Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Back Cover

Title: In the Land of Nod
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055053/00001
 Material Information
Title: In the Land of Nod
Physical Description: 81 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Marzetti, Ada C
Gould, F. Carruthers ( Francis Carruthers ), 1844-1925 ( Illustrator )
Hearson, R.O ( Printer )
Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh ( Publisher )
E.P. Dutton (Firm) ( Publisher )
Publisher: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh
E.P. Dutton & Co.
Place of Publication: London
New York
Manufacturer: R.O. Hearson
Publication Date: 1887
Subject: Wit and humor, Juvenile   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sleep -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fairies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Birds -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1887   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1887
Genre: Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Ada C. Marzetti ; with illustrations by F. Carruthers Gould.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055053
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002233968
notis - ALH4385
oclc - 51748629

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter I
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Chapter II
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Chapter III
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Chapter IV
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Chapter V
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    Chapter VI
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Chapter VII
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Chapter VIII
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text


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11. 0. HEARSON,


:'" H, dear! I wish, I
wish, I wish."
But she didn't
say what she wished; on the
contrary, she relapsed into a
S \ long silence, broken only by a
S .few deep, very deep sighs.
It was such a lovely even-
ing, following a glorious summer
S --day. The sun had laid by his
golden crown, and had donned
.. his nightcap of crimson hue;
I '' and fields, trees, sky and. river
...'' were bathed in the rosy light
Cast by its reflection. It was
all so still-so still ;. not a sound
4 to be heard except the light
twittering of the little birds as
they softly sang their evening hymn, and the occasional
creaking -of the old swing on which Myra was sitting ; .even
the gentle breeze forgot to whisper its good-night among the
leaves, and the flowers were asleep.
Oh, dear I wish, I wish, I wish."
This time she sat up and rubbed her sleepy eyes, and took
up the book which was lying open on her lap-took it up, not


with the eager delight called forth by pretty pictures or some
wonderful adventures in fairyland, but took it up as you or I
would some ugly creeping thing, only to throw it down again.
What was it ? Butter's Spelling /
It's a shame !" cried Myra, that people should have to
learn such silly stuff. What's the good of spelling, I should like
to know ? Why, one half the words are spelt one way and called
another way, and the other half are called another way and spelt
one way-stupid things! Then look at this word," she continued,
picking up the book and opening it at the place chosen for her
lesson, "I-p-e-c-a-c-u-a-n-h-a! (nasty stuff!) I can't learn it; it's
no good ; the 'h' won't come in the right place. People always
take it on sugar, don't see why they shouldn't learn it on sugar
too! "
This was a happy thought, and Myra determined to mention
it to Miss Deborah.
0 Miss Deborah was one of three maiden ladies, who, having
a house larger than they required (people with small means
always do seem to take houses larger than they require), kindly
undertook to board and educate a limited number cf young
ladies. Miss Deborah being very tall, very stern, and very
unprepossessing, was eminently calculated to adorn that state of
life to which it had pleased Providence to call her. It was she
who undertook to administer to the pupils impositions when
they were overworked, chastisements when they were refractory,
and blue pills and black draughts when they were bilious !
Myra being the youngest in the school, was sometimes
privileged (spoilt, said Miss Deborah) by the two other maiden
ladies, and allowed to learn her lessons in the really fine old
garden ; and that is how she came to be sitting out there this
lovely evening, while her unfortunate companions were being
reduced to their four elements in the stuffy schoolroom.
It's no good sobbed Myra, after spelling out the


objectionable word for the twentieth time, while the salt tears
began running grimy races down her cheeks; "I can't learn
it. I-p-e, ipe, c-a-c-k, cac-no, that's not right. I-p-e, ipe, c-a-c,
cac, u-h-a-n-n-a-no, that's not right either. Oh, I do wish
there was no such thing as spelling "
This time she flung the offending Dr. Butter far from her,
and in so doing gave such a jerk to. the swing that it was set in
motion-to and fro-to and fro; its dreamy movement accorded
well with the peaceful quiet and balmy softness of the dying
day.- Myra must have felt its soothing influence, for her tears
ceased, and leaning-her golden head against the one hand that
held the rope, she closed her eyes, quite forgot her troubles,
and began to think of other things.
She made a very pretty picture, sitting there in the sunset's
glow, framed all round with the leafy foliage, and so thought the
Evening Primrose, who had just awakened and was sitting on
his doorstep; for youmustknow
that in every flower there dwells
a little sprite-such a tiny little
fellow so small
that you might double
yo, khim up between two
Slices of bread and
butter, and eat him
like a sandwich with-
out knowing he was
there! If you doubt his existence, just watch a bee one day,
and see how he calls from flower to flower; sometimes passing
this one by, sometimes hovering for a second by that, then
sometimes going in and making quite a long visit. Then
you know the flower-sprite has asked him to stop to afternoon
tea. Sometimes he meets other acquaintances there, and then
they laugh and chat about their friends ; and it is wonderful how
13 B2


intimately they are acquainted with all the other insects' doings:
but it's a very good way of learning the truth about them, for it
is always those not immediately concerned in a thing who know
most about it!
"Buzz, buzz, buzz!" went a big Bumble Bee (who I
suppose had missed his last train, and was obliged to take a fly
home) close to Myra's head; he seemed to take her for some
unknown flower, for he kept on circling round her. He
attracted her attention at last, for she opened her eyes.
Oh, do get away! said Myra, sleepily.
Buzz, buzz answered the Bee.
Oh, dear !" sighed the little girl, moving her head on to
the other arm, "I wish the stupid thing would go away-
I-p-e, ipe, c-a-c-- "
But he didn't go away, but kept on buzz, buzz, buzzing, till
Myra at last fancied he wasn't buzzing at-all,. but really talking
-yes, talking! and after a bit she heard him say quite plainly,
" Come to school! Come to school! "
"I sha'n't come to school!" said Myra, crossly; "it isn't time."
Come to school! Come to school !" repeated the Bee, louder
this time.
Myra jumped off the swing at this, and such a curious sight
met her eyes! It was the same garden, certainly ; yes; there was
the swing, the old willow tree, and the little river winding its way
under the rustic bridge. But who were all these funny people
walking about ? Were they people ? Myra could not at first
make out. They certainly behaved as such, even if they were
queer-looking folk. She was meditating over the strangeness of it
all, when the voice of the Bumble Bee interrupted her thoughts.
Come to school Come to school! "
Why? cried Myra.
"Because you don't know your lesson."
And what does that matter to you, pray ?"


"What does that matter to me!" shouted the Bee,
indignantly ; "why, you are to be one of my pupils."
"One of your pupils !" laughed the child.
It was such a ludicrous idea, a Bumble Bee teaching
lessons, that she laughed so long, till the tears rolled down her
"And what can you teach, pray? .Why, you can't
even make honey added Myra, who was better at Natural
History than she was at the three R's."
The Bee turned very red, and looked so cross, that Myra,
.not wishing to offend him any more, asked politely, "But what
do you teach ? "
"I teach Spelling."
Spelling How can you do that? Why, you are only an
insect," laughing again.
Because I'm a Spelling Bee!" he retorted, angrily. "Now
perhaps you can understand, and won't laugh at your betters
any more !"
Myra's 'mirth quickly subsided, and as she remembered her
stupidity over spelling, she felt herself grow very small-so
small, indeed, that when she looked up again, she found the
insect beside her was quite a head and shoulders taller than
"I beg your pardon, sir," she said very humbly, "I won't
laugh any more. But tell me, who are your pupils ? what are
their names ? and how many are there in the school ? "
One question at a time, little girl !" answered the Bee,
gravely. "First, then, these children you see playing about
here are my pupils; their number is twenty-six, and their
names are-A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O,
P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z."
Why, that's the Alphabet! exclaimed Myra, in astonish-
ment. "I never saw the Alphabet walking about before; and


they don't look a bit the same as they do in a book; I
shouldn't know them again, attentively regarding the strange
figures, who had so unceremoniously usurped the "happy hunt-
ing ground" of the Young Ladies, Limited," who were
daily turned out on to the scorching lawn to browse.
"Perhaps not," said the jBee. "But, then, you are only
a little girl, so no wonder you've never heard of the School
of Letters before; but now you know what it is."
Myra could say nothing to this, so she began watching
her strange schoolfellows at play. She could not distinguish
one from another at first, but presently their forms seemed
to become more distinct.
"You'll know them all in good time," said the Spelling
Bee, who was watching her. Begin at the beginning, that's
the way to. get on."
"But this is dreadful!" thought Myra. "If I have to
learn my letters over again, what shall I do when I come to
say my other lessons? But perhaps he doesn't teach anything
except spelling. Do tell me who they all are, Mr. Bee, and
then I shall get on so much quicker," she said aloud. "Who
is that tall one standing over there by the river, and why
hasn't he got clothes on like all the rest ?"
I should think you might see for yourself who he is!"
returned the Spelling Bee, rather contemptuously; "he is the
'naked I,' of course."
"How funny! And is he going to bathe?"
"Bathe/" repeated the Bee, scornfully. "How ignorant
you are, to be sure ; as if one ever saw an 'I' in water."
"Yes, you do, when it's Ice!" retorted Myra, quickly.
I had him there!" she thought.
The Bee looked rather grumpy at this, but said nothing.
"Well, anyhow," he added, after a pause, "he isn't going
to bathe now; I expect he is waiting for U."


"That I am sure he can't be!" cried Myra, laughing; "I
never saw him before in all my life."
"Yes, he is," answered the Spelling Bee, not noticing
the last part of her speech, "and here she comes."
At this moment Myra noticed
another figure join him, and then
they both sat down and began to sing.
She could not at first under-
stand what they were singing
about, and afterwards all she
could distinguish was-
"We sat by the river, U and I."

"Is that the only song
they know ?" asked Myra, after
S-listening some time in hopes
of them changing their tune.
"Well, yes," replied the Bee, slowly; "the fact is," he
continued, lowering his voice and looking round cautiously to
see no one was listening, P and Q won't allow them to learn a
new one; I think they are jealous because they can't sing
"Why, what does it matter what they allow?" exclaimed
Myra; "I shouldn't obey them."
"Yes, you would answered the Bee, rather testily; "you
must mind your P's and Q's, you know."
Myra was going to make some further remark on the subject,
when the Spelling Bee startled her by shouting, out abruptly,
" Come to dinner Come to dinner and, somehow or other,
she found herself being hustled along by a lot of the Letters.
"Don't push Don't push She's pushing they cried.
"I'm not pushing !" cried Myra, angrily; "you are."
"Very well, then, don't do it again! "


This was very provoking, of course; but Myra was a sensible
little girl, so she said no more. She had plenty to occupy her
thoughts too, for she wondered what was going to happen
next, where they' were going to dine, and, moreover, what they
were going to dine off. This last subject was evidently
engrossing the minds of her companions as well, for she heard
one of them ask another, "I say, what are we going to have for
dinner to-day ? "
"Butter, of course!" was the answer, given in a very
grumbling tone; it will always be Butter now she's come."
"Now, then! Now, then "
It was the voice of the Spelling Bee. Come to dinner !
Come to dinner And Myra found herself, in company with
her strange schoolfellows, entering what appeared to be a long
tent. It was all green outside, and black and white inside, and
looked something like this.

There was one long table in the tent, which, as soon as the
Company had assembled, they 'busily commenced taking to
pieces, till everybody had a sort of little table to themselves.
"How curious !" thought Myra. "I never saw that done
before. What a funny sort of table!" she said aloud to the
Bee, who was near her. What do you call it ?"
"A multiplication table, of course What silly questions you


ask. Now, then, Z, you are always the last: be quick. Then,
Letters, all begin."
And everybody sat down.
Somebody's not here! said Myra, pointing to an un-
occupied table.
"Ah that's H, I expect," said the Spelling Bee, and took
no more notice of the empty place.
"But where is H ?" asked Myra, who always liked to know
the ins and outs of everything.
S, tell her where H is-and don't sit so crookedly "
Poor S, who had got something the matter with his back,
and couldn't sit straight if he tried, answered sulkily enough,
"H is in Hospital."
"Of course it is! said Myra, peevishly; "I could have
told you that."
Then why did you ask ?" retorted S.
"Hold your tongue, sir!" shouted the Spelling Bee, who
evidently regarded snappish answers as his own particular
prerogative. The truth is," he added, turning to Myra, H
has met with another accident; people are always dropping him
somehow or other;-it's a great nuisance he should be laid up
so often."
Now Myra was getting very hungry, so she thought she
had better begin lier dinner at once, because the Spelling
Bee was so sudden in all his movements, that he might get up
and say dinner was finished before she had begun. She now
noticed for the first time that there was a large pie set in front
of her, and as everybody was already busy eating, and no one
offered her anything else, she came to the conclusion that she
was to help herself.
She eyed the food before her with some distrust, for, you
see, she had been at school before, and had a fair experience of
educated pastry.

It was a very important-looking crust indeed, and looked as
much as if it said, "Well, here I am, eat me if you can; I defy you !"
Myra sighed, and took up a knife. She
made a few ineffectual digs with it-
S the pie was unrelenting; she looked at the
Spelling Bee, but he was sitting with his
back to her, so her despairing
glance was thrown away.
SI "I wonder what all the
Others are eating !" she thought;
S.. and as she stood up on tiptoe
-. to satisfy her curiosity, she be-
came aware that all the Letters were staring at her, and that
there was a decided grin on their faces; indeed, a few of them
gave way in such audible tones to their mirth, that the Spelling
Bee turned round hastily.
What's the matter now ?" he said, frowning; for it was a
rule of the school that meals were to be taken in perfect silence
by the pupils, as by gulping down their food without intermission
they were likely to digest it better. What's the matter now ? "
he repeated, in a voice of thunder, as a dead silence followed
his question and every one became preternaturally solemn.
"Answer me at once."
"If you please, sir," said a little Letter, who had been
pinched by the elder ones into answering, it's-it's the
pie !"
"Nonsense! How can a pie laugh? You are telling a fib,"
said the Bee, very tartly.
"If you please," said Myra, "I can't cut it, and I think
they are laughing at that."
"Oh! is that all?" answered the Spelling Bee. "Well,
some one get her a pickaxe, then."
"No, thank you, please don't trouble!" hastily interposed


Myra, whose appetite was fast failing; "I don't think I should
like it even if I could cut it."
Like it!" screamed the Spelling Bee, in great excitement.
" Of course you won't like it-you're not expected to like it-
nobody ever does like it."
This did not sound very hospitable, certainly! It was a
very different line of argument to that adopted by Miss Deborah
whenever any of her protdgdes raised a feeble protest against
some unpopular dish.
Not like it!" she was wont to say. Of course you like it-
everybody must like it!" which, of course, left nothing more to
be said-and nothing more to be desired.
"What is it, then ? asked Myra, faintly.
Why, it's Humble Pie, of course Now, then, eat it up,
and look sharp about it." And the Spelling Bee stood over
her, watch in hand.
Myra was going flatly to refuse to touch a morsel, but the
Bee looked so stern and determined that she was afraid to
disobey. In angry despair she took up the knife again, and-
scrudge !-this time the heavy crust gave way. She could not
see what she was helping herself to, for she was crying all the
time, and her tears got in the way ; but she winked them away
after a bit, and then she found the food on her plate was
forming itself into the words OH, DEAR, I DO WISH THERE
WAS NO SUCH THING AS SPELLING." This was most extra-
ordinary Myra never remembered being made to eat her own
words before! She choked a good deal over them; but the
Spelling Bee made one of the Letters stand by to pat her on the
back, and she managed to get through them all in time.
"That's right!" said the Spelling Bee, approvingly, as the
last word disappeared from her plate. "What was it like?"
It was very hard and very bitter!" answered Myra,
wiping her eyes; and then, to her astonishment, she found herself


saying, "I am very glad there is such a thing as spelling, and I
want to learn it."
The Bee was very pleased at this, and smiled quite sweetly.
"And when may I begin lessons, please?" Myra continued.
She was dreadfully disgusted at herself for asking such a
question, but the words seemed to come in spite of herself.
That depends quite upon what you have to learn,"
observed the Spelling Bee, thoughtfully.
"Well," said Myra, "I've got a lot of words to spell, but I
think 'Ipecacuanha' is the most difficult of them."
"Ipecacuanha / Impossible to learn that here," looking
round at the members of his school. H is absent too. You
will have to go uphill for that."
"Uphill?" inquired Myra, in some surprise.
"Yes; I will explain more fully by and bye," said the
Spelling Bee, rising from his table and clearing his throat.
"Ahem! Young ladies and gentlemen, to-day being the
anniversary of this day last year, and being also the day before
to-morrow, I beg to say that, in order to celebrate the double
event, there will be no pudding on this auspicious occasion, and,
therefore, I propose this eating do stand adjourned till further
There was a dead silence.
"Somebody say 'Hear, hear' at once!" commanded the
Spelling Bee, reddening angrily.
As no one spoke, Myra, who, perhaps, had been secretly
dreading what the next course might bring forth, called out
"Hear, hear" so heartily that the irate pedagogue was appeased,
and bowed graciously to all present.
The Letters then left the tent, treading carefully on Myra's
toes as they went out.


HE Spelling Bee then told her to follow him, and
they both left the tent and went out into the garden
again. Myra was greatly surprised, on going out,
to see a high mountain on the other side of the river; it
was certainly not there when she went in to dinner.
Why, however did that come there ? she exclaimed.
If you weren't so silly, the mountain wouldn't be there at
all," said the Bee, rather crossly.
I don't see--" began Myra.
Well you ought to be able to see it; I'm sure it's big
enough," interrupted the Bee.
You said you were going to tell me how I was to learn
my lesson," said Myra, wearily, wishing all the time that she was
back amongst her own school friends instead of talking to a
disagreeable old Bumble Bee, who half-snapped her head off each
time she spoke.
"So I will-so I will," responded the Spelling Bee. "Now,
listen to what I say, and pay great attention."
Myra looked as attentive as she could, and the Bee went on:
"There is to be a grand Volunteer Review up there to-morrow,"
pointing to the mountain, "and hundreds of Letters are going
to take part in it, so if you can reach there in time, you will be
able to learn all you want to know."


"But I don't see--" Myra was commencing again, when
the Bee flew off in a rage.
Oh, do come back, Mr. Bee !" she implored, "and I won't
say it again. But, really, you know, I don't-I mean (speaking
very fast)-yes-of course-of course-quite so-exactly-my
opinion-just what I was thinking." And the Bee turned round
slowly and rejoined her.
You must start at once," he said, or you won't get- there
in time. Where is your hat? "
Well, I don't quite know," answered Myra, looking about.
" I know I had it on when I first came out here with my book."
You see she had grown so small., that, of course, that great
round thing, like a giant's saucepan, lying on the grass, could
not possibly belong to her.
And your gloves ?" next demanded the Spelling Bee.
He looked very impatient while Myra began fumbling in her
pocket for those likewise missing articles.
I don't know, I'm sure, where they are," she said,
reflectively. Perhaps they are up stairs in my room, or perhaps
I left them--"
"You are a very untidy little girl, I can see said the
Spelling Bee, severely. You must learn to keep your things
in more alphabetical order while you are with me, I can tell
you. Very well, as you can find neither your hat nor your
gloves, you must go without them-so start at once."
"Are you coming with me ? asked Myra.
No, of course not! It will not take me more than a minute
to reach the top, and you, I expect, will be hours getting up."
But am I to go alone ? faltered Myra, who, much as she
disliked the Spelling Bee, would rather have his company than
none. I sha'n't be able to find the way "
"You must have a Guide, of course said the Bee. "Let
me see,' putting on his spectacles and thinking a moment.


SThere is a Brewer living down by the river, he'll be the best
Guide you can take. Now, listen while I tell you the way to his
house, because I sha'n't repeat it all over again. Go as straight
as you can till you come to the third turning on the right,
then take the fourth turning on the left, then go straight again
till you come to the second turning on the right, then take the
first turning on the left, after which you come back to the point
you first started from, and there you are."
But I don't-"
But the Spelling Bee had really gone this time.

Myra felt very strange standing there all alone, and not
knowing which way to go, for the Spelling Bee's directions only
puzzled instead of helping her. It was very strange, too, going
out for a long walk without either hat or gloves.
What would Miss Deborah say if she could see her now?
This thought so tickled Myra's fancy, and as she pictured to
herself the extra length of that worthy lady's usually elongated
countenance, she burst out laughing. This laughter did her
good, and made her quite forget all about the Humble Pie the
Bee had made her eat, and she felt altogether happier, and quite
an inch taller than she had been since her first encounter with
her irascible schoolmaster.
Let me see," said Myra, trying to recall the Spelling
Bee's words. "' Go as straight as you can till you come to the
second-no, third turning on the right, then take the-some-
thing turning on the left-then- Oh, dear, I can't remember.
And what did he mean by, 'Come back to the point you first
started from' ? Why, if I did that, there would be-no use in
starting at all, and- why, there is the house "
And there, straight in front of her, was the very thing she
was going to seek.


Dear me! said Myra, "I wonder I never saw it before.
But people always say you are sure to find a thing if you don't
look for it, and it must be true."
So saying, she began to move towards it.
It was a very strange-looking house indeed, more like an old
cask turned up on one end than anything else.
I wonder if he is at home," thought Myra, as she tapped
gently at the door-no answer; so she tapped again-louder
this time-still no answer. "This is very tiresome she said,
turning to go away, when she caught sight of a white placard
in one of the windows, with
written in very large letters upon it.
How stupid! exclaimed Myra, in great disgust. How can
I inquire within when there is no one at home? and how can
the key be next door when there is no next door ? "
This was very annoying, and Myra wondered what she
should do next. A sudden thought struck her. "Perhaps
there is another door at the back of the house." So she went
round to see, and there she saw, to her surprise, a large Toad
sitting fast asleep on an old portmanteau, with a clay pipe
hanging out of his mouth,-and surrounded by a lot of hatboxes,
umbrellas, and various brown paper parcels. Myra was so
astonished at this unexpected sight, that all she could do was to
stare open-mouthed.
Dear me!" she said presently, for the twentieth time
that day, I wonder he doesn't get a cab to fetch his luggage;
or perhaps he has been away, and has only just got back, and
can't get into his house." This was the most likely idea, so she
thought she would try again if she could make some one open
the door.
By dint of great struggling she managed to pile up three of
the hatboxes one upon another, and by their aid clambered up


on to one of the window-sills. She had just succeeded in
opening the window a little way, when the Toad opened his
eyes and exclaimed suddenly, Why do chimneys smoke?"
Myra was so taken aback that she nearly fell off the window-
ledge, and was obliged to clutch hold of some ivy leaves that
were growing on the wall, to save herself from falling.
"Oh! it's you, is it?" said the Toad, catching sight of her,
but evincing no surprise at her unexpected presence there, and
taking quite as a matter of course the decidedly burglarious
intentions of his guest.
Yes," said Myra, getting down as best she could.from her
exalted position. How do you know me ?"
I don't know you."
But you spoke as if you did," persisted Myra.
Perhaps I did," rejoined the Toad, shutting his eyes
again. "If people only spoke about what they knew, there
would be no such thing as conversation."
"Oh, don't go to sleep again, leasee" pleaded the little girl;
"I want to speak to you."
"Well," sitting up and taking the pipe out of his mouth,
"be quick about it, and don't ask too many questions."
Myra seated herself on one of the hatboxes, and leaning her
elbows on her knees, rested her chin in her hands, and looked
gravely up at the ugly animal beside her.
I want to know," she began, why your house is shut up,
and why you are sitting out here like this."
"Don't you ever shut your house up ? asked the Brewer, in
a lazy voice, and looking much as if he wished his visitor would
shut up too and leave him in peace.
Of course we do sometimes," responded Myra ; when we
go to the seaside, for instance-or on the Continent," she added
grandly (she had once been to Boulogne with her Mamma for a


"Very well!" said the Toad, "I have been away too, so
now you understand."
And where have you been to ? she asked, with some
curiosity, for she never remembered hearing of a Toad going
anywhere for change of air.
"I've been to Sleep, and I'm going there again as soon as
possible, and that's why I'm sitting out here now."
To Sleep! ejaculated Myra, with fine disgust : that's not
a place. You can't go there-at least-I mean there are no
houses and-and no people there," getting rather mixed.
Quite right, my dear !" nodding his head condescendingly.
"I know it's not a plaice, and I didn't meet a single sole."
"And what's the sense," continued Myra, who began to
think the Toad a very foolish creature indeed, "of packing
up all these boxes if you haven't really been away anywhere.
But perhaps they have been to sleep too?" This was biting
sarcasm, and Myra drew herself up proudly, conscious of
having said a good thing; but the Brewer did not appear at all
"Right again," he said pleasantly, "that's just where they
have been."
You are talking nonsense cried Myra, losing her temper
a little. How can boxes shut their eyes and-and all the rest
of it?"
The easiest thing in the world! replied the Toad. He
was getting quite cheerful and wide awake at last. They have
but to close their heavy lids, and they're soon locked in slumbers
sweet, don't you know."
"I know you are a very ridiculous animal," returned Myra,
who felt very cross that the Toad should always have some
answer ready which sounded like sense, and yet which was not
sense at all. But everything.has been ridiculous lately "
"You're excited I" said the Toad. Have some snuff."


"No, thank you!" she answered shortly, turning up her
nose at the proffered luxury.
"By the bye," said the Brewer, after a pause, "talking of
"We were not talking of smoking at all "
"Talking of smoking," he continued, calmly, without
noticing the interruption, would have reminded me that my
pipe has gone out. I suppose you haven't got such a thing as a
match about you ? "
Of course not!"
"That's a pity," said the Toad, after feeling in all his
pockets, "for I haven't got one either."
"I don't think it matters whether you have one or not,"
remarked Myra, who noticed that the clay pipe was not only
quite empty, but had never been used at all, being perfectly
clean and new. There is no tobacco in your pipe."
Nor there is in a tone of great surprise.
"And what's more, there never has been any in it,"
said Myra.
Nor there has "
So you can't possibly want to light it again."
"Nor I can !"
This was too much for Myra's feelings ; she determined not
to speak to the silly animal any more, and she remained quite
two minutes in perfect silence. But being naturally fond of the
sound of her own voice, or thinking perhaps if she were quiet
too long the Toad might go to sleep again, she remarked, in a
copy-book voice, Smoking is a disgusting habit "
Ah said the Toad, putting his pipe back into his mouth,
how do you know that ?"
Miss Deborah says so," replied Myra.
And who is Miss Deborah ? "
"Miss .Deborah," answered Myra, rushing breathlessly into


explanation, is one of the three old ladies who keep the school
I go to; the others are Miss Mary and Miss Jane; and the girls
say Miss Deborah's got eyes at the back of her head, and ears all
over her body, and her feet aren't feet at all, but cat's paws, and
that her tongue is a two-edged sword, and that she has not only
swallowed the poker, but the tongs and the shovel as well! "
"Good gracious me exclaimed the Brewer, looking very
aghast at the description of this physiological phenomenon.
"Miss Deborah must be very-er-very-plain! I think
perhaps I'll give up smoking."
"Miss Mary's not bad," remarked Myra, reflectively, only
she is so very prim, and always uses such long words."
I suppose," said the Brewer, in the same tone, she can't
help talking in Pollysylla.bles."
No, I suppose not," answered Myra. I wonder, though, if
she knows how to spell-oh, dear that reminds me," she
exclaimed, jumping off the hatbox in great dismay, for the
Toad's conversation had- quite put all thought of the Spelling
Bee out of her head, and she was dreadfully frightened when
she remembered how much time she had wasted in talking to
him. Oh, do come quickly!" she cried to the astonished
Brewer, performing a sort of war-dance round him in her
anxiety to be off, but quite forgetting to tell him why his
company was so urgently required.
"I shall do nothing of the sort he said, with pardonable
offence; "and perhaps when you've quite done pounding my
feet into a jelly, you'll be kind enough to say so."
I beg your pardon really! cried Myra, stepping back a
pace or two; but I shall never get there in time if we don't
start at once, and the Spelling Bee will be so angry."
"I don't in the least know where there is, and what's more,
I don't care! returned the Toad; but wherever it is, you can
go at once--Ive no wish to keep you."


Myra managed to curb her impatience sufficiently to explain
the object of her journey and the Spelling Bee's instructions
with regard to the Brewer's help in the matter; but the Toad
still looked very glum.
"He said you were the best Guide I could take," said Myra,
in a persuasive voice, and looking beseechingly up at the Toad.
Did he?" looking rather mollified, and half getting off his
seat. "Well, I suppose you need not be in such a hurry-then,
perhaps, I'll go with you."
"I'm afraid I must," said Myra; "the Review is to take
place to-morrow."
To-morrow!" repeated the Brewer, looking greatly relieved,
and sitting down again; then we've heaps of time."
"Have we?" asked Myra, looking incredulously up at the
great mountain, and wondering however many miles it was
above the level of the sea; not that she quite knew what the
level of the sea was, because experience-painful experience
(that summer when she went with her Mamma to Boulogne for a
week) inclined her to the belief that it wasn't level at all, but
quite the reverse! but she had been learning all about the"
heights of different mountains in Cornwall's Geography, and felt
quite a scholarly interest in this particular one-the first, indeed,
she had ever seen.
"Yes," 'said the Brewer, breaking in upon her thoughts;
"you see 'to-morrow never comes,' so it doesn't matter how late
we start, we're sure to be there first, don't you know."
"Ye-es, perhaps so," assented Myra, doubtfully. "I never
thought about it in that light; still, I think I should feel easier
if we did go at once."
The Toad grumbled a good deal; but being a fairly good-
natured sort of creature on the whole, he finally gave way to his
companion's entreaties. Myra was quite relieved, and thanked
him very much. "But what are you going to do with these


things in the meantime ?" she said, pointing to the miscellaneous
collection of boxes, etc., scattered about.
"iOh, they'll be all right," answered the Toad, easily;
."they're old enough to take care of themselves." That they
certainly were! Myra thought she had never seen a more
dilapidated assortment of luggage in her life.


HE two then set out on their journey. Myra had
to walk rather quickly to keep up with the Toad,
because he took such long strides, and she was such
a little thing; but she didn't mind that so much at first, only
when he took to hopping every now and then, she found it
very trying indeed, as she was obliged to run quite fast to
get up to him again; besides, it also interfered very much
with their conversation, for, you see, if the Toad happened
to jump in the middle of a sentence, he had quite finished
what he was saying by the time Myra had caught him up.
She endured it in silence for some time, but at last strength
and patience both gave way.
"I-wish-you-wouldn't-do-that !" she panted, as she
regained his side once more after he had taken a longer leap
than usual.
Do what ?" asked the Toad, standing still for a moment.
"Why, keep jumping like that," said Myra.
"I must!" he replied, solemnly; "I'm a Brewer."
"Whatever has that got to do with it?" cried Myra,
who would have laughed at this extraordinary answer if she
had not been so tired.
The Toad didn't speak for a few moments, then he said
abruptly-" What is beer made from?"
"Hops, of course!" answered Myra, promptly.


"Very well!" returned the Brewer, "if you knew all
about it before, you shouldn't ask unnecessary questions."
"But I don't understand! said Myra, looking very
However, further argument on the subject was impossible
just then, for the Toad said he had just caught sight of a
friend in the distance, and hurried on to overtake him. He
was a large white Snail, and Myra noticed that he had got
R.A. painted in capital letters on his shell.

"What does he mean by having R.A. painted on him
like that for ?" she asked the Brewer.
"It means he is a Royal Academician," answered the
Toad-" if you know what that is," he added, doubtfully.
Oh, yes, I know," said Myra, a little proudly, for had
not her Papa once entertained the President at dinner And
what sort of things does he draw ?" she continued, trying not


to laugh at the ridiculous idea of a stupid creature like that
being able to do anything of the sort.
He is drawing his house at the present moment. If you
look you'll see that for yourself."
"You mean he is drawing it along, I suppose," said Myra.
I don't know if it's to be a long drawing or not," returned
the Toad ; "you had better ask him."
Myra sighed. Cross questions and crooked answers were
all very well as a game now and then, but infinitely vexing as a
She walked on in silence. The Snail heard them coming,
and turned round. He and the Toad seemed great chums ; at
least they old boyed and "old followed" each other a good
deal; but Myra found out afterwards that this did not mean
much-with one of them at least.
"Allow me to introduce my little friend said the Toad,
motioning Myra forward.
"Humph !" said the Snail, eyeing the "little friend with
some disfavour. "What is she called?"
"My name is Myra," said our little heroine, speaking for
herself, and thinking what a disagreeable-looking thing he was.
"What do you think of her ? asked the Toad, in rather an
anxious aside.
"I don't admire her at all sneered the. Snail, raising his
voice considerably.
"You are very rude! said Myra, reddening.
"Ask her what she's talking about now !" said the Snail,
looking at her, but speaking to the Toad.
"I'm not.deaf cried Myra, feeling greatly exasperated at
this mode of carrying on the conversation. "Why don't you
speak to me yourself?"
She's not dumb, anyway!." retorted the R.A., still con-
tinuing his offensive mode of talking at instead of to her.


Myra felt altogether disgusted, and walking away some little
distance, seated herself under the shelter of a large toadstool.
Here she was hidden from view, but within reach of their voices.
I am afraid she longed with a murderous longing to be her own
proper size again, if only for a minute, that she might grind
that artistic Snail to pulp and powder beneath her heel!
Well, old fellow," began the Brewer, as soon as his protegee
had gone, been busy lately, eh ?"
Fairly so-fairly so, old boy."
He called the Brewer old boy," but he might have been
saying "young man," for any warmth or cordiality that
appeared in his tones. The Toad; on the contrary, seemed
quite jovial and sympathetic about the Snail's doings, and to
regard his friend with great admiration-not unmixed with awe.
"And how many pictures are you going to send up there
this year ?" he asked, with a jerk of his head in the supposed
direction of the Burlington House of Nod Land.
Oh, the full number, as usual," returned the Snail.
"And are they very big, old chap ? "
"Enormous! replied the R.A., laconically. Am pretty
busy, just now," he continued, warming a little to his subject,
" painting my three ugliest daughters."
"Your three ugliest daughters! exclaimed the Brewer,
looking at his Artist friend with blended surprise and unwilling
disapproval. "Why, you had them in last year, and the year
before, and the year before that, surely !"
What of that !" returned the Snail, coldly, looking like a
lump of frozen thunder.
Oh, nothing, nothing! I meant no harm," answered the
Brewer, hastening to apologise; "only I thought, perhaps- "
"Well?" said the Snail, fixing an icy stare on his some-
what nervous companion, you thought--'"
"I mean-that is, I think," continued the unfortunate


Brewer, halting between his desire to be candid and his fear of
offending the mighty Artist-" at least-that is, I should think
-but most likely I am wrong, quite wrong ; but, still, I do
think, you know, that it can't be a very-er-very interesting
subject for the British-"
It was only one word; but the manner in which it was said,
and the R.A.'s cast of countenance as he said it, caused the
would-be critic to collapse instantaneously and hide his
diminished head as best he could. When at length he
summoned courage to look up and meet the scornful glance
which he felt sure would be bestowed upon him, he was greatly
relieved to find his dear friend walking off in the opposite
"Well!" said the Toad, mopping the perspiration off- his
face with a very large scarlet silk handkerchief, and looking at
the retreating figure of the Artist, I never thought he was
such an unpalettable fellow before "
I think he is a perfect beast chimed in Myra, who had
crept out of her hiding-place now that her enemy had taken
himself off.
She had been an interested listener to all that had taken
place, and though there had been a few things she could not
quite take in, still she had understood enough to know that her
Guide had, somehow or other, got the worst of it, and she
sympathised with him accordingly. The Brewer looked rather
shocked at first at this unlady-like expression, and glanced
round anxiously, as if afraid of finding himself in the awful
presence of Miss Deborah ; but as his fears on that score proved
groundless, his face gradually relaxed, and he indulged in a grin
-a grin so broad, that it nearly cut the top of his head off.
My dear," he said, touching Myra on the shoulder, you are a
very clever little girl. Let us go on."


ND so they went on, and on, and on, till Myra began
to wish they could leave off, and off, and off. She
was getting so very tired, and the mountain was
such a steep one to climb, and the road so rough; moreover,
she began to feel remarkably as if she would like her tea;
and as the chances of getting it were extremely small, so, of
course, her appetite became extremely large. Bread and butter
flourish better on a schoolroom table than on a mountaifl and
so Myra found to her regret. She tried to make the Brewer
sympathise with her on the loss of her much-needed meal; but
he seemed to look upon it as a very light matter indeed, and
thought it altogether absurd that she should require food at all
at that hour of the day; 'he could live months without eating,
if necessary !
But, supposing you were hungry, what would you do
then ?" asked Myra, feeling hurt at this utter disregard of
her sufferings.
"Eat !" replied the Toad.
"But supposing you couldn't get anything to eat, what
would you do then ? "-this, with a triumphant assurance of
having brought him to the end of his resources.
"Sleep !"
The word "sleep" seemed to remind him of his interrupted
nap that day, for, muttering something about "people bothering


you to go on a journey just when you had settled yourself
comfortably to take forty winks," he forthwith proceeded to
take those forty winks there and then, and Myra found it quite
useless to try and awaken him. However, she was nothing
loath to follow his example, being quite worn out, so she looked
about her for a sheltered spot where she could rest in peace, and
endeavour to forget the fact that she was not only tealess, but
would, in all probability, be supperless as well. She found a
soft mossy bank at last, lying cool and green beneath the
shadow of a projecting rock, and here she curled up her tired
little limbs, and soon fell fast asleep.

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, came something down upon her
head, and woke her with a start.
She took but little notice of it at first, thinking it must be a
slight shower of rain; but when, after a few minutes, it came
down with redoubled force, she could stand it no longer, but
sprang to her feet in some alarm.
"It can't be raining! cried Myra, looking at the bright
sun and clear, unclouded sky. "What can it be ? Besides," she
continued, glancing down at her white frock, on which were
reposing sundry little flakes of mud, "it never rains dirt!"
She looked about to discover the cause of the mysterious
downpour (which ceased as suddenly as it had begun), but
could see nothing; so, trying to delude herself into the idea that
it was only fancy, she lay down on her mossy couch again.
But she had no sooner done so than a quantity of earth and tiny
stones came pouring down upon her. There was no fancy
about it this time 1 She jumped up again, and I am afraid in
anger, for she felt sure now some one was playing her a trick.
"Who is there? she demanded loudly and very sternly, at
the same time walking further off, that she might command a
better view of the rock above.

This question was greeted with another shower of small stones,
accompanied by cries of Hoh, hoh! you don't like pudding, don't
you? Oh, aren't you beastly mean, that's all! Hoh, hoh! "
Seated on the very edge of the rock, with his legs dangling
over, was the queerest and ugliest little object Myra's eyes had
ever rested upon, and she recognized him at once as one of the
Spelling Bee's pupils, though she had not taken particular
notice of him before. He was so fat that he was positively
bursting out of his clothes, the buttons on his jacket having long
bidden farewell-a long farewell-to all his greatness; in fact,
he looked more like an inflated penny air-ball than anything
else, and gave one the idea that if he were pricked with a pin,
he would collapse suddenly-very suddenly indeed.
How dare you throw stones at me ? cried Myra, frowning
darkly up at her assailant, who glared down upon her with an
equally vindictive expression of countenance.
How dare you not like pudding, then ? growled O.
But I do like pudding protested Myra, hotly, not under-
standing the drift of the other's accusation.
Then why did you say 'Hear, hear to-day ? demanded
the fat Letter, angrily.
Oh! now I understand said Myra, brightening a little,
as the scene at the Spelling Bee's dinner flashed across her
memory; "but I don't think it mattered whether I said it or
not; I don't believe you would have got any anyway."
That's all you know.about it, stupid !" retorted O, politely.
"I don't care if you had any or not! cried Myra, waxing
wrathful again at this. In fact, I'm very glad you didn't get
any; you are too fat as it is-a very great deal too fat "
"You are a nasty, mean little minx! asserted the Letter,
very forcibly.
And you are an odious, greedy little pig !" returned Myra,


After this interchange of compliments the belligerents
rested for awhile on their laurels, and maintained a dignified
silence. Myra, having got the last word, was somewhat appeased,
and leaning her back against the trunk of a tree, watched with
some curiosity the movements of the enemy-a curiosity which
soon deepened to the most intense interest as she saw him draw
forth an enormous three-
cornered jam tart from a
paper bag lying beside
him, and heard him
smacking his lips over
it in anticipated delight.
Now, if there was
one thing Myra loved
more than another, it
was a three-cornered
jam tart; and in her pre-
sent tealess condition,
it was positive pain to
think of one being eaten
in her immediate
vicinity without having
a share in its disappear-
ance. The pain became
positive agony, as Myra
saw 0 (after he had
gloated over it for
several minutes) plunge
-- his teeth into the
.. _~-- delicious crust A long-
drawn O-oh from
Myra, as this end was brought about, caused her fat schoolfellow
to allow his gaze to wander for a second in her direction; and as

he met her look of hungry interest, he chuckled forth, "Oh,
my isn't it good, just, and isn't it a fine big un ?" He was
quite right ; it certainly was "a fine big un." But it was
not its extraordinary size which excited Myra's admiration,
though it was quite the biggest piece of pastry of its kind
she had ever seen; but it was the wonderful and un-
precedented amount of jam by which it was accompanied,
and which would have made any one, not gifted with the
digestion of a schoolboy or an ostrich, quite hysterical to
It was a very different kind of article to that turned out by
most pastry-cooks, I can tell you Why, in their "three
corners," the deluded -purchaser generally only finds a very
minute dab of preserve (in a very advanced state of preservation
as a rule), which seems, out of spite, to huddle itself up into the
last corner to be attacked ; but here was quite another state of
affairs-a princely liberality, in fact. Jam oozed out of all three
corners at once, and created quite a juvenile Niagara over the
fat Letter's waistcoat. In less than two minutes' time he was
steeped to the tip of his nose in it, and as it happened to be
black currant jam, his appearance was a little startling.
"I say," said Myra at length, with a sudden access of
friendliness, and coming a step nearer, don't let us quarrel,
it's so stupid "
Eh what's that ? asked O, peering slyly out of his little
round eyes. But the combination of pastry and black currant
jam seemed to have had a soothing influence on him, for he
showed no signs of renewing hostilities-for the present.
"Let's be friends," pursued Myra, sweetly.
What for ? asked the Letter, bluntly, taking another big
bite out of the tart.
"What for?" repeated Myra, somewhat nonplussed. "Why,
because it's-it's wrong to be enemies; I suppose."


"Oh I see-very right, very proper. What a good little
girl you are, to be sure! Where is your nurse, my dear ?"
"I haven't got a nurse!" said Myra, drawing herself up
with all the dignity she possessed ; "I am much too old for
that sort of thing."
Oh, indeed! So you want to make friends, do you ?" he
asked, after a pause.
"If you please," said Myra, very meekly, watching with
considerable anxiety the gradually decreasing proportions of
the huge jam tart.
"All right, then !" assented O, with more brevity than
graciousness, it must be confessed.
Myra then said she thought the Letter looked very
comfortable sitting up there, and did he think she could
possibly climb on to the rock too ? O said he didn't think
she could possibly climb on to the rock too which was, of
course, quite a different answer to what she wanted, and she
replied rather crossly that she could get up quite easily if he
would only help her; whereupon the Letter grinned, and
replied that he would be most happy to do so as soon as he
had finished this," waving the delicious piece of confectionery
in the air; which, again, was not the answer she wanted.
"Well, if you won't help me now, I shall try and get up
alone," said Myra, with determination ; and in a few minutes,.
flushed and breathless, she had gained the top. That the
clean white frock she had put on that morning (it was
Monday, you know) looked very much like the end of the
week, and that there were certain festoons adorning it, not
designed by the dressmaker who made it, concerned her not
at all. She had managed to scramble up somehow, and,
victory! was seated beside her fat schoolfellow-and the three-
cornered jam tart-but, alas it was three-cornered no longer.
"Wherever did you get that from?" asked Myra, after a

pause, breaking an uncomfortable silence that had, somehow or
other, fallen upon them since her advent on the rock.
Stole it !" chuckled O, evidently in high delight at this
proof of his prowess.
Stole it! echoed Myra, her big blue eyes growing
suddenly grave.
"Yes. Looks good, don't it?"
"Very, very good !" sighing.
"Have a bit?" said O, breaking off the tiniest fragment
possible, garnished with a solitary black currant, and holding
it out to her.
Oh, thank you !" answered Myra, forgetting in the excite-
'ment of the moment that they were making free with some
other person's property, and stretching out her hand eagerly
for the proffered morsel.
"Hold hard !" yelled O, just as Myra was about to take
it, and making a sudden retrograde movement. "You horrid,
greedy little thing I asked you to have a bit, and now you
are going to take the whole, I declare !"
"What do you mean?" cried Myra, jumping to her feet
in great indignation. How can I divide that crumb 7"
."It can't be divided!" said the fat Letter, with decision.
Then what's to be done?" looking very perplexed.
Why, Ishall eat it, of course said O, and without more
ado he popped it into his own capacious mouth.
"Well!" exclaimed Myra as soon as she had somewhat
recovered from the shock to her feelings caused by this last act
of her interesting companion ; "I think it was exceedingly rude
and disagreeable of you to offer me any at all if you did not
intend me to have it."
Oh, come, I say sneered the Letter, mockingly; "don't
let us quarrel, it's so 'stupid-it's so-so wrong to be enemies,'
you know. Let's be friends.' Don't you think," he continued,


as Myra, somewhat disconcerted by this repetition of her own
sentiments, remained silent-" don't you think, if I helped
you, that you might get off this rock about as easily as you
got on to it ? "
"I can get off perfectly well without your assistance, thank
you," answered Myra, with majesty in her look and tones; and
you need not be afraid that I shall stop with you a second
longer than I can help." And without vouchsafing a glance in
the direction of her amiable schoolfellow, she commenced her
somewhat perilous descent. After nearly losing.her footing
four or five times, and quite losing her temper five or six times,
and looking altogether considerably the worse for wear, she
reached the ground safely at last.
Meanwhile 0 was in the highest state of delight at the very
successful part he had played, and was so immensely tickled at
the sight of Myra's painful efforts to get off the rock, that what
between an endeavour to talk, his mouth being exceeding full,
and his being inwardly convulsed with laughter, he nearly
choked himself into an apoplectic fit. Myra determined not to
listen to another word, so, putting her fingers into her ears, she
ran away as fast as she could, and soon came up to the Brewer,
who was wide awake for a wonder !

D 2


HEN once more this strangely assorted pair set out
on their travels. Now through long and tangled
grass, now over rough and rugged stones, still they
wended their way-higher and higher. "Would they never
reach the top?" Myra wondered, with a weary sigh. Never
in all her life had she felt so utterly worn out and tired.

Surely mountain was never half so hard to climb as this!
Tears welled up into her great soft eyes, and hung suspended for


a second on her silken lashes, glistening like the morning dew,
then one by one they slowly fell. But, at the next bend of the
road, such a curious sight met her eyes, that fatigue, hunger,
tears, were alike forgotten in a moment: and this was what
she saw-a narrow passage guarded by a five-barred gate,
against which some dozens of creatures were dashing themselves
in the vain hope of forcing it open. Such a noise they made!
screaming, screeching, arguing, and quarrelling at the tops of
their voices; no one listening to any one else, yet each expecting
to be heard.
"We want to pass! We want to pass!" they shouted, as
Myra and her escort came in view; then, as they recognized
the Brewer, they rushed towards him in a body, exclaiming:
"Examine us! Examine us!"
"Whatever do they mean?" asked Myra, who was almost
deafened by the tumult they made.
"Why," answered the Toad, looking very bored indeed,
"there will have to be an examination, I can see, or they will
never be able to pass."
Pass what "
The examination, of course! "
"But why should there be an examination at all?" she
inquired, feeling greatly puzzled, as she always did at the
Toad's explanation of things.
"Because they want to pass!" he replied, shutting his eyes
as if he wished to let the matter drop.
But Myra was not so easily satisfied.
"I don't see," she continued, determined to make her Guide
explain things more clearly, "how an examination can help
them to open a gate, or get over a gate. By the bye," she
exclaimed, as this latter mode of solving their difficulties never
seemed to enter any of their heads, "if they can't unfasten it,
why don't they all get over it? The frogs might fly, you know-

I mean, the birds might fly, the frogs jump. over, and all the
other creatures might crawl up one side and down the other."
"You're silly !" said the Brewer, in a flat, dull voice, as if he
were sleeping in his talk.
"I'm not silly!" cried Myra, offended that her decidedly
sensible proposal should be received with such scant ceremony.
You are," said the Toad, and I can prove it."
How? asked Myra.
"Well," answered the Brewer, yawning, when people want
something very badly, and don't get it, they're so disappointed
that they can't get over it at all, can they? "
"No ; that's very true," admitted Myra, thinking of her
brief acquaintance with the jam tart.
"Very well, then. These travellers came expecting to find
that gate open-it wasn't; and now they are so disgusted they
can't get over it, so what's the use of saying they can, I should
like to know?"
Myra was silenced, but not convinced.
"Anyhow," she continued presently, "I don't see how an
examination -" But it was no good speaking, for the Toad
was walking away as fast as ever he could.
He was immediately surrounded by all the different
creatures, and Myra noticed they appeared very excited,
gesticulating and making a great fuss over something.
Thinking she might as well find out what was happening,
she hastened on to join them.
"No, no !" the Brewer was saying, with more animation
than he generally showed; "it sha'n't be Geography, that's
certain "
"I want Arithmetic! "No, Child's Guide "French "
Poetry "Astronomy !" came a chorus of different voices.
Look here," said the Brewer, holding up his hand to
ensure silence. I won't have any of that rubbish-rubbish, I


say. Do you hear ? It must be History or Science, or else
there sha'n't be an examination at all! "
"History! History !" they all shouted, with the exception
of one draggle-tailed, miserable-looking little Blackbird, who
kept on crying that he wanted Poetry instead.
"I tell you what it is," said a Field Mouse, who was
standing near him. "If you are not quiet pretty soon, I
shall bite you!"
Yes, bite him !" "Put his head in a bag Sit on him !"
cried several of the animals, hustling him away.
"But I tell you," persisted the poor Blackbird, fighting
his way back again, "I have a decided taste for Poetry."
"Then you must swallow it, sir! said the Field Mouse,
looking as if he thought he had said something very funny ;
and his friends applauded loudly.
"I have composed several verses myself," went on the
Blackbird, not heeding him; they are very sad, very sweet."
"Perfectly sickly, in fact! remarked his tormentor.
Cheers from the crowd.
Oh, do repeat some cried Myra, who felt so sorry for
the wretched-looking bird, and besides, she was very fond of
Poetry herself.
There's no time for that nonsense now," observed the Toad,
coming towards them; and, indeed, even if there had been
time, it was doubtful if the animals would have allowed him to
recite. The unfortunate Poet then walked off, promising to let
Myra hear some of his verses another time.
The Brewer then made the creatures stand in a row; but
finding that he would have to walk up and down the line to
hear their answers, and not feeling equal to so much fatigue, he
afterwards ordered them to form a circle round him instead,
which, after a good deal of bustle and confusion, they managed
to do. He was to sit in the middle of the ring, and the others

were to march very slowly round him, each one answering
a question as he passed, thus saving the Toad the trouble
of turning his
head. Myra
subject chosen
for the examin-
ation was Eng-
lish History,
kand being very
Swell up in that
branch of her
e education,
thought she
would take her
place amongst
them too. Of
course, the
whole affair was utterly absurd and wholly without reason, but the
Brewer was so solemn over it all, that she did not like to argue
with,him any more about it for fear of offending him too deeply.
"Aren't you coming too ?" she enquired of the Blackbird,
who was squatting, a forlorn little heap, a short distance apart.
No!" he returned sadly, shaking his head; "I don't
know any History. If it had been Poetry, now---"
"I should advise you to hold your tongue!" observed an
old Bat, who was next to Myra, speaking in a tone of friendly
warning. The unhappy bird hung his head and said no more.
Dear me'! I wonder why the animals all snub him so,"
said Myra, half aloud.
"Because he is a regular dunce!" answered the Bat, who
thought she was speaking to him.
"But he is very young, isn't he ?"


"Young !" echoed the Field Mouse, now joining in the con-
versation. What makes you think that, I should like to know ?"
"Why," replied Myra, looking at the ugly Blackbird, who
was reposing on one leg with its head under its wing, poor
thing," trying to look as if he were fast asleep and quite
unconscious of all that was being said, he has hardly got any
feathers yet !"
There was a general roar of laughter at this, in which the
Toad even joined, and the unfortunate bird under discussion
was observed to shift himself uneasily from one leg to the other.
I will tell you all about it! volunteered the Field Mouse,
who never seemed so happy as when he was listening to the
music of his own voice. "That poetical friend of yours over
there has been trying for the last-I don't know how many
years, to get through this gate, but he is so stupid he can never
pass the exam.; and as he has been plucked so often, you see
it's no wonder he has scarcely a feather left beyond the fag end
of his wretched little tail."
Oh, I see. Thank you," said Myra, thinking it would be
kinder to drop the subject.
The whole company then turned their attention to the
forthcoming examination, as the Brewer, who had fallen
asleep during the Field Mouse's speech, woke up with a start.
" Perhaps, when you fellows have quite done wasting your time
over a miserable scarecrow, you'll remember I'm waiting for
you," he said in an aggrieved tone. Now, then! What took
place after the battle of Hastings ?'"
I know !" said Myra, who had been going over" William
the Conqueror with Miss Deborah a few days before, and so had
the correct answer on the tip of her tongue.
"It's not your turn !" said the Field Mouse.
"It's anybody's turn !" retorted Myra, sharply; "somebody
must make a beginning."

"And are you 'somebody,' I should like to know ?"
demanded the Field Mouse, who was of a quarrelsome nature.
Now, then, you two, do be quiet! implored the Brewer,
sleepily. "Field Mouse, you can answer if you want to! Here.
the Toad winked at Myra in a friendly way, just to show her he
was only acting for the sake of peace at any price.
Don't want to the Field Mouse responded crossly; the
Bat can if he likes."
"What's all that about ?" cried the Bat, who had not been
attending, but had been discussing the last match at "Lord's"
with a young Cricket.
"What took place after the battle of Hastings?" repeated
the Brewer, in the monotonous voice peculiar to questions of
this sort.
Haven't the faintest idea !" answered the Bat, pleasantly-
"at, least- he said, correcting himself 'as he suddenly
remembered the serious nature of the examination, "it all
depends upon how long after you mean."
"Oh any time you like !" said the Toad, accommodatingly.
Well," said the Bat, after meditating awhile, they built a
pier there, let out bathing machines, and sold brandyballs at
four a penny."
"Quite right!" said the Brewer, while the animals
applauded enthusiastically at this brilliant answer.
"It's not right It's not History at all!" exclaimed Myra,
"Perhaps you'll say it's Geography!" snapped the Field
Mouse, who was still in a bad temper.
No, I sha'n't I "
Or Arithmetic !"
"Of course not "
Or the Use of the Globes "
"Don't be so provoking! said Myra, impatiently. "It's


nothing of the sort. What I mean is, that it's not a proper
answer at all. He ought to have said 'William hastened to
London, and was offered the crown by the chief nobility of
"And what should he say all that for if he preferred to
say something else ?" argued the Field Mouse, in his sharp,
shrill voice.
"I can't stand this any longer !" thought Myra, it's too
stupid,". And without answering- the Field Mouse, she quietly
left her place, and went after the Blackbird, who was still
balancing himself on one leg in the same position as she had last
seen him. The Toad took no notice of her departure, and the
Field Mouse only muttered something about "a good riddance
to bad rubbish !" and she was glad to escape so easily.


YRA thought the Blackbird was asleep, he had
remained so silent the whole .time; but as she
approached, he unpacked his head and his other
leg, and hopped to meet her.
I was afraid you were asleep," said Myra, in her friendliest
voice, and smiling kindly upon the dilapidated outcast.
Oh, no! I have only been thinking," the Blackbird
replied. I have been composing a pathetic little poem about
you," he added sentimentally.
Have you really?" cried Myra, feeling a good deal flattered
at this proof of his esteem. Do repeat it to me !"
Not here whispered the Blackbird, looking with a
shudder towards the noisy group Myra had just quitted. Let
us find some sweet sequestered spot where the voice of genius
will be undisturbed." So saying, he led the way to a little
clump of trees growing a -few yards off, and here they settled
Now, do begin!" said Myra, who was all impatience to
hear a piece of poetry in which she was to figure as heroine.


The Blackbird cleared his throat, and began, in his sweet
treble voice:
Myra had a little pig,
For company, you know;
But everywhere that Myra went,
That pig refused to go.
She walloped it to school one day,

I don't think that's a nice piece of poetry at all !" Myra
interrupted, feeling greatly disappointed.
Don't you like it ?" said the Blackbird, looking so crest-
fallen that Myra was quite unhappy she could not truthfully
say she did. "Well, it's not very pretty; but, never mind."
And to change the subject she began to talk of some flowers
that were growing near.
Oh, I do love the summer!" she exclaimed, as she
gathered a few of the sweet-smelling blossoms and laid them
tenderly in her lap; one can get such beautiful flowers
then. I am sure, if I could make up poetry, I should always
be writing about them."
"Winter is the most poetical time of year," observed the
Blackbird, thoughtfully.
Why is it ?" asked Myra.
"Because, after a good sharp frost, you'll find a rime on
every single leaf," he answered.
Myra knew from experience that it was no good arguing
with the creatures when they gave these puzzling sort of
answers, so she let the subject drop. I wish," she continued,
after a few minutes' silence, during which the Blackbird seemed
to be meditating sadly, you would tell me all about yourself
-why you are so sad and lonely. Haven't you any relations?"
I had a great many," he said, sighing.


"How many?" asked Myra, who always liked to know
everything very exactly.
Four-and-twenty," replied the Blackbird, beginning to cry.
"And what happened to them? pursued the little girl.
"They were ba-aked!" sobbed the bereaved Bird, quite
overcome with emotion.
Yes, in a pie," said the unhappy Poet.
Myra now felt, somehow or other, as if she had heard all
about this before, and she tried very hard to think how she
could have done so. "I know!." she exclaimed suddenly,
jumping up in exciterilent. I've read all about it in a nursery
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four-and-twenty Blackbirds
Baked in a pie!'

That's it, of course And then it goes on-

'When-when- '

Dear me, how tiresome I can't remember the rest."
There never was any rest for us!" said the Blackbird,
mournfully. The King was always having us shot, so we had
to fly about from place to place to get out of his way."
And your relations all got killed at last, I suppose ?" said
Yes; my aunts and uncles and their families went first,
and then my three brothers-but that was their own fault," he
Their own fault How was that ? "
"Well, you see it happened just this way," said the
Blackbird: My brothers were a wild, unruly set, and never
would stop at home when they were told; and one day they


went away so far they got tired, and fell asleep, and so didn't
see the King's servants coming, and then they got shot."
How silly of them to be so disobedient," said Myra, with a
very grown-up air.

^iI -

SI've written a little poem all about it," said the Blackbird,
gravely; would you care to hear it ? "
Yes, I should very much," said Myra, thinking perhaps it
might be an improvement on his last poetical production. The
Blackbird then began as follows :

The birds had learned to hop and peck,
And all were fully fledged;
Their games so rough half broke each neck
(So our Mamma alleged).
Not dutiful, nor kind, nor good,
Though loved and sheltered warm;
They each our parents' will withstood,
.And so they came to harm.

"The day wore on, and you must know,
Though told to go to rest,
They farther through the woods below
Did wander from their nest.


'Twas not allowed so far to roam,
Though they might think it fun !
They knew not, when away from home,
They might to death be done.

Poor Father! Once with pain he cried.
How could they act so wrong! '
And Mother, with a tear, replied,
Perhaps they won't be long.'
Yet even now they held their breath,
And waited in despair;
Already half they feared that death
Had torn them from their care.

"They shouted out, 'You sha'n't be rowed"
If you return to day;'
But though they called both' long and loud,
No answer came that way;
For wrapped in sleep was by this hour
Each disobedient bird,
And roosting in some distant bow'r
Our parents never heard.

"There came a burst of thunder sound-
The birds-oh where were they?
Ask of the men who stood around
And smoked their pipes of clay!
By powder, shot, and cruel gun
My brothers three did die,
And went, as many more have done,
To make a Blackbird Pie !"

Thank you very much," said Myra, when he had finished.
"I think that was very pretty. What a pity the little birds
didn't hear their parents calling, and then they wouldn't have
got shot perhaps."
The Blackbird didn't speak; he was evidently too much
occupied with his melancholy thoughts to do so.


"I-wish," said Myra, who presently began to find this
mournful silence rather oppressive, "you would let me hear
some more of your poetry; I liked the last piece so much."
This gentle flattery roused the despondent Poet a little, and
he looked up rather more cheerfully. "Well!" he said, "I think
I know of a little thing that will please you. It's rather tragic,
certainly; but, perhaps, you won't mind that ?" Myra hastened
to assure him she wouldn't, and he began to recite-

"No purr from the cat, no hum from the bee,
The mice were chilly, as I could see;
Their tails were quiv'ring with great emotion,
Though why they were, I haven't a notion."

But just at this moment such an uproar arose from the
Brewer and his companions, that both Myra and the Blackbird
ran forward to see what was the matter. The examination was
evidently over, and there was a great discussion going on as to
who was at the top of the class.
Now this was a very perplexing question to decide, because
they had all, on the whole, answered equally well, or equally
badly, whichever way you choose to put it; and as they had
been walking round the Toad in an uninterrupted circle the
whole time, it was quite impossible to say who was at the top or
who was at the bottom.
The Field Mouse claimed the place of honour, because he
didn't see why any one else should have it.
The Bat didn't much care about being first as long as he
wasn't altogether stumped, and told the Field Mouse (who was
his second cousin, by the bye) that it was "wicket to be so
bowled !"
All the other animals were indulging in free fights, which
threatened to become serious, when the Brewer (at a hint
from Myra) satisfied, all parties by declaring that "every one

was top!" whereupon great hand-shaking and congratulations
took place-and thus peace was once more restored. .The
Field Mouse, indeed, looked sulky; but as that was such a
common event, no one took any notice.
Come along said the Toad to Myra; and before she had
time to exchange a word with her friend the Blackbird, she was
borne along by the crowd behind through the five-barred gate
(which opened as easily as possible), and found herself standing
on a narrow ledge of rock overhanging a steep precipice.
"What a dreadful place!" cried Myra, shrinking back.
"Not a bit of it!" said her Guide, calmly. "It's no worse
than any other mountain-pass."
There was not much consolation to be derived from this
fact; but Myra determined to make the best of it, and kept her
eyes fixed steadily before her in case of turning giddy. When
the pathway widened a little, she ventured to turn round and
wave farewell to the disconsolate Blackbird, who was flapping
his poor, featherless wings against the once more firmly fastened


T last!"
said Myra,
as she and
the Brewer reached
the summit of
the mountain. "I
Thought we should
Never get here."
The Toad was too
sleepy to say any-
thing, and only gave
a grunt. He had
fallen to sleep twice
on the journey, and
~j it had been as much
as Myra could do to
-awaken him. The Field Mouse and Co., who were likewise
bound for the Review, and had consequently been journeying in
the same direction, had left them behind long ago.
Myra looked with wonder at the scene now spread before
her, and thought how pretty the snow-covered tableland
E 2

looked, with its countless tents, from- each of which a flag was
flying gaily in the wind. Some thousands of individuals were
hurrying hither and thither in excited haste, filling the air
with their boisterous mirth.
"Do let us go on said Myra, who was anxious to see all
that was to be seen, turning to the Brewer ; but to her infinite
disgust he was fast asleep and snoring.
"Never mind! I'll take you under my wing," said a
familiar voice at her elbow, and turning round, Myra found
herself face to face with the Bat.
"Will you, really ? she said, gratefully, but at the same
time feeling a trifle uncertain if she ought to leave the Brewer
or not.
"Yes; come along!" and the Bat hurried her off so
quickly that she had no time to choose.
Now, it was a very curious fact that, although the top of
the mountain was covered with snow, Myra didn't find it a
bit colder up there. Then, once or twice, when she tried to
make a snowball, she found she couldn't pick anything up to
make it with; now and then, too, she fancied it wasn't snow
at all, but only white paper !
-She had a great many questions to ask her new friend
about the forthcoming Review, and he explained things as they
went along. She found him much less puzzling than the
Brewer, and was quite glad he had offered to take care of her
instead. She tried to single out her schoolfellows amongst
the hundreds of Letters waiting to take part in the Review;
but as they were all dressed alike in their black uniforms, it
was almost as difficult a matter as looking for the proverbial
needle, so she gave up the attempt.
You see all those little i's and j's dotted about the place;
they are doing outpost duty," said the Bat.
"Oh, thank you! said Myra, not knowing in the least'


what "outpost duty" was, but feeling much obliged all
the same.
There was a great buzz of conversation going on as they
reached the first line of tents, and Myra could hear the
Spelling Bee's voice raised above any of the others.
"Not here yet !" he was saying fussily; "and I told her
to look sharp."
I wonder if he means me," thought Myra. "I do hope
he isn't going to be cross !"
The Bat then conducted her to where the Spelling Bee was
standing, surrounded by a number of his friends.
So here you are at last!" he said, coming forward to
meet her. You've not hurried yourself very much, I fancy."
"I couldn't get here sooner," Myra answered, rather
peevishly ; the Brewer would keep going to sleep."
"And you followed in his wake, I suppose ? The audience
"If you mean I went to sleep too," said Myra, growing a
little uncomfortable at having to speak up before so many,
"I don't mind telling you I did try to once, but--"
"But what?" asked the Spelling Bee, as Myra paused,
afraid of being led on to tell tales out of school.
"I'm not going to say!" she said, gaining courage as she
remembered that he was only an insect after all.
"This is an act of insubordination cried the Spelling
Bee, shaking with anger. Call out the troops "
"Don't do anything so foolish, I beg interposed the Bat,
with some alarm on his countenance.
"Foolish foolish! Who dares to call my actions foolish,
I should like to know ? Perhaps the gentleman will kindly
favour me with his name and address!"
Pooh, pooh! sir," retorted the Bat; one would think I had
been travelling in a first-class carriage with a third-class ticket "

Don't believe you ever did anything so respectable in
your life fumed the Spelling Bee.
How much longer this wordy war might have continued
it is hard to say, but it was fortunately ended by the appearance
of a young Sparrow, who came with breathless haste towards
the Spelling Bee.
"If you please, sir, I was to tell you that His Spoilt
Fineness the Peacock had graciously consented to keep you
only four hours waiting."
Very well returned the Spelling Bee, shortly ; you
mind your own business "
Now, as this was precisely what the unlucky aide-de-camp
was doing, this was rather hard lines.
"Yes, sir," he said submissively.
"Don't answer me!" cried the Spelling Bee, angrily.
"What a dreadful temper he has got !" whispered Myra
to the Bat, who was quite of the same opinion.
"Let's go for a walk," he said. The Review won't take
place for hours yet. They can't begin till His Spoilt Fineness
comes, you know."
Oh, dear! said Myra, "I wish it was all over, I am
so hungry."
"Are you?" said the Bat, kindly. "We might get
something in the Officers' tent; but I'm afraid you won't like
the mess they have."
"No, I'm afraid not," Myra sighed; for considering that
the Officers were composed of the Spelling Bee and various
other insects and small animals, it was hardly likely she would
find anything much to her taste. She was quite willing,
however, to go for a walk-anything to get out of the Spelling
Bee's way ; so while he was busy boxing the ears of a young
Letter who had had the audacity to grin during his
conversation with the Bat, she slipped away.


"Now, where shall we go to ?-that's the next question,"
said the Bat, looking about.
Yes, where shall we go to ?" echoed Myra, at the same
time feeling that the choice must rest entirely with her
companion, as she did not know her way about that part of
the world.
"We might go to the Crystal Palace," observed the Bat,
The Crystal Palace !-that would be delightful! "exclaimed
Myra. "But I don't think it can be anywhere near here,"
she added, doubtfully.
"Then there's the British Museum, or Madame Tussaud's,"
he went on, not heeding her.
But they are both in London !" said Myra. We couldn't
possibly walk there and back in four hours; and, of course,
there are no trains here."
"No, I knew before I mentioned it, we couldn't possibly
go," answered the Bat, regretfully.
Then it wasn't much use saying anything about it at all !"
Myra returned, a little sharply.
"I was only talking about what we might have done if we
had had the time !" said the Bat, somewhat stiffly.
"I'm afraid even then," said Myra, quickly regaining her
good humour, "I should have found it much too long a walk
for me."
"It's not nearly so far away as the Moon !" said the Bat, as
if he expected to be contradicted.
"The Moon! I should think not," cried Myra, laughing;
" but then that's a very, very long way off."
Not nearly so far as the Sun !" retorted the Bat.
Myra didn't quite see what this astronomical fact had to do
with the matter, but she saw the Bat was just a wee bit inclined
to be huffy, so she said no more ; and, after all, his speech was


not much more unreasonable than speeches often made by" very
superior beings in a very superior state of life to his.
"Well, I think the best thing we can do under the
circumstances," remarked the Bat, after considering a moment,
" will be to walk as faras we can, and then come back the same
way we didn't go."
I don't quite see how we can do that !" said Myra,. very
"There are ever so many ways of doing it," returned the
Bat. "For instance, you might go with your eyes open, and
come home by the same road with them shut; or you might
hop there, and turn head over heels all the way back."
"I don't think I should care much about that!" said Myra,
trying to look grave. "Couldn't we walk both ways ?-and-oh,
dear do let us go at once!" she cried, as she saw the Spelling
Bee making towards them.
How can we walk both ways at once?" demanded the Bat,
somewhat crossly.
"Oh, never mind!" she called out, commencing to run.
She dodged about between the tents till she was quite out of the
crabbed old Spelling Bee's sight, and then she waited to see if the
Bat were going to join her. But he had either fallen into the
clutches of the Spelling Bee, or had forgotten all about her, 'for
though Myra waited patiently for some time, he did not appear.
"Not that it much matters," she thought, "for I don't believe
we should have gone anywhere if I had stopped for him."
She sat down for a few minutes' rest, and leant her back
against one of the tents. Presently she could hear snatches of a
conversation going on inside. "I hope they are not going to
talk secrets!" she thought, "because I'm afraid to move just
yet, in case that cross old Bee may be looking for me." But
after a bit the voices became so loud, that Myra was quite
certain they were not talking secrets; "for, you see," she


argued to herself, "if they wanted to do that, they would be
sure to speak in whispers; and now anybody just passing
could hear what they are saying quite easily."
Having thus quieted her conscience, she remained where she
was, in peace.
Myra could not understand all they were talking about, but
she gathered enough to know that the inniates of the tent were
two of the Surgeons attached to the Spelling Bee's little army of
Letters. They
were holding a
Friendly consult-
ation about the
manner in
which the Am-
bulance work
was carried out
in the corps-
they wanted
more of the
Letters to be-
come Ambu-
4.1 lance pupils,
-lc they said; it
was so highly necessary during their sham fights to have
some one present who thoroughly understood what to do when
there was nothing the matter with anybody. It would
certainly take an immense amount of responsibility from off our
shoulders," observed the elder of the two Doctors; at least,
*Myra fancied he must be the elder, because he had such a gruff,
bass voice, while the other one spoke in rather a squeaky
"I can't help thinking," said the squeaky6'dne, "that the
whole system would work much better if the Volunteers really


got killed and wounded in these sham fights; it would be
much better practice for us, you see."
"Quite right, quite right, my dear sir," returned the other.
"What a scientific idea It's open to only one objection that I
can see."
"And what is that?"
The killed and wounded might object, you know."
"True," returned his friend, thoughtfully. I daresay there
would be a little difficulty just at first-people are so pre-
judiced, you know; but they'd very soon get used to it-
habit's everything."
What savage wretches! exclaimed Myra, indignantly.
She spoke so loudly that the Doctors (who were two Blue-
bottles-one very short and stout, the other tall and lanky)
came out to inquire what was the matter. Not seeing any one
at first, they were just going back again, when they caught sight
of the little girl seated outside their tent. They stopped and
bowed gravely to her.
And how are we to-day ?" said the stout one with the
bass voice.
I'm quite well, thank you," said Myra, rather shyly.
She's quite well !" repeated the Bluebottle, nodding his
head with a knowing look, as much as to say, "We know better
than that, don't we?"
Allow me to feel your pulse, my dear," squeaked the lanky
Bluebottle, taking out his watch. "Humph! ha! there's a
great want of tone," he said presently, looking very grave
"Altogether below par, in fact, eh ? said his stout friend.
Then turning to Myra, who was beginning to feel decidedly
nervous-" And how's the appetite ? Just tell me, now, what
you've eaten to-day," he added, in a very confidential tone.
Now here was a sensible question at last I because she was


really very hungry ; she felt more hungry than ever too, now
the Bluebottle reminded her of it. She was so dreadfully sorry
for herself that she almost began to cry.
"I've had nothing at all!" she said, miserably-"at
least," remembering the Humble Pie, nothing to speak of."
"Come, come, this will never do returned the old Blue-
bottle, briskly. Great loss of appetite, you see; just as I
thought," he remarked to his medical friend.
"I don't think I've lost it ; in fact, I'm sure I've not," said
Myra, timidly.
"Indeed Humph And what makes you think that ?"
Because I'm hungry now ; only I can't get anything to eat
here," she answered.
The Bluebottle, muttering something about very bad
symptom that led the other Doctor a little apart, and after
solemnly conferring together for some time, during which they
made a great many notes in their pocket-books, they both
returned to Myra.
"You are quite sure you can't get anything to eat here ?"
asked the younger Bluebottle, feeling her pulse again.
Yes, quite sure," repeated Myra, beginning to feel a little
impatient at so many questions ; and even if I could, I've got
no money to buy it with now."
"Ah Then, in that case, we think the best thing we can
advise you to do will be to take plenty of good beef-tea, port
wine, jelly, roast beef, plum-pudding; in fact, anything you
may fancy."
"And go to the seaside afterwards for change of air," put in
the old Bluebottle, patting her on the head. Soon get your
appetite back again there, my dear."
What a stupid old thing he is !" thought Myra, now
thoroughly out of temper. "I've got a very good appetite
indeed she cried, starting to her feet.


Come, 'that's an improvement at any rate! "' he replied,
looking much pleased. If you still continue to follow out the
treatment we have prescribed, you will be quite well in time."
I am quite well now retorted Myra, beginning to move
I'm very glad to hear it-very glad; but don't be afraid-
don't be afraid, we shall call and see you every day till you are
ill again. Good morning Good morning! and bowing once
again, the two Bluebottles re-entered their tent.


HE four hours of waiting were nearly over, and the
Spelling Bee was bustling about in great excitement,
making the Letters do one thing one minute, and
punishing them for doing it the next; giving all sorts of
impossible orders to his inferior Officers, till they were tired
out, and making himself so tyrannical that he was quite
unbearable. He was giving a few final instructions to the
queer-looking troops before him, preparatory to the Peacock's
arrival, when Myra, in company with the Bat (whom she had
met soon after her conversation with the Bluebottle Doctors),
drew near to listen.
Now, look here !" he was saying, in very emphatic terms,
" directly His Spoilt Fineness comes up close to you, I shall call
out, 'Present arms Fire '-so mind--"
No, no! objected Myra, who felt sure this could not be
quite right; "I am certain something else must come before
Of course!" snapped the Spelling Bee, angry at this
interference. His Spoilt Fineness must get out of the way
first-every drummer boy knows that!"
Myra felt decidedly snubbed, and when the Bat whispered
that he knew of a much better place, where they could see and
hear everything, she was quite willing to accompany him.


"You see that tree over there," he said, pointing to where
the ivy-grown trunk of an old oak was standing ; "let's get on
to one of the branches and we shall be quite comfortable."
Myra thought this a very good idea, as it really was not
safe to remain so close to the Letters after the Spelling Bee's
absurd commands just now.
"I don't think it is a bit amusing said Myra, as soon as
they were settled in their new quarters ; "there are no bands
playing or anything."
It's just as well there are not," returned the Bat, gravely;
" last year they played so frightfully out of tune that His Spoilt
Fineness the Peacock sent them all over to Germany as a
present to the Emperor, thinking perhaps he might like to have
"Whatever did he do that for ? asked Myra.
"Oh, only out of compliment for the few that come over
here occasionally."
"Well, anyhow, I wish they would be quick and, do some-
thing," said Myra, impatiently; it's getting awfully slow."
She found waiting such weary work, apparently, that without
intending to, she dropped off into a snooze. She could not have
been asleep more than-a minute or two, and yet, when she
opened her eyes, the Spelling Bee, and every one except the Bat,
who was still sitting beside her, had vanished as if by magic.
"Well, that's very funny, certainly said Myra, turning to
her companion for an explanation. "Wherever have they all
gone to ? "
Why, there, to be sure!" he answered, pointing over his
shoulder with his thumb, but without turning his head. Myra
looked round. True enough, there they all were, some three
hundred yards or so away.
"However did they get there ?" she said, looking greatly


"It's not a question of how they got there, but how we are
to get there," said the Bat, getting off the tree as he spoke.
"We must walk, I suppose," Myra replied, following his
"Agreed!" said the Bat, after thoughtfully pausing a
moment. It was, on the whole, a sensible arrangement,
considering there was no other possible mode of conveyance.
"I'm afraid we're rather late!" puffed the Bat, as they
hurried on towards the scene of action. "His Spoilt Fineness is
already there, I see." As they drew near, Myra noticed a

strange,-yet familiarly nasty, smell of paint, which somehow
carried her back to the days of her nursery toys, and it was
accounted for presently by the fact that the mounted Officers
were all riding on those very original little wooden animals
peculiar to a Noah's Ark. They evidently belonged to a superior
sort of Noah's Ark too, for a thoughtful observer (not necessarily
a member of the Royal Zoological Society) might have been
able to distinguish a kangaroo from a hippopotamus. The


noble Chargers were rather stiff about the legs, certainly,.as if
their joints wanted oiling; but, on the whole, they managed to
get about quite fast enough for the peace and safety of their
respective owners, who didn't look altogether as if they were
having a very good time of it. The Giraffes appeared to be
particularly difficult to sit gracefully, as there seemed a general
tendency on the part of their riders to slide off backwards,
which somewhat marred the dignity of the occasion, and which
called forth a considerable amount of wit from the bystanders.
Then some of the animals were much too small for the Officers,
and some of the Officers were much too small for the animals,
as was the Spelling Bee, for instance, who was camping out, so
to speak, on the broad, flat back of a large party-coloured
Myra, not being very well up in military matters, couldn't
understand what the Officers were all shouting about. All she
could make out was, that somebody was always calling out
something,-after which somebody else called out the same
thing, with a syllable or two knocked off-then somebody
else made the same remark without any syllables at all, and then,
and not till then, the troops seemed to understand what they
were expected to do. However, they were all drawn up ready
for inspection at last; after which ceremony His Spoilt Fineness
was (according to previous arrangement evidently) to address a
few words to Officers and Men. Myra pressed eagerly forward
to hear his speech. She waited some time in vain, for the
distinguished visitor appeared much perturbed about something,
and a good deal of whispering went on between him and the
Spelling Bee. "The fact is," Myra overheard him saying in a
low tone, I've quite forgotten what-" The last part of the
sentence escaped her ear ; but after a short time, during which
the Spelling Bee was evidently coaching the Peacock, His Spoilt
Fineness straightened himself, and gave a preparatory cough.


"Er-Mr. Chairman and-er-Gentlemen !- began the
Peacock, who was apparently rather absent-minded, and whose
thoughts were running on some other speech he had to deliver
in the course of the day.
"Ahem from the Spelling Bee.
That is-" quickly remembering himself, er-I mean-
Soldiers of England, the-er-eyes of-of Europe are upon
The eyes, of Europe are upon you repeated the Spelling
Bee, looking severely at an unhappy young Adjutant, the
unlucky possessor of the very tallest Giraffe on the field. He
had climbed up as high as he could on to the animal's neck,
and had held on tight by its ears, till his gallant Steed, in a little
fit of antediluvian temper, shook himself very violently free,
and his crest-fallen rider glided swiftly and ignominiously down
to the ground.
"If you can't ride better than that, sir," growled the Spelling
Bee, yol had better, stop at home till you can !" This
little diversion, however, gave H.S.F. time to collect his
thoughts. And-er-England expects every man will do
his duty," he concluded, with another burst of originality.
More shouting, more hurrying about, more Officers
tumbling off their Horses, and then the real business of the
day began. There was to be a march past first, the Bat told
Myra, instead of at the close of the day's proceedings, as the
Spelling Bee had just given orders that a real battle was to
take place instead of the sham fight, as was expected. Myra
thought this very dreadful, and made up her mind to go away
directly the fighting commenced; but in this she reckoned
without-her host, as the sequel will prove.
The Letters (who all appeared to belong to one large corps)
then marched past in companies. First came the "A" company,
with the Spelling Bee at its head, who, as soon as he had

saluted, moved out and placed himself beside His Spoilt
Fineness; a very simple matter to do, I dare say you may
think, but it is anything but easy, I can assure you,. to a
soldier-with the eyes of Europe upon him, that is to say.
Oh, dear, no quite the contrary For instance, the Spelling
Bee had almost arrived at the Peacock's side, when his piebald

Charger reared up on his hind legs in a most alarming manner,
and then plunged backwards and forwards for the space of a
few minutes; then they danced through a whole set of
quadrilles, after which they performed a few autumn
manoeuvres, and finally came to a standstill. This was highly
effective, of course, but it took time, and Myra noticed that
seven different companies had already gone by before the
Spelling Bee was settled. The next body of Letters excited


considerable interest., On they came slowly, very slowly,
some on crutches, some with their arms in slings, others
with their heads all bandaged up, some even carried on
stretchers. A few there were who appeared to be quite whole,
and these helped their less fortunate companions along. The
Bluebottles marched gravely in the rear. The "I" company
'came next, of course. "And a pretty conceited lot they are,"
muttered the Bat as they went past.
Are they ?" said Myra.
"Why," he returned, "just look at the way they are
always talking about themselves-' I did this,' I did that,'
' I went here,'' I went there;' Then they always think they
know better than any one else-' I say so,' forsooth And if,
by chance, they do happen to get the best of an argument, you
never hear the end of There, now, I told you so !' Bah It's
sometimes enough to make one hate the very sight of them !"
Myra looked very thoughtful for a few minutes after this,
but made no remark, and remained with her eyes cast down till
the Spelling Bee startled her by calling out Halt !" just as the
" O" company was going by. One of the Officers, at a sign
from him, then roared out, Right-about-face! "
"Right about face, do you hear!" said the Spelling Bee,
prodding one of the O's (who had landed with his back to the
spectators) with the point of his sword, and as he turned
quickly round with a little shriek, Myra recognized her late
adversary of the jam tart episode.
"There's something not 'right about your face,'" said the
Spelling Bee, sternly regarding him. You thought I shouldn't
notice it, I'll be bound. What have you been doing ?-
fighting, eh ?"
No, sir," replied the fat Letter, doggedly.
"You must have been, or you couldn't have got into that
state !" declared the Spelling Bee, warmly.
F 3


"I haven't, then retorted 0, sullenly. "I got my face
jammed by accident."
What sort of accident ?"
"A-a railway accident," he answered, without thinking,
as he suddenly caught sight of Myra gazing at him with a
serve-you-right-to-be-caught sort of an air. But the Spelling
Bee said he didn't believe a word of it, and sent for the two
Surgeons to give their opinion on the matter; and Myra's old
friends, the Bluebottles, were promptly in attendance on the
culprit. First they thumped him on the chest, and listened to
that; then they thumped him on the back, and listened to that;
then they poked him in the ribs, and listened to them; then
they worked his arms and legs about, just to find if he had any
broken bones; then they fired off pistols round his head, to see if
his nerves were shaken, and then-they left him alone.
"Well, gentlemen," said the Spelling Bee, after the Doctors
had conferred together a short time, "are you of opinion that
Private O has met with a railway accident, thereby causing the
disfigurement to his face ? "
The Bluebottles replied that, after a very careful examina-
tion of Private O, they had come to the unanimous opinion that
he was not suffering 'from the effects of a railway accident, that
he was not suffering from the effects of any accident at all, and
that be was in perfect health at the present time, but that under
the very suspicious circumstances, it would be more satisfactory
to all parties to hold a post-mortem examination at their earliest
convenience. Here Myra's whilom foe began to whimper,
and rammed his knuckles so fiercely into his eyes that they
quite disappeared for a few minutes. (N.B.-His eyes, not his
knuckles.) "It's-it's jam !" he blurted forth, driven to con-
fession by terror, and endeavouring to wipe off the sticky
remains of his late meal with the sleeve of his coat.
"yam!" exclaimed the Spelling Bee, in whose martial


breast the slumbering schoolmaster was once more awakened.
"What jam ? Where did you get it?"
The fat Letter only redoubled his sobs, and answered
"Ha!" cried the Spelling Bee, coming a step closer to his
terrified pupil, "Black currant jam, as I live.! You never- "
Here he dropped his voice into such a sepulchral tone, and
looked so awful, that Myra felt herself grow quite pale from
sympathy. "You never mean to tell me you have eaten my
most magnificent three-cornered jam tart?"
Mean to tell him, indeed !
SBut O couldn't deny it, with Myra standing by; besides, he
was afraid perhaps the Spelling Bee might take the Bluebottles'
advice if he did. Mercy !" he cried, dropping down on to his
knees, and howling dismally.
Stop that horrible noise at once, and get up, do!" said the
Spelling Bee, impatiently; but O was too overcome with fright to
move, and so the Bluebottles, who were standing on either side of
him, each caught hold of an arm and dragged him on to his feet.
"Jam, of course!" remarked the Surgeons, scrutinising the
fat Letter's woe-begone face, whilst a shade of disappointment
crept over their own countenances.
"Then, why the dickens didn't you find that out before?"
broke in the Spelling Bee, rudely.
"Sir," retorted the old Bluebottle, with much dignity, our
duty was to search for the effects of an accident, not to detect
the presence of black currant jam !"
The Spelling Bee looked several remarks, but said nothing;
then, after a pause, turning to his pupil with a frown, "You will
undergo very severe corporal punishment, I can tell you, you
young rascal."
"But I'm not a Corporal, I'm only a Private!" pleaded O,
quaking in his shoes.

"Then you shall receive your stripes as soon as possible!"
replied the Spelling Bee, grinning sardonically; and suiting the
action to the word, he brought down the flat of his sword with
such sounding thwacks on the offender's shoulders, that he
fairly yelled with fright and pain. Myra gave a great gasp, and
hid her eyes when she saw the Spelling Bee's sword uplifted,
for she fully expected her late antagonist was going to be
beheaded on the spot. Oh, how thankful she was now for the
selfishness that had deprived her of that once coveted atom of
pastry! Still, she had a guilty sort of sensation all the same,
for she knew that she would have eaten it if she had only had
the chance: it was, therefore, with a feeling of intense relief
that she heard the order given to march, and saw her fat
schoolfellow hurrying away to join his company.
Myra, however, still felt rather uncomfortable about it all,
thinking perhaps she ought to have taken some share of the
blame, and she scarcely noticed the rest of the Letters as they
went by. It was the Bat at last who recalled her wandering
attention, by remarking quite excitedly, just as the last
company but one was passing, "There, now, those are'the
cleverest fellows in the whole corps "
"Indeed said Myra, rather absently. "How is that ? "
Because they are ally's, to be sure he answered, looking
as if he thought his companion a trifle dull.
Well, it was over at last, and His Spoilt Fineness, who said
he had a pressing engagement, hurried away, and Myra
thought she, too, would make good her escape before the battle
commenced; but as I said some time ago, in this she reckoned
without her host, for the Spelling Bee, who had dismounted,
now came up and ordered her to follow him.
Oh, but I really can't! said Myra, shrinking back, and
looking at the Bat for support; but he appeared unusually
blind just then, and took no notice.


"Fiddlededee!" the Spelling Bee returned, crossly. "Of
course you must come; you've got to fight."
"To fight! exclaimed Myra, her face growing very white,
while her legs trembled so she could scarcely stand.
Why, what else do you suppose you have come here for ? "
he cried, hotly. Not want to fight, indeed, when the whole
affair has been purposely arranged for your benefit."
"For my benefit!" Myra faltered, looking incredulously
at him.
"To be sure, who else will profit by it, I should like to
know ?"
Oh, then, please give up the idea altogether if it is only
for my sake!" she implored, feeling that there must be a
loophole of escape if such were the case, though, of course, she
couldn't understand it at all. But the Spelling Bee's only
answer was to thrust a sword into her hands, and then he
turned away.
Wonder of wonders No sooner had her hands closed
half unconsciously on it, than her fears entirely vanished, her
courage rose higher and higher, the blood mantled brightly
in her cheeks again, her eyes sparkled with excitement, and she
felt altogether a different being. All memory of her strange
schoolfellows faded from her mind; she quite forgot it was
against them she was to do battle; all she felt was that there
were foes at hand to kill, and she would be fighting in a noble
cause. Strains of martial music now seemed to fill the air, and
grasping her sword tightly in her hand, she rushed breathless
to the fray, determined to conquer or to die.

Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp, over the crisp and sparkling
snow came the advancing foe, nearer and nearer; and she,
whom the touch of a magic sword had transformed from a
timid, shrinking child into a bold and fearless warrior, stood

awaiting their approach with 'kindling eye and dauntless mien,
unmindful alike that she was left to face the enemy alone, and
that her solitary figure stood outlined against the sky, a
target for a thousand eyes to see. Myra, as yet, knew not
whom her foes might. be. She had heard an order given to
"Form-Words!" but the sound had fallen unheeded on her
ears, and she had not guessed its meaning. But now the
heavy columns sweep on, four or more Syllables abreast.
Surely she will understand at last! Yes, yes, she sees, she
knows them now! With flaming cheeks and flashing eyes
she recognized the Words, the cruel Words, that a day or two
before had sent her supperless to bed, and that only that
very afternoon (ah, it seemed such a short time ago now!)' had
caused her tears to flow, and would most likely bring dire
disgrace upon the morrow. How little she had thought, as
she stood beside the Bat, watching the Spelling Bee's army
of Letters, that they were the enemies who had so long banded
themselves together against her. But their individuality was
gone now they had developed once more into Words.
Myi'a waved her sword on high, and bounded across the
plain. Up, Guards, and at them she cried, leading herself
on to action with the -bravery and daring of twenty Iron
Dukes." Her onslaught was so fierce and unexpected that
the enemy's ranks were scattered in great confusion. They
soon rallied, however, and Myra's position would have been
one of great danger had it not been for a most fortunate law
in this extraordinary warfare. She quickly discovered, to her
immense relief, that she never had to tackle more than one
Word at once, the others standing quietly by until their turn
came to be attacked. Long and fierce were the encounters
Myra endured; but the magic sword did its work right well.
Syllable by Syllable the foes had been defeated-but not all.
One Word, alas remained, the arch-enemy of all I


Myra paused, nearly overcome with fatigue and loss of
blood, for her wounds were many and deep. Should she give
up now, the battle was so nearly won ? One final effort she
would make, and summoning all the strength she could, she
staggered forward, murmuring, "Victory or death! Victory
or death! "
Ipecacuanha laughed loud and scornfully as he watched
our heroine's faltering steps, and marked her pallid cheeks
and nerveless hands. Well he knew his power and the struggle
she would have to master him as she had done his fallen
"I will conquer you!" she cried, as with the courage of
despair she drew her sword once more. But she was faint and
giddy, and the strife was thus a most unequal one. Again and
again she fell.
Yield thee, presumptuous infant! exclaimed the haughty
Word, angry at her pertinacity.
Never !" Myra answered back, hurling a look of defiance
at him as she spoke, which so enraged him, that he rushed
savagely upon his opponent, thinking to put an end to her at
once. An end indeed it would have been to poor Myra had
not Ipecacuanha stumbled and fell at the most critical moment,
thus turning the tables completely.
Myra quickly seized her advantage; it was no time for
giving quarter now.. Hope lent her renewed strength, and
with a few strokes of her trusty sword she so completely over-
came her enemy's many Syllables that he was forced to own her
Victory! victory I The battle was won at last. Once more
the air was filled with the sound of many voices ; once more
the Spelling Bee and countless little animals and insects
thronged the frozen plain, now strewn with the dead and
wounded Words. Myra tried to move away from the awful


scene, but she had scarcely gone two steps when she sank
exhausted to the ground. She felt a dreadful sinking sensation,

as if the earth were giving way under her. "Oh, dear I I must
be fainting she thought; which very likely she might have
been, because gradually everything became a blank. The last
thing she was conscious of was being in the presence of the two
Bluebottles, who were perseveringly offering her bread pills,
accompanied by learned advice.
Bump !
No sal-volatile or smelling-salts ever proved half such an
effectual and speedy restorative as that bump. Myra opened
her eyes in double-quick time. Where am I ? she'said.
Ladies who have fainted-in three-volume novels especially-
invariably ask, when they come to," and their glance wanders
over the well-known objects around them, "Where am I?" as
if they had expected to find themselves in Timbuktu or on the


top of the Rigi. So Myra did the correct thing when she made
the same remark; not of course that she was the heroine of a
three-volume novel, but she was so continually in Miss
Deborah's black books that she could lay claim to literary
distinction of some sort as well. "Where am I?" repeated
Myra, jumping to her feet, apparently none the worse for the
shaking she had received. But she had good cause to look
bewildered, for the whole scene had completely changed:
Mountain, Spelling Bee, Bluebottles, Letters-all had disap-
peared, and she was alone in the school-garden again.
"However did I get back here ? she exclaimed, half laugh-
ing, half crying, so great was her amazement at this extra-
ordinary occurrence. "And what is this little mound of earth
I was sitting on just now, I wonder? Why it is a mole-hill, to
be sure! and there's my Butter's Spelling lying open on the
top. It reminds one of-but no, I'm stupid. What's the
good of comparing things like that ? as if a great mountain,
with a great flat top all covered with snow, could be anything
like that."
Myra's wounds seemed quite healed; indeed she quite forgot
she had been fighting; she only felt a little tired and headachy,
as if she had been studying a good deal harder than usual.
" Well, it's all very strange, anyhow. I must ask the Spell-
Oh, dear!" exclaimed Myra, nervously, "whatever is the
matter now It feels so queer, just as if the earth were jumping
up and down. Why, I'm on board a ship, I do declare yes,
of course I am ; and it's so rough. I do wish I wasn't on board
a ship," almost crying ; it's very nasty, the wind is howling
most horribly, and the waves look quite dreadful. I suppose I
must be going to Boulogne again; but I don't want to a bit-
at least, not now. Perhaps if I shut my eyes very tight, and
put my fingers into my ears, it won't be quite so bad."


What were the wild waves saying to Myra ? They were saying
"Wake up, you naughty dhild What do you mean by going to
sleep instead of learning your lessons? Wake up, Isay, at once!"
But you see she had stopped up her ears and couldn't hear
them! Then the ship shook so violently that her hands
dropped into her lap and her eyes opened wide with fear.
Miss Deborah! "
The ship had gone, the wind and waves had disappeared;
but Myra, waking up from her long sleep in the old swing, knew
that she would have to encounter another storm before she was
safe in port! for there was Miss Deborah standing over her
with ruffled brow and disturbed serenity-to put it mildly.
"You are a very naughty little girl!" she cried, in a
nutmeg-graterish sort of voice, giving another mighty shaking
to the swing, which had the effect of depositing its sleepy little
occupant on to the soft grass beneath. Myra felt so bewildered
by her strange dream and the sudden appearance of Miss
Deborah upon the scene, that she sat blinking in silence till
aroused into activity by a gently administered hint from the
toe of Miss Deborah's glace kid boot.
Going to sleep again, I do believe Get up at once, child,
and follow me."
Myra mechanically obeyed, her thoughts running the whole
time on all the strange things that had been happening to her,
for she could not believe just yet that it was only a dream. Oh,
I wish I had remembered it before she said, stopping short.
"Remembered what ? asked Miss Deborah sharply.
Only that little Rhyme about the four-and-twenty black-
birds. I know how it goes now-
'When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Was not that a dainty dish
To set before the King?'


So they couldn't have been dead after all. I wish I'd told the
Miss Deborah only stared at this, and marched on in silence
till they reached the house; then she called out to one of the
servants, who happened to be crossing the hall at .
the time : "Jane, go to the chemist's at once, and'
bring back a blue pill and black draught-and-
Stay a minute, Jane. Miss Myra will not take any
pudding for the next fortnight, unless it happens
to be plain boiled rice. Now, come into the
schoolroom, and let me hear your spelling if you
please !"
This was of course addressed to
poor Myra, who had turned pale at
Miss Deborah's order to Jane. She
did what she was told, however,
looking longingly in at the dining-
room as she passed, and saw all her '
schoolfellows at tea-for her hunger was not "all a dream."
"Now, look here! said Miss Deborah, making Myra stand
before her while she opened the Spelling Book she had brought
in from the garden; if you don't know how to spell all these
words quite correctly, you will be severely punished-severely
punished, do you understand ?"
Myra replied that she did understand; in fact, she thought it
very difficult not to understand.
How do you spell- ?" and Miss Deborah went through
the whole list of words in turn; and Myra, greatly to her own
surprise and intense relief, knew them all without a single
So, you see, thanks to the Spelling Bee, she didn't get a
wigging after all!




-I i


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