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






Title: Betty Leicester's Christmas
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00088937/00001
 Material Information
Title: Betty Leicester's Christmas
Physical Description: 68, 1 p., 4 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909 ( Copyright holder )
Houghton, Mifflin and Company ( Publisher )
Riverside Press (Cambridge, Mass.)
H.O. Houghton & Company
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin and Company
Riverside Press
Place of Publication: Boston ;
New York
Cambridge
Manufacturer: Electrotyped and printed by H.O. Houghton and Co. ; Riverside Press
Publication Date: 1899
 Subjects
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fathers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mothers -- Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Nieces -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Nephews -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sharing -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Vacations -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christmas stories   ( lcsh )
Social life and customs -- Juvenile fiction -- England   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Sarah Orne Jewett.
General Note: Title page engraved.
General Note: Pictorial cover.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements precede text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00088937
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002232188
notis - ALH2580
oclc - 00879112

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Advertising
        Advertising
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Dedication
        Dedication
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations
    Chapter I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Chapter II
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Chapter III
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Chapter IV
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 20a
        Page 21
    Chapter V
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Chapter VI
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Chapter VII
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 42a
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Chapter VIII
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 50a
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Chapter IX
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Chapter X
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    Back Matter
        Page 69
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text











--


~ *r'
N, -


II.-.
%i *,




















33oofe bp arah nte _Tliett.


DEEPHAVEN. 18mo, gilt top, $1.25.
Holiday Edition. With about 50 Illustrations. Attrac-
tively bound. Crown 8vo, $2.50.
PLAY-DAYS. Stories for Children. Square 16mo, $1.50.
OLD FRIENDS AND NEW. x8mo, gilt top, $1.25.
COUNTRY BY-WAYS. x8mo, gilt top, $1.25.
THE MATE OF THE DAYLIGHT, AND FRIENDS
ASHORE. i8mo, gilt top, $1.25.
A COUNTRY DOCTOR. A Novel. 16mo, $1.25.
A MARSH ISLAND. A Novel. 16mo, $.25; paper, go
cents.
A WHITE HERON, AND OTHER STORIES. i8mo,
gilt top, $1.25.
THE KING OF FOLLY ISLAND, AND OTHER
PEOPLE. z6mo, $1.25.
BETTY LEICESTER. A Story for Girls. 18mo, $1.25.
TALES OF NEW ENGLAND. In Riverside Aldine
Series. z6mo, $i.oo; in Favorite Series, $1.25 ; in Riv-
erside School Library, 60 cents, net.
STRANGERS AND WAYFARERS. 16mo, 1.25.
A NATIVE OF WINBY, AND OTHER TALES. z6mo,
$1.25.
THE LIFE OF NANCY. i6mo, $.25.
THE COUNTRY OF THE POINTED FIRS. 16mo,gilt
top, $1.25.

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY,
BOSTON AND NEW YORK.

















fl- Al'A


jg DLIa~


:je,


IN SOLEMN MAJESTY (page 62)












BETTY LEICESTER'S

CHRISTMAS


BY
SARAH ORNE JEWETT















BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
(ebe fiberoibe prc, Cambribge
1899

































COPYRIGHT, 1894 AND 1899, BY SARAH ORNE JEWETT
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

























To
M. E. G.






















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PAGX
IN SOLEMN MAJESTY (page 62) Frontispiece
"I WAS SO GLAD TO COME" 20
A TALL BOY HAD JOINED THEM 2
BETTY, EDITH, AND WARFORD 50














BETTY LEICESTER'S CHRISTMAS


I

THERE was once a story-book girl named
Betty Leicester, who lived in a small square
book bound in scarlet and white. I, who
know her better than any one else does, and
who know my way about Tideshead, the
story-book town, as well as she did, and who
have not only made many a visit to her Aunt
Barbara and Aunt Mary in their charming old
country-house, but have even seen the house
in London where she spent the winter: I, who
confess to loving Betty a good deal, wish to
write a little more about her in this Christmas
story. The truth is, that ever since I wrote
the first story I have been seeing girls who
reminded me of Betty Leicester of Tideshead.







2 BETTY LEICESTER'S
Either they were about the same age or the
same height, or they skipped gayly by me in
a little gown like hers, or I saw a pleased
look or a puzzled look in their eyes which
seemed to bring Betty, my own story-book
girl, right before me.

Now, if anybody has read the book, this
preface will be much more interesting than if
anybody has not. Yet, if I say to all new
acquaintances that Betty was just in the mid-
dle of her sixteenth year, and quite in the
middle of girlhood; that she hated some things
as much as she could, and liked other things
with all her heart, and did not feel pleased
when older people kept saying don't! perhaps
these new acquaintances will take the risk of
being friends. Certain things had become
easy just as Betty was leaving Tideshead in
New England, where she had been spending
the summer with her old aunts, so that, having
got used to all the Tideshead liberties and
restrictions, she thought she was leaving the
easiest place in the world ; but when she got







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


back to London with her father, somehow or
other life was very difficult indeed.
She used to wish for London and for her
cronies, the Duncans, when she was first in
Tideshead; but when she was in England
again she found that, being a little nearer to
the awful responsibilities of a grown person,
she was not only a new Betty, but London -
great, busy, roaring, delightful London was
a new London altogether. To say that she
felt lonely, and cried one night because she
wished to go back to Tideshead and be a
village person again, and was homesick for
her four-posted bed with the mandarins parad-
ing on the curtains, is only to tell the honest
truth.
In Tideshead that summer Betty Leicester
learned two things which she could not under-
stand quite well enough to believe at first, but
which always seem more and more sensible to
one as time goes on. The first is that you
must be careful what you wish for, because if
you wish hard enough you are pretty sure to
get it; and the second is, that no two persons







4 BETTY LEICESTER'S
can be placed anywhere where one will not be
host and the other guest. One will be in a
position to give and to help and to show; the
other must be the one who depends and re-
ceives.
Now, this subject may not seem any clearer
to you at first than it did to Betty; but life
suddenly became a great deal more interest-
ing, and she felt herself a great deal more
important to the rest of the world when she
got a little light from these rules. For
everybody knows that two of the hardest
things in the world are to know what to do
and how to behave; to know what one's own
duty is in the world and how to get on with
other people. What to be and how to be-
have- these are the questions that every girl
has to face; and if somebody answers, Be
good and be polite," it is such a general kind
of answer that one throws it away and feels
uncomfortable.
I do not remember that I happened to say
anywhere in the story that there was a pretty
fashion in Tideshead, as summer went on, of







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 5
calling our friend Sister Betty." Whether
it came from her lamenting that she had no
sister, and being kindly adopted by certain
friends, or whether there was something in
her friendly, affectionate way of treating peo-
ple, one cannot tell.







BETTY LEICESTER'S


II

BETTY LEICESTER, in a new winter gown
which had just been sent home from Liberty's,
with all desirable qualities of color, and a fine
expanse of smocking at the yoke, and some
sprigs of embroidery for ornament in proper
places, was yet an unhappy Betty. In spite
of being not only fine, but snug and warm as
one always feels when cold weather first comes
and one gets into a winter dress, everything
seemed disappointing. The weather was shiv-
ery and dark, the street into which she was
looking was narrow and gloomy, and there
was a moment when Betty thought wistfully
of Tideshead as if there were no December
there, and only the high, clear September sky
that she had left. Somehow, all out-of-door
life appeared to have come to an end, and she
felt as if she were shut into a dark and wintry
prison. Not long before this she had come







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 7
from Whitby, the charming red-roofed York-
shire fishing-town that forever climbs the hill
to its gray abbey. There were flocks of young
people at Whitby that autumn, and Betty had
lived out of doors in pleasant company to her
heart's content, and tramped about the moors
and along the cliffs with gay parties, and
played golf and cricket, and helped to plan
some great excitement or lively excursion for
almost every day. There is a funny, dancing-
step sort of walk, set to the tune of Humpty-
Dumpty," which seems to belong with the
Whitby walking-sticks which everybody car-
ries; you lock arms in lines across the road,
and keep step to the gay chant of the dismal
nursery lines, and the faster you go, especially
when you are tired, the more it seems to rest
you (or that's what some people think) in
the long walks home. Whitby was almost as
good as Tideshead, to which lovely town Betty
now compared every other, even London
itself.
Betty and her father had not yet gone to
housekeeping by themselves (which made them







BETTY LEICESTER'S


very happy later on), but they were living in
some familiar old Clarges Street lodgings con-
venient to the Green Park, where Betty could
go for a consoling scamper with a new dog
called Toby because he looked so exactly
like the beloved Toby on the cover of "Punch."
Betty had spent a whole morning's work upon
a proper belled ruff for Toby, who gravely
sat up and wore it as if he were conscious of
literary responsibilities.
Papa had gone to the British Museum that
rainy morning, and was not likely to reappear
before the close of day. For a wonder, he
was going to dine at home that night. Some-
thing very interesting to the scientific world
had happened to him during his summer visit
to Alaska, and it seemed as if every one of
his scientific friends had also made some dis-
covery, or something had happened to each
one, which made many talks and dinners and
club meetings delightfully important. But
most of the London people were in the coun-
try; for in England they stay in the hot town
until July or August, while all Americans







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


scatter among green fields or seashore places;
and then spend the gloomy months of the
year in their country houses, when we fly back
to the shelter and music and pictures and
companionship of town life. This all depends
upon the meeting of parliament and other
great reasons; but even Betty Leicester felt
quite left out and lonely in town that dark
day. Her best friends, the Duncans, were at
their great house in Warwickshire. She was
going to stay with them for a month, but not
just yet; while her father was soon going to
pay a short visit to a very great lady indeed
at Danesly Castle, just this side the Border.
This "very great lady indeed" was perfectly
charming to our friend; a smile or a bow
from her was just then more than anything
else to Betty. We all know how perfectly
delightful it is to love some one so much that
we keep dreaming of her a little all the time,
and what happiness it gives when the least
thing one has to do with her is a perfectly
golden joy. Betty loved Mrs. Duncan fondly
and constantly, and she loved Aunt Barbara







BETTY LEICESTER'S


with a spark of true enchantment and eager
desire to please; but for this new friend, for
Lady Mary Danesly (who was Mrs. Duncan's
cousin), there was something quite different
in her heart. As she stood by the window
in Clarges Street she was thinking of this
lovely friend, and wishing for once that she
herself was older, so that perhaps she might
have been asked to come with papa for a
week's visit at Christmas. But Lady Mary
would be busy enough with her great house-
party of distinguished people. Once she had
been so delightful as to say that Betty must
some day come to Danesly with her father,
but of course this could not be the time. Miss
Day, Betty's old governess, who now lived
with her mother in one of the suburbs of
London, was always ready to come to spend a
week or two if Betty were to be left alone,
and it was pleasanter every year to try to
make Miss Day have a good time as well as
to have one one's self; but, somehow, a feel-
ing of having outgrown Miss Day was hard
to bear. They had not much to talk about







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


except the past, and what they used to do;
and when friendship comes to this alone, it
may be dear, but is never the best sort.
The fog was blowing out of the street, and
the window against which Betty leaned was
suddenly flecked with raindrops. A telegraph
boy came round the corner as if the gust of
wind had brought him, and ran toward the
steps; presently the maid brought in a tele-
gram to Betty, who hastened to open it, as she
was always commissioned to do in her father's
absence. To her surprise it was meant for
herself. She looked at the envelope to make
sure. It was from Lady Mary.

Can you come to me with your father
next week, dear ? I wish for you very much.

"There's no answer at least there's no
answer now," said Betty, quite trembling with
excitement and pleasure; "I must see papa
first, but I can't think that he will say no.
He meant to come home for Christmas day
with me, and now we can both stay on."







12 BETTY LEICESTER'S
She hopped about, dancing and skipping,
after the door was shut. What a thing it is
to have one's wishes come true before one's
eyes And then she asked to have a hansom
cab called and for the company of Pagot, who
was her maid now; a very nice woman whom
Mrs. Duncan had recommended, inasmuch as
Betty was older and had thoughts of going to
housekeeping. Pagot's sister also was engaged
as housemaid, and, strange as it may appear,
our Tideshead Betty was to become the mis-
tress of a cook and butler. Pagot herself
looked sedate and responsible, but she dearly
liked a little change and was finding the day
dull. So they started off together toward the
British Museum in all the rain, with the shut-
ter of the cab put down and the horse trotting
along the shining streets as if he liked it.







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


III

MR. LEICESTER was in the Department of
North American Prehistoric Remains, and had
a jar of earth before him which he was exam-
ining with closest interest. Here 's a bit of
charred bone," he was saying eagerly to a
wise-looking old gentleman, "and here's a
funeral bead- just as I expected. This
proves my theory of the sacrificial- Why,
Betty, what's the matter? and he looked
startled for a moment. "A telegram? "
It was so very important, you see, papa,"
said Betty.
"I thought it was bad news from Tides-
head," said Mr. Leicester, looking up at her
with a smile after he had read it. "Well,
my dear, that's very nice, and very important
too," he added, with a fine twinkle in his eyes.
" I shall be going out for a bit of luncheon
presently, and I'll send the answer with great
pleasure."







BETTY LEICESTER'S


Betty's cheeks were brighter than ever, as if
a rosy cloud of joy were shining through.
" Now that I'm here, I '1 look at the arrow-
heads; may n't I, papa?" she asked, with
great self-possession. I should like to see if
I can find one like mine -I mean my best
white one that I found on the river-bank last
summer."
Papa nodded, and turned to his jar again.
"You may let Pagot go home at one
o'clock," he said, "and come back to find me
here, and we'll go and have luncheon to-
gether. I was thinking of coming home early
to get you. We 've a house to look at, and
it's dull weather for what I wish to do here
at the museum. Clear sunshine is the only
possible light for this sort of work," he added,
turning to the old gentleman, who nodded;
and Betty nodded sagely, and skipped away
with Pagot, to search among the arrowheads.
She found many white quartz arrowpoints
and spearheads like her own treasure. Pagot
thought them very dull, and was made rather
uncomfortable by the Indian medicine-masks







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 15
and war-bonnets and evil-looking war-clubs,
and openly called it a waste of time for any
one to have taken trouble to get all that
heathen rubbish together. Such savages and
their horrid ways were best forgotten by
decent folks, if Pagot might be so bold as to
say so. But presently it was luncheon time;
and the good soul cheerfully departed, while
Betty joined her father, and waited for him as
still as a mouse for half an hour, while he and
the scientific old gentleman reluctantly said
their last words and separated. She had
listened to a good deal of their talk about
altar fires, and the ceremonies that could be
certainly traced in a handful of earth from
the site'of a temple in the mounds of a buried
city; but all her thoughts were of Lady Mary
and the pleasures of the next week. She
looked again at the telegram, which was much
nicer than most telegrams. It was so nice of
Lady Mary to have said dear in it- just as
if she were talking; people did not often say
dear in a message. "Perhaps some of her
guests can't come; but then, everybody likes








BETTY LEICESTER'S


to be asked to Danesly," Betty thought.
" And I wonder if I shall dine at table with
the guests; I never have. At any rate, I shall
see Lady Mary often and be with papa. It is
perfectly lovely! I can give her the Indian
basket I brought her, now, before the sweet
grass is all dry."
It was a great delight to be asked to the
holiday party; many a grown person would
be thankful to take Betty's place. For was
not Lady Mary a very great lady indeed, and
one of the most charming women in Eng-
land ? a famous hostess and assembler of
really delightful people ?
I am going to Danesly on the seventeenth,"
said Betty to herself, with satisfaction.







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


IV

BETTY and her father had taken a long
journey from London. They had been nearly
all day in the train, after a breakfast by
candle-light; and it was quite dark, except for
the light of the full moon in a misty sky, as
they drove up the long avenue at Danesly.
Pagot was in great spirits; she was to go
everywhere with Betty now, being used to the
care of young ladies, and more being expected
of this young lady than in the past. Pagot
had been at Danesly before with the Duncans,
and had many friends in the household.
Mr. Leicester was walking across the fields
by a path he well knew from the little station,
with a friend and fellow guest whom they had
met at Durham. This path was much shorter
than the road, so that papa was sure of reach-
ing the house first; but Betty felt a little
lonely, being tired, and shy of meeting a great






18 BETTY LEICESTER'S
bright houseful of people quite by herself, in
case papa should loiter. But suddenly the
carriage stopped, and the footman jumped
down and opened the door. "My lady is
walking down to meet you, miss," he said;
" she's just ahead of us, coming down the
avenue." And Betty flew like a pigeon to
meet her dear friend. The carriage drove
on and left them together under the great
trees, walking along together over the beauti-
ful tracery of shadows. Suddenly Lady Mary
felt the warmth of Betty's love for her and
her speechless happiness as she had not felt
it before, and she stopped, looking so tall and
charming, and put her two arms round Betty,
and hugged her to her heart.
"My dear little girl!" she said for the
second time; and then they walked on, and
still Betty could not say anything for sheer
joy. Now I'm going to tell you something
quite in confidence," said the hostess of the
great house, which showed its dim towers and
scattered lights beyond the leafless trees. "I
had been wishing to have you come to me,







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


but I should not have thought this the best
time for a visit; later on, when the days will
be longer, I shall be able to have much more
time to myself. But an American friend of
mine, Mr. Banfield, who is a friend of your
papa's, I believe, wrote to ask if he might
bring his young daughter, whom he had taken
from school in New York for a holiday. It
seemed a difficult problem for the first mo-
ment," and Lady Mary gave a funny little
laugh. "I did not know quite what to do
with her just now, as I should with a grown
person. And then I remembered that I might
ask you to help me, Betty dear. You know
that the Duncans always go for a Christmas
visit to their grandmother in Devon."
I was so glad to come," said Betty warmly;
"it was nicer than anything else."
"I am a little afraid of young American
girls, you understand," said Lady Mary gayly;
and then, taking a solemn tone: Yes, you
needn't laugh, Miss Betty! But you know
all about what they like, don't you? and so
I am sure we can make a bit of pleasure







20 BETTY LEICESTER'S
together, and we '11 be fellow hostesses, won't
we ? We must find some time every day for
a little talking over of things quite by our-
selves. I 've put you next your father's
rooms, and to-morrow Miss Banfield will be
near by, and you're to dine in my little morn-
ing-room to-night. I'm so glad good old
Pagot is with you; she knows the house per-
fectly well. I hope you will soon feel at
home. Why, this is almost like having a girl
of my very own," said Lady Mary wistfully,
as they began to go up the great steps and
into the hall, where the butler and other
splendid personages of the household stood
waiting. Lady Mary was a tall, slender figure
in black, with a beautiful head; and she car-
ried herself with great spirit and grace. She
had wrapped some black lace about her head
and shoulders, and held it gathered with one
hand at her throat.
"I must fly to the drawing-room now, and
then go to dress for dinner; so good-night,
darling," said this dear lady, whom Betty had
always longed to be nearer to and to know
















s~Awl






71









4,7IA


i.~ N:


"I WAS SO GLAD TO COME"







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 21
better. To-morrow you must tell me all
about your summer in New England," she
said, looking over her shoulder as she went
one way and Betty another, with Pagot and
a footman who carried the small luggage from
the carriage. How good and kind she had
been to come to meet a young stranger who
might feel lonely, and as if there were no
place for her in the great strange house in
the first minute of her arrival. And Betty
Leicester quite longed to see Miss Banfield
and to help her to a thousand pleasures at
once for Lady Mary's sake.







BETTY LEICESTER'S


V

SOMEBODY has said that there are only a
very few kinds of people in the world, but
that they are put into all sorts of places and
conditions. The minute Betty Leicester looked
at Edith Banfield next day she saw that she
was a little like Mary Beck, her own friend
and Tideshead neighbor. The first thought
was one of pleasure, and the second was a
fear that the new "Becky" would not have a
good time at Danesly. It was the morning
after Betty's own arrival. That first evening
she had her dinner alone, and afterward was
reading and resting after her journey in Lady
Mary's own little sitting-room, which was next
her own room. When Pagot came up from
her own hasty supper and "crack" with her
friends to look after Betty, and to unpack,
she had great tales to tell of the large and
noble company assembled at Danesly House.







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


"They're dining in the great banquet hall
itself," she said with pride. "Lady Mary
looks a queen at the head of the table, with
the French prince beside her and the great
Earl of Seacliff at the other side," said Pagot
proudly. I took a look from the old musi-
cians' gallery, miss, as I came along, and it was
a fine sight, indeed. Lady Mary's own maid,
as I have known well these many years, was
telling me the names of the strangers." Pagot
was very proud of her own knowledge of fine
people.
Betty asked if it was far to the gallery;
and, finding that it was quite near the part of
the house where they were, she went out
with Pagot along the corridors with their
long rows of doors, and into the musicians'
gallery, where they found themselves at a de-
lightful point of view. Danesly Castle had
been built at different times; the banquet-hall
itself was very old and stately, with a high,
carved roof. There were beautiful old hang-
ings and banners where the walls and roof
met, and lower down were spread great tapes-







BETTY LEICESTER'S


tries. There was a huge fire blazing in the
deep fireplace at the end, and screens before
it; the long table twinkled with candle-light,
and the gay company sat about it. Betty
looked first for papa, and saw him sitting
beside Lady Dimdale, who was a great friend
of his; then she looked for Lady Mary, who
was at the head between the two gentlemen of
whom Pagot had spoken. She was still dressed
in black lace, but with many diamonds spar-
kling at her throat, and she looked as sweet
and quiet and self-possessed as if there were
no great entertainment at all. The men-ser-
vants in their handsome livery moved quickly
to and fro, as if they were actors in a play.
The people at the table were talking and
laughing, and the whole scene was so pleasant,
so gay and friendly, that Betty wished, for
almost the first time, that she were grown up
and dining late, to hear all the delightful talk.
She and Pagot were like swallows high under
the eaves of the great room. Papa looked
really boyish, so many of the men were older
than he. There were twenty at table; and







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 25
Pagot said, as Betty counted them, that many
others were expected the next.day. You could
imagine the great festivals of an older time
as you looked down from the gallery. In the
gallery itself there were quaint little heavy
wooden stools for the musicians: the harpers
and fiddlers and pipers who had played for so
many generations of gay dancers, for whom
the same lights had flickered, and over whose
heads the old hangings had waved. You felt
as if you were looking down at the past.
Betty and Pagot closed the narrow door of
the gallery softly behind them, and our friend
went back to her own bedroom, where there
was a nice fire, and nearly fell asleep before
it, while Pagot was getting the last things
unpacked and ready for the night.







BETTY LEICESTER'S


VI

THE next day at about nine o'clock Lady
Mary came through her morning-room and
tapped at the door. Betty was just ready and
very glad to say good-morning. The sun was
shining, and she had been leaning out upon
the great stone window-sill looking down the
long slopes of the country into the wintry
mists. Lady Mary looked out too, and took
a long breath of the fresh, keen air. "It's a
good day for hunting," she said, "and for
walking. I'm going down to breakfast, be-
cause I have planned for an idle day. I
thought we might go down together if you
were ready."
Betty's heart was filled with gratitude; it
was so very kind of her hostess to remember
that it would be difficult for the only girl in
the house party to come alone to breakfast for
the first time. They went along the corridor







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


and down the great staircase, past the portraits
and the marble busts and figures on the land-
ings. There were two or three ladies in the
great hall at the foot, with an air of being
very early, and some gentlemen who were
going fox hunting; and after Betty had spoken
with Lady Dimdale, whom she knew, they
sauntered into the breakfast-room, where they
found some other people; and papa and Betty
had a word together and then sat down side
by side to their muffins and their eggs and
toast and marmalade. It was not a bit like
a Tideshead company breakfast. Everybody
jumped up if he wished for a plate, or for
more jam, or some cold game, which was on
the sideboard with many other things. The
company of servants had disappeared, and it
was all as unceremonious as if the breakfasters
were lunching out of doors. There was not
a long tableful like that of the night before;
many of the guests were taking their tea and
coffee in their own rooms.
By the time breakfast was done, Betty had
begun to forget herself as if she were quite at







28 BETTY LEICESTER'S
home. She stole an affectionate glance now
and then at Lady Mary, and had fine bits of
talk with her father, who had spent a charm-
ing evening and now told Betty something
about it, and how glad he was to have her see
their fellow guests. When he went hurrying
away to join the hunt, Betty was sure that she
knew exactly what to do with herself. It
would take her a long time to see the huge
old house and the picture gallery, where there
were some very famous paintings, and the
library, about which papa was always so en-
thusiastic. Lady Mary was to her more in-
teresting than anybody else, and she wished
especially to do something for Lady Mary.
Aunt Barbara had helped her niece very much
one day in Tideshead when she talked about
her own experience in making visits and going
much into company. "The best thing you
can do," she said, "is to do everything you
can to help your hostess. Don't wait to see
what is going to be done for you, but try to
help entertain your fellow guests and to make
the moment pleasant, and you will be sure to







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


enjoy yourself and to find your hostess wish-
ing you to come again. Always do the things
that will help your hostess." Our friend
thought of this sage advice now, but it was at
a moment when every one else was busy talk-
ing, and they were all going on to the great
library except two or three late breakfasters
who were still at the table. Aunt Barbara
had also said that when there was nothing else
to do, your plain duty was to entertain your-
self; and, having a natural gift for this,
Betty wandered off into a corner and found
a new Punch and some of the American
magazines on a little table close by the window-
seat. After a while she happened to hear some
one ask: "What time is Mr. Banfield com-
ing ?"
By the eleven o'clock train," said Lady
Mary. "I am just watching for the carriage
that is to fetch him. Look; you can see it
first between the two oaks there to the left.
It is an awkward time to get to a strange
house, poor man; but they were in the South
and took a night train that is very slow. Mr.







BETTY LEICESTER'S


Banfield's daughter is with him, and my dear
friend Betty, who knows what American girls
like best, is kindly going to help me entertain
her."
Oh, really said one of the ladies, look-
ing up and smiling as if she had been won-
dering just what Betty was for, all alone in
the grown-up house party. Really, that 's
very nice. But I might have seen that you
are Mr. Leicester's daughter. It was very
stupid of me, my dear; you're quite like
him oh, quite "
I have seen you with the Duncans, have I
not ?" asked some one else, with great in-
terest. Why, fancy said this friendly per-
son, who was named the Honorable Miss
Northumberland, a small, eager little lady in
spite of her solemn great name, -" fancy !
you must be an American too. I should have
thought you quite an English girl."
Oh, no, indeed," said Betty. "Indeed,
I'm quite American, except for living in
England a very great deal." She was ready
to go on and say much more, but she had







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


been taught to say as little about herself as
she possibly could, since general society cares
little for knowledge that is given it too easily,
especially about strangers and one's self!
"There's the carriage now," said Lady
Mary, as she went away to welcome the guests.
" Poor souls they will like to get to their
rooms as soon as possible," she said hospi-
tably; but although the elder ladies did not
stir, Betty deeply considered the situation, and
then, with a happy impulse, hurried after her
hostess. It was a long way about, through
two or three rooms and the great hall to the
entrance; but Betty overtook Lady Mary just
as she reached the great door, going forward
in the most hospitable, charming way to meet
the new-comers. She did not seem to have
seen Betty at all.
The famous lawyer, Mr. Banfield, came
quickly up the steps, and after him, more
slowly, came his daughter, whom he seemed
quite to forget.
A footman was trying to take her wraps
and traveling-bag, but she clung fast to them,







BETTY LEICESTER'S


and looked up apprehensively toward Lady
Mary.
Betty was very sympathetic, and was sure
that it was a trying moment, and she ran
down to meet Miss Banfield, and happened to
be so fortunate as to catch her just as she
was tripping over her dress upon the high
stone step. Mr. Banfield himself was well
known in London, and was a great favorite in
society; but at first sight his daughter's self-
conscious manners struck one as being less in-
teresting. She was a pretty girl, but she wore
a pretentious look, which was further borne
out by very noticeable clothes not at all the
right things to travel in at that hour; but, as
has long ago been said, Betty saw at once the
likeness to her Tideshead friend and comrade,
Mary Beck, and opened her heart to take the
stranger in. It was impossible not to be re-
minded of the day when Mary Beck came to
call in Tideshead, with her best hat and bird-
of-paradise feather, and they both felt so awk-
ward and miserable.
Did you have a very tiresome journey ?"







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 33
Betty was asking as they reached the top of
the steps at last; but Edith Banfield's reply
was indistinct, and the next moment Lady
Mary turned to greet her young guest cor-
dially. Betty felt that she was a little dis-
mayed, and was all the more eager to have
the young compatriot's way made easy.
Did you have a tiresome journey? asked
Lady Mary, in her turn; but the reply was
quite audible now.
Oh, yes," said Edith. It was awfully
cold oh, awfully! and so smoky and
horrid and dirty! I thought we never should
get here, with changing cars in horrid stations,
and everything," she said, telling all about it.
Oh, that was too bad," said Betty, rush-
ing to the rescue, while Lady Mary walked
on with Mr. Banfield. Edith Banfield talked
on in an excited, persistent way to Betty,
after having finally yielded up her bag to the
footman, and looking after him somewhat
anxiously. It's a splendid big house, is n't
it ?" she whispered; but awfully solemn
looking. I suppose there's another part







34 BETTY LEICESTER'S
where they live, is n't there ? Have you been
here before ? Are you English ? "
"I'm Betty Leicester," said Betty, in an
undertone. No, I have n't been here before;
but I have known Lady Mary for a long time
in London. I'm an American, too."
You are n't, really !" exclaimed Edith.
"Why, you must have been over here a good
many times, or something" She cast a
glance at Betty's plain woolen gear, and recog-
nized the general comfortable appearance of
the English schoolgirl. Edith herself was
very fine in silk attire, with much fur trim-
ming and a very expensive hat. Well, I 'm
awfully glad you're here," she said, with a
satisfied sigh; you know all about it better
than I do, and can tell me what to put on."
Oh, yes, indeed," said Betty cheerfully;
" and there are lots of nice things to do. We
can see the people, and then there are all the
pictures and the great conservatories, and the
stables and dogs and everything. I've been
waiting to see them with you; and we can
ride every day, if you like; and papa says







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


it's a perfectly delightful country for walk-
ing."
"I hate to walk," said Edith frankly.
Oh, what a pity," lamented Betty, a good
deal dashed. She was striving against a very
present disappointment, but still the fact could
not be overlooked that Edith Banfield looked
like Mary Beck. Now, Mary also was apt to
distrust all strangers and to take suspicious
views of life, and she had little enthusiasm;
but Betty knew and loved her loyalty and
really good heart. She felt sometimes as
if she tried to walk in tight shoes when
"Becky's" opinions had to be considered;
but Becky's world had grown wider month by
month, and she loved her very much. Edith
Banfield was very pretty; that was a comfort,
and though Betty might never like her as she
did Mary Beck, she meant more than ever to
help her to have a good visit.
Lady Mary appeared again, having given
Mr. Banfield into the young footman's charge.
She looked at Sister Betty for an instant with
an affectionate, amused little smile, and kept







BETTY LEICESTER'S


one hand on her shoulder as she talked for a
minute pleasantly with the new guest.
A maid appeared to take Edith to her room,
and Lady Mary patted Betty's shoulder as
they parted. They did not happen to have
time for a word together again all day.
By luncheon time the two girls were very
good friends, and Betty knew all about the
new-comer; and in spite of a succession of
minor disappointments, the acquaintance pro-
mised to be very pleasant. Poor Edith Ban-
field, like poor Betty, had no mother, but
Edith had spent several years already at a
large boarding-school. She was taking this
journey by way of vacation, and was going
back after the Christmas holidays. She was
a New-Yorker, and she hated the country, and
loved to stay in foreign hotels. This was the
first time she had ever paid a visit in Eng-
land, except to some American friends who
had a villa on the Thames, which Edith had
found quite dull. She had not been taught
either to admire or to enjoy very much, which
seemed to make her schooling count for but







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 87
little so far; but she adored her father and
his brilliant wit in a most lovely way, and
with this affection and pride Betty could
warmly sympathize. Edith longed to please
her father in every possible fashion, and
secretly confessed that she did not always suc-
ceed, in a way that touched Betty's heart. It
was hard to know exactly how to please the
busy man; he was apt to show only a mild
interest in the new clothes which at present
were her chief joy; perhaps she was always
making the mistake of not so much trying to
please him as to make him pleased with her-
self, which is quite a different thing.







BETTY LEICESTER'S


VII

THERE was an anxious moment on Betty's
part when Edith Banfield summoned her to
decide upon what dress should be worn for
the evening. Pagot, whom Betty had asked
to go and help her new friend, was wearing
a disapproving look, and two or three fine
French dresses were spread out for inspection.
Why, are n't you going to dress ? asked
Edith. "I was afraid you were all ready to
go down, but I couldn't think what to put
on."
I 'm all dressed," said Betty, with surprise.
"Oh, what lovely gowns! But we she
suddenly foresaw a great disappointment -
" we need n't go down yet, you know, Edith;
we are not out, and dinner is n't like luncheon
here in England. We can go down afterward,
if we like, and hear the songs, but we girls
never go to dinner when it's a great dinner







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 39
like this. I think it is much better fun to
stay away; at least, I always have thought so
until last night, and then it did really look
very pleasant," she frankly added. "Why,
I'm not sixteen, and you're only a little past,
you know." But there lay a grown-up young
lady's evening gowns as if to confute all
Betty's arguments.
"How awfully stupid !" said Edith, with
great scorn. "Nursery tea for anybody like
us and she turned to look at Betty's dress,
which was charming enough in its way, and
made in very pretty girlish fashion. I should
think they'd make you wear a white pina-
fore," said Edith ungraciously; but Betty,
who had been getting a little angry, thought
this so funny that she laughed and felt much
better.
"I wear muslins for very best," she said
serenely. "Why, of course we 'll go down
after dinner and stay a while before we say
good-night; they 'll be out before half-past
nine, I mean the ladies, and we '11 be
there in the drawing-room. Oh, is n't that







BETTY LEICESTER'S


blue gown a beauty! I wish I had put on
my best muslin, Pagot."
You look very suitable, Miss Betty,"
said Pagot stiffy. Pagot was very old-fash-
ioned, and Edith made a funny little face at
Betty behind her back.
The two girls had a delightful dinner to-
gether in the morning-room next Betty's own,
and Edith's good humor was quite restored.
She had had a good day, on the whole, and
the picture galleries and conservatories had
not failed to please by their splendors and
delights. After they had finished their des-
sert, Betty, as a great surprise, offered the
hospitalities of the musicians' gallery, and
they sped along the corridors and up the
stairs in great spirits, Betty leading the way.
"Now, don't upset the little benches," she
whispered, as she opened the narrow door
out of the dark passage, and presently their
two heads were over the edge of the gallery.
They leaned boldly out, for nobody would
think of looking up.
The great hall was even gayer and brighter







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


than it had looked the night before. The
lights and colors shone, there were new people
at table, and much talk was going on. The
butler and his men were more military than
ever; it was altogether a famous, much-dia-
monded dinner company, and Lady Mary
looked quite magnificent at the head.
"It looks pretty," whispered Edith; but
how dull it sounds! I don't believe that they
are having a bit of a good time. At home,
you know, there's such a noise at a party.
What a splendid big room! "
"People never talk loud when they get
together in England," said Betty. "They
never make that awful chatter that we do at
home. Just four or five people who come to
tea in Tideshead can make one another's ears
ache. I could n't get used to it last summer;
Aunt Barbara was almost the only tea-party
person in Tideshead who did n't get scream-
ing.
t' Oh, I do think it's splendid! said Edith
wistfully. I wish we were down there. I
wish there was a little gallery lower down.







42 BETTY LEICESTER'S
There's Lord Dunwater, who sat next me at
luncheon. Who's that next your father?"
There was a little noise behind the eager
girls, and they turned quickly. A tall boy
had joined them, who seemed much disturbed
at finding any one in the gallery, which seldom
had a visitor. Edith stood up, and seemed
an alarmingly tall and elegant young lady in
the dim light. Betty, who was as tall, was
nothing like so imposing to behold at that
moment; but the new-comer turned to make
his escape.
Don't go away," Betty begged, seeing his
alarm, and wondering who he could be.
" There's plenty of room to look. Don't
go." And thereupon the stranger came for-
ward.
He was a handsome fellow, dressed in
Eton clothes. He was much confused, and
said nothing; and, after a look at the com-
pany below, during which the situation be-
came more embarrassing to all three, he
turned to go away.
Are you staying in the house, too ?"





















































A TALL BOY HAD JOINED THEM


T-4







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 43
asked Betty timidly; it was so very awk-
ward.
"I just came," said the boy, who now ap-
peared to be a very nice fellow indeed. They
had left the musicians' gallery, nobody knew
why, and now stood outside in the corridor.
"I just came," he repeated. "I walked
over from the station across the fields. I'm
Lady Mary's nephew, you know. She's not
expecting me. I had my supper in the house-
keeper's room. I was going on a week's
tramp in France with my old tutor, just to
get rid of Christmas parties and things; but
he strained a knee at football, and we had to
give it up, and so I came here for the holidays.
There was nothing else to do," he explained
ruefully. What a lot of people my aunt's
got this year "
It's very nice," said Betty cordially.
"It's beastly slow, I think," said the boy.
"I like it much better when my aunt and I
have the place to ourselves. Oh, no; that's
not what I mean !" he said, blushing crimson
as both the girls laughed. "Only we have








44 BETTY LEICESTER'S
jolly good times by ourselves, you know; no
end of walks and rides; and we fish if the
water 's right. You ought to see my aunt
cast a fly."
She's perfectly lovely, is n't she ? said
Betty, in a tone which made them firm
friends at once. We're going down to
the drawing-room soon; would n't you like
to come?"
"Yes," said the boy slowly. It '11 be
fun to surprise her. And I saw Lady Dimdale
at dinner. I like Lady Dimdale awfully."
So does papa," said Betty; oh, so very
much next to Lady Mary and Mrs. Dun-
can."
"You're Betty Leicester, are n't you?
Oh, I know you now," said the boy, turning
toward her with real friendliness. I danced
with you at the Duncans', at a party, just
before I first went to Eton, -oh, ever so
long ago you won't remember it; and I 've
seen you once besides, at their place in War-
wickshire, you know. I'm Warford, you
know."







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 45
Why, of course," said Betty, with great
pleasure. It puzzled me; I could n't think
at first, but you've quite grown up since
then. How we used to dance when we were
little things Do you like it now?"
"No, I hate it," said Warford coldly, and
they all three laughed. Edith was walking
alongside, feeling much left out of the con-
versation, though Warford had been stealing
glances at her.
Oh, I am so sorry I did n't think,"
Betty exclaimed in her politest manner.
"Miss Banfield, this is Lord Warford. I
did n't mean to be rude, but you were a great
surprise, were n't you? and they all laughed
again, as young people will. Just then they
reached the door of Lady Mary's morning-
room; the girls' dessert was still on the table,
and, being properly invited, Warford began
to eat the rest of the fruit. One never gets
quite enough grapes," said Warford, who was
evidently suffering the constant hunger of a
rapidly growing person.
Edith Banfield certainly looked very pretty,







BETTY LEICESTER'S


both her companions thought so; but they
felt much more at home with each other. It
seemed as if she were a great deal older than
they, in her fine evening gown. Warford
was very admiring and very polite, but Betty
and he were already plunged into the deep
intimacy of true fellowship. Edith got im-
patient before they were ready to go down-
stairs, but at last they all started down the
great staircase, and had just settled them-
selves in the drawing-room when the ladies
began to come in.
"Why, Warford, my dear!" said Lady
Mary, with great delight, as he met her and
kissed her twice, as if they were quite by
themselves; then he turned and spoke to
Lady Dimdale, who was just behind, still
keeping Lady Mary's left hand in his own.
Warford looked taller and more manly than
ever in the bright light, and he was recog-
nized warmly by nearly all the ladies, being
not only a fine fellow, but the heir of Danesly
and great possessions besides, so that he stood
for much that was interesting, even if he had







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


not been interesting himself. Betty and Edith
looked on with pleasure, and presently Lady
Mary came toward them.
"I am so glad that you came down," she
said; "and how nice of you to bring War-
ford He usually objects so much that I be-
lieve you have found some new way to make
it easy. I suppose it is dull when he is by
himself. Mr. Frame is here, and has promised
to sing by and by. He and Lady Dimdale
have practiced some duets their voices are
charming together. I hope that you will not
go up until afterward, no matter how late."
Betty, who had been sitting when Lady
Mary came toward her, had risen at once to
meet her, without thinking about it; but
Edith Banfield still sat in her low chair, feel-
ing stiff and uncomfortable, while Lady Mary
did not find it easy to talk down at her or
to think of anything to say. All at once it
came to Edith's mind to follow Betty's ex-
ample, and they all three stood together talk-
ing cheerfully until Lady Mary had to go to
her other guests.







BETTY LEICESTER'S


Is n't she lovely said Edith, with all the
ardor that Betty could wish. "I don't feel a
bit afraid of her, as I thought I should."
She takes such dear trouble," said Betty,
warmly. She never forgets anybody. Some
grown persons behave as if you ought to be
ashamed of not being older, and as if you
were going to bore them if they did n't look
out." At this moment Warford came back
most loyally from the other side of the room,
and presently some gentlemen made their ap-
pearance, and the delightful singing began.
Betty, who loved music, sat and listened like
a quiet young robin in her red dress, and her
father, who looked at her happy, dreaming
face, was sure that there never had been a
dearer girl in the world. Lady Mary looked
at her too, and was really full of wonder,
because in some way Betty had managed with
simple friendliness to make her shy nephew
quite forget himself, and to give some feel-
ing of belongingness to Edith Banfield, who
would have felt astray by herself in a strange
English house.







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


VIII

THE days flew by until Christmas, and the
weather kept clear and bright, without a bit
of rain or gloom, which was quite delightful
and wonderful in that northern country.
The older guests hunted or drove or went
walking. There were excursions of every
sort for those who liked them, and sometimes
the young people joined in what was going
on, and sometimes Betty and Edith and War-
ford made fine plans of their own. It proved
that Edith had spent much time with the fam-
ily of her uncle, who was an army officer; and
at the Western army posts she had learned
to ride with her cousins, who were excellent
riders and insisted upon her joining them.
So Edith could share many pleasures of this
sort at Danesly, and she was so pretty and
gay that people liked her a good deal; and
presently some of the house party had gone,







50 BETTY LEICESTER'S
and some new guests came, and the two girls
and Warford were unexpected helpers in their
entertainment. Sometimes they dined down-
stairs now, when no one was asked from out-
side; and every day it seemed pleasanter and
more homelike to stay at Danesly. There
were one or two other great houses in the
neighborhood where there were also house
parties in the gay holiday season, and so
Betty and Edith saw a great deal of the
world in one way and another; and Lady
Mary remembered that girls were sometimes
lonely, as they grew up, and was very good
to them, teaching them, in quiet ways, many
a thing belonging to manners and getting on
with other people, that they would be glad to
know all their life long.
Don't talk about yourself," she said once,
" and you won't half so often think of your-
self, and then you are sure to be happy."
And again: "My old friend, Mrs. Procter,
used to say, Never explain, my dear. Peo-
ple don't care a bit.' "
Warford was more at home in the hunting




















































BETTY, EDITH AND WARFORD


',"P"i


F~fi


irr







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 51
field than in the house; but the young people
saw much of each other. He took a great
deal of trouble, considering his usual fashion,
to be nice to the two girls; and so one day,
when Betty went to find him, he looked up
eagerly to see what she wanted. Warford
was busy in the gun room, with the parts of
a gun which he had taken to pieces. There
was nobody else there at that moment, and
the winter sun was shining in along the
floor.
"Warford," Betty began, with an air of
great confidence, what can we do for a bit
of fun at Christmas ?"
Warford looked up at her over his shoulder,
a little bewildered. He was just this side
of sixteen, like Betty herself; sometimes he
seemed manly, and sometimes very boyish, as
happened that day. "I'm in for anything
you like," he said, after a moment's reflec-
tion. "What's on?"
If we give up dining with the rest, I can
think of a great plan," said Betty, shining
with enthusiasm. There's the old gallery,







BETTY LEICESTER'S


you know. Could n't we have some music
there, as they used in old times ?"
"My aunt would like it awfully," exclaimed
Warford, letting his gunstock drop with a
thump. "I 'd rather do anything than sit
all through the dinner. Somebody 'd be sure
to make a row about me, and I should feel
like getting into a burrow. I'11 play the
fiddle: what did you mean ?- singing, or
what? If we had it Christmas Eve, we might
have the Christmas waits, you know."
"Fancy!" said Betty, in true English
fashion; and then they both laughed.
The waits are pretty silly," said Warford.
"They were better than usual last year,
though. Mr. Macalister, the schoolmaster, is
a good musician, and he trained them well.
He plays the flute and the cornet. Why not
see what we can do ourselves first, and per-
haps let them sing last ? They'd be disap-
pointed not to come at midnight under the
windows, you know," said Warford consider-
ately. "We 'll go down and ask the school-
master after hours, and we '11 think what we







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 53
can do ourselves. One of the grooms has a
lovely tenor voice. I heard him singing' The
Bonny Ivy Tree' like a flute only yesterday,
so he must know more of those other old
things that Aunt Mary likes."
"We needn't have much music," said
Betty. The people at dinner will not listen
long, they '11 want to talk. But if we sing
a Christmas song all together, and have the
flute and fiddle, you know, Warford, it would
be very pretty like an old-fashioned choir,
such as there used to be in Tideshead. We '11
sing things that everybody knows, because
everybody likes old songs best. I wish Mary
Beck was here; but Edith sings- she told
me so; and don't you know how we sang
some nice things together, the other day upon
the moor, when we were coming home from
the hermit's-cell ruins ? "
Warford nodded, and picked up his gun-
stock.
"I'm your man," he said soberly. "Let's
dress up whoever sings, with wigs and ruffles
and things. And then there are queer trum-







54 BETTY LEICESTER'S
pets and viols in that collection of musical
instruments in the music-room. Some of us
can make believe play them."
A procession a procession exclaimed
Betty. "What do you say to a company
with masks to come right into the great hall,
and walk round the table three times, singing
and playing? Lady Dimdale knows every-
thing about music; I mean to ask her. I'11
go and find her now."
"I '11 come, too," said Warford, with de-
lightful sympathy. "I saw her a while ago
writing in the little book -room off the
library."







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


IX

IT was Christmas at last; and all the three
young people had been missing since before
luncheon in a most mysterious manner. But
Betty Leicester, who came in late and flushed,
managed to sit next her father; and he saw
at once, being well acquainted with Betty,
that some great affair was going on. She
was much excited, and her eyes were very
bright, and there was such a great secret that
Mr. Leicester could do no less than ask to be
let in, and be gayly refused and hushed, lest
somebody else should know there was a secret,
too. Warford, who appeared a little later,
looked preternaturally solemn, and Edith alone
behaved as if nothing were going to happen.
She was as grown-up as possible, and chattered
away about the delights of New York with an
old London barrister who was Lady Mary's
uncle, and Warford's guardian, and chief ad-







56 BETTY LEICESTER'S
viser to the great Danesly estates. Edith
was so pretty and talked so brightly that the
old gentleman looked as amused and happy
as possible.
"He may be thinking that she's coming
down to dinner, but he '11 look for her in
vain," said Betty, who grew gayer herself.
Not coming to dinner?" asked papa,
with surprise; at which Betty gave him so
stern a glance that he was more careful to
avoid even the appearance of secrets from
that time on; and they talked together softly
about dear old Tideshead, and Aunt Barbara,
and all the household, and wondered if the
great Christmas box from London had arrived
safely and gone up the river by the packet,
just as Betty herself had done six or seven
months before. It made her a little home-
sick, even there in the breakfast-room at
Danesly, even with papa at her side, and
Lady Mary smiling back if she looked up, -
to think of the dear old house, and of Serena
and Letty, and how they would all be think-
ing of her at Christmas time.








ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 57
The great hall was gay with holly and
Christmas greens. It was snowing outside
for the first time that year, and the huge
fireplace was full of logs blazing and snapping
in a splendidly cheerful way. Dinner was to
be earlier than usual. A great festivity was
going on in the servants' hall; and when
Warford went out with Lady Mary to cut
the great Christmas cake and have his health
drunk, Betty and Edith went too; and every-
body stood up and cheered, and cried, Merry
Christmas Merry Christmas and God bless
you! in the most hearty fashion. It seemed
as if all the holly in the Danesly woods had
been brought in as if Christmas had never
been so warm and friendly and generous in
a great house before. Christmas eve had
begun, and cast its lovely charm and en-
chantment over everybody's heart. Old dis-
likes were forgotten between the guests; at
Christmas time it is easy to say kind words
that are hard to say all the rest of the year;
at Christmas time one loves his neighbor and
thinks better of him; Christmas love and







BETTY LEICESTER'S


good-will come and fill the heart whether one
beckons them or no. Betty had spent some
lonely Christmases in her short life, as all
the rest of us have done; and perhaps for
this reason the keeping of the great day at
Danesly in such happy company, in such
splendor and warm-heartedness of the old
English fashion, seemed a kind of royal
Christmas to her young heart. Everybody
was so kind and charming.
Lady Dimdale, who had entered with great
enthusiasm into the Christmas plans, caught
her after luncheon and kissed her, and held
her hand like an elder sister as they walked
away. It would have been very hard to keep
things from Lady Mary herself; but that dear
lady had many ways to turn her eyes and her
thoughts, and so many secret plots of her
own to keep in hand at this season, that she
did not suspect what was going on in a dis-
tant room of the old south wing (where
Warford still preserved some of his boyish
collections of birds' eggs and other plunder),
of which he kept the only key. There was







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


a steep staircase that led down to a door in
the courtyard; and by this Mr. Macalister,
the schoolmaster, had come and gone, and the
young groom of the tenor voice, and five or
six others, men and girls, who could either
sing or play. It was the opposite side of
the house from Lady Mary's own rooms, and
nobody else would think anything strange of
such comings and goings. Pagot and some
friendly maids helped with the costumes.
They had practiced their songs twice in the
schoolmaster's own house at nightfall, down
at the edge of the village by the church; and
so everything was ready, with the help of
Lady Dimdale and of Mrs. Drum, the house-
keeper, who would always do everything that
Warford asked her, and be heartily pleased
besides.
So Lady Mary did not know what was
meant until after her Christmas guests were
seated, and the old vicar had said grace, and
all the great candelabra were lit, high on the
walls between the banners and flags, and
among the staghorns and armor lower down,







BETTY LEICESTER'S


and there were lights even in the old mu-
sicians' gallery, which she could see as she sat
with her back to the painted leather screen
that hid the fireplace. Suddenly there was a
sound of violins and a bass-viol and a flute
from the gallery, and a sound of voices
singing the fresh young voices of Warford
and Betty and Edith and their helpers, who
sang a beautiful old Christmas song, so un-
expected, so lovely, that the butler stopped
halfway from the sideboard with the wine,
and the footmen stood listening where they
were, with whatever they had in hand. The
guests at dinner looked up in surprise, and
Lady Dimdale nodded across at Mr. Leicester
because they both knew it was Betty's plan
coming true in this delightful way. And
fresh as the voices were, the look of the
singers was even better, for you could see
from below that all the musicians were in
quaint costume. The old schoolmaster stood
in the middle as leader, with a splendid
powdered wig and gold laced coat, and all
the rest wore coats and gowns of velvet and







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


brocade from the old house's store of trea-
sures. They made a charming picture against
the wall with its dark tapestry, and Lady
Dimdale felt proud of her own part in the
work.
There was a cry of delight from below as
the first song ended. Betty in the far corner
of the gallery could see Lady Mary looking
up so pleased and happy and holding her
dear white hands high as she applauded with
the rest. Nobody knew better than Lady
Mary that dinners are sometimes dull, and
that even a Christmas dinner is none the
worse for a little brightening. So Betty had
helped her in great as well as in little things,
and she blessed the child from her heart.
Then the dinner went on, and so did the
music; it was a pretty programme, and before
anybody had dreamed of being tired of it
the sound ceased and the gallery was empty.
After a while, when dessert was soon com-
ing in, and the Christmas pudding with its
flaming fire might be expected at any mo-
ment, there was a pause and a longer delay







BETTY LEICESTER'S


than usual in the serving. People were talk-
ing busily about the long table, and hardly
noticed this until with loud knocking and
sound of music, old Bond, the butler, made
his appearance, with an assistant on either
hand, bearing the plum pudding aloft in
solemn majesty, the flames rising merrily from
the huge platter. Behind him came a splen-
did retinue of the musicians, singing and
playing; every one carried some picturesque
horn or trumpet or stringed instrument from
Lady Mary's collection, and those who sang
also made believe to play in the interludes.
Behind these were all the men in livery, two
and two; and so they went round and round
the table until at last Warford slipped into
his seat, and the pudding was put before
him with great state, while the procession
waited. The tall shy boy forgot himself and
his shyness, and was full of the gayety of his
pleasure. The costumes were all somewhat
fine for Christmas choristers, and the young
heir wore a magnificent combination of gar-
ments that had belonged to noble peers his







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS 63
ancestors, and was pretty nearly too splendid
to be well seen without smoked glass. For
the first time in his life he felt a brave hap-
piness in belonging to Danesly, and in the
thought that Danesly would really belong to
him; he looked down the long room at Lady
Mary, and loved her as he never had before,
and understood things all in a flash, and made
a vow to be a good fellow and to stand by
her so that she should never, never feel alone
or overburdened again.
Betty and Edith and the good school-
master (who was splendid in his white wig,
and a great addition to the already brilliant
company) took their own places, which were
quickly made, and dessert went on; the rest
of the musicians had been summoned away
by Mrs. Drum, the housekeeper, all these
things having been planned beforehand. And
then it was soon time for the ladies to go to
the drawing-room, and Betty, feeling a little
tired and out of breath with so much ex-
citement, slipped away by herself and to her
own thoughts; of Lady Mary, who would be







BETTY LEICESTER'S


busy with her guests, but still more of papa,
who must be waited for until he came to join
the ladies, when she could have a talk with him
before they said good-night. It was perfectly
delightful that everything had gone off so
well. Lady Dimdale had known just what
to do about everything, and Edith, who had
grown nicer every day, had sung as well as
Mary Beck (she had Becky's voice as well as
her look, and had told Betty it was the best
time she ever had in her life); and Warford
had been so nice and had looked so hand-
some, and Lady Mary was so pleased because
he was not shy and had not tried to hide or
be grumpy, as he usually did. Betty liked
Warford better than any boy she had ever
seen, except Harry Foster in Tideshead. They
would be sure to like each other, and perhaps
they might meet some day. Harry's life of
care and difficulty made him seem older than
Warford, upon whom everybody had always
showered all the good things he could be
persuaded to take.






ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


x

BETTY was all by herself, walking up and
down in the long picture gallery. There were
lights here and there in the huge, shadowy
room, but the snow had ceased falling out of
doors, and the moon was out and shone
brightly in at the big windows with their
leaded panes. She felt very happy. It was
so pleasant to see how everybody cared about
papa, and thought him so delightful. She
had never seen him in his place with such a
company of people, or known so many of his
friends together before. It was so good of
Lady Mary to have let her come with papa.
They would have so many things to talk over
together when they got back to town.
The old pictures on the wall were watching
Miss Betty Leicester of Tideshead as she
walked past them through the squares of
moonlight, and into the dim candle-light and







BETTY LEICESTER'S


out to the moonlight again. It was cooler in
the gallery than in the great hall, but not too
cold, and it was quiet and still. She was
dressed in an ancient pink brocade, with fine
old lace, that had come out of a camphor-
wood chest in one of the storerooms, and she
still held a little old-fashioned lute carefully
under her arm. Suddenly one of the doors
opened, and Lady Mary came in and crossed
the moonlight square toward her.
So here you are, darling," she said. I
missed you, and every one is wondering where
you are. I asked Lady Dimdale, and she re-
membered that she saw you come this way."
Lady Mary was holding Betty, lace and lute
and all, in her arms, and then she kissed her
in a way that meant a great deal. Let us
come over here and look out at the snow,"
she said at last, and they stood together in
the deep window recess and looked out. The
new snow was sparkling under the moon; the
park stretched away, dark woodland and open
country, as far as one could see; off on the
horizon were the twinkling lights of a large







ENGLISH CHRISTMAS


town. Lady Mary did not say anything more,
but her arm was round Betty still, and pre-
sently Betty's head found its way to Lady
Mary's shoulder as if it belonged there. The
top of her young head was warm under Lady
Mary's cheek.
"Everybody is lonely sometimes, darling,"
said Lady Mary at last; and as for me, I
am very lonely indeed, even with all my
friends, and all my cares and pleasures. The
only thing that really helps any of us is being
loved, and doing things for love's sake; it
is n't the things themselves, but the love that
is in them. That 's what makes Christmas so
much to all the world, dear child. But every-
body misses somebody at Christmas time;
and there 's nothing like finding a gift of
new love and unlooked-for pleasure."
"Lady Dimdale helped us splendidly. It
would n't have been half so nice if it had n't
been for her," said Betty softly,--for her
Christmas project had come to so much more
than she had dreamed at first.
There was a stir in the drawing-room, and







68 BETTY LEICESTER'S CHRISTMAS
a louder sound of voices. The gentlemen
were coming in. Lady Mary must go back;
but when she kissed Betty again, there was a
tear on her cheek, and so they stood waiting
a minute longer, and loving to be together,
and suddenly the sweet old bells in Danesly
church, down the hill, rang out the Christmas
chimes.






































ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED
BY H. O. HOUGHTON AND CO.

(Cte ERterSibe Upreng
CAMBRIDGE, MASS., U. S. A.






































































S=Si,'~trr ....

al!6) C


U
L

'h






''
:)~
U-

: Ic;


;C:
:ci
''



~r,-

'~4
(i:: ::::











F:'b
"'

,?d




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs