The Baldwin Library
C 1 111 1
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TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
MRS. BURNETT'S FAMOUS JUVENILES.
PICCINO, AND OTHER CHILD STORIES.
SQUARE 8vo, $1.50.
The history of Piccino's two days' is as delicate as one of the anemones that spring in the rock walls
facing Piccino's Mediterranean-a study rather than a story of child-life. ... r. e other stories in
the book have the charm of their predecessor in material and manner. A delightful volume, in fair
print, and furthermore embellished by Mr. Birch's graceful and sympathetic drawings."-MRs. BURTON
LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
SQUARE 8vo, $2.00.
"In 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' we gain another
charming child to add to our gallery of juvenile
heroes and heroines: one who teaches a great
lesson with such truth and sweetness that we
part with him with real regret when the episode
is over."--LOUISA M. ALcorr.
SQUARE 8vo, $1.00.
Everybody was in love with 'Little Lord
Fauntleroy," and I think all the world and the
rest of mankind will be in love with 'Sara Crewe.'
The tale is so tender, so wise, so human, that I
wish every girl in America could read it, for I
think everyone would be made better by it."-
LOUISE CHANDLER MOULTON.
GIOVANNI AND THE OTHER. TITLE SAINT ELIZABETH,
CHILDREN WHO HAVE MADE STORIES. AND OTHER STORIES.
SQUARE 8vo, $1.50.
Four of these stories, sad, sweet and touched
with delicate humor, are about little Italian waifs
who crept into the author's heart. Two of the
stories are of incidents in the lives of Mrs. Bur-
nett's own boys; and the others, while varied in
subject, have the same magic charm of disclosing
the beauty of child-life with a sympathy and
warmth of feeling the secret of which Mrs. Bur-
nett alone seems to possess.
SQUARE 8vo, $1.50.
The pretty tale has for its heroine a little
French girl brought up in an old chateau in Nor-
mandy by an aunt who is a recluse and a devote.
A child ofthis type transplanted suddenly to the
realistic atmosphere of New York must inevitably
have much to suffer. The quaint little figure
blindly trying to guess the riddle of duty under
these unfamiliar conditions is pathetic, and Mrs.
Burnett touches it in with delicate strokes."-
Illustrated by REGINALD B. 'BIRCH.
,, II ~lrl
!B I i W \\
THEIR DREAM HAD COME TRUE.
Two LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
A STORY OF THE
FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Copyright, IS95, by
CHIARILES ScRIINER'S SONS.
Press of J. J. Little & Co.
Astor Place. New York
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
FROM DRAWINGS BY REGINALD B. BIRCH
Their dream bad come true . .. Frontispiece
" Everything in the world," said Robin .. Page 13
"Aunt Matilda," she said, suddenly ... 31
Meg looked rather like a little witch . 61
"Is this the train to Chicago ?" said Robin ... 73
" You like a cup coffee? she asked .. 89
" Now we are in Venice . ... "
"Well, Jem! she exclaimed . I
He was looking at her in an absent, miserable way 117
" To-to-the Fair?" he said, tremulously . 13
" Take me with you" . . .. 143
"It's a queer sight," she said to John Holt 179
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
THE sun had set, and the shadows were deepening in
the big barn. The last red glow-the very last bit
which reached the corner the children called the
Straw Parlor-had died away, and Meg drew her knees up
higher, so as to bring the pages of her book nearer to her
eyes as the twilight deepened, and it became harder to read.
It was her bitterest grievance that this was what always
happened when she became most interested and excited-
the light began to fade away, and the shadows .to fill all
the corners and close in about her.
She frowned as it happened now-a fierce little frown
which knitted her childish black brows as she pored over
her book, devouring the page, with the determination to
seize on as much as was possible. It was like running a
desperate race with the darkness.
She was a determined child, and no one would have
2 TIO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
failed to guess as much who could have watched her for a
few moments as she sat on her curious perch, her cheeks
supported by her hands, her shock of straight black hair
tumbling over her forehead.
The Straw Parlor was the top of a straw stack in Aunt
Matilda's barn. Robin had discovered it one day by climb-
ing a ladder which had been left leaning against the stack,
and when he had found himself on the top of it he had
been enchanted by the feeling it gave him of being so high
above the world, and had called Meg up to share it with
She had been even more enchanted than he.
They both hated the world down below-Aunt Matilda's
world-which seemed hideous and exasperating and sordid
to them in its contrast to the world they had lived in before
their father and mother had died, and they had been sent to
their sole relation, who did not want them, and only took
them in from respect to public opinion. Three years they
had been with Aunt Matilda, and each week had seemed
more unpleasant than the last. Mrs. Matilda Jennings was
a renowned female farmer of Illinois, and she was far too
energetic a manager and business woman to have time to
spend on children. She had an enormous farm, and man-
aged it herself with a success and ability which made her
celebrated in agricultural papers. If she had not given her
dead brother's children a home, they would have starved or
been sent to the poorhouse. Accordingly, she gave them
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 3
food to eat and beds to sleep in, but she scarcely ever had
time to notice them. If she had had time to talk to them,
she had nothing to say. She cared for nothing but crops
and new threshing-machines and fertilizers, and they knew
nothing about such things.
She never says anything but 'Go to bed,' Keep out of
the way.' She's not like a woman at all," Meg commented
once, "she's like a man in woman's clothes."
Their father had been rather like a woman in man's
clothes. He was a gentle little, slender man, with a large
head. He had always been poor, and Mrs. Matilda Jen-
nings had regarded him as a contemptible failure. He had
had no faculty for business or farming. He had taught
school, and married a school teacher. They had had a
small house, but somehow it had been as cosey as it was tiny.
They had managed to surround themselves with an atmos-
phere of books, by buying the cheap ones they could afford
and borrowing the expensive ones from friends and circu-
lating libraries. The twins-Meg and Robin-had heard
stories and read books all the first years of their lives, as
they sat in their little seats by the small, warm fireside. In
Aunt Matilda's bare, cold house there was not a book to
be seen. A few agricultural papers were scattered about.
Meals were hurried over as necessary evils. The few people
who appeared on the scene were farmers, who talked about
agricultural implements and the wheat market.
"It's such a bare place," Robin used to say, and he
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
would drive his hands into the depths of his pockets and
set his square little jaw, and stare before him.
Both the twins had that square little jaw. Neither of
them looked like their father and mother, except that from
their mother they inherited black hair. Robin's eyes were
black, but Meg's were gray, with thick black lashes. They
were handsome little creatures, but their shocks of straight
black hair, their straight black brows and square little jaws,
made them look curiously unlike other children. They
both remembered one winter evening, when, as they sat on
their seat by the fire, their father, after looking at them
with a half smile for a moment or so, began to laugh.
"Margaret," he said to their mother, "do you know
who those two are like? You have heard me speak of
Matilda often enough."
"Oh, Robert !" she exclaimed, "surely they are not like
Matilda ? "
"Well, perhaps it is too much to say they are like her,"
he answered, "but there is something in their faces that
reminds me of her strongly. I don't know what it is
exactly, but it is there. It is a good thing, perhaps," with
a queer tone in his voice. Matilda always did what she
made up her mind to do. Matilda was a success. I was
always a failure."
S"Ah, no, Bob," she said, "not a failure !"
She had put her hand on his shoulder, and he lifted it
and pressed it against his thin cheek.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 5
"Wasn't I, Maggie?" he said, gently, "wasn't IL?
Well, I think these two will be like Matilda in making up
their minds and getting what they want."
Before the winter was over Robin and Meg were
orphans, and were with Aunt Matilda, and there they had
been ever since.
Until the day they found the Straw Parlor it had seemed
as if no corner in the earth belonged to them. Meg slept
on a cot in a woman servant's room, Robin shared a room
with some one else. Nobody took any notice of them.
"When any one meets us anywhere," Meg said, "they
always look surprised. Dogs who are not allowed in the
house are like us. The only difference is that they don't
drive us out. But we are just as much in the way."
"I know," said Robin; "if it wasn't for you, Meg, I
should run away."
"Where?" said Meg.
Somewhere," said Robin, setting his jaw; I'd find a
If it wasn't for you," said Meg, I should be so lonely
that I should walk into the river. I wouldn't stand it." It
is worth noticing that she did not say I could not stand it."
But after the day they found the Straw Parlor they had
an abiding-place. It was Meg who pre-empted it before
she had been on the top of the stack five minutes. After
she had stumbled around, looking about her, she stopped
short, and looked down into the barn.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
Robin," she said, "this is another world. We are
miles and miles away from Aunt Matilda. Let us make
this into our home-just yours and mine-and live here."
"We are .in nobody's way-nobody will even know
where we are," said Robin. Nobody ever asks, you know.
Meg, it will be just like our own. We will live here." And
so they did. On fine days, when they were tired of playing,
they climbed the ladder to rest on the heap of yellow straw;
on wet days they lay and told each other stories, or built
caves, or read their old favorite books over again. The
stack was a very high one, and the roof seemed like a sort
of big tent above their heads, and the barn floor a wonder-
ful, exaggeratedly long, distance below. The birds who had
nests in the rafters became accustomed to them, and one of
the children's chief entertainments was to lie and watch the
mothers and fathers carry on their domestic arrangements,
feeding their young ones, and quarrelling a little sometimes
about the way to bring them up. The twins invented a
weird little cry, with which they called each other, if one
was in the Straw Parlor and the other one entered the barn,
to find out whether it was occupied or not. They never
mounted to the Straw Parlor, or descended from it, if any
one was within sight. This was their secret. They wanted
to feel that it was very high, and far away from Aunt
Matilda's world, and if any one had known where they were,.
or had spoken to them from below, the charm would have
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
This afternoon, as Meg pored over her book, she was
waiting for Robin. He had been away all day. At twelve
years old Robin was not of a light mind. When he had
been only six years old he had had serious plans. He had
decided that he would be a great inventor. He had also
decided-a little later-that he would not be poor, like
his father, but would be very rich. He had begun by
having a savings bank, into which he put rigorously every
penny that was given to him. He had been so quaintly
systematic about it that people were amused, and gave
him pennies instead of candy and toys. He kept a little
banking book of his own. If he had been stingy he would
have been a very unpleasant little boy, but he was only
strict with himself. He was capable of taking from his
capital to do the gentlemanly thing by Meg at Christmas.
He has the spirit of the financier, that is all," said his
Since he had been with Aunt Matilda he had found
opportunities to earn a trifle rather frequently. On the
big place there were small, troublesome duties the farm
hands found he could be relied on to do, which they were
willing to pay for. They found out that he never failed
"Smart little chap," they said; always up to time when
he undertakes a thing."
To-day he had been steadily at work under the head
man. Aunt Matilda had no objection to his odd jobs.
8 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
He has his living to earn, and he may as well begin,"
So Meg had been alone since morning. She had only
one duty to perform, and then she was free. The first
spring they had been with Aunt Matilda Robin had in-
vested in a few chickens, and their rigorous care of them
had resulted in such success that the chickens had become
a sort of centre of existence to them. They could always
have any dreams of the future upon the fortune to be gained
by chickens. You could calculate on bits of paper about
chickens and eggs until your head whirled at the magnitude
of your prospects. Meg's duty was to feed them, and show
them scrupulous attentions when Robin was away.
After she had attended to them she went to the barn,
and, finding it empty, climbed up to the Straw Parlor with
an old Pilgrim's Progress," to spend the day.
This afternoon, when the light began to redden and then
to die away, she and Christian were very near the gates.
She longed so to go in with him, and was yearning towards
them with breathless eagerness, when she heard Robin's cry
below, coming up from the barn floor.
She sprang up with a start, feeling bewildered a second,
before she answered. The City Beautiful was such millions
-such millions of miles away from Aunt Matilda's barn..
She found herself breathing quickly and rubbing her eyes,
as she heard Robin hurrying up the ladder.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 9
Somehow she felt as if he was rather in a hurry, and
when his small, black shock head and wide-awake black
eyes appeared above the straw she had a vague feeling that
he was excited, and that he had come from another world.
He clambered on to the stack and made his way to her, and
threw himself full length on the straw at her side.
Meg !" he said-" Hallo, you look as if you were in a
dream! Wake up !-Jones and Jerry are coming to the
barn-I hurried to get here before them; they're talking
about something I want you to hear-something new!
Wake up !"
"Oh, Robin!" said Meg, clutching her book and com-
ing back to earth with a sigh, I don't want to hear Jones
and Jerry. I don't want to hear any of the people down
there. I've been reading the Pilgrim's Progress,' and I do
wish-I do so wish there was a City Beautiful."
Robin gave a queer little laugh. He really was excited.
"There is going to be one," he said. "Jones and Jerry
don't really know it, but it is something like that they are
talking about; a City Beautiful-a real one-on this earth,
and not a hundred miles away. Let's get near the edge
io TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
THEY drew as near to the edge as they could without
being seen. They did not understand in the least.
Robin was not given to practical jokes, but what he
had said sounded rather as if there was a joke somewhere.
But she saw Jones and Jerry enter the barn, and saw,
before they entered, that they were deep in talk. It was
Jones who was speaking. Jones was Aunt Matilda's head
man, and was an authority on many things.
There's been exhibitions and fairs all over the world,"
he was saying, but there's been nothing like what this will
be. It will be a city, that's what it will be, and all the
world is going to be in it. They are going to build it front-
ing on the water, and bank the water up into lakes and
canals, and build places like white palaces beside them, and
decorate the grounds with statues and palms and flowers
and fountains, and there's not a country on earth that won't
send things to fill the buildings. And there won't be any-
thing a man can't see by going through 'em. It'll be as
good as a college course to spend a week there."
Meg drew a little closer to Robin in the straw.
"What are they talking about?" she whispered.
"Listen," said Bob.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
Jerry, who was moving about at some work below, gave
a chuckling laugh.
"Trust 'em to do the biggest thing yet, or bust, them
Chicago people," he said. It's got to be the biggest thing
-a Chicago Fair."
.' It's not goin' to be the Chicago Fair," Jones said.
"They're not goin' to put up with no such idea as that;
it's the World's Fair. They're going to ring in the
That's Chicago out an' out," said Jerry. Buildin's
twenty stories high, an' the thermometer twenty-five degrees
below zero, an' a World's Fair. Christopher Columbus!
I'd like to see it!"
I bet Christopher Columbus would like to see it," said
Jones. It's out of compliment to him they're getting it
up-for discovering Chicago."
"Well, I didn't know he made his name that way par-
tic'lar," said Jerry. "Thought what he prided hisself on
"Same thing," said Jones, "same thing! Wouldn't have
had much to blow about, and have statues set up, and comic
operas written about him, if it had only been America he'd
discovered. Chicago does him full credit, and she's goin'
to give him a send-off that'll be a credit to her."
Robin smothered a little laugh in his coat-sleeve. He
was quite used to hearing jokes about Chicago. The peo-
ple in the country round it were enormously proud of it,
12 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
and its great schemes and great buildings and multi-million-
naires, but those who were given to jokes had the habit of
being jocular about it, just as they had the habit of pro-
claiming and dwelling upon its rush and wealth and enter-
prise. But Meg was not a jocular person. She was too
intense and easily excited. She gave Robin an impatient
nudge with her elbow, not in reproof, but as a sort of irre-
"I wish they wouldn't be funny," she exclaimed. "I
want them to tell more about it. I wish they'd go on."
But they did not go on; at least, not in any way that
was satisfactory. They only remained in the barn a short
time longer, and they were busy with the work they had
come to do. Meg craned her neck and listened, but they
did not tell more, and she was glad when they went away,
so that she could turn to Robin.
"Don't you know more than that?" she said. "Is it
true? What have you heard? Tell me yourself."
"I've heard a lot to-day," said Robin. "They were
all talking about it all the time, and I meant to tell you
myself, only I saw Jones and Jerry coming, and thought,
perhaps, we should hear something more if we listened."
They clambered over to their corner and made them-
selves comfortable. Robin lay on his back, but Meg leaned
on her elbows, as usual, with her cheeks resting on her
hands. Her black elf-locks hung over her forehead, and
her big eyes shone.
iV- AA : 7
" EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD," SAID ROBIN.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
Rob," she said, "go on. What's the rest ?"
"The rest !" he said. It would take a week to tell it
all, I should think. But it's going to be the most wonder-
ful thing in the world. They are going to build a place
that will be like a white, beautiful city, on the borders of
the lake-that was why I called it the City Beautiful. It
won't be on the top of a hill, of course--"
But if it is on the edge of the lake, and the sun shines
and the big water is blue and there are shining white palaces,
it will be better, I believe," said Meg. What is going to
be in the city?"
Everything in the world," said Robin. "Things from
everywhere-from every country."
There are a great many countries," said Meg. "You
know how it is in the geography. Europe, Asia, and Africa,
as well as America. Spain and Portugal and France and
England-and Sweden and Norway and Russia and Lap-
land-and India-and Italy-and Switzerland, and all the
"There will be things-and people-brought from them
all. I heard them say so. They say there will be villages,
with people walking about in them."
"Do they walk about when they are at home?" ex-
Yes, in the queer clothes they wear in their own coun-
tries. There's going to be an Esquimaux village."
"With dogs and sledges ?" cried Meg, lifting her head.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
S"Yes ; and you know that place in Italy where the streets
are made of water- "
"It's Venice," said Meg. "And they go about in boats
"And the men who take them about are called gondo-
liers," interrupted Robin. And they have scarfs and red
caps, and push their boats along with poles. There will be
gondolas at the Fair, and people can get into them and
go about the canals."
"Just as they do in Venice?" Meg gasped.
"Just as they do in Venice. And it will be the same
with all the other countries. It will be as if they were all
brought there-Spanish places and Egyptian places and
German places-and French and Italian and Irish and
Scotch and English-and all the others."
"To go there would be like travelling all over the
world," cried Meg.
"Yes," said Rob, excitedly. "And all the trades will be
there, and all the machines-and inventions-and pictures-
and books-and statues-and scientific things-and won-
derful things-and everything any one wants to learn about
in all the world!"
In his excitement, his words had become so rapid that
they almost tumbled over each other, and he said the last
sentence in a rush. There were red spots on his cheeks,
and a queer look in his black eyes. He had been listening
to descriptions of this thing all day. A new hand, hot from
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 17
the excitement in Chicago, had been among the workers.
Apparently he had heard of nothing else, thought of noth-
ing else, talked of nothing else, and dreamed of nothing
else but the World's Fair for weeks. Finding himself
among people who had only bucolic and vague ideas about
it, he had poured forth all he knew, and being a rather good
talker, had aroused great excitement. Robin had listened
with eyes and ears wide open. He was a young human
being, born so full of energy and enterprise that the dull,
prosaic emptiness of his life in Aunt Matilda's world had
been more horrible than he had been old enough to realize.
He could not have explained why it had seemed so madden-
ing to him, but the truth was that in his small, boyish body
was imprisoned the force and ability which in manhood build
great schemes, and not only build, but carry them out. In
him was imprisoned one of the great business men, invent-
ors, or political powers of the new century. But of this he
knew nothing, and so ate his young heart out in Aunt
Matilda's world, sought refuge with Meg in the Straw
Parlor, and was bitterly miserable and at a loss.
How he had drunk in every word the man from Chicago
had uttered! How he had edged near to him and tried not
to lose him for a moment! How he had longed for Meg to
listen with him, and had hoarded up every sentence If he
had not been a man in embryo, and a strong and clear-
headed creature; he would have done his work badly. But
he never did his work badly. He held on like a little bull-
18 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
dog, and thought of what Meg would say when they sat in
the straw together. Small wonder that he looked excited
when his black head appeared above the edge of the straw.
He was wrought up to the highest pitch. Small wonder that
there were deep red spots on his cheeks, and that there was
a queer, intense look in his eyes, and about his obstinate
He threw up his arms with a desperate gesture.
"Everything," he said again, staring straight before him,
"that any one could want to learn about-everything in
all the world."
"Oh, Robin!" said Meg, in quite a fierce little voice,
" and we-we shall never see it!"
She saw Robin clinch his hands, though he said nothing,
and it made her clinch her own hands. Robin's were tough
little, square-fingered fists, brown and muscular; Meg's
hands were long-fingered, flexible, and slender, but they
made good little fists when they doubled themselves up.
"Rob," she said, "we never see anything! We never
hear anything! We never learn anything! If something
doesn't happen we shall be Nothings-that's what we shall
be-Nothings!" And she struck her fist upon the straw.
Rob's jaw began to look very square, but he did not
"We are twelve years old," Meg went on. "We've been
here three years, and we don't know one thing we didn't
know when we came here. If we had been with father and
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
mother we should have been learning things all the time.
We haven't one thing of our own, Rob, but the chickens
and the Straw Parlor-and the Straw Parlor might be taken
away from us."
Rob's square jaw relaxed just sufficiently to allow of a
grim little grin.
"We've got the Treasure, Meg," he said.
Meg's laugh had rather a hysterical sound. That she
should not have mentioned the Treasure among their
belongings was queer. They talked so much about the
Treasure. At this moment it-was buried in an iron bank,
deep in the straw, about four feet from where they sat. It
was the very bank Robin had hoarded his savings in when
he had begun at six years old with pennies, and a ten-cent
blank-book to keep his accounts in. Everything they had
owned since then had been pushed and dropped into it-
all the chicken and egg money, and all Robin had earned
by doing odd jobs for any one who would give him one.
Nobody knew about the old iron bank any more than they
knew about the Straw Parlor, and the children, having
buried it in the straw, called it the Treasure. Meg's stories
about it were numerous and wonderful. Sometimes magi-
cians came, and multiplied it a hundred-fold. Sometimes
robbers stole it, and they themselves gave chase, and sought
it with wild adventure; but perhaps the most satisfactory
thing was to invent ways to spend it when it had grown
to enormous proportions. Sometimes they bought a house
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
in New York, and lived there together. Sometimes they
traded in foreign lands with it. Sometimes they bought
land, which increased in value to such an extent that they
were millionaires in a month. Ah! it was a treasure
After the little, low, over-strained laugh, Meg folded her
arms on the straw and hid her face in them. Robin looked
at her with a troubled air for about a minute. Then he
spoke to her.
It's no use doing that," he said.
"It's no use doing anything," Meg answered, her voice
muffled in her arms. I don't want to do this any more
than you do. We're so lonely! "
"Yes, we're lonely," said Robin, "that's a fact." And
he stared up at the dark rafters above him, and at some
birds who were clinging to them and twittering about a
I said I wished there was a City Beautiful," Meg said,
"but it seems to make it worse that there is going to be
something like it so near, and that we should never get any
nearer to it than a hundred miles."
Rob sat up, and locked his hands together round his
How do you know?" he said.
How do I know?" cried Meg, desperately, and she
lifted her head, turning her wet face sideways to look at
him. He unlocked his hands to give his forehead a hard
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 21
rub, as if he were trying either to rub some thought out of
or into it.
"Just because we are lonely there is use in doing
things," he said. There's nobody to do them for us. At
any rate, we've got as far on the way to the City as the
bottom of the Hill of Difficulty."
And he gave his forehead another rub and looked
straight before him, and Meg drew a little closer to him
on the straw, and the family of birds filled the silence with
22 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
D URING the weeks that followed they spent more
time than ever in their hiding-place. They had an
absorbing topic of conversation, a new and won-
derful thing, better than their old books, even better than
the stories Meg made when she lay on the straw, her el-
bows supporting her, her cheeks on her hands, and her
black-lashed gray eyes staring into space. Hers were
always good stories, full of palaces and knights and robber
chiefs and fairies. But this new thing had the thrill of
being a fairy story which was real-so real that one could
read about it in the newspapers, and everybody was talking
about it, even Aunt Matilda, her neighbors, and the work-
hands on the farm. To the two lonely children, in their
high nest in the straw-stack, it seemed a curious thing to
hear these people in the world below talk about it in their
ordinary, everyday way, without excitement or awe, as if it
was a new kind of big ploughing or winnowing machine.
To them it was a thing so beautiful that they could scarcely
find the words to express their thoughts and dreams about
it, and yet they were never alone together without trying to
On wet, cheerless days, in which they huddled close to-
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
gether in their nest to keep from being chilled, it was their
comfort to try to imagine and paint pictures of the various
wonders until, in their interest, they forgot the dampness of
the air, and felt the unending patter of the rain-drops on
the barn roof merely a pleasant, sort of accompaniment to
the stories of their fancies.
Since the day when they had listened to Jones and Jerry
joking, down below them in the barn, Rob had formed the
habit of collecting every scrap of newspaper relating to the
wonder. He cut paragraphs out of Aunt Matilda's cast-
aside newspapers; he begged them from the farm-hands
and from the country store-keepers. Anything in the form
of an illustration he held as a treasure beyond price, and
hoarded it to bring to Mleg with exultant joy.
How they pored over these things, reading the para-
graphs again and again, until they knew them almost by
heart. How they studied the pictures, trying to gather the
proportions and color of every column and dome and arch !
What enthusiast, living in Chicago itself, knew the marvel
as they did, and so dwelt on and revelled in its beauties!
No one knew of their pleasure; like the Straw Parlor, it was
their secret. The strangeness of their lives lay in the fact
that absolutely no one knew anything about them at all, or
asked anything, thinking it quite sufficient that their friend-
lessness was supplied with enough animal heat and nour-
ishment to keep their bodies alive.
Of that other part of them-their restless, growing
24 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
young brains and naturally craving hearts, which in their
own poor enough but still human little home had at least
been recognized and cared for-Aunt Matilda knew noth-
ing, and, indeed, had never given a thought to it. She had
not undertaken the care of intelligence and affections; her
own were not of an order to require supervision. She was
too much occupied with her thousand-acre farm, and the
amazing things she was doing with it. That the children
could read and write and understood some arithmetic she
knew. She had learned no more herself, and had found it
enough to build her fortune upon. She had never known
what it was to feel lonely and neglected, because she was a
person quite free from affections and quite enough for
herself. She never suspected that others could suffer from
a weakness of which she knew nothing, because it had
never touched her.
If any one had told her that these two children, who ate
her plentiful, rough meals at her table, among field-hands
and servants, were neglected and lonely, and that their dim
knowledge of it burned in their childish minds, she would
have thought the announcement a piece of idle, sentimental
folly; but that no solid detail of her farming was a fact
more real than this one was the grievous truth.
"When we were at home," was Meg's summing-up of
the situation, "at least we belonged to somebody. We
were poor, and wore our clothes a long time, and had
shabby shoes, and couldn't go on excursions, but we had
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 25
our little bench by the fire, and father and mother used to
talk to us and let us read their books and papers, and try
to teach us things. I don't know what we were going to
be when we grew up, but we were going to do some sort of
work, and know as much as father and mother did. I don't
know whether that was a great deal or not, but it was
It was enough to teach school," said Robin. "If we
were not so far out in the country now, I believe Aunt
Matilda would let us go to school if we asked her. It
wouldn't cost her anything if we went to the public school."
"She wouldn't if we didn't ask her," said Meg. "She
would never think of it herself. Do you know what I was
thinking yesterday. I was looking at the pigs in their sty.
Some of them were eating, and one was full, and was lying
down going to sleep. And I said to myself, 'Robin and I
are just like you. We live just like you. We eat our food
and go to bed, and get up again and eat some more food.
We don't learn anything more than you do, and we are not
worth as much to anybody. We are not even worth killing
If they had never known any other life, or if nature had
not given them the big, questioning eyes and square little
jaws and strong, nervous little fists, they might have been
content to sink into careless idleness and apathy. No one
was actively unkind to them; they had their Straw Parlor,
and were free to amuse themselves as they chose. But they
26 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
had been made of the material of which the world's workers
are built, and their young hearts were full of a restlessness
and longing whose full significance they themselves did not
And this wonder working in the world beyond them-
this huge, beautiful marvel, planned by the human brain and
carried out by mere human hands; this great thing with
which all the world seemed to them to be throbbing, and
which seemed to set no limit to itself and prove that there
was no limit to the power of human wills and minds-this
filled them with a passion of restlessness and yearning
greater than they had ever known before.
"It is an enchanted thing, you know, Robin-it's an
enchanted thing," Meg said one day, looking up from her
study of some newspaper clippings and a magazine with
some pictures in it.
"It seems like it," said Robin.
I'm sure it's enchanted," Meg went on. "It seems so
tremendous that people should think they could do such
huge things. As if they felt as if they could do anything
or bring anything from anywhere in the world. It almost
frightens me sometimes, because it reminds me of the Tower
of Babel. Don't you remember how the people got so
proud that they thought they could do anything, and they
began to build the tower that was to reach to heaven; and
then they all woke up one morning and found they were all
speaking different languages and could not understand each
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 27
other. Suppose everybody was suddenly struck like that
some morning now-I mean the Fair people !" widening her
eyes with a little shiver.
"They won't be," said Rob. "Those things have
"Yes, they have," said Meg. "Sometimes I wish they
hadn't. If they hadn't, perhaps-perhaps if we made burnt
offerings, we might be taken by a miracle to see the World's
"We haven't anything to burn," said Rob, rather
We've got the chickens," Meg answered as gloomily,
"but it wouldn't do any good. Miracles are over."
"The world is all different," said Robin. "You have to
do your miracle yourself."
It will be a miracle," Meg said, if we ever get away
from Aunt Matilda's world, and live like people instead of
like pigs who are comfortable-and we shall have to perform
"There is no one else," said Robin. "You see, there is
no one else in the world."
He threw out his hand and it clutched Meg's, which was
lying in the straw near him. He did not know why he
clutched it-he did not in the least know why; nor did she
know why a queer sound in his voice suddenly made her feel
their unfriendedness in a way that overwhelmed her. She
found herself looking at him, with a hard lump rising in her
28 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
throat. It was one of the rainy days, and the hollow drum-
ming and patter of the big drops on the roof seemed some-
how to shut them in with their loneliness away from all the
It's a strange thing," she said, almost under her breath,
"to be two children, only just twelve years old, and to be
quite by ourselves in such a big world, where there are such
millions and millions of people all busy doing things and
making great plans, and none of them knowing about us, or
caring what we are going to do."
If we work our miracle ourselves," said Rob, holding
her hand quite tight, "it will be better than having it
worked for us. Meg !"-as if he were beginning a new sub-
ject-" Meg !"
"What ?" she answered, still feeling the hard lump in
"Do you think we are going to stay here always?"
I-oh, Robin, I don't know."
Well, I do, then. We are not-and that's the first step
up the Hill of Difficulty."
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
A LL their lives the children had acted in unison.
When they had been tiny creatures they had played
the same games and used the same toys. It had
seemed of little importance that their belongings were
those of a boy and girl. When Robin had played with
tops and marbles, Meg had played with them too. When
Meg had been in a domestic and maternal mood, and had
turned to dolls and dolls' housekeeping, Robin had assumed
some masculine r6le connected with the amusement. It
had entertained him as much at times to be the dolls' doc-
tor, or the carpenter who repaired the dolls' furniture or
made plans for the enlargement of the dolls' house, as it
had entertained Meg to sew the flags and dress the sailors
who manned his miniature ships, and assist him with the
tails of his kites. They had had few playmates, and
had pleased each other far better than outsiders could
"It's because we are twins," Meg said. "Twins are
made alike, and so they like the same things. I'm glad
I'm a twin. If I had to be born again and be an un-twin
I'm sure I should be lonely."
"I don't think it matters whether you are a boy or a
30 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
girl, if you are a twin," said Robin. You are part of the
other one, and so it's as if you were both."
They had never had secrets from each other. They
had read the same books as they grew older, been thrilled
by the same stories, and shared in each other's plans and
imaginings or depressions. So it was a curious thing that
at this special time, when they were drawn nearest to one
another by an unusual interest and sympathy, there should
have arrived a morning when each rose with a thought
unshared by the other.
Aunt Matilda was very busy that day. She was always
busy, but this morning seemed more actively occupied than
usual. She never appeared to sit down, unless to dispose
of a hurried meal or go over some accounts. She was a
wonderful woman, and the twins knew that the most ob-
jectionable thing they could do was not to remove them-
selves after a repast was over; but this morning Meg
walked over to a chair and firmly sat down in it, and
watched her as she vigorously moved things about, rubbed
dust off them, and put them in their right places.
Meg's eyes were fixed on her very steadily. She won-
dered if it was true that she and Robin were like her, and
if they would be more like her when they had reached her
age, and what would have happened to them before that
time came. It was true that Aunt Matilda had a square
jaw also. It was not an encouraging thing to contemplate;
in fact, as she looked at her, Meg felt her heart begin a
,.. _ _
UN AD SH D SUDD
-I M SH.;D UDNY
il ,i, lii'
___ ~ ~ ---_ ___-
L AUNT MMATILDA," SHE SAID, SUDDENLY.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
slow and steady thumping. But, as it thumped, she was
getting herself in hand with such determination that when
she at last spoke her chin looked very square indeed, and
her black-lashed eyes were as nearly stern as a child's eyes
"Aunt Matilda," she said, suddenly.
"Well?" and a tablecloth was whisked off and shaken.
I want to talk to you."
Talk in.a hurry, then. I've no time to waste in talk."
"How old were you when you began to work and
make money ?"
Aunt Matilda smiled grimly.
I worked out for my board when I was ten years old,"
she said. Me and your father were left orphans, and we
had to work, or starve. When I was twelve I got a place
to wash dishes and look after children and run errands, and
I got a dollar a week because it was out in the country, and
girls wouldn't stay there."
"Do you know how old I am?" asked-Meg.
I'm twelve years old." She got up from her chair and
walked across the room, and stood looking up at Aunt
Matilda. I'm an orphan too, and so is Robin," she said,
"and we have to work. You give us a place to stay in;
but-there are other things. We have no one, and we
have to do things ourselves; and we are twelve, and
twelve is a good age for people who have to do things for
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
themselves. Is there anything in this house or in the
dairy or on the farm that would be worth wages, that I
could do? I don't care how hard it is if I can do it."
If Aunt Matilda had been a woman of sentiment she
might have been moved by the odd, unchildish tenseness and
sternness of the little figure, and the straight-gazing eyes,
which looked up at her from under the thick black hair
tumbling in short locks over the forehead. Twelve years
old was very young to stand and stare the world in the face
with such eyes. But she was not a woman of sentiment,
and her life had been spent among people who knew their
right to live could only be won by hard work, and who
began the fight early. So she looked at the child without
any emotion whatever.
Do you suppose you could more than earn your bread
if I put you in the dairy and let you help there ?" she said.
Yes," answered Meg, unflinchingly, "I know I could.
I'm strong for my age, and I've watched them doing things
there. I can wash pans and bowls and cloths, and carry
things about, and go anywhere I'm told. I know how clean
things have to be kept."
Well," said Aunt Matilda, looking her over sharply,
" they've been complaining about the work being too much
for them, lately. You go in there this morning and see
what you can do. You shall have a dollar a week if you're
worth it. You're right about its being time that you should
begin earning something."
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
"Thank you, ma'am," said Meg, and she turned round
and walked away in the direction of the dairy, with two deep
red spots on her cheeks and her heart thumping again-
though this time it thumped quickly.
She reached the scene of action in the midst of a rush of
work, and after their first rather exasperated surprise at so
immature and inexperienced a creature being supposed to be
able to help them, the women found plenty for her to do.
She said so few words and looked so little afraid that she
made a sort of impression on them.
See," she said to the head woman, "Aunt Matilda
didn't send me to do things that need teaching. Just tell
me the little things, it does not matter what, and I'll do
them. I can."
How she worked that morning-how she ran on errands
-how she carried this and that-how she washed and-
scrubbed milk-pans-and how all her tasks were menial
and apparently trivial, though entirely necessary, and how
the activity and rapidity and unceasingness of them tried
her unaccustomed young body, and finally made her limbs
ache and her back feel as if it might break at some unex-
pected moment, Meg never forgot. But such was the des-
peration of her indomitable little spirit and the unconquer-
able will she had been born with, that when it was over she
was no more in the mood for giving up than she had been
when she walked in among the workers after her interview
with Aunt Matilda.
36 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
When dinner-time came she walked up to Mrs. Macart-
ney, the manager of the dairy work, and asked her a
Have I helped you ?" she said.
"Yes, you have," said the woman, who was by no means
an ill-natured creature for a hard-driven woman. "You've
Will you tell Aunt Matilda that ? said Meg.
"Yes," was the answer.
Meg was standing with her hands clasped tightly behind
her back, and she looked at Mrs. Macartney very straight
and hard from under her black brows.
"Mrs. Macartney," she said, "if I'm worth it, Aunt
Matilda will give me a dollar a week; and it's time I began
to work for my living. Am I worth that much?"
"Yes, you are," said Mrs. Macartney, if you go on as
I shall go on as I've begun," said Meg. Thank you,
ma'am," and she walked back to the house.
After dinner she waited to speak to Aunt Matilda again.
I went to the dairy," she said.
"I know you did," Aunt Matilda answered. "Mrs.
Macartney told me about it. You can go on. I'll give you
the dollar a week."
She looked, the child over again, as she had done in the
morning, but with a shade of expression which might have
meant a touch of added interest. Perhaps her mind paused
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
just long enough to bring back to her the time when she
had been a worker at twelve years old, and also had
belonged to no one.
She'll make her living," she said, as she watched Meg
out of the room. "She's more like me than she is like her
father. Robert wasn't worthless, but he had no push."
Having made quite sure that she was not wanted in the
dairy for the time being, Meg made her way to the barn.
She was glad to find it empty, so that she could climb the
ladder without waiting. When she reached the top and
clambered over the straw the scent of it seemed delightful
to her. It was like something welcoming her home. She
threw herself down full length in the Straw Parlor. Robin
had not been at dinner. He had gone out early and had
not returned. As she lay, stretching her tired limbs; and
staring up at the nest in the dark, tent-like roof above her,
she hoped he would come. And he did. In about ten
minutes she heard the signal from the barn floor, and
answered it. Robin came up the ladder rather slowly.
When he made his way over the straw to her corner, and
threw himself down beside her, she saw that he was tired
too. They talked a few minutes about ordinary things, and
then ieg thought she would tell him about the dairy. But
it appeared that he had something to tell himself, and he
I've,been making a plan, Meg," he said.
"Have you ?" said Meg. "What is it?"
38 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
I've been thinking about it for two or three days," he
went on, "but I thought I wouldn't say anything about it
until-till I tried how it would work."
Meg raised herself on her elbow and looked at him
curiously. It seemed so queer that he should have had a
Have you-tried?" she said.
"Yes," he answered, "I have been working for Jones
this morning, and I did quite a lot. I worked hard. I
wanted him to see 'what I could do. And then, Meg, I
asked him if he would take me on-like the rest of the
hands-and pay me what I was worth."
"And what did he say?" breathlessly.
"He looked at me a minute-all over-and half
laughed, and I thought he was going to say I wasn't worth
anything. It wouldn't have been true, but I thought he
might, because I'm only twelve years old. It's pretty
hard to be only twelve when you want to get work.
But he didn't, he said, 'Well, I'm darned if I won't
give you a show;' and I'm to have a dollar a week."
"Robin," Meg cried, with a little gasp of excitement,
"so am I !"
"So are you!" cried Robin, and sat bolt upright.
" You! "
It's-it's because we are twins," said Meg, her eyes
shining like lamps. "I told you twins did things alike
because they couldn't help it. We 'have both thought of
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
the same thing. I went to Aunt Matilda, asked her to let
me work somewhere and pay me, and she let me go into the
dairy and try, and Mrs. Macartney said I was a help, and
I am to have a dollar a week, if I go on as I've begun."
Robin's hand gave hers a clutch, just as it had done
before, that day when he had not known why.
Meg, I believe," he said, I believe that we two will
always go on as we begin. I believe we were born that
way. We have to, we can't help it. And two dollars a
week, if they keep us, and we save it all-we could go
Meg's eyes were fixed on him with a searching, but half
"Almost anywhere," she said, quite in a whisper.
"Anywhere not more than a hundred miles away."
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
THEY did not tell each other of the strange and bold
thought which had leaped up in their minds that day.
Each felt an unwonted shyness about it, perhaps
because it had been so bold; but it had been in each
mind, and hidden though it was, it remained furtively in
They went on exactly as they had begun. Each morn-
ihg Meg went to her drudgery in the dairy and Robin
followed Jones whithersoever duty led. If the elder people
had imagined they would get tired and give up they found
out their mistake. That they were often tired was true, but
that in either there arose once the thought of giving up,
never! And they worked hard. The things they did to
earn their weekly stipend would have touched the heart of
a mother of cared-for children, but on Mrs. Jennings's model
farm people knew how much work a human being could do
when necessity drove. They were all driven by necessity,
and it was nothing new to know that muscles ached and feet
swelled and burned. In fact, they knew no one who did not
suffer, as a rule, from these small inconveniences. And
these children, with their set little faces and mature intelli-
gence, were somehow so unsuggestive of the weakness and
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
limitations of childhood that they were often given work
which was usually intrusted only to elder people. Mrs.
Macartney found that Meg never slighted anything, never
failed in a task, and never forgot one, so she gave her
plenty to do. Scrubbing and scouring that others were
glad to shirk fell to her share. She lifted and dragged
things about that grown-up girls grumbled over. What
she lacked in muscle and size she made up in indomitable
will power that made her small face set itself and her small
body become rigid as iron. Her work ended by not con-
fining itself to the dairy, but extended to the house, the
kitchen-anywhere there were tiresome things to be done.
With Robin it was the same story. Jones was not afraid
to give him any order. He was of use in all quarters-in
the huge fields, in the barn, in the stables, and as a messen-
ger to be trusted to trudge any distance when transport was
They both grew thin but sinewy looking, and their faces
had a rather strained look. Their always large black eyes
seemed to grow bigger, and their little square jaws looked
more square every day; but on Saturday nights they each
were paid their dollar, and climbed to the Straw Parlor and
unburied the Treasure and added to it.
Those Saturday nights were wonderful things. To the
end of life they would never forget them. Through all the
tired' hours of labor they were looked forward to. Then
they lay in their nest of straw and talked things over-
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
there it seemed that they could relax and rest their limbs as
they could do it nowhere else. Mrs. Jennings was not given
to sofas and easy-chairs, and it is not safe to change position
often when one has a grown-up bedfellow. But in the straw
they could roll at full length, curl up or stretch out just as
they pleased, and there they could enlarge upon the one
subject that filled their minds, and fascinated and enraptured
Who could wonder that it was so The City Beautiful
was growing day by day, and the development of its glories
was the one thing they heard talked of. Robin had estab-
lished the habit of collecting every scrap of newspaper
referring to it. He cut them out of Aunt Matilda's old
papers, he begged them from every one, neighbors, store-
keepers, work hands. When he was sent on errands he
cast an all-embracing glance 'round every place his orders
took him to. The postmaster of the nearest village dis-
covered his weakness and saved paragraphs and whole
papers for him. Before very long there was buried near the
Treasure a treasure even more valuable of newspaper cut-
tings, and on the wonderful Saturday nights they gave them-
selves up to revelling in them.
How they watched it and followed it and lived with it-
this great human scheme which somehow seemed to their
young minds more like the scheme of giants and genii!
How they seized upon every new story of its wonders and
felt that there could be no limit to them! They knew
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 43
every purpose and plan connected with it-every arch and
tower and hall and stone they pleased themselves by fancy-
ing. Newspapers were liberal with information, people
talked of it, they heard of it on every side. To them it
seemed that the whole world must be thinking of nothing
"While we are lying here," Meg said-" while you are
doing chores, and I am scouring pans and scrubbing things,
it is all going on. People in France and in England and in
Italy are doing work to send to it-artists are painting pict-
ures, and machinery is whirring and making things, and
everything is pouring into that one wonderful place. And
men and women planned it, you know-just men and
women. And if we live a few years we shall be men and
women, and they were once children like us-only, if they
had been quite like us they would never have known enough
to do anything."
"But when they were children like us," said Robin,
" they did not know what they would have learned by this
time-and they never dreamed about this."
That shows how wonderful men and women are," said
Meg. "I believe they can do anything if they set their
minds to it." And she said it stubbornly.
Perhaps they can," said Robin, slowly. Perhaps we
could do anything we set our minds to."
There was the suggestive tone in his voice which Meg
had been thrilled by more than once before. She had been
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
thrilled by it most strongly when he had said that if they
saved their two dollars a week they might be able to go
almost anywhere. Unconsciously she responded to it now.
"If I could do anything I set my mind to," she said,
"do you know what I would set my mind to first ?"
I would set my mind to going to that wonderful place.
I would set it to seeing everything there, and remembering
all I could hold, and learning all there was to be learned-
and I would set it hard."
"So would I," said Robin.
It was a more suggestive voice than before that he said
the words in; and suddenly he got up, and went and tore
away the straw from the burying-place of the Treasure. He
took out the old iron bank, and brought it back to their
He did it so suddenly, and with such a determined air,
that Meg rather lost her breath.
"What are you going to do with the Treasure?" she
"I am going to count it."
He was opening the box, using the blade of a stout
pocket-knife as a screwdriver.
"A return ticket to Chicago costs fourteen dollars," he
said. "I asked at the d6p6t. That would be twenty-
eight dollars for two people. Any one who is careful can
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 45
live on a very little for a while. I want to see if we shall
have money enough to go."
"To go Meg cried out. To the Fair, Robin ?"
She could not believe the evidence of her ears-it
sounded so daring.
"Nobody would take us!" she said. "Even if we
had money enough to pay for ourselves, nobody would
"Take !" answered Robin, working at his screws. No,
nobody would. What's the matter with taking ourselves ?"
Meg sat up in the straw, conscious of a sort of shock.
"To go by ourselves, like grown-up people! To buy
our tickets ourselves, and get on the train, and go all the
way-alone And walk about the Fair alone, Robin ?"
"Who takes care of us here ?" answered Robin. "Who
has looked after us ever since father and mother died ?
Ourselves! Just ourselves! Whose business are we but
our own? Who thinks of us, or asks if we are happy or
Nobody," said Meg. And she hid her face in her
arms on her knees.
Robin went on stubbornly.
Nobody is ever going to do it," he said, "if we live to
be hundreds of years old. I've thought of it when I've
been working in the fields with Jones, and I've thought of it
when I've been lying awake at night. It's kept me awake
many and many a time."
46 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
"So it has me," said Meg.
And since this thing began to be talked about every-
where, I've thought of it more and more," said Rob. It
means more to people like us than it does to any one else.
It's the people who never see things, and who have no
chances, it means the most to. And the more I think of it,
the more I-I won't let it go by me !" And all at once he
threw himself face downward on the straw, and hid his face
in his arms.
Meg lifted hers. There was something in the woful
desperation of his movement that struck her to the heart.
She had never known him do such a thing in their lives
before. That was not his way. Whatsoever hard thing
had happened-howsoever lonely and desolate they had felt
-he had never shown his feeling in this way. She put out
her hand and touched his shoulder.
Robin !" she said. "Oh, Robin !"
I don't care," he said, from the refuge of his sleeves.
"We are little when we are compared with grown-up
people. They would call us children; and children usually
have some one to help them and tell them what to do. I'm
only like this because I've been thinking so much and
working so hard-and it does seem like an Enchanted City
-but no one ever thinks we could care about anything
more than if we were cats and dogs. It was not like that
at home, even if we were poor."
Then he sat up with as little warning as he had thrown
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 47
himself down, and gave his eyes a fierce rub. He returned
to the Treasure again.
I've been making up my mind to it for days," he said.
" If we have the money we can buy our tickets and go some
night without saying anything to any one. We can leave a
note for Aunt Matilda, and tell her we are all right and we
are coming back. She'll be too busy to mind."
Do you remember that book of father's we read ?" said
Meg. "That one called 'David Copperfield.' David ran
away from the bottle place when he was younger than we
are, and he had to walk all the way to Dover."
We shall not have to walk; and we won't let any one
take our money away from us," said Robin.
Are we going, really?" said Meg. "You speak as if
we were truly going; and it can't be."
Do you know what you said just now about believing
human beings could do anything, if they set their minds
to it ? Let's set our minds to it."
"Well," Meg answered, rather slowly, as if weighing the
And she fell to helping to count the Treasure.
48 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
AFTERWARDS, when they looked back upon that
day, they knew that the thing had decided itself
then, though neither of them had said so.
"The truth was," Robin used to say, "we had both been
thinking the same thing, as we always do, but we had been
thinking it in the back part of our minds. We were afraid
to let it come to the front at first, because it seemed such a
big thing. But it went on thinking by itself. That time,
when you said 'We shall never see it,' and I said, 'How do
you know?' we were both thinking about it in one way;
and I knbw I was thinking about it when I said, 'We are
not going to stay here always. That is the first step up
the Hill of Difficulty.'"
And that day when you said you would not let it go
by you," Meg would answer, that was the day we reached
the Wicket Gate."
It seemed very like it, for from that day their strange,
unchildish purpose grew and ripened, and never for an hour
was absent from the mind of either. If they had been like
other children, living happy lives, full of young interests and
pleasures, it might have been crossed out by other and
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 49
newer things; if they had been of a slighter mental build,
and less strong, they might have forgotten it; but they
never did. When they had counted the Treasure, and had
realized how small it was after all, they had sat and gazed
at each other for a while with grave eyes, but they had only
been grave, and not despairing.
"Twenty-five dollars," said Robin. "Well, that's not
much after nearly six years; but we saved it nearly all by
cents, you know, Meg."
"And it takes a hundred cents to make a dollar," said
Meg;" and we were poor people's children."
"And we bought the chickens," said Robin.
"And you have always given me a present at Christ-
mas, Robin, even if it was only a little one. That's six
"We have eight months to work in," said Robin, calcu-
lating. If you get four dollars a month, and I get four,
that will be sixty-four dollars by next June. Twenty-five
dollars and sixty-four dollars make eighty-nine. Eighty-
nine dollars for us to live on and go to see all the things;
because we must see them all, if we go. And I suppose we
shall have to come back "-with a long breath.
"Oh, dear!" cried Meg, "how can we come back ?"
I don't know," said Robin. "We shall hate it, but we
have nowhere else to go."
Perhaps we are going to seek our fortunes, and per-
haps we shall find them," said Meg; "or perhaps Aunt
50 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
Matilda won't let us come back. Rob," with some awe,
"do you think she will be angry?"
I've thought about that," Robin answered contempla-
tively, "and I don't think she will. She would be too busy
to care much even if we ran away and said nothing. But I
shall leave a letter, and tell her we have saved our money
and gone somewhere for a holiday, and we're all right, and
she need not bother."
She won't bother even if she is angry," Meg said, with
mournful eyes. "She doesn't care about us enough."
If she loved us," Rob said, "and was too poor to take
us herself, we couldn't go at all. We couldn't run away,
because it would worry her so. You can't do a thing, how-
ever much you want to do it, if it is going to hurt some-
body who is good to you, and cares."
Well, then, we needn't stay here because of Aunt Ma-
tilda," said Meggy. "That's one sure thing. It wouldn't
interfere with her ploughing if we were both to die at
No," said Rob, deliberately, "that's just what it would
not." And he threw himself back on the straw and clasped
his -hands under his head, gazing up into the dark roof
above him with very reflective eyes.
But they had reached the Wicket Gate, and from the
hour they passed it there was no looking back. That in
their utter friendlessness and loneliness they should take
their twelve-year-old fates in their own strong little hands
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 51
was, perhaps, a pathetic thing; that once having done so
they moved towards their object as steadily as if they had
been of the maturest years was remarkable, but no one
ever knew or even suspected the first until the last.
The days went by, full of work, which left them little
time to lie and talk in the Straw Parlor. They could only
see each other in the leisure hours, which were so few, and
only came when the day was waning. Finding them faith-
ful and ready, those about them fell into the natural, easy,
human unworthiness of imposing by no means infrequently
on their inexperienced willingness and youth. So they
were hard enough worked, but each felt that every day that
passed brought them nearer to the end in view; and there
was always something to think of, some detail to be worked
out mentally, or to be discussed, in the valuable moments
when they were together.
"It's a great deal better than it used to be,'-' Meg said,
"at all events. It's better to feel tired by working than to
be tired of doing nothing but think and think dreary
As the weather grew colder it was hard enough to keep
warm in their hiding-place. They used to sit and talk,
huddled close together, bundled in their heaviest clothing,
and with the straw heaped close around them and over
There were so many things to be thought of and talked
over! Robin collected facts more sedulously than ever-
52 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
facts about entrance fees, facts about prices of things to
eat, facts about places to sleep.
"Going to the Fair yourself, sonny?" Jones said to
him one day. Jones was fond of his joke. "You're right
to be inquirin' round. Them hotel-keepers is given to
tot up bills several stories higher than their hotels is
But I suppose a person needn't go to a hotel," said
Robin. ."There must be plenty of poor people who can't
go to hotels, and they'll have to sleep somewhere."
"Ah, there's, plenty of poor people," responded Jones,
cheerfully, "plenty of 'em. Always is. But they won't go
to Chicago while the Fair's on. They'll sleep at home-
that's where they'll sleep."
"That's the worst of it," Rob said to Meg afterwards;
"you see, we have to sleep somewhere. We could live on
bread and' milk or crackers and cheese-or oatmeal-but
we have to sleep somewhere."
"It will be warm weather," Meg said, reflectively.
"Perhaps we could sleep out of doors. Beggars do. We
"I don't think the police would let us," Robin answered.
"If they would-perhaps we might have to, some night;
but we are going to that place, Meg-we are going."
Yes, they believed they were going, and lived on the
belief. This being decided, howsoever difficult to attain, it
was like them both that they should dwell upon the dream,
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 53
and revel in it in a way peculiarly their own. It was Meg
whose imagination was the stronger, and it is true that it
was always she who made pictures in words and told stories.
But Robin was always as ready to enter into the spirit of
her imaginings as she was to talk about them. There was
a word he had once heard his father use which had caught
his fancy, in fact, it had attracted them both, and they ap-
plied it to this favorite pleasure of theirs of romancing with
everyday things. The word was "philander."
Now we have finished adding up and making plans,"
he would say, putting his ten-cent account-book into his
pocket, "let us philander about it."
And then Meg would begin to talk about the City Beau-
tiful-a City Beautiful which was a wonderful and curious
mixture of the enchanted one the whole world was pouring
its treasures into, one hundred miles away, and that City
Beautiful of her own which she had founded upon the one
towards which Christian had toiled through the Slough of
Despond and up the Hill of Difficulty and past Doubting
Castle. Somehow one could scarcely tell where one ended
and the others began, they were so much alike, these three
cities-Christian's, Meg's, and the fair, ephemeral one the
ending of the nineteenth century had built upon the blue
"They must look alike," said Meg, "I am sure they
must. See what it says in the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' 'Now
just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in
54 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
after them, and behold, the City shone like the sun '-and
then it says, 'The talk they had with the Shining Ones was
about the glory of the place; who told them that the beauty
and glory of it were inexpressible.' I always think of it,
Robin, when I read about those places like white palaces
and temples and towers that are being built. I am so glad
they are white. Think how the City will 'shine like the
sun' when it stands under the blue sky and by the blue
water, on a sunshiny day."
They had never read the.dear old worn Pilgrim's Prog-
ress as they did in those days. They kept it in the straw
near the Treasure, and always had it at hand to refer to.
In it they seemed to find parallels for everything.
"Aunt Matilda's world is the City of Destruction," they
would say. "And our loneliness and poorness are like
Christian's 'burden.' We have to carry it like a heavy
weight, and it holds us back."
What was it that Goodwill said to Christian about it ?"
Meg turned over the pages. She knew all the places by
heart. It was easy enough to find and read how "At last
there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill,"
and in the end he said, As to thy burden, be content to
bear it until thou comest to the place of deliverance; for
there it will fall from thy back itself."
But out of the Pilgrim's Progress,' Robin said, with
his reflecting air, "burdens don't fall off by themselves. If
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 55
you are content with them they stick on and get bigger.
Ours would, I know. You have to do something yourself
to get them off. But-" with a little pause for thought, I
like that part, Meg. And I like Goodwill, because he told
it to him. It encouraged him, you know. You see it says
next, 'Then Christian began to gird up his loins and address
himself to his journey.'"
"Robin," said Meg, suddenly shutting the book and
giving it a little thump on the back, "it's not only Chris-
tian's City that is like our City. We are like Christian. We
are pilgrims, and our way to that place is our Pilgrims'
56 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
AND the cold days of hard work kept going by, and the
City Beautiful grew, and, huddled close together in
the straw, the children planned and dreamed, and
read and re-read the Pilgrim's Progress," following Chris-
tian step by step. And Aunt Matilda became busier every
day, it seemed, and did not remember that they were alive
except when she saw them. And nobody guessed and no-
Days so quickly grow to weeks, and weeks slip by so
easily until they are months, and at last there came a time
when Meg, going out in the morning, felt a softer air, and
stopped a moment by a bare tree to breathe it in and feel
its lovely touch upon her cheek. She turned her face up-
ward with a half-involuntary movement, and found herself
looking at such a limitless vault of tender blueness that
her heart gave a quick throb, seemed to spring up to it, and
carry her with it. For a moment it seemed as if she had
left the earth far below, and was soaring in the soft depths
of blueness themselves. And suddenly, even as she felt it,
she heard on the topmost branch of the bare tree a brief
little rapturous trill, and her heart gave a leap again, and
she felt her cheeks grow warm.
TW/O LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 57
It is a bluebird," she said; it is a bluebird. And it is
the spring, and that means that the time is quite near."
She had a queer little smile on her face all day as she
worked. She did not know it was there herself, but Mrs.
Macartney saw it.
What's pleasing you so, Meggy, my girl ?" she asked.
Meg wakened up with a sort of start.
"I don't know-exactly," she said.
"You don't know," said the woman, good-naturedly.
"You look as if you were thinking over a secret, and it was
a pleasant one."
That evening it was not cold when they sat in the Straw
Parlor, and Meg told Robin about the bluebird.
It gave me a strange feeling to hear it," she said. It
seemed as if it was speaking to me. It said, 'You must get
ready. It is quite near.'"
They had made up their minds that they would go in
June, before the weather became so hot that they might
suffer from it.
Because we have to consider everything," was Robin's
idea. "We shall be walking about all the time, and we
have no cool clothes, and we shall have no money to buy
cool things; and if we should be ill, it would be worse for
us than for children who have some one with them."
In the little account-book they had calculated all they
should own on the day their pilgrimage began. They had
apportioned it all out: so much for the price of the railroad
5S T'WO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
tickets, so much for entrance fees, and-not so much, but
so little-oh, so little !-for their food and lodging.
I have listened when Jones and the others were talk-
ing," said Robin; "and they say that everybody who has
room to spare, and wants to make money, is going to let
every corner they have. So you see there will be sure to
be people who have quite poor places that they would be
obliged to rent cheap to people who are poor, like them-
selves. We will go through the small side streets and look."
The first bluebird came again, day after day, and others
came with it, until the swift dart of blue wings through the
air and the delicious ripple of joyous sound ,were no longer
rare things. The days grew warmer, and the men threw off
their coats, and began to draw their shirt-sleeves across
their foreheads when they were at work.
One evening when Robin came up into the Straw Parlor
he brought something with him. It was a battered old tin
"What is that for?" asked Meg; for he seemed to carry
it as if it was of some value.
It's old and rusty, but there are no holes in it," Robin
answe-ed. "I saw it lying in a fence corner, where some
one had thrown it-perhaps a tramp. And it put a new
thought into my head. It will do to boil eggs in."
"Eggs!" said Meg.
"There's nothing much nicer than hard-boiled eggs,"
said Robin, "and you can carry them about with you. It
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
just came into my mind that we could take some of our
eggs, and go somewhere where no one would be likely to
see us, and build a fire of sticks, and boil some eggs, and
carry them with us to eat."
Robin," cried Meg, with admiring ecstasy, I wish I
had thought of that!"
It doesn't matter which of us thought of it," said Rob,
"it's all the same."
So it was decided that when the time came they should
boil their supply of eggs very hard, and roll them up in
pieces of paper and tuck them away carefully in the one
small bag which was to carry all their necessary belongings.
These belongings would be very few-just enough to keep
them decent and clean, and a brush and comb between
them. They used to lie in bed at night, with beating hearts,
thinking it all over, sometimes awakening in a cold perspira-
tion from a dreadful dream, in which Aunt Matilda or Jones
or some of the hands had discovered their secret and con-
fronted them with it in all its daring. They were so full of
it night and day that Meg used to wonder that the people
about them did not see it in their faces.
They are not thinking of us," said Robin. They are
-thinking about crops. I dare say Aunt Matilda would like
to see the Agricultural Building, but she couldn't waste the
time to go through the others."
Oh, what a day it was, what a thrilling, exciting, almost
unbearably joyful day, when Robin gathered sticks and
TICV(7LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
dried bits of branches, and piled them in a corner of a field
far enough from the house and outbuildings to be quite
safe He did it one noon hour, and as he passed Meg on
his way back to his work, he whispered:
"I have got the sticks for the fire all ready."
And after supper they crept out to the place, with
matches, and the battered old coffee-pot, and the eggs.
As they made their preparations, they found themselves
talking in whispers, though there was not the least chance of
any one's hearing them. Meg looked rather like a little
witch as she stood over the bubbling old pot, with her
strange, little dark face and shining eyes and black elf
"It's like making a kind of sacrifice on an altar," she
You always think queer things about everything, don't
you ?" said Robin. But they're all right; I don't think of
them myself, but I like them."
When the eggs were boiled hard enough they carried
them to the barn and hid them in the Straw Parlor, near
the Treasure. Then they sat and talked, in whispers still,
almost trembling with joy.
Somehow, do you know," Meg said, it feels as if we
were going to do something more than just go to the Fair.
When people in stories go to seek their fortunes, I'm sure
they feel like this. Does it give you a kind of creeping in
your stomach whenever you think of it, Rob ?"
MEG LOOKED RATHER LIKE A LITTLE WITCH.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 63
"Yes, it does," Robin whispered back; "and when it
comes into my mind suddenly something gives a queer
jump inside me."
That's your heart," said Meg. Robin, if anything
should stop us, I believe I should drop dead."
No, you wouldn't," was Rob's answer, but it's better
not to let ourselves think about it. And I don't believe any-
thing as bad as that could happen. We've worked so hard,
and we have nobody but ourselves, and it can't do any one
any harm-and we don't want to do any one any harm. No,
there must be something that wouldn't let it be."
I believe that too," said Meg, and this time it was she
who clutched at Robin's hand; but he seemed glad she did,
and held as close as she.
And then, after the bluebirds had sung a few times
more, there came a night when Meg crept out of her cot
after she was sure that the woman in the other bed was
sleeping heavily enough. Every one went to bed early, and
every one slept through the night in heavy, tired sleep.
Too much work was done on the place to allow people to
waste time in sleeplessness. Meg knew no one would
waken as she crept down stairs to the lower part of the
house and softly opened the back door.
Robin was standing outside, with the little leather
satchel in his hand. It was a soft, warm night, and the
dark blue sky was full of the glitter of stars.
Both he and Meg stood still a moment, and looked up.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
"I'm glad it's like this," Meg said ; "it doesn't seem so
lonely. Is your heart thumping, Robin?"
Yes, rather," whispered Robin. "I left the letter in a
place where Aunt Matilda will be likely to find it some time
"What did you say?" Meg whispered back.
What I told you I was going to. There wasn't much
to say. Just told her we had saved our money, and gone
away for a few days; and we were all right, and she needn't
Everything was very still about them. There was no
moon, and, but for the stars, it would have been very dark.
As it was, the stillness of night and sleep, and the sombre-
ness of the hour, might have made less strong little
creatures feel timid and alone.
"Let us take hold of each other's hands as we walk
along," said Meg. It will make us feel nearer, and-and
And so, hand in hand, they went out on the road
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 65
IT was four miles to the d6p6t, but they were good
walkers. Robin hung the satchel on a stick over his
shoulder; they kept in the middle of the road and
walked smartly. There were not many trees, but there were
a few, occasionally, and it was pleasanter to walk where the
way before them was quite clear. And somehow they found
themselves still talking in whispers, though there was cer-
tainly no one to overhear them.
Let us talk about Christian," said Meg. It will not
seem so lonely if we are talking. I wish we could meet
If we knew he was Evangelist when we met him," said
Robin. If we didn't know him, we should think he was
some one who would stop us. And after all, you see, he
only showed Christian the shining light, and told him to go
to it. And we are farther on than that. We have passed
the Wicket Gate."
"The thing we want," said Meg, "is the Roll to read as
we go on, and find out what we are to do."
And then they talked of what was before them. They
wondered who would be at the little d6p6t and if they would
66 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
be noticed, and of what the ticket-agent would think when
Robin bought the tickets.
Perhaps he won't notice me at all," said Rob. And
he does not know me. Somebody might be sending us
alone, you know. We are not little children."
"That's true," responded Meg, courageously. "If we
were six years old it would be different. But we are
It did make it seem less lonely to be talking, and so they
did not stop. And there was.so much to say.
Robin," broke forth Meg once, giving his hand a sud-
den clutch, "we are on the way-we are going. Soon we
shall be in the train and it will be carrying us nearer
and nearer. Suppose it was a dream, and we should
"It isn't a dream!" said Rob, stoutly. It's real-it's
as real as Aunt Matilda !" He was always more practical-
minded than Meg.
"We needn't philander any more," Meg said.
It isn't philandering to talk about a real thing."
"Oh, Rob, just think of it-waiting for us under the
stars, this very moment-the City Beautiful !"
And then, walking close to each other in the dimness,
they told each other how they saw it in imagination, and
what its wonders would be to them, and which they would
see first, and how they would remember it all their lives
afterwards, and have things to talk of and think of. Very
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 67
few people would see it as they would, but they did not
know that. It was not a gigantic enterprise to them, a great
scheme fought for and struggled over for the divers reasons
poor humanity makes for itself ; that it would either make or
lose money was not a side of the question that reached
them. They only dwelt on the beauty and wonder of it,
which made it seem like an enchanted thing.
I keep thinking of the white palaces, and that it is like
a fairy story," Meg said, "and that it will melt away like
those cities travellers sometimes see in the desert. And I
wish it wouldn't. But it will have been real for a while, and
everybody will remember it. I am so glad it is beautiful-
and white. I am so glad it is white, Robin !"
"And I keep thinking," said Robin, "of all the people
who have made the things to go in it, and how they have
worked and invented. There have been some people,
perhaps, who have worked months and months making one
single thing-just as we have worked to go to see it. And
perhaps, at first they were afraid they couldn't do it, and
they set their minds to it as we did, and tried and tried, and
then did it at last. I like to think of those men and women,
Meg, because, when the City has melted away, the things
won't melt. They will last after the people. And we are
people too. I'm a man, and you are a woman, you know,
though we are only twelve, and it gives me a strong feel-
ing to think of those others."
It makes you think that perhaps men and women can
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
do anything if they set their minds to it," said Meg, quite
solemnly. "Oh, I do like that!"
"I like it better than anything else in the world," said
Rob. "Stop a minute, Meg. Come here in the shade."
He said the last words quickly, and pulled her to the
roadside, where a big tree grew which threw a deep shadow.
He stood listening.
It's wheels!" he whispered. "There is a buggy com-
ing. We mustn't let any one see us."
It was a buggy, they could tell that by the lightness of
the wheels, and it was coming rapidly. They could hear
voices-men's voices-and they drew back and stood very
close to each other.
Do you think they have found out, and sent some one
after us?" whispered Meg, breathlessly.
No," answered Robin, though his heart beat like a
triphammer. No, no, no."
The wheels drew nearer, and they heard one of the men
"Chicago by sunrise," he was saying, "and what I
don't see of it won't be worth seeing."
The next minute the fast-trotting horse spun swiftly
down the road, and carried the voices out of hearing. Meg
and Robin drew twin sighs of relief. Robin spoke first.
"It is some one who is going to the Fair," he said.
"Perhaps we shall see him in the train," said Meg.
I dare say we shall," said Robin. It was nobody who
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
knows us. I didn't know his voice. Meg, let's take hands
again, and walk quickly; we might lose the train."
They did not talk much more, but walked briskly.
They had done a good day's work before they set out, and
were rather tired, but they did not lag on that account.
Sometimes Meg took a turn at carrying the satchel, so
that Robin might rest his arm. It was not heavy, and
she was as strong for a girl as he was for a boy.
At last they reached the d6p6t. There were a number
of people waiting on the platform to catch the train to
Chicago, and there were several vehicles outside. They
passed one which was a buggy, and Meg gave Robin a
nudge with her elbow.
Perhaps that belongs to our man," she said.
There were people enough before the office to give
the ticket-agent plenty to do. Robin's heart quickened a
little as he passed by with the group of maturer people,
but no one seemed to observe him particularly, and he re-
turned to Meg with the precious bits of pasteboard held
very tight in his hand.
Meg had waited alone in-an unlighted corner, and when
she saw him coming she came forward to meet him.
Have you got them ? she said. Did any one look at
you or say anything ?"
"Yes, I got them," Robin answered. "And, I'll tell you
what, Meg, these people are nearly all going just where
we are going, and they are so busy thinking about it, and
70 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
attending to themselves, that they haven't any time to
watch any one else. That's one good thing."
"And the nearer we get to Chicago," Meg said, "the
more people there will be, and the more they will have to
think of. And at that beautiful place, where there is so
much to see, who will look at two children ? I don't believe
we shall have any trouble at all."
It really did not seem likely that they would, but it
happened, by a curious coincidence, that within a very few
minutes they saw somebody looking at them.
The train was not due for ten minutes, and there were a
few people who, being too restless to sit in the waiting-
rooms, walked up and down on the platform. Most of
these were men, and there were two men who walked
farther than the others did, and so neared the place where
Robin and Meg stood in the shadow. One was a young
man, and seemed to be listening to instructions his com-
panion, who was older, was giving him, in a rapid, abrupt
sort of voice. This companion, who might have been his
employer, was a man of middle age. He was robust of
figure and had a clean-cut face, with a certain effect of
strong good looks. It was, perhaps, rather a hard face, but
it was a face one would look at more than once; and he
too, oddly enough, had a square jaw and straight black
brows. But it was his voice which first attracted Robin and
Meg as he neared them, talking.
It's the man in the buggy," whispered Robin. Don't
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 71
you know his voice again ?" and they watched him with
He passed them once, without seeming to see them at
all. He was explaining something to his companion. The
second time he drew near he chanced to look up, and his
eye fell on them. It did not rest on them more than a
second, and he went on speaking. The next time he neared
their part of the platform he turned his glance towards
them, as they stood close together. It was as if involun-
tarily he glanced to see if they were still where they had
"A pair of children," they heard him say, as if the
fleeting impression of their presence arrested his train of
thought for a second. "Look as if no one was with
He merely made the comment in passing, and returned
to his subject the next second; but Meg and Robin heard
him, and drew farther back into the shadow.
But it was not necessary to stand there much longer.
They heard a familiar sound in the distance, the shrill cry
of the incoming train-the beloved giant who was to carry
them to fairy-land; the people began to flock out of the
waiting-rooms with packages and valises and umbrellas in
hand; the porters suddenly became alert, and hurried about
attending to their duties; the delightful roar drew nearer
and louder, and began to shake the earth; it grew louder
still, a bell began to make a cheerful tolling, people were
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
rushing to and fro; Meg and Robin rushed with them,
and the train was panting in the dep6t.
It was even more thrilling than the children had
thought it would be. They had travelled so very little,
and did not know exactly where to go. It might not be the
right train even. They did not know how long it would
wait. It might rush away again before they could get on.
People seemed in such a hurry and so excited. As they
hurried along they found themselves being pushed and
jostled. Before the steps of one of the cars a conductor
stood, whom people kept showing tickets to. There were
several persons round him when Robin and Meg reached
the place where he stood. People kept asking him things,
and sometimes he passed them on, and sometimes let them
go into his car.
"Is this the train to Chicago?" said Robin, breath-
But he was so much less than the other people, and
the man was so busy, he did not hear him.
Robin tried to get nearer.
Is this the Chicago train, sir ? he said, a little louder.
He had had to press by a man whom he had been too
excited to see, and the man looked down, and spoke to
"Chicago train ?" he said, in a voice which was abrupt,
without being ill-natured. "Yes, you're all right. Got
your sleeping tickets?"
Lv m ...
ill A 'I!'
I; I, Iif- I I I
f! ii i/i'' I
IS THiIS THEi TRAIN ITO CHICAGO 0? SAI ROBIN.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
Robin looked up at him quickly. He knew the voice,
and was vaguely glad to hear it. He and Meg had never
been in a sleeping-car in their lives, and he did not quite
understand. He held out his tickets.
"We are going to sleep on the train," he said; "but we
have nothing but these."
Next car but two, then," he said; "and you'd better
And when both voices thanked
two caught each other's hands and
he looked after them and laughed.
"I'm blessed if they're not by
watching them as they scrambled
they're going to the Fair, I'll bet a
America, and no mistake!"
him at once, and the
ran towards their car,
themselves," he said,
up the steps. And
dollar. That's Young
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
THE car was quite crowded. There were more people
than themselves who were going to the Fair and
were obliged to economize. When the children
entered, and looked about them in the dim light, they
thought at first that all the seats were full. People seemed
to be huddled up asleep or sitting up awake in all of them.
Everybody had been trying to get to sleep, at least, and the
twins found themselves making their whispers even lower
I think there is a seat empty just behind that very fat
lady," Meg whispered.
It was at the end of the car, and they went to it, and
found she was right. They took possession of it quietly,
putting their satchel under the seat.
"It seems so still," said Meg, "I feel as if I was in
somebody's bedroom. The sound of the wheels makes it
seem 211 the quieter. It's as if we were shut in by the
We mustn't talk," said Robin, or we shall waken the
people. Can you go to sleep, Meg?"
I can if I can stop thinking," she answered, with a joy-
ful sigh. I'm very tired; but the wheels keep saying,
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 77
over and over again, 'We're going-we're going-we're
going.' It's just as if they were talking. Don't you hear
"Yes, I do. Do they say that to you, too? But we
mustn't listen," Robin whispered back. If we do we shall
not go to sleep, and then we shall be too tired to walk.
about. Let's put our heads down, and shut our eyes,
"Well, let's," said Meg.
She curled herself up on the seat, and put her head into
"If you lean against me, Rob," she said, "it will be
softer. We can take turns."
They changed position a little two or three times,
but they were worn out with the day's work, and their
walk, and the excitement, and the motion of the train
seemed like a sort of-rocking which lulled them. Gradually
their muscles relaxed and they settled down, though, after
they had done so, Meg spoke once, drowsily.
"Rob," she said, "did you see that was our man?"
"Yes," answered Rob, very sleepily indeed, "and he
looked as if he knew us."
If they had been less young, or if they had been less
tired, they might have found themselves awake a good
many times during the night. But they were such children,
and, now that the great step was taken, were so happy,
TIWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
that the soft, deep sleepiness of youth descended upon and
overpowered them. Once or twice during the night they
stirred, wakened for a dreamy, blissful moment by some
sound of a door shutting, or a conductor passing through.
But they were only conscious of a delicious sense of
strangeness, of the stillness of the car full of sleepers, of
the half-realized delight of feeling themselves carried along
through the unknown 'country, and of the rattle of the
wheels, which never ceased saying rhythmically, "We're
going--we're going-we're going!"
Ah what a night of dreams and new, vague sensations,
to be remembered always! Ah! that heavenly sense of joy
to come, and adventure, and young hopefulness and imagin-
ing! Were there many others carried towards the City
Beautiful that night who bore with them the same rapture
of longing and belief; who saw with such innocent clear-
ness only the fair and splendid thought which had created
it, and were so innocently blind to any shadow of sordid-
ness or mere worldly interest touching its white walls ?
And after the passing of this wonderful night, what a
wakening in the morning, at the first rosiness of dawn,
when all the other occupants of the car were still asleep, or
restlessly trying to be at ease!
It was as if they both wakened at almost the same
moment. The first shaft of early sunlight streaming in the
window touched Meg's eyelids, and she slowly, opened them.
Then something joyous and exultant rushed in upon her
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
heart, and she sat upright. And Robin sat up too, and
they looked at each other.
"It's the Day, Meg!" said Robin. "It's the Day!"
Meg caught her breath.
"And nothing has stopped us," she said. "And we are
getting nearer and nearer. Rob, let us look out of the
For a while they looked out, pressed close together, and
full of such ecstasy of delight in the strangeness of every-
thing that at first they did not exchange even their
It is rather a good thing to see-rather well worth while
even for a man or woman-the day waking, and waking the
world, as one is borne swiftly through the morning light,
and one looks out of a car window. What it was to these
two children only those who remember the children who
were themselves long ago can realize at all. The country
went hurrying past them, making curious sudden revela-
tions and giving half-hints in its haste; prairie and field,
farmhouse and wood and village all wore a strange, excit-
ing, vanishing aspect.
"It seems," Meg said, "as if it was all going some-
where-in a great hurry-as if it couldn't wait to let us
But we are the ones that are going," said Rob. Lis-
ten to the wheels-and we shall soon be there."
After a while the people who were asleep began to stir
So TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
and stretch themselves. Some of them looked cross, and
some looked tired. The very fat lady in the seat before
them had a coal smut on her nose.
"Robin," said Meg, after looking at her seriously a
moment, let's get our towel out of the bag and wet it and
wash our faces."
They had taken the liberty of borrowing a towel from
Aunt Matilda. It was Meg who had thought of it, and it
had, indeed, been an inspiration. Robin wetted two cor-
ners of it, and they made a rigorous if limited toilet. At
least they had no smuts on their noses, and after a little
touching up with the mutual comb and brush, they looked
none the worse for wear. Their plain and substantial gar-
ments were not of the order which has any special charm
"And it's not our clothes that are going to the Fair,"
said Meg, "it's us!"
And by the time they were in good order, the farms and
villages they were flying past had grown nearer together.
The platforms at the ddp6ts were full of people who wore a
less provincial look; the houses grew larger and so did the
towns; they found themselves flashing past advertisements
of all sorts of things, and especially of things connected
with the Fair.
"You know how we used to play 'hunt the thimble,'"
said Robin, and how, when any one came near the place
where it was hidden, we said, 'Warm-warmer-warmer
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
still-hot!' It's like that now. We have been getting
warmer and warmer every minute, and now we are
"We shall be in in a minute," said a big man at the end
of the car, and he stood up and began to take down his
Hot," said Robin, with an excited little laugh. Meg,
we're not going-going-going any more. Look out of the
"We are steaming into the big dep6t," cried Meg.
"How big it is What crowds of people! Robin, we are
Robin bent down to pick up their satchel; the people all
rose in their seats and began to move in a mass down the
aisle toward the door. Everybody seemed suddenly to
become eager and in a hurry, as if they thought the train
would begin to move again and carry them away. Some
were expecting friends to meet them, some were anxious
about finding accommodations. Those who knew each
other talked, asked questions over people's shoulders, and
there was a general anxiety about valises, parcels, and
umbrellas. Robin and Meg were pressed back into their
section by the crowd, against which they were too young to
"We shall have to wait until the grown-up people have
passed by," Rob said.
But the crowd in the aisle soon lost its compactness,
82 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
and they were able to get out. The porter, who stood on
the platform near the steps, looked at them curiously, and
glanced behind them to see who was with them, but he said
It seemed to the two as if all the world must have
poured itself into the big dep6t or be passing through it.
People were rushing about; friends were searching for one
another, pushing'their way through the surging crowd; some
were greeting each other with exclamations and hand-shak-
ing, and stopping up the way.; there was a Babel of voices,
a clamor of shouts within the covered place, and from out-
side came a roar of sound rising from the city.
For a few moments Robin and Meg were overwhelmed.
They did not quite know what to do; everybody pushed past
and jostled them. No one was ill-natured, but no one had
time to be polite. They were so young and so strange to
all such worlds of excitement and rush, involuntarily they
clutched each other's hands after their time-honored fashion,
when they were near each other and overpowered. The
human vortex caught them up and carried them along, not
knowing where they were going.
We seem so little !" gasped Meg. There-there are
so many people Rob, Rob, where are we going?"
Robin had lost his breath too. Suddenly the world
seemed so huge-so huge Just for a moment he felt him-
self turn pale, and he looked at Meg and saw that she was
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
Everybody is going out of the d6p6t," he said. Hold
on to me tight, Meg. It will be all right. We shall get
And so they did. The crowd surged and swayed and
struggled, and before long they saw that it was surging
towards the entrance gate, and it took them with it. Just
as they thrust through they found themselves pushed against
a man, who good-naturedly drew a little back to save Meg
from striking against his valise, which was a very substantial
one. She looked up to thank him, and gave a little start.
It was the man she had called our man" the night before,
when she spoke of him to Robin. And he gave them a
sharp but friendly nod.
"Hallo!" he exclaimed, "it's you two again. You are
going to the Fair!"
Robin looked up at his shrewd face with a civil little
"Yes, sir; we are," he answered.
"Hope you'll enjoy it," said the man. "Big thing."
And he was pushed past them and soon lost in the crowd.
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
T HE crowd in the dpp6t surged into the streets, and
melted into and became an addition to the world of
people there. The pavements were moving masses
of human beings, the centres of the streets were pandemo-
niums of wagons and vans, street cars, hotel omnibuses, and
carriages. The brilliant morning sunlight dazzled the chil-
dren's eyes; the roar of wheels and the clamor of car bells,
of clattering horses' feet, of cries and shouts and passing
voices, mingled in a volume of sound that deafened them.
The great tidal wave of human life and work and pleasure
almost took them off their feet.
They knew too little of cities to have had beforehand
any idea of what the overwhelming rush and roar would be,
and what slight straws they would feel themselves upon
the current. If they had been quite ordinary children, they
might well have been frightened. But they were not ordi-
nary children, little as they were aware of that important
factor in their young lives. They were awed for this first
moment, but, somehow, they were fascinated as much as
they were awed, while they stood for a brief breathing-
space looking on. They did not know-no child of their
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 85
ages can possibly know such things of him or herself-that
Nature had made them of the metal out of which she
moulds strong things and great ones. As they had not
comprehended the restless sense of wrong and misery the
careless, unlearning, and ungrowing life in Aunt Matilda's
world filled them with, so they did not understand that,
because they had been born creatures who belong to the
great moving, working, venturing world, they were not
afraid of it, and felt their first young face-to-face encounter
with it a thing which thrilled them with an exultant emo-
tion they could not have explained.
"This is not Aunt Matilda's world," said Rob. "It-I
believe it is ours, Meg. Don't you ?"
Meg was staring with entranced eyes at the passing
'More pilgrims are come to town,'" she said, quoting
the Pilgrim's Progress" with a far-off look in her intense
little black-browed face. "You remember what it said,
Rob, 'Here also all the noise of them that walked in the
streets was, More pilgrims are come to town.' Oh, isn't
it like it!"
It was. And the exaltation and thrill of it got into
their- young blood and made them feel as if they walked
on air, and that every passing human thing meant, some-
how, life and strength to them.
Their appetites were sharpened by the morning air, and
they consulted as to what their breakfast should be. They
86 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
had no money to spend at restaurants, and every penny
must be weighed and calculated.
Let's walk on," said Meg, until we see a bakery that
looks as if it was kept by poor people. Then we can buy
some bread, and eat it with our eggs somewhere."
"All right," said Robin.
They marched boldly on. The crowd jostled them, and
there was so much noise that they could hardly hear each
other speak; but ah how the sun shone, and how the pen-
nons fluttered and streamed on every side, and how excited
and full of living the people's faces looked It seemed
splendid, only to be alive in. such a world on such a morn-
ing. The sense of the practical which had suggested that
they should go to a small place led them into the side
streets. They passed all the big shops without a glance,
but at last Meg stopped before a small one.
"There's a woman in there," she said; "I just saw her
for a minute. She has a nice face. She looked as if she
might be good-natured. Let's go in there, Robin. It's
quite a small place."
They went in. It was a small place but a clean one,
and .the woman had a good-natured face. She was a
German, and was broad and placid and comfortable.
They bought some fresh rolls from her, and as she served
them, and was making the change, Meg watched her
anxiously. She was thinking that she did look very peace-
able, indeed. So, instead of turning away from the counter,
TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS 87
she planted herself directly before her and asked her a
"If you please," she said, "we have some hard-boiled
eggs to eat with our bread, and we are not going home.
If we are very careful, would you mind if we ate our break-
fast in here, instead of outside ? We won't let any of the
crumbs or shells drop on the floor."
"You not going home?" said the woman. "You from
"Yes," answered Meg.
"You look like you wass goun to der Fair," said the
woman, with a good-tempered smile. Who wass with
"No one," said Robin. "We are going alone. But
we're all right."
My crayshious! said the woman. But you wass
young for that. But your 'Merican children is queer ones.
Yes! You can sit down an' eat your bregfast. That
make no matter to me if you is careful. You can sit
There were two chairs near a little table, where, per-
haps, occasional customers ate buns, and they sat down to
their rolls and eggs and salt, as to a feast.
"I was hungry," said Rob, cracking his fourth egg.
"So was I !" said Meg, feeling that her fresh roll was
It was a delightful breakfast. The German woman
88 TWO LITTLE PILGRIMS' PROGRESS
watched them with placid curiosity as they ate it. She
had been a peasant in her own country, and had lived in a
village among rosy, stout, and bucolic little Peters and
Gretchens, who were not given to enterprise, and the
American child was a revelation to her. And somehow,
also, these two had an attraction all American children had
not. They looked so well able to take care of themselves,
and yet had such good manners and no air of self-impor-
tance at all. They ate their rolls and hard-boiled eggs
with all the gusto of very young appetite, but they evi-
dently meant to keep their part of the bargain, and leave
her no crumbs and shells to sweep up. The truth was that
they were perfectly honorable little souls, and had a sense
of justice. They were in the midst of their breakfast,
when they were rather startled by hearing her voice from
the end of the counter where she had been standing, lean-
ing against the wall, her arms folded.
"You like a cup coffee ?" she asked.
They both looked round, uncertain what to say, not
knowing whether or not that she meant that she sold coffee.
They exchanged rather disturbed glances, and then Robin
"We can't afford it, thank you, ma'am," he said, "we've
got so little money."
Never mind," she astonished them by answering, "that
cost me nothing. There some coffee left on the back of
the stove from my man's bregfast. I give you each a cup."
" YOU LIKE A CUP COFFEE ?" SHE ASKED.
II / ~