BOYS AND GIRLS.
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BOYS AND GIRLS
BY M. BRAMSTON,
"The Panelled House," "A Steadfast Woman," &c.
PUBLISHED UNDER TILE DIRECTION OF
THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION,
APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY TOR PROMOTING
Society foat promoting efibritiatt nout eblegc.
Sold at the Depositories:
77 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields;
4 Royal Exchange; 48 Piccadilly;
And by all Booksellers.
New York: Pott, Young, & Co.
For the Society for Promoting Christia Knowledge
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS,
N case any boys and girls should take up this
book without having read a tale called
'Elly's Choice,' I will tell them the names and
ages of the children mentioned at the time when
this story begins.
Mr. Langford was the clergyman of a village
called Ringland, and he had eight children:
Tom, who was fifteen; Dick, fourteen; Charlie,
twelve; Elly, eleven; Frank and Johnny, twins
of nine; Maggie, seven; and Gerty, between
three and four. The five eldest boys were all at
school, and Elly went every day to Ringland
Hall, where her great aunt, Mrs. Farwood, lived,
to be taught by the same governess who in-
structed her little cousin, Cordelia Temple, a
child a few months younger than Elly. Cordelia
and her little brother Alfred were Mrs. Farwood's
grandchildren, whom she had always taken care
of, because their father and mother were in
India; but Cordelia's mother had of late been
home for a visit on account of her health, and
had only just gone back to rejoin her husband.
Alick Graham was an orphan boy of fourteen,
who spent his holidays at Mrs. Farwood's, who
was very kind to him: he was rather a delicate
boy, never having quite recovered the effects of
an accident he had had two years before, when
Charlie Langford had gone out with him carrying
a gun, and the gun had burst and a splinter had
entered Alick's knee. Having mentioned these
particulars, the story itself will explain every-
thing else needful. It was written in accordance
with the request of certain little people who in-
sisted on hearing some more about Elly and her
brothers and sisters and cousins when they grew
older: and as possibly some of the other young
readers of "Elly's Choice" may have had the
same wish, a chapter of the further history of the
little Langfords is here offered for their perusal.
BOYS AND GIRLS.
WO years had passed since we took leave of
the little Langfords, all settled comfortably
in their new home at Ringland. They had all
grown taller and bigger since then, as was to
be expected: the five boys were all at school, and
Elly still went to the Hall every day to do lessons
with Cordelia under kind Miss Morison. Elly
was getting on well with her lessons, and was
very anxious to begin to learn Greek: but mamma
and Miss Morison both said that Greek must wait
until needlework was better. For Elly's fingers,
when they he!d a needle, seemed, as old jpurse
said, to be all thumbs.
It was July, and Miss Morison had gone away
for her holidays. Alick Graham had come to
the Hall for his, and all the Vicarage boys had
come back for theirs: and great fun they had
6 Boys and Girls.
during the first week. The only person who
did not thoroughly enjoy it was poor little
Cordelia Temple, who looked moped and melan-
choly, poor child! as well she might. Her mother
had gone back to India a month before, just
when Corda had fully learnt what it was to have
a real mother; and nobody except Miss Morison
quite knew how great this first trouble was to the
little girl. Her cousins were sorry for her when
they remembered to be so, but they were not old
enough to understand that when people are in
trouble they need extra forbearance: and they
often said that Corda was cross because she did
not care to play cricket and hockey with the
rest, when in reality the poor little girl only felt
motherless and unhappy.
Of course the children did not always play to-
gether. Very often they divided into two sets:
the three bigger boys, the twins, and Alick going
off together; Elly, Corda, and Maggie follow-
ing their own devices. Maggie was now seven
years old: she was a plump-faced, merry, happy
little girl, always good-tempered, and only in
trouble when she had lessons to do. She was
very fond of her cousin Alfred, who was a year
younger than herself, and was always taking his
part when the bigger ones snubbed him, as they
did sometimes: for he was a timid, fretful, little
fellow, not over-strong in health.
One day, however, it happened that all the
seven children had been playing cricket in the
field, and little Gertrude, the baby of the family,
had been sitting on the grass watching them.
Boys and Girls.
When the "warning bell" rang five minutes be-
fore dinner, to bid them all come in to wash their
hands and faces, Maria, the parlour-maid, told them
that their father and mother were engaged with
Dr. Cole, and that master Tom was to carve the
leg of mutton for dinner. Tom said, "Oh, bother !"
and Dick, the next brother, who was by far the
neatest-handed of the family, volunteered to fill
his place. Gertrude said grace in her baby voice,
and they all set to work with good appetites, ex-
cept Corda, who was rather dainty, and hated
This was the sort of talk that went on.
"I say!" (from Charlie) "I wish we had an
eleven all boys instead of having to make it up
"Elly bowled you out oftener than you did her,
Master Charlie," said Alick.
"Elly isn't so bad. But look at-Corda's play!"
Corda made a catch this morning," said Elly.
"I don't like cricket; I think it's stupid!" said
Corda, very demurely.
"Oh, oh, oh!" said all the others in indigna-
"I wonder what is the use of girls !" said Frank
"Just as much use as boys," said Elly.
"No they ar'n't," said Charlie. Men can do
everything women can do, but women can't do
half what men can. I wouldn't be a woman for
"People must have wives," suggested Johnny.
Elly felt her usual desire to be a boy too much
8 Boys and Girls.
to contradict Charlie's statement, and it was left
to Corda to take up the cudgels for her sex.
"I wouldn't be a man," she said; "I like girls
a great deal better than boys, and I am sure boys
are no good at all."
Sour grapes," said Tom: and as the conver-
sation proceeded for some time we may leave
it for a little while, and go to hear what Dr.
Cole is saying to Mr. and Mrs. Langford, for it
is more important to the hungry children next
door than they think.
"If you take my advice," said Dr. Cole, "you
will send the young ones away directly. It is a
most violent form of the fever, and if the wind
changes, you will have the air from Hopkins'
cottage blowing directly on to you. Six fresh
cases since last night!"
"And Thompson's little girl not expected to
live!" said Mrs. Langford with a little shiver, as
she thought of her own eight rosy healthy children.
"Nor Tom Dale either. It is a most serious
illness for any one to have, and I can't too strongly
urge you and Miss Farwood to send the children
out of the way."
But where can they go ?" said the mother.
"You must take them to the sea somewhere,"
said Mr. Langford to his wife.
I am not going to be away from you, Richard,"
she said. "If they go away, I must leave them
under the charge of nurse. I have no belief in
your power of taking care of yourself when there
is any press of work."
"That is true," said Dr. Cole. Now, look here,
Boys and Girls.
Mrs. Langford, I have got a big farmhouse on my
hands near Bellsand-that is, half a dozen rooms
in it-for the next two months. I got it furnished
for a cousin of mine, and when she had been there
a month, her husband sent for her to come to him
to Australia, so I took the furniture, such as it was,
off her hands, and nobody has taken it of me yet.
I believe it's a good bit the worse for wear, but
that won't matter so much. There's a splendid
common, a quarter of a mile to the sea, and a mile
of sands as flat as a pancake. The nearest town
is five miles off, and they can't get into mischief
if they try; splendid air, honest people,-know 'em
well. Do you pack'em off this afternoon, and I'll
go and talk to Miss Farwood, and persuade her
to do the same. There, my dear lady, what better
can you wish ? Only two hours of train and five
miles' drive,-you might go over there twice a
week and look after them if you liked."
So, after much doubt and hesitation, Mr. and
Mrs. Langford closed with Dr. Cole's kind offer;
and it only remained to go and tell the dinner-
eating children in the next room of their
"There's mother! said Dick, as she came in,
by no means sorry to give over his task of helping
ten hungry people who had already arrived at ask-
ing for more.
"My dear children," she began, as she took her
place, looking as much flurried as gentle Mrs.
Langford ever could look, "stop talking all of you,
and listen to me."
There was a dead silence, broken only by the
Boys and Girls.
clatter of Maggie's fork, which took the opportu-
nity of tumbling down.
"I don't know if you have heard that there is
a bad fever just broken out in the village. I told
you three days ago, if you remember, not to go
down the Blackberry Lane, where the Hopkinses
live; I hope none of you have been there."
"No, mother, none of us," said Tom and Elly
"Now it seems to be spreading upwards to-
wards us, and Dr. Cole says you must all go away
this very afternoon."
All the eyes grew large and round, and most of
the mouths opened also.
"We are going to send you to a farmhouse on
what they call Endlow Common, five miles from
Bellsand. Possibly Alick and Corda and Alfred
may follow you there. Dr. Cole is going to sug-
gest the place to Aunt Lucy. Nurse and Eliza
will go with you, and I hope you will all try to
prove yourselves good and trustworthy."
"What are we to do all day ?" said Tom in a
Why it'll be awfully jolly," said Dick, who
had naturalistic tastes. "Is it near the sea, mo-
"A mile off only. You'll be able to do some
collecting, and that sort of thing," said the mother,
kindly: "and if you take your new microscope-"
Hurrah!" said Dick.
"You six bigger ones may take three books
apiece, but try to choose them wisely. Johnny,
mind you look out your pencils and drawing-
Boys and Girls.
paper, you will want them. Elly, don't forget
your workbox: Charlie, I recommend you to take
your basket of tools. Tom, I don't know what
occupation you will like best, but I recommend
you to think of something for indoors; and Frank
the same. Maggie's dolls will be enough for her."
"Mother, how can you think of us all at once
like that?" said Tom. "It must make your head
Mrs. Langford laughed a little. "It does, Tom,"
she said; my head is going round at this mo-
ment; but none the less I must get you children
all off by the five o'clock train. By the way,"
she said suddenly, "I wish, Dick, that you and
Charlie would go off at once by this train, take
a fly to Endlow Common from Bellsand, and a
note from me to Mrs. Burton, the farmer's wife,
as to getting beds and tea ready. You have got
half an hour."
They all gasped. Dick and Charlie shouted
out "Hurrah!" and rushed off for their hats.
What could be more delightful than to be sent
off on such an errand at a moment's notice?
Tom looked a little hurt that he had not been
the one selected; but his mother said, "I shall
have no end of instructions for you, Tom, I can't
spare you. Now I must write this letter. Finish
your dinner quickly, children, you. will have to be
busy all this afternoon."
Imagine what a bustle and scurry there was
over all the house during that afternoon! Nurse
and mamma were the only two persons in the
household who kept their heads, and well for them
12 Boys and Girls.
it was that they did so. Maggie was found to
have filled one corner of the trunk which nurse
was packing with the furniture out of her doll's
house, because, she said, the dolls must have a bed
to lie on, and chairs and tables to use, or they
would not be comfortable all the time they were
at Endlow; and little Gerty improved the occa-
sion by filling her two fat hands with Frank's col-
lection of stones, and tumbling them headlong
into the other end of the trunk. Elly was so
much taken aback by the suddenness of the move,
that she could only stand leaning her long lank
length against the wall, and ejaculate, "How very
funny!" at intervals, until nurse set her to fetch
her brothers' clothes to be packed, which gave her
But in the midst of all this bustle and hurry,
Mrs. Langford found time for a private talk with
Tom, and another with Elly, before the time
came to go off to the station. There was a sta-
tion at Ringland now, which made it much easier
for the Langfords to get to Endlow that after-
Tom's talk came first, when his mother was
arranging the box of books, paint-boxes, &c.,
which were to serve the eight children for indoor
employment during the whole time they were
Tom, old fellow," she said, "you will be the
eldest, and I shall look to you to keep the others
in order. Only don't scold and hector them too
much, as you are sometimes given to do."
"All right, mother," said Tom.
Boys and Girls.
"I know I can trust you, and Dick, and Elly,
not to do anything out of my sight that you
wouldn't do if I were with you," said his mother,
"otherwise I should not like this plan at all.
My only doubt is whether you will be wise and
reasonable enough to keep each other in order.
Bear and forbear, and don't say sharp things for
the pleasure of teasing, that's all. And don't fly
in nurse's face more than you can help, even
when you don't think she is overwise."
Tom promised to do his best: he was very
fond of his mother, and could scarcely help pro-
mising anything she asked when her hand was on
his shoulder, and her kind face looking into his.
Then it was Elly's turn.
"Elly, my little woman," said Mrs. Langford,
"I hope you will do your best to keep the peace
and make things go smoothly while you are away
from us. In such an experiment as this, girls
have a great deal in their hands."
The boys are always saying that girls are of
no use," said Elly.
"Prove to them that they are of great use,
then. Try and be gentle, and not rough, Elly,
and I think that the boys won't say that you are
of no use."
"That's what Miss Morison says," said Elly.
"Gentle and not rough! But it is so much easier
to be rough, mother."
",No doubt it is to some people," said Mrs.
Langford; "and I think you are one of them.
But when rough people have tamed themselves
into gentleness, their gentleness is worth more
Boys and Girls.
than other people's, I think. But I don't want
to lecture now, my dear. Now, you understand
that nurse is to have the control over you: of
course I can't expect your elder brothers to mind
her as much as I hope you will; that would be
expecting rather too much from them. But I
hope you will set the example to Frank, and
Johnny, and Maggie, of being good and obedient
"Yes, mother," said Elly, who, 'to give her her
due, was a very obedient little girl.
"And now run and get your books, for you
have not given me them yet."
Elly went out of the room, and came back with
a rather red face, and her hands held behind her
Mother, would you mind packing them with-
out looking at them? There's one I don't want
you to see."
"Why not?" said her mother, laughing, "I
don't suppose you would wish to take a book
I should not like you to read, Elly!"
"Oh, no, mamma. You wouldn't mind my
reading it in the holidays. It's only a lesson-
book. There! Do you want to see it, or may
I put it in myself without your looking ?"
Mrs. Langford knew of the delights of chil-
dren's secrets by experience, and she made no
further objections to Elly's putting in a very un-
interesting-looking book in a school-cover of
dirty brown calico. The other two books were
a volume of fairy tales, and a natural history book
Boys and Girls.
"Three books will never be enough for him
to look in for all the new animals he finds," said
Elly; so he can have one of mine."
And strange as it may appear to those who do
not know how much work can be got through by
a busy household, the children, with nurse and the
housemaid, were all packed off together by the
five o'clock train.
T was nearly eight o'clock, and it seemed to
the children that they had been hours and
hours in the omnibus which was taking them
from Bellsand Station to Endlow Common. It
was a hot evening, and nurse would not let them
sit in a draught, and kept all the windows shut
on one side; and that side, unfortunately, was
the one that they wanted the most to look out
of, because the sea was to be seen in blue peeps
behind green hedges, and there were little white
sailing boats scattered about it, turning golden
with the setting sun. Gertrude was tired and
sleepy, but too hungry to sleep, and not old
enough to know she must not fret: Maggie's
round face was graver than usual. Frank and
Johnny were cross because they had to sit inside,
there being so much luggage on the small omni-
bus that there was only room for Tom on the
seat with the driver. Elly herself felt too tired
and hungry to be able to do more than to control
her own crossness, and could not manage to make
things more comfortable for the boys.
But at last all things come to an end, even a
journey in a close omnibus. The omnibus went
slowly up a steep hill, then the hedges ceased and
Boys and Girls.
the green edge at the roadside widened into an
immense common, purple and yellow with hea-
ther and furze, sloping down gradually to a wide
expanse of blue sea. Five minutes further brought
them in sight of an old grey stone farmhouse,
with red tiles, with a farmyard at the back, and
stacks of wheat and hay showing behind. At the
door, which opened full upon the common, stood
Dick and Charlie, waving their caps.
They went in through a rough flagged passage
into a good-sized room with two windows, light
but rather low, and with a drab paper hanging
in a most dilapidated way on the wall in dirty
flakes. There was a round table spread with a
tablecloth, covered with blue plates, and cups,
and a metal teapot; there was a horsehair sofa,
and several horsehair chairs, high and slippery;
and there was a varnished picture of "King
Alfred and the Cakes" hanging above the mantel-
"I hope, Mrs. Brown," said Mrs. Burtoh to
nurse, you will find everything comfortable,
ma'am, as much as can be on such short notice.
Jemima Ann and your young gentlemen have
been busy enough this afternoon: and I assure
you I was properly vexed when I came back to
find I had been out so late."
Elly, who was listening, began to wonder how
much vexation was proper." Nurse made some
civil reply, and, leaving Eliza'to pour out the tea,
she went up to see the bedrooms. There were
three: one for nurse and Eliza, with a crib for
Gerty; one for Elly and Maggie; and one with
Boys and Girls.
a long row of beds, like a school dormitory, for
the five boys.
Then they came down again, and set to work
at the farmhouse tea, which they all liked ex-
tremely; and then they were one and all glad
to go to bed, and leave unpacking and all other
arrangements for the next day. Before long, all
the eight were asleep.
The eastern sun shone into Elly's eyes and
awoke her early the next morning. At first she
could hardly remember where she was,-in such
a funny bare little room, with an old-fashioned
tent bedstead with washed-out blue curtains:
but soon she came to her senses, and recollected
that this was Endlow. "What fun!" said Elly
to herself; "I'll get up and look about me before
the others are awake." And up she got and
dressed quietly, without awaking Maggie; and
then, having tried very hard not to hurry her
prayers through the longing she had to be out,
she slipped noiselessly down the stairs, through
the flagged passage, and out into the early radiant
sunshine of the summer morning.
For a minute or two Elly stood in absolute
wonder at the splendid dazzling sunshine, and the
dewy heath and furze which smelt so strange and
delicious: and then she looked to the south, and
saw the strange misty blue of something that was
neither land nor sky, and she almost sprang for
joy at thinking that it was the sea. She wished
now that one of the others was there to share the
pleasure of it with her: she almost thought of
waking Maggie, or one of the boys: but then
Boys and Girls.
again, Maggie was tired with yesterday's journey,
and had better have her sleep out, and experience
had taught Elly that it was just as well not to
suggest to her brothers to get up at five when
breakfast was not to be till half-past eight. So
she set out to explore the place by herself.
Soon she found that the common was ex-
tremely dewy, and that dew, though very lovely,
is disadvantageous to the hems of cotton-frocks.
So Elly opened the gate and went into the farm-
yard, where the farming men were moving about,
and where six calves in a row all stood and
looked at her, as if they had never seen a little
girl in a white linen flapping hat before: and
very likely they had not. She liked walking on
the soft golden straw, and she had not gone far
before she heard a sound which made her mouth
water, as of a soft frothy liquid trickling into a
wooden pail, and a sweet smell of cow's breath
in the air. Elly could not help looking in over
the top of the wooden door. The man who was
milking the cows saw her, and said, "Have a
drop of warm milk, little missy ?"
"May I?" said Elly, with a delighted face,
coming in. She stood by while the man filled
a little tin mug with the frothy milk and gave
it to her: how delicious it was! Three times,
altogether, Elly emptied that mug; and she could
have gone on yet longer, except that she was
afraid that the man would think her greedy. So
she thanked him, and went out of the cowhouse,
feeling all the better for her treat.
Having explored the farmyard, Elly went up
Boys and Girls.
the little path towards the house, where she saw
Mrs. Burton and "Jemima Ann," as they called
her, bustling about at work.
You're early this morning, little miss ? said
Mrs. Burton, as she saw her; and Elly came up
to her, and told her about the treat she had had
in the cowhouse. "Bless you, dear," said Mrs.
Burton, "you may have some every morning if
you like. Milk's plenty with us this time of
year; we give it to the pigs, we do."
"And may I go into the garden ?" said Elly.
"To be sure you may, and pick yourself a nice
little posy, if you like. Only don't pick the
roses; Burton's choice over them."
Elly went into the garden, which was chiefly
kitchen garden, with a border of gay homely
flowers: stocks and southernwood and orange
escolzia. But the garden was rather dull when
there was the common and the sea to look at;
and Elly suddenly took it into her head that she
would go down to the beach and look at the sea
closely. Before any of the others! What fun!
In another moment she was out over .the stone
wall, and springing over the furze and the hea-
ther, down the hill towards the sea. It was fur-
ther than she had expected, but Elly did not mind
that. There came a steep slope of grass with
sand at the bottom, which came over her ankles
and into her boots; she went on until it grew
firmer under her feet, and lo and behold, there
was a white line of surf in front of her, where the
little blue waves were breaking at their leisure,
while the whole sea was alive with what an old
BOYS AND GIRLS.
Boys and Girls. 21
Greek once called "countless laughter" from
every little ripple on its surface.
\ Elly had not seen the sea since she was six
years old, when all the little Langfords had gone
there for change after the measles. But how
delicious this was She had not been old enough
to enter into its beauty as she could now. Some-
how, she did not know why, she felt so glad that
she could almost have cried, and the verse of the
"Venite," which she had heard over and over
again without thinking about it, seemed to come
into her head with a new meaning, "The sea is
His, and He made it, and His hands prepared the
dry land." But little girls of eleven do not very
often think for long at a time, and soon Elly had
found something that took up all her thoughts,
a lovely little pink pair of bivalve shells, half
open. And there was another, and there a big
whelk, and there what the children called a
"silver bucket," with its purple outside rubbed
off here and there to display the silver pearly
lining. Elly had her handkerchief full of treasure
before long, and began to wonder whether it was
She walked back rather more slowly than she
had come, for she was getting tired, and the sun
was hot now; but when she got to the house, and
looked at the clock, it was still only seven. An
hour and a half to wait! Elly was tired, and yet
she did not like to go in and wait in the dull
sitting-room on the slippery horsehair chairs:
so she went out again, and passed by a haystack
with a ladder leaning by the side. The haystack
22 Boys and Girls.
had been partly used, and the top of it looked
inviting and shady, for a taller one close against
it sheltered it from the sun. Elly climbed up,
sat down in a deliciously soft pleasant seat, and
found it so luxurious that she did not wish to
move away. "How jolly this is!" she thought,
as she laid back her head on the hay; if only
I had that Greek grammar here, I might begin
to learn the letters,"-perhaps you can now guess
what Elly's secret was-" but it's too comfortable
to move-much nicer than a bed. I wonder if
nurse would let me sleep here one night-or if-
or if -"
But Elly did not wonder much more, for she
was fast aleep; and the next thing she knew was
that she woke up with a start, seeing Dick's face
peering into hers, and hearing him say, "Here
she is! You little goose, Elly; we've been
looking for you for half an hour! Make haste
and come to breakfast."
So ended Elly's morning adventures.
ELLY felt rather small as she came into the
parlour where the breakfast was laid out
at the big table and all the children were
sitting round it. She did not look very tidy,
with her cotton frock stained with dew and mud
above her knees, and her hair full of bits of hay,
as might have naturally been expected after her
nap. There was a general shout as she appeared.
Well, Miss Eleanor," said nurse, severely,
"if it had been Miss Margaret, I should not
have wondered; but a great girl of eleven years
old like you--"
"You have kept us all waiting ever so long,"
"Goodness, Miss Eleanor!" said Eliza.
"Doodness, Elly!" repeated Gerty, so that
they all began to laugh.
Shall I go and make myself tidy ?" said poor
No," said nurse, we can't wait any longer;
sit down and eat your breakfast, and don't be so
Elly was quite ready for her breakfast, and her
sleep had refreshed her, so that she was not tired
any longer. I should be sorry to mention the
Boys and Girls.
quantity of bread and butter which she ate that
morning, the sea air had given her such an
While they were at breakfast, Mrs. Burton
brought in a letter which had just come by the
post. Endlow Common was so far out of his
way that the postman always slipped the letters
into a wooden box on the road half a mile off
between two stones, and the Burtons fetched
them in the course of the day. They had fetched
them early this morning in consideration of their
The letter was from Mrs. Langford to Tom,
and informed them that Blessington was coming
that day to the farm with Corda and Alfred, and
that Alick would follow in a week's time. He
was going for a visit to a friend until then.
"I wonder what Mrs. Blessington will think
of these rooms!" said Eliza; for the Vicarage
servants were not very fond of Cordelia's nurse.
"She must think what she pleases," said nurse,
shortly; "but I hope Miss Eleanor will think
better than to come to breakfast such a figure
with her hair full of hay another time."
"Well, nurse, I wanted to go and brush it,"
said Elly, who was getting tired of the subject.
"Brush a fiddle-stick!" said nurse, as con-
temptuously as if Elly had wished to do such a
thing; "why your hair is more like a doormat
than Christian hair. You come up with me
after breakfast, and I shall have a fine job, I
"Oh, please, nurse," said Elly, "do you think
Boys and Girls.
we could get bathing-gowns for Maggie and me?
The water did look so beautiful."
"Oh yes," said nurse, who was out of temper;
" you may go on to the common and buy them
off them furze bushes, I dare say. Bathing-gowns,
Elly's countenance fell, for she wished to bathe
more than anything; but she had sense enough
not to pursue the subject then when nurse was
cross, and she underwent the pulling out and
combing of her hair with as much patience as
was to be expected under the circumstances.
Presently it was done, and then she found that
all the others except Gerty were gone out. She
ran out after them, and found that they were
not gone far; the sun was too hot for any except
Tom and Dick to go down to the beach to bathe,
and Charlie, Johnny, Frank, and Maggie, were all
sitting doing nothing in the shade of the house.
Maggie had her doll certainly, which was an
unfailing resource to her; but the three boys
were kicking their heels in the air in a state
of perfect laziness,- just ripening into mischief.
Elly had brothers enough to know what would
be the outcome of this: so she stood there and
said, "Boys, do you want books, or paints, or
anything ? I'll go and get them if you do."
Charlie graciously allowed her to fetch him
"Holiday House," and Johnny, who was a
gentlemanly little boy, got up at once to fetch
his paints and drawing-book. Frank said he
wanted nothing; and indeed he was one of
those children who have a positive love of
Boys and Girls.
idleness for its own sake. Elly herself acceded
to a request from Maggie that she would come
and play with her and her dolls; and the children
passed the morning in tolerable peace and enjoy-
ment, notwithstanding the heat.
Then came dinner, for which Tom and Dick
were as late as Elly had been for breakfast.
None of the children were very hungry now,
it was so hot; but they had the novelty of
drinking milk for dinner, which they thought
much better than meat. And then nurse said
they had better stay in the parlour for a little
while, because it was so hot; and when the
heat of the day went off they would walk down
to the beach. The three biggest boys scouted
the idea of staying in, and all went out and
sat under a haystack, where they went to sleep.
Nurse gave Elly and Maggie a task of sewing,
for which I cannot say that either of them were
very grateful; and Frank hung about the room
doing nothing, only disturbing Johnny at his
painting. Johnny had drawn the house with
the hedge at the side, and the haystack where
Elly had slept; and though his lines were not
all as straight as they might have been, his
drawing amused him and charmed Gerty, who
thought her brothers the cleverest people in the
When they had been working for some time,
they heard the sound of wheels; and they threw
down their work and rushed out to the door
to meet the carriage which had brought their
Boys and Girls. 27
The first thing they heard was Blessington's
voice. "Well, I'm sure! I'd just as soon live
at the Land's End as such a place as this!"
Mamma has been to the Land's End, Blessing-
ton, and she says it is the nicest place she knows,"
"Well, Miss Eleanor, this is the most out-of-
the-way outlandish place I ever did see. If
they'd sent us to that lovely place Bellsand, where
there is a parade, and bathing machines, and rows
of beautiful straight houses, and none of these
nasty hills, I'd have said it was a good idea-but
And Blessington, who had by this time got out
her parcels and packages, paid the flyman and
went into the house with Corda and Alfred, who
were both tired and cross, and wanted their
"Oh, Corda, this is so nice!" said Elly,
forgetting that she had thought it rather dull
"This ugly dark room!" said Corda.
"But there's the sea only a little way off, and
"I hate the sea," said Corda, "it always makes
me think of mamma's going away. I don't want
to see it, I'm sure!"
However, after Corda had had some dinner she
began to see things in a more cheerful sight.
The heat of the day began to go off, and Elly
persuaded nurse to let her take the others down
to the beach. Nurse demurred at first, saying
that they would fall into the sea and get drowned;
28 Boys and Girls.
but at last she agreed to come too, as Elly said it
was only such a little way.
Oh, how nice it was there on the flat shining
sand with the tide coming in gently in little
ripples! The children made a great sand castle
with a moat and a tunnel, and it was quite a
long time after the moat was filled before the
castle was washed away. Even Corda forgot her
troubles and her fatigue, and played as merrily
as any of them in the cool evening air; and when
they came home to tea, they were all too tired to
do more than have tea and go to bed.
But when Elly was asleep, Dick came in softly
and awoke her.
"The sea will get in and spoil it!" she said,
for she was still dreaming about the sand castle.
"Nonsense, Elly!" said Dick, shaking her
gently to get her to wake. "I say, I want you
to come up to our room; you can see the moon
shining on the sea, and it looks so awfully
Elly was awake by this time, and after putting
on her dressing-gown and slippers, she followed
Dick up the narrow little stairs that led to the
attic where the boys slept. Charlie and the
twins were asleep, and Tom was down stairs
writing a letter; for Tom was of that age when
it appeared to him a waiving of his privileges of
years, if he did not stay up till past ten.
Dick led Elly to the window, which was wide
open, as was only right under the circumstances;
for the night was warm and the heather sweet,
and the dewy evening air was quite delicious to
Boys and Girls.
breathe after the heat of the day. And looking
out thence into the moonlight, Elly saw a blue
space of sea with a silver rippling track upon it,
where it caught the light from the almost full
Oh, Dick, how pretty!" she said.
"Isn't it?" said Dick, much gratified by her
admiration. I wanted to show it to somebody,
and the boys are all snoring like pigs, and Tom
"1 wish mamma could see it," said Elly. "I
say, Dick, I think it would be very nice here if
nurse wouldn't give me so much needlework to
do. And do you know, I want to bathe so
awfully, only I haven't got a bathing-gown.
There's a place among the rocks where Corda
and I might undress quite nicely: and Corda
has got such a lovely new bathing-gown."
What does a bathing-gown cost ?" said Dick,
who was very soft-hearted, and enjoyed bathing
above everything himself.
"I don't know. I have got a shilling and
a sixpence and a silver twopence, but I'm sure
that is not enough; and I don't like to ask
mamma because she said the other day she
could not spend any more on our clothes till
"Well, you ask nurse how much stuff it will
take, and we'll see if it can't be managed," said
Dick, whose godfather had presented him with a
whole sovereign only a week before, and who
therefore felt equal to any emergency.
Elly went back to her bed extremely happy,
30 Boys and Girls.
between gratitude to Dick and pleasure at his
calling her up to see the moon; and the next
thing she was aware of was nurse calling her
and Maggie the next morning, and telling them
that breakfast would be ready in half an hour.
.- _, .-,: *- ]
"-'. -"7. ;* '--'- "'-'
'-'-. t.\ -, -f.,- ';i '- -' .'''- _-' -
" SAY, nurse," quoth Dick the next morning,
I" Charlie and I want to walk into the town
this morning. Do you want any pepper or
needles or anything of that sort that we can bring
back to you?"
"Pepper, bless your heart ?" said nurse, laughing,
"no, thank you, Master Richard; but you're a good
boy to ask me. But I think there are one or two
little things I want, now I come to think of it."
"I want some cold cream for Miss Cordelia's
face," said Blessington: "the sun has burnt her
that brown already, 1 don't know what her grand-
mamma will say."
Whereat Charles began to tease Corda about
her complexion being so precious; and Corda
turned sulky, and looked inclined to cry. But
Elly made them laugh with the quotation-" He
only does it to annoy, because he knows it teases;"
and the little breeze passed over. Dick went off
with Charlie, armed with the right number of
yards and the right description of stuff for Elly's
bathing-gown; and the two boys trudged merrily
along the road with its border of common, where
the bees were buzzing and the butterflies fluttering
over the sunny heath and furze.
Boys and Girls.
Nothing very remarkable happened on their
way to Bellsand, except that Dick, who was
butterfly-mad, caught two brown butterflies and
missed a Painted Lady. He discoursed to Charlie
about the possibility that Oleander Hawk-moths
might come to Endlow Common across the
Channel; for the book said that such things had
been known to happen, and why should they not
here? "Mind, Charlie!" said Dick, "that if you
ever see anything that looks the least like a Hawk-
moth you get at it at once; only fancy how dis-
gusted you would be to think that you had had
a chance of an Oleander, and had missed it!"
Charlie listened respectfully to this lecture from
Dick; because Dick knew more about butterflies
than any other boy at their school, and because
he thought it would be the most delightful thing
in the world to catch something that no one else
had got. Dick had once achieved this glory,
when in the preceding September he hadhimself
caught a Camberwell Beauty, sitting on a fallen
apple in the Rectory garden, and the county
paper had actually had a paragraph to the effect,
that "One of the rarest of British butterflies, the
Camberwell Beauty, has lately been caught by
Master Richard Langford, son of the Rector of
Ringland. We congratulate the young gentleman
on his conquest." Charlie would have liked above
everything to be congratulated upon his conquest
in the newspaper.
"I say," said Charlie, presently, "it's awfully
hot, and we've only gone two miles. Let us sit
down and rest, Dick."
Boys and Girls.
"It'll only be hotter if we wait," said sturdy
Dick. "Let us get on now, Charlie, and when
we get to Bellsand we'll have a jolly good bathe.
Come now, do get on!"
Charlie was rather apt to be lazy, and Dick had
to exhort him thus many times during their five-
mile walk to Bellsand. But at last the lonely
road began to be edged with houses; smart ladies
in blue serge with gold anchor buttons began to
appear on the beach; and five minutes' walk
brought them into the midst of the little town,
in front of a confectioner's shop, where both of
them stood still with one accord, for they were
hungry by this time.
I'll have one of those jolly Bath buns!" quoth
Charlie. "I'm so awfully hungry, and I've got
a shilling in my pocket. What will you have
Bread and cheese," said Dick, who was out-
growing the small boy's love for sweet things, and
was rather doubtful whether Elly's bathing-gown
would leave him money enough to buy a shrimp-
ing-net on which he had set his heart.
Accordingly, he had finished his luncheon before
Charlie had got half through his. Charlie had
spent his shilling in six Bath buns, and began to
feel that it was rather doubtful how long it would
take to get through them. You may have too
much of anything, even Bath -buns, as Charlie
began to feel.
Now, do stop," said Dick. "You'll never get
home again if you eat all that. Besides, we've got
to bathe, after I have done my shopping. You
Boys and Girls.
can put the rest in your pocket; you'll be glad of
it after bathing."
It does not require much self-denial to leave
off eating when you have had more than enough;
and Charlie pocketed the rest of his buns, paid
for them, and followed Dick out of the shop.
The next thing they did was to buy Elly's bathing-
gown, which by following nurse's directions and
the advice of the good-natured shop girl, who was
much amused at the errand of her young customers,
Dick managed very creditably. The shop girl told
him that she would send the parcel to Endlow
Farm by the carrier, and she also instructed him
as to the best place for his shrimping-net, which
under her directions he purchased. Then they
went down to the bathing-machines, and had a
delightful bathe in the warm water. Dick, at
least, thought it delightful; but Charlie had eaten
too much to enjoy his bathe as much as his
brother; and when they got out after staying in
the water quite as long as was prudent, Charlie
insisted on lying down on the beach to go to
sleep, while Dick tried the merits of his new
He did not catch many shrimps, certainly; but
he filled the tin case which he always carried slung
on his shoulder with bits of seaweed, pebbles,
shells, and one unfortunate sea anemone, and this
did just as well for nature-loving Dick. When
he came back to Charlie, thinking that it was
time to set off to go home, he found Charlie, to
his astonishment, talking eagerly to a stumpy
red-haired boy about his own size.
Boys and Gi;ls. 35
"Don't you remember H-alford, at Parkins'?"
said Charlie. Mr. Parkins was the master of their
Oh yes, I remember," said Dick, not very
warmly, for Halford had not been a shining
character at school, and Dick would not -have
minded never renewing their acquaintance.
"Awful brute of a place, wasn't it ?" said Hal-
ford, jauntily, with his hands in his pockets.
"That's as fellows think," said Dick. "I say,
Charlie, we must be getting home again; we've
got a long way to go."
"Where are you?" said Halford.
: Endlow Farm."
"At the low end of the world, I should think,"
said Halford, laughing boisterously at his own
bad pun. Dick did not seem to see it, and began
to walk on, leaving Charlie and his friend to
follow, which they did at their leisure. At last
Dick heard his brother calling to him to wait,
and saw that he had parted company with his
"What do you want to take up again with that
vulgar brute for?" said Dick, who did not soften
his words more than most schoolboys of his age.
"He isn't half a bad fellow," said Charlie.
"Well, you ought to know best. I never let
Halford egg me on to bore holes in all the wash-
hand basins, or to let off crackers in school," said
Dick, referring to sundry early episodes of Charlie's
"No," said Charlie, coolly; you always were
a prig, and not up to fun."
Boys and Girls.
There was just enough truth in this accusation
to make Dick angry; for there was in him a
tendency to priggishness which might have been
strongly developed had he not undergone the
discipline of school. So the brothers walked on
apart and not on the best of terms for about a
quarter of an hour. After that time they began
to forget their differences and began to be sociable
"There's an awful jolly thing coming on next
week at Bellsand," said Charlie. "It's a boat-
race done by men in outriggers, between the
Champion of the Bellsand and the Champion of
Whitebar; and there's going to be a spread after-
wards, and Halford's going to dine. He says he
knows both of them and has seen them play
billiards together; they do it awfully well."
I dare say," said Dick, drily.
"Do you think papa will say we may go and
"See a couple of cads play billiards?"
"No, the boat-race."
"We can ask."
"I do wish you wouldn't walk so fast, Dick,"
pleaded Charlie. "I am so hot and tired and
thirsty, and my head aches."
Dick was not an unkindly boy, and he slack-
ened his pace to suit his brother's needs; but
even with this concession, he found it very diffi-
cult to get Charlie on; and when they reached
Endlow Farm poor Charlie was fit for nothing
Gracious me !" said Blessington to nurse, "you
Boys and Girls.
may depend upon it, Mrs. Brown, that poor child
has taken the fever."
"Taken the fever!" said Elly, opening her eyes
wide; "oh nurse, has he?"
"No, no, my dear, he's only a bit overdone,"
said nurse, smiling. "He'll be all right to-
morrow;" and she hastened away to see after
"It's all very well for Mrs. Brown to put it off
in that way," said Blessington, mysteriously to
her subordinate Sarah; "but you see if my words
don't come true."
Oh, Blessington," said Elly, looking ready to
cry, "do you really think so? Somebody ought
to write to mamma."
"They ought, no doubt," said Blessington, "and
if you did, Miss Eleanor, there's Mrs. Burton's
brother not gone back to Bellsand yet, and he'd
be in time to post the note for you. I'll go and
stop him if you make haste and write."
Accordingly Elly took a post-card and wrote-
"Dear mamma, we think Charlie has taken the
fever. He has got a bad headache and feels very
sick. Please tell us what to do about him. We
are all quite well and this is a very nice place.
Your loving daughter, Elly.
"P.S.-Nurse does not think it is the fever,
but Blessington and I do."
For some reason best known to herself, Elly did
not tell nurse that she had written. Nurse was
a little jealous of Blessington, and Elly was sure
that she would scold her for taking Blessington's
opinion rather than her own. Therefore you may
33 Boys andl Girls.
imagine nurse's commotion when the next day as
they were sitting at dinner, a fly drove up to the
door, and Mrs. Langford came in looking anxious
Charlie, how is he?" she said, before another
word had time to be spoken.
SAll right, thank you," said Charlie, with his
mouth full of roast mutton.
For you may not be astonished to hear that
Charlie's illness had not been the fever, but merely
the effect of bathing after too many Bath buns;
and nurse had quite cured him the night before
with a tumbler of mustard and water.
mamma, I am so sorry I wrote and fright-
ened you!" said Elly, penitently, when all had
"You meant the best, I daresay, dear, but you
certainly gave papa and me a terrible fright!
However, it is a good thing in one way that I
have come, for I wanted to see how you were all
getting on, and I should not have liked to leave
"How are they all there, ma'am?" said nurse.
"Well, we hope the fever is no worse; there
were fewer fresh cases yesterday than the day
before. But it is a terrible time for us all, and
we can't be too thankful that the children are all
safe out of the way of it."
"Mamma," said Maggie, "do please. come and
let me show you the cowhouse ? Elly and I always
go and get some new milk when they are milking;
and it is so nice!"
"Mamma," said Dick, "there are such lots of
Boys and Girls.
Painted Ladies about here, and I really do think
this would be the very place for an Oleander,
Frank had gone out and picked a nosegay of
heather and thyme, and the sweet-scented flowers
that grew on the common, and brought it back to
his mother as a present; and Elly brought the
breadths of her.new bathing-gown, to display at
once the munificence of Dick's present and her
"Very kind of Dick," said Mrs. Langford,
patting his shoulder; but I think mammas ought
to pay for their little girls' bathing-gowns, so I
will pay Dick the money back, and he can spend
it on something else."
But I meant it for a present to Elly," said Dick.
"Very well; then suppose you keep it so, and
instead of paying you, Dick, I will spend my
money on wine, for some of the poor people in
"Mamma," said Elly, "will you take my
eighteenpence to buy wine too?"
Maggie also had a fourpence which she was
very anxious to contribute; and Frank had two-
pence halfpenny, and Johnny a shilling; Charlie
had only two stale Bath buns, the remains of his
yesterday's feast. Corda brought five shillings to
her aunt, rather shyly, and begged her to take it.
Are you sure you won't wish to have it back ?"
said Mrs. Langford.
"No," said Corda, and then she whispered,
"Because I promised mamma to try not to be
Boys and Girls.
Mrs. Langford kissed her little niece-for
though Corda was really her cousin, she always
called her aunt---and said, "Then I am sure
mamma will be very much pleased, dear little
woman. But now 1 am afraid I must be going
back, or I shall miss the train."
O mamma, I do wish you were going to stay !"
rose up in a dolorous cry.
I wish I was, but I must not leave poor papa
when he has so much to do, and the parish is in
such trouble. Good-bye, children, and don't send
for me another time without nurse's authority,
Elly felt rather small, and so perhaps did
Blessington, although Mrs. Langford said nothing
to her. For they had given Mrs. Langford a
great fright, and put her to the trouble and ex-
pense of a long tiring journey on a hot day, when
there was not the slightest need for so doing.
Tom went back with his mother in the fly to
Bellsand, to see her into the train, and then to
walk back. Tom told her what he had heard
from Dick about Charlie and his friend Halford.
"I am glad there are five good miles between
them," said Mrs. Langford, smiling. "I look to
you, Tom, to keep Charlie out of mischief; don't
let him get with this Halford, or indeed go to
*Bellsand at all if you can help it, for I don't
think he is strong enough for the walk in the
heat. He is growing too fast to be very strong."
Tom promised to do his best, and their arrival
at the station put everything else out of his head.
HE bathing-gown was finished, and at ten
o'clock on a lovely sunny morning Blessing-
ton took down Elly, Corda, and Maggie to
the beach so that they might bathe among the
rocks. Alfred was afraid of the water, and he
refused to accept Elly's invitation to come in
with her, so that she would take care of him.
He preferred playing with Gertrude on the sand
in the shade of a rock, where there were plenty
of limpets and brown sea-weed; and accordingly
the three little girls undressed in a convenient
place among the rocks, and put on their bathing-
gowns. For nurse had managed to contrive
something which did duty for one for Maggie,
much to the little girl's delight.
"What a nice dressing-room this is!" said Elly,
as she waited for Corda, who was not quite so
soon ready. "We have got a white carpet of
sand, and some lovely red sea-weed to make the
walls pretty, and a blue roof.
"I don't see any roof," said Maggie.
"The sky, Madge !" laughed Elly.
"But we ought to have some hooks to hang
up our clothes upon to make it as nice as a
machine," said matter-of-fact little Corda.
Boys and Girls.
"The rocks are our hooks," said Elly. "Wouldn't
it be funny if we really had hooks among the
rocks! But are you ready, Corda? Maggie and
I am. Now then, come!"
"Dip your heads, there's good children," said
Blessington: and the three little girls, hand in
hand, treading very gingerly with their bare feet,
went into the clear calm warm water. "Oh!"
cried Maggie, "it's so funny!" and she stood still
with the water up to her ankles.
"Oh, come on;" said Elly: "it's not half deep
enough yet. Here we are; now we'll dip our
heads." But truth compels me to say that though
Maggie and Corda thought they had dipped their
heads, they had really only dipped their faces, and
their hair remained as dry as before. Elly, who was
less timid, performed the feat more thoroughly.
Then they jumped about in the water and
splashed each other, like so many mermaids,
and thought it was only too soon when Bles-
sington called to them that it was time to
They would have liked to stay in for an hour
instead of five minutes, but that would hardly
have been a good thing for them: and they came
back to have a good rub with Blessington's towels,
and then put on their clothes again and went
back to the farm, when they were all so hungry
that Mrs. Burton gave them each a great hunch
They were all a little tired with their first
bathe, and were not at all unwilling to sit.in the
shade of the house with quiet occupations. Maggie
Boys and Gi-rs.
had her doll; Corda, who delighted in needlework,
was making a red silk pincushion; and Elly, much
as if she was doing something wrong, fetched the
Greek grammar, with which she meant to surprise
every one when she reached home.
"I wish you would read to us, Elly," said Corda.
" What story is that?"
It isn't a story; it's a secret," said Elly.
Maggie sprang up at once to see.
"Madge, it's dishonourable to try to find out
things that are secrets," said Elly severely: and
poor Maggie retreated crushed.
"Why do you read things which are not
stories," said Corda, rather discontentedly; if it
was a story you might have read to us."
"I can't talk now: I'm busy," said Elly: and
in an audible whisper she began conning the
names of the letters. "Alpha, Beta,-that must
be C next, what can be the name of it? No, it's
Gamma, what a very odd place for G to come in
the alphabet!" And Elly was so much surprised
that she said aloud, "Corda, do you know the
little Greek children did not learn their A, B, C,
Sbut their A, B, G ? "
"Is that Greek you're doing then?" said Corda,
"Well, if I tell you, you must promise faith-
fully never to tell anybody. Will you promise,
"Yes," said Corda.
"And you, Maggie ?'
"I'll never tell nobody! never!" said Maggie,
44 Boys and Girls.
Well then, I'll tell you. I'm going to try to
teach myself Greek these holidays, and surprise
everybody. I'm learning the letters now. Oh, do
you know it is so funny Z comes in the middle
of the alphabet instead of the end!"
I know what that letter is," said Corda, point-
ing to one. "It's V."
"There you're just wrong; it's N," said Elly,
proud of her superior knowledge. "Now I mean
to learn all these letters before I leave off to-day.
Alpha, Beta, Gamma-"
"What do you want to do it for?" said
Because I do," said Elly. Now don't talk to
me any more, either of you."
"I wouldn't do lessons in the holidays!" said
"It's not a lesson," said Elly, rather grandly.
"But I told you, you were not to talk."
Presently Frank, who was tired of playing, came
and sat down beside the little girls. "Oh, Frank,
began Maggie, "we have had such a lovely bathe;
and we went to such a beautiful place!"
"Not near so beautiful as the place I have
been to," said Frank, who, like some other little
boys, thought it very clever to cram his little
sister with nonsense, and make her believe what
was not true.
"What was yours like?" said Maggie. "Ours
was among the rocks, and had beautiful soft white
sand for a carpet, and green and red sea-weed
about the walls."
"Mine," said Frank, "was ever so much better
Boys and Girls.
than that. I went along the rocks till I saw
something that looked like a cave; and I went
in. Well, do you know, the floor was all in
stripes of red and blue sand, and there was
beautiful gold and silver sea-weed hanging down
from the roof: and there was a little pool in
one corner, full of gold fish."
Corda laughed, knowing that it was all Frank's
nonsense; but Maggie took it all in.
Gold and silver sea-weed! Oh, may I go and
see it? Will nurse take me?"
"No, there are too many rocks before you get
there for nurse to take you," said Frank, willing
to go on with his romance.
"How far off is it ? Could I walk there ?"
"0 yes, you could walk there," said Frank, "but
you'd have to look very sharp for it. But you
don't know what a beautiful place it is. If you
once saw the golden and silver sea-weed, you
wouldn't think much of the red and green you
"And what is the roof made of?" said Corda;
for though she knew that Frank was talking non-
sense, she liked to pretend he was not.
"Shining diamonds," said Frank, "with a few
rubies here and there!"
"Why don't they take them away and put
them in brooches ?" said Maggie, gravely.
"Because nobody knows about the place except
me," said Frank. "Some day I shall go there
with a pick:axe and get some of -them, and sell
them, and buy a pony and a Newfoundland dog
with the money. So mind you don't say a word
Boys and Girls.
to any one, Madge, because if you do, perhaps
somebody else will go and get my diamonds."
"Oh, I won't tell anybody!" said Maggie, who
was such a simple little girl that she could not
understand why Frank, and Corda, and Elly, all
laughed at this speech.
The others, as children do, thought it very
great fun to tell Maggie nonsensical things of
this sort, which she always believed. They
little thought that their greatest trouble at End-
low Farm was to arise from this silly nonsense
However, the subject was put a stop to for the
present, for the letter-box had just been emptied
by Mr. Burton, who brought a letter for Corda
from Alick. In it he said that he was not coming
quite so soon as he had said, for the people with
whom he was staying had asked him to stay over
a cricket-match which was to be on Friday, and
he would therefore not be able to come to Endlow
till the Saturday, which was just a week from the
day on which Corda got the letter.
"How odd it is!" said Elly, who had by
this time had enough of her Greek: "the sun is
gone in, and yet it is hotter than when it was
The children looked up at the sky. The sea
had turned grey instead of blue, and there was a
long line of reddish grey cloud over the horizon,
coming up against the wind. Presently a low
ruinble came up out of it.
Oh," said Corda, "there is going to be a storm -
I do believe!" And she gathered up her work
Boys and Girls.
and went in, while Elly said, "What a coward
Corda is about thunder!"
However, it was not all cowardice on Corda's
part. Some people cannot help being more afraid
of thunder than others: Elly and her brothers and
sisters were not nervous as Corda was, so that
there was no credit due to them on that score.
People who are not nervous should not laugh at
those who are, for they do not know what pain
and misery they are spared.
The storm came on quickly, and a very violent
one it was. Mr. Burton was glad that he had had
a new lightning conductor put up on his highest
chimney, for as there were no trees about, the
farm-house might very likely have been struck
in such a storm. The lightning flashed, and the
thunder roared, and the rain poured down in
torrents. The boys and girls all came in, and
called out Oh!" at each fresh flash, and That
was a buster!" at every fresh peal of thunder: and
they were so much occupied with watching the
storm that they never noticed that Corda was not
there. Nurse found it out first, and Elly went
to look for the little girl. "Corda!" she cried,
but no Corda came; and they were beginning
to get into a fright about her, when the storm
l.:sriid, and Corda appeared, looking rather
ashamed of herself, but perfectly unaware how
very odd she looked, for she had been hiding in
the coal-hole, as the darkest place where she could
find, so that she might not see the lightning: and
her face, hands, and frock were all streaked with
Boys and Girls.
"The thunder has burnt her!" said Maggie,
and began to cry.
And though nothing so terrible as this had
happened, poor Corda did not find it pleasant
to be twitted for many a day with "who hid in
the coal-hole ?"
HE storm had one bad effect: for it spoilt
the weather entirely for two days: and this
was the more tiresome to the children be-
cause the first of these two days was Sunday, and
they did not know what to do with themselves
shut up in the house with very few Sunday books,
and none of their usual Sunday pleasures. Maggie,
who was the most contented of little mortals,
took Alfred and Gertrude to play at a very fa-
vourite game at Langford Rectory, called "Corner
Church." All the three children preached at once
in Corner Church, and the sermon consisted
merely of the one sentence "Brethren be good,"
repeated again and again in different tones. So,
as it was not a difficult game, little Gerty stood
up and said "Bevren be dood" as heartily as
But the other children were not so fortunate,
since they were too old to play at Corner Church.
Elly and Corda had both brought texts to illu-
minate, and could have amused, themselves very
peaceably-though truth compels me to say that
Elly's illuminating was generally too untidy to be
worth looking at when it was done-if it had not
been for their brothers, who having nothing to do,
Boys and Girls.
except Dick, amused themselves by pommelling
one another to the loss of all peace in the
At last nurse said, "Master Tom, it seems to
me it would be more Sunday-like if you read us
the Psalms and Lessons this morning."
"Not I," said Tom, who was shy like most lads
of his age.
"Oh, Tom!" said Elly;" do let us chant the
Psalms, half taking one verse and half the other as
we do at home on Easter Sunday!"
This proposal found favour with everybody but
Dick, who did not care for singing, and was busy
with his sea-weed specimens in one corner. But
he withdrew his opposition when Maggie came
and said in her coaxing way "Do help us sing,
So Charlie, who was the best singer of the
family, started them off with Lord Mornington's
chant, so much beloved by children: and the
singing was so successful that they were not con-
tent with going through the Psalms for the
morning, but went on with those for the evening
and the next morning as well. After this was
over, Tom declared that it was hardly raining at
all, and nurse told the boys they had better put on
their great coats and go out for a walk before
dinner. Elly wanted to go too, but nurse said
"No" very peremptorily to this: and the little
girl had to swallow down her vexation as best she
could. However, in the afternoon the rain held
up, and they all went to church, armed with
waterproofs and umbrellas.
Boys and Girls.
In the evening they asked Bible questions and
tried to puzzle one another; which was not
difficult; as they were accustomed to do at home:
but they all found the day heavy and were not
sorry when bed-time came. When Elly and
Corda were in bed, Elly said, "It is horrid on
Sunday without papa and mamma. We can get
along quite nicely on other days, but Sundays are
dreadful without them!"
"Well," said poor Corda, "I don't think you
need talk, Elly. You'll see them again in a few
weeks, and you saw Aunt Eleanor only on Thurs-
day: and I haven't seen mamma for a month and
1 shan't see her again for years and years and
And poor little Corda began to cry.
Elly was a kind-hearted little girl. She got
out of her own bed and crept into Corda's, and
put her arms round her and tried to comfort her as
well as she could. Somehow, she began to think
that she had not been quite so kind to Corda as
she might have been: and she thought so still
more when Corda sobbed out "and mamma told
me I was to try and not be selfish, and not be
cross when I am laughed at, and I can't help it;
and she'd be so sorry if she knew, and if I write it
all down on a piece of paper it looks as if I had
been' so very bad. I can't send it to her. I
always used to tell her when she came to see me
at night how naughty I had been, and then she
forgave me, and it was all right."
Yes," said Elly: "when I came to Ringland
first by myself; I used to feel like that too. But
Boys and Girls.
mamma told me that she couldn't always be with
me, and that I must think when I said my prayers
that I was telling God about what I had done
wrong instead of her, and that He would forgive
me if I was sorry just as she would."
Yes," said Corda, "but it is so different."
"Bat," said Elly, "I suppose people have to
learn to be good like that. Only think what we
should do if we were like Alick, with no father
and mother at all!"
"Alick is very good," said Corda,- as if she
thought that his case hardly applied to her.
"Perhaps," said Elly, "some people are 'gooder'
for not having nice things like other people. In
stories it is generally the unhappy people who get
"Oh, don't talk like that, Elly!" said Corda;
"it makes me feel as if I didn't want to be
Well, it needn't," said Elly: because mamma
says it is of no use to make ourselves unhappy
by thinking about what may possibly happen in
the future. She says that all we have got to
think about is being good now, and that is quite
enough for us. Besides, you know, I don't think
Alick is at all unhappy, though he has got nobody
belonging to him. Perhaps when things really
happen to people they are not so bad as we
"If I were you," said Corda, "I should always
be thinking that Aunt Eleanor or Uncle Richard
Should catch the fever at Ringland."
Elly gave a little shiver: for she had never
Boys and Girls. 53
thought of the possibility before, and it was not a
pleasant suggestion. "I don't think anything so
horrid," she said, almost crossly. "I wish you
wouldn't say such things, Corda."
"I didn't mean to make you angry," said
"I'm not angry," said Elly: and Corda took
hold of her and kissed her so that she could not
help forgiving her. And then after this con-
versation Elly went back into her own bed, and
soon they were both of them fast asleep, forgetting
all their troubles both real and imaginary in
dreams of sea-weeds and bathing adventures.
So ended theirfirst Sunday at Endlow.
.r ,.-#. -
i '- .
P ATTER, patter, patter, came the rain
against the window on Monday morning,
putting an end to all hopes of bathing for
the little girls: for who cares to bathe in the
rain ? It was a row of very melancholy faces that
assembled in the parlour at breakfast that morning,
and nurse seemed to share the prevailing gloom,
for she said, "Goodness knows whatever I am
to do with all you children through another wet
Rain or no rain, the boys must go out for a
walk: and as they had been brought up not to
mind weather, nurse made no very great objec-
tion to their going out. But Elly and Corda
stood disconsolately by the window, looking out
at the grey clouds, which were so dark and heavy
that all the light there was seemed to come from
the yellow furze on the common.
"Rain, rain, go away, and come again another
day," sings Maggie in her cheery contented little
voice, nursing her doll.
"Just as if it would!" says Corda, rather
"It won't go away for your staring at it, Miss
Cordelia," says nurse.
Boys and Girls.
"It likes to be looked at, perhaps," Elly said,
more cheerfully, trying to make a little joke.
"Like Miss Cordelia," said Sarah, Blessington's
nurserymaid. There was some truth in the re-
mark, for Corda was a little bit vain; but the
truth in it only made it more irritating to
poor cross Corda, especially when Elly joined in
the giggle that followed the joke. Corda gave
an impatient wriggle with her shoulders, and
stalked out of the room, banging the door after
her. The servants laughed as she went out,
which did not tend to improve her temper; and
when Elly came flying up stairs after her to ask
her to come down again, Corda had locked the
door and would say nothing but "I shan't: go
away !" Perhaps it was a little annoying to have
Elly shouting at her through the door so that
every one in the house could hear what she said';
but Elly had not yet learnt all the tact she had
to learn in her life.
So- Elly came down, got her Greek book, and
set to work again upon the letters: and she in-
sisted on having the book open before her when
nurse gave her the daily task of needlework to
do. But as usually happens when little girls try
to do two things at once, it ended by her doing
neither well. Instead of getting the letters into
her head, her eyes fell upon a page a little further
on, where the English sentences looked more
interesting. "The baker has not injured the
citizens. The citizens have injured the wolf,"
put a whole story into her head about the baker,
the wolf, and the citizens, which the wise man
56 Boys and Girls.
who wrote the exercise probably never dreamed
of. She was discoursing upon the subject to
Maggie, who was placidly hemming a handker-
chief by her side, and was telling her how the
injured and harmless baker had had a wolf put
into his shop by the spiteful citizens, and how
the baker finding that it had eaten all his best
loaves, had nearly killed it, and consequently
"the citizens had injured the wolf," when nurse
came up to look at her work.
Oh, Miss Elly !" said nurse, "I should be
ashamed if I were you to go on chattering about
wolves and bakers, and not work better than
that! Why, the wolf itself would be ashamed of
Maggie burst out into one of her merry peals
of laughter; but Elly did not laugh when she
saw nurse take hold of the thread which she
had just put in, take hold of the end, and ruth-
lessly tear it all out. Once Elly might have
got into a passion at such a thing; but now
she had learnt to control her temper, and beyond
getting very red she said nothing, though she
could not help looking very doleful as nurse gave
her back the long hem to do again.
Maggie had done hers very nicely, and nurse
said she might go. She hopped out of the room
like a little bird. Maggie liked hopping on one
leg much better than walking on two, and had
to be reproved for it in the schoolroom, and
then she ran up stairs and called at Corda's door.
"Corda, do let me in. I want to come in so
Boys and Girls.
Whether it was that Corda was getting over
her fit of temper, or whether Maggie's soft plead--
ing went to her heart more than Elly's shouts,
certain it is that she opened the door and let
"What do you want?" she said, as Maggie
climbed up upon the bed.
"Oh, I want you to come down," said Maggie.
"Elly's done her work badly and got to do it
all over again, and Alfred and I and Gerty want
you to come and play with us."
"That's nonsense. Nobody ever wants me
to play with them," said Corda, who certainly
was not so amusing a playfellow as Elly, and
did not generally care to play with the little
"Yes, we do. We like to play with you
because you are gentle and not rough," said
Maggie racking her little brains for something
"nice" to say and yet true. Certainly Maggie
at seven had more tact than Elly at eleven.
Corda looked as if she were going to be soft-
ened; but her "monkey," as Elly called her
temper, was on her shoulder again.
"You don't. You tell stories, Maggie. You
know you like Elly ever so much better than
me, and so does Alfred, and Alick, and every-
body. Nobody cares a bit for me, and I don't
deserve they should!"
The last little piece of candour, seemed to
come out in spite of poor Corda herself. Perhaps
she would have been too proud'to say so to any
one except Maggie, who hardly took it in.
Boys and Girls.
"We all care about you very much, Corda,"
she said, simply. "We were all so glad when
we heard you were coming here. And we don't
like you to be unhappy and cry up here all by
yourself. Do come down!"
Corda was not hard-hearted enough to resist
her little cousin's pleading. She washed her face
and came down looking rather ashamed of herself.
Sarah began, when she saw her: "Well, Miss
Cordelia, we shall know who mustn't be laughed
at another time!"
"Sarah," said Elly, turning round upon her
sharply from her work, "leave Corda alone, if
you please !"
"Hoity toity!" said Sarah; but Elly's rebuke
had its effect, both on her and on Corda. Corda
went up to Elly, took hold of her work, and
said, I'll finish it for you if you like, Elly."
"Oh thank you, Corda!" said Elly, joyfully, for
Corda was very quick and neat in her work; "but
I don't know if nurse will let me!"
"Yes, if- Miss Cordelia likes," said nurse, who
had been rather sorry to vex Elly, especially when
she saw how good-temperedly she had borne her
So Corda, without any more words sat down
quietly by Elly's side, and took her work out of
her hands. Elly laid her head on Corda's shoulder
and kissed her, and Corda began to feel that one
little act of kindness had cleared away the yellow
mist from her eyes which made her think that
everybody hated her.
The work was quickly finished, and then Elly
Boys and Girls. 59
and Corda had a game with the little ones until
it was time for Gertrude to have her midday sleep.
Then Mrs. Burton came in and said, "I've been
thinking, Mrs. Brown, if the children like to go
and play in the big barn, it's quite empty of
everything except a little straw, and as dry as
Oh, how jolly !" said Elly, springing up.
They put on. their goloshes and waterproofs
and ran across through the rain to the barn, which
was the most delightful place you can imagine.
There was a long rope lying there, and Mrs.
Burton got one of the men to come and fasten
it up to a beam, so that they could swing on
it: and when they had done swinging they buried
themselves in the heap of clean sweet straw which
filled up one corner, and enjoyed themselves
thoroughly until it was dinner-time.
After dinner the boys all came to play in the
barn too, and they had a famous siege of the straw
fortress, which was defended by Elly, Tom, and
Charlie. They began to think that a wet day
was not so very dreadful after all, if it allowed
them such fun as this; and they were thoroughly
tired out with play and laughing, and were sitting
panting on the straw, when Elly gave a shriek of
"What is it? A rat ?" said Charlie.
"The sun! said Elly.
And then they saw that the clouds had parted,
and that the sun had sent down a bright yellow
ray through an opening in the timbers of the barn
upon the straw. They ran to the door and looked
60 Eoys and Girls.
out; and lo and behold, it was so fine that they
all felt obliged to go down to the beach at once!
The servants went with them, for they were glad
to get out too; and they had a very pleasant hour
upon the beach before tea. All the west was in
a golden glow, and the sky and sea were both so
bright, that the children could hardly bear to look
"Which way did you go to get the golden sea-
weed, Frank ?" said Maggie.
"Oh, that way," said Frank, still thinking it
clever to puzzle his little sister, and pointing to
the left. "But mind you don't say anything !"
Is it a very long way?"
"Not further than you could walk in the after-
And be back at night ?"
I came back at night, you know."
And with that Frank ran off to look at a star-
fish, and never thought that the time would come
when the thought of the golden sea-weed would
make him more unhappy than he had ever been
in his life.
'< ** ...:^". ': .-.a ,,
-_ l, - --
rTHE next was a lovely morning, and the
children's spirits were as high as they had
before been low; and if anything was
needed to raise them higher, it was Mrs. Burton's
announcement the next morning as she brought
in the refilled milk-jug. "Bless me, what a head
I have got, to be sure! Why, I wholly forgot to
say that Mr. Maurice our clergyman, came in
yesterday and said there was a school-treat up at
the Vicarage to-day, and if any of the young folks
he'd seen at church yesterday would like to go up
and see it, and help the boys play cricket and
such like, he'd be very glad. He said he'd known
your Pa at college, I think, Master- Tom."
Nurse and Blessington and Mrs. Burton all
agreed that under the circumstances they might
venture to take the children up without further
orders from Ringland. Perhaps they were not
sorry themselves to have a chance of seeing the
world, for Endlow Farm was rather dull for middle-
aged people who cared neither for common nor sea.
So they settled to go up to the Vicarage, which
was close to the church, about two o'clock; which
Mrs. Burton said was the time at which the festi-
vities began; and as it was a very hot day, Mrs.
62 Boys and Girls.
Burton persuaded her husband to let them all
"ride up" as she called it, in the great covered
waggon. She liked to go in her smartest clothes,
and it was not nice, poor woman! to get to the
Vicarage white with dust, and so hot that she had
to fan herself with her pocket-handkerchief for a
quarter of an hour. So the whole party, ten boys
and girls, four servants, and Mrs. Burton, all
packed themselves into the waggon, and jolted
along the sunny road as far as the Vicarage
garden. The waggon had no springs, and its
motion was rather rough, so that poor nurse
called out "Oh, my poor bones!" several times,
and Blessington remarked to Sarah that she should
not wish her friends to see her in such a rustic
conveyance; but the children thought it capital
fun, though they were not so very sorry when the
slow weary drive was over, and they were sitting
under the trees on the Vicarage lawn in the
shade, each with a large plate of gooseberries
Mr. and Mrs. Maurice were considerably amused
when they saw what an immense party Mrs.
Burton had brought; and they were also puzzled
to know why Elly, Maggie, and Gertrude, should
be dressed only in plain buff-cottons, while Corda,
who seemed to be their sister, wore a delicate
white cambric all over braid and embroidery.
But Corda, who was never shy in company, ex-
plained that she and Alfred were cousins to the
rest, and. that their papa and mamma were in
"And so you.are all together at Endlow Farm?"
Boys and Girls.
said Mrs. Maurice, kindly. "Do you like it?"
and she turned to Elly.
"Oh yes," said Elly, "awfully!"
And then she suddenly remembered that mamma
had often told her that "awfully" was not exactly
a young lady's word, and got red with confusion;
but Mrs. Maurice was too goodnatured to do
more than smile. She called one of her own
girls, a pretty, pleasant-looking creature about
fifteen, and told her to take the visitors into the
field; she thought they could make up a nice
game of "Hunt the slipper" in the shade, under
the elmtrees. She told the boys that they could
go into the field with Mr. Maurice, and he would
set them all to play a good game of cricket; and
the servants found a shady seat where they could
see everything, and make acquaintance with Mrs.
Dora Maurice soon saw that Elly and Maggie
were well used to school-feasts, and to playing
at the village children's games; even that very
foolish one of Sally Sally water, sprinkle in the
pan," where the little girls choose out each other
to be kissed. Poor Maggie was at once pounced
upon by all the school-girls in turn to be kissed,
because she was so plump and rosy and merry-
looking; and though she was not over fond of
kissing, she endured it contentedly, only whisper-
ing aside to Elly, "They do make my mouth so
sticky!" Corda was too shy, or too refined to
join in the game at all; but she did vouchsafe to
take part in the game of I have a little dog and
it shan't bite you." But here she was not a good
Boys and Girls.
runner, and Elly was supremely happy. No one
could catch her as she dodged about screaming
with laughter, her hair flying in the air, so sure
of her swiftness of foot, that she dared to wait till
her pursuer was almost on her before she ran off
again. But at last they tired her out, and she
was glad enough to sit down panting, with a
crimson face, and to let other people .set off their
"little dogs" to bite.
But perhaps you will think that I am telling
you too much about the girls, and so now we
will go to the boys.
In the midst of their cricket, who should turn
up but Charlie's dear friend, Tommy Halford!
Mr. Maurice had asked some cousins of his to
the school-feast, and they had brought Tommy
with them. There he stood with his hands in
his pockets, looking on at the game, and making
jeering remarks on the village boys' play, until
one of them said, "I say young'un, you may be
a swell, but if you don't drop that sauce of yours,
I'll make you." And considering that the boy
who said this looked fully able and willing to
carry out his words, Tommy thought it best to
Tom Langford was bowling, and as he bowled
well they made him take plenty of work. Thus
it was that he never perceived that Charlie was
gone off from the game, until it was tea-time,-
and the school-boys had to leave their game to
take their places on the grass. Then it was dis-
covered that Halford and Charlie were sauntering
round the field in close conversation.
Boys and Girls.
"I say, Tom," said Dick, "you won't let
him go to see the boat-race with that little
brute? I can't think how Charlie can stand him;
"He shan't go," said Tom, "if I can help
it. I'd sooner write to mother. He'll get
into no end of mischief if we don't look out,
"When is the boat-race?" said Dick.
"On Thursday. I haven't the least doubt 'but
that they are settling their plans there. But
I'll be even with him!"
But the two boys' talk was stopped, for they
were called upon to help in handing cake, and
filling cups with coffee out of large tin-cans.
Elly and Maggie were in their glory here.; Corda
was rather too conscious of the necessity of
keeping her pretty white frock free from coffee-
stains and pressed currants out of the cake. But
-she enjoyed herself too; and when they went
-up to take leave of Mrs. Maurice, she made
her little speech of thanks much more prettily
than Elly, who got shy, and could only mutter
inaudibly, "Thank you for having us." Miss
'Morison used to say that Elly and Corda were
exactly suitable for a pair of friends, because one
could always supply what the other lacked; and
as they were very fond of each other, they had
no silly little jealousies now when one got more
praise than the other.
" TELL you you shan't, Charlie!"
I "I tell you I shall!"
"You know papa would be angry !"
I don't know any such thing! "
"Well, mother told me to keep you out of
mischief, and I shall, so here goes!" Tom
slipped out of the bedroom in which he and
Charlie were disputing, and in a trice had turned
the key upon his brother. "There!" he shouted,
through the door, "when you choose to give me
your word of honour not to go off to Bellsand
to-day, I'll let you out!"
Charlie flung himself against the door as if he
wished to break it open, but though he made a
great noise, it was no nearer opening than before.
"Master Tom, what are you doing to him?"
-said nurse, from the bottom of the stairs.
"Keeping him in order," answered Tom, in a
provokingly cool voice. "When he promises to
be a good little boy he shall come down."
"Well, you needn't cheek him after you've
locked him up, Tom," said Dick, from below.
Oh!" said Maggie, with a very long face,
"Tom, do please let Charlie come out and have
Boys and Girls. 67
Not till he chooses to promise to do what he
ought," said Tom, incurably. "He is a naughty
boy, Madge, and I have got to keep him in order."
And it certainly appeared as if Tom rather
enjoyed the task. He was inflexible to the
entreaties of his sisters, and consented with
some reluctance to let Maggie take up a slice
of bread and butter and push it under the door,
where there was a crack quite wide enough to
admit it if it was not cut too thick.
Maggie came back crying, having accomplished
her task, but not having been able to get a word
out of Charlie. "Suppose he had tumbled down
and hurt himself!" said Corda, so earnestly, that
Elly's eyes grew round with terror.
"Nonsence, he's only sulky," said Tom, who
was a little proud of his promptness and the
vigorous measures he had taken, and did not like
them to be criticised.
I do believe," said Corda, who sat where she
could see out of the window, "that the cow boy
has taken one of your scarlet caps. I see his
head moving along there just along the top of
the furze-you can just see the scarlet thing
moving; how quick he is going! "
Tom, Dick, Frank, and Johnniy, who all rejoiced
in scarlet caps, rushed out frantically into the
passage to see if their caps were safe; for "Only
imagine what an awful thing it would be," said
Johnny, "if he had really put one of our caps on
his head! There were three; but after a search,
Frank produced his out of his pocket, with a
tangle of string and a lump of toffy in it.
'Boys and Girls.
"Where's Charlie's?" said Elly. "The cow-
boy must have got his."
But at that very moment the suspected cow-boy
passed the door carrying a bucket of pigs' wash,
and innocent of any covering to his head except
his sun-bleached thatch of hair. Suddenly it flashed
upon Dick-" I say, Tom! he's got out of the
window, and that was him with his own cap!"
Tom rushed up with his key, opened the door,
and found the room empty. The attic window,
over a sloping roof which reached within six feet
of the ground, presented a most obvious way,
which Tom had overlooked, out of the difficulty.
"I'll.never lock up anybody again," said Tom,
very much crestfallen, "unless the window is a
good twenty feet from the ground."
"He's a very naughty boy!" said nurse, iii-
dignantly. "What's to be done now ?"
Tom stood pondering.
"Finish breakfast, I hope," said Frank, who had
an excellent appetite at all times.
Altogether this seemed to be good advice; for
Charlie had a quarter of an hour's start of them,
and his brothers did not know to what part of
Bellsand. he was going: nor, if they found him
could they bring him back by main force.
Suddenly Elly said, "Alick is coming to-day!"
What of that ?" said Tom, rather crossly.
"Why, Charlie always minds what Alick says,
you know, because of his making him lame. If
Alick could find him, I am sure he could get him
to come back."
"Not if he said he wouldn't," growled Tom.
Boys and Girls:
"Charlie could knock him down if he chose,
though he is two years younger."
"Charlie wouldn't be such a brute," said Elly,
indignantly. "You know he wouldn't, Tom!"
Tom, you see, was of opinion that when people
were wrong, the thing was to put them right by
main force. Elly saw that Charlie might easily
be led when he would not be driven.
"It's like the fable," said Dick, in his old-
fashioned considering way. "Tom is to be the
wind, and Alick is the sun, and Charlie is the
traveller and his cloak-I suppose his cloak is the
SThey laughed at this; and then it was settled
that Tom should go down to Bellsand to meet
Alick at the train, and that the two together
should proceed to search for the runaway and
bring him safely back. For, as nurse said, though
it was very naughty of Master Charlie to do what'
he knew his papa and mamma would not like,
yet still she could not say that there was any call
to put them out, poor things! by telegraphing to
them about a trifle.
Tom was to start at eleven o'clock, but just
before that time he came up to Dick and said,
"I say, old fellow, perhaps you'd better go instead
"Why?" said Dick.
"Well, perhaps I put his monkey up a little
this morning, and he might forget his dignity
more with you and Alick."
This was as near an approach to confessing
himself to have made a mistake as would be
Boys and Girls.
expected from dignified Tom, and Dick took it as
it was meant. He at once consented to take
Tom's place, and to go to meet Alick at Bellsand.
Alick arrived safely, looking very bright, and
was greeted by Dick with "I say, old fellow,
we're in a pretty go. I want you to come with
me and find that young donkey."
"What young donkey? said Alick.
"Charlie. That little sneak Halford has turned
up here and has got him under his thumb, and
to-day Tom locked him up because he would go
to the boat-race there is to-day, and he cut out of
the window. So you and I are to go and look
after him, old fellow; for Charlie always minds
you, you know!"
"I'll come," said Alick; "but I am not so sure
about his minding me. I'm sure if he tried he
could knock me down."
Alick was very small for his age and there was
a good deal of truth in what he said: for he was
not at all a strong boy, never having quite re-
covered the weakness which his accident had
"'He would not be such a brute," said Dick,
"after what he did to you."
"That's nonsense," said Alick. "It was the
purest accident, and it was quite as much my
fault as his for being such a fool as to go out
with him. However, let us think what we are to
do. Where does this Halford live ?'
We don't know," said Dick, "but we thought
they would tell us up at the post-office. I know
where that is. Come on."
Boys and Girls.
"Stop a bit, you harum-scarum fellow," said
Alick. "I have got to book my luggage first, if
we are to tramp the town all day."
Accordingly Alick fulfilled his duties, and they
set forth. The post-office authorities informed
them of Mr. Halford's lodgings, and they found
that they were a good mile off. However they
proceeded to trudge thither, and then found that
Master Tommy and another young gentleman
had gone into the town at least two hours
"Where were they likely to be ?" asked Alick.
"Oh, most likely at the Swan. The room
there was the best for seeing, and most of the
gentry went there to look out of the best parlour
window," said the maid, and shut the door.
Accordingly Alick and Dick retraced their
steps to the middle of the town, and inquired at
the Swan" whether Tommy Halford had been
seen there; but he had not. The boys hardly
knew what to do, and. looked at each other in
"Well," said Dick, philosophically, "whether
we find Charlie or not, we can't live on air. I
am so awfully hungry!"
This misfortune was happily easily curable,
and the boys went into the pastry-cook's and ate
sandwiches from under a glass case in the window
with a happy disregard of the time that had
elapsed since they had been cut. After this they
felt able to carry on their search, and began it by
sitting for a quarter of an hour on a bench on
the parade, vi.l..ing the crowd pass by. It was
72 Boys and Girls.
getting pretty thick now, for the boat-race was to
begin at three.
They were just beginning to think that they
must take more active measures, when not far off
they perceived a crowd gathering. It was natural
that they should at once go up to see what was to
be seen, A policeman was dragging a boy by the
arm in the middle of it. "Alick,". said Dick,
turning quite white, "it's Charlie!"
They forced their way in, and presently Charlie
caught sight of them. "Alick, Dick," he cried,
despairingly, "do come here and help me! Tell
him I didn't!"
What is it ?" said Alick, making his way up
to the policeman; and though he was only a boy
of fourteen, there was such an air of gentleman-
liness about his look and voice, that the policeman
answered him respectfully.
"An old gentleman, sir, has just given him in
charge for picking his pocket."
"It is a mistake, I assure you!" said Alick.
"This is Charlie Langford, and his father is a.
clergyman at Ringland. Where is the old gentle-
"I suppose you're another of the swell mob,"
said the old gentleman, who was close by. That's
what they always do--come forward to screen:
No, sir," said the policeman, "this here
young gentleman isn't one of the swell mob: I
knows 'em too well. But you say, sir, you found
this boy's hand in your pocket, and your watch
BOYS AND GIILS.
Boys and Girls.
I felt a hand in my pocket, I tell you," said
the old gentleman testily; "and I felt for my
watch and it was gone, and saw this boy making
off. If that isn't evidence, I don't know what is."
"I understood, sir," said the policeman, "that
you found this boy's hand in your pocket. I
should have had nothing to do with taking him
up if I had known what you meant. TIl. .:,
young gentleman, you may go, and I'm sorry I
laid hands on you; but when people first tell one
story and then another, how is a man to know
what they mean?"
Poor Charlie, sobbing bitterly, was led away by
his brother and Alick. He certainly looked
rather disreputable; he was apt to be very untidy
at the best of times, unless his brothers routed
him, and he had got a three-cornered hole in one
trouser showing his knee through it, and his
jacket was all over dust, and his hands grimed
with tar. He and Tommy Halford had been
prowling about among the boats, and Charlie, at
least, had got himself into a terrible mess, as he
generally did when he had an opportunity.
"Don't tell the girls!" was the first thing he
could say that was audible; and the next was,
"That sneak Halford, I'll never speak to him
"Why? what did he do ?" said Dick.
"Slipped out of the way, instead of coming up to
help me-and there was I not knowing a creature;
and that nasty horrid old man telling such lies!
They might have seen I was a gentleman!"
Well," said Dick with brotherly frankness, "if
you come to that, 1 don't think you look much
like one just now."
"I'm sure I don't look like a thief!" sobbed
poor Charlie, his manliness quite broken down,
and even his rage not sufficing to keep him from
No, but you do look something of a cad,"
said Dick. "However it is all right now, and
we had better go home as soon as we can.
Come along. Now you have found out the
merits of your beloved Halford, I don't care."
"I'll never speak to him again," said Charlie.
"I never should have thought he would have been
such a coward, and a sneak, and a brute !"
"Well," said Alick, rather drily, "we had
better not discuss him any more just now, I
"No, because it was Charlie's own doing,
getting into such a fix," said Dick.
"Well, you needn't tell me that now," growled
Charlie, "I know it just as well as you, and
better too. It was all Tom's fault for locking me
in this morning. I shouldn't have gone if he had
left me alone."
In fact, according to Charlie, it was all other
people's fault and not his own. He was too
angry to be sorry; and he was by no means in
the sweetest temper as they drove home, though
Alick and Dick both spared him as much as they
They were met by Elly and Maggie, who had
come upon the edge of the common to meet them.
"Oh. there he is !" cried I.-, i.. in great delight;
Boys and Girls.
Boys and Girls. 75
for all day she had been haunted by an undefined
idea that Charlie would have been carried away
by gipsies, or fallen into the sea, or met with
some other adventure suitable to a naughty boy.
Charlie did not respond very warmly; but that
was perhaps not remarkable, for he could hardly
help feeling very small.
Tom was quite as much relieved as Maggie,
though he was by no means pleased when the
police adventure was confided to him. "All his
own fault 1" he said, "just like him and to think
that people would be able to say that one of the
Langfords had been taken up for a pickpocket!"
SWell," said Alick, as far as that goes it was
an uncomfortable adventure enough, but hardly
poor Charlie's fault: it might have happened to
Not to you or me or Dick," said Tom; we
don't look such grubs, I hope."
Well, I daresay it will be a lesson to him to
mind what he is about in future."
"But, Alick," said Tom, "I wish you would
make him write and tell mamma. I don't like
to tell tales of-him, and yet if he won't write I
must. I know mamma will say I ought not to
have locked him up for one thing."
"At least without looking to see if the window
was safe," said Alick, laughing.
"And altogether it's a horrid bore to have to
keep order! I wish you would be Prefect over
them all instead of me, Alick !"
"Certainly not," said Alick! "I wouldn't for
anything, Really you fellows talk as if I were the
Boys and Girls.
model prig of one of Corda's little books who
always talks in five-syllable words and keeps all
the rest in order. Let us leave poor Charlie
alone a bit, he'll come all right, and you may be
sure he'll be none so fond of that precious little
sneak Halford in future."
I L"[-9Y ' ;^ ::^-s^- 1'11- ., 4
/.,. --7" -. J '-' V *-'V-- I "
SUNDAY came again, but it was not like the
Sunday that I described before. It was a
lovely, hot, bright day; so hot that nurse
said that the little ones were not to go to church
at all, as the three-mile walk would be too much
for them: and only the five boys, Elly and Alick
went to church in the morning. They came back
hot and tired, more inclined to drink immense
draughts of milk than to eat the hot roast beef
which Mrs. Burton had provided for the Sunday's
dinner; and nurse, pitying them, said that she
would ask for a plate of cold meat for their tea.
After dinner they all went and lay down in the
shade of the house outside on the common: each
of them had a book, but when nurse went out an
hour afterwards she found all the seven asleep!
At the sound of her footstep, which was none of
,the lightest, Elly, Alick, and Dick all started up
and tried to look as if they had been awake all the
time; but it was so evident that they had not, that
they all began to laugh, and this awoke the other
boys. They were all the better for their rest; but
as it was still too hot to go for a walk, Alick
proposed that they should ask whether they might
.go into the barn, and there if they liked he would
read a story to them.
Boys and Girls.
Elly was off like a shot, and she came back with
the requisite permission, and with Corda and
Maggie also, all anxiety to hear the story. They
went into the barn, and made themselves comfort-
able upon the straw-all except Corda-who said
that the straw smelt mousey, and went to fetch
a three-legged stool from the house, upon which
she sat perched during Alick's story, making up in
dignity for what she wanted in comfort. You may
be sure her cousins did not lose the opportunity
of laughing at her; but Corda was very good-
humoured about it, for she was not now the spoilt
little girl she had been when Elly first came to
Ringland, and teasing did not always make her
"What's the story, Alick?" said Elly. "Why,
it's written Did you write it ?"
Wish I could," said Alick. "No, it was Mrs.
Penrose where I was staying last Sunday; she
wrote it and read it to us; and when I asked if I
might have it to read again, she said 'Yes,' I might
have it and keep it, because she had another
copy. It's jolly, I think. It's an allegory, you
"I like allegories," said Elly.
"I hate 'em," said Tom. "They're always
about good little boys with bare feet walking on
stony paths, and naughty little boys walking on
grass where they're told not. Is there anything
like that in your allegory, Alick ? Because if so,
I won't listen."
No, there's nothing about bare feet all
through," said Alick, comr-oedly; but it may be
Boys and Girls.
safest for you to keep your book at hand in case
the story bores you."
"Well, if it does I shall go to sleep," said Tom,
making himself comfortable on his bed.
"One day I had been thinking about the
strangeness of different people's characters and
dispositions, and when I went to sleep 1 had a
curious dream, which seemed to explain to me
many things which had before been strange to
I dreamt that I was standing in a village street
-just like any village street that you might see
in England-where people were all going about
their business as upon an ordinary day. But there
was one thing which surprised me very much in
this village, and that was the number of animals
which were to be seen in the street. No one
passed up or down, or even came out of a cottage
door, without some animal by his side: here there
was a man with a big eagle, which fluttered by his
side as if it would have liked to have flown away:
there was a woman with a donkey: then came a
girl with a calf: then a boy with a panther: and
then another woman with a sheep. While I was
thinking that the people of this village must be
extraordinarily devoted to animals, an old man
came up to my side, and said, You seem to be a
stranger here: can I explain to you anything which
you desire to know ?'
"' I answered, Sir, if it would not trouble you,
I should be glad to know what is the occupation
of the people of this village. It seems so curious
Boys and Girls.
that every one who passes through the street
should have a pet animal by his side."'
"Awfully jolly! 1 should think," interrupted
Johnny. "I should like that village."
Tom. gave him a back-handed cuff to cause
silence, and Alick proceeded:
"'Stranger,' said the old man, whose name I
afterwards found was Sapiens, I will explain to
you all that you desire: and if you would like to
remain during the day among our people here, and
watch their ways, I will stay by your side and
tell you anything you may wish to know.'
I gladly accepted his offer, and this is what he
The name of the island where this village stood
was Vita Humana: and the King of it had given
the people certain laws which were not in force
anywhere else. There was a narrow strait of
sea, about half a mile wide which divided Vita
Humana from another island beyond it, where
there dwelt some rebels to the King who were
always trying to do harm to the people who were
faithful to him. They dared not land on the
island; but if the boys and girls left the safe
shore in some fishing-boat, such as was used by
men who did not care for the risk of being caught,
it was only too likely that the rebels might sweep
down upon them in their swift ships and carry
them off to their own country, where, too often,
they taught them to be as rebellious as them-
I do not know for what reason, but it was one
of the laws made by the King that every one as
Boys and Girls.
long as they lived in Vita Humana should be
accompanied by an animal of some sort. The
King settled what animal should be allotted to
every one: and there was no child, however small,
but had an animal always at his side: young
when he was young, growing in size as he grew."
That's impossible! said Dick: a horse would
be full grown by the time the child was three."
"How uncomfortable it must have been to
have an elephant in your bed said Maggie, in a
tone of deep sympathy with the sufferer.
"I say now, really !" said Alick, "you know
it's only an allegory. You can't make everything
come properly without making the whole thing
"Do go on, never mind them," said Elly, who
was always ready for anything in the shape of a
Accordingly Alick went on.
"These animals were each chained to the
person who owned it, in such a way that no one
could undo the chains: and they never were
undone all the time their owner lived in Vita
Humana. The chain was arranged so that the
animal could not hurt the person it belonged to,
however fierce its temper might be; but it might
easily hurt other people if it were not kept in
good order. The aim of its owner was, or ought
to have been, for some were very careless, to
tame the animal, to make it serviceable and
obedient, so that it should be a good servant
instead of a bad master. If it were thus ruled
and kept in order, it always happened that on the
Boys and Girls.
day when the King sent his special messenger to
Vita Humana with a key to unlock any one's
chain and free him from his animal, the animal
lay down at once and died, and its owner was
free to go to the glorious land where the King
lived; but if he had let it go wild, and not
checked it, there was a terrible danger lest it
should spring on him and devour him, or else tear
and maim him so that he could not go to the
"'But,' I said, 'surely some animals are too
wild to be tamed by the hand of a little child'-
one passed me just then chained to a lion cub-
'if they rise into fury, how can the child resist
"'Men say,' said Sapiens, 'that the King has
means of knowing all, and helping those who
need help. Besides, you see that the animals are
easily tamed while they are young.'
"' Surely,' I said, those who have tamed their
animals and made them obedient and serviceable,
do not like to lose them entirely when their chain
is taken off?'
"'Yes,' said Sapiens, 'they do: for at best the
animals are drags to them, and hamper them so
that they cannot do what they would like as well
as they would if the animals were not there. The
animals are not pets to them: in fact, any in-
dulgence at once makes them fierce and head-
strong. But perhaps you would like to see the
school, where Pastor, whom the King has set to,
teach us, and his wife Dulcis, are instructing the
children at this very hour.'
Boys and Girls. 83
"Oh !" said Corda, "did they really take their
animals with them to school ?"
"I should like to go to that school," said
Alick continued reading.
"Accordingly I went into the school with
Sapiens. It was a large building, and full of
children, each of whom had his own animal close
to his side. Pastor, who was teaching them, had
a horse, and his wife Dulcis a panther; but I
noticed that both these animals seemed so well
broken in that they obeyed every motion of their
owner, and one glance was sufficient to quiet
them. But it was far otherwise with the children.
Their animals were struggling, and fidgeting, and
snarling and scuffling, and some of them took no
pains to keep them in order at all, so that they dis-
turbed the others. I could not think how any one
could learn in a school like this; but Sapiens told
me that they were so used to each other's animals
that it disturbed them less than I imagined.
"I noticed especially a group of children who
were sitting on the same bench learning together.
There was a boy with a lion, whom they called
Victor: a girl with a large mastiff, whose name
was Fidelis: a boy with a sloth, called Torpidus:
another little boy with a monkey, called Ludens;
and a girl named Acerba with a tiger, Now I
observed that Fidelis was really trying to learn
her lesson; but the other children's animals would
not let her mastiff alone. First Ludens' monkey
pulled the dog's ear, and he growled a little
pettishly and moved out of the way; but in so
Boys and Girls.
doing he touched Acerba's tiger which was
asleep, and it gave him a pat with one of its
heavy claws, which made him spring up and
bristle and snarl ready for a fight. 'Fidelis!'
said Pastor's voice gently: and Fidelis coloured
and gave a tug with all her might at the -mastiff's
chain, which had such an effect upon him that he
lay down again.
"' Children,' said Pastor, presently, "as it is so
fine to day, I shall give you a half-holiday. But,
first of all, I want to say a few words to you. I am
afraid that some of you are not nearly so careful
as you ought to be about keeping your animals in
order, especially when you are at play. It was
only last Saturday that I heard a story about a
mastiff springing upon a bear, and biting it se-
verely.' Fidelis blushed and hung her head.
'Now you know how very important it is that
you should learn to tame your animals when you
are young, if you ever hope to be free from them
when you get older.'
"'But, sir,' said Victor, 'it does seem so unfair
that some of us should have beasts that are so hard
to tame, and some that are so easy.' And he
looked with some envy at Torpidus' sloth, which
certainly never tried to bite any one, and was quite
satisfied so long as it could sleep.
"' Once upon a time, Victor,' said Pastor, with
a smile, 'I knew a little girl who had a panther
to tame, and she said just what you do. She said
that a panther was so sly, and cunning, and cruel,
that she would never be able to tame it, and she
was quite unhappy. But do you know that after
Boys aicl Girls.
all she did tame it, and I don't know that there is
any better behaved animal in the village.' And
he looked across at his wife, who smiled and
shook her head. Certainly her panther seemed to
give her as little trouble as an animal could.
"' Besides,' added Pastor, it is the animals that
are hardest to tame that often turn out most
useful when they have been tamed. Your lion,
Victor, if you tame it young, will be a strong and
useful servant to you, till the King's messenger
comes with the key to unlock your chain.'
"' I hope that won't be for a long time,' whis-
pered Ludens: don't you, Fidelis?' He hugged
his monkey as he spoke.
idelis was looking grave, and did not answer.
I believe she was thinking that her mastiff was
not yet as tame as she would like it to be when
the King's messenger came with the key.
"Then the children sang a hymn, and school was
over. They were soon playing merrily in the
common outside, and the animals frisked about
and seemed to enjoy the play as much as the
children. Only Torpidus threw himself down on
the grass, because his sloth wanted to go to sleep:
and in a short time he was asleep too. 'That is
a bad sign,' said Sapiens : 'I never like to see a
boy make a point of indulging his animal as that
Before long I observed that some of the children
were making up a party to go out on the beach to
pick up shells. There was Fidelis, and Victor,
and Ludens, and Acerba: and Ludens ran and
awoke Torpidus and the sloth, and tried to
,Boys and Girs.
persuade him to come with them. Torpidus at
last consented, because it was too much trouble to
refuse: and the children, who had brought their
dinners to school with them, set off in high spirits
along the lane which led to the shore. I followed
behind them at a little distance, it was a hot day,
and before long the animals began to get quarrel-
some-especially Acerba's tiger, which she did not
keep in good order. Victor's lion and Fidelis's
mastiff more than once needed all their owners'
strength to prevent them from attacking the
quarrelsome beast, but they were careful and
succeeded in mastering them. But before they
had got more than half way to the beach, they
were met by a big boy named Improbus, who had
a wolf by his side. I saw, to my horror, that his
face was growing like the wolfs face: and I re-
marked upon it to Sapiens. 'That is the case,'
he said sadly, when the people of this island let
their animals master them instead of obeying them.'
"Presently I saw Improbus stroking and coaxing
and praising Acerba's tiger, at which she looked
very much pleased. These two went on. in front,
and the others, not sorry to be relieved of their
company, followed a little in the rear: Torpidus
lingering behind, saying that it was so hot he
-could not hurry. I saw that Sapiens looked
.sad, and he said, I wish Pastor was in the way.
I know he would be grieved to see Acerba
making acquaintance with Improbus: he is no
fitting company for any of Pastor's school chil-
dren. But see, what are they doing now. For
I heard a mutter and a growl from the animals,
Boys aund Girls.
'some of which were pulling fiercely at their
chains. The children were all standing on the
beach near an empty boat which was moored
on the shore, and Improbus and Acerba were
urging the others to get into it. They wanted
a row on this hot day, they said: and the boat
was too heavy for two to manage alone.
Fidelis and Victor refused. It was distinctly
forbidden them, they said, and they would not do
it. Then there came a fight between the animals:
for Improbus and Acerba set their wolf and tiger
to fight the dog and the lion, and as they were
bigger and stronger, it almost seemed as if they
would get the best of it. But the dog and the
lion, though not so strong, were better trained to
obey their master and mistress, and skill and
discipline told in-the end against brute force.
"When Improbus saw that he could not frighten
the children into submission, he began to laugh
at them. Victor and Fidelia did not care very
much about this; but Ludens did, and when
Improbus said that he did not dare to get into the
boat, Ludens sprang in at once. Fidelis begged
him to come out, and as he refused, she -got
in to pull him out by force: and then Improbus,
taking advantage of the two children being in
the boat, cut the cord with a sharp knife, so
that it swung round at once, and the current
carried it out of their Wading depth.
"Acerba looked rather frightened: Ludens set
up a wailing cry: Victor plunged into the water
'and swam up to the boat to try to guide it
back to land; but he soon found that this was
88 Boys and Girs.
impossible, and the only thing for him was to
climb over the side into it, for the current was
too strong for him to swim back. Then Fidelis
cried out: 'Torpidus, Torpidus, run and find
Pastor and ask him to help us! We have no
oars, and we are drifting out to sea! Make haste,
"Torpidus did run a few steps faster than he
had ever done before in his life; but after a little
while he began to feel very hot and tired, and
saying to himself 'I shall get on faster if I.
rest for a few moments, he sat down on a shady
bank, for the sloth was pulling back at its chain:
and presently he was fast asleep, while Fidelis,
Victor, and Ludens were being drifted out by the
ebb-tide nearer and nearer to the perilous shore
of their enemies.
"Suddenly Sapiens touched me, as I was watching
the poor children in their helpless misery. I
longed to help them; but it seemed to me that
Sapiens and myself were invisible, and that we
could not make our presence perceived by the
inhabitants of Vita Humana: we could only look
on. 'Look, look!' said Sapiens, pointing to
Improbus. I looked, and I saw him turning pale
and looking terribly frightened, as from the air
behind him came something which looked like
a grey cloud, but gradually shaped itself into a
Figure bearing a key. 'The King's messenger,'
said Sapiens. 'Which of them can he be come
for! Poor Acerba? no, it is Improbus.'
"' Improbus,' said the messenger, I have come
to unlock your chain.'
Boys and Girls.
"' Oh not yet, not yet !' pleaded Improbus, while
Acerba sank back fainting on the ground. But
though he prayed and implored, the messenger paid
no heed to his prayers. The wolf rose up, grim
and gaunt, as if it knew that now was its time of
mastery, and stood over the trembling lad. I saw
the messenger unlock the chain, and I heard the
yell of the fierce beast; but I saw no more. For
the form of the messenger changed back again
into the grey cloud, infolding the two, and when
it passed away, Improbus and the wolf had gone:
and only Acerba lay on the ground sobbing with
grief and terror. The tiger seemed quite sub-
dued, and did not impede her when, struck by
a sudden thought, she cried, 'I will go and find
Pastor!' and sprang up and rushed away at her
Meanwhile, how fared it with the children in
the boat ?
They began to comfort each other as best they
could. 'We did not come here of our own free
will,' said Fidelis; 'and the King will not let
us be hurt. Pastor always tells us so, you know.'
"'But perhaps we shall have to fight hard first,'
said Victor. 'For see, the boat is drifting nearer
and nearer to the enemy's coast.'
"'Let us ask the King to help us fight and take
care of us,' said Fidelis. Oh, if only our animals
were as obedient as Pastor's horse and Dulcis's
panther!' For they knew that if it came to
fighting, much would depend upon the docility of
"'We will always try more and more to keep
Boys and Girls.
them in order if once we get out of this,' said
"'It is a good sign that they are not boastful
and self confident,' said Sapiens to me. 'You
may be sure they will be kept safe, even if the
King has to send his messenger with the key
to-unchain them from their beasts.'
"I turned round to see if any help were forth-
coming, but I could see none. When I looked
again, the current had carried them almost over
to the opposite shore, where a group of men were
waiting to draw in the boat and seize the children.
-But this was not so easy. Victor's lion and
Fidelis's dog were in the boat, ready to fight, and
alert to seize any unwary hands which might be
laid upon the boat. Ludens sat behind with his
monkey: he was too young and weak to take
part in the fighting. Victor and Fidelis stood up
bravely, encouraging their animals, and pointing
'out to them when to resist the most dangerous
attempts of their enemies. I saw that the rebels
tried to bribe the animals with tempting food:
but Victor and Fidelis had trained them too well
to allow them to seize upon it, and the beasts
only growled and snarled at the offered morsels.
But it was hard work for the children, and
I began to fear that their strength would soon be
overcome, when Ludens gave a cry of joy. There
is Pastor on his horse swimming out to us !' he
"'Keep up a little longer, Fidelis!' said Victor.
'The King will help us, and we must not give in!'
"Bravely the good horse struggled through the
Boys a'id Girls.
waves: nearer and nearer it came: and Pastor
came panting up to them. I can but take one
at a time,' he said, as he grasped Ludens and sat
him and his monkey in front of him: hold out a
little longer, dear children, and all will be safe.
The King will not fail you.'
"Encouraged by his words, Victor and Fidelis
held out until he could come back again: this
time he took away Fidelis and swam with her to
safety. Then he returned for Victor, and carried
him also away out of reach of his enemies. But
I noticed that as he neared the shore with Victor,
the horse swam more and more slowly: and
finally, when they reached the landing-place,
where a crowd was now assembled to welcome
him back, both he and the horse sank down
exhausted on the beach.
His wife went up to him to give him a draught
of wine, but he waved it back with a strange and
solemn look-upon his face. 'The King's messen-
ger, Dulcis,' he said, in an awestruck voice.
'What was that shadowy cloud which seemed to
be shaping itself-from out of the air ?' A sudden
hush fell upon all, as they beheld the shadow with
the key in his hand. Pastor,' said the voice
which I had heard before, only that this time its
tones were gentle, I have come to unlock your
chain. Before I do so, speak to those about you
what words you have need to say.'
"Pastor bowed his head; call Acerba to me,' he
said. She came, sobbing bitterly.
"' Child,' he said, gently, you sinned and you
have repented. The King is merciful to you.
Boys and Girls.
Do your best to tame that tiger of yours that the
unlocking of your chain may be no dread to you,
but a hope. Little Ludens, do you the same:
keep guard over your animal that it may not drag
you and others again into danger. Victor and
Fidelis, be brave all your lives as you have been to-
day; do not cease to keep guard over your beasts,
for your warfare is not over. Torpidus !'-Torpidus
was not there. He was still asleep on the shady
bank with his sloth.
"'It is nearly time,' said the messenger.
"Then Pastor and Dulcis spoke together in low
tones which none else could hear: and I never
saw so happy a look on a man's face as on his,
just before the messenger came up and unlocked
his chain. At that moment the cloud infolded
him as it had done Improbus; but then it was
grey and heavy, whereas now it shone like silver.
When it lifted away, there was nothing to be
seen but the dead horse and broken chain. Pastor
had gone to his King, and was free.
"' If only I might have a chance of his fate,'
I said, thinking of the gentle messenger who
had carried Pastor to the King.
"'Perhaps you have,' said Sapiens, 'but you
also have a beast to tame before he comes.' But
as he spoke, the crowd, and the shining sea, and
the dead horse, and the broken chain faded into
mist, and I awoke."
There was a silence, only broken by Dick,
saying, "awfully jolly that story is, isn't it, Tom ?"
Yes," said Tom (who had not gone to sleep),
Boys and Girls.
"but its just like all allegories. If people only
had to break in an animal to get to heaven, it
would be easy enough. It's nearly as bad as the
little brutes with bare feet after all."
I wonder," said Maggie, meditatively, "whether
if before I went to sleep I thought about people's
characters and dispositions I should be able to
dream such a nice dream as that!"
"I wonder what our beasts are!" said Elly,
"I think Corda's is a Persian cat."
"And yours a Shetland pony," said Alick.
"But it was a shame to make the animals die "
said Johnny, who could not get over this at all.
"Why," said Alick, "the animals only mean
the worse part of us, and I am sure they bother
people enough all their lives."
Charlie said nothing, and Tom rather thought
he had been asleep; but he had really been listen-
ing, and the effect of the story and of his own
better self together, was to make him sit down
and write a long letter to his mother, confessing
his Bellsand adventures. It was wonderful how
much the better he felt as soon as this was done:
the confession lifted a load off his mind, and Elly
said to Corda that night-" Charlie is quite jolly
again now. I am so glad, for he is my own
ownest brother, and I can't bear him to be dull
and cross, and for the others to laugh at him."
"Yes," said Corda, "he was as kind to-night
as if he had been Dick."
This was saying a great deal, for Dick was
quite Corda's favourite among the boys.
i ., ,..
THAT are you so busy over?" said Alick
one day to Elly, as he came up to her
and found her knitting her brows over
a book. It was a pleasant morning with a fresh
breeze, not so hot as it had been, and the children
were all on the beach together. "Greek!" he
said, as he caught sight of the letters. "What
a fellow you are, Elly, to be sure! Who would
have thought of your wanting to do Greek in the
holidays! You needn't shut up the book now,
the murder's out!"
Only please don't tell the others," said Elly,
imploringly. "You know, Alick, I want awfully
to know Greek, and mamma and Miss Morison
won't let me begin till I can work better: and
I hate work, and the cotton always gets dirty and
snarls up, and I never shall be able to work as
well as Corda if I live to be a hundred. So
I thought I might just as well try if I couldn't
teach it to myself, and I meant to have done
lots these holidays: I learnt the letters the first
week I was here, and somehow I have never done
any more, so I thought I must try again."
"Shall I give you a lesson ?" said Alick,
"Oh do! said Elly.
Boys and Girls.
- So the two sat down together: and Alick gave
Elly her first Greek lesson. He found it rather
agreeable to be schoolmaster to such a quick and
eager pupil; and when he had finished, he said
"I tell you what, Elly, it's an awful pity that you
dcn't take pains with your needlework so as to get
on to Greek. You'd beat Charlie in a very little
-while if you did, you are three times as sharp."
Elly looked pleased at the praise, and disap-
pointed at the advice.
"But I can't !" she said.
"Why not? what's the matter with your
hands?" said Alick, taking one up and studying
it. "It's nothing but that you don't take pains.
If you can give your mind one quarter as much to
needlework as you do to the lessons you like,
you'd work just as well as Corda."
"It's all very well for you to talk, Alick," said
Elly, despondingly; "but boys don't know how
lucky they are, that's all. How wouldyou like to be
stuck down for an hour every day with a needle in
your hand, and a horrid long hem, or seam which is
worse, to do while you are being read history to ? I
think about the history and forget the work, and
then Miss Morison says, Elly, you're not working,'
and then I gobble my stitches to make up for lost
time, and then I have to pick it out-nasty stuff!"
Of course if you think it beneath you to attend
to it, it's impossible that you should ever do it,"
"I don't think it beneath me," began Elly; but
truth was too strong for her, and she ended her
sentence with "Do I?"