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JACK FROST'S LITTLE PRISONERS.
Littclt rit ontct.
A COLLECTION OF STORIES FOR CHILDREN FROM
FOUR TO TWELVE YEARS OF AGE.
STELLA AUSTIN. MRS. MASSEY.
S. BARING-GOULD. MRS. MOLESI NORTH.
CAROLINE BIRLEY. MRS. RICHIIMOND RITCHIE.
LORD BRA BOURNE. ETHEL M. WILMOT-BUXTON.
(E. /. Knalchbull-Hugessen.}
CHARLOTTE M. YONGE.
SKEFFINGTON & SON, 163, PICCADILLY, W.
MASTER JACK FROST, though he can make the country and even
the town look pretty enough for a time, sometimes takes it into
his head to be both tyrannous and masterful. At such seasons he
blows, snows, and freezes so hard as to make the roads and streets
and gardens impassable, and thus he shuts up a great many boys
and girls, and keeps them fast prisoners.
And, perhaps, under these trying circumstances, it is a little hard
for these boys and girls to be quite as good as usual, or to find in
their in-door amusements sufficient attraction to compensate for
the closeness of their captivity.
So this little volume of tales has been written and published in
the hope that it may help to turn the winter of their discontent
into a season of brightness and enjoyment.
TITLE. AUTHOR'S NAME. PAGE
ELLA'S FAULT ... ... Lord Brabourne ... I
(E. H. Knatclhbll-Hugessen.}
LITTLE ESM'S ADVENTURE IN
THE STRANGE HOUSE ... Alrs. Richimond Ritchie... 19
THE SCHNABELWEID PLOT, OR,
THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING ... S. Baring- Gould ... 42
How WE CAUGHT THE ROBBER,
OR, OUR CHRISTMAS AT IVY
COURT ... ... ... Ethel M. Wilmot-Buxton 58
LOST, STOLEN, OR STRAYED ... Mrs. Molesworth ... 68
NURSE'S POCKET ... ... Charlotte Af. Yonge ... 88
A COWARD HEART ... ... Mrs. Alassey ... ... 95
A CHRISTMAS WHEATSHEAF ... Caroline Birley ... 114
THE CATS' TREE ... ... S. Baring- Gould ... 133
PHILIPPINE... ... ... Stella Austin... ... 145
BY LORD BRABOURNE,
(E. H. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN,)
AUTHOR OF "STORIES FOR MY CHILDREN," CRACKERS FOR CHRISTMAS,"
MOONSHINE," &C., &C.
T was a real winter's day ; the clouds hung
heavily across the skies, as if the sun had gone
to bed and drawn the curtains between him and
the earth. Of course there was very little light when the
sun chose to do that, for, as it was day-time, the moon was
not ready to do her part in lighting the world, though no
doubt she would do it as well as ever when her regular time
came. From the clouds, as they thus brooded over the
earth, thick flakes of snow were falling, heavily and
steadily, as if they had got a task to get through which
they could only perform by going right at it and keeping
on. So they covered up the ground, blotted out the paths
in the garden till you could not tell that there were any
2 (Ila'd fault.
paths at all, and loaded all the trees until there was not a
bit of green to be seen anywhere.
Mary and Ella looked out of the window and watched
the snow whilst it shut out, little by little, all the green
things, and the world was quite covered up with one great
white sheet. Still the snow kept falling, and as the
children saw that they could not go out in such weather,
they settled themselves quietly down to play with their
dolls, and were as happy as little girls always are when
their dolls are waxen and well-behaved, and allow them-
selves to be carried about, and dressed and undressed
without screaming or crying, like common bran dolls, or
those wooden creatures which are often so rough and
These children's dolls were both good and pretty, and
therefore they played with them very happily, and did not
think of looking out of the window for some time. So
they did not see that it had left off snowing, the clouds
had lifted and broken away, and the sun seemed to have
wakened up and resolved that he would shine down again
upon the world. It was a white world, indeed, upon which
he shone, but his bright rays cheered it up at once, and I
daresay a good many people were very glad to see them
again after the dark and gloomy morning.
But Mary and Ella were too busy with their dolls to
notice what had happened, and sat playing very quietly,
Le[ia'a fault. 3
until all of a sudden the door burst open, and in rushed
their three brothers, Lionel, William, and Harry. '' Come
along, girls," shouted Lionel, "it has left off snowing, and
mama says we may go out-let us come and make a snow
Nothing could have pleased the little girls better than
this proposal, so they jumped up directly, and ran to call
Anne, the nursery-maid, to get their things and make
them ready to go out. This did not take them very long,
for Anne was just coming to tell them that it was too fine
to stay indoors all day, and she very soon put on their
things, and downstairs they went. Their brothers were
already on the lawn, amusing themselves in the snow, and
as soon as the little girls came down, they all set them-
selves to work to collect it together, and build such a snow
man as had never been built before.
They scraped the snow into heaps with little wooden
spades which they had bought in the summer to dig sand
on the sea shore, when they had been taken there for
change of air. When they came home again, they were
afraid the spades would never be of any more use, but now
they came in very handy, and were just the things they
So little by little they built up their snow man, and
Lionel, being the eldest, took charge of making the head,
which he managed very well. For what do you think he
4 elia's fault.
did ? It would never have done to make a mere snow
head for such a famous man as they were building up, so
he went across to the gardener's lodge, where he had seen
a heap of turnips, and picked out the biggest turnip he
could find, of which to make the head. He cut off the
green top, scooped out two holes for the eyes, and another
for the mouth ; and then by way of making a good nose,
what did he do but make rather a deeper hole between
the eyes and mouth, and stick in it a great carrot, which
made a famous long nose, and looked very funny into the
So the five children built up their snow man till he was
really finished, and to make him still smarter, they shook
the snow off one of the laurels, and made a kind of crown
of laurel leaves, which they put on his head by way of a
hat. What gave them most trouble was the making of
his arms, for they could not manage for some time to fix
them on, until at last Lionel got two branches of laurel
and stuck them into his body, and then the children
squeezed snow tight round the branches as well as they
could, and succeeded in making them look like snow arms
When the man was quite finished, they were very proud
of him, for he was really a fine figure, and they had made
'him very quickly, too. They stood looking at their work
for a few moments with great delight, and presently little
QIla'd J'ault. 5
Harry remarked, with a grave air, I don't think it's quite
tall enough for a man."
Well," said Lionel, you can call it a woman if you
like: it will do just as well, and if we only had some smart
things to put on it, I think it would be a very fine woman."
Little did Lionel think of the events which his words
were fated to bring about, and indeed he had not much
time to think at all, for at that moment the luncheon bell
rang, and the children knew that their dinner would be
ready, and all hurried in-doors as fast as they could.
They rushed up to the nursery, and in a very few
minutes were downstairs again, where they found their
mother and their elder sister Madeline waiting for them.
The children always had their dinner at the family
luncheon, and a pleasant meal it was. On this particular
day their father did not happen to be at home, but the
cold air had given them all a good appetite, and although
they missed his pleasant voice and cheerful talk, they
managed to make a hearty repast, and then went upstairs
to the school-room.
It was a half-holiday that day, so there were no lessons
to do, and in fact Miss Dumbleton, the governess, had
gone out, so that the little ones could do pretty much
what they liked. Now little Ella had heard Lionel's words
about putting smart things on the snow man (or snow
woman, as he had said they could call it), and it had been
6 0EIa'd dault.
running in her head ever since that it would be very nice
if they could really do so, and dress the figure up so as
to be fine and beautiful to see. But the question in the
little girl's mind was where any smart things were to be
found, and this puzzled her so much that she was very
nearly giving it up in despair. She was going from the
school-room to the nursery, to fetch one of her dolls, when,
all of a sudden, she saw something which caused her to
stop. The door of Madeline's room was open, and upon
the bed were laid her things to dress; for that same
evening there was a party to be given by one of the neigh-
bours, to which Madeline had been invited, with a good
many other young people, who were going to enjoy the
Christmas fun of acting charades, and most likely a little
dance at the end of the acting.
Somehow or other, the maid had put out the young
lady's things early that afternoon, and upon the bed, in
full sight of little Ella's eyes as she stood near the half-
open door, there lay a crimson sash and bows, and a
wreath of artificial roses to match, which were intended
to adorn Miss Madeline at the evening gaieties. The
thought, however, which arose in Ella's mind had, I am
sorry to say, nothing to do with her sister, or her amuse-
ment. The one idea which entirely occupied her was that
these were the very things wanted to make the snow
woman as fine and smart as could possibly be wished.
?IIa'g fault. 7
For one moment she hesitated, for 'Ella was old enough
to know that she had no right to take her sister's things;
but it was only for one moment. Alas! the temptation
was too strong; the little girl pushed the door farther
open, peeped in, and saw there was nobody there, then
she crept gently into the room, and in another moment
had in her hand the sash, the bows, and the wreath. Just
as she was stealing out again, she heard a door open and
shut downstairs, and the sound made her start, and stop
short, which ought to have reminded her that she was
doing wrong, for, if not, she would not have been afraid
that someone would see her. No one came, however, and
Ella walked quietly down the stairs with the stolen goods
in her hands. She never thought of her sister, and indeed
I fancy that the only thing she did think of at all was how
well the snow woman would look in the smart things with
which she was going to ornament her.
It was getting dusk, for it was between four and five,
and the snow figure was on the lawn at the back of the
house, only a few steps from the door. Down crept Ella
to the door, opened it softly, and stood outside. It was
freezing then, and the ground was hard, so the child
stepped easily over the. frozen snow, and in a minute was
close to the figure. She put the sash round its waist, and
it was just long enough to reach round and be tied in a
little knot ; then she managed to stick the bows on with
8 (~I[a' dSFault.
a little bit of stick to each bow, and could just manage
to toss the wreath on to the top of the head of the figure,
where it stayed, as if it had been made on purpose. Ella
only stayed one moment to see how the things looked,
and indeed it was getting dark so fast that she did not
care to stay much longer, but hurried back to the house,
and got indoors without having been seen by anybody.
It had seemed fine fun while she had been about the work,
but now, as soon as it was quite done, she did not feel so
pleased and satisfied as she had meant to be. She knew
she had done wrong, and what was more, she began to
think that, after all, she should not have the fun that she
had expected; for it was too late to show the dressed-
up figure to the other children that night, and perhaps
Madeline would find the things and take them away
again before they could go out next day.
To do the child justice, I do not think it entered her
mind to think of the mischief she had done to her sister,
for it was of the snow figure, and that alone, which she
But it was not long before her peace of mind was rudely
and unpleasantly disturbed. The children had their tea
in the school-room, and the three boys and two girls had
just finished tea, and were laughing and talking together,
when the door opened, and in walked Madeline's maid,
Griffiths. It was evident, by her face, that something
Ella'd JFault. 9
had troubled her, for she looked what Anne, the nursery-
maid, called as cross as two sticks," and she very soon
let it be known what was the matter.
Anne," she said, speaking in a quick, sharp voice,
"here's a pretty kettle o' fish! Someone has been and
hid away Miss Madeline's sash and bows, and what's more,
the wreath is gone too, and I'd put them out myself, as
neat as ninepence, before I went up to the workroom.
Who ever can have done it? Have any of you young
ladies and gentlemen been up to your tricks with the
things ? "
All the children except Ella burst out into a loud No,"
and fortunately, or unfortunately for her, as you may think
it, no one observed that she was the only one that kept
"Deary me, Miss Griffiths," said the nursery-maid,
"who'd ha' thought it ? I never heard tell of such a
With that the two maids began to talk as fast as they
could, and the children listened until they were tired, and
no one noticed that Ella had not said a word.
Presently, in came Madeline, sorely distressed at her
loss, and puzzled to account for it.
Ella was very fond of her sister, and her heart smote
her as she saw how vexed she was, but she was afraid to
speak now, and tried to console herself by saying over and
Io Clla' fault.
over again, though not out aloud, I've not told a story-
I've not told a story." But you know this was only
deceiving herself, because really she was just as naughty
in hiding the truth as if she had told a story outright.
Meanwhile the maids and poor Madeline hunted high
and low for the lost articles; they searched every place
they could think of, and could not imagine what had
become of them. Of course it was rather unpleasant for
the servants, who thought that one of them might be sus-
pected of having taken the things, but no one could
suspect one person more than another, and the only thing
clear about the business was that the sash and bows and
wreath had disappeared. So at last poor Madeline was
obliged to put on an old sash and bows that were not
nearly so pretty, and as for a wreath, I believe she had to
go without one, but of this part of the story I am not
When the search was over, little Ella began to feel
more and more unhappy. It was, of course, quite dark
now, but as soon as morning came, she knew very well
that someone would be certain to see the things hanging
on the snow-woman, and then there would be questions
asked of the five children who had taken part in making
the figure, and she felt sure that she should never be able
to help letting out the secret. And then, oh how angry
they would be with her!
Qclla's Ifault. I
Madeline was never very angry with anybody, and was
always as kind as possible to her little brothers and sisters,
but this would make it all the worse to bear, when the
thing was discovered. What should she do ? How could
she escape being found out ?
It was getting near the children's bed-time now, and
Ella puzzled her little brain to the utmost for a plan,
until at last the thought came into her head that the best
thing to do would be to consult Lionel, who had always
been very fond of her, and being now more than twelve
years old, whereas she was barely eight, appeared to her
to be old and experienced enough to make it certain that
his advice would be good.
So as Lionel was sitting on the corner of the sofa, read-
ing Robinson Crusoe," the little girl sidled up to him
and jogged his elbow so as to draw his attention to her.
"What's that for ?" said the boy, looking up hastily;
" What a bore you are, Ella, just when a fellow is reading
comfortably "-he had got so far, when he was struck by
the serious and distressful look upon his sister's face, and,
being a goodnatured boy, he ceased to complain of having
been disturbed, and changing his tone, asked her what
was the matter.
Oh, Lionel I've got a secret to tell you," she
whispered. It is a great secret, so come outside with
me into the lobby and let me tell you."
12 OEIa'jg Sault.
Lionel was always ready to hear Ella's secrets, though
they were not often of the sort to which he was now going
to listen. So he got up from the sofa, and as Mary was
reading and the other two boys busily playing at dominoes,
no one took any notice when he and his little sister went
out into the lobby.
There Ella told him the whole story, and-was hardly
able to help bursting out crying as she did so, for she felt
that she was in a scrape from which she did not know
how to escape, and, moreover, she was not very sure how
her brother would take it. Indeed, when he first heard
that it was she who had taken the things out of Madeline's
room, he was much inclined to be angry, and told her she
was a "great silly" for her pains. But when, with the
tears beginning to roll down her cheeks, the little girl told
him that it was his own words about dressing up the snow
woman with smart things which had put the idea into her
head, the boy began to blame himself a little, and very
soon settled that it was anyhow the part of a good brother
to get his sister out of the scrape.
The difficulty, however, was to find out the best thing
to do, and the two children looked at each other for a
moment without either of them being able to think of
Then Ella suddenly said, Oh, Lionel, could not we
take the things off now and hide them ?"
CTIa'. jFault. 13
We might bury them," answered the boy, "only the
ground is too hard to dig."
Oh, but there is a large heap of leaves at the corner
of the lawn," eagerly exclaimed the little girl, "couldn't
we put them under that ?"
Yes, I think we could," replied her brother, and after
a few more words, the two crept softly downstairs together,
and opened the door on to the lawn. Then Lionel stepped
out, telling Ella to stand inside the door; but she insisted
upon coming to show him exactly where the things were,
though it was not difficult to discover.
They were of course just where the little girl had put
them, and Lionel took off the wreath and the bows, undid
the sash, and then, stepping up to the large heap of leaves
which the gardeners had raked together, and left at the
corner of the lawn near the laurels, he made a hole with
one of the wooden spades which he had brought with him,
and in another moment the stolen goods were all safely
covered up, so that nobody could see them. Then the
two children went quietly back into the house, and as the
ground was hard with frost, their feet were not wet, and
no one knew that they had been out-of-doors.
Ella felt a great weight off her mind at first, and thought
herself out of the scrape. Her conscience, however, would
not quite let her alone, and when she heard her mother
and Madeline talking about the loss of the sash and bows
14 (E-1a'g fault.
next morning, and wondering what could have become of
them, she felt very uncomfortable, and wished that she had
never touched them. It was no use wishing, however : the
thing had been done, and she must make the best of it.
Do what she would, however, she could never look at
Madeline without a feeling of guilt, and when she heard
her describing the wreaths and sashes which some of the
other girls had worn at the party, she could hardly help
crying to think that it was owing to her fault that her
sister had been obliged to go in old and shabby things.
But it did not seem as if any good could come from
confessing now, and so the little girl remained silent and
kept her secret, although it weighed heavy at her heart.
Once or twice during the next two or three days her
mother noticed that the child looked dull and out of
spirits, and asked her whether anything was the matter,
but Ella always said No," and so things passed on until
Now it had always been the custom in that family to
meet together after luncheon and give each other Christ-
mas Boxes: not anything of great value, but little presents
such as each one thought another would like.
So on this particular Christmas Day they all met
together as usual, and the giving and receiving of presents
began. It was generally the youngest who began first
and gave any presents he or she had to give, and so on
until it came to the turn of the father and mother, whose
presents were usually rather better than those which the
children gave each other. All passed off well and happily,
and there was much laughter and joking amongst the
party, until at last it came to Madeline's turn. She
gave one or two little things, and then she turned to her
little sister and said, Here, Ella dear, is my present for
you. I remember you liked the poor sash that I lost, and
I thought you should have one just like it! With these
words she put a little packet of white paper into Ella's
hand, and as she opened it, right before her eyes was a
sash of just the same colour as that which had lain upon
the bed that fatal night.
It was quite too much for little Ella. To think that
her sister should give her a sash of the very same kind as
that of which she had been so naughty as to rob her, and
should have remembered that she liked it, and been
planning this little surprise to give her pleasure, whilst all
the time she had rewarded her kindness so badly ; the
thought quite overpowered the child, and to the surprise
of all the party she burst into a flood of tears, and stood
before them all, looking the very picture of misery.
"Ella, my love, what is the matter; what has happened?"
asked her mother, in an anxious tone, while the others
stood wondering at the strange event.
For a few moments the poor little girl could not find her
voice, but at last she faltered out, Oh dear oh dear !
I've been so very naughty. Oh, Madeline, will you ever
forgive me ?" and without much more ado she rushed
into her sister's arms, and sobbed bitterly upon her
Madeline did not know what to make of it at first, but
little by little the whole story came out, and Lionel told
of his part of the affair, although Ella begged that nobody
would blame him, since it was all her fault, and he had
only tried to help her out of the scrape. However, his
father told him that he ought to have given his little sister
better advice, and that it was not real kindness to help
her conceal a fault which was sure to make her all the
more unhappy until she freely confessed it. If she had
been well advised that evening, the things would have been
brought back quite safe, even if they had been too late
for Madeline to wear at the party; as it was, when they
were brought in from under the heap of leaves, the wreath
was quite spoiled, and the colour of the pretty sash and
bows was sadly faded. The sight of them made Ella cry
again; but Madeline kissed her, and told her that she
knew it had only been a thoughtless act, and that she
quite forgave her, and she must not think any more about
it. But Ella could not be so consoled, and although she
was forgiven, that Christmas Day was rather a sad one,
for she felt that she had been very wrong, and wished very
ESlla'S fFault. r7
much that she could do something to make up to Madeline
for her loss.
At dressing-time that evening, her mother heard a low
tap at the door, and in came Ella with a very anxious face.
"Mama," she said, "you know the coral necklace that
Uncle John brought me from Naples, because he was my
Godfather: may I give it to Madeline to make up for her
things that I took ?"
The child spoke with an earnest air, and her mother saw
that she really felt and meant what she said.
So she smiled on her with a loving smile, and said,
"Suppose we go and ask father."
His dressing-room was next door, and when they had
knocked, and he had answered Come in," Ella's mother
led her by the hand up to her father, and told him what
Well," said he, I don't think Uncle John would like
you to give away his present: people give presents to
those they love, and they like them to keep and value such
gifts. But I have thought of another plan. I meant to
give each of you children five shillings to spend as you like
this Christmas time. Now suppose you spent yours in
helping to give back to Madeline what you took from her ? "
"Oh yes, yes cried Ella, at once, but will that pay
for the sash and the bows and wreath ? "
Ah said the father gravely, "that is more than I
18 L-a'd Dfault.
can tell you, for you see gentlemen do not wear such
things, but mother knows all about it "
So Ella's mother smiled upon her little girl, and led her
away, and they had a talk together over the matter. I do
not know exactly what passed between them, but when
New Year's Day came, little Ella knocked at her sister's
door quite the first thing in the morning, and on being
told to come in, rushed up to her at once, and offered her
New Year's gift.
I daresay you can guess what it was. A sash, bows,
and wreath, as nearly as possible like the lost ones, only,
if possible, better; so new and so smart that they would
have been good enough for the Queen.
Madeline took her little sister into her arms, and kissed
her tenderly as she thanked her for the gift, and once
again Ella felt light-hearted and happy, and so we will
leave her, for it is the best condition in which we can leave
any of our friends when we are obliged to say farewell.
little dmi'd 'bbtbnture in tfbe
DEDICATED TO THEODOSIA.
BY ARS. RICHMOND RITCHIE,
STORY OF ELIZABrETH," "VILLAGE ON TIIE CLIFF," OLD KENSINGTON," &C.
AST winter, as we all know, was very long and
cold. The winds blew from the north, the
snow lay for weeks upon the ground, the frost
came with its icy key, and locked up the world.
One day, after a week of snow, a dark fog
spread over London, and over the streets and the houses.
It reached out into the country all round about. Travel-
ling beyond the river and across the fields and the roads,
it clothed the hills which surround London on every side,
it flooded the suburbs with its black stream, it crept
through chinks and keyholes into the houses, it got into
20 ?itttle @ime's abbenture in tlte rangee Rouuie.
people's eyes, and throats, and tempers. In some places
candles and lamps were alight and burning as if it were
midnight, elsewhere was darkness and confusion.
Some people didn't mind so very much, little Joe Gold-
more, for instance, who was not at all disappointed when
his mama came into the nursery while they were all eating
their bread and milk by the light of a candle, and told
Nurse Jessop that she had rather Master Joey did not go
out to school that morning.
Floey and Zoe, the two elder sisters, who did lessons
with Madame in the school-room, thought it very hard that
they shouldn't get a holiday too.
We shan't be able to see a bit, and it's geography
to-day, mama," said Zoe.
"You can ask Madame to light the gas," says mama,
with cruel cheerfulness, as she hurries away downstairs.
I think it's too bad we don't have a holiday when Joey
does," grumbles Floey, stirring her smoking bread and milk.
"Why Master Joe is only five, Miss Florence," says
nurse, and you are ten, just double his age."
"And so you have to do just double the lessons," says
Well, what's double no lessons at all," says Floey.
Make haste, my dears, or your pa will be gone," inter-
poses nurse, and the little girls, having finished their bread
and milk, and said their grace, run downstairs hand-in-
little C-mt'e aMbenturt in tie O traiyff 5ou1e. 21
hand, and are just in time to say good-bye to their papa,
who is standing in the great hall, putting on one coat over
another. It still looked like the night, like tea-time instead
of breakfast-time: the gas chandelier was burning, the
street door was half open, and a narrow wreath of black
fog was rolling in through the chink.
Good-bye children, good-bye mama," said papa, "and
don't forget that the Wilsons will be here presently. You
will have to send to meet them I suppose."
I will see to it all," said mama; good-bye dear, wrap
up warm," and papa waved his hand and stepped out
into the fog, and drove off to the station, with his carriage
lamps flashing through the darkness. Papa was always
driving off to catch trains, and to meet other busy people
Joey and his sisters lived in a very big house facing
Windy Common. It had a tower to it, from whence (when
the fog was away) you could see for miles and miles, to
Richmond Park, and to the hills beyond, and to the sea,
some people said. In the middle of the house there was a
big hall, warmed by a blazing fire, and ornamented with
statues and palm trees. Joey's mama often had tea in the
hall, and received her visitors there, it was so lofty, and
bright, and comfortable. It was rather like a garden Joey
used to think, with the palms in the middle, and then in
one corner near the window was a pretty marble fountain,
22 littIt Eime' abbenture in the trancee R)ouse.
into which the water flowed from a carved head, falling
upon moss and ferns. There was also a silver cup, hang-
ing by a chain, for the children to .drink from when they
were thirsty. Joey was very fond of being thirsty, and
the baby was also continually asking to be helped to reach
the water. Joey would hoist baby up, and pour a cupful
all down the front of her pinafore. I don't think she got
much to drink, but her little frock and even her shift would
be soaked through and through, and Jessop would give Joey
a good scolding for getting his little sister into such a mess.
Just by the fountain there lived an old green parrot on a
perch, who used to call out Who are you-who are you ? "
to the people as they passed by. It could also imitate the
roll of a drum and the sound of a saw. It was an intelli-
gent bird, with strong likes and dislikes. Uncle Tom, as
they called him, disliked his master, Mr. Goldmore, very
much, and used to hiss or to give a hideous yell whenever
he saw him; whereas he was devoted to the governess,
Madame Castallette, a short, fat, dark person, with many
plaits and glittering ornaments, whom he used to welcome
enthusiastically, hopping on one foot, flapping his wings,
and winking his wrinkled eyes in a very ridiculous manner.
Madame in her sweetest tones would say "Bonjour
ch6ri; bonjour pierrot; bonjour ch6ri-bibi," and she used
to bring bits of sugar out of her apron pockets.
Perhaps some fairy has changed Mr. Castallette into
Little ESmn's a9bbenturt in tl)e strange joufe. 23
a parrot, and that's why Uncle Tom and Madame are such
friends," said Floey, as Madame walked away.
"Mama, what dreadful nonsense Floey talks," cried
Zoe, who was eleven, and quite too old to talk non-
Mrs. Goldmore, who was sitting at her writing table as
usual, surrounded by notes and scraps of paper, looked up
from a telegram which had come just after papa drove
away. It would be very dull if nobody was ever allowed
to talk nonsense my dear child," she said. Floey, you
will have a little girl to talk nonsense with this afternoon.
She is coming to spend New Year's Day with us."
"A little girl," cries Floey, delighted ; "what is her
name, mama, how old is she ? "
"Her name is Esmd Wilson," said mama. "Her
parents have just come back from India, and are bringing
her to see us; she is about eight years old. I hope she
will get here safe. I am sorry to say they have missed
their train in the fog, and the poor little girl will arrive
alone with her nurse."
It is like Pharaoh's darkness," said little Flo; "we
read about it on Sunday. Mama do you suppose some-
body is doing something wrong somewhere, and that is
why it is so dark."
Mama looked at Floey, and said gravely, The wrong
thing which brings the fog, Floey, is that people do not
24 KL~/itte i bent i te tr e e.
make the right sort of chimnies. I only wish all other
evils could be as easily remedied."
I hate girls," said Joe, from behind his mama's chair,
where he was playing with the kitten. Why don't you
ask a boy, mama, instead."
"I find my own boys quite enough for me, Joe," said
mama, laughing. We must order the carriage," she went
on, "to meet little Esm6-was it 3 o'clock. Where can
that telegram have got to; I had it a moment ago."
The kitty's got the telegram under the writing table,"
says Joey, as placidly as if that was exactly the proper place
for a telegram. The kitten, with curling tail and pricking
whiskers, was executing a sort of Japanese war dance with
the crumpled paper, now darting over it, now dashing
under it, now turning head over heels in excitement.
Look, look," cries Joe, quite delighted, and then kitty,
being sent about her business, went flying across the hall
in search of her mother, the old tabby cat, while the tele-
gram paper was rescued, the carriage ordered, and the
little girls despatched to their school-room.
When Joey came down after his nursery dinner with a
neat row of curls and a clean collar, prepared to be en-
tertained and much made of by his mama and the girls,
he was very much provoked to find that the fog having
somewhat cleared, they were all getting ready to go out in
the carriage to meet the little visitor.
Littlcr cntt' atbbenturt in the I trange -Rousg. 25
Never mind, Joey; we'll soon be back," cried Floey,
and mama says Esm6 is to have her tea with you in the
If I were the little girl I should like to have my tea
down stairs in the hall," said contradictious Joey, when he
had trotted back with his errand, to which Nurse Jessop
said it was all very well for him who was at home, but
the little girl would feel strange, no doubt, and like to be
with her nurse just at first.
Poor little girl she arrived, looking very strange indeed,
with red eyes and a scared, frightened look, without her
nurse, without her luggage. The luggage had got lost on
the way, and the nurse had stayed behind to look after
it, Mrs. Goldmore explained; but the station was so cold,
they had thought it best not to wait, and they had brought
off Esm6, and left the nurse to come up in a fly.
There stood the little visitor in the middle of the big
hall, blinking with the lights, cold and bewildered by all
the darkness and the strange faces and places. She had
curly, yellow hair, and she was dressed in some odd
fantastic way in red, trimmed with white fur, and with
fur round her boots, and a white bird's wing in her hat.
Joey had been on the look out, and had darted down as
soon as ever he heard the front door open. He stood
staring at her with all his eyes, so did Floey and Zoe, so
did Madame Castallette, coming down stairs with baby
26 lLittIt cqme'S albbenturt in tl)e Atrange ou1te.
in her arms. Esm6 had hard work not to cry-all the
lights confused her, so did the fountain splashing, so did
the kind greetings and welcoming; she only longed to be
safe far away with her papa and mama and her grannie at
home. If only Eliza had not left her too, to look for the
luggage; how could she be so cruel!
We may all of us remember in our childhood some
terrible moments such as this one, when voices overhead
seemed talking of what we knew not, saying things of us
that we could not follow; when friendly outstretched
hands and fingers seemed to grow terrible, and of gigantic
size; when everything was different from what we had
been used to, and everyone strange.
Little Esm6, standing in the great hall in this beautiful,
terrifying house, felt choking; the strange people seemed
coming out of every corner and doorway; they closed in,
surrounding her with exclamations and suggestions. The
schoolboys, the footman, the footsteps,Madame Castallette,
the hall clock striking, everything added to her horror.
Mrs. Goldmore, seeing the child's alarm, desired the little
girls to take her upstairs to the nursery. "Jessop will
make her comfortable till her own nurse comes," said the
As Esm6 was going along the passage, escorted by the little
procession, the most re-assuring thing she had yet seen
suddenly darted from beneath a carved cabinet. It was
tittle 9bm^S abelmture in ti)t Otraiige jous. 27
Joe's kitten, darting at full speed before them, sometimes
stopping until they came up, and then starting off once
Oh, what a dear little kitten !" cried Esm6.
"Isn't it," says Floey. "It's Joe's; we call it, 'Whiskey.'"
Good old Jessop knew the way to children's hearts; she
knew how to make everything seem comfortable, how to
settle them down, how to give a homelike feeling to the
chairs, to the very cups and saucers; little Esm6 began to
breathe again in her friendly presence. There, Miss
Esm6, my dear; you sit there, and don't you mess your
pretty frock. Joey, run into the next room, open the top
drawer, and get out one of your clean pinafores." And
somehow the pinafore seemed a sort of comfort to the
poor little frightened girl, as if it was a shield between
her and this grand, strange, terrible, new world, where
there were so many people, and pictures, and statues, all
staring her out of countenance. The nursery was, how-
ever, much less alarming than the big hall; and Jessop,
with her brown front, and her twinkling eyes, and her
soft, old smile, was far less terrible than anybody else
Esm6 had yet seen.
The children did their best to make Esm6 happy while
tea was getting ready; they showed her their toys, their
games, their dolls; but all her horrors returned at the
28 KLittle C6tnat' bbbenture in ti)e Ztranffge otue.
sight of the toys; she had been used to an old bran Polly
Hopkins, with one eye out, or to a Lucy, with two eyes
and one leg. These dolls had eyes and legs complete, and
wheels under their flounces as well; they went round and
round, fanning themselves and opening parasols, and
nodding their heads; they were followed by bears, by
peacocks, spreading their tails and strutting along with
majestic dignity; there was one especially horrible little
frog, that came with leaps from one end of the room to
the other. Take it away, take it away," screamed Esme,
at which Joey roared with laughter.
She don't like it, my dear," said Jessop, coming to
the rescue ; and it's time to put all them things away for
On the whole there was nothing Esm6 liked so much
as Joe's little kitten, which was more like what she had
been used to in her grannie's quiet cottage than any of
these hobgoblins; and the children being kind, friendly
children, let her please herself, and, somewhat disappointed,
put away their toys, and brought a chair for their little
friend between Joe and Floey, and showed her picture
books after tea till it was time to go down into the
Again Esm6 looked up terrified. Oh must I go, too ?"
she said, with a quiver and an imploring look at Nurse
little Cmnte'.I abbcnturt in tj)c itraltngv .ottor. 29
"Not unless you like, my dear," said kind old nurse;
"but look here, Miss Baby and Joey are going, and they
will take care of you."
"It's very nice there, you know," said Joe, re-assuringly.
"We get chocolate, and all the ladies say, 'Come here,
dear darling, sweet little Joe.' Sometimes my God-papa
says, 'Here's a sovereign for you, my dear boy;' perhaps
he'll give you some money, Esm6."
"I-I don't want anybody to give me money," said
poor little Esm6, flushing up crimson; "my mama and
papa give me their own money; I won't have it if your
God-papa gives me any," and the tears started to her eyes.
"Don't you be afraid, my dear," said the nurse, kissing
her, and smoothing her golden hair-it was like lovely
spun silk, and reflected the light of the candles on the
table. Master Joe is such a little fellow, he ain't got
no proper pride, bless him. They won't think of giving
money to a little lady like you." And so at last little
Esm6 allowed herself to be persuaded, and, protected by
Joey and holding baby by the hand, went slowly down
the broad flight of stairs into the hall.
"Have you got the kitten safe, Floey ?" said Joe,
mysteriously; it's too young to go down alone, it might
be killed, you know, though it can run up all right."
Esm6 looked over the banisters as she came down,
it was a terrible precipice, she thought, and the kitten
30 Littlet emtiC' abbtnture in tl)ze trange .ottue.
would certainly be killed if it fell over. It was pretty to
watch the sight below; there were quantities of flowers
and lights everywhere, gentlemen were standing by the
great chimney, and ladies scattered about on the seats
and by the tables, but no papa, no mama among them all.
What would the child not have given to have seen her
mama in her old brown velvet gown among the smart
yellow, and white, and pink ladies, sitting on the red silk
sofas and fluttering their fans.
Joey, who was used to the world, and to that particular
half hour of it just before dinner, went about from one
person to another quite composed, and answering very
nicely when he was spoken to. Floey played with baby
and kitty in a quiet corner ; Zoe behaved exactly like
anyone of the grown-ups, thought Esm6.
What numbers of people there were sitting and standing
about the hall When the gong sounded for dinner, they
all got up and began moving here and there. The dining
room doors were thrown open, and the children could see
the long glittering table within with the lights and dishes.
The black and white gentlemen, and the yellow and pink
and blue ladies formed themselves into a long serious
procession, and disappeared two by two into the dining
room. Mrs. G6ldmore and a fat, puffy little old gentleman
with a star on his coat, came last. She stopped to look
back to give the children a friendly nod, and when they
little ~~te'n6 bbtnture in tlje _trangr fboutr. 31
were left alone, Joey began to dance a wild fancy dance,
and Zoe began to skip. Madame Castallette came running
down from above to fetch them to bed, and suddenly, with
a leap and a scuttle, the kitten flew across the hall and
disappeared up the stairs.
Come along," said Joey, to Esm6, I don't like being
here when the people are gone; Jessop says there's no
such things as bogies, but I think there are."
Oh! do you think Eliza has come," Esm6 asked,
anxiously turning from indefinite to present alarms.
You are certain to find your bonne in ze nursery,"
said Madame, hopefully, as the children all ran upstairs,
and then hurried across the landings, and through the
glass swing door and along the passage, with the many.
doors and the statue in the angle. Here they all parted,
Floey and Zoe went off with Madame, Esm6 followed
Joe up to the nursery, but alas when they reached this
haven no Eliza was there.
Esm6's eyes filled up once more as she sank down on
Joey's little chair, and though the kind little boy thrust
the kitten into her lap to console her, she could not be
comforted-her tears fell one by one. She sat silent,
while the younger children were undressed. Presently,
Joe and baby in their dressing-gowns sat warming their
little toes by the fire, as clean, and neat, and fresh as
Jessop and soap and water could make them, and all the
32 RLittle (E ntmt'i brcnture in tl)t `tranger l0ttot.
time Esm6 was wondering where Eliza was, why mama
didn't come in with her arms out to say good night.
That there nasty fog seems thicker than ever," says
Nurse Jessop, looking out of window. No wonder people
are kep'. I expect the ladies below will have to walk-
everyone of them. Some are sleeping in the.house. Now
my dear," she continued, "you had better let me put
you to bed with the others. See, here's a nice room just
across the passage, and a bed all ready for your nurse, and
you must say your prayers and go to sleep like a dear.
Eliza will be here by supper-time, no doubt, and you leave
that little kitten in here till the morning," said Jessop.
"The nursemaid shall take it down to its mother, or we
shall have such a miauling, there will be no sleep for any
Esm6 had no spirit to resist, and submitted despond-
ingly, and when Jessop smoothed her soft hair and tucked
her up, after making her say her prayers, the poor little
thing did feel somewhat comforted. Just after Jessop
went out of the room (leaving the door ajar, so that Esm6
should call if she wanted anything), the child heard a
creaking sound, and looking up she saw the door open a
little, and something soft, quick, cautious, come and peer
carefully round about the room. Need I say that it was
her friend the little kitten once more What would
Jessop say if she were to call it, Esm6 wondered. But it
Clitttlt emt'I albenture in tf)t Atrange Routt. 33
was impossible to resist the temptation. Kitty, Kitty,
Kitty," she whispered, cautiously, and at her voice Kitty
leapt upon the bed, and began to purr with a wonderfully
loud rumble for such a small object. Oh, she must keep
it; she couldn't send the little creature away;" and feeling
not a little guilty, Esm6 covered the kitten up care-
fully with the sheet, and in a little while dropped sound
asleep with Whiskey in her arms, and lay breathing
peacefully on her pillow with her golden head sunk into
the blessed land of dreams. Mrs. Goldmore came to look
at her on her way to bed ; how pretty the child looked in
her sleep, thought the kind lady, and she stooped over
and kissed her softly, and put a shade before the night-
light, without noticing the kitten, which was covered by
Her parents must be coming presently," said Mrs.
Goldmore to Jessop, who was with her. "I sent the
brougham to the station to look for them ; Mr. Goldmore
is going to sit up; it is really very perplexing." Then
Mrs. Goldmore went softly away, followed by Jessop.
The distant shutting of a door as the last of the servants
went to bed an hour afterwards, must have awakened
Esm6, that or the stirring of the kitten, who suddenly
opened its eyes in the dark, stretched itself, and with a
tiger-like action began carefully to explore the precincts of
the bed. Esm6 in her sleep was conscious of some strange
34 little (emie'g Obbenture in tl3e Otrangt *ouge.
soft tickling along her shoulder and cheek. She dreamt
that she was marching along to the sound of a rolling
drum through a great black city, carrying her mama's
best muff at the head of an army of cats; then she also
opened her dark eyes, she could scarcely realize where she
was, nor what was happening-the purring, drumming,
and stirring were still going on. Her heart began to beat,
then suddenly she remembered the kitten. It had awakened
and escaped from her arms, and now by the flicker of the
dim night-light she could see it busily coming, going,
dancing at the foot of the bed, crossing, re-crossing, leaping
from chair to chair, from precipice to precipice.
"Eliza!" said Esm6, wistfully, starting up half asleep, but
her voice faltered, for she saw that Eliza's bed was empty.
Then came a panic, then a plaintive mew close at hand
and then far, far away, so it seemed to Esm6, another
answering miaul, very sad, very appealing, and heart-
broken. Esm6's conscience gave a sudden prick; the
nurse had told her not to take the kitten away from its
mother, she remembered, and she turned round im-
patiently, and tried to forget, and to go to sleep again;
she lay still for a minute, then sat up in bed once more.
O dear! 0 dear what a dreadful night it was Kitty
was here, there, everywhere, clinking on the washstand,
padding across to the dressing-table, starting as the night-
light singed its tail, scuttling back to its place by the
little emt'4 2bbnturt in tljt Atrangt *oua. 35
door. Mew, mew, mew," said kitty, sitting bolt upright.
Miauw, mi-aw, came a plaintive echo from a far distance.
Esm6 jumped out of bed in dismay, and ran to the door
and opened it to let Whiskey out, and the kitten ran a little
way into the darkness, but Esm6 was hardly comfortable
in bed again when it was outside the door once more,
mewing more pitifully than ever. Esmd's heart sank
It wants me to take it down to its mother," thought
the child. "It's so young it's afraid," and then she
remembered what Joey had said about always carrying
Whiskey downstairs for fear it should fall through the
banisters and be killed. Poor Esm6. She thought of
going to look for Jessop, but she didn't know which
was her door, and there were hundreds of doors. Oh, if
papa and mama were here. I'm sure kitty has nothing so
bad as I have to cry about," thought Esme. She saw her
shoes by the bed and a dressing-gown which the children
had lent her hanging over the back of a chair, and she put
on the shoes and the dressing-gown in a despairing sort of
way, and she picked up the kitten in her arms, and then
she took the night-light in one hand, and shivering a little
with cold and fright, set off on her expedition. She paused
for a moment at the door to get courage, and then set off.
It was all strange and dark, the long passage seemed
unending, some of the doors were open, through one of
36 little 6(me' Rllbenture in t)e 4trangr goue.
them she heard a low rumbling noise of snoring. Never in
her life had she done anything so terrible. A tall white
statue at the corner of the passage gave her a fright, then
she remembered seeing it as she had come up to bed, and
with an effort she hurried by. She pushed open the
swinging door at the end, she knew it led to the landing
at the top of the great carpetted stairs, and now
looking over the banisters, she saw the hall down
below, and one dim light was burning in a distant corner.
Everything looked bigger and stranger than ever. Esm6
could hear the little fountain trickling in the silence, and
the clock ticking. Then it cleared its throat, as clocks do,
and struck one, two, three, four, and then a sepulchral
one. She was getting less frightened by degrees, and to
her delight, as the clock ceased striking, Esm6 heard a
soft, crooning, sound just at her feet, and by the gleam
of her night-light she suddenly saw-oh welcome sight!
the old tortoiseshell cat running stealthily up the stairs,
and in a minute more kitty leapt right out of Esm6's arms
and rushed to meet its mother. But as kitty leapt, it
shook the night-light out of the little girl's hand, the round
stumpy candle rolled away bob, bob, bob, down the stairs,
with a splutter; it went out, leaving darkness and utter
There stood the poor little maiden in the dark ; terrified,
helpless. In a moment it flashed upon her that she should
little 6inme's tlbecnture in tbe &trange Rouae. 37
never, never find her way back along that passage to her
room without a light. How could she tell among all those
doors which was her own? how pass all those people
asleep ? Esm6 put her little, cold hand to her head,
her heart beat as loud as the great clock below; she tried
to force herself to be brave and calm, to remember the
look of the passage she had come along, and then without
giving herself time to get more frightened, she hurried back
upstairs again, pushed through the swing door, and began
groping her way nervously along the walls. She passed
one, two, three doors, that surely was right; a fourth flew
open as she leant against it. .
WHO IS THERE ? cried a gruff, startled voice from
within, and Esm6, terror-stricken, turned and fled, she
hardly knew where or which way she turned, but she found
herself by the swinging door again. That faint, faint light
from the hall below shone through the glass panels. The
child was shivering from head to foot by this time. The
light was only enough to reveal to her the great emptiness
and darkness; she could see strange, tall, waving things
below, round about on every side palms and curtains
swinging. As she tried to grope her way she remembered
the warm fur rugs lying all about, in the hall, and she
thought she would feel her way to one of the sofas near the
fireplace, and pull up a rug and lie there till the morning;
and so step by step, shivering with cold and fright, she
38 Little Cmt4's Stlbenture in ttte Strangte ougt.
descended into the hall, carefully feeling her way from
table to table. Then something occurred more dreadful
than all. A huge dark form rose from before the dying
embers and shook itself in the darkness, and came towards
her, uttering a low and echoing growl. It was the great
Newfoundland dog, who always slept in the hall at night.
Poor little Esm6 gave a faint scream of terror and
started back, knocking over a small table, which fell with a
crash. At the same moment came a loud, ringing scream,
followed by the rolling of a drum, from the neighbourhood
of the fountain ; need I say that it came from the parrot,
suddenly startled in its sleep. It was more than the'poor
little girl could bear: as she crouched in terror, hiding
her face in her hands, Ponto's cold awful snout came
sniffing about her hair, and she knew no more. .
Meanwhile voices were to be heard overhead, the swing
door opened again, a figure carrying a candle came walking
along the gallery and rapidly descended the stairs, while
at the same moment a loud and repeated knocking at the
front door came echoing through the place.
"What on earth is all this ? cried Mr. Goldmore,
coming out from his study, which opened to the hall.
" I'll wring your neck, Poll, if you go on screeching.
Down Ponto," to the big dog, who came bounding to meet
him; and never noticing the child as she crouched, hardly
conscious, upon the ground, he crossed the hall, turned
little Sinmte'l Alenture int tl)e trange %ougt. 39
up the gas, and began to unlock the front doors where
the knocking continued.
The doors opened wide, faces appeared out of the mist-
Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Wilson, the truant Eliza, a porter from
the station, boxes, bags, wraps, the servant who had been
sent to look for them.
Glad to see you at last," said Mr. Goldmore, heartily.
We are shocked to disturb you at this time of night,"
said Mr. Wilson, our train broke down in the fog. We
found your carriage still waiting at the station, and our
own servant, who had not been able to get anyone to
bring her up. I don't really know how to apologize. .
We have been hours on the way. We-good heavens,
mama, what is it ?"
What was it, indeed Mama had sprang forward to where
her little Esm6 was crouching, too frightened to realize
what was happening, or to be conscious that her troubles
were over; she had caught her up from the floor in her
arms, she was kissing her pale cheeks, holding her
tight, tight to her heart, wrapping her in her fur cloak.
When Esm6 opened her eyes it was to see her papa
bending over her, her nurse anxiously sprinkling her face
with water from the fountain, it was to feel her mother's
arms all around her, to know. all was well.
0, mama," she faltered, I took the kitty. I was so
frightened. 0, I'm so glad you are come, and Eliza, and
40 littIt QEme'i Mtbenture in tbt Strange touot.
papa," and for a minute she closed her eyes again, all
The child was so wildly happy, so revived to have her
belongings about her, so utterly contented now, that no
ill effects resulted from that nightmare adventure. When
she awoke in the morning, her mama, all dressed, was
sitting by her bedside, and Esm6 burst out and told her
story, her terrors, her alarms.
Oh Esm6," said her mother, you should have had
more hope, more trust, more courage. While you were
despairing we were just outside the door. You were
quaking with terror, and your father and I were such a
little way off. Another time, my darling, you must be
braver, and pray for 'heavenly thoughts,' as the hymn
says, and remember," she added softly, that His wings
are over all."
There was an odd brightness and light in the room while
she spoke, and mama, smiling, asked Esm6 whether she
would like to look out 6f the window. Where was the
fog ? where was the gloom and blackness ? The angels
had come in the night and turned darkness into glory,
the hoar frost shone over everything, the sky above was
clear and faint, the earth was dazzling, snowy white.
Every tree, every branch, every leaf was touched with
wonder. The frost had frozen the mist as it lay on
the trees, and the borders, and the hedges-eyery
leaf was delicately marked and fringed with pearls and
diamonds, every blade of grass was gleaming with lovely
light, and turned to crystal. Joe, baby Florence, and Zoe
came running in, wildly exclaiming, to wish Esm6 good
When Esm6 went out with the children after breakfast
they were still shouting out in admiration and delight, and
they all came home such firm friends that I think Esme
would not have been a bit frightened this time if her
papa and mama and Eliza had all set off once more and
The trees look like beautiful brides," said sentimental
Floey, "all dressed in white and diamonds."
I think, they look like ghosts," said Joe, who certainly
had a turn for the terrible.
0 Joey, don't try to frighten," said little Esm6, and
then she thought what her mama had said about not
Being frightened does no good," says Floey. I wish
you had liked us yesterday, Esm6. Shall we have a race
now ? "
Joe set off also with a caper, though he was so tucked
up in wraps he could hardly get along.
ibe *rtnabeltnetv aiot,
OR, THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING.
BY THE REV. S. BARING-GOULD, M.A.
HAVE three sons and two daughters in school
in Germany. They are all in the same town,
but in different schools, of course. I mean that
the boys are in one school, and the girls in
another. Just before Christmas last year I
began to feel very uncomfortable. I knew that the season
of Christmas-boxes was coming-on, when every man and
woman, who had done anything for one, or pretended to
do anything for one, or intended to do anything for one,
or thought about intending to do anything for one, expects
a shilling. Every man then expects a tip for having done
during the year what he has been paid to do; and the worse
he has done his work, and the less exactly he has performed
his duty, the more does he insist on his Christmas-box.
Elye Ad)nabetiteib Plot. 43
As the Holy Season drew near, the more my spirits went
down; if I broke out into a perspiration of shillings, every
drop a shilling, it would not suffice for those who come
preying on one at Christmas.
My dear wife said to me, Edward, you are low."
What do you mean, dear ? I asked, a little sharply, for
I did not take in her drift; low is an expression that may
be used in so many significations.
I mean, my precious," said Mrs. Jones (my name is
Jones), that you seem out of sorts."
Who would not be out of spirits at Christmas, or at
the prospect of Christmas coming on, except those sordid
parasites who live on Christmas-boxes?" I asked, cap-
tiously. I only wish I were wrecked on a desert island,
where Christmas-boxes are unknown."
Edward," said my wife, Why should you not go to
Germany, away from the. cares, and sorrows, and trials of
Christmas, and carry a plum pudding to our dear ones at
Schnabelweid ? "
Schnabelweid is the name of the place -where our chil-
dren are at school.
"I hear," continued my wife, "that there are to be
great doings some week or so after Christmas at Schnabel-
weid. That great musical composer, Wagner, once
changed trains there, and whilst on the platform ate a
sausage and drank beer, so there is to be a statue erected
44 Eb. ScI~na'bcltatimb J3ot.
to him at Schnabelweid, and the Emperor of Germany,
and the Kings of Wtirtemberg and Bavaria, and the Grand
Dukes of Hesse and Baden, and other inferior princes, are
to be present and to inaugurate the statue. The children
say that there are grand preparations going on, and that
Schnabelweid will hardly contain all the illustrious persons
who will go, so should not you go there too, and take the
pets a Christmas plum pudding? The Germans have
nothing of the sort. The children will frightfully miss
plum pudding at Christmas, if they do not get it, and if I
were to send it by train and boat, it would be certainly
eaten on the way. By all means go to Schnabelweid, and
take the pudding with you. I'll have it boiled first in a
cloth so as to be hard and consolidated, and then it is easy
enough to manage with it afterwards."
Ill go," said I. And then when the Christmas-
boxers come, you can say I have not left you any money :
which will be true, for I shall not, I shall want all my
money for the journey. Then, as I am not much up to
talking German, I will take Fluegel's Dictionary in my
hand, and with that to dive into when in difficulties, I
shall get on famously."
Afterwards, when I came to look back on what I had
done, it struck me that I had behaved with horrible
meanness in running away from the remorseless herd of
Christmas-boxers, and leaving my dear wife to confront
bte DAcbnabdt1oeiB 1lot. 45
them without any money; but I did not see this at the time.
That is often-I might say always-the case. We act
without sufficient consideration, and consider after, when
it is too late to recall the past.
My dear," said my wife-she always calls me dear,
she is a truthful soul, and very dear I know I am to
her-" My dear," she said, I advise you to register the
plum pudding through to Cologne, then those mean little
Belgian custom-house officers won't be able to stick their
not over-clean fingers into it."
"I will do so," I replied. That is a happy' thought of
Accordingly, about a week before Christmas, I started
for Germany, vid Dover and Calais, as I am a poor
sailor. I took with me only a portmanteau and the square
japanned tin bonnet box of my wife's that contained the
plum'pudding, and was fastened with a padlock. This I
registered through to Cologne.
Although the steamer took but an hour and half from
Dover to Calais, I was very ill on the voyage ; in winter
the twin ship Douvres-Calais does not run, so I went in
the narrow mail ship, and that pitched to such an extent
that it pitched everything I had in me out.
Everything went well with me, that is, as well as it could
on a winter journey from Calais vid Brussels to Cologne,
except only that I did not get enough to eat. I was too
46 ibt 4tjnaltIttib alot.
squeamish to eat at Calais pier, and got nothing till I
reached Brussels, when I had time to get a trifle. Nature,
as the ancients declared, abhors a vacuum, and I found
there was great truth in the saying. I was, after that
pitching voyage to Calais, as truly a vacuum as is one of
those coloured expanded blue or pink bubbles which I
have seen a man at a fair carry about attached to the
end of a stick. I am convinced that had I been trans-
parent, and my clothes likewise transparent, I might have
been looked through without anything being seen in me.
I got what is called a tartine, that is, a sandwich, at
Brussels, and went on upon that till I reached Cologne.
On reaching Cologne I inquired after my wife's bonnet
box, and found that several custom-house officers and
railway officials, and policemen who looked like soldiers,
were observing it cautiously and suspiciously. It was
directed, Passenger to Schnabelweid, vid Cologne," so
those who looked at it knew its ultimate destination.
A functionary in a military frock coat, with brass buttons
and a red cap, and large rusty beard and spectacles, came
up to me and asked me fiercely whether I had anything to
declare. I replied, after peeping into my dictionary,
" Nein "-that does not mean that I had nine things to
declare, but none at all.
Mach' auf! he ordered. I at once passed the pages
of my Fluegel to find what mach' auf" meant, and as
lje &cbnabtluttitb Slot. 47
this took time, he roared imperiously into my ear, Mach'
auf," and signed to the lock.
I was so agitated and startled at the noise he made
and his threatening appearance that I almost dropped my
dictionary, and for some time fumbled in my pockets for
the key. Then I could not find it. It was not in my
waistcoat pocket. I could be sworn I had put it in my
right trowser pocket, but it was no longer there. I con-
sidered, and then it occurred to me that I might have
brought it up when I was so tossed and pitched in the
mail packet. Why not ? I had brought up a great deal
more important things to me than a key-they had been
in my stomach, but a stomach is only one sort of pocket,
and a trowser pocket is another. Why should one be
disturbed and not the other? I believe that a close
sympathy reigns between them, and that when one is
affected so is the other. I have known twins who, however
widely separated, even by rolling oceans, are in such close
sympathy that when one is in pain in, say, England, the
other suffers in, say, Australia. Now, in this case the
two pockets were not separated by vast tracks. They
were in close juxtaposition. Anyhow, I could not find
my key anywhere.
The custom-house official stamped and flustered, and
I became nervous, agitated and pale.
If you happen to have a Fluegel's Dictionary of the
48 bte cSbnabtltoei 3 Ilot.
German and English languages you may have observed
at the end of the first, or German-English, part a List
of irregular verbs," that begins with Bachen," which
makes in the indicative ich bak, or backte," and in the
participle past gebacken."
Books, now-a-days, are very badly bound, and my Fluegel
was not as well put together as it ought to have been. I
daresay the strain on its system when the vessel lurched
and pitched between Dover and Calais broke some of its
nerves, as was almost the case with myself, but at this
moment, when I was so flurried and frightened that
I did not know what to do with myself, the "List
of irregular verbs" came out of the book, and fluttered
to the floor, and I went after it. Instantly the military-
looking official, seeing me stoop and run, bowed under
his arms, uttered a shout, and went after me, and
caught me by the scruff of my neck before I had time
or opportunity to lay hold of the table of irregular
verbs, and brought me back to the box. He was in a
rage, he suspected I had dived under his arms to run
away and avoid opening the bonnet box.
That escape of the irregular verbs from my Fluegel was
unfortunate, because it was the occasion of raising
suspicion against me, or rather of intensifying the sus-
picion already aroused.
Without more ado the ferocious, red-bearded, spectacled,
Etb A'cljnabdbiadib Iot. 49
military-looking man thrust a steel bar through the loop
of the padlock and wrenched it off. Then he put his hand
to the lid and slowly raised it. What had taken place had
somehow raised the interest and wakened the curiosity of
all in the place for the inspection of luggage, which is a
long room with a low shelf or table running down it, on
which the boxes and portmanteaus and trunks are opened
and examined. Behind it stand the custom-house officers,
and the travellers are on the front side. My persecutor
was peripatetic, that is to say, he did not confine himself
to one side, but dodged about to see that none of the
travellers concealed contraband goods about them whilst
officially exhibiting the contents of their valises, &c.
Now I found all eyes were turned on me, and a host of
custom-house officers gathered about my box to see what
it contained. No sooner was it opened than I saw them
recoil with blanched faces, and the passengers, uttering a
howl, fled on all sides from the room. Even so have I
seen a crowd of sparrows or starlings chattering, darting
in and out among each other, when suddenly a hawk
appears hovering above them, and instantly they disperse
in every direction.
My special tormentor staggered back and held up both
his hands. I looked inquiringly at him, and saw his face
quiver, and a film form over his spectacles. But his moral
sense enabled him to recover himself speedily, and his
50 Et)e tlr)nabtlueil SIot.
muscles resumed their fixity, and the film passed away
from the surface of the spectacles. He seized me by
the neck, and held my head as in a vice, and in a roar
"Wass ist dass ? as he pointed sternly at the plum
If you'll allow me to look in my Fluegel I will tell you,"
said I, twisting my head in his hand. His fingers were
closed so tight on my jugular vein that the proper flow of
blood to my head was impeded. I opened my dictionary
to look, for I had not the remotest conception what plum
pudding was in German.
I was in such trepidation and nervous confusion that
I hardly knew what I was about as I turned the pages of
my Fluegel; and it was only slowly that I woke to the fact
that I was groping in the German part for the word which
is purely and solely English.
When, after awhile, I did get to the right part, my
confusion of mind was so great that I forgot how plum
pudding was spelled, and I got hold of Plumbago instead,
and informed the official that what he beheld was a ball
of Reiss-blei. He shook me savagely, and said Lige! "
which means Lie as I found by looking out the word
at once. So I tried again, but as he kept on nipping my
neck and hurting me, and occasionally shaking me, I got
wrong again, and lit on Plume," and assured him with
9jre ?cbInabrriU 101lot. 51
intense earnestness that what he saw was Feder," or
He shook me wrathfully after that, and squeezed my
neck so hard as to leave the marks of his paws there in what
is called extravasated blood, that is, blood that comes
between the cuticles, but does not issue forth. All bruises
are extravasated blood. I wore these bruises for three weeks
afterwards; they were black first-something the colour of
the plum pudding-and then they turned a sort of saffron
At last I did hit on the word in the dictionary, and it
was "Rosinen-Kloss," but I really could not use it.
Rosinen must mean roses," and Kloss is distinctly a con-
traction from colossus. In German, as I knew, K generally
takes the place of C. I am a man too high-principled and
addicted to the truth to tell the functionary that my plum
pudding was a colossus of roses, and so I held my peace.
I was then formally arrested. Two police came and
seized me, and drew their swords, and held me with the
hand that did not hold the sword. I heard exclamations
of "Social Democrat!" and "Anarchist !" and "Schnabel-
weid," and "Kaiser" (which means Emperor), and
" Bomb," which has the same explosive signification in
German as in English, and "Dynamite," and Nitro-
glycerine," and so only by degrees did I discover the
mistake made by the customs officers and police. They
52 ibe Kicl~naberliuib 3VIot.
had mistaken the Christmas plum pudding for an in-
fernal bomb, which I was carrying to Schnabelweid, for
the purpose of blowing the Emperor and the crowned
heads of Germany to atoms, when they assembled at the
dedication of the statue of Wagner, at the spot where he
had changed trains, and eaten a sausage.
To aggravate matters, my Fluegel's Dictionary was
taken from me, to be examined, lest it contained treason-
able matter, and matter concerning an anarchist plot, and,
indeed, by arrangement of the words in the dictionary, it
could be made to contain the most horrible and diabolical
of plots. This did not occur to me at once, but I was
paralysed with dismay at the thought that by taking away
my Fluegel they had deprived me of the means of explain-
ing the mistake and of exculpating myself. I wanted at
once to send a message to the consul or vice-consul, or to
telegraph to the British Ambassador at Berlin to come and
explain the nature of my plum pudding, but without a
Fluegel I was as incapable of explaining my nmeaning.as is
a man whose tongue has been cut out.
What was to be done with the plum pudding? I saw
that the police were puzzled. It could not be left where it
was, because the vibrations caused by the arrival and
departure of trains might explode it; and as the cathedral
is very near the station, and if my plum pudding exploded
in the station it might bring down the minster, which is
EI)c ;cbllabfluttil) Ji91ot. 53
one of the most splendid Gothic edifices in Christendom;
therefore the police and custom-house officers decided it
must be removed. But where to ? After much discussion
it was resolved to transfer it to the suppressed Jesuit
College, which was quite vacant, because the Kultur
Kampf, as it is called, was still raging, and the Jesuits
and monastic orders had been expelled Germany.
The church was very large and quite deserted, so a
cordon of police was formed to clear the streets and stop all
vehicles, lest the vibration should blow up the plum
pudding, and then the supposed diabolical machine was
conveyed to the Jesuit College on a litter brought specially
from the hospital-one used for carrying persons who have
been frightfully injured. There was a water-bed, and the
plum pudding was placed on this water-bed, and four men
carried the litter as gently as if an anguished sufferer were
being borne to have all his limbs amputated.
Bonn is a university town further up the Rhine, and
is famous for the learning of its professors. The police
set the telegraph in action, and sent for the most eminent
analytical chemists of Bonn, who came by a special train,
bringing tests with them, and they set to work very
gingerly to examine the supposed Diabolical Bomb for the
presence of Fulminating Silver, Detonating Cotton, Nitro-
Glycerine, or Dynamite. After repeated experiments they
gave the matter up. All they could say, they said in their
54 Elb)e cl)nablitueib plot.
report, and that was, that they were unable to detect in
the infernal machine the presence of any known explosive;
it was evidently composed of ingredients in a combination
altogether new and unknown to them.
I was consigned to a prison, where I suffered much from
cold, and where I was badly fed on sour kraut, but what I
suffered most from was being deprived of my Fluegel. I
was as helpless without it as must be the heraldic Martlet,
which is a bird without legs and feet. I saw no means of
defending myself, no means of undeceiving the police, and
the judges when I came to be tried. How could I without
Fluegel ? You cannot drink without a mouth, or breathe
without lungs, nor can one speak a foreign tongue without
Whilst I was in prison the greatest excitement and
dismay reigned in Germany. The papers contained
accounts of the atrocious new anarchist plot to blow up
the Emperor and the Crown Prince and the Kings and
Grand Dukes, at the inauguration of the statue at
Schnabelweid. The bomb itself and the vile assassin who
was in charge of it were in the hands of justice, but his
accomplices were not as yet arrested. The police were
indefatigable in their efforts to trace the ramifications of
the plot, and consign those league together in it-those
enemies of humanity-to prison; but it was strongly
suspected that, on the news of the capture of the scoundrel
blje (cljnabehnrib i9lot. 55
who had charge of the bomb, the rest of the gang had
escaped into Switzerland.
Under the circumstances it was deemed advisable to
defer the ceremony at Schnabelweid. Till the police could
be quite satisfied that no more similar bombs were secreted
at Schnabelweid, or were being conveyed into the country,
it would not be judicious to bring the aged Emperor and
the other Princes into a position of great peril.
It was as I feared. Experts, by examining my Fluegel,
and taking a word here and a word there, and putting
them in conjunction to suit their preconceived ideas,
managed out of the dictionary to compile an elaborate
scheme of murder and political revolution, which was
attributed, of course, to me. I could not deny that it was
in the book. Everything is to be found in a dictionary.
How long I should have been in prison I cannot tell, or
whether I should have been transported to Angra Pe-
quena, or broken on the wheel, or hung, or guillotined, I
do not know, had it not been for my wife. She delivered me.
About three days after I had left, it suddenly flashed
across her mind that she had sent me off to Schnabelweid
with the plum pudding, but without any recipe how long
to boil it, and whether to boil it in a cloth or out of one,
and how to make the sauce for it. So she took a Cook's
ticket to Schnabelweid to pursue me, taking nothing with
her but Mrs. Beeton's Cookery Book. When she got to
56 Ef~t ctbnabeleitIt 3JIot.
Cologne she heard of my detention. She tried to get into
the prison to see me, but was not allowed. Then, like a
heroic woman as she is, and with that extraordinary
instinct which women possess, which almost amounts to
reason, she determined to go to head-quarters and obtain
my release. She flew by express to Berlin. She saw the
British Ambassador, who was too much involved at the
moment in red tape to be able to be of that immediate
assistance she-with her loving, eager heart desired, so
she went off to Varzin, where Prince Bismark was keeping
Christmas. She managed to penetrate into the presence
of the great Chancellor, carrying nothing with her but
Mrs. Beeton's Cookery Book. She threw herself on her
knees before him, and showed him the coloured illustra-
tion of an English plum pudding, and made him read the
recipe for its manufacture.
Thus was it that that heroic woman achieved my
liberation. The official acts contain the full explanation
of the mistake, but the public never heard the rights of the
story, and are still under the impression that a fiendish
plot to blow up the Emperor and the Crowned Heads of
Germany was hatched in England, and was only stopped
just in time by the vigilance of the police. Indeed, I
believe that red-capped, spectacled functionary received the
Iron Cross for his share in the discovery. I cannot say
for certain. What I do know is that the ruffians, and all
te cdjunablutcib 1lIot. 57
the prison officials, and railway officials, and police, and
the assistants of the professors who examined and reported
on my plum pudding demanded tips and Christmas-boxes
for what they had done, and I did not return to England
without having spent three times the amount in largesses
that it would have cost me had I stayed at home. As for
the plum pudding, I never got it back. Nor did my
children get it. It was returned for the police to examine
and observe on.
Also:-when the history of the g1th century comes to be
written, especially the history of the German Empire in
this century, the story of the Schnabelweid Plot will be
narrated-but without an explanation.
woo woe Caught tBe Uoffber,
OUR CHRISTMAS AT IVY COURT.
BY ETHEL M. WILMOT-BUXTON.
o NE Christmas time, when my twin brother Ted
and myself were between ten and eleven years
old, we went with our little sister May to spend
the holidays at Ivy Court, where grandfather
lived, with two of our aunts.
To us boys, who lived in smoky London all the year
round, Ivy Court was a perfect region of delight. Such
rosy apples and great brown pears piled up in the fruit-
room, in which we were free to roam as we pleased. Such
jolly puppies and frisky colts to delight our boyish hearts!
The low rambling house itself was the very picture of
comfort, with its winding passages, deep curtained recesses,
and arched ceilings, over which the huge log-fire threw a
pleasant light-so different from our high, prim London
1ob toWe Eaug~it tl) ~ obbtr. 59
home-and we thoroughly delighted in the broad oak
balustrades, down which we could slide twenty times a
day, without nurse's interference.
There were some little girl cousins staying there besides,
but as we were the only boys, we thought, at first, we
should be dull among so many girls and women. But
Aunt Mary was so kind that we soon changed our opinion,
while as for Aunt Bessie, she was ready for any fun, and
could play blind-man's-buff, or hide-and-seek almost as well
as a boy. Grandfather, too, was what our big schoolboy
brother Dick would call a regular brick," and loved a
joke almost as well as we did, as long as it was kept within
I fear Ted and I were a pair of young scamps, for we
got into scraps all day long, though it was very seldom we
heard a cross word on account of them; even when Ted
rode grandfather's kicking horse round the field, and was
thrown off into the midst of the duck-pond, or when I
scrambled up the great old chimney in the hall, as a means
of gaining the roof, where Ted had thrown my ball, and
from whence I emerged as black as a Christy Minstrel !
But our greatest deed of valour was that connected with
The Robber That was something to be proud of, I can
tell you, whatever other people might say, and this was
how it all came about.
It was Christmas Eve-a regular old-fashioned Christmas,
60 Wotu Wue Caugbt tte Uobbrr-.
such as we seldom get now, with deep snow on the ground,
and such countless white flakes still falling, that the girls
clustered at the play-room window, began to play at their
favourite game of "snow-fairies," and to watch for the
finest flake of all, which they called the snow-queen."
Now Ted and I thought ourselves too old for this game,
for we knew it was all nonsense about the fairies, and could
repeat the page in the geography book, beginning Snow
is frozen mist or vapour," almost by heart. So we went
down into the great kitchen, where everyone was busy
making the puddings for Christmas Day, and offered to
stone the raisins. But cook soon found that for every two
we stoned, one at least was popped into our mouths, and
so refused the aid of our services any longer. Rather
abashed, we retired into the drawing-room, where the
aunties were working, and grandfather reading his news-
paper by the firelight.
Just as we entered, we heard him say,
It's quite astonishing to read of the number of house
robberies there have been lately round these parts. I
should fancy there must be a gang of thieves about."
Oh dear, I hope they won't come here again," said
Why, grandfather, has this house ever been robbed ?"
we asked, highly interested.
"They attempted it, many years ago," answered grand-
ot to e taught the aobber. 61
father. "I heard something moving about downstairs,
and when I went down I found one of the fellows trying
to drag a heavy bag through the window. He dropped it
at once and ran off as soon as he saw me, and I never had
the pleasure of seeing him again."
"Oh, that was a very stupid robbery," I said. "You
ought to have had pistols and lanterns and masks, and he
ought to have been shot, or else have shot you, grandfather."
I think it was quite bad enough as it was," laughed
Aunt Bessie. "They came after the silver racing-cups
kept on the pantry sideboard, and I wish they were locked
up and out of the way of temptation."
"What fun if they came again," said Ted. "Gerrie
and I could catch them, I know. I do hope they will, and
then we could try."
You would not do anything of the kind," said grand-
father, laughing. "You would put your heads under the
clothes and keep warm and safe in bed, the best place
Ted and I were very indignant at this, and though we
said no more, we longed heartily for a chance to show
grandfather what we could do in time of need.
Nothing else but robbers was thought about by us all
the evening, and when bedtime came we sat up in bed and
talked over exactly what we should do if the house really
was attacked by thieves. We even acted it to make quite
62 %otio ie Eaugbt the Loabber.
sure, so I used my bolster as a club, and while Ted pre-
tended to rob my box, I knocked him down with such a
fearful crash, that Aunt Bessie came running up to know
what was the matter. Finding us apparently sound asleep,
however, she went down again, and we, feeling rather tired
of the subject by that time, were soon in Dreamland.
I did not seem to have been asleep for long when I awoke
with that strange, indescribable feeling that something-I
knew not what-had awaked me. What could it have
been? I wondered, as I sat up in bed and listened, and
then crept to the door and opened it. All was silent for a
minute, and then the great clock on the staircase struck
three with a most terrific noise, that seemed ever so much
louder than in the daytime.
Why, it's Christmas Day," I said to myself. What
a long time I must have been asleep."
Scarcely had the hollow clang seemed to sound, when I
heard a muffled footstep moving stealthily below. In a
moment the remembrance of the robbers flashed across me,
and I rushed over to Ted and awoke him, whispering,
"Teddie, the robbers are here. Oh, do be quick, and let's
go down and see what they're about before grandfather or
anyone hears them."
The word robbers was like magic in Ted's sleepy ear-
he was out of bed in a moment, and, only waiting to slip
on our stockings, we crept downstairs. We had not
o~a hiCt Caug)t tblt robber. 63
reached the bottom of the staircase-and oh! how those
stairs did creak !-when we saw the reflection of a light of
some sort below, and distinctly heard footsteps cautiously
A faint idea that it would be our wisest plan to call
grandfather, who slept quite the other side of the house,
crossed my mind; but Ted was very bold indeed, and said
it would spoil all the fun if we did not manage it entirely
by ourselves, though how we were to manage it we had
neither of us the slightest idea. Suddenly Ted exclaimed,
in an excited whisper,
See, Gerrie, he's in the pantry-after the silver, of
course. I'll tell you what we'll do. Let's rush forward
suddenly, bang the pantry door and bolt it on him. The
window is too small for him to get out of, and we shall
have him safe till morning."
I instantly agreed to this brilliant idea, and forthwith we
proceeded into the passage, from whence I caught a
glimpse of a big, burly figure bending over the sideboard.
I drew back, considerably alarmed, but Ted exclaimed
Make a rush for it, Gerrie And so, dashing down
the passage, we had the door shut and bolted in the
twinkling of an eye, and then, to make quite sure of him,
we locked and bolted the heavy swing door leading into
the pantry passage. Then we stopped to take breath,
64 ioto lue Caugljt tfir robber.
while the robber, whom intense astonishment had evidently
kept silent hitherto, commenced to kick at the door, rattle
the lock, and shout at the top of his voice, though actual
words were indistinguishable through the thick oak doors.
What a fearful noise he is making! I said, listening
awestruck. Suppose he should break out "
Oh, he can't do that," rejoined my brother. I think
we've managed it splendidly, and all we have to do now is
to send for a policeman in the morning to take him off to
prison. I should think grandfather ought to be very much
obliged to us."
At this moment we heard Aunt Bessie call from the top
of the stairs to know what we were doing down there, and
what all the noise was about.
While I related our exciting adventure to the horrified
aunts and gardener, Ted ran to call grandfather, who had
not appeared. What was our surprise when he returned
with the news that grandfather's room was empty, and no
sign of him there We were greatly puzzled at this, till
the gardener (who slept in the house), suggested that, as the
passage window was open, he must have gone in pursuit
of the thieves, or to get someone to help, without knowing
of the robber we had so cleverly captured.
Aunt Mary was terribly frightened at the idea of being
alone in the house with a robber, even though he was so
securely imprisoned, and wished heartily that grandfather
oito Wot Clautght thle robber. 65
would return. A fire was lighted, and we sat round it,
waiting anxiously for morning to come, for bed was out of
All this time the robber's fury, as shown by his kicks
and shouts, had been increasing, till the whole house
resounded with them. When at last they ceased, Aunt
Mary at once concluded that he had escaped, and was
only satisfied when, on our going downstairs with the
gardener and banging at the door, the kicks and shouts
At length, about six o'clock, as grandfather did not
return, Owen, the gardener, left the house to get some
men to help capture the robber. After awhile, he returned
with a policeman and two farm-labourers, who advanced
into the passage, Ted and I watching from a little distance.
Directly he heard footsteps and voices, the robber began
to shout and kick again, and the men looked quite pale at
the idea of being so near him.
He be terrible fierce," we heard one of them say, as
Owen directed the policeman to rush forward and hold
him the minute he opened the door.
Slowly he shot back the bolt, watched intently by us, the
door was pushed open, the policeman darted forward, and
then staggered back as though he had been shot, as out
walked grandfather !
Our horror and astonishment at this scene was too great
66 lofo tue Caugbt the Raobbtr.
to be described-we stood as if turned into stone, and
stared blankly at him, till Ted gasped out-
Where's the robber, grandfather ?"
"What robber, Edward ? demanded grandfather,
The-the one we locked up," Ted stammered; and
then I cried-
Was it you all the time, grandfather ? Oh, how awful!"
Grandfather tried to look grim, but a merry twinkle came
into his eyes as he asked-
What did you mean, sir, by coming down and locking
me up in my own pantry ? May I not walk about my own
house at night without your interference?" and then,
apparently struck by the absurdity of the whole thing, he
broke into a shout of laughter, in which we joined, much
relieved in mind.
Soon after, the whole affair, still very puzzling to us, was
explained. Grandfather had been lying awake in the middle
of the night, when he remembered that he had forgotten
to see that the passage window was bolted at bedtime. I
suppose the idea of robbers was almost as much in his
mind as in ours, for he determined to go downstairs and
see that all was put right. He found the passage window
had been left wide open, and afraid lest anyone had made
their way in and stolen the silver, he went into the pantry
to see that all was safe.
?lou ioe iCaugl)t tbe t obbtr. 67
It was then that we saw his light and heard him groping,
and in a minute or two more, to his intense astonishment,
he was securely bolted in, all his cries and shouts being
unheeded and quite unheard through the thick oak doors.
And now that all was safe once more, how dreadfully we
were teazed about our deed of valour. We heard about
hardly anything else all the rest of the holidays.
Not that we minded in the least, for, as we told them all,
it only showed that we could do the right thing if really
needed, and very highly indeed we thought of our courage.
Jack the Giant Killer, and even our favourite, the Black
Prince, were nowhere beside us, in our own estimation
and little May's!
As for grandfather, the last thing we heard from him as
we returned to London, after our merry Christmas holi-
days, was a promise to send for Ted and myself if there
was ever any likelihood of another encounter with a
Koat, *tolen, or ktraptf.
AN EXPERIENCE FROM Two POINTS OF VIEW.
BY MRS. MOLESWORTH,
AUTHOR OF "CARROTS," "THE PALACE IN THE GARDEN,"
FOUR WINDS FARM," &C.
E had brought him from France with us. How
well I remember the day Evie carried him home
from the old lady's where she had gone to
fetch him He was scarcely more than a puppy, but not
at all a puppy of the long-legged, tumbling-about kind.
No, indeed, he looked like nothing more nor less than a
ball of floss-silk, of lovely, fluffy, curly floss-silk, of a pale,
He's awfully pretty, Evie," we all exclaimed, and Evie
looked as proud as anything.
Yes," she said, he's a perfect beauty, and so clever,
ILoEt, Ptolen, or Otravue. 69
and so affectionate. He knows me quite well already,
and quite understands I'm his mistress."
Well, as for that," said Ben, who is rather of a contrary
turn of mind-he always pokes out the reasons why things
shouldn't be as they seem, or as other people think they
are-" as for that, I should think his being such good
friends is a sign that he's rather stupid, and not very
affectionate. If he was, he'd be quite unhappy at having
left his old home."
But his old home wasn't half as nice as this. The old
lady wasn't half as good to him as I'm going to be-the
darling," and Evie hugged him in a way that a less easy-
tempered dog wouldn't have stood.
For Ch6ri-that was his proper, original name-is a
very easy-tempered dog, that much I must say for him;
and I suppose I must allow that he is also affectionate,
though for my part, I like a more particular kind of
affection. Ch6ri will make friends with anybody that's
kind to him, only perhaps that's because he's stupid, for
he is stupid, there's no denying it, and I'm sure when you
have heard all that happened to him, you will think so too.
Except about Evie-he is sensible about understanding
she's his mistress, and he really does know when she's
going away and can't take him with her. He looks per-
fectly miserable when he sees the trunks being carried
down to her room, only I can't allow to Evie that I
70 L~at, Stoln,, or Atrauyt.
think he understands, for she's as conceited about him as
can be. She makes out he's the most intelligent dog that
ever lived. How she can I can't think, for she knows she
has spent months in trying to teach him a trick, and at
the end he was no nearer it than at the beginning. And
about his name, he'll answer to anything. We tried him
one day for fun, and he came trotting to us when we called
"Gambetta," or Bismarck," or Mahdi," just as con-
tentedly as when we called Ch6ri," and it has ended in
his having a dozen names-whatever comes handiest
does just as well. "Toby," or "Dou-dou," or any rub-
bish-he doesn't mind, not he. Lately, Evie has taken
to calling him "Billy," and he is quite pleased, and if
that doesn't show that he's stupid, I don't know what
All the same, we're very fond of him, for his own sake
as well as for Evie's, and last week we really were very,
very unhappy indeed about him.
It was one evening at dinner-time. Ch6ri had been up
with us in the drawing-room, reposing on the rug, of course,
as usual, for he spends certainly seven-eighths of his life
in sleeping, and when we went down to dinner Evie never
doubted but that the darling had come down with her,
and was comfortably curled up under the table. When
we all got up from our seats it suddenly struck her that
Billy wasn't there. But she didn't feel frightened.
Last, 4to[ln, or -travpt. 71
"He will have gone up to the drawing-room again,"
she said. The dear fellow does so like the rug."
Up to the drawing-room she hurried, we all following
her. But no-not a trace of Ch6ri was there. Evie's face
"Where can he be ? she cried. And all over the house
one heard her voice, Ch6ri, Chdri, Billy, my pet. Dou-
dou, old boy, where are you ? sounding as if half-a-dozen
dogs instead of one were missing. It was really rather
absurd, but we began to feel so sorry for her that we
Suddenly appeared the footman, James, with a frightened
face. If you please, miss," he said, "I'm afraid as doggie's
been out in the street and got off someway. I just be-
thought me that when you all came down to dinner the
front door was a bit open. There was a boy with a
message waiting, and doggie maybe got out."
I must tell you that "Doggie was another of Ch6ri's
names. It vexed Evie to hear him called Cherry," and
she had in vain tried to teach James the proper pronun-
ciation, so he had taken refuge in Doggie."
Evie's face grew very pale.
Out in the street! she exclaimed. Then a gleam
came into her eyes. He'll be sitting on the doorstep
waiting to be let in; he's far too sensible to run away,"
she said, and off she set downstairs again.
72 RLost, Stolen, or Dtrages.
But No, miss, he's not there," James called after her.
" I opened the door and called to him before I told you,
but I could see nothing of him."
Evie was at the door herself by this time, and in another
moment out in the street, Ben close behind her. We were
none of us very frightened as yet. Ch6ri had been known
on one or two occasions to trot to the end of our row of
houses and back again, and once he had sat on the door-
step of another house, whining, till a kind old lady had
looked out, and seeing him, had herself brought him home.
But it was dark now-that did make it worse.
Evie and Ben rushed back again in a minute or two.
Evie did not speak, but Ben shook his head.
Get a shawl, or a jacket, or something," said mother.
She knew it was no use telling Evie to come in and not
look for Billy any more. I ran upstairs for Evie's cloak
and hat and my own; one or two of the servants had
come up from the kitchen by this time, mother herself had
wrapped something round her, and in another minute
nearly the whole household had turned out. Our street is
a very quiet one, in the evening especially so. You could
see anyone coming along some way off, and even a dog or
a cat showed clearly, for it was a fine night, and the lamps,
of course, were all lighted. Up and down in various direc-
tions we wandered-Ben and the footman one way, Evie
and our German maid Thecla another, mamma and I
Raot, 44toln, or tvtraptb. 73
a third; all to meet again in a few minutes, shaking our
heads and looking more and more doleful.
He's nowhere in this 'ere street, that's certing," said
Nor in Suffolk Square," said Ben. Suffolk Square is
a big place out of which our street runs.
He's never wandered so far before," I said.
He has erred himself, quite sure he has erred himself,
when only he is not stoled," said Thecla.
Suddenly a slow tramp was heard approaching.
"The policeman Let's ask the policeman," cried Ben,
rushing across the street as he spoke.
Mr. Policeman listened most amiably to our tale of woe.
Have you enquired at the neighbours ? he asked.
Oh yes "-Evie had rung herself at several doors. The
very next door servants had a confused story to relate of a
man having rung at their area bell to ask if they had lost
a dog, but not having a dog of their own, it had never
occurred to them to think it might be ours.
Oh, how stupid of them," I exclaimed. Now, very
likely, the man's stolen him."
But Hexcuse me, miss," said our new friend, "that's
not very likely. No dog-stealer would have rung at a
house to ask if he belonged there."
No, that's true," said Evie. But her voice sounded
dreadfully sad. Poor Evie, we were so sorry for her.
74 eait, Stolen, or Strapel.
"Perhaps the man's taken Ch6ri home, out of kind-
ness," I suggested, and he'd bring him back if he knew
he was ours."
We must advertise him," exclaimed mamma.
You'd best give notice at the police station," said our
adviser. The sooner that's done the better."
I'll go at once," said James, and off he started.
Mamma tried to persuade us all to come in, but it was
no use. Ben and Thecla and I set off for another ramble,
and mamma and Evie moved towards home. Evie seemed
to have no spirit left.
Just as we were coming back, a few minutes later, it
struck me that perhaps Evie had not asked at the houses
a little lower down.
Let's ring at one or two," I said. It'll do no harm,
and the more people that know about it the better."
So we did. The servants who opened were all very
civil, and seemed very sorry for us. One young footman
in particular listened most attentively to our description.
"There was such a dog here earlier in the evening," he
replied, thoughtfully; "he was a whining on the doorstep
for some time, and at last I opened and started him away,
and a few minutes after he was down at the kitchen door
a trying' if he couldn't get in there."
Poor darling Ch6ri Fancy him condescending to try
the kitchen door-he, with his refined habits He must
lost, Atolen, or 4trauob. 75
indeed have been sorely troubled before he would do such
I'll be sure and let you know if I hears any more of
him," continued the footman, and with that crumb of
comfort we had to be content.
What a miserable night we spent I don't believe one
of us slept more than half-an-hour or so at a time; I
didn't, I know; and by a most disagreeable coincidence,
a dog in the neighbourhood barked loudly the whole night
-a thing that had never happened before. It did not
sound the least like Ch6ri's bark; but still, after trying not
to hear it for some time, I could stand it no longer. It
might be Ch6ri, I thought; anguish might have changed
his voice, there was no saying. So I got out of bed, and
crept across the passage to Evie's room. She was awake,
Is that you, Dolly ?" she said. Oh, have you heard
that dog ? Could it be Billy ?"
We stole downstairs together. How queer and cold and
unreal it seemed; so silent, too, save for that melancholy
barking every moment or two. It came nearer now.
It must be close to-yes, just outside our door," Evie
exclaimed. Oh, Dolly, can it be Ch6ri ?"
We fumbled at the locks and bolts, and at last got them
undone. There was a dog on the steps, sure enough, but
Billy, no, indeed I This creature was a short-haired,
76 Lorft, stolen, or tragWb.
demoniacal-looking, black dog, who turned when he heard
us with a sort of snarling growl, as if in mockery of our disap-
pointment; perhaps, poor wretch, it was only hunger and
misery. We slammed the door to again, in a sort of rage.
I knew it wasn't Billy's bark," I said; but it is awfully
queer that that creature should choose to wake us up and
sit howling at our door to-night, of all nights. He never
did it before."
Poor Evie looked positively scared.
It's as if it was an imp come to tantalize us," she said.
"Oh, Dolly, I'm afraid it's a bad omen "
After this I think we did get some sleep, still we were
again awake very, very early. And as soon as mamma
would let her, Evie set off with Thecla to the police-station,
to see if there was any news, and to enquire about how to
have posters printed offering a reward for the darling's
They were away a good while, and came back looking
tired and depressed. Still a smile broke over Evie's face,
as in the middle of relating how they had had to wait,
then to walk such a way to the place where they printed
posters, and how the police said it might be several days
before we heard anything, she suddenly interrupted
Oh, Dolly," she exclaimed, What a goose James is !
Do you know how he described Billy to the police ? My
Lost, ;toltn, or ttrave_. 77
sweet, silky, curly, flossy Billy-he said he was a 'lop-
eared poodle '"
We couldn't help laughing; but the laugh soon faded
away. Evie's face grew sadder and sadder.
I'm losing all hope, Dolly," she said, broken-heartedly.
" Up to this morning I did hope, but every hour that goes
by makes it worse. No, no, I shall never see my darling
Billy again "
Poor Evie She sat there crying quietly. She was too
tired to be anything but quiet now, but I felt even more
sorry for her than the evening before, when she was so
restless and excited, and determined not to believe he was
Darling Evie," I said, and I sat down on the floor
beside her and we cried together.
"To think of him," she said, of his pretty ways.
How loving he was, and how clever. Do you remember,
Dolly, how he sat at the top of the last flight of stairs and
wouldn't come down till I gave him leave ? "
Yes," I agreed mournfully. It was the one trick Evie
had ever succeeded in teaching him, for, as I have said,
nobody but Evie ever imagined Cheri was the least in-
telligent But of course I could not hurt her now by
saying so. So we just sat and cried quietly.
Just then the area bell rang. We never notice the area
bell, of course ; it is always milkmen, or bakers, or green-
78 LoUt, stolen, or Atragtl.
grocers, who ring it. But a minute or so after it rang I
heard a faint sort of bustle-I felt it somehow. I think it
came up through the floor, for we were sitting in the
school-room above the kitchen. I seemed all ears, and
held my breath in a sort of strange waiting. Evie caught
sight of my face.
Dolly," she whispered, what is it ?" and her big
blue eyes grew twice as big as usual.
I did not answer-there was a sound at the door-
Thecla's face peeped in.
Frafilein Eva," she said, "oh, Frafilein Eva, der liebe
Then a dash, a scamper, a sort of rush of joy seemed to
burst into the room, and oh, just fancy, it was Ch6ri. He
made straight for Evie. I must do him the justice to
allow that he did not hesitate for half a second, but flung
himself upon her, his curly, fluffy little body all quivering
and fluttering, his funny feathery tail nearly wagging itself
off-he was in a perfect whirl, so that we could scarcely
distinguish which was which of him-head, or tail, or ears,
or anything, and Evie was speechless with delight, though
the tears were running down her face.
Where had he been ? It was a very queer story, and
we have never been quite able to understand it. It was
that footman some doors off who had found him for us.
It seems that "thinking it over" after we had told him
Xont, Aatolzn, or Abtraptla. 79
about Billy's being lost, he remembered that just about
the time he had heard the poor doggie "a whining" at
the door, he had seen a washerwoman's cart in the street.
It was a washerwoman he knew, and it had struck him
that possibly Billy had taken refuge with her. So off he
had gone the next morning to enquire, and there, sure
enough, he found him.
Was he very miserable ? Had he whined and cried
all night," asked Evie.
But the footman smiled. No, miss," he replied, He
seemed very much at 'ome; he was a laying there before
the fire as "'appy as a king."
The little heartless wretch," I cried. But Evie only
hugged him the more.
He has such a sweet disposition," she said. "He
can't help being nice to people when they are nice to him.
But of course he was missing me dreadfully all the time. I
know he was; weren't you, Billy darling ? "
And Billy wagged his tail harder than ever, and of
course Evie was satisfied that he meant "Yes."
We never quite understood why the washerwoman had
taken him off in her cart. Evie was inclined to think she
had meant to steal him-but then Evie thinks that every-
body who sees Chdri wants to steal him For my part I
think it much more likely that the poor woman only took
him off out of kindness, thinking him a strayed dog who
80 Roat, stolen, or 4trapet.
couldn't find his home, which indeed, though his home
was only two or three doors off, the little stupid was!
Anyway I do hope with all my heart that Cheri will
never be lost again, for I'm quite sure that a second
edition of the agonies we went through on his account
would turn my hair grey, not to speak of Evie's.
'VE heard it all. Dolly has read it aloud to my
dear mistress, and I was lying on the rug, and
they thought I was asleep, but I wasn't. I
listened-I heard it, every bit of it And all I can say
is, that the stupidity of human beings is something really
I am stupid! Eh, Miss Dolly? Evie has never been
able to teach me tricks, indeed No, I daresay not. Do
you really think that a dog of any intelligence, any self-
respect, would condescend to be made a buffoon of, as if
he belonged to a travelling menagerie, or a Punch and
Judy show ? It has gone to my heart sometimes, to have
to refuse to learn, when I saw that poor Evie had set her
heart upon it, so I gave in to the extent of one trick, trust-
ing to her good sense to understand that it was not want
of "intelligence which stood in the way, but a proper
3Laot, Atolen, or -trapy~. 81
conviction of what was due to myself, to my own dignity,
and indirectly, of course, to her, poor dear, as my mis-
tress. And she in her heart appreciates my motives, I do
But oh how stupid other people are! That Dolly-
imagining that I did not know the house the other evening,
and that I went and whined at the door of number 99, by
mistake! What a silly the child is-of course I went to
number 99. I have a friend there-an old Skye, whom I
have often met and had a chat with about things in general,
and he had asked me to look in the first evening I could
manage it. That was what I went out for. With all my
regard for Evie I really felt it was time to assert myself a
little; her affection blinds her to facts. I am no longer a
puppy. I cannot spend my life tied, so to speak, to the poor
dear's apron strings. So that evening, when I found the
door open, it just flashed across my mind that here would
be a good opportunity. I trotted down the street. There
was no hurry about my friend at 99. I wished to look
about me a little, as any intelligent dog might wish to do.
It was cold, however, very cold, and my organization is
sensitive to cold.
"I'll just look in at 99," I thought to myself, "and if
old Fido is engaged-taking a nap, perhaps-I can pay
my call another day," for of course I know manners," as
that pickle of a Ben, Evie's brother, says. But dear me-
82 XLost, stolen, or -traupe.
the stupidity of human beings I was proceeding calmly
on my way when a great fool of a fellow coming along
with a parcel under his arm suddenly catches sight of me.
Bless my soul," he exclaims, a lost dog, as sure as
fate. Poor little fellow-he'll fall into bad hands, maybe.
Here doggie," and oh, how I do detest to be called doggie "
(by-the-bye, imagine that foolish Dolly giving as a proof
of my want of intelligence my readiness to answer to other
names than my proper one It is a proof the opposite
way, you silly child. I distinguish at once if it is I that
am addressed, and I give in to the little weaknesses of
those I live with. What is a name ? What does it matter
to me what I am called, if it amuses them ? I'd like to see
Dolly running at once if her mother and sister began
shouting for her as Arabella, or Anna Maria, or Dowsabel !
Always excepting "doggie," there I make a stand).
" Here, doggie," repeated the odious young man, come
along, old fellow," and before I knew where I was he had
picked me up under his arm alongside of the parcel which
smelt-ugh-of corduroy It must have been a new pair
of trowsers he'd been buying. I struggled and growled,
but he was too dense to understand, and what must he do
next but ring at the kitchen door of the very next house to
ours, and enquire if they'd lost a dog !
They have no dog next door, but they have a very
handsome and really gentlemanlike Persian cat, called
XLoqt, stolin, or Itranie. 83
Tom. We are on fairly good terms, Tom and I, though
not of course more than passing acquaintances, but I
should have felt considerably annoyed had he caught sight
of me in my present ignominious position; he who is free
to go out and in as he chooses, while I can't stroll for five
minutes without being picked up like a baby and told I
am a lost dog So I squeezed myself under his arm to
prevent the pert kitchen-maid recognizing me, and I was
quite pleased when she snapped out "No, we don't hold
with dogs. He's none of ours," and banged the gate in
"Now then," he said, "what's to be done with you?
I say, what's that, you ungrateful little brute ? "
That was a snap I made at him, I am happy to think
with some effect, for he dropped me as if I were a hot coal,
and I, taking instant advantage of my freedom, trotted off
in the direction of 99.
Fido was not to be seen, though he had often told me
he was in the habit of taking the air on the doorstep of an
evening. It was annoying, for the bells are placed so
ridiculously high that for us they are practically, useless.
It is all a part, of course, of the system, the parti-pris "
to keep us, so to say, in the nursery. There was nothing
for it but to scratch and what they call "whine," though
were human beings a quarter as quick in understanding
our language as we are about theirs, anyone could have
84 Xo0t, -Fatolen, or 4traVtib.
distinguished the words, Is Mr. Fido at home ? A word
with him if you please."
I scratched, and I suppose I must say "whined," till a
footman opened. But of course he did not understand.
"Off with you. You've mistook your door," he said,
I looked at him.
Great donkey," I said, but it was no use arguing. I
trotted downstairs to the basement, but could see nothing
of Fido. When I got up to the street again I noticed a
cart before the door. A fat, comfortable-looking woman
was just getting into it, when suddenly her eyes fell
"A strayed dog," she exclaimed, and a little beauty,
too. Well, my fine fellow? Deary me, how known' he
is to be sure-he'd soon tell me all about it if only he
could speak! Wouldn't our Prince be pleased to see
him if I took him home with me ? Eh, what, my beauty,
you'd like to come, would you ? Doesn't his tail say it as
plain as words? It'd maybe save him from them dog-
It was quite true. I had suddenly made up my mind
that I would like to go home with the good woman. I
had taken quite a fancy to her, and really I felt it was time
I should have a little variety. There is such a thing as
too much giving-in, even to the best of mistresses.
RLot, Jtolen, or .trapeb. 85
Yes, my good friend," I replied in my own way, "I
accept your invitation with pleasure."
She was very conscientious, poor body. She glanced up
and down the street to see if anyone was looking for me,
but no one was to be seen.
It's plain he's strayed away," she said, and so at last
she picked me up and put me in the cart among the
baskets of clothes and drove off.
I spent a pleasant evening-it is true the good woman's
hearthrug was not quite so soft and furry as the one in our
own drawing-room, and I missed, too, Evie's mother's
long velvet skirt, which is really a pleasant resting-place.
But my new friends did their best to make me comfortable,
and I found Mr. Prince a dog of some intelligence and
becoming modesty. We talked over things, and he was
much delighted to hear my views on various questions-
on the most important points of the great rights of dogs "
discussion we were quite of accord. I slept well and
enjoyed my breakfast, even though I had had a good
supper, which quite decided me that one meal in the
twenty-four hours is not enough, as Evie imagines--and I
was making up my mind to spend another day or two with
my hospitable friends when an unexpected event occurred.
A knock came to the door, and to my surprise I heard
the voice of my friend Fido's footman.
Mrs. Evans," he said, I've come to ask if you happen
86 ?oat, stolen, or Atraptu.
to know anything of a dog as has strayed from his 'ome
in our street."
Mrs. Evans threw up her hands, and a long talk followed.
The good woman congratulated herself on her cleverness
in having brought me away and kept me safe, as if I had
not voluntarily accompanied her-but there, we must
make allowance. And the young man was equally de-
lighted with himself.
I looked at Prince and Prince looked at me.
Shall you go ? he said.
Upon my word," I replied, I hardly think so. I am
in no hurry."
But just then I caught what the footman was saying.
Yes, ma'am, he belongs to some young ladies a few
doors off. Nice, pretty-spoken young ladies they are, and
my goodness, aren't they in a taking about this 'ere little
beggar ? The eldest has been a-cryin' her eyes out, I
could see plain enough."
I have a good heart-a heart of gold. My Evie crying
her eyes out It was too much. I leapt to my feet and
approached the man in a friendly, yet dignified, manner.
I will return with you," I said, ignoring the disrespectful
manner in which he had spoken of me. Let us set off
at once. Good morning and many thanks, my good Mrs.
Evans. 'Au revoir, Prince, A bient6t.'" I have not for-
gotten my French. And off we set.
ELo tt, .toleu, or tract. 87
The meeting was touching, really touching. I could not
stand upon my dignity when I saw those poor children
looking so pale and woe-begone. My generous nature
forgot everything but their distress.
All the same, I quite intend-some day-to look in for
a chat with Prince again, though, since I made the journey
by daylight in the footman's arms, I am-well, not quite
sure that I could find the way !
BY CHARLOTTE M. YONGE.
I AM going to tell you a story that was told to me
by an old lady, of her own nursery days-quite
a hundred years ago.
I won't call her by her real name, for when
she told me about it, she said, Never tell who
it happened to so I will call her Mary.
You have, I daresay, known what it is to wake up on
a light summer morning, long before anybody else, when
the sunshine is all trying to get in, and shewing bright
lines through the joins of the shutters, and doing what the
maids call raising the dust, that is, making long beams of
bright dancing motes sloping down to the floor. It is not
that the sunshine brings them, but that it shews them,
you know. They are all there before, as they are all over
the room, but we do not see them except in the strong
furSt's 3ochet. 89
gleam. It is just as we don't see our faults except in the
strong light of God's Grace.
Well, I did not mean to go on upon that, but to tell you
that a hundred years ago little girls woke early, and light
shone in, just as they do now.
The nursery was most likely much more bare than yours
is, though there would be only one for sleeping and living
in-not gay paper on the walls, but wooden wainscot
painted white, bare boards, and a hearthrug and strips of
worn-out carpet by the beds.
There would be a big cupboard in the wall for clothes,
and most likely deep window seats with tops that opened,
and were called lockers, and there lived the toys-not so
very many of them.
There would be a big wooden doll, with leather arms
and painted cheeks, no nose and no legs, only that'last
loss was little felt under her petticoats ; also two or three
Dutch dolls, much more nicely jointed and painted than
they are now; and a wooden horse, a block of wood on
four legs, with a thin neck, painted black, spotted all over
with big round white lozenges. Once he had a mane and
tail, but they had gone after the doll's legs.
If Mary could have got at either of these treasures it
would have been all very well, but she durst not move out
of the little bed where she slept by nurse's. Hers was a
crib, a sort of cage of wooden bars, open at the top only,
90 ourge'g @orhtrt.
and standing on four posts. Nurse slept in a press bed,
which was folded up by day and looked like a chest of
And Mary knew full well that if she tried to scramble
out her little bare feet would hardly touch the floor before
she would hear, Miss Mary, you naughty child, get back
into bed and go to sleep this moment," and perhaps if she
made any delay she should feel a great pinch and shake of
the shoulder, which would hurt all the more with nothing
between but the nightdress.
So Mary looked about very wide awake indeed for some
amusement, and presently she spied nurse's pockets.
Now in those days, pockets were not made in the petti-
coat or gown. They were separate things, made of jean,
or some strong material, and fastened to a band going
round the waist. Some people wore one on each side, and
they were beautifully stitched all round so as to prevent
holes from coming in them.
Mary was sure of finding something to look at in nurse's
pocket, and she carefully drew it to her.
First, out came a clean white handkerchief, then a red
leather housewife, a thing lined with flannel and rolled
up, where nurse kept her scissors, and thimble, and
needles, next a fat heart-shaped green silk pincushion,
stuck with pins, and after that the end of a wax candle,
with lines all over it, where nurse had waxed her thread.
fjur^tsle Jochtt. 91
There might be some amusement in taking out the pins
and sticking them in a different pattern, especially if there
were any soldier pins.
Soldier pins do not seem to be made now. They were
needles whose eyes had been broken and then had had
lumps of red sealing wax put on their heads. They were
so sharp as to be very useful for putting in to mark places
in needlework, but they needed careful handling, for they
broke easily and pricked dreadfully, and Mary was just a
little afraid of them, so she looked a little further, and
this time she found wrapped up in paper a stick of
liquorice. It was the last article that came out, for nurse
kept her money and her greater valuables in her left
pocket, which was not so easy to get at.
All this time Mary knew she was doing what nurse would
not like, and not beginning the day like a good child, but
still she had gone no further than being a Meddlesome
Matty, and no great harm was done. But when we begin
with a little ought not," it often leads the way to a much
larger "ought not," and the next thing Mary did was
to put her little red tongue to the end of the stick of
The first lick tasted rather nice, but the second was not
half so pleasant, and she laid it down in a hurry, and
began to put the other things back. As she finished, she
saw that where the wetted end of the liquorice had
92 turget'; 3Taocet.
touched the sheet, it had made a reddish purple dot, which
she thought so pretty that she made another; and then
there came into her head to do what her grandmother
sometimes did with a pencil and paper to amuse her, thus--
with the story going on as she drew-" There was an old
lady, and she had a little house"-here grandmama drew
a three-cornered thing, with the point downwards-" it
had two chimneys "-these were set up on the top of the
house-" two windows "-(dots above, within the triangle)
-" Then came the door"--just at the point. "Next the
old lady had a garden, with a hedge going round in a
curling line, and a nice long walk up to the door"-this was
a double line going from the door to nearly the end of the
garden-" and so the poor old woman's garden was turned
into a cat." So grandmama always ended her tale.
It was a tale in both ways, for the walk was the cat's
tail, and really as she drew it, the house made pussy's face,
the chimneys were her ears, the windows and door, eyes
and mouth; the long curved hedge, the back; and alto-
gether it was not so very unlike a cat lying humped up.
But whether it was that liquorice would not draw as well
as pencil, or that Mary could not draw as well as grand-
mama, the cat would not come out properly-the back
would not curve, nor the tail touch the mouth, though
Mary tried three times over. At last she found that all
she could do with the liquorice, let her make it ever so
vttrel' Votfkct. 93
wet, was to make dots for doors and windows, and with
this she went on for some little time, with much amuse-
ment. At last, however, on laying her head back to look
at her work, it struck her that nurse might admire it less
than she did. Indeed, just then nurse drew a long breath
through her nose, and half turned round !
Mary was in a fright indeed !
However, nurse went off to sleep again, and the clock
struck one, two, three, four, five That fright had made
Mary see in a moment what a scolding she should have for
making such a mess. What should she do ? I don't
think you will believe it-I do not think I should if she
had not told me herself! Oh, the silly little girl !
She dived again into the pocket, and took out the house-
wife. Then from the inside of that she fished nurse's
scissors, and with them she cut out of the sheet, one by
one, each of the cats-or what were meant for cats-
and made the doors and windows real openings, and not
painted ones. She was growing rather tired, and at last
she went fast to sleep with her mouth open, the scissors
half open, a little finger in each of the bows, and the sheet
full of holes, and stained with liquorice, before her.
When she woke nurse was staring at the sheets. "The
rats the rats! she was saying. Have they got at the
dear child ? "
But the next moment she saw the pink fingers sticking