Citation
The children of Haycombe

Material Information

Title:
The children of Haycombe
Series Title:
Blackie's Shilling Series
Creator:
Fenn, Annie S
Blackie & Son ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London ;
Glasgow ;
Edinburgh ;
Publisher:
Blackie & Son
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
128 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Teasing -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children with disabilities -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Motherless families -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children -- Death -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children and death -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1887 ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1887 ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1887
Genre:
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Glasgow
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Ireland -- Dublin
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Frontispiece printed in sepia.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Annie S Fenn.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026688781 ( ALEPH )
ALG6417 ( NOTIS )
35365694 ( OCLC )

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THE

CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.



BY

ANNIE S. FENN,

Author of “Olive Mount;” “ Ursula’s Aunt;” “A Blind Pupil;” “Jack’s Two
Sovereigns;” ‘“ Little Dolly Forbes;” &c.





LONDON:

BLACKIE & SON, 49 & 50 OLD BAILEY, EC,
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.





+H





CONTENTS.

CHAP.
I. “Tar Scarrorow,” .

TI, THE Bouquet,

III, Tae AccripENt,

IV. No Doctor,

V, SEEKING AND FINDING,

VI. Sunpay Mornine, . . .
VII. Sunpay AFTERNOON, ae
VIIL Tra at THE CowENs’, .

IX. Crom anp Dick,

X, Hosrisirius,

XL Tue Hunt,
XII. Tur Consequences,

XIII. Friends,

Page

17
22,
34
41
48
5B
67
80.
90
98

. 109

. 118








THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

CHAPTER I.
“THE SCARECROW.”

eS 4, ERE we go round the Maypole, the May-
pole, the Maypole!” chanted a number

sais] of children’s voices, as the singers
agneea round and round, with their hat ribbons
flying and their curls jumping up and down on
their shoulders. It was very hot weather, but
they did not seem to mind, for they skipped
round in a ring with their hands joined together,
and their faces growing redder and redder each
minute.

But it was not May, and there was no Maypole.
The only thing to be seen in the centre of the
ring was a baby too young to walk, which was





8 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

sitting on the dry grass sucking as many of its
fingers as could be persuaded to go into its
mouth.

“Here we go round the—oh! Here she comes!
Run!” ~

As some of the players let go the hands they
held, half the ring tumbled down at once, and
the others went staggering about nearly losing
their balance. But they quickly recovered, and
the next instant there was 4 chorus of,

“Run! Run! She's coming! She’s coming!”

And the baby’s sister snatched it up, and they
all scampered off as fast as their legs would carry
them, like somany mice when the cat comes into
sight. The sound of their laughter grew faint
in the distance, and their figures grew small, as
the cause of all this hurry and scurry stood on
the green alone, following them with her large
wistful eyes.

This green was the playground of the geese
and the children of Haycombe village, which was
situated in a pretty county in the south of Eng-
land. Haycombe was a good distance from
everywhere else, and several miles from a railway-
station. There was nothing very particular about



“THE SCARECROW.” 9

it to make it different from other villages; it
owned, beside the green, a church, an inn, a vicar-
age, a shop, three good-sized white houses, a large
number of cottages, and any quantity of children,
who were always growing up, while there were
always new babies coming to take their places.
The farms lying out in the fields not far away also
belonged to Haycombe, but with them and the
labourers’ dwellings round about them it was
only a tiny place, not worth marking on a
map.

It was a quiet little spot, where no strangers
ever came, and very few things happened from
the year’s beginning to its end. The children
were really the most noticeable point about it, as
they were too many to be counted. There were
few dwellings that could not boast at least a
baby, while under some roofs there were as many
as thirteen at once, all brothers and _ sisters.
Although the grown-up people were not scarce,
and many of them were interesting, too, in their
way, it is with the children that this story has
most to do, from the doctor’s young folks, who
lived at the largest of the white houses, and wore
pretty muslin frocks in summer and velveteen



IQ 2 THE CHILDREN O/ HAYCOMBE.

ones in winter, to the three barefooted, rough-
headed little creatures who belonged to Mrs.
Henry Turner. Mrs. Turner was the widow of
the man who used to mend all the broken win-
dows, make the hen-coops, and put the pumps in
order when they got wrong, until he died through
obstinately going down a well which he knew
was not safe. After that his widow used to go
out washing, or hop-picking, while her small
family went to school, or played on the green |
with the children who had shoes- cand stockings, Zz
and hair that was tidy at least onee’a day.y..-
The doctor's young people, “Who wo! hi
prettiest frocks that were ever seen in Haycomiap
were called Marion, Patty, and Dorothy Cowen,
_ and their ages were fourteen, eight, and three.
There was an older boy, Dick, who was sixteen,
who was generally away in London, __Their
mother was dead, and their aunt E fly, Dr.
Cowen’s sister, taught them, kept them in order,
made their clothes, and mended their stockings.
At another of the white houses lived Bee, who
stood there looking sadly after the merry party
who had been playing at “Here we go round the
Maypole.” Bee had no father or mother, but had —





‘rit SCARECROW.” 11

_ been adopted by her aunts, Miss Burn and Miss
Sarah Burn. She was deformed and very ugly,
and though she was thirteen she was not much
taller than Dolla Cowen.

It was the fashion among the children of Hay-
combe to hate Bee and call her names, such as
“The Scarecrow,” or “The Goblin,” not because
she was disagreeable, for they did not know
whether her temper was bad or good, as they
never spoke to her, but simply because her figure
was so ill-shaped, her head so set down between
her shoulders, and her pale, sharp little face so
old and weird-looking. .

Even the four small Hawthornes at the vicar-
age, who ought to have set.a better fashion, were
as bad as the rest. When they met Bee in their
walks they would whisper to each other, “Ugh!
here comes the Goblin! Don’t let’s look at her!”
And they would walk past with their heads
turned the other way, and burst into peals of
laughter as soon as they had left her behind.

At the third white house lived six little boys
of whom Bee was more afraid than of any one
else, as they were in the habit of running after
her, pulling her hair, or dancing round her with



12 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

joined hands, to shout with laughter at her frantic
endeavours to get away.

As for the school children, they were all per-
fectly agreed in thinking her a “nasty little
thing,” and a “horrid creature.” Each child,
taken by itself, was not naturally cruel or unkind,
but disliked Bee because all the rest did, and
perhaps partly from an idea that what people
did who wore the nicest dresses that ever were
seen must certainly be right. Besides, none of
the children took the trouble to think about any-
thing for themselves, as it was so much more
convenient and natural simply to imitate the
rest.

It was hardly to be expected in a place like
Haycombe, where all thought alike, from the best
dressed to the most ragged, that there would be
- any girl or boy with a mind strong enough to
venture on starting a fresh opinion, and think
it just possible that the deformed child was not
quite so bad as she was ugly. At anyrate there
was not such a one.

Bee came to Haycombe to live with her aunts
when she was eight, and she had been there for
five years without a single child making a friend



“THE SCARECROW.” 13

of her, or even speaking to her in good-natured
tones. She passed her time in learning such
things as Miss Burn chose to teach her, and in
wandering about alone on the green or in the
fields, watching the happier children’s games from
a distance, or gathering flowers and making them
into pretty bouquets, which she intended to give
to some one, in the hope of winning a smile or a
“thank you” in return. But these nosegays always
faded without being offered, for when it came to
the point her courage was too faint to risk the
possibility of being snubbed.

As a rule these flowers were intended in Bee’s
mind for Marion Cowen, whose bright smile and
soft brown eyes seemed to the deformed girl as
though they could only belong to one who,was
gentle and good. But Marion did not dream that
poor little Bee ever gave her a thought, and she
was so happy herself that the idea of anyone
being unhappy did not enter her head.

For, as Mrs. Hawthorne at the vicarage said,
the doctor’s children were allowed to “run wild.”
Dr. Cowen was always busy visiting his patients,
some of whom lived at a great distance; and Miss
Cowen was busier still with her teaching, dress-



14 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

making, and housekeeping, so that neither of them
had time to talk to Marion, or awaken the qualities
of love and sympathy at present lying asleep in
her nature. She was growing from childhood to
girlhood with the idea that there was nothing to
do in life but to learn one’s lessons and enjoy
one’s self.

It was summer just now, and the weather was
so often fine that the village “green” ought by
right to have had its name changed to the
“brown.” The earth was full of little cracks, and
the faces of the children were sunburnt and
freckled till they all looked like gypsies in spite
of their big sun-hats and shady print hoods.

“Tt’s too hot to walk,” said Marion Cowen this
same afternoon at about the time that the school
children were going round their Maypole repre-
sented by the baby. “Let’s take books and sit
under the old oak on the green. Come along,
Dolla. You may bring your puzzle or your
bricks, as you can’t read.”

“I shall bring my work,” said Patty, who was
fond of sewing, “and then you can read aloud to
us.”

There was no one sitting on the bench under



“THE SCARECROW.” 15

the old tree, so they had it all their own way.
Dorothy set out her bricks, and built houses with
them, with a few stones and sticks to help, Patty
- stitched away at a doll’s frock she was making,
and Marion read an interesting story without
troubling herself as to whether they listened or
not.

At the same time Bee, wandering about alone
—wishing that she could think of any way of
making friends with one at least of all the crowds
of children she saw every day, wishing that some-
thing would happen to oblige them to speak to
her, wishing most of all that she were like the
others in face and form—saw from the distance
this happy little party.

To be with them would be even more delight-
ful than to join in the game, “Here we go round
the Maypole,” for she was not really strong
enough for rough play.

In spite of her shyness, and her fear of being
unkindly received, she began to move slowly and
timidly in their direction.

They were so intent on what they were doing
that they did not see her as she crossed the green,
- so that the oak was between her and them, and,



16 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

screened by its thick trunk, she could come
nearer and nearer unnoticed. At last she was
close on the other side of the tree and could hear
every word that was said.

Bee was not very fond of reading to herself,
but she could enjoy a story when she heard it.
She grew interested in this, more so than Patty
or Dolla, and as it became more exciting she for-
got to keep out of sight, and, without knowing
it, moved gradually round the trunk until she
could fix her eyes on Marion.

Dorothy, or as she called herself “Dollafrey,”
busily piling one brick on another, suddenly
lifted her head and saw the pale odd face with
its great eager eyes peering from behind the tree.



(410)





CHAPTER II.

THE BOUQUET. —

OLLA gave a frightened shriek, and instantly

lost her balance, sitting down backwards on

the ground, and then opening her mouth ready for

a good scream. Marion dropped her book, sprang

to pick her up, and looked round for the cause of

the cry, which she discovered in Bee’s pale startled
face,

“Don’t cry, my darling! Go away this minute,
you naughty girl! How dare you terrify my
little sister like that! Go away this minute, do
you hear?”

Bee tried hard to speak, to stammer out some
excuse, to say she had not meant: to startle
the child, but these angry tones from Marion,
whom she admired so much, and longed so greatly
to please, took away the use of her tongue. She

coloured up to her hair, her lips parted but no
(410) ; B



18 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

sound came from them, and feeling it hopeless,
she turned away and walked slowly and sadly in
the direction of her own home.

Marion and Patty together soon succeeded in
bringing back Dolla’s smiles.

“It was only ‘the Goblin,’ you little goosie,”
said Patty, brushing the dust from the child’s
frock, and kissing her round red cheek. “You're
not afraid of her, surely.”

“Horrid little creature!” said Marion, looking
indignantly after Bee’s departing figure, which
was growing small in the distance. “Who'd have
thought of her creeping up in that sly way and
listening. There’s no telling how long she may
have been there. I wish I had known. How
funnily her aunts dress her!—she does look old-
fashioned. And how ugly she is! If I were as
ugly as that I really think I should keep out of
sight!”

And then the reading went on again, and
Patty re-threaded her needle, and Dolla began
to build a new castle, while all three let Bee
pass out of their minds.

But they had not passed out of hers. She
went sadly home, with tears standing in her eyes



THE BOUQUET. : 19

and the most miserable thoughts working in her
brain. She was naturally simple and affectionate,
and would willingly have loved all these children,
who were so much better off than herself in hav-
ing straight figures, and healthy, bright, happy-
looking faces. She would not have grudged
them these things if only they had been kind
to her, and treated her as one of themselves.
But by keeping her at a distance they were _
gradually teaching her to hate instead of to love
—to look upon other people as enemies instead
of as friends,

Half angry, half miserable, Bee went into her
aunts’ garden, and threw herself. down on the
grass near the little patch of ground which had
been given her for her own. In it was a rose-
bush, on which hung one beautiful rose, newly
opened. The child looked at it, without thinking
at first, and then, struck with an idea, she picked
the flower from the branch, gathered some of the
best leaves and put them round it, then laid it care-
fully on the grass while she went on to pluck every
other blossom there was in her garden. There
were the few last white pinks, a rosebud not yet
nearly out, a geranium or two, some mignonette,



20 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

and a fuchsia. To these she added all the young
leaves of her only fern, and then she sat down
to arrange the whole into a nosegay; which she
bound together with a strand or two of ribbon
grass. When it was done it looked so lovely
that she smiled at it with pleasure. Her good
temper had quite come back.

Carrying it lightly, so that the heat of her
hand should not cause the flowers to fade, she
set out across the green once more. Other chil-
dren stared at her as she passed them with her
beautiful posy, but she took no notice of them,
and walked straight to the big oak under which
the Cowens were still sitting.

At first they pretended not to notice her as she
went and stood shyly before them, but at last
Marion felt obliged to look up, and then Bee
held her flowers towards her.

“They’re for you; will you have them?” said
Bee in a trembling voice.

Marion did not stop to think.

_ “No, thank you,” she answered coldly. “Come,
Patty and Dolla, let’s go home.”

Dollafrey, who had just packed her bricks into

their box, clutched them under one fat arm, and



THE BOUQUET. 21

waddled after her elder sister, while Patty fol-
lowed. The deformed girl was left standing
there alone, with her flowers in her hand.

For a few seconds she made no movement.
Then she burst into tears, and throwing down
her nosegay trod the sweet flowers into the
ground.











CHAPTER IIL

THE ACCIDENT.

ISS SARAH BURN was very fond of her
garden, though, as she was often ill, she
was at times unable to attend to it. But when
she was well, and had a few spare minutes, she
used to put on a huge flat black hat which
usually hung on the umbrella stand, and a pair
of thick gardening gloves. With these protec-
tions against the sun and thorns she would set to
work to train her roses, pull up weeds, hunt out
caterpillars, slugs, and’ green-fly, and do many
other little things that were all included in what
she called “keeping the place tidy.”

She was pretty well this afternoon, and had
done so much hard work that she felt rather
tired and inclined to be easily annoyed. It was
quite a relief to her mind to find a large snail,
and she was occupied in crushing him and his



THE ACCIDENT. 23

house into one flat mass with her foot, as Bee
returned from the refusal of her peace-offering.
Hearing the gate latch click, telling her that
someone was coming in, she looked up, still
grinding the remains of the snail into the gravel.

“Oh, that’s you, is it?” she said, in a tone that
made her niece wish it had been anybody else,
for it foretold that she had for some reason or
other fallen into disgrace.

Bee walked slowly and unwillingly towards
her, but not until her aunt repeated her remark
did she make any reply. Then she said in no
very amiable tone:

“Yes, aunt.”

“Come here.”

So saying, Miss Burn led the way to Bee’s
little garden, and pointed to it with a trowel she
held in her hand.

“What is the meaning of this?”

Bee did not answer. She had not at all re-
covered from her anger and disappointment, and
there was a lump in her throat which made it
anything but easy to speak, when she looked at
her flowerless plants, and thought of the wasted
bouquet..



24 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

“Now, did I not tell you plainly when I gave
you this patch of ground,” said Miss Burn, “that
I expected you to keep it nice; and now I come
and find that you have cut every flower, just like
a baby of two or three years old.”

Bee was still silent.

“If you are to have a piece of garden, I cannot
have the look of it spoiled for every whim you
may take into your head. Pray, what did you
cut them for?”

“To give away,” said Bee in a low voice.

“And whom have you given them to, then?”

The lump swelled up in Bee’s throat again, and
her answer would not come. Her aunt looked at
her with impatience.

“T will not allow these sulky fits, child. Tell
me directly what I asked you, or else go to
your room until I give you leave to come down
again.”

Bee stood a minute trying to speak, and then,
feeling that things in general were very hard on
her, she went indoors and up to her bed-room.
She felt more angry than sorry,—angry with
Marion, with her aunt, with everyone. Marion’s
rebuff had done her a great deal of harm, by



THE ACCIDENT. 25

making her begin to think that everyone was
against her, and that her only course was to be
against everyone.

For nearly three hours she remained there
before her aunt recalled her, and during all that
time she was nursing the sense of wrong done to
her, and hardening herself into a more disagree-
able mood. ,

In consequence, when she went down, instead
of being only unhappy, she was really sulky,
which made matters worse. Her aunts were an-
noyed, and spoke sharply, and then Bee’s tears
began to flow. She took her work, and pretended
to sew, though she could not see for the tears,
and her aunts talked to each other, never speak-
ing a word to her, until it was necessary to tell
her it was bed-time. Then Bee stole off to bed
without saying “good-night,” or offering her usual
kiss.

“The child is growing to have a shocking tem-
per,’ said Miss Burn when she was gone. “Yes,”
said her sister, “she certainly doesn’t improve.
I wish she would make friends with some of the
other children; it would do her all the good in
the world.”



26 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

Miss Burn pondered a little, and sighed.

“Perhaps. we don’t quite understand her,” she
suggested after a while. “We have had so
little to do with children in our lives, and Bee is
very peculiar,—I suppose in consequence of her
misfortune. Her mother was peculiar, but then
she was very affectionate too. Now, Bee isn’t
affectionate—at least she never seems to be.”

“Oh, let her alone, and she'll get over this fit
of sullenness,” Aunt Sarah replied. “I expect
we have been too indulgent with her, that’s all
that’s the matter.”

Miss Burn still seemed dissatisfied, and wrink-
led her forehead up into anxious lines.

“T believe she would be better if she had some
little companions,” she said. “We must ask the
Hawthornes or Cowens here to play with her
now and then, and try if that does her any good.
Perhaps it’s rather a dull life here for her with
you and me!”

And Marion Cowen, who was partly to blame
for all this discomfort, did not guess for a moment
that her want of feeling had done so much mis-
chief. She was at the time extremely happy—
more so than usual—for her brother Dick was



THE ACCIDENT. 27

to come home on the next day, which was Satur-
day, to stay till Monday.

She went about the house singing for pleasure
and thinking of nothing else but his coming.
When she went to bed her head was full of it,
and her dreams continued the subject through
the night.

The next morning broke as fine as ever—the
sun shining in a cloudless sky. There were no
lessons on a Saturday, so the three sisters spent
the morning out of doors, longing for the moment
when they should see Dick appear in sight far
down the road that led to Kalehurst, where was
the nearest railway-station.

Not that he was anything so very wonderful
to look at when he did arrive. He came by an
earlier train than he said in his letter, and took
them by surprise.

They were resting on a bank by the roadside
in the shadow, when a quick step was heard, and
a figure passed them by without turning to the
right or to the left. They looked after it with-
out any interest, and then sprang up and ran
in pursuit.

“Dick! it’s Dick!” they cried all together, and



28 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

hearing their voices and running steps, the figure
spun round and showed a pale face that seemed
at the minute to be nothing but one great
laugh.

In an instant they were all upon him, kissing
him, hanging on to his arms, and dancing by his

- gide.

“Didn’t you see us, you stupid fellow? Why,
you passed close by. We didn’t expect you till
two o'clock, or we should have come to meet you.”

“T got up early, to catch the first train. Well,
here I am, you see. What a colour you've all
_ got—exactly like red bricks!”

“Well, you’re worse than that—you’re stone
colour,” returned Patty.

Dick laughed his wide laugh again. It was not
a noisy laugh, but almost a silent one, yet none
the less hearty for that.

“A couple of days down here will make a dif-
ference,” he said. “I wish it were going to be
a couple of weeks. It is beautiful here at Hay-
combe.”

He was nothing striking in appearance, this
Dick, whom they all clung to so lovingly. slight, pale, rather weal-looking lad, with large



THE ACCIDENT. * 29.

shining gray eyes, a thin refined face, and fair
hair that appeared as though an occasional comb-
ing with his fingers was all the attention it re-
ceived. But though his clothes had always the
air of having been made for someone else, and
though he was so careless as to make his father
when he was at home, and his uncle when he was
in London, extremely angry, his sisters did not
look upon these peculiarities as faults, and would
have loved and admired him, perhaps not half so
much, if he had been the handsomest and most
fashionably attired youth in London.

Dick was so rarely with them that they looked
forward to his visits for long enough beforehand.
He was being educated in town with a cousin of
the same age who had a tutor, and he had lived for
some time under his uncle’s roof for that reason.
But though he said nothing about it, he was very
lonely there, and these trips to Haycombe were
the brightest bits of his life. His uncle, aunt,
and cousins were kind enough to him, but he and
they had no interests in common. His cousins loved
parties, and dancing, and cared for nothing so
much as being taken to the theatre, while none
of these delights gave the smallest pleasure to



30 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

Dick, who was as different from them in every
way as it was possible to be.

But just as he was he seemed to his sisters the
nicest brother any little girls could possibly have,
and when Dr. Cowen found fault with him for
his untidiness they all felt as though the re-
proaches had been addressed to themselves.

They took him home to dinner, and looked
after him well in the matter of pressing him to
eat, waiting on him as attentively as if he had
been a king. But Dick never ate much, and
made them quite ashamed of their healthy coun-
try appetites. Meals were to him an incon-
venient necessity, to be forgotten if possible, or
in any case to be made to occupy the shortest
possible space of time.

Before the nursery dinner, however, he had to
go and speak to Aunt Emily, who said she was
glad to see him, and requested him to go at once
and wash his hands, brush his hair, and make
himself respectable. The doctor was not expected
home till five or six o’clock.

After dinner they all strolled on to the green
together, Dolla holding by one of Dick’s fingers,
Patty on his other side, and Marion walking by



THE ACCIDENT. 31

them telling all the news, until the boys of the
village, who were collecting to play football,
seeing their old companion, came running to
beg him to join in the game.

“No, thanks,” said Dick. “Il look on at you
fellows instead.”

But the boys would not agree to this, and
were so persistent in their entreaties that his
resolve gave way, and his sisters, to their great
vexation and disappointment, had to resign
themselves to his being carried off in triumph.

Marion did not understand football, but had a
great dislike to it as a rough and dangerous
game in which someone was quite certain to
be hurt. She and Dolla and Patty sat under
the oak-tree to watch, following the ball with
their eyes, and feeling very glad that they were
not being tumbled over, jumped upon, and
elbowed, as they saw was the case with Dick.

Suddenly Dolla began to ery.

“What's the matter, Dollafrey?” asked Patty.

“T don’t like it,” said Dolla plaintively, tuck-
ing her face into Marion’s sleeve. “Oh-h-h, I
don’ like Dick to play.”

Patty soon cheered her up by inducing her to



32 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

look in another direction. There were now a
number of the Haycombe children collected
under the tree to watch the game, and at a short
distance from them, standing alone, was Bee, her
wan little face paler and gloomier than ever.

She made no attempt to join the others, but re-
mained apart as she was in the habit of doing.
Her hope and faith were all gone for the time,
and there was something very touching about
the way in which she seemed to have accepted
the fact that she was to be shunned and left in
solitude. Her thin, bony hands were folded be-
fore her, and she was pretending not to see the
babies pointing at her as they were held in their
sisters arms, or to hear the remarks that the
bigger children were making to each other quite
loud enough to reach her where she stood.

A mad rush of the football players across the
green, and then they were all in a heap, some
underneath, others on the top, and all so very
much mixed up that it would have been im-
possible to tell which of the legs and arms
belonged to the same person.

“T shouldn’t like to be one of the lowest ones,”
said Patty.



THE ACCIDENT. 33

At that moment, in amongst the shouting and
iaughing, was heard what was certainly a cry of
pain, followed by groans.

“Someone is hurt,” cried two or three of the
girls, and the little group under the tree
stretched out their necks and opened their eyes
and mouths, while a flock of geese, wandering
that way, stretched out their necks too, and
opened their beaks. No one of the lookers-on
moved but Bee, who ran towards the players as
they began to disentangle themselves and get on
to their feet.

The groans went on, and one player, instead
of getting up, lay quite still, with a face as white
almost as the feathers of the geese.

It was Dick Cowen.



(410) o





CHAPTER IV.

NO DOCTOR.

HAT’S the matter, old chap?” “Where

are you hurt?” “What is it?” asked the

boys one after another; but Dick made no

answer, as he had to set his teeth to keep from

crying out again, while tears, brought by the

pain he was bearing in spite of all his efforts

to keep them back, would force their way from
under his eyelids.

As his companions all stood stupidly staring
at the poor boy without an idea what to do, Bee
pushed her way in among them, and kneeled
down at his side.

«Run, some of you, and fetch somebody,” she
cried in her thin, sharp, high-pitched little voice.
“Make them bring something to carry him home
on. Look at his poor foot, how it’s twisted.
It’s broken, I believe. Go and tell the doctor,”





NO DOCTOR. 35

Two or three were inclined to be angry at
being ordered about by “the Goblin,” but Dick's
bluish-white face frightened them, and they ran
in several directions for help.

Among the first to start was Cecil Hawthorne,
_ the vicar’s eldest son, a plain, but bright boy of
twelve. He dashed straight to the doctor's
house, and finding the front door ajar walked
in, to frighten Miss Cowen nearly out of her
wits, by appearing before her with a scarlet face,
and very much out of breath, and panting
out:

“Where's the doctor? Where's the doctor?
Dick Cowen’s half killed!”

Then seeing Miss Cowen’s horror, as she started
up and laid her hand on her heart, he hastened
to add: “No, I don’t mean that, but he’s sprained
his foot or something playing football, and we
want the doctor to come to him.”

“He's out—may not be back for hours!” cried
Aunt Emily in dismay. “Well, Ill come my-
self, and see what’s to be done.”

Cecil ran off, and went this time to his own
home, where he found his father preparing a
sermon in his study. On hearing what was the



36 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

matter the vicar snatched up his hat and followed
the boy out.

Meanwhile poor Dick was lying on the ground
half unconscious, with little knots of children
standing round about him, open-mouthed and
staring. The shock had turned Patty almost as
white as her brother, and her voice was very
unsteady as she tried to comfort Dolla, who was
crying bitterly.

. Bee was at first the only one =i kept her
presence of mind. She remained kneeling beside
Dick, and fanned him vigorously with her hat.

Suddenly Marion came forward and thrust
Bee aside.

“Leave him alone,” she said coldly. “He is.
avy brother.”

The deformed child drew back on the instant
with two tears rising in her great dark eyes.
Might she not even make herself of use without
getting snubbed?

“Is it very bad, Dick, dear?” Marion whispered,
following Bee’s example and fanning him.

He gave a slight nod, and lay quite still and
silent, with tightly compressed lips. He had
groaned at first before he had had time to think





NO DOCTOR. 37

of anything but the pain, but he was resolved
not to do it again if he could help it.

‘What had happened was this: in running at
full speed, a little in advance of the rest, he had
put his foot into a deep rut in the ground, and
in an instant all the other boys were upon him
and had thrown him over without seeing what
had checked him so suddenly. Hence the bones
of his ankle had received a violent wrench, and
one or two were broken, while the muscles were
forced out of place.

Before any grown-up person arrived on the
scene the children talked to each other in
whispers, for they were awe-struck by the serious
appearance of the accident. The loudest sounds
were Dolla’s plaintive crying and Patty’s con-
soling voice.

But this did not last long. In a very short
space of time Mr. Hawthorne came hurrying up,
with his gardener following, and Aunt Emily
was there scarcely a minute later, she having
only remained behind to see that there was a
bed ready on which the boy could be laid, if it
should prove to be a very bad case.

A few orders from the vicar, another man or



38 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

two to help, and then a gate was brought from
somewhere not far off, and Dick was gently
placed upon it, though, with all the care that was
taken, he fainted away again on being moved.

The children trooped after as he was carried
home, Bee following in the rear of the procession
with a wide gap between her and the others.
As they all remained standing about just outside
after the object of interest had been carried
indoors, Aunt Emily came out and spoke to them.

“You had better go away, my dears,” she said.
“You can do no good by stopping there; but if
any of you would like to be of use you might
go off in different directions and look if you can
see anything of Dr. Cowen. And if you find
him tell him what has happened, and ask him to
make haste home.”

As the doctor had gone on a long round to see
some of his most distant patients Miss Cowen
had no idea where to send to seek him. Beside
the children she sent messengers in all probable
directions, and also despatched a lad to the only
other doctor within reach, who proved to be also
away from home. After that there was nothing
to do but to wait,



NO DOCTOR. 39

“Til go myself and look for him,” said Mr,
Hawthorne after secing the boy restored to
consciousness and made as comfortable as the
circumstances would allow. “Patience, my lad.
We must soon find him amongst us.”

Miss Cowen stayed by her nephew when the
vicar had gone; but when she had with all
possible gentleness cut off the boot and stocking
from the injured foot—a process that tortured
her almost as much as Dick—she could do
nothing further than wait and ene for her
brother’s coming.

Dick had never felt such pain before in his life
as this that now shot from his twisted ankle all
over his body. He was conscious of nothing
else; he scarcely knew where he was; he lost
sight of Miss Cowen in a mist, and lay with
clenched teeth and half-closed eyes vaguely
wondering how long it would last. His aunt
looked at him from time to time and guessed a
little of what he was suffering. And after each
-look she went to the window to gaze anxiously
up and down the road.

Patty stole in and out on the tips of her toes,
not daring to speak to Dick, but gazing at him



40 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

pityingly in silence. Marion kept out of the
- way, as it made her too wretched to look at him
and be able to do nothing. And Dolla was in
the nursery playing with her bricks quite happy.





Saaaanaaaay,

pm
SS TUURUUGUODS



CHAPTER V.
SEEKING AND FINDING.

FTER Miss Cowen had re-entered the house
the children soon dispersed in different
directions—that is, all of them except Bee, who
remained standing in the road in her usual atti-
tude, her head a little bent forward, her fingers
tightly twined together. There was a flush of
anger on her small elfish face that made it
appear more unattractive than ever.

“Tt’s too bad! it’s wicked!” she said aloud,
though there was no one near to hear her.
“They would not treat anyone else in the world
as they treat me. Worse than cats or dogs, or
rats, or—or toads! I hate them all, even Marion
Cowen. She’s just like the rest, and they’re all
disagreeable, and selfish, and bad!”

She stamped her foot on the ground, and then
suddenly her anger was gone, and she was only



42, THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

unhappy. Her tears flowed fast. She walked
slowly along the road, her head bent, and the
great drops running down her cheeks and plash-
ing on the front of her dress. For a short time
she did not even notice them, she was so com-
pletely wretched, but by degrees a little hope
came back.

“People don’t like each other only for their
looks,” she thought. “If I could be very, very
good—better than anybody I know, never cross,
and always ready to help and to be useful—
somebody would get to love me in time I
haven't been nice enough to them, that’s why
they hate me so; but I’ll begin all over again.”

She took out her handkerchief, dried her eyes,
and half smiled.

“The best thing I could do just now would be
to find Dr. Cowen. Where is he most likely
to be?”

As soon as she began to think about it she
remembered that she had seen him drive past as
she was looking out of her bed-room window in
the morning. He had gone towards Kalehurst,
which made it likely that he would be coming
back from the opposite direction, out where



SEEKING AND FINDING. 43

Helmsford lay. Was there anyone ill at Helms-
ford? .

She knew pretty well who was ill anywhere
near, for her aunts were in the habit of visiting
a great deal among the sick, and talked to each
other about the different cases as they sat at their
meals, when Bee had nothing to do but to listen.
There was an old woman who was quite crippled
with rheumatism two miles or so out that way;
but then the doctor had given her up, as he could
not do her any more good. And there were
some children a little farther off who had the
measles, but their mother preferred the doctor
from Kalehurst. And there was a lad who was
very much injured through falling from a hay-
stack, and who lived at a cottage on a farm a
mile or two to the north of Helmsford—a spot
so out of the way that it was almost impossible
to walk there—so her aunts said.

As soon as Bee thought of this lad, she felt
that it was very likely Dr. Cowen had gone
to see him, while it was possible no one else
would go there to look. Why should not she go
and find out whether he was or had been there?

She set off at once, and now that she had



44 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

ceased to think of herself, poor Dick’s injured
foot was the uppermost thing in her mind, and
caused her to make all possible speed. She ran
for short distances, then walked, then ran again.

It was a very long way that she had to go, but
she did not stop to consider that, nor even to
wonder what her aunts would think of her long
absence, but hastened on and on.

The few persons she met stared rather curiously
at the lonely little figure hurrying along the
road, so intent on her purpose that she did not
notice them or anything. She saw no one who
knew her except one rough boy from the village,
who called out:

“Hallo, humpy! where are you off to?” But
she was so used to that kind of question that she
paid no heed.

On and on she sped until Haycombe was
between five and six miles away, and then she
came to the narrow turning which led to Maddox’s
—the farm where the lad of whom she had heard
lay ill. The broad road branched here, and there
was a sign-post with three arms, on which were
the words, “Haycombe, 54 miles; Kalehurst, 5
miles; Helmsford, 1 mile.”



SEEKING AND FINDING. 45

Bee took the narrow turning, and before she
had gone far she almost danced for joy, for there
was the doctor's carriage coming towards her.
She had guessed aright.

She stood on one side as it drew near, franticly
waving her arms and calling to the coachman to
stop. He pulled up, and Dr. Cowen looked out
of the window as Bee ran forward.

“ Are you going straight home, Dr. Cowen?”

“No; to Helmsford. Why?”

Bee poured out the news as briefly as she
could. The doctor’s face grew grave, and he only
spoke two short sharp words to the coachman:

“Home, quick!”

The little girl stepped back and the carriage
rolled away. The doctor had been too much
startled to think of anything but the one fact
that his boy was hurt and in need of him, or else
it might have struck him that Bee was a long
way from home, and had come all that distance
on purpose to bring him this news, when he
would have taken her into the brougham and
driven her back to Haycombe.

As it happened he never thought of her at all,
scarcely noticed who she was, and forgot to thank



46 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

her. Poor Bee was far too sensitive not to feel
this, and she was so used. to slights that she felt
this one was intended, and magnified it into six
times its proper size.

“Tam so dreadful to look at that he could not
bear to have me in the carriage with him,” was
her first thought, as she perched herself on a stile
to rest. But she did not ery this time, for there
was a pleasure in having been the one to find the
doctor and bring him back which raised her
spirits. “I would not care so much if he had only
just said ‘Thank you, ” she said to herself.

Very quietly and soberly she started on her
way back, not hurrying now, for she had found
out that she was tired, and that her feet were
aching and sore. Walking more and more slowly,
and stopping at intervals to rest, the distance
was traversed at last, and at about eight o'clock
she reached home.

“You ought to have come and told me where
you were going,” said her Aunt Sarah severely,
as she poured out some milk and water for Bee,
and cut her some thick bread and butter. “I
should have been very much alarmed about you,
if Mrs. Hawthorne had not come in and told me



SEEKING AND FINDING. 47

about the accident, and that you children were
dispersed in all directions looking for the doctor.
He came home hours ago, bringing Cecil Haw-
thorne, who had met him half-way between here
and Helmsford, and let him know what had
happened.” .

Bee stared, and opened her lips to say, “I
found him first,” but closed them again, reflecting
that the doctor knew that it was to her that he
owed being fetched home so soon, and he would
be sure to mention it to Marion and Dick. She
went off to bed very happy for the time in
imagining little scenes in which Marion came and
thanked her for what she had done and invited
her to go back with her to tea,







CHAPTER VI.

SUNDAY MORNING.

ICK’S ankle was set—an extremely painful

operation both for him and for his father,

who had a great dislike to acting as surgeon to
his own children. ;

“You young monkey!” the doctor said, when
it was all over, as he stood leaning on the foot of
the bed looking at the boy who lay there with
half-closed eyes very pale and quiet. “You
wanted a holiday, I see; but you’ve rather over-
done it. Well, you’ve got what you wanted, for
I am going to telegraph to Uncle Charlie not to
expect you back for five or six weeks. Now I
hope you're happy.” .

Dick tried to smile at his father’s joking tone,
but it was a very poor attempt. “So long as
that!” he said faintly.

“You'll have to take great care for as long as



SUNDAY MORNING. 49

that, and perhaps longer. I don’t want you to
be lame, you're quite awkward enough as it is!
There’s a nice state of affairs—a great ugly over-
grown boy to feed for goodness knows how long!”

As Dick still could not call up a smile the
doctor became serious.

“Come, cheer up, my lad,” he said encouragingly,
“the worst will soon be over, and we'll make it
as lively as we can for you while you're obliged
to lie still.”

“T sha’n’t be dull,” said the boy, “I’m only
sorry to be such a lot of bother.”

The doctor was a busy, studious, absent-minded
man, who devoted most of his mind to hig
patients and his books. He rarely talked to his
children, and no one could have less idea of their
real characters, or rather the characters that they
were forming, than he, though he was their father
and lived under the same roof. He looked at
Dick now with a shade of surprise.

“ Pshaw!” was all he answered.

The telegraph message was sent, and Marion
and Patty were almost more delighted at the
prospect of having so much of Dick’s society

than sorry for the injury to his ankle. As for
(410) D



50 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

Bee the doctor never thought any more about
her, so that her long journey on the Cowens’
behalf remained unknown to those whom she
had hoped to please.

“ Marion,” said Dick, as his eldest sister sat by
his side on the Sunday morning, while Aunt Emily
and the other children were gone to church,
“talk to me, Tell me what you do with your-
self day after day in Haycombe.”

Marion obeyed. She always found it easy to
talk to Dick, and as he lay silently looking at
her and did not interrupt, she ran on from one
thing to another, telling him all the little bits of ©
news that amused them in the village—how Ted
Oxley had just come out in an Eton suit and a
tall hat on Sundays; how Mrs. Turner’s baby,
which was only two years old, had got lost, and
was found to have walked away by itself an
immense distance; and how several of Mr. Haw-
thorne’s Brahma hens had disappeared, and no
one could guess who had taken them.

“JT should think it was the Goblin, only that I
can’t imagine what she would do with them,”
said Marion. “She looks bad enough for any-
thing—ugh!” and she finished with a shudder.



SUNDAY MORNING. 51

“Thad forgotten the Gob—that little creature,”
said Dick, “ until she came and fanned me yester-
day. I remember now, you disliked her very
much when I was at home before. Poor little
wretch! It must be awful to be so deformed.
I don’t wonder she isn’t very amiable.”

“ Oh, she doesn’t mind it. I daresay she thinks
she’s very nice-looking. I have heard papa say
that dwarfs and deformed people are always
vain. What do you think she did yesterday?
We were all sitting under the big oak-tree on the
green when she came creeping up behind, and
suddenly popped out and made such a face at
Dolla that the poor little pet screamed out and
fell down with fright.”

Dick looked grave, but said nothing. Yet this
incident, as Marion put it, made him begin to
feel the same dislike for Bee that was felt by the
rest of the children at Haycombe.

“She couldn’t be nice with such a face as that,”
Marion went on. “It shows she’s horrid, that
there isn’t anyone who likes her; even her own
aunts say they don't know what to do with her,
she’s so sulky. I used not to notice her much,
but now I hate her.”



52 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

-“Oh, no, don’t do that,” cried Dick quickly.
“Perhaps she isn’t so bad as you think; but even
if she is, she must be very unhappy.”

“ Well, ib serves her right. So she ought to be.
Never mind her. Let’s talk about something
else.”

The subject was forgotten, but the bad impres-
sion of Bee was left on Dick’s mind.

This very morning Bee had risen and dressed
herself in the best of humours. She made over
again her resolve to be perfectly unselfish, to
keep her temper whatever happened, to care for
nothing but being of use to other people. She
had succeeded so well yesterday, and was so sure
that Marion would know what she had done, and
be pleased with her in consequence, that she sang
a little song to herself, until her aunt rapped on
the door and reminded her that it was Sunday.

It did not take much to crush Bee. The sharp
rap and reproving voice were like a cold chill,
and she felt no longer inclined to sing or laugh.
She went down to breakfast with a grave and
sober face, but it was not ill temper that made
her serious. Nor was she altogether unhappy,
for she was looking forward to seeing some of



SUNDAY MORNING. 53

the Cowens either going to or coming from
church.

But things did not turn out quite as she ex-
pected. On the way to church with her two
aunts she did not see them. As they were leav-
ing, in coming down the aisle, she was following
so closely in her eagerness that she trod upon
Miss Cowen’s dress, and Miss Cowen half turned
and frowned, and muttered:

“Careless child! why don’t you notice where
you're going?” For the doctor's sister was very
particular about her dresses.

And Patty and Dolla took care not to look at
her, though they knew she was close behind.
Marion was at home with Dick.

Bee was dreamy and rather sad after they
returned home. She had not the heart to try
and interest herself in a book.

In the afternoon Miss Burn called her niece
to her.

“T’ve something for you to do, child,” she said.
“I’m tired of seeing you lolling about doing
nothing. Get your hat and take this note round
to the doctor’s, It’s to ask him to call to-morrow
morning and see Aunt Sarah, as I’m afraid she’s



54 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,.

going to be ill. And give them my kind regards,
and I should be glad to know if the ankle is
better.” :

“Yes, aunt,” said Bee, quietly enough, and she
_ ran up to her bed-room, where she laughed aloud
for pleasure, and danced about as she put on her
hat and gloves.

Her reward had come at last. Miss Cowen’s
frown, the way in which Patty and Dolla had
avoided looking at her, were both forgotten. She
was to-go to their house—to knock at the door
—to speak to them—perhaps even to be asked in!







CHAPTER VII.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

EES eyes sparkled, a faint colour came into

her cheeks, her lips parted in a smile, as

she skipped along the road. For once in her life
she looked like a child, because she was happy.

She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts
that she did not glance nervously about her as
usual to see if she were being laughed at, or made
the subject of remark. There were a few children
scattered on the green, but she did not notice
them. For the time she was as careless of ob-
servers, and as far from expecting to be teased,
as if she had been like other people.

But this pleasant frame of ‘mind was not to
last long. All at once she was brought to a stand-
still by a boy suddenly planting himself before
her, and dancing from side to side with out-
stretched arms so as not to let her pass. This



56 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

was the eldest of the six boys from the third
white house. He and his brothers had come out
for a little fun, having slipped secretly out by
the back-door, while their mother supposed them
to be quietly reading Sunday books in the dining-
room. Their name was Oxley, they had red hair,
all of them in different shades, and they were the
worst of the miseries of Bee’s life.

The curious thing about them was that they
all looked about nine years old, though, in fact,
one was ten, two were nine, two were eight, and
one was seven; but the two pairs of twins were
much the same size, the one who was ten was
rather small for his age, and the one who was
seven rather tall. All six now gathered round
the deformed girl with their eyes twinkling mis-
chievously.

Bee made one or two attempts to pass them,
then, finding it useless, stood still.

“Will you let me go by, please?” she asked
quietly.

“Where are you going?” demanded one of the
boys.

“To the doctor’s.”

“ What for?”



SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 57

“To take a note.”

“Well, give it to me, and I'll take it for you.
I’m going there myself.”

“No, thank you,” said Bee.

“Just as you like. But you sha’n’t go just yet.
We want you.”

“Oh, please, don’t stop me,” said the little girl
entreatingly. “It can’t make any difference to
you, and it makes a great deal to me.”

The eldest Oxley laughed mockingly, and took
a little spring off the ground, then thrust his head
forward and peered into her face.

“Why don’t you go, then, if you're in such a
hurry? Pray, don’t let us detain you.”

Bee turned to the right, to try and get round
this living obstacle; but the boys moved as she
moved, and still barred the way.

“Once more, will you let me pass?” she asked,
still quietly.

“What will happen if we don’t? Shall you go
and tell auntie?”

The deformed girl became pale with rising
anger, but stood waiting in silence. They must
get tired of this, she thought, if she made no
resistance, and did not amuse them by getting



58 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

into a passion; but it was very hard to keep quiet
with all those laughing, provoking faces dancing
round her. As she kept her temper Ted Oxley,
the eldest, started a little song which had had the
effect of producing a storm of tears before now,
and began chanting:

“Tiumpy-Dumpy sat on a wall,
Humpy-Dumpy had a great fall;”

this little change in the nursery rhyme making
it, in the boys’ minds, fit Bee, one of whose nick-
names was “ Humpy.”

His brothers joined in, and the two lines were
repeated over and over again. But the victim
did not move. She was watching attentively for
a loophole of escape, and was prepared to make
a dash for it as soon as a break should occur in
the ring. At the same time she was reminding
herself of all her new resolutions to be good and
nice to everybody. It would spoil all-if she were
to get cross. But by degrees she began to think
it was scarcely worth while to be nice to such
horrid boys as these, who were never so happy
as when they were trying to make her miser-
able.



SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 59

“You may just as well let me go,” she said,
after a few minutes passed in this way. “Ishall
stay here until you do.”

“Oh, we're in no hurry,” cried Ted. “We can
wait as long as you can, I daresay.”

Bee looked at his mischievous, teasing face,
with a flash in her eyes. She opened her lips,
closed them again firmly, and was silent, only just
saving herself from an angry reply. Ted laughed
scornfully, and began a fresh song:—

“There was a little goblin, as I’ve heard tell—
Tol-lol, lol de riddle dol”—

which the others took up, until Bee stopped them
by asking in the most beseeching tone:

“Won't you please just let me take my note,
and then tease me as much as you like as I come
back?”

“Won't you please give me your note to take
for you?” asked Ted, mimicking her imploring
voice so exactly that his brothers. shouted with
laughter. Then he began again—

“There was a little goblin, as I’ve heard—”

Bee’s patience was exhausted. She turned



60 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

scarlet, and threw herself upon him so suddenly
that she knocked him full length on the ground.
In another second she would have been off with
her letter; but Ted was quick enough to fling
his arm round her ankle as she was starting,
which proceeding tripped her up, so that she too
fell heavily. They both scrambled up, and Bee
made another start; but several hands seized her .
by the frock with a grasp from which she could
not shake herself free. She struck at the boys,
but they only laughed.

“Let me go! Let me go, I tell you!” she cried
furiously, all her self-control gone at last; but
her rage delighted her tormentors, who laughed
more and more.

“Let's make her prisoner—prisoner of war!
It’s a regular battle! Liet’s tie her hands!” cried
first one and then another. Bee fought hard for
her liberty—kicking, scratching, and pinchine—
which only made her captors more determined.
They were six to one—six strong sturdy boys
against one weak little girl. She was quite
powerless, and her hands were soon tied behind
her by means of two or three pocket-handker-
chief,



SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 61

“Search the prisoner,’ cried Ted, then; and
while two of his brothers held her by the arms
the others sought among the folds of her dress
for her pocket, from which they drew out first
the note to the doctor, then a handkerchief, a
thimble, a small doll, a piece of india-rubber,
a pencil, and a paper containing a few acid-
drops.

“Qh, jolly!” cried Ted. “We'll divide these”—
which he proceeded to do. “As for this thing—
this dear little dolly—I’m going to take care of
it for you for the present, because you're too old
for dolls. And this note I'll attend to,” and he
placed it in his own pocket. “The other things
are forfeits, and we'll settle by and by what she’s
to do to get them back again. You take care of
‘them, Phil.”

Bee looked wildly round for a grown-up person
to come to her aid; but no one was to be seen
except Mrs. Turner’s two shock-headed little
urchins, who were running towards the group.
eager to see what was going on. For, on a
Sunday afternoon in Haycombe, as there was
no service at the church, most of the elder
people were sitting indoors either reading or



62 -THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

dozing, and few even of the children were
about.

She did not scream for help, as she was not
being hurt; but all her better feelings were over-
come for the time, and she was intensely, pas-
sionately angry. She hated these boys. At the
- moment there was no way in which she would
not gladly have hurt them if she could. The
glances she gave them were almost enough to
excuse the bad opinion they held of her temper.
She looked ready to pinch, seratch, or even to
bite, if she were goaded much further.

“Now we'll have a real game,” cried Phil
Oxley, one of the biggest twins. “She's a wild
Indian, and we've taken her prisoner. Bring her
_ along to the oak-tree, and we'll think what’s to
be done with her for scalping our friends.”

Struggling and resisting, Bee was half pushed,
half dragged to the tree. When they reached it,
two boys held her firmly by the arms, while the
others stood and stared at her, enjoying her look
of helpless rage.

“She’d look more like a savage without her
hat,” said Ted, snatching it off and tossing it on
to the bench. “ Now let’s make her hair rough—



SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 63

oh! that’s splendid. My dear goblin, you look
the very image of a Red Indian. I wish I could
draw, I’d take your portrait.”

This last was too much for Bee. She gave one
loud and piercing shriek, which sounded far
enough across the green. The boys looked at
each other in affright.

“JT say! sha’n’t we catch it if anybody comes!”
cried Ted. “Come along, boys!” And he set off
at a run in the direction of his father’s house,
with his five brothers tearing after him at full
speed. 4 ,

Left in this sudden way, Bee tried to get her
hands free; but they were too tightly bound to-
gether with the handkerchiefs, which the boys
had forgotten. The only result of her wild cry
was that certajn people put their heads out of
their doors and looked about for the meaning of
the scream they had heard, but, seeing only the
Oxleys scampering home, and two or three quiet
figures under the oak, put it down to “Some non-
sense” on the children’s part, and went in again.

Poor Bee writhed and wriggled to get free
from her bonds, but in vain. The little Turners
were watching her. She spoke to them.



64 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“Undo this for me, will you?” She was too
angry to say, “ please.”

They giggled, and walked backwards away
‘from her. At this Bee burst into indignant
tears.

Her note was gone. Her hat had fallen from
the seat and lay in the dust under the tree. She
was bound. Her hair was wildly tossed about
her face. Her new cashmere frock was torn and
tumbled. And, to complete her misery, there was
a great scratch across her face, which she could
feel though she could not see.

There was only one thing to do—to go home
and tell what had befallen her; but she could not
go without her hat. She had to pick it up with
her hands tied behind her back—a feat by no
means easy without a good deal of practice,—and
there were the two. dirty half-clothed little chil-
dren shouting with laughter at every attempt
she made. :

But she had it at last, and started home, when
to her horror she saw the school-house door open,
and troops of children poured out from “Sunday-
school,” and spread across the green towards
her.



SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 65

It was not long before her strange appearance
was noticed, Then there were shrieks of delight,
which she tried not to hear, as she walked silently
forward, carrying her hat hanging from her tied
hands.

Not one of the lookers-on took pity on her,
or offered to help her. No wonder Bee looked
upon them as so many bitter enemies, as they
streamed after her, and chattered and laughed
and .asked each other what it could mean, until
she vanished from their sight into the open front
door of her aunt’s house. When she lad dis-
appeared they turned back and ran across the
green to ask the little Turners what had been
going on.

Bee’s first idea when she entered was to get
quietly up to her bed-room without being seen,
there to try again to set her hands at liberty.

‘She was exhausted with what she had gone
through, and extremely excited with the. mix-
ture of anger against everybody and disappoint-
ment with herself for having broken her resolve
to keep her temper, whatever happened.

Confused and giddy, with her breath coming

almost in sobs, she started to go upstairs. .
(410) E



66 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

When she had mounted two or three steps
everything swam round-her, and she fell help-
lessly to the mat at the foot of the staircase.
Miss Burn, rushing out of the drawing-room at
the noise, found her lying there, white and in-
sensible.





WAY WINING?

NL,
SS) BH



CHAPTER VIIL

TEA AT THE COWENS’..

F anyone had understood Bee and sympa-
thized with her on that Sunday morning
—if there had been anyone to talk to her and
help her to keep hold of what was right—the
bad side of her nature would have had the
worst of it, and the good side might perhaps
always have had the upper hand. But as things
happened, it was the bad side. that was en-
couraged all that day—so much so that the
good went quite out of sight, and it was no
wonder that Miss Burn began to think it was
not there at all.

When she came to herself again after her
fall, she was lying on the dining-room sofa,
and Miss Burn was bathing her temples with
cold water, As she recovered her senses her



68 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

aunt’s expression changed from anxiety to sur-
prise and disapproval.

“Where have you been, child? And what
on earth have you been doing to get in this
state?”

Bee did not answer.

“Who tied your hands?”

No reply.

“ And how did you get this great mark across
your face? Have you any idea what you look
like, Bee? A bleeding scratch on your cheek,
streaks made by tears and dirt from your eyes
to your chin, your clothes completely spoilt,
your hat in such a condition that it will
never look fit to be seen again. I suppose
you have been with those Oxleys by the marks
on the pocket- handkerchiefs? What business
had you playing with them instead of taking
my note? By the way, did you go to the
doctor's?”

“No,” said Bee.

“You didn’t! I never saw anything like you,
Bee. You can’t be trusted out of one’s sight
for a minute. Where’s the note? IT’ll send
Suzette with it.”



TEA AT THE COWENS’. 69

seal paren got it. One of those boys took
it away.”

Miss Burn drew her Syebiows together, but
said nothing. She was both angry and annoyed,
but her niece looked so pallid and ill that she
had not the heart to scold her any more, but
made up her mind to punish her afterwards by
depriving her of some treat.

“What's the matter with you?” she asked after
a few minutes’ pause. “What made you faint?
Are you not well?”

“T don’t know,” Bee returned sullenly.

Her aunt said no more, but folded the hand-
kerchiefs neatly together, wrapped them up in
thin paper, wrote a fresh note to Dr. Cowen, and
sent out her servant Suzette to deliver the note
and packet at the houses for which they were
intended.

Bee remained pale and wretched-looking for
the rest of the day, and that night she hardly
slept at all, but lay tossing from side to side,
with the events of the afternoon going on over
and over again in her mind.

The next day she appeared no better, but
nobody noticed her, for her Aunt Sarah was ill,



70 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.-

and Miss Burn was quite taken up in nursing
and waiting upon her sister. On the Tuesday
afternoon the doctor, coming away from his visit
to her aunt, stopped and looked at the little girl,
who was standing in the doorway with her hands
folded and an old, old, eare-worn look on her face
‘and in her eyes.

“ Hallo!” he said in an undertone. “What's
the matter with you?”

“Nothing, Dr. Cowen, thank you,” stammered
Bee.

He sat down on the little seat in the porch,
drew her forward, and observed her attentively,
holding her small, limp hand in his.

“Humph,” he muttered after a few seconds of
thought. “I think I understand your com-
plaint.”

“But I’m not‘ill,” she ventured timidly.

“Yes, you are,” said the doctor releasing her
hand. “You are suffering from the complaint
called low spirits. A little cheerful society would
be the best medicine. Get your hat and come
home with me.”

A bright colour flew into Bee’s face in an
instant.



TEA AT THE COWENS’.. 71

“Tl ask auntie if I may,” she said breathlessly,
and darted into the house, The doctor sat still
musing and forgetting to think her long. At
last she came slowly back.

“I can’t come, thank you,” she told him in
a low tone as Dr. Cowen turned his eyes towards
her and saw traces as of tears hastily wiped
away.

“Can't come? Nonsense!. Why not?”

“ Auntie says I don’t deserve a treat,” said Bee
in the same feeble voice, her words almost dying
away with the struggle to keep from crying.

The doctor laid his hand on her shoulder and
gave it a kindly pressure.

“Stop a minute. Il go and talk to Miss
Burn,” he said, and he re-entered the house.
Bee twined' her fingers together and scarcely
breathed until a few minutes afterwards she
heard her aunt’s voice calling her. She ran in.

“Get ready quickly.. You may go,” were the
words that greeted her, and she saw the doctor’s '
smile. She stopped to hear nothing more, but
darted off to her room.

_. “YPve told Miss Burn not to send for you till
half-past nine,” said Dr. Cowen as he walked



72 ‘THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

down the road with Bee’s hand in his. “You
see, my boy Dick is obliged to lie perfectly still
for the present, and as that’s a tedious business
for him, poor fellow, I thought it would do him
good to have a visitor.”

She gave him a delighted glance. Her good
side was uppermost again, and shone through her
dark little face.

“Tt was an old woman I spoke to in the door-
way just now,” thought the doctor, “but this is a
child!” Then he said aloud, as something came
into his mind: “Dear me! It was surely you
who sent me home in such a hurry on Saturday.
How did you come to be out there by Maddox’s?”

“T walked there,” Bee answered.

“You did? What for?”

“To look for you,” said Bee with a face as red
as fire under the doctor's quiet attentive gaze.

“Upon my word! And how did you get home?”

“T walked home too,” she answered simply.

Dr. Cowen muttered an exclamation to him-
self.

“Poor little woman!” he added aloud. “Why
didn’t you ask me to give you a lift? I was so
wrapped up in one thing and another I never



TEA AT THE COWENS’.. 73

thought of your having’ come all that way to
find me.”

Bee smiled happily. She wished she had such
another opportunity to be of use.

“Here we are!” said the doctor directly after
as he opened his own gate. “Come along,” and
he led her into the house she had so often longed
to enter.

“I expect they’re all with Dick,” he said put-
ting his head first into one then into another of
the rooms on the ground floor and finding them —
empty. “Come. We'll go and take them by
surprise.”

Accordingly they climbed the stairs together
and stood on the landing surrounded by bed- -
room doors. From within one came a sound of
merry chatter and laughing.

The doctor opened this door and glanced in.

“Well, you people!” he cried cheerily, “I’ve
brought you a visitor. Come in, my dear,” and
he drew Bee into the room.

There were only Marion and Patty with Dick.

All three gazed at the new arrival in extreme
surprise, which, with the girls, had in it a mixture
of vexation.



74 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMPE,

“There you are! Now you must entertain
each other,’ said their father, quite unconscious
of having spoiled a pleasant hour. “Well, Dick,
my lad, how’s the foot?”

“Not so bad as it was,” said the boy with a
smile, as he held out his hand to Bee, who stood
hesitating and shy with her eyes on the floor.
“How do you do, Bee? I remember you, though
_ I daresay you have forgotten me.”

“T must be off; I’ve heaps of letters to write,”
said the doctor then. “This young woman is to
have tea with you, and will be fetched at half-
past nine, so I'll leave you to amuse each other.
Good-bye.”

He nodded to them as he went out of the door.
It closed, and there followed a dead silence.
Marion’s astonishment and indignation at having
the “horrid little thing” to entertain for such a
length of time tied her tongue, and she could not
find a word to say. Patty was waiting to see
what the others would do before she would
venture to speak herself. Bee was divided
between delight at finding herself there and an
uneasy feeling that she was not welcome. Dick
was studying her with curiosity.



TEA AT THE COWENS’. 75

“Won't you take off your hat and gloves as
* you're going to stop?” he said. “You can put
them on the dressing-table or anywhere.”

Bee silently obeyed. After that Marion placed
her a chair, she sat down, and they all tried hard
to think of something to say. Dick was the
first to hit upon a subject.

“ Are you fond of cats?” he asked,

“Yes, very,” said Bee. .

“Ts yours a bad-tempered one?”

“Ours! Wehaven’tone. Aunt Sarah wouldn’t
have one in the house.”

“Qh,” said Dick, “I thought you had one by
that scratch on your face.”

Bee blushed and laughed.

“That wasn’t done by a cat,” she replied.

“A dog, then?”

“No,” said Bee. “It was a boy.”

Dick opened his gray eyes wide. “Why, it
sounds as though you had been fighting,” he
said. To that Bee made no answer. She would
not tell tales about the Oxleys.

By this time Marion had recovered from her
annoyance sufficiently to see that she must be
at least civil. She joined in and talked, but Bee



76 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

was quick enough to feel that there was no real
kindness in her manner, and her first pleasure
gradually died away. She became solemn and
silent, guessing that they were not inclined to
like her, and that even Dick regarded her with
a kind of suspicion.

_ However, things brightened a little when Aunt
Emily came in for half an hour and brought
Dolla. Then tea made a little diversion, and
when it was cleared away a little of the stiffness
and shyness had worn off. Yet Bee was bitterly
disappointed. The time had flown so fast, and
she had made no progress at all. She felt that
they would never like her, never treat her as if
she were anyone else.

Between seven and eight o'clock Cecil Haw-
thorne came in, and was so warmly welcomed
that Bee contrasted this with the way in which
she had been received. i

“Oh, come in, Cecil! This is jolly!” from
Dick. And, “Cecil! How nice!” from Marion
and Patty. And he was pulled in and room
made for him close to the bed.

He looked a good deal surprised at the
sight of Bee installed in Dick’s room, and



‘TEA AT THE COWENS’. 77

whispered to Patty, “What's the Goblin here
for?” though not in so low a voice as he might
have used, for Bee heard, and the quick rush of
colour to her face betrayed the fact. She became
more subdued than before, and was so quiet that
anyone might have been excused for thinking
her both dull and stupid.

Cecil had plenty to say. He chattered of this
and that, saving the others all the trouble of
talking, and keeping them laughing by his odd
way of putting things, with just enough ex-
aggeration to make them funny without being
exactly untrue.

When it began to get dark Miss Cowen brought
in a lamp and placed it on a small table by
Dick’s side, with instructions to the little party
to be very careful not to upset it.

Then Dick proposed a game of cards, which
they played with the cards spread out on the
sheet before the invalid, and the players sitting
round the bed.

Bee was now perfectly silent. She played in
a mechanical way without thinking of what she
was doing, for she knew it was nearly time to
go home, and instead of her having made friends



78. THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

with the Cowens, she fancied they disliked her
more than before.

“T say, Miss Bee,” said Cecil suddenly, “ you're
cheating.”

“Tm not!” she cried indignantly.

“Yes, you are. We ought not to look at our
cards, and I saw you looking at yours.”

“JT didn’t look at them.”

“Yes, you did.”

“No, I did not!”

“Don’t quarrel!” said Dick gently. “Never
mind. Let’s go on.”

“T don’t care to play if you don’t believe me,”
Bee cried.

“Well, we can’t both be believed,” said Cecil,
who was growing too angry to be polite. “I
say you were cheating, and anyone would believe
me before you. We all know what you are!”
“Its a story, and I hate you!” cried Bee
starting up and throwing her cards on the floor.
She stepped back quickly, forgetting that the
table was just behind her. It gave way with
her weight, the paraffin lamp was slipping off,
and in another second would have been on the
floor. Dick was the only one who saw it, and,



TEA AT THE COWENS’. 79

realizing the danger, sprang forward, caught and
saved it in the very act of falling. In a minute
Marion had taken it from him to place it in
safety, as Dick sank back on his pillows.

“Oh, my foot! It’s all gone wrong again!”
he gasped. “Fetch father, somebody—quick!”











CHAPTER IX,

CECIL AND DICK.

ia an instant all was confusion. Patty flew

down-stairs to fetch the doctor, Marion wrung
her hands in dismay, and bent over Dick, who
lay back on his pillows nearly fainting, Bee shrank
into the shadow, trembling and frightened, and
Cecil looked at her with a half-startled, half-mali-
cious expression, and whispered:

“Now you've done it, and I hope you're
happy!”

Then the doctor came hurriedly in, and dis-
missed every one from the room except Aunt
Emily, who had followed him. As the children
went down to the ground floor, Bee saw by their
manner that they all looked upon her as the
direct cause of the catastrophe, and, feeling that
she was not really more to blame than Cecil, who



CECIL AND DICK. 81

had quite a virtuous and shocked air, her sorrow
for what had occurred changed into anger and
defiance.

“But how did you manage to do it?” asked
Patty, who had been looking another way, and
so had only seen the result.

“Well, it was all through Bee cheating—”
began Cecil glibly. But Bee interrupted:

“I didn’t cheat. How dare you say so!”

“And because I told her about it,” the boy
went on, pretending not to hear, “as you saw, she
went into a temper, threw down her cards, and
knocked the lamp over, and if Dick hadn’t
jumped up and caught it, the house would have
been set on fire.”

“Do you mean to say that I upset the lamp on
purpose?” cried Bee, her cheeks aflame.

“Tt looked very much like it,” said Cecil—
“didn’t it, Marion?”

As he turned to Marion, Bee turned and looked
at her eagerly too.

“No. It was an accident, wasn’t it? you know

it was an accident, don’t you?” ghe asked.
(410) F



82 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

Marion drew back from her, and shook her
head.

“J didn’t see,” she replied coldly.

Just then Suzette arrived to fetch Bee home,
though it was earlier than the time Dr. Cowen
had fixed. Marion ran up to fetch her “things,”
which had been left in Dick’s bed-room. She
looked pale and subdued when she came down.

“Papa is very angry,” she said, “and auntie says
that all the good that was cone is quite spoiled.
It is being set all over again.”

Bee stared at her with widely opened, Marseed
eyes.

“All through me!” she thought to herself, and
then, “Oh, I wish I had never come!” she cried,
and burst into tears.

Marion felt something rise in her throat, and
her first impulse was to throw her arms round
the deformed child, kiss her, and bid her take
‘comfort, for they all knew she had not intended
to do any harm. But she steeled herself against
this softer feeling, and handed her her gloves
without speaking.



CECIL AND DICK. 83

Bee dashed away her tears, and looked from
Marion to Patty, and from Patty to Cecil, with a
glance so piercing it seemed as though it must see
even what thoughts were in their minds. All
three were watching her as if she were some
kind of wild animal they did not quite under-
stand—there was not a gleam of sympathy
visible anywhere. The result of this sharp
examination was that Bee turned quickly away,
walked out of the room, and, without so much
as saying “good-bye” to anyone, went. straight
home with Suzette, who came to the conclu-
sion that “Miss Bee was in one of her tan-
trums.”

The fact was that Dick was really worse than
he had been before. Being weak from lying
still, in this low state the painful operation of
re-setting upset hisnerves. He became so ill and
feverish that Aunt Emily did not like to leave
him, and sat up with him the whole night through,
while he lay sometimes in a half-dozing state,
- Mnurmuring a few words now and then, too in-
distinctly for their meaning, if there were ‘any,



84 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

to be caught—sometimes awake and gazing at
her with his eyes feverishly bright.

Once he startled Miss Cowen by starting up on
his elbow with a faint ery of alarm.

“There it goes!” he whispered excitedly.
“Stop it! Stop it! It will fall—we shall all be
burned!”

“Why, Dick!” said his aunt, laying her hand
on his shoulder and pressing him back into the
bed, “what’s the matter? What are you going
to do?”

“T was dreaming, I think,” he said gently, and
sighed, and lay still.

A little later he sprang up again.

“Fire! The house is on fire! It was the lamp!
~ Oh, auntie, is that you? Did I wake you? I’m
so sorry. I have such bad dreams to-night.”

And once more he lay quietly with closed eyes,
so that she thought him asleep, and took a little
nap herself in her chair.

The next morning the doctor went to pay his
visit to Miss Sarah Burn, who was not yet better.
When he left, Bee was standing in the door-



CECIL AND DICK. 85

way, as she had been on the previous day, having
placed herself there in the hope that he would
speak to her. She was trembling with excite-
ment, and longing to ask how Dick was. The
very words were all ready, and she looked up as
he passed, opening her lips to speak; but instead
of the friendly glance of yesterday, she found his
eyes fixed upon her so coldly and sternly that she
shrank into herself as if frozen up.

After that chilling disapproving look he took
no further notice of her and passed on; but that
had been enough and too much for Bee. The
kindest face she had known had changed to her
——he was offended—he had done with her. It
was useless, she thought, for her to try to please
anyone—useless to try to be good. She bit her
lips, forced back the rising sobs, ran up to her
room and shut the door with a bang.

Cecil Hawthorne paid Dick Cowen a visit every
afternoon. Dick did not particularly like him;
but Cecil was amusing, because he had always
something to say, and to be amusing, unfortu-
nately, often makes people as welcome as to be



~

86 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

nice. He had quite a talent for collecting bits of
news and gossip, and would talk ‘on and on with-
out giving his listener much trouble in the matter
of answering. At the present time the chief
subject of conversation was Bee, whose various
proceedings greatly interested all the other chil-
dren of Haycombe.

“That little Humpy’s an awful child,” said
Cecil two days after the accident with the
lamp.

“I’m not so sure of that,” said Dick thought-
fully; “she looks to me as though she might be
as good as anyone else, if somebody took a little
trouble with her.” __

Cecil laughed scornfully.

“Not she! What do you think she did this
morning? Pip Oxley—the youngest one, you
know—just to tease her, ran after her and asked
her to give him one of her curls—she’s aw-
fully vain of her long curls. Well, she wouldn't
take any notice. So what does Pip do but goes
and gets a pair of his mother’s scissors, and
comes up slyly behind her, when she’s sitting



CECIL AND DICK, 87

reading under the oak-tree, and before she guesses
what he’s up to snips off two long pieces of hair,
ever so thick. Up jumps the Goblin, sees him
with the hair in his hand, and gives him such a
whack with her book that he’s bowled right over
and down he comes on the ground, cuts his fore-
head open on a stone, and goes home crying.
And the fun of it is that soon after we saw Mrs.
Oxley go to see Miss Burn. Wouldn’t Miss Bee
catch it when she got in! And serve her jolly
well right!”

Dick’s eyes flashed with anger—a rare thing
with them, “I should like to go and shave Pip’s
head,” he said. “The poor little creature hasn’t
anything else pretty about her—he might leave
her her curls!”

“My mother says,” Cecil went on, “that Miss
Burn told her Bee has such sulky fits she doesn’t
know what on earth to do with her. She says
she’s more trouble than a dozen ordinary chil-
dren.”

Dick sighed. “TI feel as though it’s partly our
fault,” he said,





88 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMDE.

“Our fault! What do you mean?”

“We have all treated her very badly, you know.
What I think is, she can’t be bad all through;
and she must be very miserable.”

- «What a funny chap you are!” said Cecil, star-
ing and not in the least understanding his train
of thought.

“People are not often cross when they’re
happy,” pursued Dick. “And they’re generally
unhappy after they’ve been cross.”

“How do you know that?”

“That’s how it happens with me,” said Dick;
“and people are all very much alike underneath.”

“Oh, that’s all bosh!” cried Cecil, bursting into
alaugh. “People are not alike. They're as dif-
ferent as can be. There are bad people and good
people, and the bad ones are generally ugly, and
the good ones nice-looking. And when they’re
hideous, and stumpy, and humpy, and all that,
why, you may be pretty sure they’re extra bad.
That’s my opinion.” -

Dick shook his head as though he did not see
the force of this reasoning.



CECIL AND DICK. 89

“I think being disliked and ill-treated would
make almost anybody bad,” he said; “when I’m
better I mean to try and make friends with the
G—, with Bee.”







CHAPTER X,

HOSTILITIES.

HE next day Cecil had a fresh story with
which to amuse the invalid.

“What do you suppose Humpy’s been doing
now?” he inquired, directly he entered the
room.

“T don’t know. Don’t tell me,” said Dick.

“Yes, I shall, as you think her such a paragon,”
returned Cecil, who never could entertain a
moderate view of people or things, but went
straight from one extreme to the other. “Ted
Oxley was sailing his new ship on the pond be-
hind the church this morning, and left it on the
grass while he ran home for some string or some-
thing. He wasn’t away many minutes, but when
he got back all the sails were torn into rags, and



HOSTILITIES. 91

there was a big hole in the bottom. What do
you think of that?”

“Perhaps it wasn’t Bee at all.”

“Oh, but it was, though. He met her coming
away from the pond as he went back. Now,
don’t you call that a spiteful trick? And to Ted
Oxley, who’s the best-tempered fellow going!
_ Oh, wasn’t he savage! I pity the Goblin next
time they meet! But isn’t she a little wretch ?”

Dick was silent and looked depressed and
melancholy. When Cecil was gone, he asked his
father if Bee might come to tea again.

“No,” said the doctor, in a tone of decision. “I
think we’ve had enough of that.” And Dick said
no more. :

A fortnight of beautiful summer weather passed
slowly by, and during all that time Dick had to
lie still. Marion was his constant companion,
and they had so many long quiet talks together,
that a change came over the girl and altered the
very expression of her face. Her brother’s ways of
looking at things, his modes of thought, gradually
took possession of her mind, and she saw the



92 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

people around her as she had never seen them
before. She became gentler and softer in manner,
and her voice had a different tone.

Cecil never came in without some fresh esca-
pade of Bee’s to relate, but, so far, neither Marion
nor Dick had seen the child again. Marion
rather welcomed everything that helped to con-
vince her of Bee’s thoroughly bad disposition, as
the only means of getting rid of the uneasy
troublesome feeling she had at times that she
herself had repulsed and snubbed her on several
different occasions. There was comfort in think-
ing that she had deserved the cold treatment
she had received.

Miss Sarah Burn was as yet no better, and her
sister was always by her side, for she required
constant care and attention. Therefore Bee was
left to her own devices from morning till night,
and the whole village, seeing her wandering
about aimlessly, with nothing to do, had come to
put down every misdemeanour to her account.

For instance, Farmer Robinson’s field - gate,
which had been closed and tied with a rope, was



HOSTILITIES, 93

undone and placed wide open, so that the cows
got out and strayed away for miles. Bee was
eredited with having done this simply from love
of mischief, though in reality the little Turners
were the culprits, they having untied the rope
that they might have the pleasure of swinging
on the gate.

The vicar’s apples were stolen; and the children
_all looked at Bee in church when Mr, Hawthorne
preached a sermon on stealing. -

A little girl left her doll on the bench under
the oak-tree, and, when she went back for it,
found it had been completely picked to pieces
and the saw-dust emptied on the ground. And in
this case the offender was really Bee, and the
little girl was one who never saw Bee without
calling after her: “I say, Scarecrow! I say,
Hump-dumpy! I say, Goblin!” And it was Bee,
too, who found Cecil Hawthorne’s prize book
lying with his coat, which he had taken off to
play cricket, and made pencil-marks all over the
pages and otherwise defaced and injured it.

It was a civil war in Haycombe, with one little



94 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

deformed girl on one side and all the children of
the village on the other.

While this was going on the dark and sulky
look had grown fixed on Bee’s face, and the smile
that had at times made it pleasing and childlike
was never to be seen. She answered shortly and
sulkily when spoken to; she became openly dis-
obedient to Miss Burn, who could not understand
“what had come over the child,” as she expressed
it, and punished her by depriving her of any-
thing she thought would please her — which
course of treatment had not as yet produced any
good result. Bee was defiant in the daytime,
and every night she soaked her pillow with the
most miserable tears,

At the same time she grew thinner day by day
and the hollows round her eyes more marked.
She was always tired—when she arose in the
morning and when she went to bed at night, and
each day she felt more tired than the last.

Then Aunt Sarah became worse, and Bee’s
existence seemed to be almost forgotten. Some-
times whole days passed without her exchanging



HOSTILITIES. 95

a word with anyone. She had her meals alone,
she walked about alone, she went to bed alone. It
almost seemed as though she grew more deformed
at this period, as she certainly became more un-
attractive in appearance. For the war was too
unequal, and if it had continued much longer
Bee would have been quite extinguished, and
not only have ceased to fight, bub ceased to
live.

“It’s a terrible responsibility to have a child
on your hands—and such a child!” Miss Burn
had said to her sister. “I would never have
undertaken it if I had known.”

At last Dick was able to be out in a bath-chair,
and Marion and Patty wheeled him about the
lanes and across the green. They all looked out
for Bee, but she kept away and out of sight for
the first two days. On the third day they met
her, walking slowly along the road with a large
bunch of wild-flowers, which by contrast made
her look darker and more weird than ever.

Dick held out his hand to her with a smile.
“How do you do, Bee?”



96 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

She looked at him in surprise and distrust
while a faint colour mounted in her cheeks. But
though she stood still in the middle of the road,
she did not draw a step nearer.

“Won't you shake hands?” asked Dick almost
pleadingly.

Bee stepped back a little way and shook her
head. Marion moved towards her intending to
draw her forward, but at that she started away
and ran off at the top of her speed.

The three Cowens looked at each other in be-
wilderment.

“What's the matter with her?” cried Patty.
“She used not to be like that. Didn’t she look
dreadful? I felt quite afraid of her.”

Marion turned to Dick with the tears in her
eyes.

“Poor little thing!” she said in a low tone.
“She used to try and make friends with us a
little while ago. What shall we do?”

“Wait, and try again,” Dick answered.

But he was better and able to walk with a
stick before Bee allowed them to come within



HOSTILITIES. 97

speaking distance. She had acquired something
of the habits of a bird or a wild rabbit, and could
be often seen a good way off, though as soon as
anyone tried to approach her she darted away.



(410) G



aT IATATATANANS

fs

ZTE



CHAPTER XI.
THE HUNT.

AM to go back to London the day after to-
I morrow, Marion,” said Dick one afternoon.
“Father says my ankle’s cured, but I must never
play football again, and I’m to take great care
for a long time. I’ve written to uncle to tell him
when to expect me.”
Marion sighed and looked disconsolate.
“Let's enjoy these two last days as much as
. we can,” Dick went on. “I’m very disappointed
that we haven't succeeded in getting hold of poor
little Bee, and making her understand that we’re
not all deadly enemies; but you'll go on trying
-after I'm gone, and write and tell me about it,
won't you?”
Marion nodded. “Let’s go out,” she said. “Per-
haps we may meet with her to-day.”



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THE

CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.



BY

ANNIE S. FENN,

Author of “Olive Mount;” “ Ursula’s Aunt;” “A Blind Pupil;” “Jack’s Two
Sovereigns;” ‘“ Little Dolly Forbes;” &c.





LONDON:

BLACKIE & SON, 49 & 50 OLD BAILEY, EC,
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.


+H


CONTENTS.

CHAP.
I. “Tar Scarrorow,” .

TI, THE Bouquet,

III, Tae AccripENt,

IV. No Doctor,

V, SEEKING AND FINDING,

VI. Sunpay Mornine, . . .
VII. Sunpay AFTERNOON, ae
VIIL Tra at THE CowENs’, .

IX. Crom anp Dick,

X, Hosrisirius,

XL Tue Hunt,
XII. Tur Consequences,

XIII. Friends,

Page

17
22,
34
41
48
5B
67
80.
90
98

. 109

. 118


THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

CHAPTER I.
“THE SCARECROW.”

eS 4, ERE we go round the Maypole, the May-
pole, the Maypole!” chanted a number

sais] of children’s voices, as the singers
agneea round and round, with their hat ribbons
flying and their curls jumping up and down on
their shoulders. It was very hot weather, but
they did not seem to mind, for they skipped
round in a ring with their hands joined together,
and their faces growing redder and redder each
minute.

But it was not May, and there was no Maypole.
The only thing to be seen in the centre of the
ring was a baby too young to walk, which was


8 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

sitting on the dry grass sucking as many of its
fingers as could be persuaded to go into its
mouth.

“Here we go round the—oh! Here she comes!
Run!” ~

As some of the players let go the hands they
held, half the ring tumbled down at once, and
the others went staggering about nearly losing
their balance. But they quickly recovered, and
the next instant there was 4 chorus of,

“Run! Run! She's coming! She’s coming!”

And the baby’s sister snatched it up, and they
all scampered off as fast as their legs would carry
them, like somany mice when the cat comes into
sight. The sound of their laughter grew faint
in the distance, and their figures grew small, as
the cause of all this hurry and scurry stood on
the green alone, following them with her large
wistful eyes.

This green was the playground of the geese
and the children of Haycombe village, which was
situated in a pretty county in the south of Eng-
land. Haycombe was a good distance from
everywhere else, and several miles from a railway-
station. There was nothing very particular about
“THE SCARECROW.” 9

it to make it different from other villages; it
owned, beside the green, a church, an inn, a vicar-
age, a shop, three good-sized white houses, a large
number of cottages, and any quantity of children,
who were always growing up, while there were
always new babies coming to take their places.
The farms lying out in the fields not far away also
belonged to Haycombe, but with them and the
labourers’ dwellings round about them it was
only a tiny place, not worth marking on a
map.

It was a quiet little spot, where no strangers
ever came, and very few things happened from
the year’s beginning to its end. The children
were really the most noticeable point about it, as
they were too many to be counted. There were
few dwellings that could not boast at least a
baby, while under some roofs there were as many
as thirteen at once, all brothers and _ sisters.
Although the grown-up people were not scarce,
and many of them were interesting, too, in their
way, it is with the children that this story has
most to do, from the doctor’s young folks, who
lived at the largest of the white houses, and wore
pretty muslin frocks in summer and velveteen
IQ 2 THE CHILDREN O/ HAYCOMBE.

ones in winter, to the three barefooted, rough-
headed little creatures who belonged to Mrs.
Henry Turner. Mrs. Turner was the widow of
the man who used to mend all the broken win-
dows, make the hen-coops, and put the pumps in
order when they got wrong, until he died through
obstinately going down a well which he knew
was not safe. After that his widow used to go
out washing, or hop-picking, while her small
family went to school, or played on the green |
with the children who had shoes- cand stockings, Zz
and hair that was tidy at least onee’a day.y..-
The doctor's young people, “Who wo! hi
prettiest frocks that were ever seen in Haycomiap
were called Marion, Patty, and Dorothy Cowen,
_ and their ages were fourteen, eight, and three.
There was an older boy, Dick, who was sixteen,
who was generally away in London, __Their
mother was dead, and their aunt E fly, Dr.
Cowen’s sister, taught them, kept them in order,
made their clothes, and mended their stockings.
At another of the white houses lived Bee, who
stood there looking sadly after the merry party
who had been playing at “Here we go round the
Maypole.” Bee had no father or mother, but had —


‘rit SCARECROW.” 11

_ been adopted by her aunts, Miss Burn and Miss
Sarah Burn. She was deformed and very ugly,
and though she was thirteen she was not much
taller than Dolla Cowen.

It was the fashion among the children of Hay-
combe to hate Bee and call her names, such as
“The Scarecrow,” or “The Goblin,” not because
she was disagreeable, for they did not know
whether her temper was bad or good, as they
never spoke to her, but simply because her figure
was so ill-shaped, her head so set down between
her shoulders, and her pale, sharp little face so
old and weird-looking. .

Even the four small Hawthornes at the vicar-
age, who ought to have set.a better fashion, were
as bad as the rest. When they met Bee in their
walks they would whisper to each other, “Ugh!
here comes the Goblin! Don’t let’s look at her!”
And they would walk past with their heads
turned the other way, and burst into peals of
laughter as soon as they had left her behind.

At the third white house lived six little boys
of whom Bee was more afraid than of any one
else, as they were in the habit of running after
her, pulling her hair, or dancing round her with
12 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

joined hands, to shout with laughter at her frantic
endeavours to get away.

As for the school children, they were all per-
fectly agreed in thinking her a “nasty little
thing,” and a “horrid creature.” Each child,
taken by itself, was not naturally cruel or unkind,
but disliked Bee because all the rest did, and
perhaps partly from an idea that what people
did who wore the nicest dresses that ever were
seen must certainly be right. Besides, none of
the children took the trouble to think about any-
thing for themselves, as it was so much more
convenient and natural simply to imitate the
rest.

It was hardly to be expected in a place like
Haycombe, where all thought alike, from the best
dressed to the most ragged, that there would be
- any girl or boy with a mind strong enough to
venture on starting a fresh opinion, and think
it just possible that the deformed child was not
quite so bad as she was ugly. At anyrate there
was not such a one.

Bee came to Haycombe to live with her aunts
when she was eight, and she had been there for
five years without a single child making a friend
“THE SCARECROW.” 13

of her, or even speaking to her in good-natured
tones. She passed her time in learning such
things as Miss Burn chose to teach her, and in
wandering about alone on the green or in the
fields, watching the happier children’s games from
a distance, or gathering flowers and making them
into pretty bouquets, which she intended to give
to some one, in the hope of winning a smile or a
“thank you” in return. But these nosegays always
faded without being offered, for when it came to
the point her courage was too faint to risk the
possibility of being snubbed.

As a rule these flowers were intended in Bee’s
mind for Marion Cowen, whose bright smile and
soft brown eyes seemed to the deformed girl as
though they could only belong to one who,was
gentle and good. But Marion did not dream that
poor little Bee ever gave her a thought, and she
was so happy herself that the idea of anyone
being unhappy did not enter her head.

For, as Mrs. Hawthorne at the vicarage said,
the doctor’s children were allowed to “run wild.”
Dr. Cowen was always busy visiting his patients,
some of whom lived at a great distance; and Miss
Cowen was busier still with her teaching, dress-
14 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

making, and housekeeping, so that neither of them
had time to talk to Marion, or awaken the qualities
of love and sympathy at present lying asleep in
her nature. She was growing from childhood to
girlhood with the idea that there was nothing to
do in life but to learn one’s lessons and enjoy
one’s self.

It was summer just now, and the weather was
so often fine that the village “green” ought by
right to have had its name changed to the
“brown.” The earth was full of little cracks, and
the faces of the children were sunburnt and
freckled till they all looked like gypsies in spite
of their big sun-hats and shady print hoods.

“Tt’s too hot to walk,” said Marion Cowen this
same afternoon at about the time that the school
children were going round their Maypole repre-
sented by the baby. “Let’s take books and sit
under the old oak on the green. Come along,
Dolla. You may bring your puzzle or your
bricks, as you can’t read.”

“I shall bring my work,” said Patty, who was
fond of sewing, “and then you can read aloud to
us.”

There was no one sitting on the bench under
“THE SCARECROW.” 15

the old tree, so they had it all their own way.
Dorothy set out her bricks, and built houses with
them, with a few stones and sticks to help, Patty
- stitched away at a doll’s frock she was making,
and Marion read an interesting story without
troubling herself as to whether they listened or
not.

At the same time Bee, wandering about alone
—wishing that she could think of any way of
making friends with one at least of all the crowds
of children she saw every day, wishing that some-
thing would happen to oblige them to speak to
her, wishing most of all that she were like the
others in face and form—saw from the distance
this happy little party.

To be with them would be even more delight-
ful than to join in the game, “Here we go round
the Maypole,” for she was not really strong
enough for rough play.

In spite of her shyness, and her fear of being
unkindly received, she began to move slowly and
timidly in their direction.

They were so intent on what they were doing
that they did not see her as she crossed the green,
- so that the oak was between her and them, and,
16 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

screened by its thick trunk, she could come
nearer and nearer unnoticed. At last she was
close on the other side of the tree and could hear
every word that was said.

Bee was not very fond of reading to herself,
but she could enjoy a story when she heard it.
She grew interested in this, more so than Patty
or Dolla, and as it became more exciting she for-
got to keep out of sight, and, without knowing
it, moved gradually round the trunk until she
could fix her eyes on Marion.

Dorothy, or as she called herself “Dollafrey,”
busily piling one brick on another, suddenly
lifted her head and saw the pale odd face with
its great eager eyes peering from behind the tree.



(410)


CHAPTER II.

THE BOUQUET. —

OLLA gave a frightened shriek, and instantly

lost her balance, sitting down backwards on

the ground, and then opening her mouth ready for

a good scream. Marion dropped her book, sprang

to pick her up, and looked round for the cause of

the cry, which she discovered in Bee’s pale startled
face,

“Don’t cry, my darling! Go away this minute,
you naughty girl! How dare you terrify my
little sister like that! Go away this minute, do
you hear?”

Bee tried hard to speak, to stammer out some
excuse, to say she had not meant: to startle
the child, but these angry tones from Marion,
whom she admired so much, and longed so greatly
to please, took away the use of her tongue. She

coloured up to her hair, her lips parted but no
(410) ; B
18 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

sound came from them, and feeling it hopeless,
she turned away and walked slowly and sadly in
the direction of her own home.

Marion and Patty together soon succeeded in
bringing back Dolla’s smiles.

“It was only ‘the Goblin,’ you little goosie,”
said Patty, brushing the dust from the child’s
frock, and kissing her round red cheek. “You're
not afraid of her, surely.”

“Horrid little creature!” said Marion, looking
indignantly after Bee’s departing figure, which
was growing small in the distance. “Who'd have
thought of her creeping up in that sly way and
listening. There’s no telling how long she may
have been there. I wish I had known. How
funnily her aunts dress her!—she does look old-
fashioned. And how ugly she is! If I were as
ugly as that I really think I should keep out of
sight!”

And then the reading went on again, and
Patty re-threaded her needle, and Dolla began
to build a new castle, while all three let Bee
pass out of their minds.

But they had not passed out of hers. She
went sadly home, with tears standing in her eyes
THE BOUQUET. : 19

and the most miserable thoughts working in her
brain. She was naturally simple and affectionate,
and would willingly have loved all these children,
who were so much better off than herself in hav-
ing straight figures, and healthy, bright, happy-
looking faces. She would not have grudged
them these things if only they had been kind
to her, and treated her as one of themselves.
But by keeping her at a distance they were _
gradually teaching her to hate instead of to love
—to look upon other people as enemies instead
of as friends,

Half angry, half miserable, Bee went into her
aunts’ garden, and threw herself. down on the
grass near the little patch of ground which had
been given her for her own. In it was a rose-
bush, on which hung one beautiful rose, newly
opened. The child looked at it, without thinking
at first, and then, struck with an idea, she picked
the flower from the branch, gathered some of the
best leaves and put them round it, then laid it care-
fully on the grass while she went on to pluck every
other blossom there was in her garden. There
were the few last white pinks, a rosebud not yet
nearly out, a geranium or two, some mignonette,
20 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

and a fuchsia. To these she added all the young
leaves of her only fern, and then she sat down
to arrange the whole into a nosegay; which she
bound together with a strand or two of ribbon
grass. When it was done it looked so lovely
that she smiled at it with pleasure. Her good
temper had quite come back.

Carrying it lightly, so that the heat of her
hand should not cause the flowers to fade, she
set out across the green once more. Other chil-
dren stared at her as she passed them with her
beautiful posy, but she took no notice of them,
and walked straight to the big oak under which
the Cowens were still sitting.

At first they pretended not to notice her as she
went and stood shyly before them, but at last
Marion felt obliged to look up, and then Bee
held her flowers towards her.

“They’re for you; will you have them?” said
Bee in a trembling voice.

Marion did not stop to think.

_ “No, thank you,” she answered coldly. “Come,
Patty and Dolla, let’s go home.”

Dollafrey, who had just packed her bricks into

their box, clutched them under one fat arm, and
THE BOUQUET. 21

waddled after her elder sister, while Patty fol-
lowed. The deformed girl was left standing
there alone, with her flowers in her hand.

For a few seconds she made no movement.
Then she burst into tears, and throwing down
her nosegay trod the sweet flowers into the
ground.








CHAPTER IIL

THE ACCIDENT.

ISS SARAH BURN was very fond of her
garden, though, as she was often ill, she
was at times unable to attend to it. But when
she was well, and had a few spare minutes, she
used to put on a huge flat black hat which
usually hung on the umbrella stand, and a pair
of thick gardening gloves. With these protec-
tions against the sun and thorns she would set to
work to train her roses, pull up weeds, hunt out
caterpillars, slugs, and’ green-fly, and do many
other little things that were all included in what
she called “keeping the place tidy.”

She was pretty well this afternoon, and had
done so much hard work that she felt rather
tired and inclined to be easily annoyed. It was
quite a relief to her mind to find a large snail,
and she was occupied in crushing him and his
THE ACCIDENT. 23

house into one flat mass with her foot, as Bee
returned from the refusal of her peace-offering.
Hearing the gate latch click, telling her that
someone was coming in, she looked up, still
grinding the remains of the snail into the gravel.

“Oh, that’s you, is it?” she said, in a tone that
made her niece wish it had been anybody else,
for it foretold that she had for some reason or
other fallen into disgrace.

Bee walked slowly and unwillingly towards
her, but not until her aunt repeated her remark
did she make any reply. Then she said in no
very amiable tone:

“Yes, aunt.”

“Come here.”

So saying, Miss Burn led the way to Bee’s
little garden, and pointed to it with a trowel she
held in her hand.

“What is the meaning of this?”

Bee did not answer. She had not at all re-
covered from her anger and disappointment, and
there was a lump in her throat which made it
anything but easy to speak, when she looked at
her flowerless plants, and thought of the wasted
bouquet..
24 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

“Now, did I not tell you plainly when I gave
you this patch of ground,” said Miss Burn, “that
I expected you to keep it nice; and now I come
and find that you have cut every flower, just like
a baby of two or three years old.”

Bee was still silent.

“If you are to have a piece of garden, I cannot
have the look of it spoiled for every whim you
may take into your head. Pray, what did you
cut them for?”

“To give away,” said Bee in a low voice.

“And whom have you given them to, then?”

The lump swelled up in Bee’s throat again, and
her answer would not come. Her aunt looked at
her with impatience.

“T will not allow these sulky fits, child. Tell
me directly what I asked you, or else go to
your room until I give you leave to come down
again.”

Bee stood a minute trying to speak, and then,
feeling that things in general were very hard on
her, she went indoors and up to her bed-room.
She felt more angry than sorry,—angry with
Marion, with her aunt, with everyone. Marion’s
rebuff had done her a great deal of harm, by
THE ACCIDENT. 25

making her begin to think that everyone was
against her, and that her only course was to be
against everyone.

For nearly three hours she remained there
before her aunt recalled her, and during all that
time she was nursing the sense of wrong done to
her, and hardening herself into a more disagree-
able mood. ,

In consequence, when she went down, instead
of being only unhappy, she was really sulky,
which made matters worse. Her aunts were an-
noyed, and spoke sharply, and then Bee’s tears
began to flow. She took her work, and pretended
to sew, though she could not see for the tears,
and her aunts talked to each other, never speak-
ing a word to her, until it was necessary to tell
her it was bed-time. Then Bee stole off to bed
without saying “good-night,” or offering her usual
kiss.

“The child is growing to have a shocking tem-
per,’ said Miss Burn when she was gone. “Yes,”
said her sister, “she certainly doesn’t improve.
I wish she would make friends with some of the
other children; it would do her all the good in
the world.”
26 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

Miss Burn pondered a little, and sighed.

“Perhaps. we don’t quite understand her,” she
suggested after a while. “We have had so
little to do with children in our lives, and Bee is
very peculiar,—I suppose in consequence of her
misfortune. Her mother was peculiar, but then
she was very affectionate too. Now, Bee isn’t
affectionate—at least she never seems to be.”

“Oh, let her alone, and she'll get over this fit
of sullenness,” Aunt Sarah replied. “I expect
we have been too indulgent with her, that’s all
that’s the matter.”

Miss Burn still seemed dissatisfied, and wrink-
led her forehead up into anxious lines.

“T believe she would be better if she had some
little companions,” she said. “We must ask the
Hawthornes or Cowens here to play with her
now and then, and try if that does her any good.
Perhaps it’s rather a dull life here for her with
you and me!”

And Marion Cowen, who was partly to blame
for all this discomfort, did not guess for a moment
that her want of feeling had done so much mis-
chief. She was at the time extremely happy—
more so than usual—for her brother Dick was
THE ACCIDENT. 27

to come home on the next day, which was Satur-
day, to stay till Monday.

She went about the house singing for pleasure
and thinking of nothing else but his coming.
When she went to bed her head was full of it,
and her dreams continued the subject through
the night.

The next morning broke as fine as ever—the
sun shining in a cloudless sky. There were no
lessons on a Saturday, so the three sisters spent
the morning out of doors, longing for the moment
when they should see Dick appear in sight far
down the road that led to Kalehurst, where was
the nearest railway-station.

Not that he was anything so very wonderful
to look at when he did arrive. He came by an
earlier train than he said in his letter, and took
them by surprise.

They were resting on a bank by the roadside
in the shadow, when a quick step was heard, and
a figure passed them by without turning to the
right or to the left. They looked after it with-
out any interest, and then sprang up and ran
in pursuit.

“Dick! it’s Dick!” they cried all together, and
28 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

hearing their voices and running steps, the figure
spun round and showed a pale face that seemed
at the minute to be nothing but one great
laugh.

In an instant they were all upon him, kissing
him, hanging on to his arms, and dancing by his

- gide.

“Didn’t you see us, you stupid fellow? Why,
you passed close by. We didn’t expect you till
two o'clock, or we should have come to meet you.”

“T got up early, to catch the first train. Well,
here I am, you see. What a colour you've all
_ got—exactly like red bricks!”

“Well, you’re worse than that—you’re stone
colour,” returned Patty.

Dick laughed his wide laugh again. It was not
a noisy laugh, but almost a silent one, yet none
the less hearty for that.

“A couple of days down here will make a dif-
ference,” he said. “I wish it were going to be
a couple of weeks. It is beautiful here at Hay-
combe.”

He was nothing striking in appearance, this
Dick, whom they all clung to so lovingly. slight, pale, rather weal-looking lad, with large
THE ACCIDENT. * 29.

shining gray eyes, a thin refined face, and fair
hair that appeared as though an occasional comb-
ing with his fingers was all the attention it re-
ceived. But though his clothes had always the
air of having been made for someone else, and
though he was so careless as to make his father
when he was at home, and his uncle when he was
in London, extremely angry, his sisters did not
look upon these peculiarities as faults, and would
have loved and admired him, perhaps not half so
much, if he had been the handsomest and most
fashionably attired youth in London.

Dick was so rarely with them that they looked
forward to his visits for long enough beforehand.
He was being educated in town with a cousin of
the same age who had a tutor, and he had lived for
some time under his uncle’s roof for that reason.
But though he said nothing about it, he was very
lonely there, and these trips to Haycombe were
the brightest bits of his life. His uncle, aunt,
and cousins were kind enough to him, but he and
they had no interests in common. His cousins loved
parties, and dancing, and cared for nothing so
much as being taken to the theatre, while none
of these delights gave the smallest pleasure to
30 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

Dick, who was as different from them in every
way as it was possible to be.

But just as he was he seemed to his sisters the
nicest brother any little girls could possibly have,
and when Dr. Cowen found fault with him for
his untidiness they all felt as though the re-
proaches had been addressed to themselves.

They took him home to dinner, and looked
after him well in the matter of pressing him to
eat, waiting on him as attentively as if he had
been a king. But Dick never ate much, and
made them quite ashamed of their healthy coun-
try appetites. Meals were to him an incon-
venient necessity, to be forgotten if possible, or
in any case to be made to occupy the shortest
possible space of time.

Before the nursery dinner, however, he had to
go and speak to Aunt Emily, who said she was
glad to see him, and requested him to go at once
and wash his hands, brush his hair, and make
himself respectable. The doctor was not expected
home till five or six o’clock.

After dinner they all strolled on to the green
together, Dolla holding by one of Dick’s fingers,
Patty on his other side, and Marion walking by
THE ACCIDENT. 31

them telling all the news, until the boys of the
village, who were collecting to play football,
seeing their old companion, came running to
beg him to join in the game.

“No, thanks,” said Dick. “Il look on at you
fellows instead.”

But the boys would not agree to this, and
were so persistent in their entreaties that his
resolve gave way, and his sisters, to their great
vexation and disappointment, had to resign
themselves to his being carried off in triumph.

Marion did not understand football, but had a
great dislike to it as a rough and dangerous
game in which someone was quite certain to
be hurt. She and Dolla and Patty sat under
the oak-tree to watch, following the ball with
their eyes, and feeling very glad that they were
not being tumbled over, jumped upon, and
elbowed, as they saw was the case with Dick.

Suddenly Dolla began to ery.

“What's the matter, Dollafrey?” asked Patty.

“T don’t like it,” said Dolla plaintively, tuck-
ing her face into Marion’s sleeve. “Oh-h-h, I
don’ like Dick to play.”

Patty soon cheered her up by inducing her to
32 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

look in another direction. There were now a
number of the Haycombe children collected
under the tree to watch the game, and at a short
distance from them, standing alone, was Bee, her
wan little face paler and gloomier than ever.

She made no attempt to join the others, but re-
mained apart as she was in the habit of doing.
Her hope and faith were all gone for the time,
and there was something very touching about
the way in which she seemed to have accepted
the fact that she was to be shunned and left in
solitude. Her thin, bony hands were folded be-
fore her, and she was pretending not to see the
babies pointing at her as they were held in their
sisters arms, or to hear the remarks that the
bigger children were making to each other quite
loud enough to reach her where she stood.

A mad rush of the football players across the
green, and then they were all in a heap, some
underneath, others on the top, and all so very
much mixed up that it would have been im-
possible to tell which of the legs and arms
belonged to the same person.

“T shouldn’t like to be one of the lowest ones,”
said Patty.
THE ACCIDENT. 33

At that moment, in amongst the shouting and
iaughing, was heard what was certainly a cry of
pain, followed by groans.

“Someone is hurt,” cried two or three of the
girls, and the little group under the tree
stretched out their necks and opened their eyes
and mouths, while a flock of geese, wandering
that way, stretched out their necks too, and
opened their beaks. No one of the lookers-on
moved but Bee, who ran towards the players as
they began to disentangle themselves and get on
to their feet.

The groans went on, and one player, instead
of getting up, lay quite still, with a face as white
almost as the feathers of the geese.

It was Dick Cowen.



(410) o


CHAPTER IV.

NO DOCTOR.

HAT’S the matter, old chap?” “Where

are you hurt?” “What is it?” asked the

boys one after another; but Dick made no

answer, as he had to set his teeth to keep from

crying out again, while tears, brought by the

pain he was bearing in spite of all his efforts

to keep them back, would force their way from
under his eyelids.

As his companions all stood stupidly staring
at the poor boy without an idea what to do, Bee
pushed her way in among them, and kneeled
down at his side.

«Run, some of you, and fetch somebody,” she
cried in her thin, sharp, high-pitched little voice.
“Make them bring something to carry him home
on. Look at his poor foot, how it’s twisted.
It’s broken, I believe. Go and tell the doctor,”


NO DOCTOR. 35

Two or three were inclined to be angry at
being ordered about by “the Goblin,” but Dick's
bluish-white face frightened them, and they ran
in several directions for help.

Among the first to start was Cecil Hawthorne,
_ the vicar’s eldest son, a plain, but bright boy of
twelve. He dashed straight to the doctor's
house, and finding the front door ajar walked
in, to frighten Miss Cowen nearly out of her
wits, by appearing before her with a scarlet face,
and very much out of breath, and panting
out:

“Where's the doctor? Where's the doctor?
Dick Cowen’s half killed!”

Then seeing Miss Cowen’s horror, as she started
up and laid her hand on her heart, he hastened
to add: “No, I don’t mean that, but he’s sprained
his foot or something playing football, and we
want the doctor to come to him.”

“He's out—may not be back for hours!” cried
Aunt Emily in dismay. “Well, Ill come my-
self, and see what’s to be done.”

Cecil ran off, and went this time to his own
home, where he found his father preparing a
sermon in his study. On hearing what was the
36 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

matter the vicar snatched up his hat and followed
the boy out.

Meanwhile poor Dick was lying on the ground
half unconscious, with little knots of children
standing round about him, open-mouthed and
staring. The shock had turned Patty almost as
white as her brother, and her voice was very
unsteady as she tried to comfort Dolla, who was
crying bitterly.

. Bee was at first the only one =i kept her
presence of mind. She remained kneeling beside
Dick, and fanned him vigorously with her hat.

Suddenly Marion came forward and thrust
Bee aside.

“Leave him alone,” she said coldly. “He is.
avy brother.”

The deformed child drew back on the instant
with two tears rising in her great dark eyes.
Might she not even make herself of use without
getting snubbed?

“Is it very bad, Dick, dear?” Marion whispered,
following Bee’s example and fanning him.

He gave a slight nod, and lay quite still and
silent, with tightly compressed lips. He had
groaned at first before he had had time to think


NO DOCTOR. 37

of anything but the pain, but he was resolved
not to do it again if he could help it.

‘What had happened was this: in running at
full speed, a little in advance of the rest, he had
put his foot into a deep rut in the ground, and
in an instant all the other boys were upon him
and had thrown him over without seeing what
had checked him so suddenly. Hence the bones
of his ankle had received a violent wrench, and
one or two were broken, while the muscles were
forced out of place.

Before any grown-up person arrived on the
scene the children talked to each other in
whispers, for they were awe-struck by the serious
appearance of the accident. The loudest sounds
were Dolla’s plaintive crying and Patty’s con-
soling voice.

But this did not last long. In a very short
space of time Mr. Hawthorne came hurrying up,
with his gardener following, and Aunt Emily
was there scarcely a minute later, she having
only remained behind to see that there was a
bed ready on which the boy could be laid, if it
should prove to be a very bad case.

A few orders from the vicar, another man or
38 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

two to help, and then a gate was brought from
somewhere not far off, and Dick was gently
placed upon it, though, with all the care that was
taken, he fainted away again on being moved.

The children trooped after as he was carried
home, Bee following in the rear of the procession
with a wide gap between her and the others.
As they all remained standing about just outside
after the object of interest had been carried
indoors, Aunt Emily came out and spoke to them.

“You had better go away, my dears,” she said.
“You can do no good by stopping there; but if
any of you would like to be of use you might
go off in different directions and look if you can
see anything of Dr. Cowen. And if you find
him tell him what has happened, and ask him to
make haste home.”

As the doctor had gone on a long round to see
some of his most distant patients Miss Cowen
had no idea where to send to seek him. Beside
the children she sent messengers in all probable
directions, and also despatched a lad to the only
other doctor within reach, who proved to be also
away from home. After that there was nothing
to do but to wait,
NO DOCTOR. 39

“Til go myself and look for him,” said Mr,
Hawthorne after secing the boy restored to
consciousness and made as comfortable as the
circumstances would allow. “Patience, my lad.
We must soon find him amongst us.”

Miss Cowen stayed by her nephew when the
vicar had gone; but when she had with all
possible gentleness cut off the boot and stocking
from the injured foot—a process that tortured
her almost as much as Dick—she could do
nothing further than wait and ene for her
brother’s coming.

Dick had never felt such pain before in his life
as this that now shot from his twisted ankle all
over his body. He was conscious of nothing
else; he scarcely knew where he was; he lost
sight of Miss Cowen in a mist, and lay with
clenched teeth and half-closed eyes vaguely
wondering how long it would last. His aunt
looked at him from time to time and guessed a
little of what he was suffering. And after each
-look she went to the window to gaze anxiously
up and down the road.

Patty stole in and out on the tips of her toes,
not daring to speak to Dick, but gazing at him
40 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

pityingly in silence. Marion kept out of the
- way, as it made her too wretched to look at him
and be able to do nothing. And Dolla was in
the nursery playing with her bricks quite happy.


Saaaanaaaay,

pm
SS TUURUUGUODS



CHAPTER V.
SEEKING AND FINDING.

FTER Miss Cowen had re-entered the house
the children soon dispersed in different
directions—that is, all of them except Bee, who
remained standing in the road in her usual atti-
tude, her head a little bent forward, her fingers
tightly twined together. There was a flush of
anger on her small elfish face that made it
appear more unattractive than ever.

“Tt’s too bad! it’s wicked!” she said aloud,
though there was no one near to hear her.
“They would not treat anyone else in the world
as they treat me. Worse than cats or dogs, or
rats, or—or toads! I hate them all, even Marion
Cowen. She’s just like the rest, and they’re all
disagreeable, and selfish, and bad!”

She stamped her foot on the ground, and then
suddenly her anger was gone, and she was only
42, THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

unhappy. Her tears flowed fast. She walked
slowly along the road, her head bent, and the
great drops running down her cheeks and plash-
ing on the front of her dress. For a short time
she did not even notice them, she was so com-
pletely wretched, but by degrees a little hope
came back.

“People don’t like each other only for their
looks,” she thought. “If I could be very, very
good—better than anybody I know, never cross,
and always ready to help and to be useful—
somebody would get to love me in time I
haven't been nice enough to them, that’s why
they hate me so; but I’ll begin all over again.”

She took out her handkerchief, dried her eyes,
and half smiled.

“The best thing I could do just now would be
to find Dr. Cowen. Where is he most likely
to be?”

As soon as she began to think about it she
remembered that she had seen him drive past as
she was looking out of her bed-room window in
the morning. He had gone towards Kalehurst,
which made it likely that he would be coming
back from the opposite direction, out where
SEEKING AND FINDING. 43

Helmsford lay. Was there anyone ill at Helms-
ford? .

She knew pretty well who was ill anywhere
near, for her aunts were in the habit of visiting
a great deal among the sick, and talked to each
other about the different cases as they sat at their
meals, when Bee had nothing to do but to listen.
There was an old woman who was quite crippled
with rheumatism two miles or so out that way;
but then the doctor had given her up, as he could
not do her any more good. And there were
some children a little farther off who had the
measles, but their mother preferred the doctor
from Kalehurst. And there was a lad who was
very much injured through falling from a hay-
stack, and who lived at a cottage on a farm a
mile or two to the north of Helmsford—a spot
so out of the way that it was almost impossible
to walk there—so her aunts said.

As soon as Bee thought of this lad, she felt
that it was very likely Dr. Cowen had gone
to see him, while it was possible no one else
would go there to look. Why should not she go
and find out whether he was or had been there?

She set off at once, and now that she had
44 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

ceased to think of herself, poor Dick’s injured
foot was the uppermost thing in her mind, and
caused her to make all possible speed. She ran
for short distances, then walked, then ran again.

It was a very long way that she had to go, but
she did not stop to consider that, nor even to
wonder what her aunts would think of her long
absence, but hastened on and on.

The few persons she met stared rather curiously
at the lonely little figure hurrying along the
road, so intent on her purpose that she did not
notice them or anything. She saw no one who
knew her except one rough boy from the village,
who called out:

“Hallo, humpy! where are you off to?” But
she was so used to that kind of question that she
paid no heed.

On and on she sped until Haycombe was
between five and six miles away, and then she
came to the narrow turning which led to Maddox’s
—the farm where the lad of whom she had heard
lay ill. The broad road branched here, and there
was a sign-post with three arms, on which were
the words, “Haycombe, 54 miles; Kalehurst, 5
miles; Helmsford, 1 mile.”
SEEKING AND FINDING. 45

Bee took the narrow turning, and before she
had gone far she almost danced for joy, for there
was the doctor's carriage coming towards her.
She had guessed aright.

She stood on one side as it drew near, franticly
waving her arms and calling to the coachman to
stop. He pulled up, and Dr. Cowen looked out
of the window as Bee ran forward.

“ Are you going straight home, Dr. Cowen?”

“No; to Helmsford. Why?”

Bee poured out the news as briefly as she
could. The doctor’s face grew grave, and he only
spoke two short sharp words to the coachman:

“Home, quick!”

The little girl stepped back and the carriage
rolled away. The doctor had been too much
startled to think of anything but the one fact
that his boy was hurt and in need of him, or else
it might have struck him that Bee was a long
way from home, and had come all that distance
on purpose to bring him this news, when he
would have taken her into the brougham and
driven her back to Haycombe.

As it happened he never thought of her at all,
scarcely noticed who she was, and forgot to thank
46 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

her. Poor Bee was far too sensitive not to feel
this, and she was so used. to slights that she felt
this one was intended, and magnified it into six
times its proper size.

“Tam so dreadful to look at that he could not
bear to have me in the carriage with him,” was
her first thought, as she perched herself on a stile
to rest. But she did not ery this time, for there
was a pleasure in having been the one to find the
doctor and bring him back which raised her
spirits. “I would not care so much if he had only
just said ‘Thank you, ” she said to herself.

Very quietly and soberly she started on her
way back, not hurrying now, for she had found
out that she was tired, and that her feet were
aching and sore. Walking more and more slowly,
and stopping at intervals to rest, the distance
was traversed at last, and at about eight o'clock
she reached home.

“You ought to have come and told me where
you were going,” said her Aunt Sarah severely,
as she poured out some milk and water for Bee,
and cut her some thick bread and butter. “I
should have been very much alarmed about you,
if Mrs. Hawthorne had not come in and told me
SEEKING AND FINDING. 47

about the accident, and that you children were
dispersed in all directions looking for the doctor.
He came home hours ago, bringing Cecil Haw-
thorne, who had met him half-way between here
and Helmsford, and let him know what had
happened.” .

Bee stared, and opened her lips to say, “I
found him first,” but closed them again, reflecting
that the doctor knew that it was to her that he
owed being fetched home so soon, and he would
be sure to mention it to Marion and Dick. She
went off to bed very happy for the time in
imagining little scenes in which Marion came and
thanked her for what she had done and invited
her to go back with her to tea,




CHAPTER VI.

SUNDAY MORNING.

ICK’S ankle was set—an extremely painful

operation both for him and for his father,

who had a great dislike to acting as surgeon to
his own children. ;

“You young monkey!” the doctor said, when
it was all over, as he stood leaning on the foot of
the bed looking at the boy who lay there with
half-closed eyes very pale and quiet. “You
wanted a holiday, I see; but you’ve rather over-
done it. Well, you’ve got what you wanted, for
I am going to telegraph to Uncle Charlie not to
expect you back for five or six weeks. Now I
hope you're happy.” .

Dick tried to smile at his father’s joking tone,
but it was a very poor attempt. “So long as
that!” he said faintly.

“You'll have to take great care for as long as
SUNDAY MORNING. 49

that, and perhaps longer. I don’t want you to
be lame, you're quite awkward enough as it is!
There’s a nice state of affairs—a great ugly over-
grown boy to feed for goodness knows how long!”

As Dick still could not call up a smile the
doctor became serious.

“Come, cheer up, my lad,” he said encouragingly,
“the worst will soon be over, and we'll make it
as lively as we can for you while you're obliged
to lie still.”

“T sha’n’t be dull,” said the boy, “I’m only
sorry to be such a lot of bother.”

The doctor was a busy, studious, absent-minded
man, who devoted most of his mind to hig
patients and his books. He rarely talked to his
children, and no one could have less idea of their
real characters, or rather the characters that they
were forming, than he, though he was their father
and lived under the same roof. He looked at
Dick now with a shade of surprise.

“ Pshaw!” was all he answered.

The telegraph message was sent, and Marion
and Patty were almost more delighted at the
prospect of having so much of Dick’s society

than sorry for the injury to his ankle. As for
(410) D
50 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

Bee the doctor never thought any more about
her, so that her long journey on the Cowens’
behalf remained unknown to those whom she
had hoped to please.

“ Marion,” said Dick, as his eldest sister sat by
his side on the Sunday morning, while Aunt Emily
and the other children were gone to church,
“talk to me, Tell me what you do with your-
self day after day in Haycombe.”

Marion obeyed. She always found it easy to
talk to Dick, and as he lay silently looking at
her and did not interrupt, she ran on from one
thing to another, telling him all the little bits of ©
news that amused them in the village—how Ted
Oxley had just come out in an Eton suit and a
tall hat on Sundays; how Mrs. Turner’s baby,
which was only two years old, had got lost, and
was found to have walked away by itself an
immense distance; and how several of Mr. Haw-
thorne’s Brahma hens had disappeared, and no
one could guess who had taken them.

“JT should think it was the Goblin, only that I
can’t imagine what she would do with them,”
said Marion. “She looks bad enough for any-
thing—ugh!” and she finished with a shudder.
SUNDAY MORNING. 51

“Thad forgotten the Gob—that little creature,”
said Dick, “ until she came and fanned me yester-
day. I remember now, you disliked her very
much when I was at home before. Poor little
wretch! It must be awful to be so deformed.
I don’t wonder she isn’t very amiable.”

“ Oh, she doesn’t mind it. I daresay she thinks
she’s very nice-looking. I have heard papa say
that dwarfs and deformed people are always
vain. What do you think she did yesterday?
We were all sitting under the big oak-tree on the
green when she came creeping up behind, and
suddenly popped out and made such a face at
Dolla that the poor little pet screamed out and
fell down with fright.”

Dick looked grave, but said nothing. Yet this
incident, as Marion put it, made him begin to
feel the same dislike for Bee that was felt by the
rest of the children at Haycombe.

“She couldn’t be nice with such a face as that,”
Marion went on. “It shows she’s horrid, that
there isn’t anyone who likes her; even her own
aunts say they don't know what to do with her,
she’s so sulky. I used not to notice her much,
but now I hate her.”
52 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

-“Oh, no, don’t do that,” cried Dick quickly.
“Perhaps she isn’t so bad as you think; but even
if she is, she must be very unhappy.”

“ Well, ib serves her right. So she ought to be.
Never mind her. Let’s talk about something
else.”

The subject was forgotten, but the bad impres-
sion of Bee was left on Dick’s mind.

This very morning Bee had risen and dressed
herself in the best of humours. She made over
again her resolve to be perfectly unselfish, to
keep her temper whatever happened, to care for
nothing but being of use to other people. She
had succeeded so well yesterday, and was so sure
that Marion would know what she had done, and
be pleased with her in consequence, that she sang
a little song to herself, until her aunt rapped on
the door and reminded her that it was Sunday.

It did not take much to crush Bee. The sharp
rap and reproving voice were like a cold chill,
and she felt no longer inclined to sing or laugh.
She went down to breakfast with a grave and
sober face, but it was not ill temper that made
her serious. Nor was she altogether unhappy,
for she was looking forward to seeing some of
SUNDAY MORNING. 53

the Cowens either going to or coming from
church.

But things did not turn out quite as she ex-
pected. On the way to church with her two
aunts she did not see them. As they were leav-
ing, in coming down the aisle, she was following
so closely in her eagerness that she trod upon
Miss Cowen’s dress, and Miss Cowen half turned
and frowned, and muttered:

“Careless child! why don’t you notice where
you're going?” For the doctor's sister was very
particular about her dresses.

And Patty and Dolla took care not to look at
her, though they knew she was close behind.
Marion was at home with Dick.

Bee was dreamy and rather sad after they
returned home. She had not the heart to try
and interest herself in a book.

In the afternoon Miss Burn called her niece
to her.

“T’ve something for you to do, child,” she said.
“I’m tired of seeing you lolling about doing
nothing. Get your hat and take this note round
to the doctor’s, It’s to ask him to call to-morrow
morning and see Aunt Sarah, as I’m afraid she’s
54 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,.

going to be ill. And give them my kind regards,
and I should be glad to know if the ankle is
better.” :

“Yes, aunt,” said Bee, quietly enough, and she
_ ran up to her bed-room, where she laughed aloud
for pleasure, and danced about as she put on her
hat and gloves.

Her reward had come at last. Miss Cowen’s
frown, the way in which Patty and Dolla had
avoided looking at her, were both forgotten. She
was to-go to their house—to knock at the door
—to speak to them—perhaps even to be asked in!




CHAPTER VII.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

EES eyes sparkled, a faint colour came into

her cheeks, her lips parted in a smile, as

she skipped along the road. For once in her life
she looked like a child, because she was happy.

She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts
that she did not glance nervously about her as
usual to see if she were being laughed at, or made
the subject of remark. There were a few children
scattered on the green, but she did not notice
them. For the time she was as careless of ob-
servers, and as far from expecting to be teased,
as if she had been like other people.

But this pleasant frame of ‘mind was not to
last long. All at once she was brought to a stand-
still by a boy suddenly planting himself before
her, and dancing from side to side with out-
stretched arms so as not to let her pass. This
56 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

was the eldest of the six boys from the third
white house. He and his brothers had come out
for a little fun, having slipped secretly out by
the back-door, while their mother supposed them
to be quietly reading Sunday books in the dining-
room. Their name was Oxley, they had red hair,
all of them in different shades, and they were the
worst of the miseries of Bee’s life.

The curious thing about them was that they
all looked about nine years old, though, in fact,
one was ten, two were nine, two were eight, and
one was seven; but the two pairs of twins were
much the same size, the one who was ten was
rather small for his age, and the one who was
seven rather tall. All six now gathered round
the deformed girl with their eyes twinkling mis-
chievously.

Bee made one or two attempts to pass them,
then, finding it useless, stood still.

“Will you let me go by, please?” she asked
quietly.

“Where are you going?” demanded one of the
boys.

“To the doctor’s.”

“ What for?”
SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 57

“To take a note.”

“Well, give it to me, and I'll take it for you.
I’m going there myself.”

“No, thank you,” said Bee.

“Just as you like. But you sha’n’t go just yet.
We want you.”

“Oh, please, don’t stop me,” said the little girl
entreatingly. “It can’t make any difference to
you, and it makes a great deal to me.”

The eldest Oxley laughed mockingly, and took
a little spring off the ground, then thrust his head
forward and peered into her face.

“Why don’t you go, then, if you're in such a
hurry? Pray, don’t let us detain you.”

Bee turned to the right, to try and get round
this living obstacle; but the boys moved as she
moved, and still barred the way.

“Once more, will you let me pass?” she asked,
still quietly.

“What will happen if we don’t? Shall you go
and tell auntie?”

The deformed girl became pale with rising
anger, but stood waiting in silence. They must
get tired of this, she thought, if she made no
resistance, and did not amuse them by getting
58 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

into a passion; but it was very hard to keep quiet
with all those laughing, provoking faces dancing
round her. As she kept her temper Ted Oxley,
the eldest, started a little song which had had the
effect of producing a storm of tears before now,
and began chanting:

“Tiumpy-Dumpy sat on a wall,
Humpy-Dumpy had a great fall;”

this little change in the nursery rhyme making
it, in the boys’ minds, fit Bee, one of whose nick-
names was “ Humpy.”

His brothers joined in, and the two lines were
repeated over and over again. But the victim
did not move. She was watching attentively for
a loophole of escape, and was prepared to make
a dash for it as soon as a break should occur in
the ring. At the same time she was reminding
herself of all her new resolutions to be good and
nice to everybody. It would spoil all-if she were
to get cross. But by degrees she began to think
it was scarcely worth while to be nice to such
horrid boys as these, who were never so happy
as when they were trying to make her miser-
able.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 59

“You may just as well let me go,” she said,
after a few minutes passed in this way. “Ishall
stay here until you do.”

“Oh, we're in no hurry,” cried Ted. “We can
wait as long as you can, I daresay.”

Bee looked at his mischievous, teasing face,
with a flash in her eyes. She opened her lips,
closed them again firmly, and was silent, only just
saving herself from an angry reply. Ted laughed
scornfully, and began a fresh song:—

“There was a little goblin, as I’ve heard tell—
Tol-lol, lol de riddle dol”—

which the others took up, until Bee stopped them
by asking in the most beseeching tone:

“Won't you please just let me take my note,
and then tease me as much as you like as I come
back?”

“Won't you please give me your note to take
for you?” asked Ted, mimicking her imploring
voice so exactly that his brothers. shouted with
laughter. Then he began again—

“There was a little goblin, as I’ve heard—”

Bee’s patience was exhausted. She turned
60 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

scarlet, and threw herself upon him so suddenly
that she knocked him full length on the ground.
In another second she would have been off with
her letter; but Ted was quick enough to fling
his arm round her ankle as she was starting,
which proceeding tripped her up, so that she too
fell heavily. They both scrambled up, and Bee
made another start; but several hands seized her .
by the frock with a grasp from which she could
not shake herself free. She struck at the boys,
but they only laughed.

“Let me go! Let me go, I tell you!” she cried
furiously, all her self-control gone at last; but
her rage delighted her tormentors, who laughed
more and more.

“Let's make her prisoner—prisoner of war!
It’s a regular battle! Liet’s tie her hands!” cried
first one and then another. Bee fought hard for
her liberty—kicking, scratching, and pinchine—
which only made her captors more determined.
They were six to one—six strong sturdy boys
against one weak little girl. She was quite
powerless, and her hands were soon tied behind
her by means of two or three pocket-handker-
chief,
SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 61

“Search the prisoner,’ cried Ted, then; and
while two of his brothers held her by the arms
the others sought among the folds of her dress
for her pocket, from which they drew out first
the note to the doctor, then a handkerchief, a
thimble, a small doll, a piece of india-rubber,
a pencil, and a paper containing a few acid-
drops.

“Qh, jolly!” cried Ted. “We'll divide these”—
which he proceeded to do. “As for this thing—
this dear little dolly—I’m going to take care of
it for you for the present, because you're too old
for dolls. And this note I'll attend to,” and he
placed it in his own pocket. “The other things
are forfeits, and we'll settle by and by what she’s
to do to get them back again. You take care of
‘them, Phil.”

Bee looked wildly round for a grown-up person
to come to her aid; but no one was to be seen
except Mrs. Turner’s two shock-headed little
urchins, who were running towards the group.
eager to see what was going on. For, on a
Sunday afternoon in Haycombe, as there was
no service at the church, most of the elder
people were sitting indoors either reading or
62 -THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

dozing, and few even of the children were
about.

She did not scream for help, as she was not
being hurt; but all her better feelings were over-
come for the time, and she was intensely, pas-
sionately angry. She hated these boys. At the
- moment there was no way in which she would
not gladly have hurt them if she could. The
glances she gave them were almost enough to
excuse the bad opinion they held of her temper.
She looked ready to pinch, seratch, or even to
bite, if she were goaded much further.

“Now we'll have a real game,” cried Phil
Oxley, one of the biggest twins. “She's a wild
Indian, and we've taken her prisoner. Bring her
_ along to the oak-tree, and we'll think what’s to
be done with her for scalping our friends.”

Struggling and resisting, Bee was half pushed,
half dragged to the tree. When they reached it,
two boys held her firmly by the arms, while the
others stood and stared at her, enjoying her look
of helpless rage.

“She’d look more like a savage without her
hat,” said Ted, snatching it off and tossing it on
to the bench. “ Now let’s make her hair rough—
SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 63

oh! that’s splendid. My dear goblin, you look
the very image of a Red Indian. I wish I could
draw, I’d take your portrait.”

This last was too much for Bee. She gave one
loud and piercing shriek, which sounded far
enough across the green. The boys looked at
each other in affright.

“JT say! sha’n’t we catch it if anybody comes!”
cried Ted. “Come along, boys!” And he set off
at a run in the direction of his father’s house,
with his five brothers tearing after him at full
speed. 4 ,

Left in this sudden way, Bee tried to get her
hands free; but they were too tightly bound to-
gether with the handkerchiefs, which the boys
had forgotten. The only result of her wild cry
was that certajn people put their heads out of
their doors and looked about for the meaning of
the scream they had heard, but, seeing only the
Oxleys scampering home, and two or three quiet
figures under the oak, put it down to “Some non-
sense” on the children’s part, and went in again.

Poor Bee writhed and wriggled to get free
from her bonds, but in vain. The little Turners
were watching her. She spoke to them.
64 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“Undo this for me, will you?” She was too
angry to say, “ please.”

They giggled, and walked backwards away
‘from her. At this Bee burst into indignant
tears.

Her note was gone. Her hat had fallen from
the seat and lay in the dust under the tree. She
was bound. Her hair was wildly tossed about
her face. Her new cashmere frock was torn and
tumbled. And, to complete her misery, there was
a great scratch across her face, which she could
feel though she could not see.

There was only one thing to do—to go home
and tell what had befallen her; but she could not
go without her hat. She had to pick it up with
her hands tied behind her back—a feat by no
means easy without a good deal of practice,—and
there were the two. dirty half-clothed little chil-
dren shouting with laughter at every attempt
she made. :

But she had it at last, and started home, when
to her horror she saw the school-house door open,
and troops of children poured out from “Sunday-
school,” and spread across the green towards
her.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON. 65

It was not long before her strange appearance
was noticed, Then there were shrieks of delight,
which she tried not to hear, as she walked silently
forward, carrying her hat hanging from her tied
hands.

Not one of the lookers-on took pity on her,
or offered to help her. No wonder Bee looked
upon them as so many bitter enemies, as they
streamed after her, and chattered and laughed
and .asked each other what it could mean, until
she vanished from their sight into the open front
door of her aunt’s house. When she lad dis-
appeared they turned back and ran across the
green to ask the little Turners what had been
going on.

Bee’s first idea when she entered was to get
quietly up to her bed-room without being seen,
there to try again to set her hands at liberty.

‘She was exhausted with what she had gone
through, and extremely excited with the. mix-
ture of anger against everybody and disappoint-
ment with herself for having broken her resolve
to keep her temper, whatever happened.

Confused and giddy, with her breath coming

almost in sobs, she started to go upstairs. .
(410) E
66 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

When she had mounted two or three steps
everything swam round-her, and she fell help-
lessly to the mat at the foot of the staircase.
Miss Burn, rushing out of the drawing-room at
the noise, found her lying there, white and in-
sensible.


WAY WINING?

NL,
SS) BH



CHAPTER VIIL

TEA AT THE COWENS’..

F anyone had understood Bee and sympa-
thized with her on that Sunday morning
—if there had been anyone to talk to her and
help her to keep hold of what was right—the
bad side of her nature would have had the
worst of it, and the good side might perhaps
always have had the upper hand. But as things
happened, it was the bad side. that was en-
couraged all that day—so much so that the
good went quite out of sight, and it was no
wonder that Miss Burn began to think it was
not there at all.

When she came to herself again after her
fall, she was lying on the dining-room sofa,
and Miss Burn was bathing her temples with
cold water, As she recovered her senses her
68 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

aunt’s expression changed from anxiety to sur-
prise and disapproval.

“Where have you been, child? And what
on earth have you been doing to get in this
state?”

Bee did not answer.

“Who tied your hands?”

No reply.

“ And how did you get this great mark across
your face? Have you any idea what you look
like, Bee? A bleeding scratch on your cheek,
streaks made by tears and dirt from your eyes
to your chin, your clothes completely spoilt,
your hat in such a condition that it will
never look fit to be seen again. I suppose
you have been with those Oxleys by the marks
on the pocket- handkerchiefs? What business
had you playing with them instead of taking
my note? By the way, did you go to the
doctor's?”

“No,” said Bee.

“You didn’t! I never saw anything like you,
Bee. You can’t be trusted out of one’s sight
for a minute. Where’s the note? IT’ll send
Suzette with it.”
TEA AT THE COWENS’. 69

seal paren got it. One of those boys took
it away.”

Miss Burn drew her Syebiows together, but
said nothing. She was both angry and annoyed,
but her niece looked so pallid and ill that she
had not the heart to scold her any more, but
made up her mind to punish her afterwards by
depriving her of some treat.

“What's the matter with you?” she asked after
a few minutes’ pause. “What made you faint?
Are you not well?”

“T don’t know,” Bee returned sullenly.

Her aunt said no more, but folded the hand-
kerchiefs neatly together, wrapped them up in
thin paper, wrote a fresh note to Dr. Cowen, and
sent out her servant Suzette to deliver the note
and packet at the houses for which they were
intended.

Bee remained pale and wretched-looking for
the rest of the day, and that night she hardly
slept at all, but lay tossing from side to side,
with the events of the afternoon going on over
and over again in her mind.

The next day she appeared no better, but
nobody noticed her, for her Aunt Sarah was ill,
70 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.-

and Miss Burn was quite taken up in nursing
and waiting upon her sister. On the Tuesday
afternoon the doctor, coming away from his visit
to her aunt, stopped and looked at the little girl,
who was standing in the doorway with her hands
folded and an old, old, eare-worn look on her face
‘and in her eyes.

“ Hallo!” he said in an undertone. “What's
the matter with you?”

“Nothing, Dr. Cowen, thank you,” stammered
Bee.

He sat down on the little seat in the porch,
drew her forward, and observed her attentively,
holding her small, limp hand in his.

“Humph,” he muttered after a few seconds of
thought. “I think I understand your com-
plaint.”

“But I’m not‘ill,” she ventured timidly.

“Yes, you are,” said the doctor releasing her
hand. “You are suffering from the complaint
called low spirits. A little cheerful society would
be the best medicine. Get your hat and come
home with me.”

A bright colour flew into Bee’s face in an
instant.
TEA AT THE COWENS’.. 71

“Tl ask auntie if I may,” she said breathlessly,
and darted into the house, The doctor sat still
musing and forgetting to think her long. At
last she came slowly back.

“I can’t come, thank you,” she told him in
a low tone as Dr. Cowen turned his eyes towards
her and saw traces as of tears hastily wiped
away.

“Can't come? Nonsense!. Why not?”

“ Auntie says I don’t deserve a treat,” said Bee
in the same feeble voice, her words almost dying
away with the struggle to keep from crying.

The doctor laid his hand on her shoulder and
gave it a kindly pressure.

“Stop a minute. Il go and talk to Miss
Burn,” he said, and he re-entered the house.
Bee twined' her fingers together and scarcely
breathed until a few minutes afterwards she
heard her aunt’s voice calling her. She ran in.

“Get ready quickly.. You may go,” were the
words that greeted her, and she saw the doctor’s '
smile. She stopped to hear nothing more, but
darted off to her room.

_. “YPve told Miss Burn not to send for you till
half-past nine,” said Dr. Cowen as he walked
72 ‘THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

down the road with Bee’s hand in his. “You
see, my boy Dick is obliged to lie perfectly still
for the present, and as that’s a tedious business
for him, poor fellow, I thought it would do him
good to have a visitor.”

She gave him a delighted glance. Her good
side was uppermost again, and shone through her
dark little face.

“Tt was an old woman I spoke to in the door-
way just now,” thought the doctor, “but this is a
child!” Then he said aloud, as something came
into his mind: “Dear me! It was surely you
who sent me home in such a hurry on Saturday.
How did you come to be out there by Maddox’s?”

“T walked there,” Bee answered.

“You did? What for?”

“To look for you,” said Bee with a face as red
as fire under the doctor's quiet attentive gaze.

“Upon my word! And how did you get home?”

“T walked home too,” she answered simply.

Dr. Cowen muttered an exclamation to him-
self.

“Poor little woman!” he added aloud. “Why
didn’t you ask me to give you a lift? I was so
wrapped up in one thing and another I never
TEA AT THE COWENS’.. 73

thought of your having’ come all that way to
find me.”

Bee smiled happily. She wished she had such
another opportunity to be of use.

“Here we are!” said the doctor directly after
as he opened his own gate. “Come along,” and
he led her into the house she had so often longed
to enter.

“I expect they’re all with Dick,” he said put-
ting his head first into one then into another of
the rooms on the ground floor and finding them —
empty. “Come. We'll go and take them by
surprise.”

Accordingly they climbed the stairs together
and stood on the landing surrounded by bed- -
room doors. From within one came a sound of
merry chatter and laughing.

The doctor opened this door and glanced in.

“Well, you people!” he cried cheerily, “I’ve
brought you a visitor. Come in, my dear,” and
he drew Bee into the room.

There were only Marion and Patty with Dick.

All three gazed at the new arrival in extreme
surprise, which, with the girls, had in it a mixture
of vexation.
74 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMPE,

“There you are! Now you must entertain
each other,’ said their father, quite unconscious
of having spoiled a pleasant hour. “Well, Dick,
my lad, how’s the foot?”

“Not so bad as it was,” said the boy with a
smile, as he held out his hand to Bee, who stood
hesitating and shy with her eyes on the floor.
“How do you do, Bee? I remember you, though
_ I daresay you have forgotten me.”

“T must be off; I’ve heaps of letters to write,”
said the doctor then. “This young woman is to
have tea with you, and will be fetched at half-
past nine, so I'll leave you to amuse each other.
Good-bye.”

He nodded to them as he went out of the door.
It closed, and there followed a dead silence.
Marion’s astonishment and indignation at having
the “horrid little thing” to entertain for such a
length of time tied her tongue, and she could not
find a word to say. Patty was waiting to see
what the others would do before she would
venture to speak herself. Bee was divided
between delight at finding herself there and an
uneasy feeling that she was not welcome. Dick
was studying her with curiosity.
TEA AT THE COWENS’. 75

“Won't you take off your hat and gloves as
* you're going to stop?” he said. “You can put
them on the dressing-table or anywhere.”

Bee silently obeyed. After that Marion placed
her a chair, she sat down, and they all tried hard
to think of something to say. Dick was the
first to hit upon a subject.

“ Are you fond of cats?” he asked,

“Yes, very,” said Bee. .

“Ts yours a bad-tempered one?”

“Ours! Wehaven’tone. Aunt Sarah wouldn’t
have one in the house.”

“Qh,” said Dick, “I thought you had one by
that scratch on your face.”

Bee blushed and laughed.

“That wasn’t done by a cat,” she replied.

“A dog, then?”

“No,” said Bee. “It was a boy.”

Dick opened his gray eyes wide. “Why, it
sounds as though you had been fighting,” he
said. To that Bee made no answer. She would
not tell tales about the Oxleys.

By this time Marion had recovered from her
annoyance sufficiently to see that she must be
at least civil. She joined in and talked, but Bee
76 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

was quick enough to feel that there was no real
kindness in her manner, and her first pleasure
gradually died away. She became solemn and
silent, guessing that they were not inclined to
like her, and that even Dick regarded her with
a kind of suspicion.

_ However, things brightened a little when Aunt
Emily came in for half an hour and brought
Dolla. Then tea made a little diversion, and
when it was cleared away a little of the stiffness
and shyness had worn off. Yet Bee was bitterly
disappointed. The time had flown so fast, and
she had made no progress at all. She felt that
they would never like her, never treat her as if
she were anyone else.

Between seven and eight o'clock Cecil Haw-
thorne came in, and was so warmly welcomed
that Bee contrasted this with the way in which
she had been received. i

“Oh, come in, Cecil! This is jolly!” from
Dick. And, “Cecil! How nice!” from Marion
and Patty. And he was pulled in and room
made for him close to the bed.

He looked a good deal surprised at the
sight of Bee installed in Dick’s room, and
‘TEA AT THE COWENS’. 77

whispered to Patty, “What's the Goblin here
for?” though not in so low a voice as he might
have used, for Bee heard, and the quick rush of
colour to her face betrayed the fact. She became
more subdued than before, and was so quiet that
anyone might have been excused for thinking
her both dull and stupid.

Cecil had plenty to say. He chattered of this
and that, saving the others all the trouble of
talking, and keeping them laughing by his odd
way of putting things, with just enough ex-
aggeration to make them funny without being
exactly untrue.

When it began to get dark Miss Cowen brought
in a lamp and placed it on a small table by
Dick’s side, with instructions to the little party
to be very careful not to upset it.

Then Dick proposed a game of cards, which
they played with the cards spread out on the
sheet before the invalid, and the players sitting
round the bed.

Bee was now perfectly silent. She played in
a mechanical way without thinking of what she
was doing, for she knew it was nearly time to
go home, and instead of her having made friends
78. THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

with the Cowens, she fancied they disliked her
more than before.

“T say, Miss Bee,” said Cecil suddenly, “ you're
cheating.”

“Tm not!” she cried indignantly.

“Yes, you are. We ought not to look at our
cards, and I saw you looking at yours.”

“JT didn’t look at them.”

“Yes, you did.”

“No, I did not!”

“Don’t quarrel!” said Dick gently. “Never
mind. Let’s go on.”

“T don’t care to play if you don’t believe me,”
Bee cried.

“Well, we can’t both be believed,” said Cecil,
who was growing too angry to be polite. “I
say you were cheating, and anyone would believe
me before you. We all know what you are!”
“Its a story, and I hate you!” cried Bee
starting up and throwing her cards on the floor.
She stepped back quickly, forgetting that the
table was just behind her. It gave way with
her weight, the paraffin lamp was slipping off,
and in another second would have been on the
floor. Dick was the only one who saw it, and,
TEA AT THE COWENS’. 79

realizing the danger, sprang forward, caught and
saved it in the very act of falling. In a minute
Marion had taken it from him to place it in
safety, as Dick sank back on his pillows.

“Oh, my foot! It’s all gone wrong again!”
he gasped. “Fetch father, somebody—quick!”








CHAPTER IX,

CECIL AND DICK.

ia an instant all was confusion. Patty flew

down-stairs to fetch the doctor, Marion wrung
her hands in dismay, and bent over Dick, who
lay back on his pillows nearly fainting, Bee shrank
into the shadow, trembling and frightened, and
Cecil looked at her with a half-startled, half-mali-
cious expression, and whispered:

“Now you've done it, and I hope you're
happy!”

Then the doctor came hurriedly in, and dis-
missed every one from the room except Aunt
Emily, who had followed him. As the children
went down to the ground floor, Bee saw by their
manner that they all looked upon her as the
direct cause of the catastrophe, and, feeling that
she was not really more to blame than Cecil, who
CECIL AND DICK. 81

had quite a virtuous and shocked air, her sorrow
for what had occurred changed into anger and
defiance.

“But how did you manage to do it?” asked
Patty, who had been looking another way, and
so had only seen the result.

“Well, it was all through Bee cheating—”
began Cecil glibly. But Bee interrupted:

“I didn’t cheat. How dare you say so!”

“And because I told her about it,” the boy
went on, pretending not to hear, “as you saw, she
went into a temper, threw down her cards, and
knocked the lamp over, and if Dick hadn’t
jumped up and caught it, the house would have
been set on fire.”

“Do you mean to say that I upset the lamp on
purpose?” cried Bee, her cheeks aflame.

“Tt looked very much like it,” said Cecil—
“didn’t it, Marion?”

As he turned to Marion, Bee turned and looked
at her eagerly too.

“No. It was an accident, wasn’t it? you know

it was an accident, don’t you?” ghe asked.
(410) F
82 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

Marion drew back from her, and shook her
head.

“J didn’t see,” she replied coldly.

Just then Suzette arrived to fetch Bee home,
though it was earlier than the time Dr. Cowen
had fixed. Marion ran up to fetch her “things,”
which had been left in Dick’s bed-room. She
looked pale and subdued when she came down.

“Papa is very angry,” she said, “and auntie says
that all the good that was cone is quite spoiled.
It is being set all over again.”

Bee stared at her with widely opened, Marseed
eyes.

“All through me!” she thought to herself, and
then, “Oh, I wish I had never come!” she cried,
and burst into tears.

Marion felt something rise in her throat, and
her first impulse was to throw her arms round
the deformed child, kiss her, and bid her take
‘comfort, for they all knew she had not intended
to do any harm. But she steeled herself against
this softer feeling, and handed her her gloves
without speaking.
CECIL AND DICK. 83

Bee dashed away her tears, and looked from
Marion to Patty, and from Patty to Cecil, with a
glance so piercing it seemed as though it must see
even what thoughts were in their minds. All
three were watching her as if she were some
kind of wild animal they did not quite under-
stand—there was not a gleam of sympathy
visible anywhere. The result of this sharp
examination was that Bee turned quickly away,
walked out of the room, and, without so much
as saying “good-bye” to anyone, went. straight
home with Suzette, who came to the conclu-
sion that “Miss Bee was in one of her tan-
trums.”

The fact was that Dick was really worse than
he had been before. Being weak from lying
still, in this low state the painful operation of
re-setting upset hisnerves. He became so ill and
feverish that Aunt Emily did not like to leave
him, and sat up with him the whole night through,
while he lay sometimes in a half-dozing state,
- Mnurmuring a few words now and then, too in-
distinctly for their meaning, if there were ‘any,
84 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

to be caught—sometimes awake and gazing at
her with his eyes feverishly bright.

Once he startled Miss Cowen by starting up on
his elbow with a faint ery of alarm.

“There it goes!” he whispered excitedly.
“Stop it! Stop it! It will fall—we shall all be
burned!”

“Why, Dick!” said his aunt, laying her hand
on his shoulder and pressing him back into the
bed, “what’s the matter? What are you going
to do?”

“T was dreaming, I think,” he said gently, and
sighed, and lay still.

A little later he sprang up again.

“Fire! The house is on fire! It was the lamp!
~ Oh, auntie, is that you? Did I wake you? I’m
so sorry. I have such bad dreams to-night.”

And once more he lay quietly with closed eyes,
so that she thought him asleep, and took a little
nap herself in her chair.

The next morning the doctor went to pay his
visit to Miss Sarah Burn, who was not yet better.
When he left, Bee was standing in the door-
CECIL AND DICK. 85

way, as she had been on the previous day, having
placed herself there in the hope that he would
speak to her. She was trembling with excite-
ment, and longing to ask how Dick was. The
very words were all ready, and she looked up as
he passed, opening her lips to speak; but instead
of the friendly glance of yesterday, she found his
eyes fixed upon her so coldly and sternly that she
shrank into herself as if frozen up.

After that chilling disapproving look he took
no further notice of her and passed on; but that
had been enough and too much for Bee. The
kindest face she had known had changed to her
——he was offended—he had done with her. It
was useless, she thought, for her to try to please
anyone—useless to try to be good. She bit her
lips, forced back the rising sobs, ran up to her
room and shut the door with a bang.

Cecil Hawthorne paid Dick Cowen a visit every
afternoon. Dick did not particularly like him;
but Cecil was amusing, because he had always
something to say, and to be amusing, unfortu-
nately, often makes people as welcome as to be
~

86 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

nice. He had quite a talent for collecting bits of
news and gossip, and would talk ‘on and on with-
out giving his listener much trouble in the matter
of answering. At the present time the chief
subject of conversation was Bee, whose various
proceedings greatly interested all the other chil-
dren of Haycombe.

“That little Humpy’s an awful child,” said
Cecil two days after the accident with the
lamp.

“I’m not so sure of that,” said Dick thought-
fully; “she looks to me as though she might be
as good as anyone else, if somebody took a little
trouble with her.” __

Cecil laughed scornfully.

“Not she! What do you think she did this
morning? Pip Oxley—the youngest one, you
know—just to tease her, ran after her and asked
her to give him one of her curls—she’s aw-
fully vain of her long curls. Well, she wouldn't
take any notice. So what does Pip do but goes
and gets a pair of his mother’s scissors, and
comes up slyly behind her, when she’s sitting
CECIL AND DICK, 87

reading under the oak-tree, and before she guesses
what he’s up to snips off two long pieces of hair,
ever so thick. Up jumps the Goblin, sees him
with the hair in his hand, and gives him such a
whack with her book that he’s bowled right over
and down he comes on the ground, cuts his fore-
head open on a stone, and goes home crying.
And the fun of it is that soon after we saw Mrs.
Oxley go to see Miss Burn. Wouldn’t Miss Bee
catch it when she got in! And serve her jolly
well right!”

Dick’s eyes flashed with anger—a rare thing
with them, “I should like to go and shave Pip’s
head,” he said. “The poor little creature hasn’t
anything else pretty about her—he might leave
her her curls!”

“My mother says,” Cecil went on, “that Miss
Burn told her Bee has such sulky fits she doesn’t
know what on earth to do with her. She says
she’s more trouble than a dozen ordinary chil-
dren.”

Dick sighed. “TI feel as though it’s partly our
fault,” he said,


88 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMDE.

“Our fault! What do you mean?”

“We have all treated her very badly, you know.
What I think is, she can’t be bad all through;
and she must be very miserable.”

- «What a funny chap you are!” said Cecil, star-
ing and not in the least understanding his train
of thought.

“People are not often cross when they’re
happy,” pursued Dick. “And they’re generally
unhappy after they’ve been cross.”

“How do you know that?”

“That’s how it happens with me,” said Dick;
“and people are all very much alike underneath.”

“Oh, that’s all bosh!” cried Cecil, bursting into
alaugh. “People are not alike. They're as dif-
ferent as can be. There are bad people and good
people, and the bad ones are generally ugly, and
the good ones nice-looking. And when they’re
hideous, and stumpy, and humpy, and all that,
why, you may be pretty sure they’re extra bad.
That’s my opinion.” -

Dick shook his head as though he did not see
the force of this reasoning.
CECIL AND DICK. 89

“I think being disliked and ill-treated would
make almost anybody bad,” he said; “when I’m
better I mean to try and make friends with the
G—, with Bee.”




CHAPTER X,

HOSTILITIES.

HE next day Cecil had a fresh story with
which to amuse the invalid.

“What do you suppose Humpy’s been doing
now?” he inquired, directly he entered the
room.

“T don’t know. Don’t tell me,” said Dick.

“Yes, I shall, as you think her such a paragon,”
returned Cecil, who never could entertain a
moderate view of people or things, but went
straight from one extreme to the other. “Ted
Oxley was sailing his new ship on the pond be-
hind the church this morning, and left it on the
grass while he ran home for some string or some-
thing. He wasn’t away many minutes, but when
he got back all the sails were torn into rags, and
HOSTILITIES. 91

there was a big hole in the bottom. What do
you think of that?”

“Perhaps it wasn’t Bee at all.”

“Oh, but it was, though. He met her coming
away from the pond as he went back. Now,
don’t you call that a spiteful trick? And to Ted
Oxley, who’s the best-tempered fellow going!
_ Oh, wasn’t he savage! I pity the Goblin next
time they meet! But isn’t she a little wretch ?”

Dick was silent and looked depressed and
melancholy. When Cecil was gone, he asked his
father if Bee might come to tea again.

“No,” said the doctor, in a tone of decision. “I
think we’ve had enough of that.” And Dick said
no more. :

A fortnight of beautiful summer weather passed
slowly by, and during all that time Dick had to
lie still. Marion was his constant companion,
and they had so many long quiet talks together,
that a change came over the girl and altered the
very expression of her face. Her brother’s ways of
looking at things, his modes of thought, gradually
took possession of her mind, and she saw the
92 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

people around her as she had never seen them
before. She became gentler and softer in manner,
and her voice had a different tone.

Cecil never came in without some fresh esca-
pade of Bee’s to relate, but, so far, neither Marion
nor Dick had seen the child again. Marion
rather welcomed everything that helped to con-
vince her of Bee’s thoroughly bad disposition, as
the only means of getting rid of the uneasy
troublesome feeling she had at times that she
herself had repulsed and snubbed her on several
different occasions. There was comfort in think-
ing that she had deserved the cold treatment
she had received.

Miss Sarah Burn was as yet no better, and her
sister was always by her side, for she required
constant care and attention. Therefore Bee was
left to her own devices from morning till night,
and the whole village, seeing her wandering
about aimlessly, with nothing to do, had come to
put down every misdemeanour to her account.

For instance, Farmer Robinson’s field - gate,
which had been closed and tied with a rope, was
HOSTILITIES, 93

undone and placed wide open, so that the cows
got out and strayed away for miles. Bee was
eredited with having done this simply from love
of mischief, though in reality the little Turners
were the culprits, they having untied the rope
that they might have the pleasure of swinging
on the gate.

The vicar’s apples were stolen; and the children
_all looked at Bee in church when Mr, Hawthorne
preached a sermon on stealing. -

A little girl left her doll on the bench under
the oak-tree, and, when she went back for it,
found it had been completely picked to pieces
and the saw-dust emptied on the ground. And in
this case the offender was really Bee, and the
little girl was one who never saw Bee without
calling after her: “I say, Scarecrow! I say,
Hump-dumpy! I say, Goblin!” And it was Bee,
too, who found Cecil Hawthorne’s prize book
lying with his coat, which he had taken off to
play cricket, and made pencil-marks all over the
pages and otherwise defaced and injured it.

It was a civil war in Haycombe, with one little
94 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

deformed girl on one side and all the children of
the village on the other.

While this was going on the dark and sulky
look had grown fixed on Bee’s face, and the smile
that had at times made it pleasing and childlike
was never to be seen. She answered shortly and
sulkily when spoken to; she became openly dis-
obedient to Miss Burn, who could not understand
“what had come over the child,” as she expressed
it, and punished her by depriving her of any-
thing she thought would please her — which
course of treatment had not as yet produced any
good result. Bee was defiant in the daytime,
and every night she soaked her pillow with the
most miserable tears,

At the same time she grew thinner day by day
and the hollows round her eyes more marked.
She was always tired—when she arose in the
morning and when she went to bed at night, and
each day she felt more tired than the last.

Then Aunt Sarah became worse, and Bee’s
existence seemed to be almost forgotten. Some-
times whole days passed without her exchanging
HOSTILITIES. 95

a word with anyone. She had her meals alone,
she walked about alone, she went to bed alone. It
almost seemed as though she grew more deformed
at this period, as she certainly became more un-
attractive in appearance. For the war was too
unequal, and if it had continued much longer
Bee would have been quite extinguished, and
not only have ceased to fight, bub ceased to
live.

“It’s a terrible responsibility to have a child
on your hands—and such a child!” Miss Burn
had said to her sister. “I would never have
undertaken it if I had known.”

At last Dick was able to be out in a bath-chair,
and Marion and Patty wheeled him about the
lanes and across the green. They all looked out
for Bee, but she kept away and out of sight for
the first two days. On the third day they met
her, walking slowly along the road with a large
bunch of wild-flowers, which by contrast made
her look darker and more weird than ever.

Dick held out his hand to her with a smile.
“How do you do, Bee?”
96 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

She looked at him in surprise and distrust
while a faint colour mounted in her cheeks. But
though she stood still in the middle of the road,
she did not draw a step nearer.

“Won't you shake hands?” asked Dick almost
pleadingly.

Bee stepped back a little way and shook her
head. Marion moved towards her intending to
draw her forward, but at that she started away
and ran off at the top of her speed.

The three Cowens looked at each other in be-
wilderment.

“What's the matter with her?” cried Patty.
“She used not to be like that. Didn’t she look
dreadful? I felt quite afraid of her.”

Marion turned to Dick with the tears in her
eyes.

“Poor little thing!” she said in a low tone.
“She used to try and make friends with us a
little while ago. What shall we do?”

“Wait, and try again,” Dick answered.

But he was better and able to walk with a
stick before Bee allowed them to come within
HOSTILITIES. 97

speaking distance. She had acquired something
of the habits of a bird or a wild rabbit, and could
be often seen a good way off, though as soon as
anyone tried to approach her she darted away.



(410) G
aT IATATATANANS

fs

ZTE



CHAPTER XI.
THE HUNT.

AM to go back to London the day after to-
I morrow, Marion,” said Dick one afternoon.
“Father says my ankle’s cured, but I must never
play football again, and I’m to take great care
for a long time. I’ve written to uncle to tell him
when to expect me.”
Marion sighed and looked disconsolate.
“Let's enjoy these two last days as much as
. we can,” Dick went on. “I’m very disappointed
that we haven't succeeded in getting hold of poor
little Bee, and making her understand that we’re
not all deadly enemies; but you'll go on trying
-after I'm gone, and write and tell me about it,
won't you?”
Marion nodded. “Let’s go out,” she said. “Per-
haps we may meet with her to-day.”
THE HUNT. 99

As the others agreed, they announced to Aunt
Emily that they were going to take themselves
out of her way till tea-time, and set off at once.
It was not much after two, and the day was
Saturday—just five weeks since Dick’s arrival.

“J don’t know what we shall do without you,”
sighed Marion. “You have made everything seem
different. Oh, Dick, I wish you weren’t going!”

“So do I, for some things. But I shouldn’t like
to be doing nothing much longer. And I shall
be here again in the autumn.”

“Oh, don’t go, Dick!” cried Dolla, clinging to
his fingers. Patty said nothing, but contrived to
wipe away two tears without being seen.

They followed the Kalehurst road a little way,
then climbed a stile, crossed some fields, and
entered a wood. By and by they came to a
fallen tree and sat down upon it, enjoying the
shade, the twitter of the birds, the hum of in-
sects, and the flecks of light lying here and there
on the mossy ground. Perhaps little Dorothy
hardly knew that she was enjoying these things,
but she was quiet and contented, only amusing —
100 - THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

herself by lazily gathering the flowers and twigs
that were within reach of her hand.

“Tell us a story, Dick,’ said Patty in a sub-
dued and dreamy tone. “Your stories are always
so nice.”

“Yes, do,” said Marion, Dick laughed and
shook his head, but yielded after a few minutes
and buried his face in his hands to think.

At this time, on the same afternoon, Ted Oxley
went to feed his rabbits. He had been out in the
morning and had brought home a quantity of
hogweed and other green stuff that they liked;
but as he only reached home just in time for
dinner, he had had to put off eedine them until
that meal was over.

He went to the hutch and looked in. They
were very quiet— what was the matter with
them? He opened the door in the front, thrust
in his arm, and pulled out one by the ears. It
felt cold and did not move—it was quite
dead!

Ihere were three altogether. Ted gave a hor-
rified exclamation and pulled out the two others.
THE HUNT. 101

Both were cold and lifeless! He laid their dead
bodies tenderly on the ground and stood looking
at them, very much inclined to have a good ery.
Then, as he overcame that disposition, he began
to wonder how they came to die. “They were
well enough last night,” he said to himself. “I
can’t make it out. There is only one way—they
must have been poisoned.”

He went down on one knee and passed his
hand gently over their fur. In spite of all his
efforts he could not prevent two tears falling on
the poor rabbits, for he was very fond of his pets.
Then he sprang up and hastily dried his eyes, for
he heard his brothers coming.

One by one they ran up, and there followed a
chorus of “Oh, I say! Oh, what a shame! Are
they quite dead?” and so on, and a hundred
questions were asked which Ted was unable to
answer.

“I know,” cried Phil suddenly. “They couldn't
have died by themselves without any reason. I
guess they've been poisoned, and that it’s the
Goblin who did it.”
102 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“Of course,” cried Ted. “It would be just like
her—nasty, spiteful little thing!”

“That's it,” said Pip. “We know she hates all
of us.”

“T saw her looking in at the gate last night, I
remember,” said one of the others.

This was considered proof positive against Bee.
Ted’s grief gave place to anger.

“Come along. Let's go and find her. Let’s
teach her to come poisoning our rabbits!” he
cried excitedly. “She'll never do it again—I
know that!”

“But she won't let us get anywhere near her
now. She always runs away as soon as she sees
us coming,” said Pip.

“We'll get some others to come and help,” Ted
returned. “We'll track her and hunt her down.
It'll be grand fun. Let’s fetch Cecil and any
more of the Hawthornes wholl come. Look
here, we'll have everyone to help. We separate
now; I go to the vicarage, and you all go different
ways, and we all ask every boy or girl we meet
to come and join in the chase. It will be a fine
THE HUNT. 103

chance for everyone to pay off old scores, The
oak on the green can be the meeting-place; tell
them to go there and wait.”

This plan being looked upon as a very good
one, and another glance at the poor rabbits mak-
ing them more bent on vengeance than before,
these six boys went off in various directions .
without further loss of time. There was a de-
lightful excitement about this proceeding, espe-
cially as the younger ones could form no idea as
to what Ted intended to do with Bee when she
should be captured.

Before long a number of children began to
collect under the tree. There were boys and
girls, little and big, but no babies. The Haw-
thornes came with Ted, who picked up a few
more recruits on his way.

“I think we shall trap her amongst us,” said
Ted, who took the leadership upon himself. “Now,
first, has anyone seen the Goblin this afternoon?”

One little boy announced that he had seen her
go off down the Kalehurst road about half an
hour ago.
104 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“Then I don’t suppose she’s come back yet,”
said Ted “This is what we'll do. We'll divide
into three parties, IT] head one; Phil, you head
another; and Cecil, you'll take the third, won’t you?”

As Cecil willingly agreed, the crowd of children
was separated into three parts, or as Phil, who
was fond of cards, expressed it, was “dealt round”
to the three leaders.

“Now, then, I and my party will go straight
down the road. You and yours, Cecil, must turn
into the fields to the right and keep as near the
road as you can, looking out for her carefully;
and your party must go to the left, Phil And
if anybody sees her, they must call ‘Whoopf as
loudly as ever they can. Do you understand?
And we must all be as quiet as possible, so that
she sha’n’t guess what’s coming.”

A few more explanations and then the three
parties of children crossed the green and started
down the turning leading to Kalehurst, each one
entering into the proceedings with eagerness as
an entirely new and delightful kind of game.
Phil and Cecil led their bands into the fields to
THE HUNT, 105

the right and left, and Ted marched along the —
middle of the road with his train of followers at
his heels,

Bee had wandered off as usual to a distance to
be away from everyone, and, as she was easily
tired, had seated herself on a bank to rest. From
this bank she had a good view of the roadway,
and before very long she saw a troop of children
still far off but coming towards her. Her dread
of their remarks and teasing was sufficient, with-
out her having any suspicion that they were in
search of her, to make her look about for a
means of escape. To go home by the fields was
the first thought that presented itself. She
climbed the bank, writhed her little body through
a gap in the hedge, and started to run across the
grass to the gate leading into the next meadow,
when she descried just such another party mak-
ing their way through the next but one. Bee
hurried back, slipped through the hole again,
darted across the road, up the opposite bank, and
through the hedge. To her horror, there were
more children there and not very far off.
106 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

She could not go back again, so she went
straight forward at right angles to the road, so
as to get well beyond them and then turn home-
wards. She ran along close under a hedge until
she thought it safe to turn, and then set her
face in the direction of the village and ran.
There was a thick hedge between her and Phil’s
party.

All at once there rang out a loud cry of
“ Whoop! Whoop!”

And the band of children had changed their
direction and. were rushing helter-skelter towards
the hedge, and looking franticly for a way
through. But it was a stout hedge, and there
was nothing for it but to go all the way to the
gate, tumble over it and run round. This gave
Bee time to get a good start, for she realized
now that these enemies of hers were actually
in pursuit of her, and must have concocted some
fresh plan for tormenting, which made her
tremble at the idea of falling into their hands.

To get back home was her best course. Out
here away from the houses there would be no
THE HUNT, 107

one to prevent their doing what they chose.
So giving up all attempt at keeping out of
sight she darted like a hare in a straight
line towards where she could see the church
spire.

Of paths, gates, and stiles she took no notice,
for there were few hedges so well grown as not
to have a gap through which she could thrust
herself, and fear made her active enough to
spring over ditches that at another time it would
have seemed impossible to cross.

Now and then she glanced over her shoulder.
It seemed to her that all the children of Hay-
combe were in pursuit. She could hear them
laughing and calling to one another as they
followed, but they were too wise to attempt to
go through and over all obstacles as she did.
They kept to the proper pathways, but still
gained on her, though she fled with a speed she
had never attained in her life.

But she knew she could not reach the village
like this. Her breath came in quick sobs, and
her eyes turned wildly first in one direction, then
108 — THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

«

in another, for some place of shelter. If she had
been running for her life from a horde of wild
beasts she could not have made more frantic
efforts to escape.




CHAPTER XII,

THE CONSEQUENCES.

ELL, that’s the end,” said Dick. “I can’t say
that they lived happily ever after, because,
of course, they had troubles like other people, and
then they could never quite forget—what’s that?”
He broke off, and listened, and Dolla, who had
been dozing with her head against his sleeve,
awoke and sat upright; and Marion and Patty,
whose minds had all been with the imaginary
people of whom Dick had been telling them,
came back to the present; and the birds which
had been chirping round about them flitted off
to trees deeper into the wood.
For there was a sound of many voices and
feet—shrill, high-pitched voices of children, and
quick nimble feet of children—coming nearer

and nearer.
110 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“What can be going on?” exclaimed Marion,
half starting up, then sitting down again. “I’m
sure I heard Cecil’s voice calling ‘This way!’”

As she ceased speaking there was a rustling of
leaves and crackle of breaking twigs; the boughs
in front of them parted, and there was Bee, with
a look about her like that of a hunted wild animal
with the dogs at its heels. Her face and hands
were scratched by the branches through which
she had forced her way; her eyes were widely
opened and scarcely seemed to see anything, and
she was panting and gasping for breath.

Dick sprang up and caught her by the hands,
holding her firmly, though she struggled to get
away.

“Why, you poor child,” he cried, “ what’s the
matter? What are you afraid of? We'll take
-care of you. How you're trembling! No one is
going to hurt you.”

Bee made a wild attempt to wrench away her
hands from his clasp, then suddenly her efforts to
free herself stopped, her eyes closed, and she fell
heavily against him white and senseless.
THE CONSEQUENCES, 111

Dick had just laid her gently on the mossy

path, Marion was removing her hat and loosening
her frock at the throat, when Ted Oxley burst
through the boughs and almost tumbled over the
little group, which in a minute was surrounded
by Bee’s pursuers, of whom more and more came
panting up from various directions. From the
outside ones and later comers came cries of
“Where is she? Have you got her? Is she
there?”
Dick stood up and looked round on them.’ He
was perfectly transformed by anger, his thin sensi-
tive face glowed, his eyes, that generally shone
with a quiet rather melancholy light, flashed fire.
Ted, to his profound astonishment, received a
sounding blow on the ear.

“You cowards!” cried Dick, in a tone that
silenced every one of the children on the instant;-
“you miserable cowards! have you nothing
better to do than to terrify this poor little
creature to death? you have half killed her!
Look! are you satisfied?”

He lifted Bee in his arms, where she lay with
112 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

her head falling helplessly back and her hand
swinging where it hung straight down from her

~ ghoulder.

“Come, Marion,” he said in a low voice, “Tm
going to take her to our place, it’s the nearest,
across the meadow and in the back way.” And
as he started he turned his head over his shoulder
to give the children one more indignant glance,
to say once more in that ringing tone of contempt:

“ Cowards!”

They were all subdued enough by this end to
the chase. It had seemed such good fun while it
lasted that they had almost imagined that it was
a game in which Bee was playing of her own free
will. But taken separately they were not with-
out feeling, and there was hardly one who did
not look abashed if not crushed by Dick’s anger,
or experience an uneasy sense that the sport
had been carried too far at the sight of Bee’s
pallid face.

Ted Oxley, however, was too proud to let any-
one guess that he was ashamed of himself. He
held his head erect, looked round rather scorn-
THE CONSEQUENCES. 113

fully on his crest-fallen friends, and called after
- the departing Cowens:

“ Well, she shouldn’t have poisoned my rabbits,
then.”

And after relieving his mind in this way he
signed to his brothers to follow him, and went
home to bury his dead pets.

But Cecil Hawthorne’s conscience had received
a severer shock,and was upbraiding him so bitterly
that he was perfectly wretched. He wandered
off alone further into the depths of the wood,
~ climbed a tree, and sitting among the branches
thought well over his own conduct, and arrived,
after some time, at the satisfactory conclusion
that he was “a beast ”—a conclusion that made
him rather quiet for the rest of the day.

The others who had been of the party then
slowly dispersed in different directions—a few
following Dick and his burden, some going to
their homes, the rest straggling about aimlessly
for a while before finding some fresh diversion.

In this way Bee once more entered the Cowens’

home. Dick carried her upstairs and laid her on
(410 ) H
114 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

Marion’s bed,and Aunt Emily came running to see
- what was the matter, and at once set to work to
restore her to consciousness.

“Good gracious me!” said Miss Cowen as she
applied one restorative after another without
success, “how frightfully thin the child is—
nothing but skin and bone! I should like to feed
her up for a couple of months. What have you
been doing to her? Her poor little hands are
covered with scratches, and here are two or three
on her face!”

Dick’s anger had now all died away, and
Marion, glancing at him, fancied she caught a
glimpse of tears in his eyes. She slipped her
hand into his and he pressed it in silence.

“Those dreadful, cruel, horrid children!” she
whispered ; “what heartless little wretches they are!”

“No, don’t say that,’ Dick returned in the
same tone; “I had no right to be angry. They
did not think what they were doing, I expect.
Very likely if we had been in their place we
should have done just the same.”

Marion shook her head. She was convinced
THE CONSEQUENCES. 115

that Dick at least could not have been guilty of
such cruelty; but she did not speak, for just then
Bee sighed and opened her eyes.

The fainting fit was over, but there was no
recognition in the glance that wandered over
those who stood round the bed, and no meaning
in the words she began to mutter.

“She’s a little delirious, I fancy,” said Miss
Cowen, compressing her lips. “One thing is
evident, she can’t be taken home, for I hear that
her aunt is lying in an extremely dangerous state.
Pll write a note to Miss Burn to explain, and we
must keep her here till she’s better.”

This seemed a simple enough matter, A
night’s rest would be all that was needed, Miss
Cowen thought, to set Bee right again. But it
was not so. The exertion, the fright, the excite-
ment, all together had been too much for the
morbid, nervous child, who had been for the last
few weeks falling into a more and more highly-
strung and sensitive condition, and the result of
all these causes combined was—brain fever.

Patty and Dolla, much to their dissatisfaction,
116 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE,

were forbidden the room. Marion gave up her
bed and slept elsewhere; Miss Burn was told
what had happened, and wrote a most grateful
letter to Miss Cowen to thank her for undertak-
ing the charge of the invalid, whom she was only
too glad to leave in such good hands; and so, in
nursing and watching, the rest of Saturday and
Sunday slipped away, and Monday morning
found Dick putting a few belongings into a bag
ready to take back with him to London.

“I don’t want to go,” he whispered to Marion,
as they both stood by the bed on which Bee was
tossing to and fro. “I feel as though, somehow,
it’s partly my fault. She must have been very
unhappy lately, from all I hear, and we might
have guessed it from Cecil’s stories. We did not
half try to make friends.”

“It’s not your fault,’ Marion returned in the
same low tone. “It may be mine, but I will
make up for it now.”

Dick took the deformed child’s bony fingers in
_ his and looked at them, and then at her queer,
pathetic little face.
THE CONSEQUENCES. 117

“Good-bye, Bee,” he said, but she did not hear
or see him. She was talking away to herself
very fast and indistinctly, and her eyes were fixed
on the wall.

Dick kissed Aunt Emily, who whispered to
him to brush his suit before he started, and to get
his hair cut directly he arrived in London, or his —
uncle would certainly be shocked; and then he
went down to bid farewell to his father and the
children. But Dr. Cowen had forgotten that the
boy was going, and had driven off on his rounds,
and there were only his sisters there to grieve
over his departure. Marion went with him to
the gate, clung to his hand till the last minute,
and watched him through a mist as he turned
back to wave his hat from far down the road.




CHAPTER XIII.

FRIENDS.

ICK was gone, and there was a great blank in
the Cowen family; but he had left some-
thing behind him—the influence of his character.
It was Marion who had felt this most, for she
loved and understood him. Patty and Dolla ad-
mired and adored the big brother who was never
“cross.” Dr. Cowen and Aunt Emily loved him,
but yet despised him a little, thinking his quiet-
ness came from weakness instead of strength.
But Marion saw with different eyes. His self-
forgetfulness, his unwillingness to condemn those
who had done wrong, had spread to her, taken
root in her heart, and would never leave her. It
was as though before his home-coming she had
not been able to really see anyone but herself,
and Dick had opened her eyes.
FRIENDS. 119

Marion had had a few first lessons in the duties
of a nurse over Dick’s ankle, but she was now to
have a complete education. She and Miss Cowen
had their hands full, for Bee was seriously ill, and
Miss Sarah Burn continuing no better there was
no help from that quarter. The doctor paid the
child constant visits, and she had every possible
care and attention, but the days went by, one
after another, and still Marion wrote to Dick,
“She doesn’t know anyone yet.”

‘But at last there came a change. The fever
was past and Bee was conscious, though almost
too weak to say a word. At first her eyes had a
timid and wondering expression in them, and fol-
lowed Miss Cowen and Marion as though trying
to find out the answer to a puzzling question.
This surprised look remained, though the fright-
ened air soon disappeared. She grew just strong
enough to talk a little in a low weak voice, and
there she seemed to stand still and make no im-
provement whatever.

“Where are my aunts?” she asked Marion one
afternoon when they were alone together.
120 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“They’re gone to Hastings,” Marion replied,
taking Bee’s wasted hand in hers. “Papa thought
your Aunt Sarah would never get better unless
she had a thorough change, and we promised to
take care of you so that they could go.”

Bee mused a little and then said softly:

“T like being ill.”

“Why ?”

“Because you're nice to me then, and it’s easy
to be good. You are all different when I’m well.”

Marion turned crimson to the roots of her hair.

“I sha’n’t be different any more, Bee. We will
always be friends.” And she bent and kissed the
child’s hollow cheek.

“But,” began Bee, after a little more thought,
“even if you are kind, all the others will hate me
still, just as they used to do, and I shall hate them
back. It’s so lonely, whem everyone—”

She stopped, and Marion, seeing the tears rising
to her eyes, turned her thoughts in a different
direction by bringing to the bedside a vase of
roses that had been standing on a side-table.

“Look,” she said, “Cecil Hawthorne left these
FRIENDS. - 121

for you. I think he wants you to see that he’s
sorry for having teased you.”

Bee sniffed at them as Marion held them to her
nose,

“They are lovely,” she said. “There's one of
the same kind as mine that I wanted to give you
once, and you wouldn’t have it—do you remem-
ber?”

Marion nodded, set the roses down, and became
silent. Bee too was silent. She was thinking of
Cecil, and after a few minutes she spoke.

“J wasn’t cheating that night when I knocked
the lamp over.”

“J didn’t think you were, then,” Marion con-
fessed. “And Dick said afterwards that he was
sure Cecil was mistaken.”

Bee smiled in a delighted way, was thoughtful
again for a time, until Marion thought she was
asleep, and then opening her eyes she said slowly
and dreamily:

“No, I don’t want to get better at present. I
should like to lie here always and always. When
Tam well I shall have to be alone again, for hours;
122 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

and they will tease me again and call me names,
and everything will be just like it was before. Do
you know why they all ran after me that day
—I forget when—a long time ago?”

“Ted Oxley found all his rabbits dead, and
he took it into his head that you must have
poisoned them. He wanted to punish you. It
was all his doing. Of course he found out after-
wards that he had killed the rabbits himself, by
some green stuff he gave them the day before.
But never mind that now. Let us talk of some-
thing else.”

But Bee was beyond talking at all, after say-
ing so much all at once. Aunt Emily came in,
dismissed Marion for a walk, and sat down with
some sewing by the bed. She had grown fond of
the ‘deformed child, who seemed so unused to
being treated with much kindness, and shrank
so from giving any trouble, that she seemed less
like a child than ever. She was an “odd little
being,” Miss Cowen thought, and so thought the
doctor, who had taken her again into his favour,
and would spend a great deal more time than he
FRIENDS, 123

could wel) spare in the sick-room, in endeavouring
to make her laugh, which was by no means an
easy task.

“She gets better very slowly,” Marion wrote to
Dick; and a little later she wrote, “We can’t see
that she gets much stronger.”

Dick looked out for his home letters eagerly,
for he was as anxious to hear good news of Bee
as if she had been his own little sister. He wrote
to her twice, and Bee read these letters over and
over, for they were the only ones she had.ever had.

But Bee did not get better. She was no
trouble in any other way, she was not cross, she
made no complaint, but she would not get well.
Marion was never tired of waiting on her, read-
ing to her, bringing her flowers, and she would
try to rouse her from the drowsy state into which
she sometimes fell, by talking to her of the fun
they would all have in the autumn when Dick
came down, “and when you are quite strong, you
know,” she would say at the end.

“And will you be friends with me then?” Bee
would ask wistfully.
124 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“Ves, always,” Marion would answer, kiss-
ing her to hide the tears that sprang to her
eyes.

Bee would give a little sigh of satisfaction and
say no more, but her thin fingers would tighten
their clasp of Marion’s, and cling to them unwil-
ling to lose their hold until she fell asleep.

One evening Dr. Cowen was sitting in his study,
not busy, for a wonder, but resting his head upon
his hand, thinking, when the door was quietly
opened, and Marion stole in and stood by his side.
She did not seat herself on his knee, or lean on
his shoulder, as some children do with their fa-
thers, as the doctor never seemed to expect or
like any great show of affection.

_ “Papa,” she began rather timidly, “I have
come to ask you a question.”

“Yes, my dear. What is it?”

“About Bee. J want to know whether you
really think she’s getting better.”

The doctor took her hand in his, and looked
gravely and sadly into her face.

“ Are you very fond of that child, Marion?”
FRIENDS. 125

“T think so, papa. Iam not sure. I only feel
that I would do anything in the world to make
her enjoy herself and be happy.”

‘You couldn’t do more than you have done
lately, my dear. But think a little, Marion.
You could not keep her always. When she was
well she would have to go back to her aunts and
take her chance. And I am afraid that all the
children who are so sorry for her now that she’s
ill, and send her flowers, would tease her as much
as ever when she was back amongst them. If
she lived she must all her life long feel that she
was an object of pity, even if people did not
turn from her with a shudder. And in feel-
ing herself different from others, in noticing all
these things, it would be a wonder if she did not
grow disagreeable and bitter, hard and cruel.
You see the best of her now; she is happy,.be-
cause she’s loved and cared for, and there’s nothing
to vex or irritate her; but you know very well
what she can be like—you have heard enough.”

Marion listened to all this, with her face grow-
ing paler and paler.
126 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

“Tt was not her fault,” she said in a low voice.
“We were as bad as she was. We were cruel to
her—and I was the worst of all, because the
others copied me.”

Her father drew her to him, and kissed her.

“Té is good for us to learn these hard lessons,
my child,” he said. “If that is true, and you, by
thoughtlessness of her feelings, took from Bee the
happiness she might have had, you cannot pay
what you owe back to her herself, except for a
very little longer; but you will go on paying it
back to all who are unhappy and ill-treated all
your life long.”

“A very little longer!” Marion repeated.

“Very little,” the doctor answered gently. “I
have done all I could, but I cannot keep her here.
Don’t cry, my darling. Believe, as I do, that it
is better so.”

It was a long time before Marion went back
to the invalid’s room. When she appeared there
Bee’s face lighted up.

“You shouldn’t stop away so long, Marion,”
she said, catching eagerly at her hands. “I began
FRIENDS. 127

to think you were getting tired of me, and were
not going to like me any more.”

Marion did not speak, but she laid her head on
the pillow beside Bee’s, and Bee gave a little sigh
of content, and dropped into a doze with a smile
on her lips, while Marion’s tears trickled fast on to
_ the pillow, she not daring to move and wipe them
away.

For she had been thinking that the wrong that
had been done to the sick child could be quite
undone, and that nothing but good would come
of it after all. Poor Marion!

The doctor was right. He had done his best;
but doctors cannot do so very much, even the
cleverest. Not long after this, Miss Burn, wearily
nursing her sister back to health, received the
news that the trouble of having a child to care
for and bring up was taken from her shoulders,
for she had seen the last of her little niece. Both
the aunts grieved for the child, feeling that she
had not been happy with them; but later on they
came to think with Dr. Cowen that “it was
better so,”
128 THE CHILDREN OF HAYCOMBE.

At the same time Dick had a short letter from
Marion telling him that she could never be happy
again, for Bee was gone from Haycombe for ever.
And Dick, away in London, dropped a few secret
tears, for he was only sixteen, reproached him-
self for not having understood sooner how the
little weak helpless creature was being slowly
crushed by those who were happy and well and
strong, and grew in consequence of this sad ex-
perience more firm in the purposes of his life.

And these were: To despise no one, to repulse
no One, to shrink from no ugliness or sourness of
disposition, to have love and help at the service
of everyone, but most of all to give them to
those who; from whatever cause, are in the same
position to the rest of the world as that of Bee
to the children of Haycombe. —

THE END.
A SELECTION OF
BLACKIE & SON’S

BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE,

SUITABLE FOR GIFTS. FOR SCHOOL LIBRARIES,
FOR PRIZES.

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_ The Saucy May. By Henry Frrrs.
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Jasper’s Conquest. By Exizasura J. Lysacur.

“One of the best boys’ books of the season. It is full of stirring adventure and
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Sturdy and Strong: Or, How George Andrews made his Way.

By G. A. Henry,

“The history of a hero of everyday life, whose love of truth and innate pluck
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2 BLACKIE AND SON’S BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE,

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Winnie’s Secret: A Story of Faith and Patience. By Karz Woop.

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Inseet Ways on Summer Days in Garden, Forest, Field, and
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The Joyous Story of Toto. By Laura E. Rronarps. With 30

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Miss Willowburn’s Offer. By Saran Doupyey.
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A Garland for Girls. By Lovisa M. Axcort,

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Hetty Gray: Or Nobody’s Bairn, By Rosa MunHonnanp.

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Brothers in Arms: A Story of the Crusades. By F. Bayrorp

Harrison. ~-

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The Ball of Fortune. By Cuaries Prarcs.

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Miss Fenwick’s Failures. By Esmuié Srvarr.
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Gytha’s Message: A Tale of Saxon England. By Emma Lusi,
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BLACKIE AND SON’S BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 3



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The Stories of Wasa and Menzikoff: The Deliverer of Sweden,

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Stories of the Sea in Former Days.

Tales of Captivity and Exile.

Famous Discoveries by Sea and Land.

Stirring Events of History.

Adventures in Field, Flood, and Forest.

Jack o’ Lanthorn: A Tale of Adventure. By Henry Frira.

“The narrative is crushed full of stirring incident, and is sure to be a prime
favourite with our boys,”—Christian Leader.

The Family Failing. By Darney Dats.
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value of contentedness to young and old alike.”—Aberdeen Journal.

BLACKIE’S TWO SHILLING SERIES.
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Susan. By Amy Watron.
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Linda and the Boys. By Crormia Senpy Lownpss.
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Swiss Stories for Children and those who Love Children.
From the German of Mapam Sprrri. By Lucy WHEELOocK.
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homesteads and country.”—Practical Teacher.

Adventures of Mrs. Wishing-to-be. By Atice Corkray,
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Our Dolly: Her Words and Ways. By Mrs. R. H. Reap.
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Fairy Fancy: What she Heard and Saw. By Mrs. R. H. Reap.

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40 BLACKIE AND SON’S BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.



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Aboard the ‘‘Atalanta:” The Story of a Truant. By Henry

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The Penang Pirate. By Joun C. Hurounson.
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Teddy: The Story of a “Little Pickle.” By Jonn C. Hurcuzson.
“There is real humour in the tale.”—The Times.
Four Little Mischiefs. By Rosa Munuonianp.
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Warner’s Chase: Or the Gentle Heart. By Anniz 8S. Swan,
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New Light through Old Windows. A Series of Stories illus-
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Little Tottie, and Two Other Stories. By Tuomas ARcHER.
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Naughty Miss Bunny. By Ciara Motnornanp,
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‘A Pair of Clogs:” And other Stories. By Amy Watton.
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The Hawthorns. By Amy Watron.
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Dorothy’s Dilemma: A Tale of the Time of Charles I. By Cano-
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Marie’s Home: Or, A Glimpse of the Past. By Carotine Austin.

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The Squire’s Grandson: A Devonshire Story. By J. M. Cat-
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BLACKIE AND SON’S BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 5



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Magna Charta Stories: Or Struggles for Freedom in the Olden

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Edited by ARTHUR GILMAN, A.M.

“A book of special excellence, which ought to be in the hands of all boys."—

Educational News.

The Wings of Courage; Any Tun Croup-Srinner.

Translated

from the French of Goran Sanp, by Mrs. Corkran,

“Mrs. Corkran has earned our gratitude by translating into readable English
these two charming little stories."—Athenwum,

Chirp and Chatter; Or, Lessons rrom Fretp anp TrEB. By

Attce Banks,

With 54 Illustrations by Gorpon Brownz.

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could not select.”—Glasgow Her

BLACKIE’S EIGHTEENPENNY SERIES.
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Joan’s Adventures at the North
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Filled with Gold. By JENNIH PER-
RETT.

Edwy: Or, Was he a Coward? By
ANNETTE LYSTER.

The Battlefield Treasure. By F.
BAYFORD HARRISON.
Yarns on the Beach. By G. A.

HENTY.

ATerrible Coward. By G. M. FENN.

The Late Miss Hollingford. By
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Our Frank, and other Stories. By
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The Pedlar and his Dog. By Mary
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Into the Haven. By ANNIE 8. SWAN.

Tom Finch’s Monkey. By J. C.
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Our General: A Story for Girls. By
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Aunt Hesba’s Charge. By ELiza-
BETH J. LYSAGHT.

By Order of Queen Maude. By
Lovisa CROW.

Miss Grantley’s Girls, and the Stories
she told them. By THos. ARCHER.

The Troubles of Little Tim. By
GREGSON Gow.

Down and Up Again. By GREGSON
Gow.

The Happy Lad. By B. BJORNSON.

The Patriot Martyr, and other Nar-
ratives of Female Heroism.

Madge’s Mistake. By ANNI E.
ARMSTRONG.

Box of Stories. By HoRACE Happy-
MAN,

When I was a Boy in China. By
YaN PHou LEE.

‘We are able to recommend one and all of these; their excellence is remark-

able.”—School Guardian.
6 BLACKIE AND SON’S BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE.



BLACKIE’S SHILLING SERIES.

Square 16mo, 128 pp., elegantly bound in cloth, with Frontispieces in
Colours.

In the Summer Holidays, By JEN-

NETT HUMPHREYS.

How the Strike Began.
LESLIE.

Tales from the Russian of Madame
Kubalensky.

Cinderella’s Cousin. By PENELOPE.

By EMMA

Their New Home. By ANNIE 8S.
FENN.

Janie’s Holiday. By CHRISTIAN RED-
. FORD.

The Children of Haycombe. By
ANNIE 8. FENN.

The Cruise of the *‘Petrel.” By
F. M. Houmns.

The Wise Princess.
M, CapEs.

By HARRIEvT

A Boy Musician: Or, the Young Days
of Mozart.

Hatto’s Tower.
SELL.

By Mary ©. Row-

Fairy Lovebairn’s Favourites. By
J. DICKINSON.

Alf Jetsam. By Mrs. Gro. CUPPLES.
The Redfords. By Mrs. G. CUPPLES.
Missy. By F. B. HARRISON.

Hidden Seed. By EMMA LESLIE.

Jack’s Two Sovereigns. By A. 8.
FENN.

Ursula’s Aunt, By A. 8. Fenn.

A Little Adventurer. By Grecson
Gow.

Olive Mount. By MIss FENN.

Three Little Ones, By Cora LANG.
TON.

Tom Watkins’ Mistake, By E.
LESLIE,

Two Little Brothers. By Miss
CAPES,

The New Boy at Merriton,

The Blind Boy of Dresden.

Jon of Iceland: A True Story,

Stories from Shakespeare,

Every Man in his Place.

Fireside Fairies and Flower
Fancies.

To the Sea in Ships.

Little Daniel: a Story of the Rhine.

Jack’s Victory: Stories about Dogs.

Story of a King: By one of his Sol-
diers.
Prince Alexis, or Old Russia.

Sasha the Serf: Stories of Russian
Life.

True Stories of Foreign History.



GORDON BROWNE'S FAIRY TALES.
With Pictures in Colours.
Hop 0’ my Thumb.
Beauty and the Beast.

“The stories are without exception highly interesting, and all enforce some
Gesiralle truth. Teachers should make a note of this excellent series.”—Teachers’
id.
BLACKIE AND SON’S BUUKS FOR CHILDREN. 7



THE NINEPENNY SERIES OF BOOKS FOR

CHILDREN.
Neatly bound in cloth extra, Each contains 96 pages and a Coloured
Illustration.
The Queen of Squats. By IsaBnL A Little Hero. By Mrs. Mus-

HORNIBROOK.
Shucks: A Story for Boys.
LESLIR.
Sylvia Brooke,
Carns.
The Little Cousin. By A. 8. FENN.
In Cloudland. By Mrs. MusGRAvE.

By EMMA

By M. Harrier M.

Jack and the Gypsies. By KatE
Woop.

Hans the Painter. By Mary C.
ROWSELL.

Little Troublesome. By ISABEL
HORNIBROOK.

My Lady May. By HARRIET BouLt-
woop.

“The same good character pervades all these books.

GRAVE.
Prince Jon’s Pilgrimage, By
JESSIE FLEMING.
Harold’s Ambition.
PERRETT.
Sepperl the Drummer Boy. By
Mary C. RowsELL.

Aboard the Mersey.
GEORGE CUPPLES.

A Blind Pupil. By ANNIE S. FENN.

Lost and Found. By Mrs. Carn
ROTHER.

Fisherman Grim.
ROWSELL.

By JENNIE

By Mrs.

By Mary C.

They are admirably

adapted for the young. The lessons deduced are such as to mould children’s

minds in a good groove,
lence.” —Schoolmistress.

We cannot too highly commend them for their excel-

SOMETHING FOR THE VERY LITTLE ONES.

Fully Illustrated with Woodcuts and Coloured Plates. 64 pp., 32mo,
cloth. Sixpence each.

Tales Easy and Small for the Youngest of All. In no word will you see more

letters than three.

By JENNETT HUMPHREYS.

Old Dick Grey and Aunt Kate’s Way. Stories in little words of not more than

four letters.
Maud’s Doll and Her Walk.

By JENNETT HUMPHREYS.
In Picture and Talk. In little words of not

more than four letters. By JENNETT HUMPHREYS.

In Holiday Time.
letters,

Whisk and Buzz.

And other Stories.
By JENNETT HUMPHREYS.

By Mrs. A. H, GARLICK.

In little words of not more than five
3 BLACKIE AND SON’S BOOKS FOR CHILDREN,



THE SIXPENNY SERIES FOR CHILDREN.

_ Neatly bound in cloth extra.

NEw VOLUMES.

Dew. By H. Mary WILSON.
Chris’s Old Violin. By J. LockHART.
Mischievous Jack, By A. CORKRAN.
The Twins. By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
Pet’s Project. By Cora LANGTON.
The Chosen Treat. By C. Wyatt.
Little Neighbours, By 4. 8. FEnn.
Jim. By CHRISTIAN BURKE.

Little Curiosity: Or, A German Christ-
mas. By J. M. GALLWELL.
sare mae 2 Wool-eatherers By W.L.

Fairy ‘sipvles: told by PENELOPE.
ANew Year’s Tale. ByM. A.CURRIE.
Little Mop. By Mrs. BRay.

The Tree Cake. By W. L. Rooper.
Nurse Peggy, and Little Dog Trip.
Fanny’s King. By DartEy DALE.

Each 64 pages. Illustrated.

Wild Marsh Marigolds, ByD. DALE.

Kitty’s Cousin. By Hannan B..

MACKENZIE.
Cleared at Last.

DARD.
A Year with Nellie. By A.S. Fenn,
Little Dolly Forbes. By Do.
The Little Brown Bird.
The Maid of Domremy.
Little Erie: a Story of Honesty,
Uncle Ben the Whaler.
The Palace of Luxury.
The Charcoal Burner.
Willy Black: a Story of Doing Right.
The Horse and His Ways.
The Shoemaker’s Present.
Lights to Walk by.
The Little Merchant.
Nicholina: a Story about an Iceberg.

By JULIA Gop-

A SERIES OF FOURPENNY REWARD BOOKS.
Each 64 pages, 18mo, Illustrated, in Picture Boards,

A Start in Life. By J. LockHarr.
Happy Childhood. By Armin DE
ENOIX Dawson.

Dorothy’s Clock. By Do.

Toddy. By L. E. TIDDEMAN.

Stories about my Dolls. By FELICIA
MELANCTHON.

Stories about my Cat Timothy.

Delia’s Boots. By W. L. Rooper.

Lost on the Rocks. By R. ScorrEr.

A Kitten’s Adventures, By Caro-
LINE STEWART.

Holidays at Sunnyeroft. By ANNIE
S. SWAN.

Climbing the Hill. By Do,

A Year at Coverley. By Do.

Phil Foster. By J. LooKHART. |

Papa’s Birthday. By W. L. Roormr.

The Charm Fairy. By PENELOPE.

ae Tales for Little Children.

y M. A. CURRIE.

wary of Trust.
KENZIE.

Brave and True. By GREGSON Gow.

The Children and the Water-Lily.
By JULIA GODDARD.

Poor Tom Olliver. By Do.

Maudie and Bertie. GREGSON Gow..

Johnnie Tupper’s Temptation. Do.

Seana Bene en By Lerivia

Lucy’s Che niles Bon

By H. B, Mao

*,* A Complete List of Books for the Young, prices from 4d. to 7s. 6d.,
with Synopsis of their Contents, will be supplied on Application.

LONDON: BLACKIE & SON;

GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.