• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Advertising
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: 'Snug corner' series
Title: The holiday prize
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084215/00001
 Material Information
Title: The holiday prize a modern fairy tale
Series Title: 'Snug corner' series
Physical Description: 205, 19 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Adams, Ellinor Davenport
Skeaping, K. M. ( Illustrator )
Jarrold and Sons
Publisher: Jarrold & Sons
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Jarrold and Sons
Publication Date: 1896
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Selfishness -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Loyalty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Generosity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Chivalry -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Contests -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Ponies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Play -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Amusements -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Juvenile fiction -- England   ( lcsh )
Sponsors -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1896   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Norwich
England -- Yarmouth
 Notes
Summary: When her godchildren assemble for the summer holidays Miss Elizabeth offers a prize to the godson who should be the most perfect embodiment of a knight; the winner selects his prize which turns out to be a pony.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Statement of Responsibility: by Ellinor Davenport Adams ; illustrated by K.M. Skeaping.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084215
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002220917
notis - ALG1133
oclc - 233022990

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Half Title
        Page 3
    Frontispiece
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
    Advertising
        Page 6
    List of Illustrations
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Chapter I
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Chapter II
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    Chapter III
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    Chapter IV
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
    Chapter V
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
    Chapter VI
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
    Chapter VII
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
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        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
    Advertising
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
    Back Cover
        Page 225
        Page 226
    Spine
        Page 227
Full Text





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THE HOLIDAY PRIZE













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"Now, good Sir Eustace, all is over with youl "--. 39.


















THE

HOLIDAY

PRIZE

A Modern Fairy Tale

BY
Ellinor davenport 5kdams'
Author of
"Comrades True,"
The Disagreeable Duke,"
etc., etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY
KEAPING




I-fr -








LONDON: JARROLD & SONS, io & II, WARWICK LANE, E.C.
[All rights reserved]
r Raf






















THE 'SNUG CORNER' SERIES.

Crown 8vo, Art Linen, 3/6 each.
OUR LITTLE SUNBEAMS: STORIES FOR THE LITTLE ONES.
By ALICE F. JACKSON, Author of "Fairy Tales and True,"
The Doll's Dressmaker," &c. Illustrated by K. M. SKEAPING.

THE LITTLE MEN IN SCARLET, AND OTHER FAIRY
TALES. By FRANCES H. Low, Author of "Queen Victoria's
Dolls," &c. Illustrated by J. J. GUTHRIE.

THE HOLIDAY PRIZE: A MODERN FAIRY TALE. By
ELLINOR DAVENPORT ADAMS, Author of "Comrades True,"
"Colonel Russell's Baby," "Robin's Ride," &c. Illustrated by
K. M. SKEAPING.

Londn: JARROLD & SONS, so and ii, Warwick Lane, E.C.
And of all Booksellers.















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


"NOW, GOOD SIR EUSTACE, ALL IS OVER WITH
YOU !" Frontisfiece

WHILE HER MAID ARRANGED HER TRESSES


"THE DALESMAN'S LAMENT"

QUEEN OF YONDER SELFISH TROOP

TE BOWED LOW TO AMABEL

POETIC FERVOUR

4 DELICIOUS DOZE -

EMPTY HIS POCKETS WITH SPEED

I'YOU ARE BEWITCHED!" -

AND STILL THE MUSE WAS COY.-

"WHAT IS THE MATTER, AMABEL?"

"TO-MORROW SHE SHALL LIE IN A
DAY -


16

S 19

23

34

37
44

49

S 55
58

HAMMOCK ALL
65


INTO A NEIGHBORING BRAMBLE-BED

ONE AND ALL DECLINED LEMONADE

DOROTHY WAS BENDING EASILY OVER HER BAT

THE VICTORIOUS BALL WAS IN THE HANDS OF THE
WICKET-KEEPER -





8 LIST OF ILL US TRA TIONS.

PAGE
CECILY SHOWED EDMUND A LARGE BOX OF CHOCO-
LATE CREAMS 95

"DO TRY, DEAR FLORIAN, TO LOOK A LITTLE MORE
UNHAPPY! "- 99

WINIFRED WON EASILY lo6

HE TRAMPLED SAVAGELY AMONG THE NETTLES 109

HE EMBRACED HER AS FONDLY AS HIS CAPE AND
HOOD WOULD ALLOW HIM 115

EUSTACE STEPPED QUIETLY IN HER WAKE 121

THE TWO SISTERS OF MERCY STOLE QUIETLY OUT
OF THE COTTAGE 127

THE GIRLS' HATS BLEW OFF 33

THEY CARRIED LOADS OF FERNS 139

THEY PLAYED GAMES IN THE WOODS 148

UNPACKING THE BASKETS 153

LITTLE LYNETTE- 157

THEY PRESENTED A wtTURE 163

PULLING OFF SHOES AND HATS 170

BUT ALREADY A FIRM HAND GRASPED HIS COLLAR 173

'ONLY ONE GIRL.WOULD ADMIT IT" 185

"I MEAN TO KEEP HIM" 192

HER. FAVOURITE GODSON 196

THE COAL-BLACK PONY. 203














THE HOLIDAY PRIZE.


CHAPTER I.

IHE boys and girls were gathered
together on the big tennis-ground
at Squire Montague's. The Squire
had the privilege of. being father
to three of them; and it was a privilege of
which he never was allowed to think too
lightly.
But there were plenty of youngsters besides
the rosy.group who ruled Cowslip Grange.
The Rectory contributed two; and various
esteemed residents in or- about the village
of Cowslip Meadows-residents such as the
doctor, two or three retired colonels, a naval
captain, a.lawyer's. widow, and half-a-dozen





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


unattached lovers of a country life and peace
of mind-provided a quota of boys and girls
to play pranks all through the long summer
holidays.
The children dominated the village. The
fathers and mothers were unaffectedly proud
of their offspring, who were quite remarkable
for their high spirits and good looks.
Nobody dreamed of finding fault with them
-nobody, at least; except the Squire's maiden
sister, Miss Elizabeth Montague. By her
bwn express desire, she had acted as god-
mother to all 'the boys; and it was, in their
eyes, -her single virtue that she never forgot
a birthday.: As all her godsons grew up she
"could not help- detecting flaws of character
,which-moved heralarm; and since she was
sincerely desirous of their reformation, she
had spent many anxious days and nights in
making plans for their improvement.
Miss Elizabeth Montague was of an
:' extremely romantic cast of mind. She kept
- a copy of Froissart on her dressing-table,
S and read it diligently every -morning while
her maid arranged her "tresses. It was
:7





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


'because no living man was sufficiently knightly
in nature and manners to reach' her ideal
that the fair Miss Montague had remained
single. Only a really chivalric soul might
link with hers. The perfect knight had not


While her maid arranged her tresses.--. io.
appeared; and it was the yearning of Eliza-
beth's heart to train one up herself. For this
purpose she determined to secure a share in
.the upbringing of the greatest possible number
of boys. [That a girl might be chivalric
never entered Miss Elizabeth's head.] She




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


became godmother to all the boys of fair
degree living at Cowslip Meadows; and so
much did her general amiability and high
principle commend themselves to the appre-
ciation of her friends, that they willingly
promised she should scold, lecture, or reprove
their sons just as often as she chose.
Miss Elizabeth invited the boys to tea
every Sunday evening in the Christmas,
Easter, and Midsummer holidays; and after
tea, she told or read to them for an hour or
so stories of all the famous knights. While
the stories were fresh the boys enjoyed them
thoroughly, and went. home full of valiant
thoughts and with a fixed resolve to be a
modern: Bayard, --Black Prince, or King
Arthur. But as the elder boys grew they
became a little tired of being obliged to
hear the same tales over and over again for
the. benefit of the younger .ones; and they
forgot to be Bayards, and were sure only
that they hated the sounds of their own
names, all of which had been Miss Elizabeth's
choice,, and were more or less knightly if
their owners were not.




THE HOLT DA Y PRIZE.


SOne point on which Miss Elizabeth insisted
strongly was courtesy to maidens; and it
was this doctrine which made life a burden
to her godsons. For there were just as
inany girls as boys in Cowslip Meadows, so
that it occurred to Miss Elizabeth to .allot
to every boy a girl, towards whom she
recommended him to practise the knightly
virtues of patience, politeness, and self,
denial.
It will be at once perceived how miserable
was the lot of the boys. At holiday times
they were, through the despotic will of their
godmother, tied to a. crowd of tyrannical,
irresponsible, and unbearable girls, every one
of whom was licensed to be as selfish as she
pleased, since her function was merely to
test to the uttermost the chivalric capacity of
her allotted boy. Life in the holidays must
have become insupportable save for a singular
fact. The girls, in spite of each inducement
to the contrary, grew up remarkably like the
boys in temper, taste, and habit; and it
occasionally happened, when playing together,
that the whole crew forgot unnatural restric-




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


tions, and romped and larked and enjoyed
themselves like any other girls and boys.
But this relapse into amiability occurred but
seldom; and, had it not been for Florian-!
It was a lovely June day, and all the
children, as has been said, were gathered on
the tennis-ground at Cowslip Grange, There
were three courts, and in each four players.
Now, every player was a girl.
The boys were huddled in a heap under
"the bushes bordering the west side of the
ground. They had come together the better
to discuss their wrongs. There was not the
faintest chance that they, would be allowed
to play tennis, unless the girls should become
too tired to hold-Pheir racquets; and this was
a remote possibility.
About the boys to-day was an increased
bitterness of mien. They were only just set
free from their lessons; and they had come
forth from their dreary schoolrooms to find
the fresh summer days poisoned by an addi-
tional development of Miss Elizabeth's designs
for their training. Despairing of precept and
example, good Miss Montague would stoop




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


to bribe. She had offered a magnificent
" Holiday Prize" to be competed for by her
godsons. The prize was to be the thing
the winner most wished for, irrespective of
costliness, rarity, or beauty. The boys were
for a moment in a seventh heaven of blissful
dreams. Suddenly Miss Elizabeth proclaimed
her conditions.
The Prize was to be given to the boy who,
throughout the holidays, should bear himself
in the -fashion most nearly approaching the
degree of perfect knighthood.
This was bad enough; but while each boy
was fervently vowing to be a Bayard, by
hook or by crook, for six whole weeks, Miss
Elizabeth continued:
The Prize would be awarded, amid due
solemnities, by the majority-vote of the
girls.
Here the boys groaned aloud. They fore-
saw a cruel fate, and events justified their
worst anticipations. They were at the pres-
ent moment aching for a game at tennis;
but the courts were manned with-girls. If
they might not play tennis, they would fain




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


ride, or race; or fish, or cricket, but they
were chained to the ground by the tyranny
of-girls. They had to find the lost balls,
mend the broken nets, keep the scores, and
act umpires-in short, to do everything which
was the legitimate work of girls.


"The Dalesman's Lament."-f. 17.


Fellows! cried Maurice energetically,:
"we cannot stand this any longer. It is of
no use to try to get on with girls. When
they rang the Great Fagging Bell, I was in
the middle of cleaning my rabbit-hutch."




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"I," said the dismal voice of Rupert,
"was just mounting Jamie Telfer-"
"And I," said Lancelot, in breathless
echo of his brother, "had quite mounted
Johnnie Armstrang-"
"To go a-raiding," finished both boys, in
unimaginable depths of gloom.
I," remarked Aylmer, lifting his chin from
the depths of a Byronic collar, "had got into
my second verse. If those girls had left me
in peace for just a few hours, I should have
finished The Dalesman's Lament, and we
could have sung it at our next gathering."
"Gathering! repeated Rupert, chuckling
hoarsely, "when, I wonder, shall we have a
real gathering again ?"
"If we held one now," grumbled Edmund,
"the girls would tilt at the ring and we
should hold the ponies."
"The girls would wrestle and fence and
box," added Cyril and Maurice together,
"and we should be spectators, and clap
them."
"I should be the Queen of Beauty,"
sneered the cynical Tristan,' "and my fair
B





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


cousin Dorothy would wear my favour in
her helm!"
S"It is abominable!" shouted passionate
Guy.
A bitter assent came from the lips of
Eustace, who, with cheeks propped moodily
on hands, glared resentfully at the flying
figures in the courts.' He was the hand-
somest, the bravest, and the proudest of all
the boys; and he, more than all, writhed
under the slavery imposed by Miss Elizabeth's
whim. He almost hated the sight of a girl
-especially of the girl Miss Elizabeth had
linked with him-of Gladys, queen of yonder
selfish troop. Everyone knew that Eustace
alone scorned the thought of contending for
the Holiday Prize" [though everyone knew,
also, .that he, only son of a poor soldier, had
a wild longing to possess a certain coal-black
pony, and thus to call a steed all his own], but
because of the obligations of good-fellowship,
he submitted to cast his lot in with that of
his friends.
"It is abominable!" shouted Guy again.
The nearest girl caught the words, and





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE. 19

turned, laughing gaily, to shake her finger
at the speaker. She was Hilda, Guy's own
girl. Guy coloured furiously, and prayed
that Hilda's side might lose.
Meanwhile, Maurice and Florian were
engaging in an animated argument.


Queen of yonder selfish troop.- f. x8.
"I say we will not stand it," insisted
Maurice. "Either we will all of us renounce
our chances for the 'Holiday Prize,' or we
will cast lots for the fellow who is to have
it; and the rest of us will back out and





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


enjoy ourselves while he fetches and carries
and grinds for every one of those girls."
A chorus of assent applauded the sugges-
tions of clear-headed Maurice.
Sfay!" besought Florian, whose gentle
melancholy always inclined him to the office
of peacemaker, since, the sounds of strife
interfered with his brooding calm. "There
is one other way."
The whole of the boys turned their eyes
on the meditative face of Florian. Each
boy was in his heart reluctant to lose all
hope of the great Prize, for each was cer-
tain that he would -find no difficulty in
claiming the thing he most wished for.
"Suppose," began Florian, looking round
him persuasively, "suppose we were to come
to terms with the girls? Suppose we were
to reason with them?"
"To reason with girls ?" drawled Tristan.
"As though a girl were ever fair, or just, or
reasonable!"
"Stay again implored Florian. "We
have not yet tried. Let us send an embassy
to Gladys and request that she and all the




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


girls will parley with us awhile. Eustace
:can be our spokesman, and Gladys theirs.'
"Agreed!" .cried all the boys except
Eustace, who was anxious to point out that
he detested Gladys, and that as he had no
personal interest in the matter, he was the
last boy to be chosen as mediator.
"That is the very reason why you. will
best represent us," said Florian easily ; but
here Eustace interrupted with the declaration
that sooner than meet Gladys in such a way
as would oblige him to be civil to her, he
would rush off and spend the whole of his
holidays with his Aunt Tabitha Ann, at
Muddipool.
The boys did not wish to lose the com-
pany of Eustace, whom they regarded as
the best of fellows when undisturbed by the
presence of girls; so they decided unani-
mously that the mild-mannered Florian was
the fittest person to carry out his own pro-
posal.
So Florian uprose and went forth from
his comrades, waving a white pocket-
handkerchief as a flag of truce. The girls





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


paused in their play; and after some hurried
whispering, sent out Amabel, Florian's own
girl, to meet the ambassador.
Amabel was by nature so amiable and
unselfish that it was always with the greatest
difficulty that she followed the lead of her
companions in tyrannising over the boys.
She, among the girls, was as Florian among
the boys-a chartered peacemaker, consoler,
and mistress of gentlest argument; so that
Florian's hopes rose when he saw who had
been commissioned to greet him, and he
bowed low to Amabel and tried to speak
her fair.
"That last stroke, of yours,, Amabel, was
perfect," he remarked pleasantly. I am
certain you will be champion of all England
some day. You girls are beating us boys
at tennis altogether."
No wonder!" growled Guy in the dis-
tance, "seeing they get all the practice!"
"You shall have the courts while we are
Sin at tea," promised Amabel good-naturedly.
"But we, also, shall be in at tea," said
Florian. "Still,, we will not speak of that.




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Will you carry a message, Ampbel, from all
the boys to all the girls? We have a plan
to tell you about, and if you will agree to
it, we may all be happy together, instead of


'A'?


He bowed low to Amabel.--p. 22.


only the girls being happy while we poor
boys are miserable." Florian lowered his
voice to a most pathetic sweetness. "Think
how much jollier it would be."




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"It does sound sensible," said Amabel
demurely, "and I'll see what the others
think."
Florian bowed again and waited with
patience. The girls grouped themselves
round Gladys, whose dark eyes gleamed
haughtily as they swept the ranks of the
rebellious boys. Presently she stepped out
from the phalanx of maidens and moved
towards Florian, her companions a yard or
two in her rear.
"So you boys have made a 'plan,'" she
exclaimed scornfully. "Well, we will come
to hear it; but make haste, Florian, for we
wish to finish our game. Remember, I will
not listen to anythiMig Eustace may say, so
you need not try to have him for a leader.
You had better send him and one or
two others to hunt for a ball we have just
lost among the rhododendrons."
Florian bowed humbly.
"I will myself hunt for the ball by-and-
by," he said; "but we very much wish to
be all present when our plan is proposed."
"All right," replied Gladys shortly, and




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


the girls passed on in a sweeping rush of
silken smocks .and embroidered frocks and
waving locks. In spite of themselves, the
frowns of the boys disappeared for a moment
at sight of; the enemy. Never were eyes
refreshed by a bonnier troop of girls. It
was surely feasible to suppose that only: hard
fate had made them tyrants.
As soon as both parties were within hail
of one another the boys rose and massed
themselves behind Florian, while the girls
remained grouped in the wake of Gladys.
It was -noticeable that the eyes of each girl
turned immediately. towards those of her
particular boy; and that while the former
glimmered with fun, the latter shone -with
helpless resentment.
"Be quick, Florian," commanded Gladys
impatiently.
Florian never had been known to be in a
hurry; but fear for the unfortunate con-
sequences of delay now hastened speech,
and in quite a few words he made clear to
the intelligence of the girls the united mind
of the boys.




'THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"We appeal to your sense of justice,"
finished Florian diplomatically, ".we want you
to see that it really is not right that we
never should have any fun. We do not wish
to take anything from you either. But when
the game is tennis, you might let us have a
turn; and then, when we are in the cricket-
field, we will not ask you to field all the
while."
"Oh! said Gladys carelessly, "you need
not waste your time in asking us to field at
all, because we much prefer to stay away.
As you talk about 'fairness' and 'justice,'
we will be fair and just. We will keep the
tennis-courts, and you may have the cricket-
field. If you do not 'eme where we are, we
will agree not to order you to do anything for
us. You can muffle up the Great Fagging
Bell at once, if you like. We can quite
well play by ourselves."
"You cannot call that 'just' and 'fair,'"
broke out Guy indignantly; "for you know it
would mean losing all our chances of the
'Holiday Prize.' It is part of the condi-
tions that we are to keep together-worse
luck!"




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"What a greedy boy !" laughed Hilda
mischievously. "He wants to be polite to
girls only for the sake of a prize!" She
turned, shrugging her shoulders, to Amabel.
" I wish Miss Elizabeth hadn't given me
Guy for my boy!"
"Hush!" begged gentle Amabel. "You
will hurt poor Guy's feelings."
Will she, just!" sneered Tristan.
"What Guy says is true," continued
Florian mildly, "and we boys are all of us
really quite sure that you would like one of
us to have the Prize."
"We do not object to your trying for it,"
said Gladys with more condescension. But
we cannot have boys near us without making
them useful."
"We are quite willing to be useful," said
Florian courteously. "Who would not enjoy
fagging for a girl? But a boy, like a girl,
knows how to amuse himself. A boy can
fly a kite, spin a top, shoot an alley, run a
race, bowl a ball, hold a bat, or a racquet, or
a rod, ride a pony, or let an arrow fly-well
-almost as well as a girl."




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"Oh, nonsense!" chorussed the girls.
"At anyrate, he likes to try," reasoned
Florian amiably, "and we want you only to
go shares with us. Now, Gladys, won't you
agree to this? Shall we take it in turns to
choose the games, and play together peace-
ably? Suppose the boys have one day, and
the girls another, alternately? If you will
be Brothers on Boy Days, we will be
Sisters on Girl Days; and so we shall
keep friends, and not quarrel, and it will
not be so fearfully difficult to try for the
'Holiday Prize.' "
"I think," said Gladys, after a pause for
reflection, "that there ought to be two Girl
Days to one Boy Day *'
"But we have as many games as you
have," argued Florian. "If you will be
borderers a-raiding, and huntsnien a-slaying,
and pirates a-stealing, and gold-diggers a-
nuggeting with us, why, we will be fairies and
witches and sisters of mercy and persecuted
maidens with you. And I believe you really
like our plays best!"
This seemed to be a master-stroke, for




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


there was a subdued murmur of assent
among the girls.
If you will promise that,", said Gladys
(and there was a brilliant light in. her
dancing eyes), "why, we will agree to what
you propose, Florian. We will all play
together, and we will have Girl Days and
Boy Days alternately."
"Wait!" cried a voice, and Eustace,
detaching himself from his comrades, stood
out with a mien to the full as haughty as
that of Gladys. His eyes had remained
fixed on hers by an influence against which
he strove in vain; his rooted distrust of her
generosity made him suspect that her smiling
promise hid designs .on the peace of the
too credulous, boys, "If we are to make a
compact with girls, let it be only for a short
time."
"Certainly!" responded Gladys instantly.
"We should decline to bind ourselves to put
up with Boy Days for long."
"Come, Eustace !" remonstrated Florian
chivalrously, ''you know we can trust
Gladys. But this is Saturday. Suppose we


. 29




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


begin on Monday and try my plan for a
week?"
"Very well," said Gladys, nodding with
grace and dignity. "On Monday morning,
at nine o'clock, we will meet here and choose
our game for the day. Oh! And, of course,
we shall have first turn?"
"Of course /" said Florian, bowing pro-
foundly. "And as that is our tea-bell,
suppose we go in, and after tea play blind-
man's buff on the lawn ? "
As Gladys raised no objection, the rest of
the girls joined all the boys, except Eustace,
in a friendly cheer; and the whole troop ran
off to the house with.,every sign of amity.
The blindman's buff was a distinguished
success, and Florian received with becoming
modesty the congratulations of all his com-
rades on his admirable diplomacy.









I~J'~r~~,Ps Big~


CHAPTER II.


Y private arrangement, the girls
and boys mustered, on the follow-
ing Monday morning, at separate
places; and thence proceeded in
orderly array to the tennis-ground at Cowslip
Grange. The boys were in splendid spirits,
and disposed to fall in comfortably with any
proposal for the spending of the first Girl
Day. Eager to assure Gladys and her
followers that no advantage would be taken
of their sacrifice to the laws of fairness and
justice, they were ready to fetch and carry
and slave for each and every one of their
girl-allies. Had they not a blissful morrow
to which they might: look forward ?-a
morrow on which the--girls, in their turn,
would be prepared to sink individual and




THE HOLIDAY PRIZE. -,


general likings, and let the chosen playground
be ruled by the spirit of boyhood.
Gladys greeted Eustace with a compara-
tively civil nod, and requested him to inform
his comrades that the day was to be spent
at a distant and lonely part of the Common
which stretched away from that end of the
village furthest from the Grange. The spot.
selected was one which possessed very great
attractions for all sensible persons. It was
remote from the nearest road. It was visited.
by keen east winds, which had blasted the
few stunted firs encircling it, and cropped
its ill-nurtured grass into brown patches. It
had clumps of straggling gorse and breast-
high, tough-stemmed bracken, among which
bloody foes could lie in ambush. It had
caves half-hidden by convenient brushwood.
It had a stream to furnish water for a tea-
kettle, and an abundance of dry twigs and
cones to be lighted for a fire. It had, in
short, every conceivable requisite for the
fascinating game of Witches.
By an odd coincidence, the fir-trees rising
at intervals round this enchanting place were,




THE. HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


twelve in number; and each girl had, from
time immemorial, claimed one of them as her
.own: Here each was wont to bring her
own particular boy when she had any
important secret to confide to him, or any
perilous duty which she wished him to
undertake. So that the boys were not in
the least surprised when, on arriving at the
Witches' Lair, they were requested to repair,
each by himself, to the immediate neigh-
bourhood -of the twelve fir-trees. When
they reached their goals, they were -too
far apart for conversation; but this they
did not mind, since the July sun was already
hot, and they were not sorry to rest after
the long climb from the village road.
Eustace curled up on the short turf in his
favourite attitude-elbows on knees and chin
on hands. He supposed Gladys would soon
come and send him on some errand; but
this morning he was unwilling to find fault,
even with imperious Gladys. His thoughts
roved far from the scene about him, and
carried him back to the old knightly days
and to the tales of chivalry he had, heard
C




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


from Miss Elizabeth, or read for himself-
tales which Eustace really loved, though he
liked better still his father's stories of Have-
lock and Lawrence and Gordon.
Aylmer stretched himself at full-length
beneath the fir-tree consecrated to the fancies
of golden-haired Clarice, drew out his note-
book, and determined to finish the second











Ioetic Fervour*--. 34.

verse of The Dalesman's Lament. For the
time, everything was still, and inspiring of
poetic fervour; and Aylmer was soon strug-
gling with an awkward metre which he had
been at pains to invent for his own con-
fusion.
Rupert congratulated himself that a quiet





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


pool of .the Witches' Burh lay right under
Berta's tree; for he suspected that his curls
were out of order, and he wanted to arrange
his necktie in a knot he had admired when
displayed on the shirt-front of an elder
brother.
Edmund crept into the shadow of some
gorse bushes close to Cecily's tree; and
having glanced round rapidly, drew from his
pockets a private supply of nuts, all of which
he trusted to demolish before Cecily should
make her appearance. He was aware that
he could not hope for Cecily's vote if he
did not offer to share with her his spoil.
Guy, for once calm, and indignant with
nobody, simply pulled his hat low over his
eyes to keep off the broiling sun, and lolled
at ease under Hilda's tree. Let Hilda tease
and plague as she chose, her time would be
short. To-morrow-!
Bevis arrived at the foot of the fir belong-
ing to Lynette, and at once began to try if
he could clamber to its lowest branch. This
was high above his head, and, as he was by
no means an adept at climbing, his short




"THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


arms and 'sturdy legs exerted themselves in
vain. But Bevis was a very simple-minded
boy; and when he was too tired to wriggle
up the fir-trunk any longer, he still stood
blinking up at the nearest branch, and think-
-ing how nice it would be if only he could
get -there.
Lancelot was at great pains to make him-
self comfortable under Winifred's tree. As
it was so hot, he was sure. he could do
without -his jacket as an article of clothing,
and he quickly turned, it into a, pillow. In
three minutes he was in a delicious doze.
Lancelot was the greatest of Miss Elizabeth's
disappointments among-the boys. She had
given to him the name of Arthur's most
famous knight; and, alas! he never was so
happy-as when lying still and doing nothing.
Cyril crouched in a heap beneath the tree
claimed by Mildred. He was certain it was
the barest, the ugliest, the nastiest of all the
trees. He was sure no boy wore so hot a
suit as himself. He was convinced no girl
knew how to be so provoking as Mildred.
He hated "Witches" worse than any other


36





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


game. He was by nature and profession an
ill-used varlet; and he made a half-hearted
attempt for the Prize while positive before-
hand that all the Fates had determined he
should not get it.


bt


A delicious doze.-- 06.


Maurice paced up and down near Erica's
fir-tree, and wished to goodness that the girls
would make up their minds what they wanted,
and engage the whole party in some sensible,
straightforward game instead of expecting a
fellow to fancy himself a witch or a fairy.




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Wilfred began to collect the fallen cones
under Adeline's tree. Adeline might order
him to collect cones, and would surely be
pleased to find her wishes forestalled. Wilfred
was in extreme awe of the girls, and sincerely
desired to propitiate them. And if his energy
in collecting cones should induce them to
bestow on him their votes, he was sure that
the possession of a wheel-barrow for his
garden would leave him nothing on .earth to
wish for.
:Florian willingly retired to the meagre
shade cast by the gaunt boughs of Amabel's
fir-tree. His thoughts dwelt pleasantly on
Amabel, whose courtesy had yesterday helped
his adventurous mission. Florian smiled at
the sunlit scenery below him, and was
placidly content.
Tristan flung an arm about Dorothy's fir-
stem and laughed mockingly under his breath.
"I'd like to know what those girls are up
to-some trick, or my name isn't Tristan
Beaudesert. Never mind We'll have our
innings to-morrow !"
And Tristan continued to chuckle mock-




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


ingly, and to invent disagreeable speeches
with which to quench Dorothy's impertinence
when the dawn of a Boy Day should give
license to his tongue.
Eustace, curled under Gladys's tree, was
charging with Prince Eugene (in imagination),
when Gladys herself came quickly through
the gorse and bracken and stood in front
of him. She stood only for a moment.
Suddenly, with a shake of her head, which
threw her long dark hair all over her face,
she began to revolve slowly about .Eustace
in a weird dance which she accompanied
by strange sounds intended to represent a
goblin incantation. Presently she came to a
pause, with forefinger pointed at Eustace,
whom she addressed in a hoarse whisper.
"Now, good Sir Eustace, all is over with
you! In vain will it be to cry out on Fate,
for Hecate herself has spoken your doom.
Know, Eustace, that you are bewitched; and
that you may not move from the magic
circle woven by Hecate till the sun sinks
low in yonder heavens !"
"Oh, indeed!" replied Eustace indiffer-
ently. "All right."




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Gladys was a good deal disappointed. She
truly desired to annoy Eustace, and to worry
him into a squabble which might excuse a
little real tyranny. Indeed, she spent several "
minutes in tantalizing descriptions of the cap-
ital fun the girls intended to enjoy within
the Witches' Lair, while a circle of bewitched
boys kept unwilling watch and ward.
"You are our victims," explained Gladys
with great unction. "We have lured you to
our den in order to torment you properly.
You are valiant Knights laid under a cruel
spell."
"And suppose we choose to break the spell
and escape ?" suggested Eustace.
"You can't," returned Gladys triumphantly.
"This is a Girl Day, and we've a right to
arrange our own game. You are on honour
not to spoil it."
"Very well," said Eustace, after a moment's
silence. "If I'm bewitched, I suppose I am."
"Good-bye, Sir Knight," said Gladys.
"Bread and water shall be served to you by
my goblins at noonday and at even."
"Good-bye, Hecate," responded Eustace;





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


and Gladys went dancing back through the
bracken.
Meanwhile, each of the other girls had
repaired to her own tree, and with similar
awesome ceremonies had woven spells over,
her waiting slave. The information that
during the long, beautiful summer day they
were to play the part of Victims to the
baleful influences of the girl-witches struck
despair to the souls of most of the boys.
They realized that as they had given their
promise to let the day's diversions be accord-
ing to the fancy of the girls, they were
powerless to release themselves without a
break of faith which would certainly forfeit
all claims to the Holiday Prize.
Aylmer heard his sentence pronounced by
the smiling lips of plump little Clarice-a
girl to whose golden locks and sleepy brown
eyes he had in vain dedicated flattering
verse. Clarice pronounced his best rhymes
to be tiresome rubbish; and heard his most
ambitious efforts with irrepressible giggles.
"Well," said Aylmer, recognizing immedi-
ately (as did each boy in his own case) the




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


hopelessness of resistance to girl-whims, I
don't much mind if I do stick here. I
shall have my Lament done by sunset; so
good-day, Madam. Broomstick! A poet is
indifferent to the claims of appetite. Bread
and water will do very well."
Before I leave you, Sir Knight," said
Clarice, her round cheeks dimpling with
delight, "I warn you that I have bewitched
yonder note-book and pencil, and all the
pencils and papers in your bulgy pockets.
You are to give them up to me. And if
you make a single scrap of poetry in your
head to-day, you'll break the spell and spoil
our game, and yot''shan't have our Prize
votes !"
"Oh, I say!" groaned Aylmer. And he
would have pleaded-but Clarice was inexor-
able; and she went off with ten pencils and
dozens of scraps of paper, leaving behind
her a wretched boy.
As for Rupert, he was first bewitched by
Berta, and then made to listen to a long
lecture on the snares of vanity.
"Throughout this livelong day, Sir Rupert,"





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


said Berta, "you shall not once behold your
own face. You shall sit here with your back
to my tree and to that stream into which
you have been gazing. Thus will you learn
to think of something beside yourself."
Rupert began to lament; but Berta imme-
diately pointed out the penalty of disobedience;
and Rupert was compelled to abandon for
a whole day the successful knotting of his
new tie.
Cecily danced into the neighbourhood of
Edmund just as his hand dived into his
pockets for a second supply of nuts. He
heard his doom with comparative philosophy
until his intended fare was mentioned.
Bread and water indeed !" he cried indig-
nantly. Oh, you greedy pigs of girls! All
those lovely cakes and apples and sandwiches
and tarts we boys clubbed to bring for a
feast-you aren't going to have them and
not give us any?"
"That's just what we are going to do,
though," said Cecily, who was always a little
snappy because she hated being the comrade
of a boy who cared so much about eating.





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"And, listen, Sir Edmund, Knight of the
Gooseberry Pie! I have bewitched every one
of your pockets. You have nuts and biscuits
in them: you always have nuts and biscuits
in them. I command you to turn every
one of your pockets out."







-V~






.. -- I.



She helped him to empty his pockets with speed.--. 44.
Edmund muttered sulkily; but Cecily
reminded him quietly of the Prize votes;
and as he then set to work very slowly,
she made him stand still while she helped
him to empty his pockets with speed.




THE' HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


The edible contents of Edmund's pockets
were then spread in a row on the turf. They
were :
Sixty-four nuts.
Twenty sweet biscuits.
Three cakes of toffee.
Six apples.
One sausage-roll (much squashed).
Two apple-tarts and a jam puff (in frag-
ments).
Who is greedy, I wonder ?" inquired
Cecily sternly. Look you, Sir Edmund;
half these goodies have you stolen from the
luncheon-baskets as you lurked behind in-the
village."
I didn't!" moaned Edmund.
"You did. And mind, a knight ;who tells
stories is not the one to win a Prize."
Cecily pulled out a pencil, and wrote -on
an .old envelope a complete inventory of
the provender spread on the turf. There!
now I know exactly what you have brought.
You, shall stay here, Sir Edmund, with all
these nice things in front .of you; but you
shall not. touch. one of them. They. are
bewitched, and are not for you."




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"Oh, don't leave them, then!" implored
Edmund. "Don't make me see theri if I
mayn't eat them !"
"Such is the punishment of greediness!"
laughed Cecily; and she ran merrily away.
Guy received his sentence with an outburst
of fiery scorn. Of course, the more he raged
the more Hilda laughed, until Guy, beside
himself with passion, declared that he would
at that moment rush back to Cowslip Grange
and smash to pieces everything he could
get hold of which belonged to a girl. This
mild threat only made Hilda's laughter ring
from end to end of the Witches' Lair.
"Oh, do it, Guy!" she cried, "pray, pray
do it! You will have such a splendid chance
for the Holiday Prize afterwards! What a
lovely knight you would have made, dear
Sir Guy! Oh, you will certainly get my
vote when you have destroyed my new
racquet!"
Guy turned his back on Hilda and clenched
his hands. He desired, above everything in
the world, a gun exactly like the Squire's
favourite one; and he knew that this would




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


not be beyond his reach if he should win
the Prize, for Miss Elizabeth wished her
godsons to excel in manly sports. When he
turned again and met Hilda's eyes, he forced
himself to say:
I beg your pardon, Hilda."
Guy's face was quite pale with the effort
at self-control; and Hilda was a little sorry
for her boy, although she knew that he
begged her pardon only because he greatly
longed for a real, grown-up kind of gun.
Besides, she did not really wish him to lose
all chance of the Prize.
"There!" she laughed, dancing round him,
"I won't tease you any more--not any more
just now, Sir Guy, dear! I will leave you
to enjoy your own company; and I'm sure
that's the worst my spells can do for you.!"
Guy managed not to make any reply to
this taunt, which had in it the sting of truth.
Guy's restless nature caused half his troubles;
and he soon began to wish that Hilda would
come back, even if she worried him unmerci-
fully. It was miserable to have nobody to
storm at.




THE. HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Bevis was still staring up at the branches
of Lynette's fir-tree when Lynette herself
crept mysteriously out from the furze-bushes.
Bevis was so nervous that it was naturally
a great pleasure to Lynette to startle him,
and she now startled him thoroughly. He
nearly jumped out of his shoes when she
sprang at him from behind. with a great
"Boo!' which was fearfully like a witch. At
least, Bevis thought so.
Lynette explained to her boy that he was
bewitched, and must remain where he was
throughout the long, bright day.
"Well, if. I must, I must," said Bevis,
quite as calm .' Eustace had been. But
do you know, Lynette, .I have an idea that
it would be very jolly to sit on that branch.
Would you mind giving me a hand up?
Then you could cast your spells on me after
I got there."
I will agree to that, Sir Bevis," said
Lynette, giggling; and the exertions of the
pair brought success to the ambition..of
Bevis.
"Thank you, very much, Lynette," said





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


that gentleman, as he settled himself astride
the bough. "It is as jolly as possible."
I am glad to hear it, Sir Knight," replied
Lynette pertly, "for there you are, and there
you will stay. You are bewitched, and


"You are bewitched I"--p. 49.
condemned to remain on that branch until
I give you leave to jump off it."
"I will sit here as long as you like,"
said Bevis quickly, "and' I will promise not
to forget that you are a Witch, and I amt
D




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


a Victim. Then you will give me your
vote, won't you, dear Lynette? for I want
very much a new cricket ball of real leather."
"We shall see," returned Lynette as she
ran gaily off.
Winifred found Lancelot asleep; so she
tickled him with fern-leaves and pricked him
with pine-needles till he woke. He was
asleep again before she had finished her
spell; so then she made him stand up and
listen to her respectfully.
Lancelot was by far too lazy to have any
chance of the Prize (for a boy who is asleep
half his time js of no real use to wide-
awake girls), but he did not choose to think
so.
"I am sure I don't want to go away from
here, Witch Winifred," he said smilingly.
"There is a nice bit of shade under this
delightful tree of yours; and the gentle mur-
mur of the brook is deliciously dozy. Never
mind bringing the bread and water-I would
much rather be left alone."
"I daresay you would!" exclaimed Wini-
fred; and springing at Lancelot she shook





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


him angrily. Not one among the girls was
so active and eager as Winifred;. and that
was why Miss Elizabeth had named Lazy-
Lance to be her boy. "Oh, you. are no
better than a sheep! Now listen, my valiant
Sir Lancelot! I cast my spell over you, and
forbid you to shut your eyes once until you
get into bed to-night. You are to walk
round this tree fifty times every half-hour;
and I think that ought to keep you awake!"
Lancelot was speechless with horror at his
fate; he did not even notice Winifred's fare-
well glance of contempt.
"Oh, yes!" grumbled Cyril, when Mildred
made him aware of the, Witches' decree.
"Of course you have got this up just to
spite me. You need not tell me Gladys
has planned such a stupid play, for I don't
believe you. You needn't pretend all the
other boys are 'bewitched'--I know it's
only I, and you are playing a trick on me
just because if I don't keep friends with
you I can't try for the Prize."
"Anyway, you've to stay here," said Mil-
dred,;. "and if you choose to sulk you.can!"




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Oh, yes! of course I'm 'sulking,'" grunted
Cyril. "You're the nastiest girl I ever knew,
Mildred."
"Well, only a very nasty girl would vote
for a nasty boy, I suppose," retorted Mil-
dred, "so perhaps you've a chance after all,
Sir Cyril! "
"A chance! Catch anybody giving me a
chance!" said Cyril disagreeably. "Why,
you know you've made up your mind--"
But Mildred was not going to hear Cyril's
snarls; and she just sprang away from him
with a provoking laugh.
Maurice was already impatient when Erica,
her blue eyes gazing dreamily round her,
glided softly through the bracken about her
tree. She loved the bracken, and the gorse,
and the* little stream; she knew every wild
flower and plant by name; she sang like
any bird, and could pick up even a snail
without shrinking. Her verses were far bet-
ter than Aylmer's; and she meant, when she
grew up, to do very wonderful things.
No girl could have been less in sympathy
with downright Maurice; the bluntness of




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZe.


whose manners Miss Elizabeth would fain
have seen smoothed by contact with Erica's
dainty ways and self-possession.
Good gracious !" cried Maurice, after Erica
had moved round him three times with sylph-
like steps, pronouncing his doom meanwhile
in languid tones, "what tommy-rot you girls
do choose for your precious games! Thank
the stars, it will be our turn to-morrow, and
we'll teach you to enjoy yourselves. 'I shan't
bear malice; but for pity's sake vanish now,
Erica, while I keep civil. You might clear.,
off as fast as you can to oblige a fellow
who is in desperate need of a new fishing-
rod. Eh? Do, there's a good girl."
Erica drooped her golden head, and eyed
her boy with mournful gravity.
"Listen, fair Sir Maurice," said the blue-
eyed witch, "the time has come when I may
haply work your good. Long have I lamented
your love of slang, and rough manners, and
neglected mind. Know that I have cast my
spell on you, and you must obey. See you
yonder shining sky? Hear you- yonder purl-
ing stream? Sit you down-and take in hand




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


this .note-book ard this pencil. Ere the even-
ing-bell chimes to six hours, you must have
written for me an Ode to sky and stream in
flowing verse."
Good !"
"Hush thee, fair Sir Maurice, and rebel
not! The Witch's will is law. Let the
verse be smooth, and mayhap the fishing-rod
will reward the gentle rhymer. Fare-thee
-well!"
And Erica glided gently away; but Maurice
flung himself on his face and wished he could
be Aylmer or die. Presently he rose and
took up the-aote-book; for life with a new
fishing-rod would be very sweet indeed. As
the morning fled, he tugged his locks, and
bound a wet handkerchief round his brows;
and still the Muse was coy.
Adeline was a spoilt little monkey who
loved to domineer; and that was why she
had been selected to reform Wilfred. It
would have been hard for anybody else to
find a fault in Wilfred; but Adeline could
quarrel with a cherub at shortest notice, and
as Wilfred did not understand the art of





























































And still the Muse was coy.--. 54.





THE HOLIDAY V PRIZE.


quarrelling, he merely wondered. The whims
of Adeline and the other girls kept him in
a perpetual state of astonishment. Adeline
hoped that the news she brought her boy
might reduce him to such a state of despair
as would be highly amusing to watch; but
Wilfred's eyes and mouth at once arranged
themselves into complete circles-a feeble
manner of expressing his overpowering amaze-
ment. His eyes were still full moons when
Adeline brought her spells to an end.
"There !" she exclaimed triumphantly, "now
you are bewitched, and I have got rid of
you for a whole day."
"But why," inquired Wilfred with great
earnestness, "why do you want to get rid
of me, dear Adeline?"
"Because you are such a silly fellow,"
replied Adeline rudely. "What have you
been doing all this while, Sir Goose?"
I have been gathering all these cones for
you, Adeline," exclaimed Wilfred. "See," he
added timidly, "what a lot I have found!-
but why am I a goose?"
"Why-why-why !" mimicked Adeline.




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"Why, because you can do nothing of your
own accord, but must be driven."
"I have gathered these cones all by my-
self," responded Wilfred, with his head cocked
meditatively to one side. "But why must I
be driven, dear Adeline ?"
"Why-why-why !" mimicked Adeline.
"Please let me bring my cones for the
fire," pleaded Wilfred gently. "They are
such nice cones; and, you know, unless I
keep close to you I have no chance for the
Prize. And I do so very much want a,,,
wheel-barrow for my garden. Why don't you
like my cones, dear Adeline ?"
"Why-why-why !" mimicked Adeline;
and as Wilfred's eyes grew larger and rounder
she gave him a push and ran away.
Amabel's happy and good-natured face was
puckered and her cheeks wet with tears as
she came with halting steps to the side of
Florian. She was crying bitterly when, with-
out being able to say a word, she sat down
all a heap on the turf. It hurt her dreadfully
to be the bearer of such a cruel message to
such a boy as Florian, whom, for her part,
she never tried to reform.





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Florian immediately sat down also, and
began to rub his own eyes. He was so
extremely sympathetic that the sorrows of
others were always his; and his affection for
Amabel made it very. trying to his feelings
to see her misery.


/-A


"What is the matter, Amabel?"--. 58.


"Oh, dear !" sobbed Amabel; "oh, dear!"
"What is the matter, Amabel ?" asked
Florian anxiously, "I see you have not
broken an arm or a leg, or torn your frock;





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


I don't think you can be hungry, and you
never are cross! I do hope you haven't the
toothache ?"
"Oh, no!" moaned Amabel, "I haven't
anything. But Gladys has planned such an
unkind game, and you'll think I'm so horrid."
"No, I shan't," said Florian gallantly;
"you couldn't be horrid if you tried, and
I'm sure you won't try."
"But I am to bewitch you!" groaned
Amabel; and leaning on Florian's shoulder,
she explained to him the part the boys were _
to play in the game of "Witches."
Florian could not help heaving one or two
sighs. He was so sociable that the prospect
of a long. day's loneliness really depressed
him; but he strove to cheer the weeping
Amabel, and encouraged her to perform her
spells according to the orders of Gladys.
"There is one thing I will not do,"
Amabel eagerly assured him; "I will not
bring you any bread and water. Dear Sir
Florian, you shall have half my dinner; and
I will see if I cannot smuggle you some
apples and a whole bottle of lemonade."




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Florian expressed his fervent gratitude.
He thought he could have managed very
well for once on the fare accorded to Victims;
but if it would really relieve Amabel's mind
to go shares with him, why, he would see
that she had the best of everything on the
first Boy Day. So he rubbed her cheeks
with his own pocket-handkerchief and watched
her depart in smiles.
Dorothy did not attempt to conceal her
delight while she told her tidings, which
were received by Tristan with an ironical
bow.
Say to Gl dys," he said mockingly, "that
I humbly congratulate her on her inventive
powers. I fear the planning of such a mag-
nificent game must have kept her awake
all night. We poor boys have no chance of
rivalling you girls in making 'Original
Designs for Spoiling Other People's Pleasure.'
It's your favourite occupation, isn't it, fair
Dorothy?"
"Quite our favourite," retorted Dorothy,
with beaming glance; "except that other one
of 'Laughing at the Airs of Ridiculous
Boys.' "


6o




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Tristan reddened angrily; for he knew
that even his comrades laughed not a little
at his fine speeches and foolish affectations.
He considered himself a very clever fellow;
so Miss Elizabeth hoped saucy Dorothy
might tease him out of his conceit and teach
him knightly humility.
I am afraid," sneered Tristan, I don't
appreciate as I ought the wit and resource
of girls; but pray help me, Dorothy.
What is the special joy of this particular
game? Is it the happiness of hunting, all
over the place for dry sticks, or the black-
ing of your faces and hands over the bonfire,
or the lugging about of the baskets and bags,
or the spreading of your cloth and laying
of your dinner? I thought such blisses as
those Were reserved for us boys."
"They used to be," said Dorothy, just as
disagreeably, "but we girls are wiser now,
and see that all those things are far too
good for you. While we are scampering
about, you will remain here, amiable Sir
Tristan, and practise the art of standing
first on one leg and then on the other.




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


You have no idea how much interested you
will be When I bring you your prison fare,
I shall find my Victim a sadder and a wiser
boy!"
Tristan tried to remember all the nasty
things he had intended to say, but they
had gone right out of his head to leave
room for his indignation that Dorothy should
in any way get the better of him. It is
no joy to a really conceited person to be
left for a whole day with no one to admire
him except himself; and Tristan was so
sure of his own cleverness that it no longer
kept him company.
The hours ran on merrily enough for the
girls. They played Witches with great spirit
for their special diversion; and only Amabel
missed a boy, and Amabel missed only
Florian. Even Eustace was for a while for-
gotten. The Victims were left to their fate,
until mid-day brought their meagre fare in
the hands of Gladys's familiars.
Amabel carried bread in one hand and a
cup of water in the other when she visited
Florian ; but; her -pockets contained an excel-




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


lent dinner, and she had tied a bottle of
lemonade by a string to her waist. Amabel
was afraid of Gladys's wrath, and dared not
linger: but she laid out all her good things
in front of the delighted Florian, and left
him to enjoy the reward of persistent ami-
ability.
Indeed, the sweetness of Florian's temper
was quite unspoilable; and his face, alone,
was decked with smiling serenity when even-
ing set the boys free from their prisons.
Freedom had come to them in the form of
a message from Gladys-a message borne to
each Victim in turn by the pert and selfish
Adeline:-
"'Sir Knight, you are to make your way
to the Cave of Hecate. There will you
find the ruins of the bonfire round which
the Witches have danced, and the remnants
of the feast which the Witches have enjoyed.
These remnants are left for the Victims;
who, after they have eaten, may shoulder
the baskets and hie them home. To-morrow,
at nine of the clock, let the meeting-place
"be again the tennis-ground.'"




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"Revenge!" shouted Guy at the top of
his voice, as he stretched his cramped limbs
on the downhill way to the village.
"Revenge!" repeated Edmund ferociously.
"What did that greedy Adeline do but take
away with her even the few nuts and a
biscuit or two Cecily made me turn out of
my pockets !"
Revenge! echoed Cyril. Mildred always
spites me; now I'll spite Mildred!"
"Revenge!" murmured Lancelot sleepily.
"Winifred never can leave a fellow in peace.
To-morrow she shall lie in a hammock all
day !"
"Revenge!" cried Rupert with determin-
ation. That Berta "is a cheeky imp!"
"Oh, humbug!" interrupted Maurice con-
temptuously. Do you think we're going to
spoil our day waiting about while all you
fellows try to pay off your girls for their
pranks ?"
"Besides," argued Eustace, who, as a non-
competitor for the Prize, fitly assumed an
impartial air, "revenge is twaddle-the thing
is to enjoy ourselves to-morrow our own
way.





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"Perhaps," said Tristan, in his usual drawl,
" we'd better be candid. How can we
revenge ourselves on girls who don't care
twopence what we say ? They aren't trying
for a Prize. You can tell your precious
Winifred to get into a hammock, Lance;


"To-morrow she shall lie in a hammock all day."--. 64.


but pray do you think she's such a fool as..
to do it ?"
"And then," sighed Aylmer sentimentally,
"girls are cruel but charming. Clarice has




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


bidden me not to string a rhyme till I lie
a-bed; or, indeed, I must have flung a verse
or two after her flying feet!"
Maurice broke into a great laugh. Ha!
Aylmer, did you ever dream you had a
fellow-poet ? Mercy I wish you could have
whispered one of your blessed 'rhymes' in
my ear this afternoon! Miss Erica must
have had fits when Adeline carried her the
effort of my Muse. This was it:-

"'See the sunshine gleam !
Listen to the stream !
Mark how blue the sky!-
"Twice as "blue" am I!'

What of that, Poet Aylmer?"
Maurice laughed long and loudly, and
Aylmer begged that a copy of the poem
might be written out for his private study.
Meanwhile Florian had wandered ahead,
making gentle plans of peace and, friendli-
ness. Now he turned, and linking his arm
in that of Eustace, his favourite chum, he
said persuasively:
"See, boys! To-morrow will be our day;.





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


and the girls have promised to. let us choose
the game. Suppose we forget all about to-
day, and make a fresh start?"
"Oh, I daresay!" grunted the revengeful
ones.
"We can choose something fit for boys,"
continued Florian, "and yet nothing which.
the girls will dislike to play at. Then -we
needn't quarrel."
"Cricket, I vote!" exclaimed Maurice
cheerily. "I have promised not to bear Erica
malice for giving me poetry to write; and
if she doesn't bear me malice for doing it,
I'm willing to bowl her slow underhands!"
It was noticeable that every face among
those of the discontents had cleared at the
mention of cricket. Edmund ceased to mourn
his nuts, Lance forgot his hammock, Rupert
remembered that he could; wear a new and
resplendent blazer, Cyril determined to be
Umpire,. and decide the fates of others instead
of allowing others to wreak malice on him-
self, and Guy expended his superfluous passion
in harmless bangs of Hilda's basket.
The voices of the boys gradually sank




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


into harmonious murmurs :ere they reached
the village and pulled up for a good-night
chat. Only Eustace was silent.
"It will be first-rate, old fellow, won't it?"
laughed Florian, dragging his friend off down
a honeysuckled lane to the Colonel's timbered
cottage. "The girls have had the ground to
themselves this whole season. Not a game
have they let us play!-but we'll make up
for it on Boy Days."
S"We can try!" said Eustace. And he
smiled: a little doubtfully.

!4
















CHAPTER III.


CANNOT understand," said
Florian sadly, "what makes it
so dreadfully difficult to please
girls-I mean, our girls."
"I can," returned Eustace shortly, "it is
Gladys's fault. She wants her own way in
everything, and the others just follow her."
Wy does Gladys want her own way?"
inquired Wilfred, who was whittling a stick
which he meant, by-and-by, to present to
Adeline. As nobody took any notice of his
question, he went on whittling, and wondered
meanwhile whether the stick would please
Adeline better with rings of bark left. on, or
with no bark at all.
"Pooh! exclaimed Cyril, who humped


..rt





70 THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


his shoulders so often that they threatened
to reach the level of his ears, "the girls
treat all you fellows well enough. They
spite only me."
There was a loud shout of dissent.


Into a neighboring bramble-bed.-P. 7z.


"Yes, they do!" persisted Cyril vindic-
tively. "Look at Gladys! I know she has
made Mildred decide not to vote for me.
Gladys is an awful sneak-"
-Here Eistace crossed the road in three





THE HOLIDAY PRIZE.


bounds, and Cyril spun away into a neigh-
bouring bramble-bed.
"Snarled at her himself five minutes
ago!" muttered the fallen knight, as he
picked himself up and released his person
from the revengeful briars. "But Eustace
always spites me."
A sense of oppression and ill usage suited
itself comfortably to Cyril's humour; so that
the grudge he owed Eustace now kept him
pleasant company, and rendered it unneces-
sary for him to run after his comrades.
He was still far behind when the boys
turned into a shrubbery path at Cowslip
Grange, and heard the distant laughter on
the tennis-ground.
"The girls are very lively!" sighed
Lancelot. "I believe if we got here at
three in the morning they would be before
us!"
Remember that we had to wait a quarter-
of-an-hour while somebody pulled you out of
bed, Lance," said Maurice bluntly. We
are late, thanks to you. Goodness knows,
we didn't need to lose a minute of our




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE


precious day. Suppose we run on, Guy?
We might be tossing for sides, or something
to save time."
"Mercy on us!" groaned Lancelot, "what
an awfully tiresome fellow you are, Maurice.
Why on earth do you want to run when
you can walk?"
"Stay!" interrupted Florian, who feared
another breach of the peace, "let us rather
decide, while we are together, how we shall
play."
"We needn't trouble ourselves," said
Tristan, "the girls will do all the 'deciding'
for us." "
"No, they won't!" exclaimed Guy. "This
is a Boy Day, and we have right of choice."
." Right! echoed Tristan jeeringly. We'll
see."
"Yes, we'll see!" cried Guy, with flushing
cheeks. Gladys kept us to our word yester-
day; we'll keep her to hers to-day."
"There, there!" said Maurice equitably,
"we won't begin by quarrelling. If Gladys
wins the toss, she may pick her side for
aught I care. Anything for a game!" con-





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


tinued Maurice, flinging his arms above his
head with a fine display of muscle. "Oh!
anything for a good, straightforward game
with no pretendings"
The other boys echoed these sensible
words most eagerly. They really pined for
a piece of hearty fun, in which they might,
for once, prove themselves superior to the
girl-race.
The Cowslip Meadows girls would have
laughed at such a sentiment. Indeed, they
were already laughing among themselves,
and it was a difficult, matter to abate their
laughter when the boys trooped on to the
tennis-ground-the smiling face of Florian,
as ambassador of peace and justice, being
well 1b the front.
"Make haste, boys!" cried Gladys, just
as imperiously as though she were chief-in-
command; "you have kept us waiting."
"We are very sorry," replied Florian
pleasantly, "and we. will- make up for lost
time by giving you toss-up for sides."
Some of the boys groaned; but Eustace
said Shut up!" and looked curiously at his
girl.




IIUME fOLIDA Y PRiZIE.


"As to that," said Gladys calmly, "we
couldn't think of tossing up. Since this is
a Boy Day, you had better keep together.
Oh, yes! I've arranged it all, Florian. We
play 'girls versus boys,' and Mildred will
stand out and be umpire."
Maurice's cheeks extended in a broad
chuckle. Hooray!" he shouted, "'girls
versus boys'-oh, certainly!"
No broomsticks, I suppose, Gladys?"
suggested Tristan; but, of course, the girls
gave no heed to the insult.
Cyril came on the spot in time to declare
himself umpire for the boys, and to cast a
withering look at his coadjutor, who promptly
turned her back on him and began to
examine her note-book.
Then the whole company started for the
cricket-field. It was a charming meadow,
fenced about with a high hedge, at sufficient
distance from the wicket to make the runs
for a ball placed out of bounds count as
six. The pitch was a capital one; and
though the girls had been practising regularly
since May, they had done no real damage.





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Maurice's eyes danced as they beheld the
smooth green turf, on which he had not for
long had a chance of displaying his abilities
as a batsman.
Eustace captained the boys and Gladys
the girls. The latter won the toss and sent
the boys in.
They started at half-past nine, with Eustace
and Maurice at the wickets. At half-past
ten the boys' innings was over, and Eustace
had mournfully carried out his bat. The
girls' bowling had been changed only once.
It was superb, and their fielding struck the
poor boys dumb.
Indeed, they had nothing to say. A row
of crestfallen faces may express disaster more
eloquently than speech. The faces of Miss
Elizabeth's godsons expressed absolute des-
pair. They were being beaten on their own
ground-literally on their own ground, for
the Squire had once on a time presented the
cricket-field to the boys, though the girls
seemed to have forgotten the fact.
S"This is awful!" groaned Maurice at last.
"'For pity's sake, Eustace, go on to bowl;




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


Those twisters of yours ought to puzzle
Gladys; and I know-we know-she is their
best bat."
Eustace smiled in a sphinx-like fashion;
but he said "All right! and Maurice went
off to drown his disappointment in lemonade.
The other boys were already engaged in
this task, and Edmund seemed likely to
drown himself in lemonade before he had
finished.
Florian had not forgotten to carry a
generous jugful of the home-made liquid to
his opponents, or to pay Amabel a graceful
compliment on the neat manner in which
she had caught him out. Amabel replied
just as gracefully that she sincerely regretted
the necessity of cutting his score short at a
duck.
The girls reclined under the beech-trees
in a picturesque group; and obeying a shake
of the head from Gladys, they one and all
declined lemonade.
"You are very obliging, Florian," said
their captain civilly; "but you are welcome
to the lemonade. My team are not hot; you




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


see, you boys have not given us much exer-
tion, Still, as this is a Boy Day, we are
willing to wait till all the jugs are empty."
The girls waited. Eustace went from one
to the other of his team, begging them in
vain to moderate their affection for lemonade.


One and all declined lemonade.--. 76.


"You will be perfect duffers in the field!"
he remonstrated, "and I am sure you need
all your wits about you if you mean to
get the girls out. Edmund, what are you




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


sneaking behind that bush for? Ugh!. you
are carrying off the biggest jug. :Put it
down, I am going to call time."
Gladys and Berta walked to the wickets,
and Eustace put himself on to bowl, with
Guy as his partner. It was soon seen that
Guy was no good at all; and as the girls
knocked about his best balls and smiled at
his worst, his temper rose till it mastered
him completely. He flung the ball at
Gladys, and flung himself off to cover-point.
As for Gladys, she caught and held the
ball with an ease which astonished Eustace,
who had sprung forward to stop it before it
should do damage.
"Oh, don't trouble!" remarked Gladys'
calmly, "it was an easy catch," and she
handed him the ball.
The two captains looked at one another.
Rage was in the heart of Eustace, but he
lifted his cap, and said stiffly,
S"I am sorry my man was such a beast.
He shan't go on again."
"Oh, don't mention it!" said Gladys, and
her eyes danced with fun.




THE IIOLIDA Y PRIZE.


.Eustace retired, taking hurried counsel
with himself. Edmund,-who, once on a time,
had been a reliable left-hand .bowler, was at
present completely overcome with lemonade.
Bevis and Wilfred were too small to have
much strength of wrist, and nothing was
expected of them except round-eyed watch-
fulness for a chance catch. Florian was too
amiable to plan seriously the destruction of
an enemy; and he was, besides, a useful
wicket-keeper. Lancelot detested the exer-
tion required of a good bowler. Aylmer-
"You have not much choice, fair Sir
Eustace!" Gladys had crept close to her.
boy, and her voice sounded mockingly in
his ear.
"No, I haven't," replied Eustace shortly.
"Take my advice. Put on Rupert. He
taught Berta to bat, and he knows her
ways." Gladys turned with a queer little
nod.
Eustace hated to take the counsel of
Gladys, but he knew it was good. Yes,
Rupert had taught Berta-as he himself had )
taught Gladys, when she was a much smaller




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


and much nicer girl. Nicer? Well, of
course, she must have been nicer then, when
she exacted no more fatiguing service than.
a ride pick-a-back.
Rupert came cheerily from long-field-off.
He meant to make mincemeat of his former
pupil.
But Berta made mincemeat of his balls,
and at length fell a victim to Florian's refined
wicket-keeping. Her bails flew, and she
smilingly walked off the pitch amid profuse
compliments from her destroyer. Rupert,
thus baulked of his vengeance, was no good,
and fumed himself back to long-field-off.
Dorothy took Berta's place, and Eustace,
profiting by Gladys's hint, put on Tristan.
Alas! as in the case of* Rupert, the bowler's
very eagerness brought him to :confusion.
Dorothy's roguish glance roused Tristan to
impotent anger.
The runs mounted, and the byes helped
them. In the first over, Dorothy sent
Tristan's best ball clean out of bounds, and
shouted Six for me! in a triumphant and
exasperating manner.




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


The petticoats have it!" sneered Tristan.
"Upon my word, Eustace, we had. better
borrow our sisters' pinafores."
You had better borrow your sisters'




















Dorothy was bending easily over her bat.-j. 81.

brains!" retorted Dorothy, only I'm afraid
your heads mightn't find room for them I"
At this Tristan flushed scarlet, and looked
ready to repeat Guy's feat; but Dorothy
'Was bending easily over her' bat, and he
F





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


was forced to make another try for her
wicket.
The girls had begun to rate their oppo-
nents very low indeed; and presently Dorothy
played a ball right into the chubby hands
of Bevis, who for several seconds stood
gazing at the ball as though he couldn't
believe in his own luck.
The departure of Dorothy somewhat
restored Tristan's nerve, and he succeeded
in getting rid of Erica and Clarice before
the umpires called time, and the rival teams
adjoifned for dinner.
Edmund began earnestly to endeavour to
persuade the other boys that the moment
for revenge had now arrived. Let them
remember yesterday's dry bread and water!
"What nonsense!" roared Maurice, who
was incapable of meanness, "these baskets
are crammed with goodies, and the girls
brought their share. Here, Edmund, you
idiot! help the kids with the cloth, for we
can't trust you with the tuck."
Edmund moved off sulkily, for he had
longed to carry a plateful of crusts to Cecily,




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


and invite her to spread them in a row
before her and allow him to take their
inventory.
The boys were very busy. As a rule, the
girls had taken the lead at picnics; but now,
no girl came forward with a word of advice
or command. It seemed as though they
really acknowledged the obligations and re,
strictions of a Boy Day, and were waiting
politely, beneath the far-off beech-trees, till
'summoned to the feast. The spirits of the
poor knights rose. Though beaten on the
field, there was still the Holiday Prize to
be won; and with the girls in this courteous
.and -unassuming mood, many votes might be
secured by assiduous attention to that appe-
tite for dainties which is known to distinguish
girls. At all events, they could hot fail to
appreciate the superior generosity which was
about to bid them share freely with their
.victims of the day before.
The cloth was spread and neatly covered.
with provender; and by the place of each
girl Aylmer laid a different wild flower.
Florian sped away with his message of good-
will.





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


SIt was quite a trot 'to the 'beeclies.
Beneath the trees there was a. mossy bank,
and along this bank, in a row, sat Gladys
and her companions. When Florian came
close he nearly gasped. Spread on the
knees of every girl was a clean white
pocket-handkerchief, on the handkerchief a
sheet of white paper, and in the middle of
the paper a tidy pile of nicely-cut sand-
wiches. The girls were eating these sand-
wiches with evident contentment, and they
were drinking milk which had been brought
,to threm by a farm-lad, just disappearing
over a distant stile.
"Oh, Gladys! exclaimed Florian, when
he had recovered himself, "have you really
begun your dinner? We boys have spread
the cloth on the turf under the oaks, and
we have unpacked the baskets and put every-
thing ready. We have pigeon-pie for you,
and tongue, and sausages, and ginger-wine,
and all sorts -of' goodies. We hope you will
all come." 7
Dear Florian," said Erica, languidly,
"you boys think of nothing, but eating."




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


"Pray let Edmund have my share!" said
Cecily.
"Tell Lancelot I will spare him the
trouble of waiting on me," said dark-eyed
Winifred.
"Cyril shall not say any girl has stolen
his dinner for spite," laughed Mildred.
" I won't give Guy the opportunity of
throwing jam tarts at me," added Hilda.
Florian looked at the contemptuous girls
one by one, and at last fixed his appealing
eyes on Gladys.
S"Do come!" he begged eagerly.
"Thank you very much, Florian," replied
the girls' captain serenely; "but we much
prefer to stay where we are. As it is a Boy
Day, we brought our share of goodies for
your dinner; you cannot say that we have
not treated you fairly. But when my team
play cricket, they do not eat pies and cakes.
We are willing to leave them to you boys.
Pray tell Eustace that he will find a whole
cream-cheese in my basket. I believe he
adores cream-cheese."
"Gladys!" said Florian, reproachfully, "you,




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


know that Eustace is not a fellow for grub.
He has put the cheese, which looks delicious,
in' front of your plate."
"I am sorry I have forgotten his taste,"
said Gladys, mockingly.
"Come, Gladys!" coaxed Florian, "I am
sure you don't want to spoil our Boy Day!"
"Spoil your day!" repeated Gladys mis-
chievously; "why, have we not shown our
kindness by keeping away? On a Girl Day,
is it not our first thought to get rid of
you?"
I suppose it is," owned Florian dolefully;
and followed by the pitying eyes of Amabel,
and the laughter of all the other girls, he
moved slowly away.
SThe boys heard Florian's news in crest-
fallen silence. They were cheated out of
their intended magnanimity, and they were
piqued by the airs of superior self-restraint
assumed by their rivals. In their hearts
they feared the consequences of a too liberal
dinner; but sheer resentment impelled them
to recklessness. Eustace satisfied nature, and
then looked gloomily on while his team




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


ate their own dinner and that of the girls
also.
The result was painful by-and-by. Stumps
were to be drawn at five o'clock; and at a
quarter-past four, when the last of the girls'
wickets fell (Gladys carrying out her bat),
the boys positively lacked thirty runs to
avoid a single-innings defeat. It now became
the sole hope of Eustace to avert this humil-
iation. He sent in Maurice and Guy, his
two best bats, and implored them to play
with steadiness and discretion. In vain.
Guy lost his head and his wickets at Hilda's
first attack, and Maurice, appalled by the
disaster, went out 1.b.w in the next over.
Then the boys began to go down like
ninepins; and the score was only six when,
at a quarter to five, poor Eustace sent him-
self in, with Wilfred at the opposite end.
Wilfred was a noted blocker, who, so long
as the other fellow could get the runs, might
be counted on to prolong an innings by
masterly inactivity. Indeed, his stronghold
was threatened harmlessly while Eustace suc-
ceeded in snatching three bounders off the




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


pick of the girls' bowling. The score stood
at twenty-four, and stumps would be drawn,
in five, minutes. Off flew Wilfred's bails,
and the girls raised a shout of triumph.
SBevis was last man in. Fortunately, his
stolidity was unaffected by the importance
of his present position, and he nodded
cheerily at the pale and anxious face of his
captain. Amabel, with tears of sympathy
rin her eyes, resumed her attack on Eustace's
wicket. But she was too sensitive to the
troubles, of others to desire the enemy's
absolute breakdown, and Eustace ran a
couple "off her next attempt. In the two
following minutes two singles fell to Eustace's
daring bat. .The score at twenty-eight-two
runs wanted and two minutes in which to
make them, Eustace felt his heart beat high
ahd there was a hush over the entire field.
At this moment Gladys stepped forward,'
and took the ball from the hand of Amabel,
who fell back to slip.
SEustace saw the eyes of his rival gleam
with mischievous glee. She had permitted
him to approach so nearly the success of his




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


modest aim only in the hope of making
his disappointment the more crushing and
complete. Eustace compressed his lips and
caught his bat with a grip of steel. Oh, to
win one sixer from the utmost skill of
haughty Gladys !


The victorious ball was in the hands of the wicket-keeper.--. go.

The captain of the girls made no unfair
dallying. The instant that Eustace stood
prepared, the ball sped swift and sure;
straight as an arrow, 'and reaching its goal,


-~-~
h




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


with an utterly disconcerting break. Eustace
raised his arm for a swipe. Alack! his
middle wicket had leapt from the soil, and
the victorious ball was in the hands of the
wicket-keeper.
The defeated captain seemed for a second
petrified. Then his heart beat with chivalrous
admiration of his pupil's fine performance.
"Bravo, Gladys!" he shouted, his cap
waved high. "Bravo! Bravo! That was
a magnificent ball!"
The girls had cried "Time! Time!" and
crowded round their leader. From their
midst Gladys looked round at Eustace, and
called back to him, with flashing eyes,
"Bravo yourself, Eustace! You taught
me that break!"
The two captains exchanged glances of
generous recognition. Then Eustace waved
his cap again, and as the boys drew quickly
round, he cried,
"Now then, fellows! Hurrah for the
queen of the cricket-field !"
He led off three hearty cheers, and amid
a pleasant hubbub of congratulations and




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


consolations, the boys and girls laid aside
differences and helped each other gather
together the playing-gear. And so the first
Boy Day reached a peaceful end, and the
rivals trooped homeward side by side.


flfi:L,














CHAPTER IV.


HE ignominious failure of their
earliest attempt at the manage-
ment of their own affairs made
the boys not unwilling to greet
the second Girl Day with something like
toleration., They could not well be made
more miserable than they had yesterday made
themselves by the choice of a game in which
their former pre-eminence had given place to
the triumphant superiority of the girls. Even
Maurice felt that it might be well to let
twenty-four hours elapse before they again
tempted Fate.
They had been bidden to hold themselves
in readiness at the usual time ,and place;
and as Maurice had agreed to rise half-an-
hour earlier in order to pull Lancelot out of


x. n -~c-- -
~A,..o ,.. ----





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE


,bed and superintend his toilet,' they were on
'the spot at the appointed moment.
The boys noticed at once that the pleasant
camaraderie, which, the evening before, had
distinguished their victorious opponents, was
no longer in existence. The girls, following
the example of their leader, had resumed
the various airs and graces which the boys
found so objectionable. Gladys appeared
even more haughty than her wont, as she
beckoned imperiously to the unwilling
Eustace; and each of the remaining girls,-
with the exception of Amabel, greeted her
particular boy in precisely the fashion best
adapted to drive him to despair.
Clarice summoned the poetical, Aylmer
from the contemplation of a superb rose-tree,
and ordered him to repeat on the instant,
without a single mistake, the well-knowh
lyric-

"Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree-top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock."

Clarice did this because she knew that the
sound of the false rhymes, "top" and "rock,.'





THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


would cause to Aylmer's fastidious ear an
anguish corresponding exactly to that of the
severest toothache; while the utter foolish-
ness of suspending a cradle from a tree-top
would come home to his exalted understand-
ing as a sort of torture.
Berta brought Rupert to her side on
purpose to bestow on his new necktie a
vicious tug, which destroyed immediately and
for ever its first unblemished beauty, and
made the -knot he had achieved with so
much labour a regretful memory of th'e past.
.Cecyy showed Edmund a large box of
chocolate-creams, and remarked that it con-
tained exactly enough to go round the girls
six times, and leave one for every boy except
himself.,
Hilda. observed to Guy that she was
delighted to find that he had risen in such
an excellent temper, because if he had hap-
pened, as usual, to get out of bed on the
wrong side, she should hate been compelled
to send him home again to try what he
could do with the other. It is exasperating
to hear a girl fling at you such a taunt as




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


-this, merely because you are biting your
lips as an aid towards holding your tongue.
While these and similar encounters were
taking place, Gladys lifted up her voice to
proclaim the day's programme.


Cecily showed Edmund a large box of chocolate creams.--. 94.

"Listen, boys!" she commanded. "We
have chosen for our second day one of our
nicest girl games; and as we threw our-
selves most heartily^ipto your chosen play
yesterday, we expect you to do the same




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


with ours to-day. We are going to, be
Sisters of Mercy."
The boys stifled an apprehensive groan.
Hitherto," continued Gladys smilingly,
"you have not thrown yourselves into this
game as we could have wished; and we
fear that you have therefore failed to
thoroughly enjoy it. You have merely car-
ried our baskets, and dawdled outside the
cottage doors. To-day, things will be differ-
ent. In order that you may see how
delightful this play really is, we mean you
to be' Sisters of Mercy along with us; in
fact, we are going to let you take quite the
chief part in the game. And to help you
throw yourselves into it, we intend you to
be properly dressed. Each of us girls has
brought a waterproof cape, a hood, and a
large white pocket-handkerchief. When you
have' put on the capes, you will kneel in
front of, us, and we will, ourselves arrange
the hoods on your heads with the handker,
chiefs tied neatly below your chins."
The boys dared not resist. Only Guy,
whose hands shook with passion, tore half




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE


the buttons off Hilda's cape before he was
fairly enveloped in it. Eustace wore an air
of proud indifference as easily as he wore
Gladys's cape; Maurice gave to his shoulders
a mighty shrug, which burst half Erica's
seams; and the sneer on Tristan's face when
he knelt before his girl made Dorothy assure
him that his personal beauty was dazzling to
her eyes.
"Now," proclaimed Gladys, as the unlucky
boys rose and straightened their encumbered
limbs, "you are on no account to forget, for-
a single moment, that you are Sisters of
Mercy."
"Dear Amabel," murmured Florian coax-
ingly, you always are so good-natured.
Will it not content you if I am a Brother
of Mercy? I am sure I shall be only too
delighted to be as brotherly as you please;
but, you see, I never have been a sister,
and I am afraid I do not quite understand--
ahem !-how to pretend-ahem !-that I have
petticoats."
"Never mind, dear Florian," returned
Amabel,- -sweetly; "you need not be so par-
G




*THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE


ticular- about-details. And you may hold
.up the skirts of my waterproof, if you
.choose-I won't tell. I trust I have not
tied that handkerchief too tightly ?"
".Not in the least," replied Florian gal-
lantly. "It is true that I am not accustomed
.to a large bow just under my chin; and I
may feel, for the moment, a trifle peculiar;
but it is nothing to worry about. Shall We
go on?"
"Just a moment, Florian," said Amabel
anxiously. "I want to give you a hint.
Do,try, dear Florian, to look a little more
unhappy I am so afraid that Gladys, if
she glances round and sees your smiles, will
make you carry a pail."
Good gracious!" exclaimed Florian,
startled out of his serenity, "do Sisters of
Mercy carry pails?"
"Hush!" implored Amabel. "Gladys is
explaining."
During the next two minutes Florian had
no difficulty in looking at least unhappy
enough to pass muster. At the bidding of
SGladys, the row of maidens, before whom





























































"Do try, dear Florian, to look a little more unhappyI"-f. 98.




THE HOLIDAY Y PRIZE.


the l"oys had been kneeling, drew to one
side, disclosing a pile of miscellaneous articles.
There were pails and scrubbing-brushes and
brooms; baskets and bags and bundles.
"These," called Gladys,- in a clear, pitiless
voice, are the burdens you are about to
bear. You will see they are things very
useful to Sisters of Mercy."
"Hanged if I see any such thing!"
groaned Maurice.
"They will help you to throw yourselves
thoroughly into the game," continued Gladys.
"If we don't first throw ourselves into
the village pond," remarked Tristan gloomily.
"Well, you would be quite at home in the
pond," said Dorothy; "there are so many
geese in it to keep you company."
"Make haste, boys," commanded Gladys.
"We are ready to start. The day will not
be -any too long for this delightful game.
Girls, each of you may now hand to your
own boy his appointed burden. This pail
and scrubbing-brush, Eustace, are for you."
SEistace ,stepped forward and picked up
the two hated articles, without giving Gladys




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