and
forget it. Gracie was well wrapped up, but down, till Gracie cried again, and said she
the day was very cold. couldn't. And Nannie begged hard, and then
Gracie, we must walk up and down," she she tried again. And then, all at once, there
said. Nursie wouldn't let you sit down." was a sound of carriage-wheels. Oh, how
Oh, I can't," said Gracie. glad Nannie felt! She thought some one was
But, Gracie, you must. You might catch surely coming to help them. Do you think
cold." she made a mistake?
76 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
HERE do you think Auntie could not talk much, but she asked the others
Bessie was gone? to look out. It was so long since they had
Why, she had been taken left her, that she thought they must have been
safely home. No gipsy at home a good while. Mrs. Gray fancied
had been near her, as that perhaps they would stay there, and only
Gracie fancied. But some grannie would come in the carriage.
one had been driving past But no carriage or little girls were met on
in a carriage, and this the way; and when they reached the house
person was Mrs. Gray herself. Mrs. Gray and found that the two children were not
saw poor Bessie sitting on the log in such there, they did feel anxious. They could not
pain; so she stopped at once and got out, think what had become of Nannie and Gracie.
and soon heard what was wrong. You know where they were, but Mrs. Cliff
How glad Mrs. Gray was that she had come and Bessie and Mrs. Gray did not know.
that way! She made the coachman lift Bessie Only they guessed quite truly that Nannie
into the carriage, and she and Felix stepped and Gracie must have missed the right turning,
in after. And then they drove on towards and have gone walking along the road to Mrs.
Mrs. Cliff's house. Gray's own house. And they did not know
Auntie Bessie felt sure they would meet that by this time the little girls had turned
Nannie and Gracie on the way, most likely back, and had gone to find Bessie.
coming with some one to see after her. She The first thing was to lift Bessie out and
carry her up to her own room. She was in I side-turnings were done, and they reached the
much pain, and in great distress about Nannie spot where Bessie had hurt herself.
and Gracie. She could not forgive herself for And then Mrs. Gray said, Oh, only
having let them go away alone, think !-there they are And Arthur added,
A servant was sent to fetch the doctor, and Thank God in such an earnest voice,
Mrs. Cliff stayed to watch by Bessie's side. that it showed how very much he had feared
But Mrs. Gray and Arthur stepped into the for the dear little girls.
carriage and drove off after the two little lost "0 Uncle 0 Uncle Arthur cried Gracie,
girls, and in a moment more she was in his arms,
Mrs. Gray hoped they would be somewhere clinging to him tightly. She would not let
near, or on the road leading towards her home. him go, so he helped Nannie into the carriage,
But they were nowhere to be seen. The and then stepped in, and kept Gracie on his
carriage drove a long way on that road, till knees.
Mrs. Gray and Arthur were quite sure the Nannie, how did you come back here ?"
children could not have walked any farther. asked Uncle Arthur.
Then they turned back. They did not go "We couldn't find the way home," said
straight to the place where Bessie had fallen, Nannie. There was a big tree, Uncle Arthur,
for there were many roads and lanes turning all grown on one side, and I could not see it
off to right and left, and they were afraid the anywhere."
poor little Birdies must have taken a wrong "What, at the turning off from this road?"
turning by mistake. asked Mrs. Gray. Why, that has been cut
So they went a good way down every lane down, Nannie."
and road, to see if the children were there. "Has it?" said Nannie. "Oh, then, of
This took a long while. But at last all the course, we couldn't see it. But we walked
78 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
ever so far, uncle, and then walked back. "And have you been walking about there
And Auntie Bessie was gone." long ? asked Arthur.
Yes, Mrs. Gray found her and brought Oh, such a great while," sighed Gracie.
her home," said Arthur. "And my legs did ache so, and Nannie
"That's what I told you, Gracie," said wouldn't let me sit down, because she said
Nannie. I'd take cold."
"No, you didn't say it was Mrs. Gray," Why, the child is like a grown-up person,"
said the little girl, with her head down on said Mrs. Gray smiling, and Nannie felt proud.
Arthur's shoulder. We are obliged to take care of Gracie, and
No, but I thought some one had found her. Nannie knows it," said Arthur. "But see,
I was sure it wasn't a gipsy. Is she much here we are at the turning. No crooked tree,
hurt, Uncle Arthur ? is there, Gracie ? "
I am afraid a good deal. What else did No," said Gracie, in a sleepy voice.
you do, Nannie ? She will be as sound as a top in a minute
"Why, we stayed there," said Nannie. "I more," said Arthur.
didn't know what to do, uncle, but I couldn't And so Gracie was-so sound asleep that
find the way home, and I thought some one he would have found it hard work to wake her.
would look for us there, perhaps." Grannie's kisses on her cheek did not rouse the
"You wise little girl!" said Mrs. Gray, tired little Birdie. So they took off her hat
kissing her. It was the very best thing you and furs, and wrapped her in a warm shawl,
could have done, my dear." and laid her on the drawing-room sofa. Nurse
Nannie felt quite proud of herself. She did could hardly make her open her eyes to take a
not say a word, but her eyes shone with little dinner, and after that she slept through
pleasure, and she almost forgot to be tired. the whole afternoon.
_- HE ringing of the tea-bell it out. Only Nannie and Felix and the two
woke Gracic up. She little ones sat round the table.
/ moved once or twice, and 0 Miss Gracie, I was just coming to see
'- then gaped, lifted her after you," said nurse. "Are you rested, my
head, and looked about dear?"
her. She was all alone in Nurse came and felt Gracie's hands as she
-- the drawing-room. Gracie spoke. "You don't seem chilled," she said.
began to wonder how long Oh, no," said Gracie. I'm only just a
she had been there, and slowly the morning's little stiff still. 0 nurse, where is Uncle
doings came back into her mind. Poor Arthur, and how is Auntie Bessie ?"
Auntie Bessie, how was she now? She's in bed," said nurse. "Now you sit
Gracie started to her feet with this thought. down and have a good tea, Miss Gracie."
She had no boots on, but with her striped "But is Auntie Bessie ill? Please, tell
stockings on she went out of the drawing- me," entreated Gracie.
room, and away to her bedroom. "She's strained her back, that's all," said
Nannie was not there. Gracie gave her nurse. And she'll have to keep quiet a bit,
face a good sponging in cold water, and till she gets over it. And you'll have to
brushed her hair, and put on her shoes. Then wait on her and amuse her."
she walked down-stairs into the dining- "But what shall we do about lessons ? "
room. asked Gracie.
Tea was on the table, and nurse was pouring "Holidays aren't over yet," said nurse.
80 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
I wish she wasn't hurt," sighed Gracie. low chair. He could see them nicely so, he
" I do wish she wasn't." thought.
"Wishing is not of much use," said nurse. Nannie played for awhile with Dot; and
"Doing is better than wishing. You've got then Dot found her doll, and sat down in the
all to try how good you can be, and how little corner to nurse it. She did not appear to
trouble you can give." want looking after. Nannie seemed to have
Nannie felt sure in her heart that she should nothing to do this evening, and she wanted
give no trouble. She had been such a wise, so much to be very useful. She almost
helpful little girl that day. She meant always wished Felix would be naughty, that she
to be the same in future. might coax him into a good temper again.
After tea nurse was wanted upstairs in And then-ah, that was it !-then nursie
Bessie's room for a little while. Uncle Arthur would praise her. Nannie did so like to be
was busy, and so was Mrs. Cliff. The tea- praised.
things were cleared away, and the five children But Felix was quite good, and so were the
were alone-quite by themselves in the dining- others. Nannie stood looking on at the game,
room. Nurse told Nannie to keep the others not watching it as Teddie was doing, but
quiet and out of mischief, and Nannie was really quite idle. Nannie was the only idle
well able to do it. one of the whole party.
They did not seem to think of mischief to- Felix, you don't play fair," she said, all at
night. Even Felix was quiet and good. He once.
brought out his box of dominoes, and he and "Yes, I do," said Felix.
Gracie began a game. Teddie sat and watched No, you don't-I saw you didn't. I saw
them, with his chin resting on the little round you peep over to see what Gracie had."
table where they sat, for he had chosen a tiny "I didn't," said Felix. I didn't peep at
all. I never do peep. I wish you'd go away, "I'm not," said Felix. "How dare you
Nannie." say I am?"
I know Auntie Bessie wouldn't let you," Because I saw you," said Nannie.
said Nannie. No, you didn't. I don't ever peep. I
"I tell you I didn't peep," said Felix, get- can't bear such nasty mean ways. Gracie's
ting angry. "Did I, Gracie ?" book had no business to be down. I can't
No," said Gracie. I don't think so. You help seeing her dominoes when it is down,
won't peep, will you? Now it's three.or six." but I didn't look on purpose. I just looked
I've double sixes. And there's a six to away as fast as I could."
go after." "But I saw you look on purpose," said
"Four or three," said Gracie. "Oh, dear, I Nannie.
haven't either." No, I didn't," said Felix, very loud.
But I have. I've got both; let me see- "Yes, you did," said Nannie.
I don't know which I'll put." It was unkind of Nannie to suspect Felix
Felix thought for a moment, glancing about of such a thing. But it was very wrong of
the room. Nannie was watching him. She Felix to get up and give Nannie a thump
had said that he peeped, and now she wanted on the back. And that was what he did by
to prove that she was right. Was not that a way of answer.
strange thing-to wish to find out that her Oh, Felix Oh, you hurt me so "
brother had done wrong? Nannie would hardly have cried so soon
Felix, you're peeping again !" she cried, on most days. But this evening she burst
when his eyes went in the way of Gracie's into noisy sobs. Gracie turned quite pale
dominoes. Gracie had a book to hide them, and looked frightened. Felix was ashamed,
but the book had tumbled down. but he would not say so. Dottie began to
82 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
scream for nurse, and Teddie's voice was joined He did, though," said Nannie.
to the uproar. Hush, Nannie. Does Felix commonly
Oh, dear, what is the matter ? said nurse, peep or try to cheat in such games, Gracie ? "
rushing into the room. Is one of you hurt ? "Oh, no," said Gracie. He gets angry
Dear! I thought some one must be on fire. sometimes, but he doesn't peep."
You've gone and woke up Miss Cliff from Nannie, did you ever see him do it
the first bit of sleep she's been able to get." before ? "
"Felix has hurt me so !" sobbed Nannie. Nannie hung her head. But Arthur was
" He gave me a great thump on the back." waiting for an answer, so she had to say,
"She shouldn't have said I cheated," said "N-o."
Felix. Then we must be very slow to think that
"But you did," sobbed Nannie. "I saw he would do anything of the kind now. But
you peeping." the thumping is another matter. Felix, I
I didn't, though," said Felix. cannot and I will not have you strike your
And then it seemed as if they were going to sisters. You must go to bed at once, instead
have all the quarrel over again. But Arthur of staying up till your usual time."
had heard the cries, and nurse was glad to see "Not before Teddie and Dot Oh oh
him come in. He asked what was the matter, please !" gasped Felix, in great dismay.
and soon heard the two sides of the story from "Yes, before them all. You have acted
the two angry little children. like a baby, and you must go to bed like one.
The first thing Arthur did was to turn to To-morrow morning I shall speak to you, but
Gracie, and say, Gracie, did you see Felix not now. Go to bed at once. And, Nannie,
peeping ? go into the drawing-room, and stay there till
"No, Uncle Arthur," said Gracie at once. I come to you."
AFTER WARDS. 83
.\ /ALF an hour later Arthur a little matter. I think there was more
opened and shut the draw- temper than pain in those tears of yours."
ing-room door. He found He did hurt," murmured Nannie.
Nannie seated in the win- "Yes, you were a little hurt, and you were
Sdow, with a wet pocket- very angry."
handkerchief twisted in Nannie said nothing.
her hands. "Do you know, Nannie, I am not much
Come here, Nannie." surprised at your being naughty this evening."
Nannie obeyed slowly. He sat down, and Nannie looked up, with some wonder in her
kept her standing by his side. face.
"Now I want to hear the truth of this "'You showed yourself a thoughtful little
story." girl this morning, and Mrs. Gray praised you.
"Felix did peep, Uncle Arthur." And you were pleased with the praise-not
Nannie, are you quite sure? Might you pleased only, but proud and self-satisfied.
not be mistaken? Think for a minute before Nannie, you know I am speaking the truth,
you speak. It would be a sad thing to persist don't you ? When I looked at you, I remem-
in accusing a little brother of that which is bered what the Bible says about a 'haughty
not true." spirit' going before a fall. That is why I was
Nannie's head drooped, and she was silent. not surprised to see a fall this evening. What
"It is not your way to cry so loudly about fall have you had ?"
84 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
I was cross," whispered Nannie. more. He kissed her, and comforted her, and
Yes ; that was part of it. You were not she clung to him, shedding a few quiet tears,
gentle with your little brother, and you and wishing very much that she had not been
wanted to make out that he had done wrong. so unkind to Felix.
And when he was angry at being accused, that Need Felix go to bed ? she whispered
made you angry too. Nannie, there was a once.
good deal to grieve the Lord Jesus." "Yes, Nannie. Felix must learn his lesson.
Tears came into Nannie's eyes, and she hid We cannot let him use his boyish strength to
her face on his shoulder. hurt little girls. That would be no kindness
It all came first from pride," said Arthur, to him."
softly. "Pride at having done something Presently Arthur went away, and Gracie
which you never would have done if God had came in and sat down close to Nannie. But
not lovingly taken care of you, and put into the two little Birdies did not talk much; and
your mind what to do. It is just at times after a while nurse called them both to go to
like that, Nannie, that Satan is sure to step bed.
in and to tempt us to evil. For we are so Next day Bessie could not come down-stairs.
very apt to think about what we have done, Her back was very painful, and she had to
instead of thanking God and being humble. keep quite quiet. Mrs. Cliff stayed up-stairs
The Lord Jesus promises to keep His little with her nearly all day. Nurse took the chil-
ones from falling, if they will look to Him. dren out for a walk in the morning. They
But I think you forgot to look to Him when did not go so far as the day before, however.
you were so pleased with yourself." The sun was shining, but there were some
Nannie seemed now so sorry and humbled dark clouds about, and nurse thought it was
that Arthur saw there was no need to say any going to snow.
AFTER WARDS. 85
Nurse was quite right. Just when they "Why you wouldn't feel it at all, would
were talking of turning homewards, down she, nurse?" said Nannie.
came a big white flake, like a little feather, Not unless we rubbed it, and brought it
on Teddie's nose. A second fell on Nannie's to life again," said nurse. "And that would
cheek, and a third on Gracie's hand. Gracie give her dreadful pain."
stood still, and watched it slowly melting Then I'd rather have it left frozen," said
What makes it melt, nursie ?" she That wouldn't do, Miss Gracie, because
asked. you would lose your hand. But come, we
Why, your hand," said nurse, must walk a little faster. The snow is coming
"But it isn't on my hand, it is on my on."
glove," said Gracie. And so it was. For the flakes were getting
Yes, but your hand makes your glove smaller and harder, and a great many more of
warm," said nurse. them were falling, and the wind had begun to
I don't see how it can," said Gracie, "be- blow. Oh, it was so cold Dottie cried, and
cause my hand isn't warm. It's so cold I can tried to hide her face in nurse's dress, and
hardly feel it." all the other children hurried on as fast as
"Maybe," said nurse. "But it's a deal they could. How glad they were to reach
warmer than the snow, Miss Gracic. If it home, and to warm themselves before the
wasn't, your hand would be frozen." blazing nursery fire! All the rest of the
I wonder how it would feel to have my day the snow fell, and the children stayed
hand frozen!" said Gracie. indoors.
86 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
CHAPTER XXIII.-ON THE OFA.
S ANNIE and Gracie," said Grannie went into the next room to find
Mrs. Cliff two days later, something that she wanted. Nannie and
i "Auntie Bessie wants to Gracie stood by the sofa, silent and shy. It
see you." was something so new to see Auntie Bessie
Nannie and Gracie were lying down and not able to get up, that they
playing with bricks in the did not know what to say.
nursery, but they started "Has no one a kiss to give me?" asked
up at once. Bessie.
Oh, how nice. I'm so glad," said Nannie. Both little faces were at once pressed against
"And so am I," said Gracie. hers in very loving fashion. After which
Then they went softly side by side, on tip- the two Birdies stood and looked at her as
toe, behind Mrs. Cliff, into Bessie's room. It before.
was a nice room, with pictures on the walls, "I wonder what you are both thinking
and a pink and white toilet table, and a little about," said Bessie.
bookcase full of books. Nannie and Gracie "Auntie, is it very bad?" asked Gracie.
had often been in there before. "What ? my back ? Yes, it hurts me, Gracie.
Bessie was lying on a wide sofa, in a warm But it will be better in time."
dressing-gown, with a thick shawl over her. "Felix says he wishes the nasty horrid boy
When she heard the patter of four little feet that made the slide was put in prison," said
she looked up and smiled. Gracie.
How do you do, darlings ? she said. Ah, but we won't call him names, Gracie.
ON THE SOFA. 87
Perhaps he didn't think. At any rate, he did a short time really. It will be more than
not know we should be passing there." that."
o," said Gracie. "Will you walk again "It won't be a month,will it ?" asked Nannie.
soon, auntie ? "Yes, quite a month; more than that."
Bessie smiled a little. Just as soon as "Oh said Nannie and Gracie in a very
God wills," she said, softly. shocked tone. 0 auntie."
"Auntie, don't you want to be well quick ?" Our holidays will be over before then,"
asked Gracie. said Gracie.
Yes, I should like it. But I don't think Yes, but I shall be able to teach you before
it will be very quick." I can walk about. I shall lie on the sofa, and
Don't you ? said Nannie. you will be such good children, all of you."
"No, the doctor says I must make up my "And, auntie, don't you mind about it ?"
mind to keep still for a good long while." asked Gracie, in a very earnest tone.
Was that why grannie cried this morning Auntie Bessie drew down Gracie, and kissed
at breakfast?" asked Gracie. her.
"Did she? Grannie should not have cried. "Gracie, do you know who I love best-
There is no need." best of all ?" she asked, gently.
"She did," said Gracie. "Auntie, how "Yes," said Gracie.
much is a good long while?" "Who, darling?"
"How much do you think ? Gracie looked at Nannie, and Nannie said,
"A week," said Nannie. Gracie was ill "The Lord Jesus Christ."
longer than a week, and that was dreadful, "Why do I love Him ?"
wasn't it ? Because He loves you, auntie," said Gracie.
"Yes, that seemed long. But a week is "Because He died," said Nannie.
88 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
"Both, darlings. And He loves me so very So you will, if it is good for me. And
much, that I am quite sure He would not give now I want to ask something else. How was
me one bit of pain that was not good for me." it, Nannie, that you could not find your way
Is your back-pain good for you ? asked home the day I was hurt ? "
Gracie. I thought I was sure of it," said Nannie.
I know it is, because the Lord Jesus has "But the tree was gone, and the roads looked
sent it, and He only sends what is good for me. so different, all covered with snow."
Besides, Gracie, He has borne so much for me Some one has come to see Nannie and
that I should be very wrong to grumble at Gracie," said Mrs. Cliff, showing her face in
having to bear just a little for Him." the doorway. Guess who ? "
Is it for Him ?" asked Gracie. "And is Willie and Lucy," exclaimed Nannie.
it only just a little ?" "Yes, you will find them down-stairs.
It is very little by the side of the great Mrs. Gray is there too. What do you think
pain and suffering which He bore for our she wants?"
sake," said Bessie. "And if He sends it to "I don't know," said Gracie.
me, and I try to take it patiently for His sake, She wishes to take Nannie and Gracie and
then it is for Him that I bear it. Only I Felix-now, at once-in her carriage, to pay
could not do so unless He helped me. I want a week's visit at her house. How would you
you both to learn to ask His help always, in like that? "
everything, because He is -so strong and Nannie and Gracie looked at each other.
loving." I should like it," said Nannic. I love
Nannie said "Yes" to this, and Gracie Lucy Gray."
added, Only I do want to see you well as Only I don't like to leave Auntie Bessie,"
quick as can be, auntie." said Gracie.
A VISIT. 89
"But Auntie Bessie is best quiet," said "Yes, grannie," said both little voices.
grannie. "It isn't good for her to talk too "So do I. Nurse does too, and she is
much. And Mrs. Gray will drive you over packing up your things as fast as she can.
to see us, I dare say. Don't you think it a Now say good-bye to Auntie Bessie, and go
very good plan ?" and dress."
CHAPTER XXIV.-A VlU/IT.
ii.l AMMA, I am going to drive," year ago," said Lucy. I am so glad you are
-_ c. cried Willie from the coach- coming to our house, Nannie. And now you'll
box. Felix was in the see Pepper."
'i carriage with Mrs. Gray Yes, I want to see Pepper," said Felix.
Sa. and the little girls, and he "I mean to run races with him."
-. greatly envied Willie the coach- If it was summer you could dig in our
), hx seat. Look, I've got the gardens," said Lucy. "But they are all white
S reins." with snow now."
Mrs. Gray smiled, for she knew "Willie and Felix can make snowballs,
the coachman would take good care. though," said Mrs. Gray. How do you like
"I wish I could drive sometimes," said making snowballs, Felix?"
Felix. I'll ask grannie." I like it very much," said Felix. "But I
"I think grannie would be afraid," said have not had any one to make them with yet.
Gracie. ": You are younger than Willie." Teddie is too small. I threw a little one at
Willie used to hold the reins sometimes a him, and he cried."
90 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
Then I hope you did not do it again," said may try to arrange the flowers in the drawing-
Mrs. Gray. room sometimes."
By-and-by they reached the house. Willie Will you like that ?" asked Gracie.
took Felix to his own room, for they were Oh, yes, mamma has so much to do, and I
going to sleep together. He wanted to show want to help her," said Lucy. "I wish I was
off all his things-his books, and his ships, grown up, and then she needn't do a single
and his toys, and his tools. And Lucy took thing, because I could do it all."
Nannie and Gracie to her room. What a dismal life you would like me to
Do you sleep here alone ? asked Nannie. have, Lucy," said a voice behind, and they saw
"Yes, it is my own little pet room," said that Mrs. Gray had come in. Lucy blushed,
Lucy. I used to sleep with nurse till six and Mrs. Gray kissed her, and said, "Thank
months ago. And then mamma gave me this you all the same, darling; but do you know I
room, all by myself. And you and Gracie are, should not be happy at all with nothing to do."
going to be in this next room. Look, there is Only I like to help you, mamma," said
a door between. And this is to be like your Lucy.
room, too, while you are here." So you do, and so you shall; there is so
Oh, what a dear little white china doggie !" much in the world to be done, that no one need
cried Gracie, standing before the mantel-piece. ever be idle."
"Look, Nannie! such curly hair and black Lucy and Nannie went into the next room,
eyes. And isn't this a pretty blue vase? skipping with delight. But Gracie stood still.
"I always put my wild flowers there in "What are you thinking about, little
summer," said Lucy. I get such numbers of woman ?" asked Mrs. Gray.
them, and mamma shows me sometimes how to "I didn't know there was such lots to be
arrange them. Next summer mamma says I done," said Gracie. What sort of things ?"
A VISIT. 91
All sorts of things. Work for God, and But life should not be all play, though it can-
work for those who are round about us. not be all work."
Grannie has to take care of her five Birdies, "I think Auntie Bessie has to be idle now,"
and Auntie Bessie has to teach them and to said Gracie.
take care of grannie, and the Birdies have to No, I think not," said Mrs. Gray. I
learn now how to take care of other people think God is teaching her a lesson in patience,
by-and-by. There are a great many who are teaching her how to bear pain without mur-
hungry, and poor, and ill, and in want, and in during. I shouldn't wonder if that is a very
trouble. And we have to look after them, and hard lesson, needing ever so much hard work
to feed and comfort them." if it is to be well learnt."
Gracie seemed very thoughtful. 0 Gracie, I couldn't think where you
It ought to be all work done for God, were," Lucy said, running back. Do come
for the love of Jesus," added Mrs. Gray. If and see Pepper."
we love Him we must be busy for Him. Even Gracie took Lucy's hand, and they scampered
little Gracie need not be idle. Every lesson down into the hall. Willie and Felix and
that you learn well is part of the making ready Nannie were there, and also a nice little black
to work hard for Him by-and-by, so it really and tan dog, Pepper. He had long rough
is work for Him now, if it is done for His hair tumbling over his bright, shining eyes,
sake." and he jumped about, and seemed very fond of
"Is playing games being idle?" asked his little master. When Willie was younger
Gracie. he had not always been quite kind to Pepper,
No, not at all. If you were always work- but he was always kind to him now.
ing hard, you would soon be ill. God has Oh, here comes Gracie," said Willie.
made us so that we need play as well as work. Look, Gracie, I'm going to show you what
92 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
he can do. Sit down, Pepper, sit down, and Naughty dog Very naughty dog !" said
shake hands." Willie. Pepper rolled right over on his back
Pepper was bustling about, and running in a moment and whined.
round Gracie, and sniffing at her frock. But Oh, don't scold him, poor little doggie "
down he sat in a moment, and put his head said Gracie. i He wasn't naughty."
on one side, and held out a little tan paw. Yes, he was. He ought to have waited
Gracie took it, and gave it a very gentle shake. till I counted up to ten," said Willie.
"What a dear little sweet darling doggie !" "Now, Pepper, mind you don't do it again.
she said. May I kiss him ?" Beg."
Oh, yes, he doesn't ever bite," said Willie. Up jumped Pepper and begged again. A
Gracie put her head down, and meant to second piece of biscuit was put upon his nose,
give him one soft kiss. But Pepper jumped and Willie counted once more. This time
up, and licked Gracie's cheek in a moment, Pepper waited till ten was said, and did not
but she started, she did not like being licked, dare to move, even then, only his black eyes
Pepper, stop !" cried Willie. Now beg." put on a very hungry look.
Up went Pepper, sitting on his hind legs, "Yes, Pepper, yes -ten -ten -take it,
while his two fore paws hung in front of him. Pepper," said Willie. Why, how stupid
How pleading his eyes looked you are to-day, little doggie Now suppose
Now, Pepper, wait, don't touch it," and we have a game of hide-and-seek."
Willie placed a piece of biscuit on Pepper's Pepper was not dull at hide-and-seek. He
nose. "Wait! One -two -three four let Gracie cover his eyes, while Willie was
five six seven -" But Pepper was tired hiding the ball. When Willie said, Seek "
of waiting. He dropped the piece of biscuit, he rushed about, and sniffed and hunted, and
and snapped it up in a moment, never rested till he had found it.
THE END. 93
CHAPTER XXV.-THE END.
story about the little Willie and Felix were friends too, though
SA Birdies has run on to such in a different way. They had quarrels some-
._ a length that I must times, and would not speak to one another for
finish off quickly, and say half an hour. And they never thought of
very little more about sitting still for a talk, like the little girls.
_- them. But they played, and raced, and climbed, and
___ -2 Instead of only staying did all sorts of things together, and never
a few days at Mrs. Gray's, liked to be apart.
Nannie and Gracie and Felix were there for The snow soon melted away, to Felix and
nearly a month. Mrs. Cliff was glad of a Willie's sorrow. They wanted to have some
quiet house for Bessie, and Willie and Lucy slides on the pond, and Mr. Gray meant to
were delighted to have their little friends, teach them a little skating, with an old pair of
So it was a nice plan for everybody, skates which he had, just the right size. But
Nannie ahd Lucy called themselves very the thaw came too quickly.
great friends before the time came to an end, There was plenty that the boys could do,
and Gracie was quite content to be third. however. Felix had never had so much of
For they were kind little girls, and did not racing and clambering before. It was very
shut Gracie out from their games and talks, good for him to be with a boy, and to learn
as some children might have done in their more of boys' ways.
place. Gracie never had reason to feel lonely. In the evenings Mr. Gray read aloud a story
94 FIVE LITTLE BIRDIES.
to the children. The three little girls used to and more manly boy than himself, sometimes
make dolls' clothes. Willie could draw houses did work, he objected no longer, and was quite
very neatly for his age, and that kept him happy over a kettle-holder. And when the
busy. It was rather hard to find anything for kettle-holder was made, Felix was none the
Felix to do. He did not like to have a pencil less manly for having made it.
and paper and only scribble, while Willie was The day at last came for the three
drawing so nicely. This was rather a silly Birdies to go home. Grandmamma and
shame, for of course he could not draw without Auntie. Bessie both said they really could
being taught. But they could not persuade not spare the children any longer. Nannie
him, so Mrs. Gray asked if he would care to do and Felix did not know whether to be
a little worsted-work or netting. most sorry at leaving the Grays, or most
Felix grew very red, and did not approve of glad at seeing Auntie Bessie and the little
this at all. He thought it would be girlish, ones again. Gracie said she was most glad.
Willie ran to a drawer, and pulled out two big "But then, you know," she added to Nannie,
worsted-work mats which he had made all by "I haven't got a very particular own friend
himself, and three nets. of mine here, 'cause Lucy is your friend and
"Lots of men do work, don't they, not mine."
mamma ?" he said. "I'm sure Lucy loves you a great deal,
I thought only women did," said Felix. Gracie," said Nannie.
"Men have to work with their heads, or to Yes, and I love Lucy," Gracie answered.
do out-of-door work, and that leaves little time "But she's your friend, Nannie. I think she's
for needle-work," said Mrs. Gray. But too old for me. And I do want to be with
anything is better than to be idle." dear darling Auntie Bessie and uncle and
And now Felix knew that Willie, a bigger grannie again."
THE END. 95
So when Nannie and Lucy shed a few tears and not looking at all unhappy, for little Dot
at parting, Gracie only smiled. And when the was holding her hand, and seemed very
carriage reached home, Gracie rushed straight pleased to have her again.
into the drawing-room, where Bessie was lying "The doctor says I must wait one more
on the sofa, and cried- week, and then I may begin," said Auntie
Oh, I'm so glad we've come back! Bessie.
"And I am glad too, my darling," "A whole week," said Gracie. "Oh, I'm
Ayntie Bessie said, hugging Gracie in her sorry. I do want to work so hard."
arms. "I shall keep you all at work running about
"Nannie is just a little sorry, because she for me, this week. And when we do begin
hasn't got Lucy here," said Gracie. "But lessons, I shall expect to have very good
I'm as glad as can be. And mayn't we have pupils. Because, if you are ever so naughty,
lessons to-morrow ? I must not jump up to run after you."
"Why, Gracie, you are in a hurry," "Won't you be able to jump up never
said Bessie, laughing. What do you again ?" asked Teddie in a very grave voice;
say, Nannie ? Shall we have lessons at and Bessie smiled 'at him.
once ?" Oh, yes," she said, "very soon, I hope.
I shouldn't think it was good for Auntie But I must keep quiet for a few more weeks,
Bessie," said Nannie, kissing her aunt lovingly and you must all take care of me."
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