• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Homeward bound
 Sir Caspar's new home
 A little quartet
 First days
 An adventure
 A secret friendship
 The lady's bower
 Mrs. Kingscote's picnic
 A "coward minion"
 Naughty Letty
 A contrite couple
 The brave one
 The stepmother
 Convalescence
 A merry Christmas
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: For the queen's sake, or, The story of little Sir Caspar
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087358/00001
 Material Information
Title: For the queen's sake, or, The story of little Sir Caspar
Alternate Title: Story of little Sir Caspar
Physical Description: 2, 264 p., 6 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Everett-Green, Evelyn, 1856-1932
Bacon, J. H ( John Henry ) ( Illustrator )
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1898
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Storytelling -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Orphans -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children and death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Boys -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Girls -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Behavior -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Grandmothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Neighbors -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dogs -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Love -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Empathy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Outdoor recreation -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Family stories -- 1898   ( local )
Juvenile literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Family stories   ( local )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by E. Everett-Green ; with six illustrations by John H. Bacon.
General Note: Added title page engraved.
General Note: Pictorial front cover and spine; illustrated endpapers.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements precede text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087358
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002225871
notis - ALG6153
oclc - 18220605

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
    Half Title
        Page 2
    Advertising
        Page 3
    Frontispiece
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
    List of Illustrations
        Page 8
    Homeward bound
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 16a
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Sir Caspar's new home
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    A little quartet
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    First days
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
    An adventure
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
    A secret friendship
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 104a
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
    The lady's bower
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Mrs. Kingscote's picnic
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
    A "coward minion"
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
    Naughty Letty
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 176a
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
    A contrite couple
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    The brave one
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 210a
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
    The stepmother
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
    Convalescence
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
    A merry Christmas
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text


















FOR THE QUEEN'S SAKE.
























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OLIVE ROSCOE; or, The New Sister. Price 5s.

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WINNING THE VICTORY. Price 35. 6d.

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JOY'S JUBILEE. Price is.

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London, Edinburgh, and New- York.









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CAS.A R'S -ECEPI N
t'.'e2 36.


T.NELSON &- 0ON5










FOR THE QUEEN'S SAKE


OR


Cbe Stori of Litt[e Sir Caspar






BY

E. EVERETT-GREEN
AUTHOR OF SQUIB AND HIS FRIENDS," WINNING THE VICTORY,"
"VEIHA'S TRUST,"" TRUE TO THE LAST,
ETC. ETC.


WITH SIX ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN H. BACON


THOMAS NELSON AND SONS
London, Edinbmkh, and Nezw York

1898





















CONTENTS.


HOMEWARD BOUND,

SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME,

A LITTLE QUARTET,

FIRST DAYS, ....

AN ADVENTURE, ....

A SECRET FRIENDSHIP,

THE LADY'S BOWER,

MRS. KINGSCOTE'S PICNIC,

A COWARD MINION,"

NAUGHTY LETTY, ....

A CONTRITE COUPLE,

THE BRAVE ONE,....

THE STEPMOTHER,

CONVALESCENCE, ....

A MERRY CHRISTMAS,


.... .... .... 9

.... .. 26

.... .... 43

.... .... .... 60

.... 78

..... : ... 95

... .... 112

....... ... 129

... .. .. 147

... .... .... 164
104

... .... 183

. ... .... 199

... .. 217

.... .... 233

....... .. 250


I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.


X.



XI.

XII.
XIII.

XIV.

XV.


















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.





CASPAR'S RECEPTION, .... .. .... Vignette

"CASPAR AND BILL WERE BY THIS TIME SEATED SIDE
BY SIDE UPON THE TABLE," .... .... 17

"HE AT ONCE BENT THE KNEE, AND TOOK THE
THIN LITTLE HAND LYING ON THE RUG AND
KISSED IT," .... .... .... .... 105

"THEY RAN AS FAST AS THE UNCERTAIN LIGHT WOULD
LET THEM," .... .... .... .... 177

"PAT LIFTED A LITTLE CRUSHED AND SENSELESS FORM
IN HIS ARMS," .... .... .... .... 211

"'LET'S GIVE THREE CHEERS FOR HER!' CRIED
LETTY,) .... .... .... .... 263














FOR THE QUEEN'S SAKE.


CHAPTER I.

HOMEWARD BOUND.

" OU would do me proud, sir, if you'd take him,"
Said the steward, his hand upon the dog's
head.
The child stood looking wistfully at his playmate,
eagerness and doubt struggling for mastery in his
face.
He's took a fancy to you, sir," continued the man,
" and I'd like to know he was goin' to a good home."
But I don't know exactly where it is I'm going
to," said the little boy. "I don't know anything
about England. Pat says it isn't a bit like India,
anyhow."
But you are going to your grandmother, sir, and
Pat says it's a mighty fine place where your grand-
mother lives.
Little Sir Caspar nodded his head several times






HOMEWARD BOUND.


thoughtfully. He had heard tales of the grandeur
awaiting him several times already. But somehow he
was in no hurry for the voyage to end. He thought
the steward's quarters in this big ship much more
attractive than anything he was likely to come across
in the unknown country whither he was bound.
Since reaching northern latitudes the child had ex-
changed his white clothes for a suit of the deepest
black. His small, pale face looked smaller and paler
for the change into these sombre garments; and the
very wearing of them had served to remind Caspar
more forcibly than before of the double loss he had so
recently sustained.
He was the only child of his parents, and his
father had held an important post in India under
government. Caspar had been born out there, and
had never yet seen the country his father and mother
always spoke of as "home." He had long been pro-
mised that when he was seven years old he should
"go home with his parents and make the acquaint-
ance of his grandmother there.
The child was now seven, although he hardly
looked as much; he was upon his homeward way to
his grandmother's house-but his parents were not
with him. They had gone home" in another sense;
and the little boy was already growing used to hear
himself addressed by the name which had once be-
longed to his father, and did not start and change
colour at hearing himself called Sir Caspar."






HOMEWARD BOUND.


His mother had died first, very suddenly, three
months ago. The shock to her husband had been
very great, and it was the more felt, perhaps, because
they were already making preparation for the long-
planned visit to England, and their hearts had been so
full of joyous anticipations.
Hard work had kept Sir Caspar fast to his post,
and had given him little time for outward mourning.
But there were some amongst his colleagues who had
said at the time that he had received a blow from
which he would be long in recovering, and they had
urged him to get away at once with his child before
he should break down altogether.
But Sir Caspar was not a man to leave his work in
confusion, and he toiled on through the sweltering
Indian heat, putting things in order before he de-
parted. And in the great bungalow, which seemed so
empty and silent without the gentle presence of its
mistress, the child roamed solitary and wondering,
musing over many things he could not understand, and
watching always for his father's return, when he would
nestle up to his side, or sit at his feet in silent content-
ment, feeling safe and happy when he was present, but
always anxious and fearful during his daily absences.
Then had come that terrible day which Caspar
could not bear to think of even yet-a day which
seemed the beginning of a strange, misty period, of
which he retained no clear recollections.
His father had gone out, as usual, early in the






HOMEWARD BOUND.


morning, before the heat of the day commenced. He
was carried home a few hours later, and there had
been confusion and hurrying to and fro, the arrival of
the doctor, and of the wife of one of their great
friends, who had come and taken Caspar away (reluct-
ant but submissive) to her own home. Then came the
terrible news that his father had gone to mother"
in that strange country fenced about with so much
mystery to us all, from which the traveller never
returns; and little Caspar had come at last to under-
stand that he would have to take the voyage to
England alone, or at least with only Pat for company.
But by that time everything had grown so strange
and unreal to the little boy that nothing astonished
him any more. He lived in the house of the kind
friends who had been loved by his parents, and every-
thing seemed so like a dream that he did not know
how time went, or what was happening, or anything
about it.
What he remembered best when he thought about
those days was the way the lady had kissed him and
cried when he went away, and how her husband had
given him in charge to the captain of the big ship,
and patted him on the head, and told him to grow
up a brave and good boy, so as to be worthy of
the name he bore.
Soon after that the great ship had begun to glide
through the blue, blue water, and little Sir Caspar
Adair had found himself alone with faithful Pat in






HOMEWARD BOUND.


quite a new little world-the world of a big steam-
boat.
He and Pat had a little state-room to themselves;
and very glad the little boy was of this when first he
began to feel shaky and ill, as he soon did after they
were once off.
Patrick Malony had been a faithful servant of his
father's for many, many years. Once he had been a
soldier; but he had been disabled for service by a
severe wound, and had been in the service of the
Adair family almost ever since. Caspar could not
remember a time when Pat had not been his playmate
and faithful guardian, and the companionship of the
old servant seemed the one link which now existed
between the new life and the old.
Every one on board was interested in the little
frail-looking, white-faced child with the pathetic
history, and everybody tried to make friends with
him when he appeared on deck or at table.
Caspar always tried to be polite to everybody; but
he did not make friends very readily. He was rather
bewildered by all the new faces, and he was happier
when pacing up and down with Pat than when seated
in the midst of a group of ladies all trying to make
much of him. He was grateful for their kindness,
but it embarrassed him a good deal. He sometimes
confided to the captain (who was soon established as
one of his favourites and friends) that he thought it
would be a much nicer arrangement if the ladies had






HOMEWARD BOUND.


one end of the ship to themselves and the men the
other.
"Then we could go and see them if we wanted
them," he explained. "'But they wouldn't be always
there when we didn't. The ladies are pretty to look
at, but they make a fuss. I like men best. And
when I'm a captain" (Caspar had already decided
that he would be a ship's captain one day), I don't
think I shall take any ladies on my ship-or, at any
rate, only just a very few quite nice ones. I shall
have a men's ship, and Mr. Haddow can have a
ladies' one, he likes them so much. We can settle
it all quite nicely like that. He can send me his
men, and I can send him my ladies."
Mr. Haddow was a young lieutenant serving on the
ship, who had a predilection for the society of the
ladies. So this remark of little Sir Caspar's was
treasured up for his benefit, and became a standing
joke against him all through the voyage, though the
youthful baronet was quite unaware of this.
Next to the captain amongst Caspar's favourites
came the steward. The steward had been exceedingly
kind to the delicate little boy, who had been weak
and ill during the first week of the voyage, and he
had ransacked his stores and his brain to contrive
little delicacies to tempt his appetite. He and Pat
had become great cronies during this period, and often
the stewardwould sit for an hour in the small state-room
telling stories and keeping the child amused and happy.






HOMEWARD BOUND.


When Caspar had found his sea-legs, one of the
first visits he paid was to the steward's quarters; and
here he found much to amuse and interest him, first
and foremost being a pair of fine white-and brindled
bull-dogs-mother and son-in whom the child be-
came greatly interested.
"Queen Bess" was the name of the mother, and
the steward was never tired of relating anecdotes of
her intelligence and courage and fidelity. Her son
was little more than a pup, and had not yet attained
his full growth, although developing rapidly. His
name was "William Shakespeare," the steward having
been recommended to bestow that high sounding
appellation upon the son of Queen Bess." But Bill
was the name by which he habitually went, and he
was probably in ignorance of any other.
It was of William Shakespeare" that the steward
was speaking when he asked Caspar's acceptance of
the young dog.
"I should love to have him," said the child; "but,"
and here he hesitated and got rather red, for he did
not want to hurt his friend's feelings, neither did he
want to impose upon his kindness-" but don't you
think you ought to sell him ? Isn't he worth a good
deal of money ? Didn't you say that 'Queen Bess' had
taken a prize, and that Bill might too ? "
No, sir; I don't think Bill would take a prize.
He's not got the points of his mother. I did sell the
other pups for a good price, but I kept the least like-







HOMEWARD BOUND.


liest, because things is a bit risky on ship-board. And
Bill must go now. The captain's very good. He lets
me have Queen Bess" aboard, for she's a rare one
with the rats, and she knows her manners, and is used
to the life; but the young 'un'll have to go when we
gets ashore. I couldn't expect anything else. And
as he's took such a fancy to you, and you've a good
home to take him to, I'd be proud and pleased for you
to have him. You'll find him a nice companion, and
you'll never want no other takin' care of if you've got
Bill at your heels; you may be sure of that."
Bill sat upon the table with a smile upon his blunt,
ugly face. His mouth was half open and his tongue
lolled out, whilst his eyes travelled from face to face
of the two speakers, as though he understood what
they were saying. Caspar came up and put his small
hand into the dog's hot mouth. Bill smiled wider
than ever, and thumped the stump of his tail hard
upon the table.
He's took to you, you see, sir," said the steward
proudly. He'd go with you anywhere like a lamb,
he would. I'd like to think that you and Bill 'ud
be together; you'd be company for each other any-
wheres."
"I should love to have him," said Caspar wistfully,
laying his small cheek against the dog's. "I wonder
if my grandmother would let me keep him. Pat says
she's a very particular old lady. I've never seen her,
you know."
(947)















4 / -









V I





'aS


II
* I.









L'CaSl~al aadl Bill air~. jr /i tNC nfd SideC iY Sidc jL a theUI tal~E I1."
Page 17.






HOMEWARD BOUND.


"Let's call Pat and ask," suggested the steward;
and in a few minutes the tall form of the grizzled old
soldier blocked the entrance to the cabin.
Caspar and Bill were by this time seated side by
side upon the table, and Bill's head leaned confidingly
against the child's shoulder. Caspar's arm was about
him. Pat listened gravely to the matter under discus-
sion, and then scratched his head reflectively.
"Do you think my grandmother would mind if I
brought Bill ? asked Caspar eagerly.
Sure, yer honour, and I don't see what she could
say against the crayture," answered Pat, looking very
wise.
"I think she would be sure to love him," said
Caspar; he has such a sweet face."
Sure, yer honour, and that he has," answered Pat;
while Bill rolled his eyes round and gave the child's
face a lick by way of expressing gratitude for the
appreciation received.
Perhaps my grandmother is fond of dogs," said
Caspar tentatively. If she lives in a large house,
she must have some of her own there."
Sure it's a mighty foin place her ladyship lives
in," answered Pat; but as for dogs, I disremember
seeing any of them there. But that was a long while
ago."
"Then you think I might take Bill with me?"
asked Caspar.
Sure, yer honour, I'd take the dog first and ax
(947) 2







HOMEWARD BOUND.


her ladyship's leave afterwards," answered Pat, who
could not bear to think of bringing a cloud back to
the child's face.
That would be a very good plan, I think," said
Caspar thoughtfully; and from that moment he began
to look upon Bill as his own private property,
"You must give the steward a very nice present
when we go," he said to Pat, who kept their store of
money, because he has been so very kind about Bill.
I can't pay him for him, because it might hurt his
feelings; but you must give him something extra
nice when we go, because he has been so very kind
all the time, and especially about Bill."
Trust that to me, yer honour," answered Pat; and
Caspar felt he could now safely leave the matter in
Pat's hands.
Up till this time Bill had been kept rather rigor-
ously to the steward's quarters and the fore-part of
the vessel; but now it was Caspar's great pleasure to
parade the deck with the young dog at his heels.
Bill had been very well trained in spite of his tender
age, and comported himself with great dignity.
Caspar felt as though he had almost reached man's
estate as he paced up and down with Bill padding
softly in his wake. He noticed with some satisfac-
tion that the ladies rather drew their skirts aside,
and did not make so many overtures to him when he
had this savage-looking companion beside him. This
suited him exceedingly well, and he smiled to himself







HOMEWARD BOUND.


as he observed it. It strengthened his conviction
that ladies were nice to look at, and very kind, but
not much good to anybody. Of course mother had
been different; but then nobody was ever like her.
And she had gone away, and would not come back
any more. The more the child thought about her,
the more convinced he was that nobody else on the
face of the earth could ever resemble her.
"Hullo, old chap: what have you got there ?
Have you fished up a merman's dog somewhere out
of the sea ?"
Caspar looked up and smiled at the speaker. This
was one of his chief friends amongst the passengers;
indeed, it was almost the only one out of all the num-
ber whom he really counted as a friend.
Captain Rutland was on his way home on sick-
leave. He had been ill of fever in India, and was
ordered home for a considerable time. He had been
quite ill at first, and used to lie on a long chair on
deck, and Caspar had often sat beside him and talked
to him. A friendship had sprung up in this way
between the pair, and now the child's face brightened
at hearing the familiar voice.
He wanted to show his new possession, and seated
himself beside Captain Rutland, patting his knee so
as to encourage Bill to put his paws up, which he
instantly did.
He's my dog now," he said, with evident pride.
"Isn't he a beauty ? "






HOME WARD BOUND.


He's a fine fellow. But where on earth did he
come from ? "
"The steward had him. He's 'Queen Bess's son.
You've seen Queen Bess,' haven't you ? She's allowed
to come out up here sometimes, but Bill always stayed
below. But he needn't now. He's my dog, and the
captain says I may take him about with me. The
ladies are afraid of him ; they think he'll bite them.
Ladies are very funny, don't you think ? "
Well, they have their uses in the scheme of crea-
tion, as you'll find for yourself one of these days,"
answered Captain Rutland, who was rather given to
say things which Caspar could not in the least under-
stand, but which made him feel rather grown up at
having addressed to him. This was one of the things
which attracted him to the captain. He did not try
to adapt his conversation as if speaking to a baby.
as the ladies did. Caspar had been so much with
grown-up people that he liked their way of talking
better than a simpler fashion. It did not matter
whether he always understood it or not-in fact, he
preferred it when it was rather above his head; it gave
him food for speculation and the play of imagination.
"I don't think they are of much use on board
ship," returned the child; and you know when there
are shipwrecks they make a great deal of trouble by
screaming and running about and getting in people's
way. That's why I don't think I'll have them on
my ship; because I want to get wrecked sometimes,






HOMEWARD BOUND.


and live on desert islands and that sort of thing. I
don't think it would be proper to be a sailor and a
ship's captain and never have wrecks and adventures;
do you ?"
Well, I don't know whether the owners would
look at the matter quite in that light; but there are
two sides to every question, as we all know. So you
think you would rather have Bill as a passenger on
your ship than one of the ladies ?"
"Why, yes. Bill would be useful. He would carry
things, and on the desert island he would hunt and
track savages and do lots of things. I wish I could
have a ship now, and go away with Pat and Bill. I
wonder if I have enough money to buy one for myself.
Pat thinks I shall be rich when I get to England.
Do you think I should be rich enough for that ?"
Captain Rutland lifted the little boy upon his knee.
Caspar did not mind this action from the soldier,
though he rather resented it in his silent fashion from
any of the ladies.
"I don't know about that, my man. You may be
rich in one way; but you won't be able to use your
money as you like just yet. That's the worst-or
the best-of being young. We have to let other
people decide what is best for us ; and our business
isn't to think what we should like to do ourselves,
but just to obey orders. That's what you'll have to
do for some years yet. That's what I have to do in
my service-and a good job too."







HOMEWARD BOUND.


Caspar raised his big, dark eyes, and studied the
face of his friend intently.
What is your service ?"
"The Queen's service," answered the young soldier.
"I serve her in the army."
Does she come and tell you what to do ? "
"Not exactly; but she sends her commands
through the right channel, and I get mine from my
superior officer. I obey him, and then I know I'm
obeying her."
Do you ever have to do what you don't like ? "
Very often indeed."
Doesn't it make you angry ? "
Well, sometimes I feel a bit riled; I'll not deny
it. But if that happens, I just try to think of all
the splendid fellows who have gone to their death
without a word for the sake of their country and
their Queen. And then, you know, one feels it's
mean and foolish to grumble. What's the good of
serving under the very best Queen who ever lived, if
one is to make a pother over every little bit of dis-
comfort one is called upon to bear ? We should never
be men at all if everything always went just smooth
for us all our lives."
Caspar looked out over the wide horizon with grave,
thoughtful eyes.
Do you love the Queen very much ? "
I'd die for her any day, and be proud to do it,"
answered the young man, with quiet enthusiasm.






HOMEWARD BOUND. 23

"Now mind you, small Sir Caspar, you grow up to
be a true and loyal servant of the Queen's. Never mind
how you serve her-on sea or on land. Only take
care that you give her your loyal love and reverence;
and if you try always to do that, you'll find your life
all the better and happier for it wherever you are."
"How ?" asked Caspar, still gazing abroad.
"Why, you'll feel that everything you learn, every
bit of hard work you have to do, every trouble and
trial which makes the discipline of life, is making
you a better and a nobler man, and is fitting you
to be a better subject of the Queen's. We've got
the best sovereign reigning over us that the world
has ever seen; it's for us to try to make ourselves
the very finest set of subjects that a sovereign can
have. You may be a great man one of these days,
Caspar, as your father was before you. Don't you
be discouraged if things are rather hard at first in a
new country and a new home. Remember you are
closer to the Queen than you were when you were
out in India. Think about her, and how you will
one day, perhaps, have the honour of seeing and
speaking to her, as I expect your father had."
"Yes, once," answered the child. He told me
about it. And mother had a beautiful dress and
feathers, and went and kissed her hand. I've got the
pictures of them both--only they are rather faded.
I should like to see the Queen myself; but she would
not notice me."






HOYMEWIVARD BOUND.


"That doesn't matter a bit. Only try to make
yourself worthy of her notice; that will do for the
present."
The child was silent for a long time, and then said
slowly,-
"I'm going to live with my grandmother. I won-
der if she will be like the Queen ?"
"You must try to feel that she is your queen at
home," said Captain Rutland.
What do you mean ? "
I mean you must feel towards her as I do to my
commanding officer. I get the Queen's orders through
him, you know; you will get your orders from your
grandmother. She will be trying to teach you to
grow up like your father-you know she helped to
train him when he was a little boy, just as she will
train you now. Perhaps some of the things she will
tell you will be rather hard to do. She may make
rules you will not like to obey at first. That is how
it is with us: we have a number of rules that seem
no good and are very tiresome. But as we go on we
see that they are made to fit us to be good soldiers
and do the Queen's pleasure; and so your grand-
mother's rules will help to make you a fine fellow
like your father, fit for the Queen's service. That's
how you will have to think about matters when you
get to your new home. You think about growing up
in the way to make a man worthy to serve her; then
you will not mind if things are a little hard at first'






HOMEWARD BOUND.


Caspar was taken by the idea, which was not
altogether new to him, as he had heard the Queen
spoken of by his parents ever since he could remem-
ber anything.
I'll try," he said; and I'll tell Pat about it. Pat
served the Queen when he was a soldier."
Just then there was an eager cry from somebody
on the fore-part of the steamer. Captain Rutland
rose and put Caspar off his knee, exclaiming in quick,
eager tones,-
Come and have a look! They have sighted the
old country at last "
Everybody was exclaiming and questioning. Some
of the passengers had tears in their eyes. Flushed
and excited faces were to be seen on every hand.
Caspar looked up at the soldier, and saw a new,
glad light in his eyes. He himself felt no especial
interest. India was dearer to him still than the
"home" he had never seen.
He took his friend's hand and laid his cheek
against it.
Will you come and see me some day in my new
home ?" he asked wistfully.
Captain Rutland put his hand down upon the boy's
head and answered,-
"I will if I can, my little man."














CHAPTER II.


SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.

T HE little baronet, coming for the first time in
his short life to the home which was actually
his own, and which lie would one day rule over with
independent sway, sat in the big open carriage drawn
by the two finest horses he had ever seen in his life,
and held very fast to Pat's hand, as though that
friendly touch were the only link connecting the old
life with the new.
Pat, for his part, felt altogether like a fish out of
water sitting in this fine carriage by the side of his
little master. He had tried hard to induce Caspar
to let him follow with the luggage, saying that her
ladyship would not like it for him to arrive in the
carriage behind the liveried servants. But the child
had clung so tenaciously to him, and had begged him
so earnestly not to desert him, that the soft-hearted
soldier had been forced to give way. Moreover, the
fine powdered footman had whispered confidentially
in his ear that he had better get in, since the little
master wished it; her ladyship would not take any






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


notice of a breach of decorum to-day, and Pat's
name was known in the household as that of one who
had served the late master faithfully and well up to
the very moment of his death.
Caspar sat very straight up in the carriage, gazing
about him with eyes full of wonder.
He had never seen anything so pretty, he thought,
as the little villages lying in the valleys, with the
wood-crowned hills behind them. He was delighted
by the rustic bridges over which they frequently had
to pass, and thought the tender tints of the trees, just
beginning to burst into leaf, more beautiful than any-
thing he had ever seen in India.
The soft, misty sunshine looked so strange to him
after the golden glare of India. It seemed to make
the whole world like a sort of fairyland, full of
mysterious possibilities. The child's dark eyes dilated
as he watched the changing landscape, and he won-
dered what mysteries lay within the shadowy valleys
he saw here and there, and to what magic places the
various roads and field-paths led. He pictured him-
self mounted upon some swift-footed steed, or in some
fairy chariot, wending his way to the enchanted
regions of which he caught glimpses here and there.
Sometimes a gleam of water caught his eye, some-
times it was the sparkle of a stone quarry, or the
white, misty grandeur of a miniature cascade. But
whatever it was, there seemed to be beauty every-
where; and in spite of the strangeness of everything,






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


the child's heart swelled within him for gladness:
for little Sir Caspar had an unconscious craving after
what was beautiful, and the dusty plains of India had
given little food for his eager imaginings.
You never told me half how beautiful it all was,
Pat," he said at length.
Sure, yer honour, and I'd forgotten it myself,"
answered the old servant. "I remember the house;
'tis a foin place entirely. But I wasn't long there.
The master got his orders for India, and it was little
I saw of the place after that, for I was busy from
morning till night getting his things together."
Caspar was silent after that. A wave of memory
swept over him, and his dark eyes swam in tears.
He had never forgotten his father and mother. He
thought of them daily, and had often cried himself
softly to sleep in his little berth. But at other times
the merciful oblivion of childhood helped him to enjoy
the things of the present, and he did not always
carry about with him that ache of the heart which
was so very hard to bear when it did come.
Pat's words suddenly brought it back at this
moment. How often and often his father or his
mother had talked to him of this home-coming-had
told him of the big, beautiful house "at home," where
grandmother would be waiting for them! How
many times had they sat under the veranda after
the sun had set, picturing the welcome that was
awaiting them on the other side of the sea!







SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


How mother's face had always lighted up and
father's voice taken a different ring as he spoke of
his boyhood's home! Caspar used to listen, and
wonder and long for the time when he should see it
for himself. But he had never been able to picture it,
for he had never seen anything but Indian houses
and villages all his life, and even the photographs
shown him sometimes conveyed little impression to
his mind.
Now he was seeing it all for himself; but there
was only Pat to share the welcome with him. It
was no wonder that a wave of sorrow and hungry
longing swept over his heart, and that he felt his
loneliness more acutely than he had done all the
weeks he had spent upon ship-board.
The tears in his eyes so dazzled his sight that it
needed Pat's hint to arouse him to a sense of what
was passing.
"Begorrah, thin, if this isn't the village itself!
Sure and it's the whole place as has turned out to
welcome yer honour. Take off your hat, sor, and
make them a bow as ye go by. Don't you hear the
boys all shouting and cheering ? "
Caspar dashed the drops from his eyes and looked
out with wonder and curiosity. The carriage was
rolling along a wide road, and on either side were
pretty timbered cottages, prettier than any he had
seen before. But besides this, the roads were lined
with village people. Men in their working clothes






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


seemed to have left their toil to watch the carriage
go by. Women with babies in their arms, and with
little children clinging to their skirts, stood at their
cottage doors or at the garden gates. Big lads had
swarmed up the trees to have a good look as the
carriage went by, and the men and boys all raised
their voices in a gruff cheer of welcome as they saw
the child in the carriage.
Caspar's pale face grew rosy red. He had not
been prepared for this demonstration of welcome.
He took off his hat and made a little bow to right
and left, as he had seen his mother do sometimes
when their carriage had been greeted on all hands at
some semi-state function.
The men cheered again. Some little girl threw a
posy of wild flowers into the carriage. Caspar caught
it, and waved his acknowledgment; and then the
carriage left the village behind, and Caspar turned
eagerly to Pat and said,-
Pat, are those yellow flowers primroses ? Mother
used to say how she wished she could see primroses
again."
They had reached a pair of great iron gates,
standing between stone pillars .upon each of which
was perched a great falcon of stone. A lodge stood
just within the gates, and a woman was standing
there who made a deep courtesy as the carriage swept
past.
Almost at once the road deflected to the left, and






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


ran through a great beech wood carpeted with prim-
roses; and when that was passed, Caspar saw a wide
stream before him, spanned by a picturesque old
stone bridge.
O Pat! look, look What a beautiful place it is !"
"True for you, yer honour; it's a mighty foin
place. That's the Falconer's Bridge, as 'tis called;
and away beyond somewhere in the woods is the
Falconer's Pool. And when we turn the next corner,
you'll see the house itself. Long live yer honour to
rule over it all!"
Caspar did not feel as though there would be much
ruling for him. He was rather overpowered by the
magnitude and beauty of all he saw. Things in
India had all been on a large scale-he had been
used to a certain amount of state all his life; but
it seemed very different in England, where all the
servants were white, and where the aspect of every-
thing was changed. If only he could have clasped
his mother's hand, and kept his eyes upon his father's
face, it would all have been easy! But now he had
to support his dignity alone, and face the unknown
grandmother without anybody to support him.
And all this while Bill had been sitting upon the
opposite seat, staring about him with round, wonder-
ing eyes, half disposed to make flying leaps from
the carriage, but restrained by the gestures of his
master, and by the detaining hand of Pat, who held
the chain attached to his collar.






SIR CASPAR'S XEWT HOME.


Bill made no secret of his astonishment at all he
saw. He snorted continually, turning his head from
side to side, and waddling gingerly from one edge of
the carriage to the other, as he became interested first
in one view and then in another.
Bill had had a bath just before being landed, and
his coat was spotlessly clean and white. Caspar
thought him lovely; but there might be a difference
of opinion on that point. He had a great many of
the bull-dog's typical traits-an upturned nose, a
wide mouth, a row of shining teeth which were
generally more or less exposed to view, and an air of
ferocity which was belied by the real good-nature
of the eyes, although latent there lay a strain of
dogged tenacity and fierceness which would be certain
to show itself upon provocation. Bill was the kind of
dog who would make a firm friend or an implacable
foe, as the case might be; and it would be generally
felt by those who understood dogs and their ways
that it was more agreeable to rank as friend than
as foe to William Shakespeare."
Look, yer honour !" cried Pat suddenly; there is
yer honour's own home "
Caspar looked, and saw a long pile of building,
upon the windows of which the setting sun was
shining brilliantly. He caught glimpses of picturesque
battlements, turrets, and gables. He received an
impression of something at once beautiful and stately.
Then the road turned again, passed through another






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


gate, and almost before he was aware of it, he was
driven into a sort of courtyard, and the carriage
drew up under a portico at the foot of a flight of
smooth, polished steps.
In a moment the door of the carriage was thrown
open. Caspar saw a long array of servants drawn up
upon the steps and in the hall. Instinctively he took
off his hat, and then at a sign from Pat he slowly
descended from the carriage to pass up between the
lines of waiting servants.
Aren't you coming too, Pat ? he asked wistfully.
No, yer honour; you must go in alone," answered
the servant, with some urgency in his voice.
Caspar realized that the time had come when he
must stand on his own feet and accept the undesired
dignities of his position.
Very well," he answered, with a little sigh ; but
I shall take Bill with me," and he held out his hand
for the chain.
Pat relinquished his charge at once, and the child,
leading his four-footed companion, passed up the
steps and into the great dim hall, which looked to
him almost like a church, with its stained-glass
windows and heavy oak carving.
Involuntarily he lowered his voice.
Where is my grandmother ? he asked.
Her ladyship is waiting for you in the south
drawing-room, sir," answered the soft-footed, quiet-
voiced man in black who had opened the carriage door.
(947) 3






SIR CASPAR'S NEWV HOME.


All the servants wore black coats, but some of
them had white stockings and black buttons, and
white powder on their heads; but this one wore
clothes "like a gentleman," as Caspar expressed it
to himself. He seemed to be the most important
person in the house, and he paused in the middle of
the hall and asked respectfully,-
Shall I send your dog to the stables, sir ? "
No, thank you," answered Caspar, quietly but
decidedly; I. will take him with me."
The man hesitated a moment, and then said in the
same tone,-
Her ladyship does not generally allow dogs in the
house, sir."
Caspar felt his fingers tightening upon Bill's chain.
If the butler had been a dark-skinned servant, he
would have answered him rather haughtily; but he
felt rather as though arguing with some one of his
own standing. But for all that he was not going to
give way. What was the good of being a baronet
if you might not have as much liberty as a ship's
steward ?
"I will speak to her ladyship about it," he said,
his heart beating rather fast at his own temerity.
"Very good, sir," answered the man, in the same
respectful way, and he went on along a softly-carpeted
corridor, Caspar following with bated breath.
He heard Bill snorting behind him. Bill always
did snort if at all excited or disturbed in mind. He






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


padded on very quietly behind, and did not make
lunges to right or left, or pull against his chain.
Caspar felt his hot breath sometimes against his
calves, and was strengthened by the silent support
of his follower.
A door was thrown open for him, he heard the
servant speak his name in rather significant accents,
"Sir Caspar Adair, my lady," and then Caspar
found himself inside an unfamiliar room, face to face
with an old lady in very deep mourning, who was
sitting in her chair beside the fire, and gazing across
the room at him with an expression in her eyes that
went straight to Caspar's heart.
He had never pictured very clearly what his
grandmother was like, though he had seen photo-
graphs of her often. He knew that she wore white
caps, and mittens on her hands; that she was tall
and stately, and had been very beautiful once. But
he had somehow never thought of her being beauti-
ful now-and yet she was. Her eyes were just like
father's; and he had the most beautiful eyes in the
world, except perhaps mother's, as Caspar had al-
ways believed. And her face was like father's too:
it had the look which his had worn during the
last weeks of his life, after mother had left them,
and everybody had said that he was growing old.
That was what struck the child as he stood just
within the room, his eyes upon his grandmother's
face. She was so like father, even to that sad and






SIR CASPAR'S AEW HOME.


hungry look which his face had worn after mother
had been taken away.
Caspar had tried beforehand to think what he
should say to his grandmother when first they met.
He had made up a good many speeches in his head;
but now that the moment had come, he found he had
forgotten them all. Indeed he forgot to note that
he had forgotten. He even forgot to be afraid, or
to wonder what her ladyship would say to Bill. He
dropped the end of the chain, and went forward with
both his hands stretched out.
"Grandmother!" he said, with quivering lips;
and the next minute he was folded in her arms,
and found himself clinging to her in a fashion he
had never for a moment thought of in his wildest
imaginings.
No word was spoken between them; but Caspar
felt as though he should never again be afraid of his
grandmother, even though she might look very
stately and speak with dignity and even severity.
She loved him. He felt that through every fibre
of his being; and once assured of that, he was
satisfied.
Presently she put him gently from her, still keep-
ing her hands upon his shoulders, and her eyes
fastened themselves upon his face with an intent
and hungry look. Then they turned and fixed them-
selves upon a picture which hung above the fireplace;
and Caspar, following the direction of the glance, met







SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


the gaze of a pair of pictured eyes strangely like his
own.
The picture represented a little boy dressed in a
Highland suit, his hand upon the neck of a small,
rough pony. The child could see the likeness to him-
self in the boy of the picture, and he asked softly,-
Was that father ? "
"Yes, my dear; that was your father when he
was about your age. I am glad you are so like him,
Caspar."
That's what mother used to say," answered the
little boy. But father thought I was like mother
too. My hair was like mother's, he used to say."
"Yes, you are fairer than your father was as a
child; but you have his dark eyes. Little Caspar,
will you try to be happy here, with only your old
grandmother to take care of you ?"
He nestled up to her side confidingly. There was
something in the tones of her voice, in the expression
of her face, in the very quietness and self-restraint
of her manner, which forcibly recalled his father,
and made him feel restfully content in her presence.
The ladies on ship-board had been very kind-had
caressed and petted him-but he had never felt at
home with them as he did with his grandmother even
during this first interview. The mysterious bond of
kinship, which he was far too young to understand
or analyze, asserted itself at once and irresistibly.
He loved, and therefore he was not afraid.






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


All this time Bill had behaved with great dis-
cretion, and had amused himself by padding softly
round the unfamiliar room, making his own obser-
vations upon all that he saw. Now he returned to
the side of his little master, and suddenly reared
himself up against him, putting his paws upon the
arm of the chair in which Lady Adair was sitting,
and giving vent to a few snorts of inquiry and sym-
pathetic interest.
Caspar felt that his grandmother recoiled a little
from the savage-looking dog; for his best friends
could not deny that Bill had a singularly savage
aspect, in spite of his natural sweet temper.
Caspar, how came that creature here ? she asked.
He's my dog," answered the child, putting his
hand caressingly on Bill's head. He's such a dear
old fellow I am sure you will love him, grand-
mother."
"Brander should have sent him to the stables,"
said Lady Adair, with her hand on the bell. "He
had no business to let him into the house."
Caspar's heart sank a little at the tone in which
these words were uttered, for there was a finality
about them from which he feared there was no appeal.
"Please, grandmother, the man who brought me did
want to send him to the stables; but I said I would
take him with me."
"I never allow dogs indoors," said Lady Adair
quietly.






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


Now this was a prohibition which had never
seriously occurred to Caspar. He had always been
accustomed to have pets about him. In the free life
of the big bungalow, with its endless retinue of ser-
vants, the child had reigned like a little prince; and
as he was an only child, and of a naturally sweet and
tractable temper, he had been suffered to have a good
deal of his own way. Therefore he was greatly taken
aback to hear these decisive words, and a wave of re-
bellion urged up in his heart. He was almost bursting
into vehement speech, when a sudden thought flashed
into his mind and held him mute.
It was the words Captain Rutland had spoken to
him which now recurred to his memory. Soldiers
had to obey the Queen through their commanding
officers, and he had to obey by keeping his grand-
mother's rules. Obeying when you did not want to
obey was the way to become a good soldier or a good
man. If he obeyed his grandmother when he was
little, it would help to make him a good servant of
the Queen's when he grew big. That was what
Captain Rutland had said; and he must be right,
because father was a great and good man, and mother
told him what an obedient son he had been.
A little quiver ran through the child's frame. The
tears started to his eyes. It was not quite easy to
control his voice; but Caspar made a great effort,
and answered submissively,-
"Then please may he have a nice stable to live







SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


in? and may I go and see him, and take him out
every day ?"
Lady Adair's hand was on the bell, but she had
not yet rung it. Something in the child's aspect and
manner seemed to make her pause. She looked into
the little face, which had grown pale under the stress
of feeling. She saw the tears standing in the wist-
ful dark eyes, and she asked in a different voice,-
Did you expect to keep a dog in the house with
you ?"
We always had them in India," he answered.
"And Bill is so gentle, and takes such care of me.
I have nobody to play with but him and Pat. The
steward gave him to me on board ship. I thought in
such a big house as this there would be room for him
as well as for me. But not if you don't wish it,
grandmother."
The last words were bravely spoken, although the
child's fingers unconsciously closed tighter upon Bill's
collar and the creature snorted louder than before.
Lady Adair looked at the child and then at the
dog, and debated with herself a few moments. It
was not easy for her to break through any long-
established rule of the house; and yet there had been
a time when a small boy had raced about the long
corridors with a dog or two at his heels. There was
something in this little fellow's very submissiveness
that disarmed her far more than any pleading or
arguing would have done.






SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


"It is a pity the steward gave you such an ugly
dog," she remarked, looking with distaste at Bill's
blunt face and upturned nose.
"I know what you mean," answered Caspar
eagerly. I thought he was ugly when I saw him
first; but he has such a beautiful expression that you
very soon forget about his features, and soon they
seem quite lovely too," and he laid his cheek against
Bill's with a caressing gesture.
"Don't let him lick you, my dear," said Lady
Adair, with a slight shudder, as she saw the great
red tongue come out in ready response to the over-
ture; and then after a little pause she added, Would
it make you much happier to have the dog with you
in the nurseries ? I could not allow him in the other
parts of the house; but if you and Patrick will keep
him there, and see that he does not intrude where he
is not wanted, I have no particular objection to his
being with you there."
Caspar's response was to put his arms round his
grandmother's neck again and press a kiss upon her
cheek.
0 grandmother dear, if you did not mind, Bill
and I would like it so much-and Pat too. It won't
be nearly so lonely for me if I may have dear Bill
with me when I'm not with you."
Lady Adair looked into the child's eyes and parted
the hair upon his brow.
"Are you lonely, little Caspar ?" she asked, and







SIR CASPAR'S NEW HOME.


at the sound of these words the tears came into the
child's eyes.
"I usedn't to be," he answered softly. "I always
had mother or father. But it has been very lonely
since-"
His lip quivered; he could not complete the sen-
tence. Lady Adair bent her stately head and kissed
him on the brow.
"I have been lonely too, little Caspar-lonely for
a great many years. I thought my lonely days were
to come to an end soon; but God has ruled it
differently from what we planned. You and I will
have to take care of each other now."
0 grandmother !" cried Caspar eagerly, "I should
like to take care of you, if I might. And Bill will
take care of you too !"
Bill snorted loudly and drew back his lips in an
eager grimace of implied devotion, feeling something
in the air which aroused his sympathetic interest.
"He understands everything we say, he is so
good and clever," said Caspar admiringly. "You
will soon get to love Bill, grandmother, if you see
him sometimes."
Lady Adair by this time had rung the bell, and
the servant was already at. the door.
"Take Sir Caspar upstairs to Mrs. Diggles," she
said to the butler, "and tell Patrick Malony that
I wish to see him soon."















CHAPTER III.


A LITTLE QUARTET.

H dear," sighed little Jetty, "I am so tired !"
Tired of what, darling ?" asked Betty, with
her little motherly air, as she bent over the old-
fashioned nursery sofa.
Tired of lying down and my back always aching,"
answered Jetty, with a patient little sigh of weariness.
" If I could play about, the days would not be half
so long."
"I'm tired of the days being all alike!" cried
Hetty, getting up from the brick castle she and
another little sister were building in a corner of the
old-fashioned wainscoted room. "If we might only go
out and live in the woods and hunt wild men, or do
anything different, I shouldn't mind. But every day's
just the same-lessons, lessons, lessons, and just going
a stupid walk, and then playing up here. I want
something different to happen."
A crash from the corner announced the wreck of
the castle. The remaining child scrambled up from
the ruins and joined the group round Jetty's couch.






A LITTLE QUARTET.


"I want something to happen too cried Letty,
with a stamp of her small foot. In books things
always happen to children, and Miss Grimshawe
says books are true. I don't believe they are. If
they were, why don't things happen to us ? We've
never had an adventure all our lives! I believe
adventures are just. made up, and I believe history
is just made up. I believe everything's just made
up!" and Letty tossed her head till her neatly-
brushed hair all stood out on end, as it did on very
small provocation; for it was possessed of a re-
bellious curliness which set neatness at defiance, and
was the despair of nurse and governess.
"If it weren't for Jetty," remarked Hetty, with
equal decision though with a rather less expenditure
of outward energy, we'd all run away; and perhaps
we'd dress up as boys and be stowaways, and go to
sea, and have all sorts of adventures. Or we might
be gipsies, and live in a cave, and tell people's for-
tunes. But we couldn't go without Jetty, and she
wouldn't be able to run fast enough. They'd be sure
to catch us."
Betty shook her head with a little air of motherly
reproof. She was not very old herself, not much
more than ten; but she felt her position as the eldest
of the party, and generally tried to curb their im-
aginings when they threatened to go beyond all
reasonable limits.
That wouldn't do at all," she said. We might






A LITTLE QUARTET.


get eaten by wolves or stolen by real gipsies. That
would be worse than staying at home and having
lessons with Miss Grimshawe."
Hetty and Letty exchanged glances; they were
not at all sure about this. They had sometimes seen
a gipsy caravan upon the roads, and had lingered for
a few moments near to it (till swept onwards by the
relentless Miss Grimshawe) in a sort of tremulous
hope that some smiling woman or strange, bearded
man might come out and steal them and let them
share the strange, free life of the road. But not
once had any of the gipsy people seemed in the least
desirous of kidnapping the children, and hence Letty's
wholesale scepticism of the whole row of juvenile
stories which adorned their shelves.
"The bishop's little daughter was only left alone
just for a few minutes all her life," she once re-
marked to Hetty, with a note of scorn in her voice,
"and she was stolen directly, and had ever so many
nice, interesting things happen to her. We've often
been alone quite a little while when Miss Grimshawe
has been in the post-office or in the washerwoman's
cottage. But nobody ever will steal us. I think it's
mean of people to write books like that; or else it's
very mean of the gipsies only to steal the children
who don't want to be stolen, and whose fathers mind
very much. I don't believe our papa would care a
bit if we were all stolen-every one of us !"
But this was not said in Betty's hearing, for






A LITTLE QUARTET.


Betty always hushed down any remarks of this kind.
Nevertheless, the pair of twins, who shared every
thought and feeling, and were only just distinguish-
able one from the other, had their own views upon
the subject of life in general and their own in par-
ticular, and were by no means always restrained from
expressing their views by the elder-sisterly reproofs
of Betty.
Jetty came next in age to Betty, and was some-
thing of an invalid. She had a weak back, and had
to lie down a great deal; and Betty acted little mother
to her, and loved her tenderly. Indeed, the twins
always strove to be gentle and kind to Jetty, for
they pitied her very much. The children were all
much attached to one another, and though differences
of opinion existed, quarrels in the nursery were rare,
for they had learned to bear and forbear with one
another.
Well, if we can't run away I don't see what we
can do," Hetty said, with a long-drawn sigh. Miss
Grimshawe will never let us do anything amusing;
and nothing ever happens. I don't believe anything
can happen in this house. I think it's been be-
witched, so that every day has to be exactly like
the last. Perhaps Miss Grimshawe is a sort of ogre,
and makes it so."
There was silence for a moment, and then Letty
looked up like one who has an inspiration.
"Suppose we poison Miss Grimshawe!" she sug-






A LITTLE QUARTET.


gested, in a low voice not destitute of awe. Perhaps
that would break the spell."
Hetty looked with wondering eyes at her sister-
eyes that expressed a considerable amount of admira-
tion at the boldness of the idea; but Betty frowned,
and shook her head very decidedly.
"That is a naughty thing to say, Letty," she re-
marked, with a warning finger upraised in reproof.
"Well, we needn't poison her dead, you know,"
answered Letty, as though making a concession to
prejudice, "but enough to make her very ill, so that
she wouldn't be able to give us any lessons for a lot
of days, and would have to let us play in the garden
instead of taking stupid walks. That would make
things different just for a little while. I want things
to be different. I want something to happen-we
all want something to happen! I don't see why we
shouldn't poison Miss Grimshawe !"
She repeated the phrase with greater boldness
than she had ventured upon at first, and looked
Betty valiantly in the face, as much as to show that
she was not going to be daunted by the disapproval
recently expressed.
Betty said nothing. She knew that Letty in this
mood was better let alone; contradiction only en-
couraged her to wilder flights of imagination. But
Hetty eyed her twin with eager eyes, and asked
almost in a whisper,-
Where could we get any poison ?"






A LITTLE QUARTET


Toadstools," answered Letty promptly. Lots of
them grow out of tree-trunks and in all sorts of
places. Some of them are very pretty. I should
like to eat them myself, but Miss Grimshawe says
they're poison. I'd like to give her some herself!"
I don't think that would be very nice of us," said
Jetty. "And I think Miss Grimshawe tries to be
kind. I think she is rather fond of us."
I'm sure she isn't," answered Letty quickly;
"she only likes to scold and fuss all day."
Should we be put in prison for it ?" asked Hetty,
who was seriously debating the recent suggestion.
"I shouldn't care if we were cried Letty, whose
blood was up now, and who was not to be daunted
by any idle fears of consequences. I think it might
be much more fun in prison than here. I should
like to feel what it was like to have chains on; and
if we were put into a dear little dungeon together,
we could play all day; and there would be rats, and
we would make them tame and feed them with
crumbs. We shouldn't have any lessons to do, and
when we were brought before the judge, we'd tell
him how we were shut up at home, and not allowed
to do anything nice; and then he'd send a band of
soldiers to set you and Jetty free, and we'd all live
together in a wood and be outlaws and have lots and
lots of adventures and fun. And if we were hanged
some day, I don't see that it would matter much.
We could be ghosts after that, and rattle chains, and






A LITTLE QUARTET.


groan and frighten the people who went by. I'd
rather be a ghost with a chain than always live here
with Miss Grimshawe "
Letty peeped through her long eyelashes at Betty
as she delivered this daring speech. Hetty was re-
garding her with open admiration and sympathy.
But, after all, Betty was the person whose opinion in
the nursery counted for most; and however defiant
Letty might be in word, she did not desire to bring
down Betty's real displeasure upon her devoted head.
Betty, however, only shook her head with an air
of gentle reproof. She felt a considerable amount
of sympathy with her sisters in their desire for some
break in the monotony of their life. She often felt
the same strong desire for something to happen,
although she was less outspoken; for she knew that
if she began to complain, matters would only seem
worse to the others. It was tiresome to live in a
house where every day was the same, and where
nothing ever happened to break the routine of life.
It was not very wonderful that Hetty and Letty
should sometimes break out into eager longings after
something else; and, after all, Letty's bold and vivid
pictures amused the twins and did nobody any harm.
"You talk a great deal of nonsense, Letty dear,"
she remarked mildly, with the air of motherly wis-
dom which came naturally to her. But you can play
games with Hetty about being prisoners and ghosts;
only you mustn't really be naughty, and say unkind
(9>47) 4






A LITTLE QUARTET.


things about Miss Grimshawe, because if she were
to go away, we might have a real unkind governess,
who would beat and starve us, like Miss Stonebox
in Lilian's Golden Hours.' "
"But if a monkey came in at the window and
brought us cakes and sweets like it happened to
Isabel," cried Letty, "I shouldn't care a bit. And
lots of interesting things happened to Isabel, even
though she did have a cruel governess. She had an
unkind father too, and that helped it to be interest-
ing. But though we have an unkind father, that
doesn't make things happen to us. I don't think
things are arranged at all fairly !"
Betty tried to hush these last words; and yet, all
the same, she felt deep down in her heart that there
was some truth in Letty's words. Their father was
not unkind to them in any active way; but he left
them quite alone in this house, with their governess
and nurse to look after them. He himself hardly
ever came to see them; and when he did stay for a
short time in the house, it was only quite occasionally
that they were admitted to his presence.
Their mother was but a name to the four little
sisters. She had died when the twins were born-
when Betty was between three and four years old.
Betty had a very faint, dim recollection of somebody
with a soft voice and gentle hand who had petted
her and sung to her when she was a tiny mite her-
self. She always declared that she "remembered







A LITTLE QUARTET.


mother," and that dim, floating memory was trea-
sured by her as a priceless possession. But it was
very dim and misty nevertheless, and would probably
have faded altogether but for the constant effort
made to recall and cherish it. The others could
not make any pretence of remembering anything of
the mother whose portrait hung in their nursery, and
whose face smiled down upon them at their play.
"If mother had not gone away to God," Betty
would often say, everything would be different."
Betty understood more of the family history than
any of the rest, and she knew that their father had
been a much-disappointed man, and that this dis-
appointment had had something to do with his
neglect of his children.
"If one of us had been a boy," she once explained
to the rest, then everything would have been dif-
ferent. Great-uncle Tyrrel would have left all his
money and land to us then. But now he has left it
to little Cousin Charley; and that makes father very
angry, because he is older than Charley's father, and
he thinks one of us ought to have had it."
"Can't I dress up like a boy?" Letty had in-
stantly suggested. "I should like to be a boy. I
don't see why I shouldn't change into one if it
makes so much difference to people."
Mr. Tyrrel's disappointment over the alienation of
the family property to a younger branch of the family
had been very acute. His uncle, the head of the







A LITTLE QUARTET.


family, had never married; and it was not unnatural
that the nephew had hoped to succeed to the property,
as the only son of the next brother. But Mr. Tyrrel
was a man of strong family feeling, which took the
form of a resolute determination to keep the property
(which was not entailed) in the male line. He had
never much liked his second brother or his son, and
he had been much fonder of the third and youngest.
So when Walter Tyrrel's wife died, leaving him only
four daughters, the old man immediately made a will
in favour of Charles and his son; and no representa-
tions on the part of Walter Tyrrel's lawyer as to the
possibility of his client's marrying again and having
a son sufficed to alter the old man's resolve. The
property was left to the brother who had sons to
carry on the old name, or rather it was left to him in
trust for his eldest son; and as the old man died
within a few years of executing the will, the property
was now hopelessly alienated from the father of these
four little sisters.
This was perhaps the reason why Mr. Tyrrel took
so little notice of his four little daughters, and why
the sight of them seemed to give him more vexation
than pleasure. He never seemed able to forget how
different 'things might have been had one of them
been a boy. Their sex was a source of continual
vexation to him, and he lived almost entirely in his
chambers in London, or visited the houses of the
friends who asked him, seldom coming to his own






A LITTLE QUARTET.


house, and leaving his children entirely to the care
of that excellent disciplinarian Miss Grimshawe, who
also managed the house and regulated the scale of
expenditure.
Children accept the conditions of life in a very
unquestioning fashion. The little sisters could not
remember anything different, and it had not occurred
to them until quite recently even to ask questions as
to why their father came so little to see them. They
did not enjoy his visits. He was cold and distant
and critical. It was a relief when he had gone away,
and they never looked forward with any pleasure to
his return.
But lately, as they began to develop, to ask ques-
tions, to compare their own lives with those of the
children they read about in the story-book selected
for them by Miss Grimshawe, they could not help
feeling that there was something different about their
lives from what most children experienced in their
homes. Betty and Jetty would whisper together
longingly of the days when mother was there to take
care of them. They would read with wistful eyes
the accounts of homes where father and mother were
not empty names, but a warm and loving presence in
the house, and they would sigh to each other and long
for like experiences, and wonder if their own lives
could ever be in any way different.
Betty sometimes talked to nurse, who remembered
their mother, and had loved her dearly. She loved







A LITTLE QUARTET.


the children too, and was the happiest element in
their lonely life. But she was old and rather infirm,
and suffered from rheumatic joints, so that she could
not go out with them or join in their games; and she
was mostly to be found sitting by the fire in a little
room of her own, keeping their clothes in beautiful
order, and overseeing their toilets two or three times
a day.
It was from nurse that Betty had gleaned what
she knew of the family history; for Miss Grimshawe
never told them anything, and did not encourage
questions. Perhaps she was right, as the subject was
a difficult one to discuss with children. But Betty
felt as though she were old enough to know things ;"
and since she had been made to understand the cause
of father's disappointment, she had been able to give
him a greater share of affection than had been pos-
sible before.
There was another point in which Betty and Jetty
had come of late to take an interest, and that was
the standing quarrel which existed between their
father and old Lady Adair, who lived in Falconer's
Hall, the grounds of which were partially overlooked
by their windows.
The children saw Lady Adair every Sunday. She
always drove up to church just five minutes before
the service began, and got down from her great
yellow carriage, the door of which was held open by
a fine powdered footman, the whiteness of whose hair







A LITTLE QUARTET.


and stockings was a source of ceaseless admiration to
Letty. She would walk up the churchyard path
acknowledging the salutations of the people with great
dignity; and at the conclusion of the service she
would return to her carriage and drive away-every-
body waiting till her ladyship had gone before leaving
the churchyard themselves.
Betty used to wish ardently that they knew their
stately neighbour. She wished so much that Jetty
could have driven home in that beautiful carriage.
Poor little Jetty, who loved the variety of church-
going, and loved the service for its own sake, being a
more devotional child than the rest, was often unable
to go owing to her inability to walk home after the
service. She could manage the walk there and the
service, although the sitting up tired her back. But
the getting home again afterwards often so completely
exhausted her, that Miss Grimshawe was obliged to
forbid her to attempt church-going, and that was a
sad loss to the little girl.
But if only Lady Adair would let her have a
corner in her carriage," Betty had lamented to nurse,
"then everything would be easy. And she has the
great big carriage all to herself. Do you think I
might ask her some day ?"
This was before Betty had learned that any quarrel
existed between her father and Lady Adair. When
she spoke in this way, she saw from nurse's manner
that it would be impossible to proffer such a request;






A LITTLE QUARTET.


and she eagerly asked to be told why it was that their
neighbour never noticed them in any way, and must
not be spoken to at any price.
Nurse was not very clear as to how the quarrel
had begun. She thought it had been going on a long
while now, before the children's father had even
succeeded to the little estate he had inherited, which
went by the name of Falconer's Lodge.
Once upon a time, she explained to Betty, Falconer's
Lodge and Falconer's Hall had all been part of one
estate--as, indeed, anybody could see; for the Lodge
was quite near to the Hall, and its windows over-
looked the gardens of the larger house in a way that
was quite unusual.
Many people declared that the Lodge never ought
to have been put so near to the Hall; but it had been
built in the last century as a dower-house for the
mother of the heir, and it had never been contem-
plated for a moment that it would pass out of the
hands of the Adairs.
Money troubles had, however, come upon one of the
race, who was a sad spendthrift. Something had to
be parted with, and when the young man received an
offer for the Lodge at a very high rate of payment,
he had closed with it instantly, without reflecting
what an annoyance it might be to himself and his
successors to have a house which was actually in-
cluded within the ring fence of the property inhabited
by strangers.






A LITTLE QUARTET.


But even in the lifetime of the man who had
parted with it trouble began, and there had been
trouble ever since. All sorts of questions as to right-
of-way, right over boundary walls, over hedges and
timber trees in the hedges, and the maintaining of a
common road began to arise, and there had been small
lawsuits going on almost ever since. Again and
again had the Adairs tried to induce the Tyrrels to
sell them back the property. There had been ill-
blood too long between them, and the Tyrrels refused
all overtures made to them. The house was certainly
a very comfortable and attractive one. The proximity
of the park and gardens of Falconer's Hall was a
distinct advantage. They had the place, and they
meant to keep it; and the traditions of ill-will and
enmity had been handed down for three generations.
The present Mr. Tyrrel, the father of the little
girls, had inherited the fag-end of a troublesome law-
suit, and had lost it, so that he had always felt very
bitterly towards Lady Adair, although he did not live
at the Lodge enough to enter into the details of the
ever-growing causes of friction. He merely gave
general orders that his rights were to be insisted
upon, and that there was to be no giving way to the
demands of his autocratic neighbour. But no active
hostilities were being carried on; and it was nurse's
opinion that if Mrs. Tyrrel had lived she would have
made overtures of peace to Lady Adair, and that the
quarrel would have been healed.







A LITTLE QUARTET


Sometimes Betty and Jetty whispered together
about this matter, and wondered if they could do
anything towards healing the breach. But nurse used
to shake her head and say she didn't see what could
be done. Of course her ladyship couldn't notice the
little girls when their father had been to law with
her, and all the Tyrrels had been her enemies.
Besides, she was a very proud lady, and it wasn't
likely she wished to make any advance. What were
the children of a troublesome neighbour to her ?
She had made another attempt to purchase the
house upon the death of Mrs. Tyrrel, when it was
said that the husband did not really care about living
there any longer. But from sheer obstinacy the offer
had been peremptorily refused, and since then Lady
Adair had not made the least overture of any kind
to her inimical neighbour.
"It's a sad pity when folks in the same parish
disagree. It's a bad example to set before other folks,
and it does a lot of harm many ways. But we have
to take things as we find them. We can only make
the best of a crooked world."
Can't we help to put it straight ? Letty had once
asked, when nurse gave expression to this opinion.
It isn't much that any one of us can do," nurse
had answered; whereupon Letty, after considering
the matter for some time, had remarked,-
"But if everybody tried, mightn't something be
done ?"







A LITTLE QUARTET.


"Why, yes, that's the way things mostly are done,"
had been the reply. The more that try, the more
gets done; but the pity of it is that there are so few
who care to try."
We'll all try !" cried Letty eagerly; and for some
time after that it had been a favourite game with her
and Hetty to make-believe that they were going to
make up the quarrel with Lady Adair, and become
honoured guests at Falconer's Hall.
But time passed by, and there seemed no way of
carrying out the plan, so it had rather fallen into
oblivion; and Letty had become so desperate for some
sort of variety in her life, that she had evolved the
bold idea of poisoning Miss Grimshawe !
But excitement and variety were nearer at hand
than any of the little sisters imagined. Something at
last was about to happen!
















CHAPTER IV.


FIRST DAYS.

C ASPAR left his grandmother's presence with a
feeling of having found something comforting
and comfortable. She was not a bit like anybody
he had ever seen before in his life; but for all that
he found himself able to love her, and was sure that
she loved him. Just at that moment love was what
Caspar was craving after more than anything else.
He wanted somebody to love him and to take care of
him. The world had seemed a big, lonely place to
him since the death of his parents. Now he had
come home-he had always been taught to call
Falconer's Hall "home." Till to-day the name had
no especial meaning for him, but now he began to
understand it in its true sense.
His eyes roved eagerly round him as he followed
Brander up the softly-carpeted stairs and along a
wide corridor adorned by statuary and trophies of all
sorts, some of which had come from India, as the
child was very certain. Once the butler paused and






FIRST DA YS.


pointed to the skin of an immense tiger which lay
in their path.
"Your father, Sir Caspar, shot that," he said to the
child, and sent it home to her ladyship. People say
it is one of the largest skins in existence."
Caspar's eyes glistened. He remembered his
father's tiger-stories very well, and especially one
about the huge man-eater" which he had killed
many years ago now, before he married mother and
gave up some of his more daring expeditions after
big game. Caspar stooped and stroked the huge
head of the tiger. It seemed a pity that such beauti-
ful creatures had to be destroyed. It would have
been so nice to tame them and let them wander about
the house and garden like dogs.
But Brander was now holding open a swing-door
into another part of the house; and here the deep,
piled carpets ceased, and the passage was covered
with matting. The walls were not adorned by pic-
tures and curiosities any longer; but the sunlight
streamed in through a row of windows, and the whole
place looked cheerful and bright.
This is the nursery wing, Sir Caspar," said the
butler; I hope you will find everything comfortable.
That is the nursery, and Mrs. Diggles has got tea
waiting for you there."
The next minute the little boy found himself in a
big room, lined from top to bottom with panelled
wood, in which stood an immense rocking-horse,






FIRST DA YS.


freshly painted and dappled; a number of interesting-
looking toys, which he had no immediate leisure to
examine; and a table with a snowy cloth, upon which
an appetizing tea was spread. A great mullioned
window let in a flood of sunshine, and a fire of logs
roared up the chimney: for though it was bright
and warm in the middle of the day, the mornings
and evenings were chilly; and Caspar, accustomed
to the intense heat of India, was glad enough to see
the fire.
A stout, motherly-looking woman came forward
with beaming face to greet him.
"The very image of his father, bless his little
heart!" she said beneath her breath. But Caspar
heard, and his face lighted.
Did you know my father ?" he asked, with eager-
ness.
"That I did, my dearie. I was under-nurse when
he was a little boy as big as you. There were a
brother and a sister, too, in the nursery then, but
they both died before they grew up. Sir Caspar was
always the flower of the flock, and you are his very
image!"
This was very interesting to Caspar. He had not
at first altogether liked the idea of having a nurse to
look after him. He had been used to the bearer in
India, and to Pat. His ayah had been dismissed as
superfluous more than a year before. But if Mrs.
Diggles had been nurse to his father, that made a






FIRST DA YS.


great difference. He did not mind being waited on
and talked to by her. Whilst he sat at tea he made
her tell him stories about his father and the uncle
and aunt he had never known. He looked round the
big nursery, and wished, for almost the first time in
his life, that he had a brother or sister to play with.
It would be more amusing than being quite alone,
with just Bill and Pat-if Pat were allowed to come
up here.
Caspar began to feel that the liberty of the life in
the big bungalow would not be accorded to him here.
He had a feeling as though this house went by clock-
work, and that everybody had to go by clock-work
too, and do just what the mistress decided. It was
not what he had been used to at all, but just at
first he accepted the new conditions as a matter of
course.
Mrs. Diggles was very nice about Bill, though she
did call him an ugly-looking creature. She gave
him a nice supper, and said that if her ladyship
allowed him in the nursery wing she would make no
trouble of it, so long as he was clean and proper
behaved. Bill was so subdued by the strangeness of
his surroundings, that he behaved with the greatest
discretion and propriety, so that Mrs. Diggles began
to pat him at last and call him a good creature;"
which Caspar took in the light of a personal compli-
ment.
The light was fading as he rose from the table,






FIRST DA YS.


but he was eager to see what he could of his new
home. He ran to the window, which looked upon a
piece of shrubbery ground which Caspar at once
likened to "jungle;" and beyond was something which
made his eyes glisten as he exclaimed,-
Oh, surely-is that a bit of a ruin ?"
"Yes, my dear; that is the bit that is left of the
old house that was burnt in the Civil War or the
Wars of the Roses-I'm sure I forget which. There
used to be quite a large ruin, folks say; but the
Lodge was built mostly out of the old material, and
there isn't much left now, but I daresay it will
make a very nice place for you to play in. Little
people like a tumble-down sort of a place for their
games."
Mother told me about the ruin, but she wasn't
sure that any of it would be left by now," said
Caspar. "I am so glad it is there still. And what is
that high wall behind ? "
"That's the wall dividing the Lodge from the
Hall."
"And what is the Lodge ? "
"It's another house, dearie. It once belonged to
the Hall, and it did ought to do so now; but it was
sold away once-and a sad pity too; and things are
always a bit uncomfortable because it's so near. It
was always meant to be one property."
And who lives there now ? asked Caspar, with
interest.







FIRST DA YS.


"Why, a gentleman has it; but he's hardly ever
there."
Do you mean that the house is empty ?"
Well, not empty exactly, for his little daughters
live there with the governess, poor young dears."
Caspar's face brightened with interest.
Little girls! I never knew any little girls. I've
often wanted to; I think I should like playing with
little girls. I suppose we can play together often, as
we live so near? Please tell me about them and
what they are like."
Mrs. Diggles had rather a hard task before her in
trying to explain to Caspar that he would not be
able to play with these little girls, because their
father had been so rude to Lady Adair. The little
boy wanted to go to his grandmother then and there,
and talk the matter out with her; but Mrs. Diggles
advised patience and caution. She was in reality
very anxious herself for the little boy to have com-
panions of his own age to play with, but she knew
that if Caspar went open-mouthed to Lady Adair
with his request, he would receive a prompt and
imperative command not to have anything to do with
the four little sisters over the wall. Caspar himself
realized that it was better not to invite this strict
prohibition. Perhaps if he won his way with his
grandmother he might succeed in getting things put
right in time.
He remembered the lesson about obedience, and
(947) 5






FIRST DA YS.


intended to obey all his grandmother's rules, whe-
ther he liked them or not; but he did not go so far
as to feel bound by unwritten and unspoken rules,
and it came into his head that if nothing were said
to him about these little girls, he might perhaps
make their acquaintance in some delightfully secret
fashion, and have quite a little romantic adventure
over it.
He did not see his grandmother again that night;
but Pat was allowed to come up and examine his
new quarters. Pat had had an interview with "her
ladyship," and had been much gratified by his recep-
tion. It seemed that Caspar's father had written to
his mother-almost the last thing he did-com-
mending the faithful old servant to her care; so
he was to have comfortable rooms at the Hall, and
a pension, and some light work to do as long as
his strength lasted. He was also to attend the
little boy on his walks and rides; and altogether
Pat felt as though the lines had fallen to him in
pleasant places.
Sure and the Queen herself couldn't have behaved
more handsome to an old soldier," Pat concluded;
" and it's meself that'll be proud to serve her. She's
a great lady entirely, and worthy to be the master's
mother."
The next day was Sunday. Caspar had slept
soundly and well in his curtained bed, so different
from the narrow berth on board ship. The spacious-







FIRST DA YS.


ness of his quarters pleased him, though it was all
very different from anything he had been used to in
India. The rooms seemed so low to him, and he
could not quite believe that they would not want
punkahs when the hot weather came. But Mrs.
Diggles called them heathenish sorts of things when
he tried to explain to her how they worked, and
declared they never wanted them in a Christian
country.
He had his breakfast in the nursery, but was told
that he would drive to church with his grandmother
later on. Meantime he and Bill had a run in the
garden, which they both enjoyed very much. It was
such a beautiful garden, full of sweet-scented flowers
and bushes, with all sorts of enticing nooks and cor-
ners, and dark old shrubberies where the sunbeams
seldom penetrated, and where it was hard not to
think that snakes must be lurking, if not tigers and
jackals.
There was a little stream trickling through the
grounds, and a great dark piece of water that Pat
said was called the Falconer's Pool. There were
wide, sunny terraces too, and yew trees at intervals
along them, clipped into all sorts of grotesque shapes.
And there was a fountain in the middle of the bright
flower-beds, tossing its white spray into the air; and
the thickets seemed full of birds, some of which sang
so sweetly that Caspar stopped to listen again and
again. It was the kind of morning that makes young







FIRST DA YS.


things shout aloud for pure joy in being alive.
Caspar had seldom felt like this in India, but he did
to-day.
Presently he was called in and brushed up and
made smart for church. Then he went through the
swing-door and down the front staircase, and found
his grandmother sitting in the hall in a high-backed
chair, dressed ready for church, and waiting for the
carriage to come. She held out her hand to Caspar
and kissed him, and asked if he liked his nurseries
and had slept well. But she did not caress him as
she had done last night, and there was not the glint
of tears in her eyes that had touched his heart. She
was very kind, and he felt that he loved her, and
that she loved him; but he also felt that she was a
grandmother to be obeyed, and perhaps a little feared,
and that he would not be able to get his own way in
this house with the ease he had been accustomed to
in the Indian home.
It was very interesting, however, to sit beside
grandmother in the carriage and watch how all the
people courtesied or touched their hats as they drove
through the village. As they passed one gate not
at all far from the church, Lady Adair bowed to a
gentleman who was coming quickly out, and said to
the child,--
"Take off your cap, Caspar; that is Dr. Kingscote,
our clergyman."
When they were inside the church, Caspar looked






FIRST DAYS.


about him with subdued curiosity, and very soon he
encountered the direct gaze of a pair of very dark,
bright eyes. These eyes belonged to a little maid who
was one of three little girls occupying a sitting at
right angles to the Falconer pew. The little girls had
a rather severe-looking lady with them, who kept
looking at them all the time with sharp, quick glances.
They all sat as still as mice, with their eyes fast-
ened to their prayer-books, or upon Dr. Kingscote's
face-all except the little dark maiden at the end,
whose glance strayed again and again in Caspar's
direction; and lie felt himself impelled to keep
returning these glances, though he was not quite sure
that it was polite to do so. He had an idea that
staring was not good manners, but the little girl was
nice to look at, and she stared; and once, when a
swallow flew twittering through the church, her face
lighted up, and she gave such a bright, quick smile at
him that he smiled back eagerly, and felt that they
were quite ready to be friends.
But, alas these little girls were the children from
the Lodge, whom he might not know; and there were
no others in the church, except amongst the poor
people and farmer folk. Caspar had not been much
accustomed to playing with other children, and did
not think he minded being alone. But to-day he felt
a great desire to make the acquaintance of the owner
of those dark, bright eyes. All the little girls had
nice faces, he thought, and lie liked the quiet, lady-






FIRST DA YS.


like way in which they behaved. They were a good
deal alike, especially the bright-eyed one and the sister
who sat next her, who was exactly the same height.
The other sister was taller, and looked very good
indeed, and sat as still as a mouse. The smaller
pair evidently tried to carry on some little quiet
game during the sermon, more with their eyes and
fingers than with anything else. But the glances of
the governess quelled this attempt, and Caspar's little
friend returned to her occupation of staring at him
through her long lashes, when she did not venture to
do so openly.
Caspar tried to listen to the sermon, and he liked
Dr. Kingscote's face and voice; but he could not help
thinking a good deal more of the three little girls
near to him, and wondering where the other of them
was, for he was almost sure Mrs. Diggles had told
him there were four.
After the service he drove back in state to the
Hall; but he noticed that the little girls watched
him get into the carriage after his grandmother,
and he was almost sure that his little girl" just
waved her small hand to him as the horses started.
In a great hurry he pulled off his cap, and the eyes
of the children met. They both smiled then, and
Caspar was conscious of making a resolve in his
heart that he would know those little girls somehow
or other.
He found he was to take his dinner with his






FIRST DA VS.


grandmother; and he felt very grand and grown-up
as he sat opposite to her at the foot of the table,
which sparkled with silver and glass.
Brander stood behind his mistress, and there were
two tall footmen in the room handing dishes silently
and deftly. Caspar felt subdued by the solemnity
of the occasion, and fell into a train of thought
which resulted in his asking the following sudden
question,
Grandmother, what time does God have His
dinner ? "
There was silence for a few seconds, and then
Caspar raised his eyes questioningly to the face
opposite. But there was no reply.
One of the footmen rather hurriedly left the
room, and Lady Adair asked Caspar if he thought
the church a pretty one. That changed the current
of his thoughts, and he began to tell about the
little church he had sometimes gone to in India,
and how there had once been a scorpion in the read-
ing-desk, which had seriously disturbed the equani-
mity of the chaplain.
After dinner he asked to be set a verse to learn,
as mother had always liked him to do a little Sunday
lesson. His grandmother let him stay with her till
he had committed it to memory and repeated it to
her, after which he gained permission to go into the
garden with Bill, if he would promise to keep the dog
from breaking or injuring the flowers.






FIRST DA YS.


Fortunately Bill was intelligent and tractable. In
the shrubberies he could not be restrained from pur-
suing the tracks of rabbits and game, but there he
did no harm; and in the more formal parts of the
garden he willingly submitted to pace beside his little
master, having been well drilled in keeping to heel"
by the steward of the vessel.
The garden was a perfect wonderland of delight to
Caspar for many days. It took him quite a long
while to explore all its recesses. He made friends
with many of the gardeners, some of whom remem-
bered his father, and could tell him stories about him.
There was one old man, who weeded the paths and
did little light jobs of nailing and pruning, who had
been a servant at the Hall ever since he had come as
garden-boy, sixty years before. He had an endless
number of stories to tell of the old house and its
owners. His father had been gardener before him
here, and had handed down to him quite a number of
traditions. Caspar learned about the lady in white
who was to be seen in the park between hay and
harvest carrying her head under her arm; about the
phantom dog who howled before anybody died in
the house and about the coach and four that some-
times dashed up to the door with a great clatter of
hoofs and wheels, but was never to be seen when
the peal of the bell brought the servants hurrying to
the door.
It was rather a disappointment to Caspar that none






FIRST DAYS.


of these wonders were to be seen or heard now. But
he delighted to make the old man tell him about
them; and he began to think it was a great pity he
had not lived in historical times, when the house was
a castle and was besieged by soldiers, and when ghosts
walked at nights, and things were altogether more in-
teresting than they are now.
But about the Lodge and the people who lived
there old Jim could never be got to speak a good
word. He was exceedingly wroth that the small
house had ever been sold away, and he could not
endure the name of Tyrrel. One of his best fruit-
walls was now rendered valueless because the owners
of the Lodge claimed it as their own; and since
the lawsuit had been decided in their favour, never
another nail had he been allowed to knock in, and
the fruit-trees upon their side were slowly dwindling
for lack of proper training.
"They're a bad lot, them Tyrrels !" the old man
would say, shaking his fist in the direction of the
house. They want turning out neck and crop, and
some day I hope they'll get their deserts. Never has
any luck come to them since they had the Lodge and
wouldn't sell it back to the Adairs. They'll come to
a bad end one of these days, and I only hope I may
live to see it."
Little by little Caspar came to the conclusion that
he had better not talk to any of the household here
of the little girls behind those walls. Mrs. Diggles,






FIRST DA YS.


indeed, spoke nicely about them, but she did not en-
courage her young charge to seek to obtain permission
to make their acquaintance, and very soon the whole
subject came to be regarded by Caspar as shrouded in
a certain mystery.
This made it all the more fascinating to him.
When quite alone he almost always sought the ruined
fragment of the ancient house, which stood against
the high wall dividing Hall from Lodge. The ruin
was not extensive in itself, but it was a charming
resort for a child. There was a bit of the old dining-
hall, with one fragment of the groined roof, still stand-
ing. There were little, broken staircases, and a turret
chamber in fair preservation; and beneath there was
quite a large crypt-like cave, which always seemed
full of mystery to the child.
The crypt was soon his favourite spot. Bill was
always delighted to go down thither, for sometimes
there were rats to be hunted, and there was always
the hope of dislodging one; and the dimness made the
whole place fascinating and romantic in the eyes of
the child.
If only I had somebody to play with, what games
we could have !" said Caspar one day to himself, as
he was routing about in the dim place. He did not
lack imagination; but it was not easy to play these
games quite alone. Bill did his best, but he generally
had some hunting of his own on hand. To-day, for
instance, he was scratching away in the most deter-






FIRST DA YS.


mined fashion in an obscure corner, snorting and
making a great noise, and sometimes uttering a short,
sharp bark indicative of excitement.
Caspar did not notice very much at first what his
comrade was after, for he was used to Bill's vagaries
in the crypt, and was full of some plan of his own
for fortifying the place against an imaginary siege;
but Bill's snortings and barkings grew so imperative
at last, that he felt curious to know what the dog had
found, and he presently rose and made his way into
the dark corner, where the creature was routing about
in a state of considerable excitement.
It was very dark, but Caspar began feeling about
where Bill was digging, and presently he touched
something which felt like metal. The next minute
he had got a better grasp of it, and found that it was
part of a rusty bolt, and that it was fastened to the
side of the crypt.
Why," he exclaimed, in sudden excitement, "if
there is a bolt there must be a door! and if there
is a door it must lead somewhere. Good Bill! good
dog! go dig, and I'll get my candle and come and
look."
Caspar had several candle-ends now hidden in a
box down here, together with a box of matches, and
he quickly lighted one and carried it to this place.
Yes, now that Bill had scratched away the earth and
rubbish, he could see quite well that there had been a
door here once, and the bolts were on this side. It






FIRST DAYS.


was very exciting to make this discovery, and visions
of secret passages, subterranean cellars, and hidden
treasure rose up before his mind's eye. He would
keep it a profound secret. He and Bill would get
the door open between them, and make the great
discovery. He would never rest until he had done
this, and then, perhaps, he might be rewarded by
finding some wonderful country, or some magic
building the very existence of which had never been
suspected by anybody before.
It was hard work-harder than he had expected;
and it took several days of scraping and scratching,
and picking and pulling before success was attained.
Caspar was almost afraid he would either have to
give it up or to take somebody into his confidence;
and he did not want to tell anybody-not even Pat
-just yet, for he had a fear lest grown-up people
should decree that the door was not to be opened.
He had observed in grown-up people a strange lack
of enthusiasm, even where the most interesting things
were at stake. The ship's captain would not have a
wreck of his vessel, though Caspar had suggested it
as a nice termination to the voyage; and perhaps Pat
would be afraid to open the door, lest some danger
should be concealed behind it.
But patience and perseverance generally win the
day, and there came a moment when Caspar felt the
door begin to yield.
"It's coming, Bill, it's coming! he cried, in great







FIRST DAYS. 77

excitement, and putting his shoulder against it, he
pushed with all his force, when suddenly it flew open
with a great creak and groan, and Caspar found him-
self face to face-not with a snake, or a tiger, or a
magician, as he had half expected, but with the
little dark-eyed girl whom he had seen on Sunday in
church !















CHAPTER V.


AN ADVENTURE.

AND how came it that Letty was at the other
side of the door when Caspar succeeded in
forcing it open ?
Well, that is easily explained.
The day that Jetty had complained of the weari-
some pain in her back was the beginning of such an
increase of languor and weakness that Deborah the
old nurse and Miss Grimshawe the governess both
became uneasy and sent for the doctor.
Now, the old doctor who had treated Jetty from
her birth had lately grown very infirm, and had
taken an active young partner, who went to see
most of the patients now. So far, as it happened,
he had never been to see Jetty; but after the sum-
mons, sent in some haste, he suddenly walked into
the schoolroom, where all the children were at their
lessons-Jetty trying, on her couch, to commit a piece
of poetry to memory; and Miss Grimshawe could
only sign to the other three children to sit quite
quietly in their places, instead of sweeping them off







AN ADVENTURE.


into the nursery, as was the usual routine upon the
doctor's visit.
Mr. Coburne stood beside the couch on which
Jetty lay, and asked her and Miss Grimshawe a few
quick questions. The nurse had by this time come
in, and was asked a few more. And all the while the
young doctor's quick, keen eyes were fixed upon the
pale face of the little girl, and once they strayed
across the room towards the table, where the rest of
the children were sitting mute and wide-eyed; and
Letty, looking straight into his face, made up her
mind that he was "nice" as well as clever.
They all knew he was clever. Everybody in the
place said so. Nurse had once said that she wished
he would come and see Jetty, and now he was here.
Presently he spoke, in his quick, decided way.
This child is suffering from the want of fresh air."
It tires her so much to walk," said Miss Grim-
shawe. "She has not been able to get her usual
modicum of fresh air for the past ten days."
She must not walk more than a very little just
at present," answered the doctor quickly; "but she
should be wrapped up warmly and taken out into a
sunny corner of the garden, where she could spend
a great part of the day. The weather is very warm
and mild, and the summer is coming nearer every
day. Of course, on wet and cold days she must stay
in; but whenever it is fine enough she should be out
of doors from ten till four at least."






AN ADVENTURE.


Letty's eyes sparkled at the bare notion of such a
thing, and a little flush came into Jetty's pale cheeks.
She had so longed to be able to lie out in the sun-
shine and watch the birds and the flowers; but such
a thing as that had never entered into Miss Grim-
shawe's mind. She looked rather aghast now.
"I should be so much afraid of her taking a chill,"
she said.
You need not be afraid. You have high walls
here. Put her couch in a sheltered place and wrap
her well up. Children are not hothouse plants;
they want sunshine and fresh air and moderate
exercise, and they will flourish all the better for
having plenty of it. I will take the responsibility;
but that child must live out of doors for the next
few months as far as it is possible."
Nurse nodded her head in satisfaction. She had
always been on the children's side when they had
longed to play in the garden; but Miss Grimshawe
belonged to that school of strait-laced people who
thought a prim walk along the roads was the right
way of taking exercise, and that being out of doors
without a definite object was mere waste of time.
It will be so dull for her," objected the governess.
Why ?" asked Mr. Coburne quickly; she has her
sisters."
But they will be indoors at their lessons, or out
walking on the roads."
Let them do their lessons in the garden and play






AN ADVENTURE.


there, then; it will do them far more good. All
those children want a spell of sunshine and fresh
air," and his quick glance flashed across the room
towards where the other three sat like little mice,
hanging upon his words with covert intensity of
delight.
Miss Grimshawe was so taken aback that she
found nothing to say, and the young man continued
rapidly,-
"Try a new regimen for a little while, for the
sake of this child mainly, but it will benefit them
all. Let them live out of doors on fine days. Never
mind the lessons, or shorten them. Let them play in
the garden and amuse their little sister, who cannot
join in all the games, but will like to look on at them.
I will answer for it that the time will not be lost.
Behind these high walls they can come to no harm.
They will be perfectly safe, and they will grow
wonderfully stronger and better. No, I don't believe
in tonics and medicines for children. Fresh air and
sunshine are the tonics they want. If you think
it better, I or Dr. Dawes will write a line to Mr.
Tyrrel. But that is my prescription-less book-
work, and every fine day spent out of doors. It is
absolutely necessary for this child, and all the rest
will be better for the same regimen."
Nurse looked delighted. It was what she had
herself often proposed and often longed for for her
darlings. But Miss Grimshawe was in the place of
(947) 6







AN ADVENTURE.


authority, and nurse was too wise a woman to do
anything to cause a sense of divided rule.
But when the doctor had gone, saying he should
come back in a few days to see how his prescription
worked, Deborah looked into the rather perturbed
face of the governess and said,-
"Now don't you make a trouble of it, ma'am; we
can but give it a trial. Miss Jetty does look as
though she wanted a spell of sunshine and fresh
breezes to hearten her up, and it will be a rare
pleasure to all of them to have the run of the garden
for a while; it's what they are always asking for."
Miss Grimshawe and Deborah went aside to discuss
matters.
I think, ma'am, if you'll let me say so," said the
latter, in a respectful tone, "that it is time you had a
bit of a holiday yourself. It's more than two years
since you left the children, and that's a long time for
anybody to stay without a bit of a change or a visit
to their friends."
Now Miss Grimshawe was a very conscientious
person, and she had sacrificed her holidays again and
again rather than leave the children, the charge of
whom she felt to be a great tie. But she had an
aged mother living in the north, and just now she
was anxious about her, for the reports of her health
had been disquieting of late. Nurse knew this, and
had said several times that she would try to man-
age the children alone if Miss Grimshawe wanted






AN ADVENTURE.


to go home. But the thing had never been settled.
Now Deborah spoke more freely.
"If it is to be less lessons and more open air and
freedom in the garden, why, ma'am, it's just the
opportunity you want. As the doctor says, the
children can't come to any harm in these high
walls. They'll be as safe as in their nursery, and
as happy as the day is long. I'll see to them that
they don't go out on wet days or run risks of chills.
I'll look after them as well as I know how. And
it'll do you good to get away and have a real good
change and holiday. Everybody wants that some-
times, and a better chance couldn't well come."
Miss Grimshawe saw this, and she did want to go
home. She wrote that very day to Mr. Tyrrel, and
received an immediate assent to her request. Mr.
Tyrrel took little enough interest in the affairs of his
household, and so long as there was somebody left to
look after the children, he cared no whit whether
they were in charge of nurse or governess.
Almost immediately the children were electrified
by the news that Miss Grimshawe was going away
for at least three weeks, and perhaps longer, and that
they were to have a holiday from all but a few light
lessons that nurse would hear them, and were to be
out in the garden from morning to night on all fine
days.
They could hardly believe their own ears.
"Yes, it's true, dearies," said nurse, her own face







AN ADVENTURE.


beaming; "and you must be very good children, so
that Miss Grimshawe may go away easy about you.
I don't see that you can get into any harm or
mischief in the old garden. All you have to do is to
promise not to leave the walled-in part behind, or to
go out into the sweep, where people might see you, or
to get out on to the roads. So long as you keep
away behind, you can do whatever you like. It's a
famous place for you, and you will all get rosy and
brown, as children ought to do."
"And we can play at being gipsies, and have a
bower or a cave of our own, and play at stealing
children and all sorts of lovely things I" cried Letty,
hopping from one foot to the other.
You can play at whatever you like, dearies, and
make as much noise as you like," answered Deborah
fondly; "there won't be anybody to be disturbed.
You can romp about to your hearts' content."
Miss Grimshawe departed the next day, leaving
many charges behind her, and hoping that things
would turn out for the best. But she was afraid she
would find her pupils a good deal gone back by the
time she returned, and she regarded these new regu-
lations as very revolutionary in character.
But the delight of the children was without
bounds.
The two days following the doctor's visit had been
windy and wet. Even Jetty herself had been
forced to own that it would be no use trying to






AN ADVENTURE.


think it comfortable to lie out of doors. But upon
the morning of Miss Grimshawe's departure the sun
shone gloriously, the soft air blew from the south
and west, the cuckoo shouted his gay call from the
shrubberies, and the thermometer registered some-
thing that made nurse smile and nod her head as
she looked at it, Letty watching her with admiration
and awe.
The thermometer was always an object of reveren-
tial admiration to Hetty and Letty. People seemed
to know such a lot of things by looking at it, and
they could never see that it was different one day
from another. It always looked just the same.
However, to-day it was plainly in a very good
temper; and as soon as ever Miss Grimshawc had
driven off in the station fly, the little sisters were
hurrying hither and thither to find the best place for
Jetty's couch, and make their own observations and
explorations of their new domain.
Strange as it may appear, the children knew very
little of the garden to the house where they had
been born and brought up. Just now and again
upon very showery days they had been walked up
and down some of the wider paths with their
governess instead of being taken out upon the
roads; but Miss Grimshawe could never be brought
to see that playing in the garden was a nice thing.
She always would declare that games should be
played indoors, where it was dry and clean; and







AN ADVENTURE.


that when people went out they should take brisk
exercise, and not dawdle or romp. She was afraid
the children would ruin their pretty complexions and
become tanned and freckled if they ran wild in the
garden. She also had a horror of sunstroke in hot
weather, as a relation of hers had lost his wits
through that calamity one very hot summer's day.
The children knew the story by heart; but Letty
used to say she'd much rather play in the garden and
get a sunstroke than never play at all. She thought
it would be very funny to have her hair shaved off
and an ice-bag on her head. She did not say so to
Miss Grimshawe, but confided it to Hetty; and there
was one of their dolls who had a shaven crown,
because one of their favourite games was to declare
she had had a sunstroke, and must be properly
treated for it !
But now Miss Grimshawe was gone-really gone!
The sun was shining, the thermometer had told
something very good-natured to nurse, and they
were to go out into the garden and stay there till
tea-time if they liked. They had even been pro-
mised the delicious treat of dinner out of doors.
Letty felt that life had no more to offer. She
tore to and fro with all manner of things from
nursery and schoolroom, and very quickly a most
delightful nook was contrived beneath the wall for
Jetty's couch to stand in. The nook was formed by
an angle of the house and its junction with one of






AN ADVENTURE.


the high garden walls, and a friendly lime tree threw
a veil of softening shadow through its tender green
leaves, so that the brightness of the sunshine was just
a little dimmed.
A couch was brought out from one of the lower
rooms; and when all was in readiness, the children
escorted Jetty out to her summer parlour, nurse
following to see that she was properly wrapped up,
and to enjoy the delight of all the children in the
new arrangement.
Jetty had hardly room in her heart for one regret-
not even that she could not run about and dance in
the sunshine like Hetty and Letty. It was such keen
delight to be out in the air, and to see the dancing
lights and shadows as the sunbeams chased the little
fleecy cloud shadows across the grass, and flickered
in upon her through the swaying lime boughs. The
air was hot and full of sweet scents. The birds were
singing and trilling their glad songs of welcome to
the joyous spring-tide. Butterflies were venturing
forth and flitting hither and thither in joyous dance.
Letty raced after them, emulating their quick move-
ments, but with no desire to hurt or destroy any
living thing.
Well, dearies, you will be very happy here," said
nurse, as she prepared to leave them. If I were
younger and had never had the rheumatics, I would
come and join you myself. But you'll be good
children and keep out of mischief, and presently I'll






AN ADVENTURE.


bring you out some dinner on plates. You'll like it
best so, and it'll be less trouble for everybody."
"We'll come and help," cried Letty-" we'll help
to carry the things. We shall be playing a lovely
game by that time, and the dinner will be part of it.
-I know!" she cried, as nurse vanished round the
corner of the house. You shall be Prince Charlie,
Jetty, and you shall be wounded and hiding in a
cave, and Betty shall be Flora Macdonald taking
care of you. And we are your faithful followers,
and we go scouting about foraging for things for
you; so we shall bring you your dinner by-and-by,
and tell you how many men we had to kill before
we could get it!"
Hetty and Letty always lived in a small world of
romance of their own. It helped to lighten the
monotony of their days to be always "pretending"
to be somebody else. Out walking, in bed, even at
lesson-times, they would be always more or less en-
gaged in playing their parts in some endless, indefinite
game.
Sometimes they were slaves being marched across
burning plains, chained two and two together, and
whispering of possible escape; sometimes they were
persecuted Christians attending service at the risk of
their lives. In lesson hours they were generally
Lady Jane Grey and her companions studying under
a severe taskmaster. But themselves they seldom
were, Letty declaring it to be too hopelessly dull not






AN ADVENTURE.


to be personating somebody, and that she was much
more diligent at her tasks and respectful to Miss
Grimshawe when she was "pretending."
And now what a delightful setting they had for
their games! Betty was quite content with the part
allotted to her. She was always ready to sit beside
Jetty and share her quiet amusements. Miss Grim-
shawe had actually made Jetty the present of a new
story-book before going away, and Betty was to read
it to her in the garden. It lay on the couch beside
them now, and as both sisters dearly loved a story,
they regarded the bright cover with delighted antici-
pation. But just now they did not even want the
new book to amuse them; there was so much to see
and to talk about out here in the garden. Jetty
quite liked to fancy herself the Jacobite prince in
hiding, and Betty made a most devoted Flora. As for
the two younger ones, they dashed hither and thither
in a state of wild excitement and glorious liberty.
They had hairbreadth escapes and dire perils of
discovery and death every half-hour.
The old garden lent itself to illusions. It was a
charming place for imaginative children. There were
no formal beds or trim, neat paths where they could
do any mischief. The garden had run wild for many
years now. The hedges had grown tall, the shrub-
beries thick and dark, and the yew arbours, of which
there were two at different places, were dim and
mysterious with the growth of the trees about them.






AN ADVENTURE.


There was about an acre and a half of garden
ground walled in from the other garden belong-
ing to Falconer's Hall; but so well was one part
hidden from the other by shrubs and clumps and
hedges, that the extent seemed almost limitless to
the children. Indeed, during the first day or two
they did not thoroughly examine the whole of their
domain, being content with finding all sorts of
charming nooks and corners, and showing them off
to Jetty and Betty when the little invalid took the
small walks which were permitted and recommended
by the doctor.
He came to see them the first day whilst they
happened to be at dinner. Letty, who was stationed
a little way off from the rest, acting as scout" to
the party in the make-believe cave, gave quite a
little scream as a man's shadow fell upon her, and
springing to her feet, she seized the stick which lay
beside her, and cried out at the top of her voice,-
"A spy a spy! Save the prince "
Nay, good sir, but it is as friend to your prince
that I come," answered Mr. Coburne, with a twinkle
in his eye, grasping the situation, and entering into
the spirit of the game. Methinks your prince re-
quires tendance, and I have some small skill in the
healing art; wherefore am I come to put my poor
skill at his gracious disposal. I prithee, therefore,
faithful fellow, take me to him right speedily."
Letty's eyes glowed with delight at this address.






AN ADVENTURE.


She lowered her uplifted stick, and with a little air
of dignity strutted on before, saying,-
"In that case, honest knave, follow me. But if
thou dare to hurt or betray the prince, I will dash
out thy brains with my trusty staff ere thou canst
say Jack Robinson!"
Letty, Letty !" said Betty, shocked at this display
of daring, "you mustn't talk so to Mr. Coburne.
What would Miss Grimshawe say?"
"Never mind Miss Grimshawe now," said the
young doctor, coming up to Jetty's side. Your
business is to forget all about her for a little while,
and make friends with the birds and the butterflies
and the sunbeams. My little friend there under-
stands how to carry out my prescriptions. Be any-
thing you like in all the world except little girls with
lessons on the brain!"
He's a nice man," Letty declared when he had
presently gone, after professing to be too busy to join
their feast. "He understands about things, and I
like him. The prince shall make him a knight when
he gets his kingdom again."
It was two or three days before Hetty and Letty
made one of the most delightful of their many dis-
coveries. Against the farthest off of the high walls
-the one which was nearest to Falconer's Hall-
the trees and shrubs grew so thick and dark that
for some time the children did not suspect there was
anything hidden behind them. But one day Hetty







AN ADVENTURE.


came running to Letty with a rather scared face to
tell her she had heard such funny noises under the
ground near to the wall, and would Letty come and
listen too.
Full of curiosity and wonder, Letty ran off to the
place; and sure enough there was a very odd noise
seeming to come from somewhere underground not
far away. Hetty was not frightened when she had
her other half with her, and the curiosity of both
children was keenly excited.
Shall we ask Betty to come-or nurse ?" asked
Hetty; but Letty shook her head decidedly.
"No; we'll find it out for ourselves. Come along,
Hetty. We'll creep in here and get nearer to the
wall. We shall hear better then. 0 Hetty, do look
here! Why, here's a bit of a lovely old ruin. Oh,
why didn't we find it before? It's a real live old
ruin! And I expect it's a ghost tapping down there.
You know ruins always have ghosts with them."
0 Letty! But if it's a ghost, shan't we be
frightened ? People always are."
"I shan't be!" answered Letty stoutly; "not in
the day, when it's light. I've always just longed to
see a ghost, but nurse says there aren't any left now.
But she didn't know there was a ruin left either.
If there's a ruin, there can be a ghost too. Perhaps
it was a knight who was buried alive by the monks
down there ages and ages ago, and he's always trying
to get out."






AN ADVENTURE.


But he can't, can he ?" asked Hetty, who was
rather inclined to hope he could not.
Perhaps we can help him!" cried Letty, who
seemed much too excited to be afraid. "Perhaps
we can help him to get out; and then we shall find
his bones, and bury them in a nice grave in a nice
coffin; and after that the poor ghost will be quiet,
and won't tap any more. I've read about things like
that."
"I don't think I want to find his bones," said
Hetty, with chattering teeth; but she could not help
following Letty, who was pushing through the tangled
shrubbery to where there were certain fragmentary
bits of ruined building, which excited their keenest
admiration and interest.
"He's snoring too," whispered Letty, as they got
near to the wall. "I read about a snoring ghost
once; but that was owls. It may be owls now,
Hetty; so don't be frightened. But if owls are
tapping and trying to get out, I think we ought to
help them. Perhaps they've been asleep all the
winter in a cellar, and somebody has shut the door.
It wouldn't be kind to go away and not to let them
out."
If it's owls, I don't mind so much," said Hetty,
who was burning with curiosity, although she lacked
Letty's nerve; "but I think we ought to call Betty
first."
"I don't," answered Letty quickly. "It's our






AN ADVENTURE.


discovery, and I want to find it out by ourselves.
Oh, take care! here are some steps."
Letty had tripped and stumbled, for the ground
suddenly gave way under her feet. Amid the drift
of dead leaves and the growth of ferns from the
masonry, she had not noticed that there were some
steps leading down into a small cave-like recess.
But she quickly recovered herself, and plunged boldly
down. The sounds both of tapping and snoring were
very clear to her now. She would not admit it even
to herself, but she was just a little afraid, despite
her overwhelming curiosity.
"I'm down," she said in a whisper to her sister
above; and it's a door, and the ghost is just on the
other side. Will you come too.?"
"I don't think I dare. 0 Letty, do come back!"
cried Hetty from above, in the subdued whisper of
fear.
Letty was not quite sure that she would not. It
was rather more uncanny than she had bargained for.
Indeed, she had taken a step or two backwards from
the door, and was just about to remount the steps,
when suddenly the door seemed to give way with a
crash, and wheeling round she found herself face to
face with a little boy-a boy whom she had seen
once before, sitting by Lady Adair's side in church,
but with whom nurse had said that they could never
have any play or friendship, because their father
would not allow it.















CHAPTER VI.


A SECRET FRIENDSHIP.

THE children stood staring at one another speech-
lessly for a full minute. Bill had placed
himself beside his master, as though to protect him
if necessary. But seeing that there was no attempt
upon the part of the little girl to molest him, he came
forward slowly and sniffed at her legs as though to
make sure of her respectability.
Letty was not in the least afraid of animals.
Indeed, it was the one trouble of her life that they
were not permitted to keep any pets.
Caspar had been so astonished at the apparition of
the little girl upon the other side of the door, that he
could not find a word to say, and it was Letty who
first spoke; but she did not appear to be addressing
him, and her words were very strange ones, he
thought.
"It isn't a ghost after all," she said; "it's only a
little boy and a dog!"
Caspar had taken off his cap, and now he made a
step forward.






A SECRET FRIENDSHIP.


Did you think I was a ghost ? he asked.
Well, yes, of course I did," answered Letty, with
a touch of hautezur in her voice. I heard some very
queer noises coming out of the old ruins underground.
I couldn't think of anything but a ghost for it to be.
It's always ghosts that do make those queer noises in
old ruins."
"And did you come to see ? I think you must be
very brave," said Caspar, who was not at all sure that
he would have cared to await the appearance of a
ghost from the heart of the earth.
"Oh, as for that," answered Letty, "I'd rather
something happened than nothing. And besides, I
always wanted to see a ghost.-Is that your dog ?
Does he always snore like that ? May I kiss him ?
I should like to have a dog with a turn-up nose like
that; but Miss Grimshawe won't let us."
Letty plumped down on the bottom step of the
flight and took Bill fearlessly round the neck. He
licked her face, and she kissed him many times, and
then looking up at Caspar, she said,-
"As you've got such a dear dog, I don't mind
your not being a ghost. I was just a little angry
at first, but we'll be friends now if you like."
By this time Hetty was very cautiously descending
the steps, hearing the sound of voices, and having
received Letty's assurance that there was no ghost in
the question. Caspar looked with admiration at the
two pretty little girls, who, in spite of holland blouses






A SECRET FRIENDSHIP.


and a certain amount of dishevelment, managed to
retain a great deal of the dainty grace of aspect
which it had been Miss Grimshawe's aim and object
that they should acquire.
"You are the little girls I saw in church," said
Caspar. You live at Falconer's Lodge."
And you live at Falconer's Hall with Lady Adair,"
said Letty. And you are our deadly enemy."
I'm not!" answered Caspar indignantly. I should
like to be friends and play with you."
Oh yes, so should I," answered Letty eagerly.
" That's all right. I only mean there's a deadly feud
between our houses. But that only makes it more
interesting, you know."
Caspar was not certain that he did know. He
was not sure if he understood what a deadly feud
was. He was not steeped in historical romance like
Letty, and was not so well up in what was the right
thing to do under these strange circumstances.
Deadly feuds can be very nice things," explained
Letty, still caressing Bill. I think it's more inter-
esting when the people have one. They can make
friends just the same; only it has to be a deadly
secret. I like secrets; and I should like to make
friends with you like that."
This was more encouraging. Caspar came a step
nearer, and Hetty descended to the same level. It
was an odd scene for a meeting-place-a little recess
underground, with only faint rays of light struggling
(947) 7




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