• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The lucky ducks
 Old Mrs. Simpkins' clock
 Out of the carriage window
 The affectionate geese
 Dolly's dolly
 The bat who came to church
 Mr. Nobody
 "Mr. Know-all"
 Some strange people
 Dandy's revolt
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Lucky ducks and other stories
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087283/00001
 Material Information
Title: Lucky ducks and other stories
Physical Description: 96 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Molesworth, Mrs 1839-1921 ( Author, Primary )
Morgan, Walter Jenks, 1847-1924 ( Illustrator )
Evans, Edmund, 1826-1905 ( Engraver )
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
E. & J.B. Young & Co ( Publisher )
Publisher: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
E. & J.B. Young & Co.
Place of Publication: London
New York
Manufacturer: Engraved and printed by Edmund Evans
Publication Date: 1898
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Husband and wife -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mothers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Infants -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Boys -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Grandmothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Human-animal relationships -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Attitude change -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Ducks -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Domestic animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Outdoor recreation -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dolls -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Romanies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1898   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Family stories -- 1898   ( local )
Genre: Children's stories
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Family stories   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Mrs. Molesworth ; illustrated by W.J. Morgan.
General Note: Title page printed in black and red colors.
General Note: Date of publication from inscription.
General Note: Pictorial front cover and spine; illustrated endpapers.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087283
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002224273
notis - ALG4534
oclc - 261340750

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Front Matter
        Page 2
    Half Title
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Table of Contents
        Page 6
    The lucky ducks
        Page 7
        Page 8
        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
    Old Mrs. Simpkins' clock
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Out of the carriage window
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    The affectionate geese
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Dolly's dolly
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    The bat who came to church
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
    Mr. Nobody
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    "Mr. Know-all"
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    Some strange people
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
    Dandy's revolt
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Back Matter
        Page 97
    Back Cover
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Spine
        Page 100
Full Text














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41
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THE LUCKY DUCKS


AND OTHER STORIES.


I7 ,X/1 /YY/ 6/












AND OTHER STORIES

BY
MRs. MOLESWORTH


ILLUSTRATED BY W. J. MORGAN


soeiety forfromoTin Christian knowledge

lort;humberland Avenue UW-

C&J-B-YOUnG 8& Co































































LONDON

ENGRAVED AND PRINTED BY EDMUND EVANS

RACQUET CT.. FLEET ST., E.C.















CONTENTS.



PAGE
THE LUCKY DUCKS 7

OLD MRS. SIMPKINS' CLOCK 27

OUT OF THE CARRIAGE WINDOW .35

THE AFFECTIONATE G EESE 43

DOLLY'S DOLLY .50

THE BAT WHO CAME TO CHURCH .59

MR. No 66

MR. KNow-ALL. 73

SOME STRANGE PEOPLE. 82

DANDY'S REVOLT 90
























SOUNG Mrs. Mervyn was staying in the country for some weeks.
She was very young though she had been married more than two
years, and had a jolly fat baby-boy called Jerry-his real name was
Gerald-about eight months old. Poor Jerry had been ill, and less fat
and jolly than usual, and it was on his account they had come to the
country so early as June, some weeks before young Mr. Mervyn could
get his yearly holiday. For he was a lawyer, with lots to do. It would
have been rather dull for Mrs. Mervyn alone all day with nobody but
Jerry and his nurse, delightful though Jerry was, for Mr. Mervyn had to
go up to town by an early train, and only got back late in the evening for
dinner. So Mrs. Mervyn's sister Dora had been invited to accompany
the little party, and as Dora was only fourteen and very pleased to get an
extra holiday, the arrangement suited her tastes exactly. They managed
to amuse themselves very well, for they had brought down the pony and
B







THE LUCKY DUCKS


pony-carriage with them, and there were plenty of pretty drives; and as
Jerry soon got better and was able to go out with them, the party was
quite complete.
Now young Mrs. Mervyn prided herself on her housekeeping. She
had never done anything of the kind before her marriage, and was never
tired of relating how much she had had to teach herself, and what a good
thing it was for girls to learn such things before they married. She had
been the youngest but one at home, and Dora was the quite youngest,
and as they had several very capable elder sisters, domestic duties had not
fallen in their way.
I'm going to teach you all I can while you're staying with me,
Dora," she said. Of course country housekeeping is rather different, but
I think I am very quick at it, naturally. For though I have never kept
house out of London before, I am getting -into the way of it beautifully."
So Dora came into the kitchen with her sister every morning when
dinner was going to be ordered, and now and then cook got a holiday,
and the young ladies took her place, and spent the afternoon in making
rather indigestible cakes. And on Saturdays they went off to the market
which was held once a week in the little neighboring town, where they
laid in a stock of eggs, and looked learned over the butter, and pinched
and pummelled the farmers' wives' chickens to be sure they were tender,
and not aged fowls.
Have you no ducks ?" asked Mrs. Mervyn one Saturday of the old
woman from whom they generally bought poultry.







AND OTHER STORIES.


She shook her head.
It's early days for 'em yet, ma'am," she replied. "I've some
beauties as 'll be ready for killing in two or three weeks, but I must sell
'em off as they are, for I am going away for a month to visit my
daughter who is married over by Middleham."



I'''! i

WU











,,, a ,, sh oucld,"

"How do you mean, you must sell them as they are?" asked
Mrs. Mervyn.
"Why, 'live, to be sure," said the woman, "and a good bargain those
as buys 'em '11 have of 'em. One-and-six each for the five of 'em, and
when fattened up they'll be noble birds, will they ducks, though I says
it, as shouldn't."







THE LUCKY DUCKS


"One-and-sixpence-eighteenpence ; that does seem very little," said
the lady. And how soon will they be ready for killing, did you say ?"
The poultry woman reflected.
Four weeks'd see 'em all ready," she said. "And indeed, there's
two as'd be very nice in a fortnight. There must be lots of scraps
about your place, ma'am, as'd fatten 'em finely-with some Indian corn,
regular, as well."
Oh, Fanny, do buy them," said Dora. It would be such fun to
have a little farmyard of our own while we're in the country. And there
is a-sort of a pond in the garden," she added, with a vague idea of
ducks necessitating water.
"They've no call for a regular pond, Miss," said the woman. "A
bit of a gutter, the dirtier the better. Ducks is queer birds."
Mrs. Mervyn reflected. She was really quite as eager as Dora to
become the proud possessor of the five ducklings, but she had vague
misgivings that somehow or other she might be taken in. And she
did not like the idea of her Fred-Fred was Mr. Mervyn-making
fun of her. And after all, seven-and-six for the lot! It was ridiculously
cheap.
If Fred laughs at me I'll tell him it was to please Dora," she said
to herself, and so the bargain was concluded.
I'll fetch 'em over on Monday," said the old woman. Monday
morning, if father can spare the boy, and if not, afternoon. Yes, ma'am,
thank ye; Monday for certain sure."







AND. OTHER STORIES.


She seemed so honest and straightforward that Mrs. Mervyn offered
to pay her then and there. But the woman shook her head again.
No, thank ye," she said; "you'll pay me when-the birds is fetched.
Time enough, but thank ye all the same."
She seemed honest, and she was so. My story is not one of cheating
and trickery, as you will see.
Dora was delighted.










seeMieJD veRy MUCH AT HOME


"It will be such fun," she repeated. "And, Fanny, we mig t
send one duck up to London by parcel post-killed and-and-what
is the word for doing up chickens and things like that, you know-
tucking them up neatly with their poor little legs and wings all close
together?"
Trussed, you mean," said the wise housekeeper.
Oh yes, that's it. Well, we might send it to them at home trussed,
and with bits of parsley stuck in, and say it was from our farm-yard.
Wouldn't it be lovely ?"







THE LUCKY DUCKS


"Yes," Mrs. Fanny
agreed, it would be very
nice. I think, however,
we'd better eat one our-
selves first, just to be
sure, you know, that they
Share really tender and

I NWgood. In a fortnight,
didn't the old woman say
the first might be killed ?"
S\ I think so. How I
wish the time would come!
I feel in such a fuss to
pack up the duck and
send it off. Won't Elma
&e were
"leche&' and Anne be astonished ?"
over by
o bo But before that same
x4rv fortnight had come to an
.- -end, Dora had changed
her mind.
Monday morning
brought the ducks. They
were "fetched" over by
a boy in a basket-I don't mean that the boy was in the basket too-I







AND OTHER STORIES.


see I must be more careful how I express myself! No; the basket was
carried by the boy, and inside were the five ducks, very tightly packed in,
and too terrified to have a quack left in them, poor things.
But they revived a bit when they found -themselves once more on
terra firma-though I am again expressing myself badly. Is Dora's
" sort of a pond," in reality a very extensive puddle in the back garden-
where the rain had collected, thanks to a want of new gravel-to be
called terra firma ? I really can't undertake to say. But whether it is so
or not, there the ducks seemed very much at home, and by the next
morning had apparently forgotten all about their disagreeable experiences
of the day before.









"t-:* ,- ... -9







14 THE LUCKY DUCKS





PART II.

SHOULD really be afraid to say how.much
of her time during the next few days Dora
spent beside her "pond." Not that the
,- ducks were entirely kept to the pond-oh
iW dear no!-but it was usually there that

they were to be found when she came out
to look for them. She "took them walks,"
Which means that she drove them, with the
Sgentlest words and gestures, into the little
field close by, where they seemed equally
.''".., content, and at night she "put them to
bed," that is to say, she-decoyed them by
the sight of her plateful of scraps and hints of Indian corn into an
empty stable, where the dear creatures were safely locked in.
And her sister Fanny was "nearly as bad" as Dora herself.
"They are really such interesting things," she explained to her
husband, when two or three times over, not finding Mrs. Mervyn in the
drawing-room or on the verandah on his return from London, he was told
"the ladies were at the pond." "I had no idea ducks could be so
interesting."








AND OTHER STORIES. 15



Not even when you're fattening them for your own table," Mr.

Mervyn replied. I can understand that fact adding a wonderful charm

to poultry of any kind."


AT trNicr',i4
PUT THEMN


To 3E O )


Mrs. Mervyn seemed rather in a hurry to change the subject.

Dora, who was with her sister at the pond of course, glanced up quickly,

but said nothing. In a moment or two however she remarked briskly


'=

'- 4






THE LUCKY DUCKS


that she. thought "Tottles seemed better to day." I am sure he stands
firmer on his legs."
"Tottles," repeated Mr. Mervyn, "do you mean the baby, Jerry?
Why do you give him such a ridiculous name, and-surely, Fanny, you
are not allowing the child to stand or walk yet ? I have always heard, I
know my mother says so, that it is fatal to let a baby walk too soon ? it
gives them-what is it ?-makes 'em knock-knee'd or bandy-legged, I'm
not sure which. But it's something that shouldn't be."
Mrs. Mervyn could not help laughing.
My dear Fred!" she exclaimed. "Jerry is only eight months old.
No fear of his wanting to walk or stand just yet. You might as well
warn me against letting him have too many lessons at his present age.
Oh no, Tottles is only one of the ducks-we, didn't think him as strong
and sturdy as the others, but he's improving."
He couldn't stand when he first came," said Dora. "At least he
always flopped down when he had walked a little bit, his legs seemed
weak. I think he had had some illness. He's that one over there-the
one with the nearly black wings, Fred."
He looks pretty fat," said Mr. Mervyn, "but, on the whole, Dora,
if your idea about him is correct, I think, though I wish Mr. Tottles well,
I would rather not eat him."
And unfortunately," said Mrs. Mervyn, with a little sigh, which
might have been for Tottles himself and the fate before him, or mnzght
have been for the possible effect of roast Tottles on her husband's






AND OTHER STORIES. 17


digestion; unfortunately he is the very one that the woman said should
be killed first. She said in a fortnight. It's quite that, Dora."
Her tone was as tragic as if she had been passing sentence of death
on some unjustly condemned prisoner. Dora started.
"Oh, Fanny," she said, "you should let him get quite well first.















T "otle a


He hasn't been able to enjoy himself half as much as the others since
they came here, with his being so weak, you see. Don't you think
Fanny should let him get well first, Fred ?"
I should say so decidedly," replied Mr. Mervyn. And his face was
very solemn. For the sake of others, if not for his own, I should say
so, very decidedly indeed."
Dora's face cleared.






FTE LUCKY DUCKS


Oh, how very nice of you, dear Fred!" she exclaimed. I wish I
could catch Tottles and make him give you a kiss."
It would be rather a wet one," said Mr. Mervyn. Thanking you
for your kind intentions, Dora, I think we will leave Doddles' kiss to the
imagination."
Tottles," said Dora, not Doddles. Doddles wouldn't suit him a
bit, would it, Fanny ? They've all got names, Fred. The two little
white ones you
Shouldn't know them
apart, but Fanny and
'. I do-are Lily and
Snowflake, and the
-" thin, rather scraggy
greyish one is Hans
LIY- t AND iNow FLAE.l -I don't quite know
why we called him
Hans, Fanny? Oh yes, it was because his face is like one of the
geese in my Grimm, who was-oh, Fanny, do look how much'better
Tottles is walking."
"Yes, he's gone right round the pond," exclaimed Mrs. Meryvn.
" He thought Perkins was going to snap up that bit of crust before he
could get to it. Perkins is the lively little duck running after Tottles,"
she explained to her husband quite seriously. "We called him 'Perk'
or 'Perky,' at first, and then it got into 'Perkins.' "







AND OTHER STORIES.


"Most interesting," said Mr. Mervyn. "Let me see--'Tottles,
Lily, Snowflake, Hans, and Perkins.' It reminds me of your favourite
memory game, Dora--'Alcibiades, Gladstone, Garibaldi, Simkins,
Napoleon,' &c. Am I not sharp at remembering their names? "
Dear things," said Dora, as they at last tore themselves away from
the pond, "they are so sweet. I don't wonder you love them, Fred?"
"Roast and stuffed, and
with apple-sauce," murmured her
brother-in-law under his breath;
"all, that is to say except id
Dodd-no, Tottles, I mean.
But Dora :1 :i
not catch
his words
-at least MANr AND !EiWil
if she did she pretended she didn't.
And for some little time the quintet of webbed creatures lived on in
peace and plenty, undisturbed by nightmares of sage and onions, apple-
sauce or green peas.
But if it is darkest before dawn, sometimes, I fear, things are
brightest and calmest just ere the thunder-clouds gather. There came a
day-a sad day for Dora, and-very nearly, a still sadder day for the
ducks-when the alarm was given, the fools' "-or ducks'--" paradise'
all but destroyed.







20 THE LUCKY DUCKS


This was how it happened. There came one Saturday morning, a
telegram from Mr. Fred, to say he was bringing back a friend with him
to stay till Monday. Now Saturday is an awkward day for such
surprises, and Mrs. Mervyn at once went into the question of the food
supply.
"It is all right," she said to Dora, as she came out of the kitchen,
"there is enough meat in the house, but-we must have another dish at
luncheon to-morrow, and, Dora, cook said the ducks are really quite
ready: Not Tottles, but two of the smaller ones-Hans and Snowflake
are the fattest. You must try and not mind, dear."
But Dora hid her face in her hands, and rushed up-stairs in a burst
of tears!
"I'll-I'll try to be good, Fanny," she whispered penitently to her
sister, when red-eyed but composed she made her appearance an hour or
two later. Only, don't expect me to come in to luncheon to-morrow."







F .. .







AND OTHER STORIES.


PART III.

D ORA did come in to luncheon on Sunday, however, and was quite
as happy and merry as usual. But on her sister's face were
some signs of housewifely care.
"I am so sorry," she said to the gentleman who was staying with
them, "to give you such a poor 'luncheon. But the fact is, that I had
counted upon something which-which failed us unexpectedly."
I bet you anything you like, I can guess what the dish was," said
Mr. Mervyn, interrupting his friend's assurances that he had everything
he could possibly wish for in the way of an excellent meal. Roast Tott
-no, I beg your pardon-roast duck-eh ?- am I not right ?"
Fanny blushed a little.
Not far wrong," she said ; "the truth is, I had ordered roast ducks,
or ducklings rather, for we have some of our own, quite ready for killing,
but late last night the cook sent in to tell me-it does seem very
ridiculous-that neither she nor the kitchen-maid nor the footman knew
how to kill ducks. And as it was Saturday night the gardener had gone
home, and so had the coachman and the groom. None of them live on
the premises, and of course we could not have eaten ducks only killed
the same morning."
"Besides," said Dora, "it would be very naughty to kill chickens or
ducks or anything on Sunday."
"And the long and the short of it was, that Mr. Tott-oh dear,







THE LUCKY DUCKS


dear, I mean to say the duck-got a reprieve, and we had to put up with
-what is it ?-cutlets, instead of him," said Mr. Mervyn.
"You would have had to put up with not having me," said Dora,
"if they had been here. It wasn't Tottles at all
-it was to have been Hans and Snowflake."
Bi "Hans and how much?" asked her
brother-in-law.
But Fanny saw some, suspicious signs
about Dora's eyes, and she knew that the
child would not stand much teasing about it,
so she changed the subject.
"I must speak to the out-door men," she
said, hurriedly. "After all it doesn't much matter."
Monday came. When Mrs. Mervyn was
ordering dinner, cook returned to the question
of the ducks.
"I was very sorry, ma'am," she said, "to
2 have to disappoint you so. And it's very stupid
'of me and the others not to be able to put our
hand to such a thing. But they do say as ducks is very queer to kill."
"Of course, it must be done properly," said Mrs. Mervyn, I could
not have the poor creatures tortured. But you had better tell the
gardener to do it-let me see, to-morrow would do. They will come in
nicely for Wednesday, when I expect my aunt to spend the day."







AND OTHER STORIES. 23


And she mentally resolved that she would take Dora a long drive on
Tuesday, so that the fatal deed should be done without her knowing.
"And once they are killed," she thought, Dora must just try to be
sensible about it, though I do sympathize with her. I'll never have
eatable pets again-never-though, of course, we didn't mean to make
pets of them. Why Dora was quite full of sending one home by parcel
post!"
But it was some time since Dora had alluded to this plan.
Wednesday morning at breakfast-time, Dora announced her intention
of running out with a plateful of scraps to the ducks.
"We were out nearly all yesterday," she said, "and I scarcely saw
the dear things."
Mrs. Mervyn shivered, but said nothing. A few minutes later,
however, on her way to the kitchen, she heard Dora's voice as merry as
ever, coming from the direction of "the pond."
Has the gardener not killed the two ducks yet ? Did you forget
my orders ?" she asked the cook.
Poor cook looked guilty.
If you please, ma'am, no, I didn't forget. But it's a very odd
thing, ma'am, the gardener had never killed a duck. The lady you have
this house from never keeps them. And he said as how he'd rather not."
How extraordinary ;" said Mrs. Mervyn, half-annoyed, half-
relieved. "But there's Spedding, cook"-Spedding was the coachman
-" he has lived a good deal in the country, you might have asked him."







24 THE LUCKY DUCKS


"So I did, ma'am," cook replied. "But
bless you, ma'am, Spedding's that soft-hearted.
Kill a duck,' says he; no thank you, Martha,
S I begs to be excused.' And then I tried Dunn,
the groom, ma'am. He said if I'd give him the
carving-knife, he'd have a try at chopping their
necks off; but that I wouldn't hear of. 'The
missis wouldn't allow no brutiality,' says I."
"Certainly not," Mrs. Mervyn replied.
S "But what are we to do? The ducks must
",,,, be killed sooner or later."
"There's the butcher's boy," suggested the cook. "He must be
used to such things; they come in his line."
Very well then, ask him. Say I'll give him something for his trouble.
To-morrow or the day after would
do. My aunt is not coming after all."
And for a day or two there was no
talk of the ducks. That is to say, not from
the kitchen point of view. There was plenty
of chatter about them on Dora's part-she
seemed quite to have forgotten the tragic fate
in store for her web-footed favourites.
Another if you please ma'am, about the ,-a 0
ducks," greeted Mrs. Mervyn on Friday.







AND OTHER STORIES.


"Well, haven't you settled it with the butcher's -
boy? said the lady, rather impatiently. It was a
disagreeable subject, and she wanted to hear as (
little as possible about it.
"He's no experience of the kind, neither, if
S ,, ,GheCroom \
you please," cook went on with a shake of the head. ,u, W ,.k ,
"Stabbing he could undertake, but that'd never do '~ otj
for ducks, and so I said to him. But he's going to
speak to his master, and see if there's any one about as can oblige us."
"Really," said Mrs. Mervyn, "it is too ridiculous. I do wish I'd
never bought them."
Some days passed-the butcher boy's inquiries appeared to be
unsuccessful. Then one morning cook announced that a man had made
his appearance sent by the butcher to kill the ducks.
"And has he done it, then ? interrupted
Mrs. Mervyn.
He was not-not to say exactly-but still,
ma'am, I couldn't say he was right down sober,"
Said cook. And Robert and me-it went to
our hearts to think of his torturing the poor
birds-Miss Dora so fond of them too-and
s ,- w we just sent him about his business, quite
ura '. civil-like, of course."
Mrs. Mervyn left the kitchen without speaking!







THE LUCKY DUCKS


A fortnight later they were all back in town.
"By the by," said Mr. Mervyn one evening when they had roast
duck for dinner, "what became of Tottles and his friends ? We never
eat 'em after all, did we ? Not that I remember."
Mrs. Mervyn grew very red.
I-I sent them back to the farm they came from," she said. It
was no good-I couldn't get any one to kill them."
Mr. Mervyn smiled.
They'll be killed by now," he said.
No," his wife replied. Dora made the woman promise not to kill
them till the autumn. She wanted them to enjoy the fine weather, and
after that she thought she wouldn't mind so much."
Lucky ducks !" said Dora's brother-in-law.







AND OTHER STORIES.


ISS Jessie," said nurse, I'm going round to some of
I U your laiamia's po(o:r people this morning, as she is
not well enough to go herself, and she says you may
come with me."
I hope you're going to the nicest ones," said Jessie. I've been
once or twice with Mamma, but I don't like all her poor people. One
woman was quite cross one day, as if it was Mamma's fault that she was
poor. I like the cheerful ones that seem pleased to see us."
Nurse smiled, though a little sadly.
Ah, Miss Jessie," she said, if you knew more about it you'd not
wonder so much at their seeming cross as at their ever being cheery.
Still you're full young enough to see the sad side of things. I think







28 THE LUCKY DUCKS


those that we're going to see to-day will be the kind you like. There's
old Mrs. Simpkins now; bedridden and alone as she's been for years,
and never a grumble, and always a smile and a pleasant word for you:
it does one more good than many a sermon to have
a little talk with her."
The other visits were quickly paid. It \va.
not the usual day for Jessie's mother to o he'r 'lil
rounds, but she had been ill and oblig',- t .
delay her visits. Nurse had plenty ',f '
good sense, and when she saw that in ',
some houses the mothers were busy )
and in the midst of their work, she
delivered her message without
disturbing any one, promising
that Mrs. Vincent would come
herself as soon as she was i3,
well enough.
"And now," she said, I
"there is only old Mrs.
Simpkins to see. No fear
of her being busy, poor
body."
There was rather a high stair to climb to Mrs. Simpkins' room.
By the time they got to the top of it Jessie was quite out of breath.







AND OTHER STORIES. 29


If I was Mrs. Simpkins," she said, I'd be very glad always to
stay in bed rather than to go up and down all these steps every time I
went out."
For Jessie had never been ill in her life, and she was very often so
sleepy in the morning when it was time to get up that she thought it
would be no punishment to stay in bed, if not for always at least for a
good long while.
Nurse tapped at the door.
"Come in," replied a feeble voice.
They went in.
The room was clean and tidy as usual, though bare enough. The old
woman was half propped up in bed, and a little coarse knitting lay beside
her. But she did not seem to have been working, and as she caught
sight of her visitors she hastily wiped her eyes with her handkerchief
before turning to greet them with a smile
"Good morning, Miss. Good morning Mrs. Drew," she said.
" Well, this is kind to be sure. And how is your dear Mamma ? I've
been longing to have news of her."
Mamma is better, thank you," Jessie replied, "but the doctor won't
let her go out yet."
Dear, dear," said the old woman, "she must have had a very bad
cold. Such an active lady as- she is too! But it's an ill wind, they say,
as blows nobody any good, and it's a pleasure to have a visit from Missy.
She does favour her Mamma, she does."







THE LUCKY DUCKS


Nurse was pleased at this, and she went on talking to Mrs. Simpkins

for a minute or two. The old woman replied cheerfully, but her voice

sounded shaky, and she seemed to put some force on herself to speak


,*1,


brightly.' From time to time, too, she quietly wiped her eyes, as a tear

or two trickled unbidden down her thin cheeks. Nurse took no notice

for some minutes, but at last she could not help saying to the old woman,


4 Vn-"",-~






AND OTHER STORIES.


I am afraid your eyes are weak to-day, Mrs. Simpkins-or-you're
not suffering more than usual, I hope ?"
A wintry smile flickered over the wrinkled face,
No, no, Mrs. Drew," replied Mrs. Simpkins. \
"God be praised I've naught to complain of, "
and a deal, a great deal, to be thankful for.
But I've been having a good cry to
myself all the same-ever since-
the nurse came in and strai:hlt-
ened me up this morning. I'
been lying thinking' of it. It
didn't seem so bad till I vwas.:
settled for the day like, and hlad
read my chapter, and
had nothing to do but
to lie and think to
myself, and then I did
feel the miss of it
pretty sadly;" and a .
little sob seemed to r ,'--
shake her.
Nurse grew more and more puzzled.
But can't you tell me what it is you miss so?" she said, while
Jessie's face looked very grave and anxious.







THE LUCKY DUCKS


\
Again Mrs. Simpkins smiled, and this time her smile was more of
a real one.
Deary me," she said, but I am an old silly It's my clock, Mrs.
Drew. At least it wasn't my clock, but I'd come to feel as if it was.
Miss Nicholls, the dressmaker-your lady knows her-she's beenaway
nursing her sister for seven or eight months, and when she went she
left me her little clock. 'Twas partly to keep it safe, and partly to be
company to me-she's a feeling' heart, has Miss Nicholls-but she's come
back, and this morning early she come for her clock. I thanked her
kindly you may be sure, and I wouldn't have her for to know what an
old silly I am, at my age to cry for a clock." But though she smiled as
she thus tried to laugh at herself, the tears would keep coming, and
Mrs. Simpkins had to wipe her poor old eyes again and again. "It
was such wonderful company, you'd not believe it," she went on, as if
to excuse her own weakness, "I never felt lonely night or day when
I heard its ticking. There seemed to come words into it-sometimes
wouldd be a verse I learnt long ago, sometimes it'd remind me of the
tick-tick of the old clock I used to listen to in our cottage at home when
I was a little girl."
Jessie had crept closer to the bedside. Now she put out her little
hand and gently stroked the old woman's shrivelled brown one. I
understand quite well, dear Mrs. Simpkins," she said. I think I'll
feel just like that when I get to be an-an old woman," she added,
hesitating a little.







AND OTHER STORIES.


Mrs. Simpkins smiled in good earnest this time, though it was
through her tears.
"Now did you ever ?" she said, turning to nurse with great pride,
"did you ever? Such a pretty thought of Missy to comfort an old
woman with. It's many a long day before you'll be as old as me,
Miss Jessie, and I hope and trust you'll have better than a clock for
company, but I thank your kind heart, I do."
She seemed quite bright and cheerful before they left her, but little
Jessie was very quiet all the way home. She had a long talk with her
mother that afternoon, and the contents of her money-boy were counted
over several times.
Two or three days after that, Mrs. Simpkins again had the pleasure
of a visit from Jessie, and this time Jessie was carrying a parcel.
Shut your eyes for a minute please, Mrs. Simpkins," said the
little girl. There now, open them quick and look at the mantel-piece."
There stood a neat little clock, ticking away as if quite at home.
The poor old woman could not speak for joy.
"It's your very own," said Jessie. It isn't quite a new one. It
was in our schoolroom once, but the boys would try to wind it up and
touch the hands, so Mamma got a shut-up one. And this was rather
out of order. So we took it to a man Mamma knows who made it quite
right, and I paid him with my own money. So it's part a present from
Mamma and part from me, you see, and you must fancy it says to you
"With Jessie's love."







7HE LUCKY DUCKS


Those words and many other sweet and pleasant things did the
little clock tick to the poor lonely old woman, cheering her brave spirit
and reminding her that she was hot forgotten.
If Jessie lives to be old herself, even though she may not be poor
or lonely, I think that she will like to remember that in her bright and
merry childhood she had felt not only for but with others.













ar.' ,- ;-'f-< V'






AND OTHER STORIES.


OUT OF THE CARRIAGE WINDOW.

"1T OW good-bye, dears," said Mamma, a little anxiously. "You
S really will be--"
"Very, very good, and careful, and as steady as old Time,"


0 oJ-i TO.D T THU A HrB
'~-T 'jri D ~:.,4~~ r-


interrupted Donald. "Yes, Mamma, you really may trust us. You
know Morty is always quiet, and both he and I will really do what
Janet tells us."







THE LUCKY DUCKS


Yes, Mamma," Janet added. You really needn't be anxious,
dear."
Don't lean on the carriage doors," Mamma called out as her very
last injunction.
"No, no," the three voices replied; but Papa, who vas going to
see them off, put his head in at the door again for a moment.
I'll see that the doors are well locked, all the same," he said,
nodding to her reassuringly.
The children were setting off on a journey all by themselves! Yes,
they were actually to travel two hours on the railway without any big
person, to take care of them. It was the first time this had happened,
and Mamma, naturally, did not feel quite happy in her mind about it.
But it did not seem as if it could be helped. Morty, their cousin, was
spending his holidays with them, and it was very. important that he should
have some sea-air before he went back to school. Nurse and the two
youngest children were already at the cottage where Donald and Janet
had spent many happy summers, and once there the three would be well
looked after. But neither Papa nor Mamma could take them there, as
visitors were coming this very day, nor could any reliable servant be
spared.
"Let's travel alone," said Donald. "We'll be quite good, and
nurse will meet us at the station at Seacove."
And so it was decided.
Papa saw them off. He settled them in a comfortable carriage







AND OTHER STORIES. 37


where there was only a pleasant-looking old lady in a corner, repeated
Mamma's charges, and stood waving good-bye as the train moved out
of the station.
The three children sat very still for some time; there was nothing
very interesting to be seen out of the windows for a good way, so Janet


,PoA' rt A T
F--A A I NA EP
KO RT'1


told the boys a story in a low voice and kept them quiet till they had
passed the last big station before Seacove, for the train was a fast one
and did not stop often. At this station the lady got out, and not long
after came the place well known to Donald and his sister where they had
the first view of the sea. In their eagerness to catch sight of the silvery


i







THE LUCKY DUCKS


gleam in the distance the children all poked their heads out together;
the door was locked, so they themselves were safe enough, but unluckily
Donald's arm gave a tiny shove to Morty's straw hat, the railway wind,"
as Donald called it, was quick to seize it, off flew the hat and went
whizzing down the line!
My hat!" exclaimed Morty, clapping his hands to his head, as if
expecting still to find it there.
"Morty's hat! repeated his cousins together. And all three looked
very blank.
It was quite a new one this summer," Morty went on dolefully.
"Mother gave my old one to Hodgie because I was coming to you, you
see, and Hodgie wasn't at all pleased, and now he'll make out I'm so
careless."
"And what's to be done?" said Janet. "You can't go about
without a hat."
I'll lend him mine for the present," said Donald. I've got my
cricket cap in the carpet-bag."
There was only just time to get out the cap-the bag being
fortunately in the carriage-when the slackening of the speed told
them they were arriving at Seacove. There stood nurse on the plat-
form, smiling and eager.
"Well, I am pleased to see you all safe and sound," she said.
"I did feel a bit anxious to think of you travelling alone."
But their rather solemn-looking faces soon caught her attention;







AND OTHER STORIES.


the misfortune was related. Nurse was very sympathizing, but she
was sorry too.
How far off was it ?" she asked. Her face cleared when she heard
that it had only happened a few minutes out of Seacove. Oh," she
said, "that's not so bad;" and off she set to speak to the station-master.
She came back in a minute or two quite cheerful.
"There's every chance we'll get it back again, he says. He'll
inquire down the line and let us know."
The next morning, and the morning after that, Donald and Morty
came to the station for news of the flown-away hat, but it was not till
the third day that the answer came. Yes; the hat had been picked up
by some children playing in a field, and was to be heard of at John
Warton's cottage half-way between Seacove and the next station, Croiv-
bank, a very small one where few trains stopped.
"It's not more than three miles from here where Warton lives,"
added an obliging porter.
Home hurried the boys.
"Mayn't we go and fetch it ?" they said, "it would be a nice walk over
the fields;" and nurse, after some consideration, decided that they might.
It is a good thing my hat's found," said Morty, as the cousins made
their way over the fields. If it hadn't been, I'd have had to give my
shilling-that's all I have of my own really to spend as I like, the rest is
mother's that I have to account to her for."
"And two shillings wouldn't have got as good a one, nurse says,'







THE LUCK Y D UC KS


answered Donald. I was thinking it would have been only fair to
give you my florin. It was more my fault than yours."
"It was all our faults, I suppose, said Morty. "I know mother
wouldn't be -anry about it, but she'd be sorry. And I wouldn't like her
i to pay for another, because I know
S, she's not rich."
/ .


S They found the cottage easily.
-.-.'i", S Mrs. Warton, a
q-i' -. I gentle, civil, but
:,I pale-faced, anx-
i t ious-looking wo-
.. .man, with a swarm
of childrenof all
sizes about her,

hastened to get
out the lost hat
from a cupboard
SC;~ .---- where she had put
.. it carefully away.
"'Tis a right down good one," she said, "and quite new. 'Twould
have been a pity to lose it. It must have cost a half-a-crown at the very
least. I were asking the prices of some like it at Seacove last week for
my Bobby. He's smaller than you, sir," looking at Morty, "but his
head's a good size. This 'ere hat fits he beautiful."







AAD OTHER STORIES.


Which is he ?" asked Donald.
Mrs. Warton looked round. "Where are you, Bobby ?" she was
beginning to say, when a sort of howl from the corner of the room made
her start. It was Bobby; there he stood, scrubbing his eyes with his
knuckles, weeping valiantly.
It's the 'at," explained an elder sister of ten.
"For shame of you, where's your manners ?" said Mrs. Warton,
growing very red. "'Twas only," she went on, "'twas only that we
tried it on for fun, like. And father, he said if nobody owned it, it
must be for he. But I'd never cry about it if I was you, Bobby."
Bobby cried on however, his round rosy face growing redder and
wetter as the tears rolled down. Morty looked at Donald, and Donald
looked at Morty. Then Morty burst out,-
"Let him ieep it. It was our fault, and if it hadn't fallen out he
wouldn't have been disappointed. I'll buy-" but here ne stopped short
-a shilling would not pay for another hat the same !
Donald turned to him.
"I'll give you my florin, and you've got a shilling to do what you
like with, that'll be plenty. She"-lowering his voice as he nodded
towards where Mrs. Warton was standing-" she said half-a-crown.'
"Oh, thank you, Donald, thank you," said Morty.
Mrs. Warton was not very easy to persuade, but when the
boys put the hat on Bobby and told her to look how well it suited
him she gave in, and was nearly as delighted as Bobby himself, whose







42 ITE LUCKY DU CKS


chubby cheeks, still shining with tears, grew rounder and chubbier with

pleasure.

Morty's mother would not have.seen any difference between the first

hat and the one the boys bought at Seacove, but of course Morty told

her the whole story, and she, too, was glad to think that poor little Bobby

had not been disappointed.


I I


~ln~


".I "\







AND OTHER STORIES. 43








THE AFFECTIONATE GEESE.



JA' a noise those geese are making! What can it be
about ?" said MIiss Mildred one morning, as she
passed through the poultry-yard on her
way to the school-house, which was just
outside the Rectory gate. "Is there
anything the matter with them, Mrs.
Green ?"
Mrs. Green was the wife of the
..-Rectory gardener; she took charge of
the cocks and hens, the turkeys
and ducks and geese-under
Miss Mildred that is to say.
Miss Mildred was the clergy-
man's only daughter, and she
loved all these creatures and was never tired of watching them and
their funny ways.
Mrs. Green set her arms akimbo and stood looking at the little







THE LUCKY DUCKS


crowd of geese and goslings cackling and jabbering'and stretching their
long necks.
"They're a bit put about, miss," she said. "We've been shutting
up some of the young ones to be fattened for market for Michaelmas. I
thought we'd had more, but we must wait a bit. There's only two as'll
be ready for next market day."
Poor things !" said Miss Mildred. She did not like to think of
her feathered pets having to be fattened to be eaten I wish," she went
on, I wish they could all live and die peacefully like the robins and the
swallows."
Well, miss, I'm not so sure but what the poultry has the best of it,
after all," said Mrs. Green. "There's a many of the wild creatures as
starves to death in the winter-and farm-yard birds is always sure of
good food, and they knows nothing about nought else."
Perhaps so," said the young lady. But I must be quick, or I'll
be late at the school."
When she passed back again an hour or two afterwards the
excitement had calmed down. The cocks and hens were pecking
about, the ducks enjoying themselves in the pond, the geese strolling
on the grass, or strutting up and down the little lane leading to the
fields.
Miss Mildred was away from home the next day, but the morning
after, she came out to the poultry-yard as usual.
"And how about the .geese? Have they got over their







AND OTHER STORIES. 45


excitement ?" she asked. By the by I don't see the grey gander, Mrs.
Green? "
Mrs. Green cast a quick look at the geese.
Now to be sure," she said, "it's really remarkable,"-" remarkable"
was Mrs. Green's strongest expression-" there he's off again and the
goose with the other two here."
"What in the world do you mean, Mrs. Green ?" asked Miss
Mildred.
Mrs. Green nodded her head upwards and looked very mysterious.
"Just you come with me, miss," she said, and you'll see something
as'll really surprise you; to think that them poor birds should. be that
feelin'-it's a lesson for many as calls themselves Christians, and has
precious little affection in their hearts, I take it."
Miss Mildred followed Mrs. Green, feeling very puzzled as to what
she was going to be shown.
The gardener's wife led the way along the little lane, then up a
sloping grassy bank, at the top of which stood a gate. It was an old
gate and not a closely barred one. Any of the inhabitants of the
poultry-yard could have easily crept through it, or with even less trouble.
-it was so very rickety-could have shoved it open with the slightest
push. But I don't suppose the brains of cocks and hens or turkeys have
yet reached the power of understanding that gates are not intended to be
crept through or flown over.
Not being either a hen or a duck, Mrs. Green pushed it open and







THE LUCKY DUCKS


held it for Miss Mildred to pass
through. Just inside, at the edge
.'.of the field, was a sort of little hut,
.' ; I.."-' ( wired across at the front.
'. i Look there, miss," said Mrs.
Green.
___ __ JMiss Mildred looked.
:' ,There were two goslings in the
shed-two long-legged, melancholy,

silly-looking birds. And though
-, there was water and food in the
inside corner, and some hay too, the
Sgoslings were pressing themselves against the netting,
,f' flapping their wings from time to time, and looking
certainly as if they were growing thinner instead of
qJ l&
fatter. And just outside, squeezing himself as close
as he possibly could to the wire, sat the old grey
gander, whom Mildred had missed in the poultry-yard; the three
creatures, the father outside, the two young birds in their prison-all,
so to say, huddled together, from time to time giving a faint cackle of
woe.
Mildred looked up at Mrs. Green; she almost felt as if she could
cry.
Yes, miss, isn't it movin' to see ? But the best of it is, that they






AND OTHER STORIES. i


take turns, he and the mother. They had a brood of four, you see, but
the two other young ones is smaller and poorer than these, so we chose
the best two to fatten first. And ever since-'tis the third day, to-day-
would you believe it, the old birds have taken it in turn to sit here outside
to keep the young ones company; while
the gander is here, the goose is with the
other two in the yard or about the lane,
and after a bit, he'll go off to them
anil] the molther'll- come here. 'Tis as true
as trLue. m1is. I couldn't believe it at first.
Just you c0.,mL e : back in an hour or two, and
you'll see it's as I say
-it'll be the goose's
turn then to come
and comfort the poor
things."
.... She was quite
S" right. Two hours
later, when Mildred
came back, the mother
was at the post.- -And again in the afternoon the gander' took his turn.-
Miss Mildred was not satisfied till she got her father himself to come-
out and see, and the rector was nearly as inuch touched by the sight
as his daughter.: .. bI .* : :-1' .







THE LUCKY DUCKS


"I believe in my heart, I do," said Mrs. Green, "that they was a
talking' it over ard settlin' how they should do that morning you heard
them making' such a clatter, miss."
I shouldn't wonder," Miss Mildred replied. Then she turned to
her father.








-Papa,"
she said, "we
must let them out.
A few months later perhaps
they will not mind so much-the
goslings will be getting to be old birds
themselves by then, and quite independent. But
just now it seems too cruel."
Her father smiled, though he sighed too a little.
Yes," he said, "a few months later they will' not mind. That is
their nature. But for the present-yes, Mrs. Green, let them out, poor
things."
The six geese, papa, mamma and their four children passed a most
happy evening together I feel sure. And no doubt the rest of their







AND OTHER STORIES. 49


relations were exceedingly interested in cackling over the whole story,
and congratulating the two goslings on their happy release.
Miss Mildred kissed her old father even more affectionately than
usual when she said good night to him.
Those poor geese," she said, I can't forget about them But,
papa, I'm so glad to think we shall always go on loving each other."
"Yes, dear," said he, "always."







. THE LUCKY DUCKS


D OLLY was nearly eight years old, but she had never had a really
nice doll of her own. She had had two or three, perhaps more
than two or three, rather nice ones; one had actually been her mother's,
and this one of course, though no longer fresh or pretty, could not be
played with much for fear of spoiling it, as its age made it valuable.
Another had been her sister's, and one or two had been presents to
herself, but they were not very pretty. It is more than thirty years ago


h. I ;







AND OIHER STORIES.


since Dolly was a little girl; that is a long time, is it not? Many
changes have come over many things in these thirty years-among these
there have been great ones in dolls. They are not only much cheaper
but very, very much nicer. I aoubt if any of the little girls I know
nowadays would at all care for the sort of doll that Dolly thought
beautiful.
But there are always goods with bads, and unfortunately-at least it
sounds unfortunate, though perhaps it is not really so-bads with goods.
The good in Dolly's bad was that even an ugly doll gave her immense
pleasure. What then was her delight when her mother told her one day
that she was going to buy for. her a really beautiful doll. She had
thought about it for some time and had asked the prices in several shops
.before fixing, for Dolly's father and mother were not very rich, and they
had several children.
Dolly's face beamed with delight when she heard the good news
She felt at first as if she could scarcely believe it.
"Oh, Mamma," she said, "how very, very good of you. Dear
Mamma, how very happy I shall be! "
It is to be for your birthday," her mother went on; ".but I thought
it was best to tell you about it, because I was not quite sure what kind of
doll you would like best."
I would like a wax one," said Dolly; I mean if it wouldn't cost
too much."
No," said her mother, it won't cost too much. We had fixed to







THE LUCKY DUCKS


get a wax one." Wax dolls in those days were the only ones at all
pretty. "But there are two or three kinds even of wax. There are
some that open and shut their eyes, and others a good deal larger, but
which don't cost any more because they don't open and shut their eyes.
Which would you like ? Then too I want to know what colour of hair
you like best-dark or light ?"
Dolly considered. It was a serious matter. She opened and shut
her own eyes once or twice and gave a little tug to her fair curls, which
hung down her back, though they were much shorter than most little
girls' hair is worn nowadays.
I think, Mamma," she said at last, I think I'd rather have dark
hair. Dolls' dark hair is real-er-looking than light," which was true, for
at that time I don't think flaxen wigs for dolls were made of hair at all.
" And I think, Mamma, I'd rather have her littler, so long as she opens
and shuts her eyes. It will be so nice to make her shut them every
night at bed-time, for she may sleep in the cradle in our room, mayn't
she, Mamma ?"
Certainly," her mother replied; and so it was settled.
A few days later a rather long narrow parcel very carefully wrapped
'up was brought into the. drawing-room where Dolly was sitting with
her mother.
From Marshall's, if you please, ma'am," said the servant, and the
boy would be glad if you'd open it to see that it's all right."
Dolly's mother took the parcel in her hands. It was brown paper







AND OTHER STORIES.


outside, and had a label marked With great care." She looked at it
and then she looked at Dolly.
Dolly, dear," she said, "just run away to the nursery for a minute
or two. You can come back to say good-night."
When Dolly came back to the drawing-room there was no sign of




A**^ "i( "




.__










any brown paper parcel, but her mother smiled when she kissed her in a
way that Dolly quite understood.
The next two or three days seemed very long to the little girl. She
was always thinking about the new doll and she felt as if the time would
never pass till her birthday came. She was sitting one afternoon sewing
beside her mother when all of a sudden she sighed so deeply that her
mother quite started.







IHE LUCKY DUCKS


My dear Dolly," she said, what is the matter ? You seem very
unhappy."
No, Mamma," she said, I'm not unhappy, only I am so thinking
of-you know what, Mamma."
Mamma smiled.
"Well, dear, I am sorry if it makes you sigh. I thought it would
be a pleasure to you to know, but you almost make me wish I had not
told you till the time. It is still nearly a fortnight off, you know, Dolly."
A fortnight," Dolly repeated. That is two weeks. It is a good
while. But I'm not sorry you told me, Mamma. It is very nice to think
of. I try to fancy it to myself. Is it in this room ?"
No, dear, it is in the 'present drawer' of my chest of drawers
The top one-you know."
Oh, yes-you mean the chest of drawers with white knobs. I
know," said Dolly, but she still sighed a little.
Dolly, dear," said her mother, if it would set your fancy at rest
I will show you the doll. I don't at all mind doing so."
But Dolly shook her head.
No, thank you," she said. I think it is babyish not to be able to
wait. But, Mamma, dear, if you would do one thing--"
S"What?"
Would you please show it to Effie ?" Effie was Dolly's little sister.
" Show it her well, and then she will know it exactly and we can talk
about it together."







AND OTHER STORIES.


"Very well," her mother agreed. Call Effie and bring her to my
room.
Effie, who knew about the wonderful doll, came running eagerly
from the nursery. She was only five, but she was a very sensible little
girl.


liw; pou.

"Will you wait outside, Dolly ?" said her mother,
in a corner and not look ? "
I'll stay in a corner and not look," said Dolly.
Soon she heard exclamations of delight from Effie
-how lovely-what beautiful hair! and so on.


"or will you stay




"Oh, Mamma







THE L UCK Y DUCKS


Then Dolly heard the drawer shut again and she opened her eyes.
Effie ran to her.
"She is a beauty, Dolly," said the little sister, I'll tell you all about
her."
Dolly," said her mother. I shall not lock the drawer. You may
do as you like about looking at the doll-if it worries you to keep
fancying about her to yourself I give you leave to look at her. All the
same "-and she hesitated..
"What, Mamma?" asked Dolly. "Would it be gooder not to look
at her ?"
Not exactly that. It would not be naughty when I gave you leave.
But it would perhaps be good in one way, for it would show you had
self-control, which is a very good thing."
I won't look at her, Mamma," said Dolly. I'd like you to see I
want to be that thing-self-what is it ? "
Sef-controlled," Mamma replied: Master of yourself, it means,
Dolly."
The two little sisters talked a great deal about the doll. The next
day Effie began to be afraid she did not remember quite so well what
Miss Dolly was like, so they went together to the room where she was,
and Effie climbed on a chair, opened the drawer, and carefully lifting the
tissue paper which Mamma had laid over the doll's face, again feasted
her eyes on the waxen features.
Yes, Dolly," she said, "her's quite lubly," and then she went on to






AND OTHER STORIES.


describe the beautiful black curls, the eyes, the smoof white skin," till
poor Dolly felt as if she could scarcely bear it.
Effie," she said at last, let me get up on the chair. I'm not
going to look at her-I've fixed I won't. I'm going to shut my eyes-
tligt, and just feel her very softly with my fingers. Mamma said I
might look, but I'm not going to. I want to show Mamma I'm that long
word she said-I can't remember it, but I know what it means."
Down got Effie and up climbed Dolly, her eyes firmly shut, as she
had said. Effie kept calling out directions to her.
Your hand is near her face now, Dolly, yes, that's her hair-if you
feel along you'll get to her feet," thanks to which, Dolly's fingers had
soon travelled all over the unseen treasure. After a minute or two she
gave a deep sigh of satisfaction and clambered down, taking care not to
open her eyes till she was quite out of sight of the drawer.
I'm so glad," she said. I don't mind waiting half so much now.
Effie, will you come with me every day, and you'll tell me her, and then
I'll feel her."
Effie had no objection-whatever Dolly proposed she always
thought quite right. For several days the two little sisters visited the
wax doll in this way, Dolly remaining firm in her resolve not to look at
her. At last one day their mother, hearing their voices, came quietly
into the room and watched what they were doing.
I do think, Effie," said Dolly as she got down from the chair, I
do think I'm learning to be that that Mamma said. Won't she be
pleased ? "






THE LUCKY DUCKS


Mamma came forward.
"My little Dolly," she said, "are you thinking of what I said about
self-control ? I am very glad, dear, to see you have remembered it.
But perhaps you have tried yourself
enough now-would you not like to see
the doll? I shall be quite pleased to
show her to you."
But Dolly shook her head.
"No, thank you," she said; "I'd
rather go on."
And so she did till her birthday
morning !
I think she loved her pretty
)A E^"' doll none the less for having been
rAC,' both a self-controlled and a patient
-_ little girl. One thing I am sure
of-she took excellent care of
"*-- her, for I saw Miss Floribel-
which was the doll's name-not so very long ago, though it is more
than thirty years since Dolly's eighth birthday, and-considering
Floribel's old-fashionedness, you know, and her great age-she still
looked a most respectable person.







AND OTHER STORIES.


THE BAT WHO CAME TO CHURCH.


E were sitting quietly in the drawing-room one
evening last September after dinner. The
lamps were lighted, but the curtains were not
drawn nor were the windows closed. For it
was a mild evening, and in the country where
there is no one to look in-except the birds,
who of course are all asleep. when it gets dark,
and the moon perhaps, who is too calm and
dignified to be prying and inquisitive, even though
she is rather fond of gazifig-what does it matter if one forgets all
about blinds ? But the moon was not there that evening, not to be
seen at least. Outside, everything looked quite dark.
Suddenly a sort of whizzing, whirring, rustling, fluttering sound
caught our ears. Up jumped Letty, who is always delighted at an
excuse for jumping up; she does so hate sitting still.
"What's the matter ? said auntie.
"A big moth, I think," said Letty. Oh, auntie, can it be a moth ?
Do look, what an enormous one! "







THE LUCKY DUCKS


Auntie looked up at the corner of the ceiling which Letty pointed to.
"A moth," she said, "no, indeed, Letty, it is not a'moth. It is a
bat."
As she said the words a scream sounded through the room which
made us all jump, one or two of us indeed, I rather fancy, screaming in
return! It was Verena-she had been sitting working by the lamp when
Letty began fussing about the moth, but when she heard auntie calmly
pronouncing it to be a bat, she altogether lost her self-control. She
hopped up on to a chair, drawing her skirts tightly round her, as if she
thought the bat was crawling on the floor, instead of flapping about the
ceiling, and stood there shrieking.
"Oh, auntie, oh, uncle, oh, Letty, oh, Frank, oh, everybody! Do
take it away-do, do. It's the one thing I can't bear. I shall faint if it
comes near me."
She did look so funny, we couldn't help laughing.
My dear Verena," said auntie, do cbme down. You're nearer
the bat than if you stayed quietly in your chair. And there's no fear of
its attacking your fee. The only thing to take care of is your hair. It
is very disagreeable when they hook their claws in one's hair."
With this a fresh series of screams, and a change of programme.
Verena tumbled herself off the chair and made for the door, holding her
hands to her head. When she was safely outside she opened it again a
tiny chink and called back to say we mustn't think her silly; she would
come back in a minute, and help us to catch the horrible creature.







AND OTHER STORIES.


Better not wait for her, I think," said uncle. So he and I got long
sticks and climbed up on the sofa and poked and banged at the bat till
the poor thing, frightened out of its wits no doubt, at last managed to
flop itself out of the window again into
the cool dark air, which was much
more to its taste, I am quite sure,
than our brightly lighted drawing- '
room. Then uncle and I shut the
windows, and we were just sitting -
down to laugh again at Verena's ,
terrors when the door opened and
in she came.
She was such a figure. She
had tied a towel, or a very big
handkerchief perhaps it was, all over
her head, hiding every speck of her /
hair, and on the top of that she had (IiOh.
placed her big plaited-fibre garden gun
hat, and in her hand, like the old
woman of the nursery rhyme, "she
carried a broom." You never saw any one look so funny. She peeped
in cautiously, then seeing us all sitting there peacefully, she felt ashamed
of her cowardice I suppose, and walked in.
I've got a broom," she said valiantly. Where is he, Frank? "







62 7HE LUCKY -DOCKS


"Oh, my dear," replied uncle coolly, "we didn't wait for your
assistance. The bat has retired to his usual haunts long ago. You've
nothing to be afraid of. Sit down and go on with your work."

Verena sat down, feeling
rather small. But.she made no
attempt to take off her eccentric
head-dress.
'.&'-,_. If you please, auntie," she
said, "you mustn't mind my keep-
--inmg on my hat. .I can't feel quite
sure yet that he's really gone."
Uncle threw himself back
J ,in his chair and fairly roared.
"Verena," he said, "you'll be
', the death of me, you absurd child."
And no doubt she did look
Le %a comical-with her evening dress
iNve ot a broom
on, and her head tied up as if
..she were going to take a hive
of bees at the least.
It is such a horrible idea," said she with a shudder.. To think of
a bat in one's hair-ugh "
"Who told you, auntie, that they do get into people's hair ?" asked
Letty.







AND OTHER STORIES.


Auntie herself gave a little shudder.
My dear," she said, I know it by sore experience. I shall never
forget the time that a bat got into my hair."
We all pricked up our ears at this, Verena even forgot her own
terrors.
I was quite a little girl when it happened," auntie went on. "It
was one fine Sunday in summer.
We were all at church, all we
children in a row, and I remember
it was a hot morning and I was '
feeling rather sleepy. I had a
great deal of fair fluffy hair, the
kind that very quickly gets tangled,
and just as I was beginning to be
afraid that if the sermon was
much longer I should really go
to sleep, I felt something give
a sort of tug to my wig. I .
thought at first it was my brother Charlie who was sitting next
me, and who was very fond of playing tricks, and I turned round very
sharply, quite wide awake by now, to scold him. But no, Charlie was
sitting perfectly still, 'his hands before him, looking rather sleepy
himself. Then again came a sharp tug,and a sort of prick seemed to
come with it.






THE LUCKY DUCKS


"'Charlie,' I whispered, 'something's pulling my hair, and pricking
me. Can it be a wasp ? A wasp couldn't pull my hair, though. What
can it be ?'
I leant forward, and Charlie peeped behind me.
Oh, Mabel,' he said, and he was so startled that he forgot to
speak very low, it's not a wasp, it's a bat. It's all twisted up in your
hair.'"
"Ok, auntie!" exclaimed Verena and Letty and I all together,
" what did you do ? "
Auntie looked at me.
Children," she said, "it makes me hot to think of it even now. I
screamed! Yes, I really did-even though it was in church. That shows
how necessary it is to be more self-controlled than you were just now,
Verena. There was such a to-do. Everybody thought 1 was going to
faint or something-for no one had any idea what was the matter. And
even the clergyman stopped his sermon for half a minute. They got me
out of the pew somehow. I was still too frightened to be ashamed.
And then there was a terrible piece of business to get the creature out of
my hair, where it had twisted itself up more and more. A good deal of
it had to be cut off, and when the bat at last got free it was still
clutching at pieces of my fair locks. I was such a little girl that people
were very kind to me and forgave the disturbance I had made, but it was
a lesson to me for the rest of my life to be self-controlled. For months
afterwards I felt myself growing scarlet if ever I met the clergyman.'.'







AND OTHER STORIES.


"And yet
said Verena.
don't mind I'd
know, the bat


you were only a little tiny girl, and I am fourteen past,"
"Auntie, I am really ashamed of myself. Still, if you
rather keep my hat on till bed-time. Just for fear, you
should be hiding somewhere still."


e.-~- ;, .I ~ Ed








66 THE LUCKY DUCKS






MR. NOBODY.

"I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody's house.
There's no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody."
"That rogue Nobody."

" I EAR, dear," said grandmamma, as she settled herself down
comfortably in the bow-window, with all-as she thought-her
work-things about her, only to discover that her scissors, her beautifully
fine embroidery scissors, were missing; "dear, dear, who can have taken
my embroidery scissors ? Lucy, do you know anything about them ?"
"No, indeed, Grandmamma, I never touched them, but I'll look for
them;" and Lucy was jumping up, when Grandmamma told her not to
disturb herself. Lucy was always good-natured, but very thoughtless.
"Your German translation will not be properly prepared if you
leave it," Granny reminded her, as she went off herself to make inquiries
in the schoolroom next door.
All in vain. Madge knew nothing of the scissors; Prissy though/
she had seen them, but couldn't remember where; the two little boys







AND OTHER STORIES.


had their knives and indignantly repelled the idea of ever touching
scissors; and Bertie, who was very likely to have been the culprit, had
been back at school for a fortnight. No, nobody had taken the
scissors! All the same
(though poor Grandmamma jI .,
had to borrow a pair from
Miss Sawyer, not nearly as
fine as her own) the scissors 5
zere found the next morning
by the housemaid in the hall, '7
where somebody,' or, to be
more correct, nobody had '
evidently been using them
for cutting the stalks of
some violets.
Dear, dear," said poor
Grandmamma again, Mr.
Nobody is getting worse than
ever.
And, if you please,
ma'am--" said the voice of Ruth, the upper housemaid, just behind her.
Grandmamma shivered. When Ruth began, And, if you please,
ma'am," she knew some misfortune was about to be announced.
It's the landing window again, ma'am-one of the coloured glass







THE LUCKY DUCKS


panes I'm sorry to say. Somebody must have unlatched it last night and
left it swinging, and it knocked against the stone ledge and got broken,
just the same as before."
Nobody unlatched it, you should say, Ruth." Ruth stared.
"Somebody must have done it, ma'am," she said respectfully. "The
young ladies are very fond of looking out of that window of a moonlight
evening, but I've asked them all and nobody--"
"Of course, Ruth, I told you it was nobody," interrupted
Grandmamma rather testily. Well, you must send for the glazier again
-five-and-sixpence each those coloured panes cost."
Mr. Nobody's pranks were not over yet.
Mrs. Cook requested a private interview. One of the best china
dinner-service dishes was broken. It had been stepped upon !
Stepped upon !" Grandmamma repeated, and what in the world
was it doing on the floor ?" Cook shook her head.
"That's just it," she said. "I've asked all round; it stands to
reason it couldn't get down on the ground by itself; I've asked
everybody, and Sally is a very careless girl, as like as not she put it
down and forgot all about it; but she declares she didn't, and Jane and
Baker and little Nicholas and-"
Oh, I know, nobody did it. It's nobody's fault. I'm getting quite
out of patience with-with nobody," said Grandmamma.
And Grandmamma was not the only sufferer. Lucy was expecting
a letter from a friend about going to a concert with her. Lucy had been







AND OTHER STORIES


looking forward to this for some time, and wondered why the letter had
never come. Suddenly, one morning, appears a postcard.
.


SSrTcE ~ipiD~ CP0 KAND'tnIAAA"~ R~rP~AT;9


"So sorry and disappointed you could not come. We waited for
you as late as we could, but had at last to go without you," was its
message. Lucy had hard work not to cry.







THE LUCKY DUCKS


They never wrote," she said, "to tell me the day. What can Miss
Leslie mean ?"
Grandmamma was very sorry for her.
There must have been some mistake," she said. Stay-let me
think-did I not give somebody a note for Lucy two or three mornings
ago? It was the day I made you
stay in bed for breakfast, Lucy,
for your cold." i~h~
















No, nobody had been intrusted with any letter for Lucy.
"Nobody again," said Grandmamma. "But-oh, yes, now I
remember. You were all running off about something or other, and
nobody offered to take it to Lucy. So I put the letter on the sideboard
-there, leaning against the punch-bowl, in a most conspicuous position.
I suppose nobody touched it ? "






AND OTHER STORIES.


No, nobody had done so !
All the same the letter was found, though too late now to be of any
use, in the drawer of the table in the front hall; somebody had evidently
thought the hall-table a better place for it than the sideboard, only, as
usual, that somebody proved to be nobody!
"It is really going too far," said Grandmamma severely. Now


listen, all of you, and I shall say the same thing to the servants: the first
time another of these annoyances happens I shall not rest till I bring it
home to somebody. i will hear no more of nobody's doings."
The children all looked rather frightened, so did the servants, for it







THE LUCKY .DUCKS


was not often Grandmamma spoke like that. And. strange to say, Mr.
Nobody must have been listening in some hidden corner too. For from
that time his tricks ceased. I don't say that nothing was broken, or
mislaid, or meddled with, but in every case somebody owned to it, or
remembered just in time to put things right again, and as not only
somebody but everybody joined in trying to be more careful and
thoughtful and exact, the house became a very much pleasanter and more
satisfactory place than when it had been given over to the pranks of the
mischievous elf.
And one evening Grandmamma, to impress the matter more
lastingly on the children's minds, offered a prize to the one who would
make the best guess at Mr. Nobody's real name.
A good many different answers were given, but on the whole
Grandmamma thought little Prissy's the best.
"He has a good many names," Prissy had written in her folded
paper, but the oftenest ones are 'careless,' or 'meddling.'"







~BPP Q!', _r







AND OTHER STORIES. 73








"MR. KNOW-ALL."

C HARLEY FALCONER was the most good-natured boy in the
world. He looked it too. His round rosy face, his bright
twinkling eyes seemed brimming over with pleasant feelings towards
everybody ; he was full of interest in other people's affairs, a little too
full of it, perhaps, and always perfectly certain that whatever went wrong
he could put it right. I almost think that at the bottom of his heart he
had a strong belief that if he had been consulted about the arrangements
of things in general, beginning with the way the world goes round the
sun, and ending with the manner in which his sister's pet poodle was
shaved, things in general would have been very much more comfortable
for everybody concerned.
He was never at a loss, and that is saying a good deal for a boy of
eleven, surely! A good deal more than most of us who have got much
further on' the journey of life, some, perhaps, who are not far from its
end, would like to say for themselves For the older, one,gets, the more
clearly one sees what quantities and quantities of blunders one has made;
how mistaken one has been about almost everything; how differently one
would do if one could begin all over again! And queer though it may







TIHE LUCKY DUCKS


sound, it is when we begin to see our mistakes and blunders thus clearly,
that we are really on the first steps of the ladder of wisdom.
But Charley was by no means ready at this lesson. He was quite
sure of himself always, and about everything. I think, however, that a
few things which happened to him lately laid the seeds of his growing
wiser, and that from them he began to learn that it was possible he might
sometimes be mistaken.
Charley was a favourite at school, perhaps more a favourite with his
companions than with his teachers. For he was so ready to help, so
sorry when any of his friends were in trouble that they forgave him even
when his "help turned out a hindrance. But to his masters, as you can
fancy, he was rather irritating.
One day little Hubert Moore was working hard at a French lesson;
he was eager to get it finished so that he might be able to go home in
company with Charley and one or two others, who were all to spend the
evening together at Charley's house.
Why, Hubert, aren't you ready yet ? Charley said, as he shut up
his own books. Let's see what it is you're doing ? I'll help you with
it."
It's my French exercise," replied Hubert dolefully. It does take
such a time to hunt up the words."
Oh, bother," said Charley, "I don't need to hunt 'em up. I'll tell
you them all. Fire away. What do you want to know ?"
Hubert was doing an exercise, translating French into English.







AND OTHER STORIES.


Mousse," he said. What does mousse' mean, Charley ?"
"'Mouse,' of course," said Charley briskly. What a goose you
are not to know that! It's almost the same."


"Mouse" Hubert wrote down. "And what does this mean,
' bateau-d-vapeur,' Charley ?"
Oh, my goodness," said Charley. Why, if one didn't know that,
one could guess it. 'Vapour bath,' of course."
"Vapour bath" wrote Hubert obediently. "They seem rather







THE LUCKY DUCKS


funny words to put in, for they make sentences together afterwards, you
know. What could a mouse have to do with a vapour bath ? "
Oh, it's rubbish. Exercises are always rubbish," said Charley.
" If Iwere to make a grammar now-but I say, Hubert, do be quick! "
"I've only two words more," said Hubert. 'Mer,' that means
'sea.' I know that of myself, and 'orage.' Oh, what does orange ,
mean, Charley ?"
"It's a misprint," said Charley boldly. "A misprint for 'orange.'
There, now, write it quick, Hubert. Now we can go."
But alas, the next day poor Hubert felt little gratitude to Charley
for his well-meant assistance. When the words Hubert had trans-
lated came to be put into the sentences that made the little story, there
was the most ridiculous jumble you ever heard. Instead of cabin-boy,"
"steam-boat," and "storm," poor Hubert read out gravely some
extraordinary nonsense about a mouse in a vapour bath with an orange!
The French master looked up fiercely, half inclined to' think Hubert
was mocking him, but when he saw the poor child's bewildered face his
own softened.
Who told you such absurdities ?" he said.
Falconer," Hubert replied, almost crying. He said he knew' the,
words."
And as the master ran his eyes down the list-he could not help it-
he burst into a peal of laughter.
Upon my word, Falconer," he exclaimed, I congratulate you! "







AND OTHER STORIES.


Charley.grew very red. He hated being laughed at. And he had
to bear a good deal of it., From this time forth at school he was
constantly asked if he had enjoyed his vapour bath that morning, or if it
was too full of mice and oranges to be agreeable; and such like
















FiRE AwA-/.

WANT TO





schoolboy's witticisms. And for a few days Charley was a little less
ready to give his opinion. But this happy state of things did not last.
Late one evening when Charley came into the drawing-room to say
good-night, he saw his mother writing a note hurriedly at her davenport.
"Oh, Mary," she said without looking up, "can you tell me Mrs.







THE LUCKY DUCKS


Franklin's number ? I am so vexed, I had quite forgotten to tell her that
the meeting is put off to-morrow, and she will be coming to fetch me
early There is no use looking in any directory, as she has lately
changed her house."
I know," Charley replied. They have gone to live in Monmouth


Ny)


louY v'Lpour hcatI
ChQar Ii'


Crescent. I met little Franklin the other day. The number is
'seventeen.' "
Are you sure, Charley ?" said his mother doubtfully.
Positive," said Charley. I thought of something in my head to
make me remember. One and seven are eight, and Bobby Franklin is
eight, so you see, Mamma! "







AND OTHER STORIES.


His mother addressed the letter and it was posted. But alas, the
next morning, at the time that had been fixed, Mrs. Franklin arrived, and
not a little annoyed was she to find that at considerable inconvenience
she had come for nothing.
And a few days later the letter
turned up, though too late to be of
any use. Mrs. Franklin's number
was "seventy-one "-seven and one
make eight as well as one and seven.
But a still greater misfortune was S
caused by Charley not long after
this. His sister Mary got a present
on her birthday of a tame bullfinch.
It was a beautiful bird, and, though
quite young,' already beginning to
pipe very cleverly. For the first few
days Mary fed him on canary seed,
INl. you've BEN FEEDING, HIM
and he seemed to do very well on it. .' ,TH HEMP-6EO
But one morning her mother said to
her that she thought Bully should have some other kind of seed as well.
I remember," she said, when we were children and had a Bully,
we used to mix the canary seed with some other, but I cannot remember
what. I shall be passing a bird-fancier's when I am out and I will call in
and ask."







YHE LUCKY DUCKS


Unluckily, when Charley came in from school, Mary told him what
their mother had said.
Oh," said he, Mamma needn't have bothered to go asking. I
know-it's hemp-seed. I'll run round to the grocer's now and get some.
I've got threepence." And off he set, heedless of Mary's "Are you
quite sure, Charley ?"
Their mother was kept out later than she expected and had not time
to call at the bird-fancier's. But Never mind, Mamma," said Mary,
" Charley knows about it and got some of the right kind."
And as Bully looked quite well and piped away as usual, I suppose
no one had any misgiving.
But alas, two mornings later he was found dead in his cage! How
Mary cried, how grieved Mamma was, how everybody wondered what
could have been the mysterious cause of his death! And how the secret
was explained when the bird-fancier whom they consulted cried out in
horror.
"Why, bless you, you've been feeding him with hemp-seed!
Bullfinches can't do with hemp-seed, it's as bad as poison to them. You
should have mixed rape-seed with the canary-seed-never hemp."
Charley's face grew very red. For once he had to own himself
completely in the wrong.
I'm so sorry,.Mary," he said.
If only you hadn't been sure, we'd have waited to ask somebody,"
she sobbed.







AND OTHER STORIES.


Charley saved up his money to buy her another Bully, which took
some self-denial on his part. But I think he gained much besides the
pleasure to Mary; the lesson was a more lasting one this time. I t ink
" Mr. Know-all will not for long continue to be his name.















~s ~ : ;'~.rj ~ 4







THE LUCKY DUCKS


'" I AMMA," said Barbara, they say there are some gypsies on the
common. Old Lidyard told me. Mayn't we go there for our
walk this afternoon ? I do so want to see them."
don't," said her sister Enid, "gypsies are very dangerous. You
never know what they won't do. They say in the village that they
would steal children as well as ducks and chickens if they could. If you
go to see them I won't come."
Isn't she silly, Mamma ?" said Barbara. I wouldn't listen to all
the rubbish the village people talk. Things like stealing children don't
happen nowadays."


TO PLIE0







AND OTHER STORIES.


Not very often, certainly," said her mother. Still I'm afraid it's
true that gypsies don't deserve a very good character. But you needn't
be afraid of their trying to stealyou, Enid."
You're much too big and fat," said Barbara not too politely. It
wouldn't be easy to hide you in a bundle, or in a hamper of pots and
pans, would it, Mamma ? "
Mamma could not help smiling. Enid was a tall, well-grown girl of
eleven, decidedly "plump," and certainly not fairy-like.
Never mind, Enid," said Mamma, "it's a very delightful thing to
be strong and well. But you must be strong in your mind too and not
give way to fears and fancies. As it happens, I am going to the
common myself this morning, to take some soup and other things to a
poor little gypsy boy. I heard about him yesterday in the village from
the doctor, who had been to see him. The child has been very ill with
bronchitis, and though he is better now, he needs feeding up. They ate
very quiet and decent gypsies, Ir. Green says, and he was touched by
their devotion to this child."
The little- girls listened with great interest.
Oh, may I go with you, Mamma ? asked Barbara.
And-and I too ? added Enid.
Yes, certainly. You may both come. You will feel quite safe
with me, eh, Enid ?"
Of course," Enid replied. No one could steal us when we are
with our own Mamma."







THE LUCKY DUCKS


It was a pleasant walk to the common, and a pleasant place when
you got there. And the little gypsy encampment-the vans drawn to
one side, and one or two tents with real gypsy fires burning cheerily in
front of them, and the dark-haired, dark-skinned, bright-eyed figures
moving about, or sitting on the short dry turf, made up a very
picturesque scene. Enid crept a little closer to her mother when a man
came forward eagerly to receive them, calling out a few words in a
strange, unintelligible language, as he did so, to some one in one of the
vans. But the pleasant smile that lighted up his dark face when "the
lady" explained her errand, reassured the little girl.
"Yes, lady," he said, "the little boy is very weak still, and his
mother is weary with nursing him. But the good doctor says he is
mending. Will the good lady speak to them ? "
He led the way up the short ladder into the van ; there lay a lovely
little boy of four or five, a perfect picture of delicate childish beauty.
His mother, a young and pretty woman, was half-sitting, half-lying beside
him, but started up with ready courtesy when she saw her visitors. And
her gratitude for the nice soup and other good things was very pleasant
to hear.
The boy shall thank you himself, lady," she said, "when he is
well again ;" and she turned to her husband and said something in the
same queer language. "Yes," she went on, "we will be this way in
the autumn again, and we shall not forget."
They were to move on the next morning, in haste to get to a







AND OTHER STORIES. 8S5


neighboring fair, but the doctor had raised their spirits about the child,
and his mother appeared to have no doubt but that the lady's gifts would
quite complete his recovery.
As the visitors left the encampment all its inhabitants came forward
with smiles and thanks, so that Barbara said it made her feel quite
ashamed."


IL) T t-I rIL


"They are nice gypsies, aren't they, Mamma?" she went on.
"They didn't tease to tell our fortunes as they often do."
I think they knew I would not like it," her Mother replied.
" Yes, they seem decent, harmless gypsies. I suppose there are great

varieties among them." And then she walked on for some time in
silence.







THE LUCKY DUCKS


What are you thinking of, Mamma dear?" asked Enid, you are
so quiet."
Mamma smiled. Was I, dear ?" she said. I was thinking of
some other gypsies I saw once, many years ago, when I was a child, or
at least a young girl, It is like a strange dream to me, but I have
never forgotten it."


"When was it ? Oh do tell us," said Barbara, skipping in front.
It was in Normandy," her mother replied. "We were spending
some months in a quaint, old-world sort of village, not far from the sea.
The village consisted of one long straggling street of queer old houses,
and there was a beautiful and very ancient church. Our house was just
opposite it ; I remember how the bells used to clang! The whole place
looked very much as it must have looked for hundreds of years, I fancy.







AND OTHER STORIES.


Well, one afternoon, as we were coming home from a ramble on the
shore, we noticed an unusual excitement in the village. All the people
were hurry-scurrying about, putting up their shutters and calling in the
children, locking their doors and going on as if they were preparing
for a siege.
"'What is the matter ?' we asked.
Oh! those gypsies are coming-a whole troupe of them. They
Swier,- h -r -.inn; y:ar a.irs.:, :Lnd we know what they
,tr. \\l e '-haI1; t.k,- I1recautio, ns this time. They stole
ih.t lid th i-\ i"t st-al They brought bad luck
t:"0 th y v 11.ill h. ive t.lI:n all the children if they


Bears? '
F. I'Yes, indeed,

they have fierce bears
that will do anything
they tell them. You
will see-but ah, run
v; home, little ladies and
gentlemen, and lock
i \your doors and gates as
quick as possible.'
"We ran home and
told our mother. But,







THE LUCKY DUCKS


we were not so frightened as the villagers. We closed the big carriage
gates and stood behind them watching for the gypsies to pass. And soon
they came-some twenty or thirty men, women and children, some walking,
some riding their great gaunt horses on the top of the packs and bundles
with which they were loaded-where they had got those strange-looking
horses I often have wondered-some leading the bears, for they had
bears, sure enough, the clumsiest, most uncouth bears I ever saw. They
had dogs too, dogs that were more like wolves, and the people themselves
were too strange to describe. They were a sort of terra-cotta, dull red
colour; their eyes were dark and bright, and they were not so much ugly
as very strange-looking. The men were tall and lank, the women
seemed mostly small, and several were bent as if from overwork or
ca crying their children, for some had babies strapped on to their backs.
We did feel almost frightened, I can tell you At the end of the
procession came the biggest and gauntest of the horses, led by a poor
little thin woman, who seemed half-dead with fatigue. On the horse were
strapped two children, one with bright open eyes, though thin and
starved-looking; the other, a little boy of four or so, lay with closed lids,
and his dull red skin seemed almost grey. The woman was weeping.
Stop!' cried my mother, in French, as they passed. The woman
looked up, but shook her head.
"' Those children are faint with hunger. I will give you something
for them,' my mother went on; and she sent my brother to fetch a bowl
of nice hot soup which she knew was preparing for dinner.







AND OTHER STORIES.


The poor woman looked at it with starving eyes, but mother-like
held it first to the children. One drank it eagerly and smiled with
pleasure, but the other would not open his lips or eyes; he seemed
unconscious.
"' Is he ill ?' asked my mother. The woman shook her head; she
could understand no language we tried, and we could make out nothing
of hers, except one word which sounded like 'Toorki,' and as she waved-
her hands to show they had come from a great distance we thought she
must mean Turkey.' But her eyes and face were easy to understand.
She seized mother's dress and kissed it, while the tears ran down her
face, and we could hardly help crying too, when mother gave her a little
money. Then the men in front shouted to her to come on, and the sad
little group moved out of our sight. They camped one night outside the
village, but then travelled on again, poor, homeless wanderers."
And did the little boy get better ? asked Barbara.
I do not know, I hope so," said her mother, but we never heard.
No one seemed to know who the people were exactly, but gypsies like
them are now and then seen in France, and are supposed to come from
Greece and Turkey. But what has always struck me was the
mother-love of the poor woman and her touching gratitude."
Yes," said the little girls, as each clasped one of their mother's
arms. Mothers are always kind, aren't they, Mamma ? But we are
very glad we're not gypsies, Mamma."







THE LUCKY DUCKS


DANDY'S REVOLT.

"A WORM will turn," said Dandy to himself, as he walked back to
the hearthrug very crossly. A bright fire was burning in the
grate; it was October now, and the mornings and evenings were chilly,
and the rug was very comfortable, and Dandy loved comfort. I don't
see that he had really much to complain of. It was all because his little
mistress, Marie, would not take him out for a walk this afternoon, as he
had expected.
There were two or three reasons for this, as Marie had kindly and
patiently explained to him. One was that Dandy had had a slight cold
for some days ; he had coughed a little and sneezed a good deal, and one
day he had not been able to eat his dinner, which 4id look as if things
were pretty bad. And as it was past four o'clock and the sun had gone
in, Marie thought it best to leave him at home. Then again, she and
her sister were obliged to pass through Farmer Burke's fields, and there
were some cows there who had been known to object to little dogs
snapping at their heels.
So, Dandy dear," Marie concluded, though you have always been
the most obedient of darlings, cows are rather stupid creatures, you
know. They mirht mistake you for one of those naughty wild little dogs
who behave so badly. And zf you got a kick, how dreadful it would be!
What would your poor little missus do if you were hurt, dear Dandy ?"
Rubbish," said Dandy. It only sounded to Marie like a sort of







AND OTHER STORIES.


cross little grunt, but still she saw that he was not pleased, as he
struggled off her knee and marched back to the fireplace.
Dear little fellow he is so affectionate," she said to Etty, who was
not quite so blindly partial as Marie. "Stay by the fire comfortably,
Dandy dear. We won't be very long," she called back as she shut the door.
Dandy stayed by the fire, not out of obedience, but because it was
the most agreeable place in the room : but in his heart were some very
naughty feelings.
A worm will turn," he repeated to himself, for he was rather quick
at catching up smart sayings. Does the child think
Im t-u l. 1 ti: _1 lier apron-strings all my life ?
I .Ijn L ':. much against it in town, where
hl-r' .--- miLiny dangers from dog-stealers
dL1 .ll i imnibuses, nor when I was a
ltlI,'.. and knew no better. But
'\ i!nwadays-now that I am quite
grown-up and experienced-"
and here Dandy gave
himself a shake of self-
importance, and then
stretched himself com-
placently, "it. is too
absurd. I am getting
gL, sa.ad,. sick of this lapdog







THE LUCKY DUCKS


existence; a little excitement, some hunting perhaps, or even a frolic in
a farm-yard would be a pleasant variety. No, no! my dear mistress,
you cannot expect me to be always the most obedient of darlings.'
I must seize my opportunity and without delay, for I hear we are leaving
the country the day after to-morrow."
And Dandy gave a half-playful snap at a fly that had settled, on his
nose, as much as to say, I could catch it if I chose," then stretched him-
self again and settled down on the hearthrug to think over the matter.
The next day was bright and yet mild, "quite spring-like," though
late autumn, everybody said. And determined to profit by this pleasant
weather on the last day of their time in the country, Marie and Etty set
off for a walk to say good-bye to some friends a mile or two away.
They went by the road, Dandy meekly following. He looked indeed
so very meek, that as they turned to come home Marie and Etty hesitated.
Mighnz't we go across the fields ? said Etty. It would be so
lovely by the brook; we could just skirt the farm-yard over the little
bridge where the turkeys are."
She did not see that Dandy had drawn near, and was listening
attentively.
"There are no cows that way," said Marie consideringly. "Yes, I
think we may go by the fields."
They crossed the bridge, and made their way quickly along the pretty.
field; the sun was shining brightly, and all seemed peaceful and charming-
"How sorry we shall be to find ourselves in town again," said







AND OTHER STORIES.


Marie; it is so pleas- but a sudden noise some way behind them
made her stop short. It came from the turkeys' corner.
"Gobble-wobble, gobble-gobble-wobble. Wobble-wobble-eoh !" with
a sort of shriek.
Dear, dear! what's the matter with the creatures ? exclaimed Etty,
as turkey after turkey flew over the low wall at the edge of the field in




I : I ''I -- 11 '
-,- ---- -- ,-- --- -,, ,'.: -- '"'- -- f- Y ..,---











J VI


affright, gobble-wobbling most piteously, all save an old turkey-cock who
stood bravely puffing himself out as if preparing to face the enemy. "Oh,
dear what is the matter ? And where, oh !. where is Dandy ?"
Where indeed but chasing the turkeys! There he was, after them
in hot pursuit, his little curly, silky, fluffy body quivering with excitement
and delight.
"The turkey-cock will kill him. Oh! Etty, the naughty, naughty







THE LUCKY DUCKS


darling!" And off she flew, valiantly braving the irate turkey patriarch,
who was so amazed that he too took flight as Marie, by a clever dodge,
came round upon Dandy from the other side and captured him. Panting
and breathless, but triumphant, she came up to Etty.
,"Just fancy Dandy doing such a thing!" she exclaimed. "He
might have been killed."
Or he might have killed one of the little ones, and we'd have had
to pay for it," said Etty practically.
I must carry him till we're quite out of sight of the turkeys," said
Marie ; and so she did, though her arms ached long before she thought it
safe to put him down. They were then passing through a long sloping
field at one end of which was the entrance to their own grounds. There
was a solitary cottage on the slope: Marie did not know, and could not
see, that behind the cottage a flock of geese was quietly feeding, having
strayed on to higher ground from the banks of the little brook. But
Dandy knew, Dandy saw; and no sooner was he on his own feet again
than off he set. He had tasted blood!
Cackle, cackle, quackle, cackle, cackle! shrieked the geese.
"Dandy, Dandy, naughly Dandy!" screamed the girls, as they
rushed after him in terror. This time it was Etty who captured him, and
brought him back struggling and impenitent to his mistress. Marie was
by this time nearly in tears.
"Oh, Dandy, what has changed you so ?" she said. I must punish
you-yes, Dandy, I must. And I must carry him all the way home to







AND OTHER STORIES.


our own gate," she went on, and he is so heavy and hot, and I must
hold him so tight."
The field was a very long one, fully a quarter of a mile from the
cottage and the geese to the turnstile gate, which was a side entrance to
the garden. Marie bravely carried her dog till they had mounted the
step or two to the gate and were on the path.
"There, naughty dog, go home!" she said, as she put him down
with a sigh of relief. What a time you have given us! "










:x s:: ..* '"' ''

Dandy glanced at her, then, terrible to relate, deliberately turned, darted
through the gate, and before the girls could realize the fact, was careering
across the field again in full flight, making straight for the unfortunate geese !
Oh, how Marie shouted-coaxing, scolding, entreating, threatening
-all in vain! Oh, how Dandy dashed along! In less than a moment
he seemed nothing but a small ball of cream-coloured cotton-wool rolling
across the grass; and the sun was in poor Marie's eyes, and she was so
desperately hot, and so breathless and exhausted, that she almost felt she






96 THE LUCKY DUCKS.

must leave dog and geese to their fate. How she got to them at last she
never knew, she found herself lying on the top of a confused heap of
struggling white wings and fuzzy hair, clutching at the latter in a sort of
despair, while the cackling and squealing were enough to deafen one. At
last to her relief Etty came up, and between them they got naughty
Dandy away, none the worse, but sulky in the extreme.
If the old woman in the cottage sees him, I don't know what she'll
say," said Marie. But perhaps she was out, or perhaps she was asleep-
any way, the geese stalked off indignantly, but with no broken legs or
wings, and gradually cackled
Themselves into quiet again.
S- Dandy was shut up, and had
very plain food indeed to eat for
'IP some days. And it is very doubt-
ful if Marie and Etty will bring
Shim into the country again next
year. That is all he has gained
by his revolt. But when Marie
talks of it seriously to him, as
\she does now and then, I must
i confess as he looks up at her
Ir I with his bright eyes, through,
ii, /'. the shaggy hair overhanging
S' / I them, he does seem sorry.
W: .M Let us hope he is so.







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