Citation
The Kanter girls

Material Information

Title:
The Kanter girls
Creator:
Branch, Mary Lydia, 1840-1922 ( Author, Primary )
Armstrong, Helen Maitland, 1869-1948 ( Illustrator )
Downey & Co ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Downey & Co.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vi, 219 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Girls -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Imagination -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Outdoor life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Flowers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Boats and boating -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Baldwin -- 1896
Genre:
Fantasy literature ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Mary L.B. Branch ; illustrated by Helen Maitland Armstrong.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026601831 ( ALEPH )
ALG2839 ( NOTIS )
233698026 ( OCLC )

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THE

KANTER GIRLS

BY

MARY L. B. BRANCH

ILLUSTRATED BY HELEN MAITLAND ARMSTRONG

DOWNEY & CO.
12 YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON
1896



CONTENTS

I The Invisible Rings, . . 2. 2. ew el, i
I. In the Woods, . . . 2... 2. ee. 3
Il The Stream that Ran Both Ways,. . . . . 2 3
IV. Go Back Stream—Go Back, . . . .. . . 32
V. The Unexpected Happens, . . . . . . . . i
VI. By the Air-Line, . . 1 7 2 1 we ee. 4g
Vil. Roses and Honeysuckles, . . . . .. . . 64
VII. In the Garden,. . . 1. 6 ee ee 7D
IX. The Sound of the Drums,. . . . . . . . 80
X. Strange Countries for to See, . . . . . . 86
Xl The Lunch Party,. . . 6... 2 ee OF
XII. The Little Dryad,. . 2 2 2 6 1 eee. G6
XIII. The Tenant of the Pear-tree,. . . . . . . 104

Vv



XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX,
XXI.
XXiIl.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVIII.

Contents

The Forest Refuge,

Something New Thursdays Only,

Calling on the Neighbors, .

The Moonlight Picnic,

Down a Long, Long Stairway,
Little Guld, .

A Royal Playmate,

An Arctic Expedition,

The Home of the Snow Children,
In the Snow Garden, .

The Visit Repeated, .

In the King’s Hall,

Caught in a Snow-storm, .

Going Home, ,

PAGE

. . 110

. 116



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

The Kanter girls sat in the doorway .

In each box a lovely litile gold ring .

She was bare-footed and bare-headed .

“* 1 want those bonnets for my babies”
The drollest little man—all dressed in green
‘© Go back, stream!” cried Prue again
She slipped out, past the poppies and asters
Speeding through the air

‘«Good morning, dears!”

They went along by the fountains next

** Nothing but grapes!” said Althea .

She stopped in the middle of it.

Vil

PAGE



List of Lllustrations

After that they put on their coats. . : . 8&9
The sweetest, merriest face in the world peeped oul . 97

She took up some of the shining sand and sifted it

through her fingers , . . 7 : . 101
‘Tap! tap! tap!” sounded something : . . 118
Two little girls playing cat’s cradle. . : . 125
They met the eyes of a grave old schoolmaster. . 135

‘* That's the way down into the shed,” said Janet . 143

Bending over the crock, she lifted him out. : . 150
In the door stood the Kobold woman . : . . 159
“* The sky will do for a roof,” said Prue . : - 175
Janet hung the cage on a tree . : : : . 197
The Kanter girls walked on and on . ; . . 210
The shepherd . : : ; < . . . 213





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“T dreamt I caught a little owl
And the bird was blue—
But you may hunt forever
And not find such an one.”
—Christina Rossett?.

“In birds, as men, there is a strange variety.”
—Mary Howttt.

HE names of the two Kanter girls. were

Janet and Prue. They lived in a snug

brown cottage at the foot of a steep woody
hill, and in front of the cottage there was a yard
with plenty of room for playing, besides flower-beds
full of poppies, marigolds, larkspurs, and_ asters.
There was also a fine large apple-tree, whose lower
limbs were quite within reach, and this apple-tree
was the beginning of wonders, for in it an unusual
kind of bluebird built her nest. The Kanter girls
saw her first when she was bringing little sticks and

I



The Kanter Girls

twigs to build with, and they ran to tell their mother
that the biggest, most beautiful bird in the world,
bluer than the sky, had come to their apple-tree.

Their mother went to the door and looked out.
_ The bird nodded to her kindly, and sang,

“How d’'ye do? How d’ye do?”

“ Pretty well, I thank you,” she replied, and then
she said to her little girls, “1 never saw a bird like
this before, it must have come for good luck, and
you had better be friends with it.”

She then went directly back to her housework,
for anyone, who has ever had an ovenful of thin
seed-cakes baking, knows that they cannot be left
long.

“Janet,” said Prue, “let's help pick up little
sticks.”

“Oh! yes, let’s!” said Janet.

So they gathered sticks and straws, and laid them
in acrotch of one of the apple-tree boughs for the
bluebird, and with their help she finished her nest
before night.

The Kanter girls sat in the doorway of the little
cottage watching her. It was a pleasant hour, the
sun was getting low, and its light flickered richly

on the green grass. The flowers seemed more frag- | ©

rant than at high noon, and the evening primroses

2





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THE KANTER GIRLS SAT IN THE DOORWAY.






The Invisible Rings

were getting ready to open. The girls sat side by
side, they both had brown hair and rosy cheeks,
they both wore blue print dresses and white
aprons, and they looked happy and interested. Part
of the time they talked about the bluebird, and part
of the time about a queer story of which one of
them had read one chapter at a neighbor's the
week before. It was Prue who had read it.

“The story was called ‘The Invisible Ring,’” she
said. “A lady had an invisible ring. Anyone
could see it till she put it on her finger, but the
minute she put it on it was invisible, and she be-
came invisible too.” ,

“T wish I had an invisible ring,” said Janet,
“then I could go around to all the girls’ houses,
and hear what they said about me.”

“Tf I had one,” said Prue, ‘I would take it to
school, and if I didn’t know my lesson I would put
it on just before the question came to me, and then
the next one would have to answer it.”

“And if we met robbers coming through the
woods, we could put our rings on and the robbers
wouldn’t see us!” said Janet. ‘Oh! I do wish we
had invisible rings.”

“ Peep into my nest! Peep into my nest /”. sang
the great, blue, beautiful bird in the apple-tree.

5

222



The Kanter Girls

The Kanter girls never thought of disobeying.
They ran to the tree at once, and one held the other
up in her arms to
reach the nest.

“Oh! there are two
eggs in it!” cried the
one who could reach.

“Take them up, and
take them down /”
sang the bird. So the
little Kanter girl took
the eggs in her hand,
and slipped down to
the ground. Then she
and her ‘sister sat on
the doorstep again to
look at them. They
were small and smooth
and bluer than the sky.

a “Lift up the
= covers /” sang the.
bird.

That sounded so odd that the Kanter girls laughed,
but they touched the eggs carefully, which turned
out after all to be tiny blue boxes, and the lids flew
up disclosing in each box a lovely little gold ring.

6





The Invisible Rings

~ “Oh! oh!” cried Prue.

“Oh! oh!” cried Janet, and she slipped hers on
her finger.

“Why, Janet, where did you go?” asked Prue,
staring all about.

“T’m right here!” said Janet, taking off the ring
and re-appearing at once at her side. Prue looked
at her in surprise; and then tried on her own gold
ring.

“Why, Prue, where ave you gone ?” exclaimed
Janet, looking frightened.

“Tm right here, of course,” said Prue, re-appear-
ing on the doorstep. Then they understood it all
and began to laugh for joy, for these were the in-
visible rings they had so much desired.

‘““Come, children, come and set the table,” called
their mother from the kitchen; “I see your father
crossing the fields, and supper is nearly ready.” —

The Kanter girls were almost always quite willing
to help, so they ran in at once, laid the table-cloth,
and began to bring the dishes. All of a sudden
there stood Prue alone by the table arranging the
knives and forks, while from the pantry a tray of
cups and saucers was coming apparently without
hands. It just seemed to move along through the
air.

7



\

The Kanter Girls

“Oh! Janet, Janet!” cried Prue, laughing.
‘Mother, just look at Janet !”

‘““T don’t see her anywhere,” said the mother,
glancing around.

‘But just see the cups and saucers !”

At that moment the tray was set upon the table,
and there stood Janet laughing.

‘“‘She’s taken her ring off now,” said Prue.

‘“T don’t know what you are talking about,” said
their mother, and as her shortcake was burning in
front of the fire, she had to hurry away.

Their father came in, the hot cake was put upon
the table, with cookies, and bowls of bread and
milk, and the little Kanter girls were so hungry,
and found their supper so good, that they did not

‘think much about their ringsfor a time. But when
the table was cleared, and the dishes all set away
clean upon the shelves, and when their father sat
down to add up accounts, and their mother
drew out her sewing-basket, and when the Kanter
girls saw by the clock that it only lacked five min-
utes of eight (their bed-time was eight o'clock), they
looked at each other with merry, mischievous eyes,
and disappeared. Their mother thought it rather
strange when she looked up and saw they had gone
without so much as saying “good-night ;” and she

3 ;



The Invisible Rings

thought it very strange when the little dog that had
been dozing on the rug, suddenly, began to bark
and jump just as he did when the Kanter girls had
a frolic with him. He stood up and begged, he
walked around on his hind legs, and his tail wagged
as if he had gone crazy.

“Be quiet, Tip!” said his master, who was mak-
ing mistakes in his figures.

But instead of being quiet, Tip jumped up into
a chair and gave a series of short, fierce barks.

‘““T never knew him to act so before, when the
girls were not playing with him,” said the mother,
‘and they went to bed some time ago. Let’s put
him out of doors!”

“Oh, no ! we were only having a little good-night
frolic!” exclaimed Prue and Janet, suddenly ap-
pearing on either side of their mother with a merry
laugh. |

“Then it was you, you mischiefs! Now be off
to bed quick!” she said, and this time they really
went, their young feet making a pleasant clatter on
the stairs, and the murmur of their young voices in
the room above gradually sinking away into still-
ness.

But the next morning, oh! then came the fun !
The dew was hardly off the grass when the Kanter

9



The Kanter Girls

girls, looking very demure in their clean dresses and
white sunbonnets, started down the lane in search
of adventures. Presently they saw two boys, a long
way off, but coming toward them.

‘“Now let’s see,” said Janet, “what Tom and
Billy Green are talking about !”

And immediately the two little Kanter girls dis-
appeared, sun-bonnets and all.

“Say, Tom,” said Billy, “T thought I saw the
Kanter girls coming, but I guess they’ve run
away.”

‘“’Fraid of us, I guess,” said Tom. ‘ Remember
that time I snowballed ’em last winter ?””

‘Yes, and Ned Wray knocked you down for it,
and rubbed you with snow till you begged off.”
~ “ Be quiet, will you? Where did you say you
saw that nest of young birds ?”

“Right ahead there, in that old gnarly pear-tree.
Easy to climb, ain’t it?”

‘Real easy,” said Tom ; “we'll take the young
ones home in our pockets, and make a rush cage
for ’em, and if they don’t die, we’ll tame ’em.”

By this time the boys reached the foot of the
tree, and Billy was- beginning to climb, when he
suddenly dropped on the ground with a howl and
clapped his hands over his ears.

Io



The Invisible Rings

‘What's the matter?” asked Tom, astonished.

‘Something boxed my ears then! A regular
whack! Ow! ow!”

“Oh, pshaw!” said Tom, “you hit against a
bough, or something. I wouldn't cry for that!”

‘“ Wouldn't you?” said Billy, angrily, as he rose
to his feet and started up the tree again. His
hands reached the lower bough, but instead of pull-
ing himself up, there he hung. The old birds were
uttering cries of terror overhead. Was this bad
boy going to take their darlings ?

‘“Well, why don’t you get up?” asked Tom, im-
patiently.

““Can’t do it! What’s caught my feet? I feel
as if a fifty-pound weight hung on each of ’em.
There, I give it up, the old tree’s bewitched. Get
your birds yourself, if you want ’em.”

And with a scared,.sulky look he dropped to the
ground. Tom pushed scornfully by him and tried
the tree himself. He had nearly brought his knees
up to the first bough, when, as he said afterward,
something pushed him back so powerfully that he ~
fell heels over head to the ground. .

“There, now!” exclaimed Bill. He and _ his
brother stared at the tree, and at each other, for a
moment, and then, struck by a common terror, they

II



The Kanter Girls

turned and ran for their lives. They were almost
out of sight, and still running, when the two Kanter
girls suddenly stood beneath the tree, a little flushed
in their faces, but very happy and exultant. :

‘You needn't be afraid any more, birdies!” said
Prue, looking up. ‘‘ They will never dare to touch
this tree again !”

“T can climb better than Tom Green,” said Ja-
net, “but I’d be ashamed to hurt little baby-birds.
DPidn't he look scared when I pushed him! Have
you put your ring safe in your pocket, Prue ?”

‘Yes, and now let’s take that path through the
woods. I have always wanted to walk there, and
“if there show/d happen to be bears, we can put on
‘our rings, you know, and they won’t see us.”

‘“Well, come then,” said Janet, and -the two
Kanter girls took hold of hands, and ran; across the
pleasant sunny field till they reached thé woods.
There it looked dark and gloomy, the trees were so
tall, and their branches so interlaced, while the
thick underbrush seemed as if it might hold dread-
ful things in hiding. But the path was wide and
mossy, and Janet said she almost knew they would
come to checker-berries before long ; so they walked
bravely into the dark green woods like two innocent
little Red-Riding-Hoods.

12



Ny Tie Woops

II

“And anything might come at last
Out of those heaps of shade,
I would stay beside you
If I were not afraid!”
—Poems Written for a Child.

ERE and there the path took a turn to

H avoid some cliff or big bowlder, so that be-

fore long they had quite lost sight of the

entrance; but that they did not mind, it was so

much ‘pleasanter than they expected, wander-

ing along. The moss was deep and rich, with fairy-

cups in it, and there was ‘‘ prince’s pine” along the

edges of the rocks, and pretty little white bell-

flowers growing. The children gathered some of
them in their hands.

Presently they came to a spring of clear water at
the foot of a great rock, where they stopped, and
bending over dipped in their hands, curving their
palms like little cups, and drank all they wanted.
Then, picking up the flowers they had dropped,
they were just going to move on, when, from the

ey



\



The Kanter Girls

underbrush a few rods before them, two large bears
stepped out, and came slowly toward them.

“Oh! oh! one will eat you up, and one will eat
me!” said poor little Prue, in a horrified whisper.

‘“No, I shall look one of them straight in the
eye,” said Janet, firmly; ‘and you do the same to
the other. Then they won’t dare to touch us, I
read that in a book.”

‘Our rings! our rings!” exclaimed Prue, sud-
denly remembering, while she tried to stare fiercely
at the left-hand bear, what she had in her pocket. |

In an instant, both the Kanter girls slipped their
rings on their fingers, and when the bears came
trotting leisurely up, there were no little girls to be
seen anywhere. The two great brown creatures
took a drink from the spring, and then went their
way through the alder bushes. A few minutes
after the Kanter girls re-appeared, looking rather
pale, but on the whole quite pleased with such an
adventure.

‘‘T wouldn’t be afraid of the biggest tiger, now !”
said Janet, bravely.

‘Or rattlesnakes,” said Prue, not to be outdone.

But now another sight met their eyes. A little
girl came springing out. of the deeper part of the
woods, with an old tin pail, evidently in search of

14



In the Woods



d

n
headed

a

z

with a clear
skin

and a mass

bare-
brown

?

hair,

and she had

of tangled
big black

black

?



She did

not seem at all star-

tled

velvety eyes

when she saw



but

smiled at them, showing two rows of pearly-white

teeth.

?

S

girl

the Kanter

ling in

i

sm

‘What is your name?” asked Janet,

return.

5

1





- The Kanter Girls

‘“Pepita,” said the child.

“Where do you live?” asked Prue.

“Over in the woods there. Come and see!” re-
plied the child, invitingly.

‘“Let’s go,” said Janet, who was always fond of
visiting.

So the Kanter girls followed their little guide,
who with a light foot skilfully led the way, now
through underbrush, now over rocks, now through
a valley, going farther and farther into the woods,
till at last she brought them out on a grassy knoll
which had been partly cleared, and where there
were blue chiccory flowers in bloom around the
stumps. There they saw a weather-beaten tent with
some women and babies inside, and near by was a
shabby covered wagon, and an old horse nibbling
grass and sorrel. Two men lay on the ground,
seemingly asleep, and a woman more repulsive
than the rest was stirring something in an iron
pot over a smouldering fire. Into this group Pe-
pita sprang, laughing, and set down her pail of
water.

“Who may you be, my pretty ladies?” asked
the old woman atthe fire, with a smile which did
not at all fit her face.

“We met your little girl in the woods, and we

16





In the Woods

have come to play with her,” said Janet, as_ politely
as she could.

“She invited us to come,” said Prue, fearing they
might be thought intrusive.

“That was right, my dearies!” said the woman,
with another odd smile. ‘“Pepita, my darling
daughter, bid the little ladies to sit down here on
the grass. Tell them we are gipsies, and we don't
let our company wear shoes and stockings, for fear-
they will act proud.”

There was a loud laugh from the women in the
tent, and by this time the Kanter girls heartily
wished themselves at home; but not wishing to
offend, they made no resistance, when naughty
Pepita, with a mischievous glance, untied their
shoes, pulled them off, and next took their stock-
ings.

“T want those bonnets for my babies,” said a
young woman, coming out of the tent, and she
roughly took the clean, white sunbonnets from the
Kanter girls’ heads.

They were now thoroughly frightened, but the
thought of their rings gave them courage. Janet
suddenly vanished from sight, for she had put hers
on and was safe. Pepita stared in amazement, and
the women, missing one of their victims, ran hither

17



The Kanter Girls

and thither, pushing aside the bushes and. looking
in every direction.

“Mother! mother!” screamed the gypsy girl,
‘‘the shoes and stockings
are melting out of my
hands. That was a witch,
and she has gone into
the air!”

In fact, the first thing
Janet did when she be-
came invisible was to
snatch her shoes and
stockings, and put them
on, when of course they
became invisible too, and
then she ran to the tent
to get her sunbonnet.

But all this time poor
Prue was searching and
fumbling in her pocket



in vain, she could not
find her ring, and terrible
indeed was her situation without it. The gypsies
now cast dark, threatening glances at her, and she
gave herself up for lost.

Suddenly she heard a soft little whisper in her ear.
18





In the Woods

“Why don’t you put on your ring quick, Prue?”

‘““Oh, I can’t, it’s lost! I must have lost it by the
spring,” said Prue, in-a low voice, knowing it was
Janet by her side.

‘What are you muttering there?” asked one of
the women, fiercely.

But Janet had heard enough. Safe in her invisi-
bility, she hurried from the knoll, retracing the way
by which they had come, and after some anxious mo-
ments reached the spring, where she hunted all
about in the grass and moss for the precious ring.
Oh, what if she could not find it!

Just then a bird flew over her head, singing.

‘How much that looks like our bluebird,” she
thought, and then it seemed to her that the bird
sang,

“ Onder the fern leaf! under the fern leaf!”

There was a fern leaf growing at her feet, and
she peeped under it at once. There, to her great
joy, was indeed the ring! She caught it up, and
hastened as fast as possible back to the gypsy
band.

Poor Prue was crying bitterly, with Pepita danc-
ing mockingly about her, when suddenly she felt
the ring slipped upon her finger, and whiff! She
went out of sight as quick as one can blow out a

19



The Kanter Girls

candle. Pepita stopped short in her dancing, and
her face grew blank as she saw the second pair of
shoes and stockings melt into nothingness.

“They were witches! They were witches!” cried
the gypsies, who were even more frightened than
the Kanter girls had been, and they made ready
to leave the woods that very night, for fear of some
evil befalling them.

The Kanter girls could laugh now at their dis-
comfiture, as they slipped away unseen through
the woods, and came back to the old path which
little black-eyed Pepita had tempted them to
leave. Here they again put their rings into their
pockets, and looked at each other with a satisfied
smile. a

“We got through ¢hat adventure well, didn’t
we ?” said Janet.

“Ves, but I never want to visit gypsies again!”
replied Prue.

They now ran along the forest-path without meet-
ing any further mishaps, and presently came out on
the edge of the fields, not more than ten rods from
their father’s cottage. There was a boy crossing
the field a little ahead of them.

“That's Ned Wray,” said Prue.

“Pm glad,” said Janet, “I have something for

20



In the Woods

him. But first let’s put on our rings, and slip some
daisies into his hand, just for fun.”

.A moment after, Ned Wray, who was walking
quietly along with a very sober face, suddenly felt
something in his hands, and looking down, found
them filled with flowers.

‘Did they rain out of the sky!” he exclaimed,
looking up at the daisy-white clouds overhead.

A merry laugh drew his eyes down again, and
there were the Kanter girls right in front of him,
their faces all aglow with fun.

“Did you spring up out of the ground?” he
asked, gayly, looking very glad to see them.

“Yes, we grew and blossomed!” said Janet.
‘“What made you look so sober a minute ago, Ned ?
Have you lost anything ?”

“Yes, I have,” he replied, ‘that four-bladed
knife father gave me. Somebody must have stolen
it, for I left it on our fence just for a minute while
I went into the house to get an apple.”

“I £new it was yours!” said Janet, triumphantly,
producing the knife from her pocket and giving it
to him. ‘‘ Those gypsies stole-it, I found it in their
tent.” ,

‘‘ Have you been to the gypsy tent ?” Ned asked,
in amazement.

21



The Kanter Girls

“Ves, we went to play with Pepita!” answered
Prue; and then the Kanter girls ran off homeward,
laughing, for they did not want to answer any more

questions.

22



The Stream. fhat
ran both Ways ~

f
Kf

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III

‘“‘T’ve heard of nests of cinnamon
Where the great phoenix ‘sat thereon,
But of your nests I never heard.
What kind are they, pray tell me, bird? ”
—Mary Howiz7te.

ace



“ And clear the flood of silver swung
Between the brimming edges,
And now the depths were dark and now
The boat slid o’er the sedges.”
—Harrtet Prescott Spofford.

NE warm day, when the Kanter girls had
been kept very busy, going to school in the
morning, and helping about the house in the

afternoon, they had an hour all to themselves just
before supper, and they sat down on the doorstep to
rest and to talk. At one end of the step grew a
flowering almond, and at the other end a cinnamon
rose, while not very far off was the apple-trec where
at that moment the wonderful bluebird was hover-
ing over her nest.

‘““T am so warm,” said Prue, ‘I wish I could
jump into the river.”

“There isn’t any river here,” said Janet. “I wish

23



The Kanter Girls

there was, don’t you ? or a pond, or even alittle tiny
brook.”

-“*T should want it to be big enough to wade in and
to sail little ships in,” replied Prue, “And, oh! yes!
I should want it to be big enough for us to get into
a boat and go sailing ourselves !”

“Oh, yes! and have oars,” added Janet.

“ Peep into my nest! Peep into my nest /” sang
the great, blue, beautiful bird in the apple-tree.

The Kanter girls ran to the tree at once, and did
as before, one holding the other up in her arms to
reach the nest. It was Prue who peeped in, and
she exclaimed, ‘Oh! there are two more eggs
here !”

“Take them up, and take them down /” sang the
bird.

So Prue took the eggs, and slipping down to the
ground, went with Janet back to the doorstep and
looked at them. They were small and round, and
of a greenish-blue, the color of the sea.

“ Break them /” sang the bird.

‘Oh, I don’t dare!” said Prue, taking one of the
eggs in her fingers gently. But at that very instant
there was a faint ‘tap, tap, tap inside, as if some-
thing was in prison.

“It may be a dear baby-bird,” said Prue, giving a

24



The Stream that Ran Both Ways

little knock at the end of the shell, which broke in-
stantly and something leaped out on the step and
away into the grass.

“Tt was only a grasshopper,” said Janet, “and
we've seen the last of 4zm. He jumped so quick
that he carried the egg-shell off with him !” :

“ Was ita grasshopper ?” asked Prue. “I thought
he looked like a funny little green man.”

“Let me break the other egg,” said Janet.

She gave it a clever crack in the middle, and one
half flew off, leaving the other half in her hand.
There was nothing in it but a little water.

“Set ct in the rocks/” sang the bluebird, whowas
now mounting into the sky. There were some old
gray rocks lying in a heap at the foot of the hill, as
if some giant had hurled them there for sport, and
to these rocks the Kanter girls went, carrying the
shell very carefully, that not a drop might be spilled.

‘“Here’s a little hollow place where we can set
it,” said Prue, after looking around.

“Tt holds it just like an egg-cup, don’t it?” said
Janet, setting the shell in very gently, so as not to
break it.

Then, oh! wonder of wonders! hardly had she re-
moved her hand when the drops of water began to
bubble and overflow, running so fast down the rock

25



The Kanter Girls

and down the green slope, that in five minutes there
was quite a stream flowing right in front of the cot-
tage garden, and running on and on through the
meadows and farms below, farther than the eye
could reach.

‘“Oh! it is. our own stream! our own beautiful
stream !” cried the Kanter girls, and they hastened
to call their mother to see it. She was very much
pleased when she found what had happened.

‘“ Now we shall never suffer from drouth,” she
said, ‘“‘and it will be a good place to rinse the
clothes.” |

“Oh! oh! oh! our beautiful stream!” shouted
the little girls again and again, full of joy.

Suddenly Prue spied the other half of the egg-
shell which had dropped on the grass, and she
picked it up.

“Tm going to sail it,” she said, laughing, “ and
see how far it will go!”

She laid it on the stream, where it not only floated
extremely well, but also began to spread and grow
until, almost before they knew it, it had changed
into a little boat, white inside, and of a delicate
greenish-blue outside. Janet could reach it with
her hand, and she drew it to the bank.

‘“Let’s get right in and have a sail,” she cried ;

26



The Stream that Ran Both Ways

and in another moment she and Prue were seated
on its two little benches, and were floating easily
down the stream.

‘‘ Now we have passed our garden and our past-
ure,” they said as they moved on, letting their hands
reach over into the water, so the cooling ripples
could plash against them.

“ And now we are going by Ned Wray’s father’s
farm, and next comes the Greens’ farm, and then
we shall reach those long grassy meadows where the
boys get sweet-flag !”

The two children sat contentedly in the boat,
watching the changing banks as the pretty stream
carried them along. There was a peculiar sparkle,
and a great deal of rippling in the water, almost as
if it enjoyed the frolic itself. The cattle in the
pastures came down to the stream to drink, and in
some places there were cat-tails growing on the
banks. But the sun was now getting low, and as
they floated on through the sweet-flag meadows,
which they had reached at last, Prue said,

‘Let's go home now. I don’t want to be out in
the dark.”

‘Very well,” said Janet, taking up two small oars
which lay in the bottom of the boat; ‘ we shall have
to row back, you know, because it’s up stream.”

27



The Kanter Girls

But, ah! that was easier said than done. They
had no idea how to handle oars, to begin with, and
if they had, they never could have rowed with their
little strength against ‘Zaft stream which was now
hurrying them on resistlessly.

All at once they heard a voice calling wildly to
them from the bank. |

“Do stop! Oh, pray do, do stop!”

The Kanter girls could not see any person at all,
but Janet called back.

“We can’t stop! The stream takes us right
along.”

‘Run against that point, then !” replied the voice,
in the most pleading accents.

There was a little point of land ahead, and by a
desperate pushing with one oar Janet made out to
run the boat against it, when it instantly stopped as
if glad to rest.

“Tm here!” cried the voice from among the
rushes, “and, oh! I’ve got such a thorn in my foot
running all the way after you.”

By this time they could see the speaker, and he
was the drollest little man anyone ever saw, only
about twelve inehes high, all dressed in green, and
with a queer little cap on his head that looked for all
the world like an egg-shell. He was almost crying,

28



The Stream that Ran Both Ways

and they were afraid his feelings must be very much
hurt indeed. ;

‘“Why did you come off before you learned the
word?” he asked, reproachfully; ‘1
was just eating my supper and
didn’t know you had started.”

“What word?” asked
Janet, with great curiosity. a

‘““Let me get in before
I tell you!” said the lit-
tle green man, and with
that he cleared the bank
at a bound, and alighted
in the bow of the boat.

“Now I £xow you are





a grasshopper,” ex-
claimed Janet, “or you \WV
couldn’t jump so. But —
how you have grown!”

‘A grasshopper, in-
deed!” he replied, petu-
lantly. ‘I could have jumped ten times as far if it
had not been for the thorn!”

“What zs the word, sir?” asked Prue, with some
anxiety, for the sun was dipping down behind the
fields and it would soon be dark.

29



The Kanter Girls

“ Turn, stream, turn /” he said, and even as he
uttered the words, the ripples all seemed to turn
somersaults, and there was a rush and swash of the
water against the bank, and there they were-float-
ing home again as easily as possible, for the stream
was running just the other way.

“Oh, how beautiful!” cried fanet. ‘ Now it is
all as easy as can be, and we may sail as far as we
like.”

“Only don’t forget the word,” said the little
green man, with a grimace.

“What makes you care so much ?” asked Prue.

“Why, I can’t swim!” he exclaimed, “‘ And sup-
pose you got out into the Gulf Stream, you would
have to go all the way round the globe to get back.
And ¢hezx you wouldn’t come to the right place!”

Prue knew this would be very dreadful. Besides,
there might be storms and water-spouts out on the
ocean, and she made up her mind never, never to
forget the word.

By this time they had floated back, past the
Greens’ farm and the Wrays’ farm, and were com-
ing alongside the bank at the very edge of their
mother’s flower-garden. There stood their mother
herself in the open cottage-door, calling them to
come to supper.

30



The Stream that Ran Both Ways

So they sprang ashore, said good-by to the odd
little boatman, and ran into the house. Never did
hot waffles with cream taste so good to two little
girls before. They went to sleep that night listen-
ing to the pleasant sound of rippling water, with
their minds made up to take another sail the first
thing when day came.

31



f R
CAB nah

ts
<



“A plaything of the restless wave,
The boat on ocean tossed.”
— Whittier,

“And beside the silver runnel, on a little heap of sand,
I saw the green gnome sitting with his cheek upon his hand.”

—Robert Buchanan.

HEIR mother made no objection in the
morning when she found what they wished
to do, but after they had helped her with her

work, she put up a nice lunch for them, tied their
sunbonnets, and let them start.

The little light boat lay close to the bank, and
after they had stepped carefully in, it floated gently
with the stream. As they passed Mr. Wray’s farm
they saw Ned leading his father’s horse down to
drink. They nodded and smiled at him, and he
stood watching them as they went by.

32



Go Back Stream—Go Back

“He must feel surprised,” said Janet, compla-
cently.

And now they floated through the low green
meadows again, but this time without alarm, for
they had the day before them, and they wanted to
see where their stream went. The sun shone bright
and warm, the birds were singing overhead, the lit-
tle fish were swimming and leaping in the water,
and the Kanter girls were as happy as they could
be.

After the meadows came a thick wood, where
alders grew down close to the banks and shaded
the water. In one place two or three black bears
came to the very edge and growled, but the chil-
dren were not afraid, for the good little stream
swept them bravely and merrily by. Then there
were more farms, with orchards and sloping fields,
but the children could not tell whose they were, for
they had never been so far before. Then came a
little straggling village, and there were boys down
at the bank sailing chips.

The stream went faster now, there were more
farms, more forests, more villages, but the Kan-
ter girls did not grow tired, it was all new and
wonderful to them. By and by, the banks, in-
stead of being green and mossy, became sandy,

33



The Kanter Girls

with rocks here and there, and suddenly Janet ex-
claimed :

‘Why, our stream is a river! See how wide it
has grown! And, oh! Prue, Prue, wad is all that
dazzling blue space ahead that does not look like
sky?”

“Tt must be the sea!” said Prue, rapturously.
All her life long she had wanted to behold the sea.

Their stream, which was a river now, swept them
rapidly and resistlessly along. They passed islands
with lighthouses, they passed ships with white sails,
till finally they seemed to pass everything, and to
be alone with the sea and sky.

‘“Now we have gone far enough,” said Janet ;
“let’s eat our lunch and go back.”

So while Prue uncovered the basket, Janet called
out,

‘‘Go back, stream, go back!”

But nothing happened, the face of the waters did
not change at all, and the boat still bounded on.

‘Perhaps I ought to say rzver,” thought Janet,
so she called out again,

‘Go back, river, go back!”

Still nothing happened, and the boat bounded on.
Janet began to feel frightened, and Prue looked up
wondering.

34







= SS ——
tT liat apace eae

‘GO BACK, STREAM!” CRIED PRUE AGAIN,






Go Back Stream—Go Bach

‘Go back, sea, go back!” cried Janet, in despair ;
but still nothing happened, except that the boat
bounded on, and the two little Kanter girls, over-
come by the unexpected result, sat down in the
bottom of the boat and cried.

‘Now we shall go away around the globe,”
sobbed Prue, “and never get back to the right
place again. If we ever get anywhere, it will be
somebody else’s cottage and somebody else’s
mother !”

“L’m afraid of sinking and drowning,” wailed
Janet, “and I am so thirsty I don’t know what to
do.” .

‘Go back, stream !” cried Prue again. ‘‘Go back,
dear, darling stream, and take us home again !”

But still they went on and on, and now the sea,
the sky, and even the sun looked different.

“We must have gone thousands of miles,”
sighed Prue. ‘“ Look, there is an island, Janet ; see
the funny tall trees with bunches of big leaves up
at the top.”

“They are like the pictures in our geography,”
said Janet, with a little reviving interest. “And,
oh, see! There is an elephant walking along! I
wonder if we can get ashore!”

‘‘T should be afraid to,” said Prue, cautiously. “If

37-



The Kanter Girls

it is a tropical country, there will be snakes and
crocodiles.”

“Oh! oh! See the monkeys!” cried Janet.

The Kanter girls had now floated quite near land,
and more than fifty monkeys were running out of
the woods down on the shore to look at them, grin-
ning and chattering in great excitement. Some of
the little monkeys climbed on the backs of the big-
ger ones in order to see better, and one monkey,
who had stubbed his toe running, sat down and
held it with a very woe-begone face.

Janet and Prue could not help laughing, although
_their minds were so disturbed about getting home,
but all the while they were floating on, till presently
they had passed the. island, and the sense of deso-
lateness smote upon them afresh. Besides, some
great black clouds had come up over the sky, and
the wind began to blow in a gale. The Kanter girls
cowered before it, with the tears rolling down their
cheeks, and still the boat bounded on over the waves.

“Jt will be night before long,” moaned Prue.
“Oh, please, A/ease turn, stream, turn!”

Thzs time she had hit upon the right words, and the
instant she spoke, the billows all reared themselves
in just the reverse direction, the wind changed, and
there they were floating rapidly back toward the point

38



Go Back Stream—Go Back '

from which they had come. The little Kanter girls
could hardly believe in such good fortune at first,
and sat holding each other’s hands in silence. But
when they passed the island again where the elephant
wandered among the palm-trees, and found their boat
still bounding on the homeward way, their hearts
grew light as ever with the elasticity of childhood, and
they laughed and talked while they ate their lunch.

Back and back over the sea they sailed, repass-
ing the ships and the lonely lighthouses, and it did
not seem so very long before they were again upon
the river, whose current now flowed merrily just the
other way, bearing them toward home. Past the
villages and farms and forests they went, and would
have reached the cottage garden without once stop-
ping, if they had not happened to see, sitting on a
rock which jutted out into the stream, the forlorn
figure of their little boatman friend, with his head
on his knees, weeping.

He looked up at them as they floated near, and
said, in a heart-broken voice,

“T ¢old you I couldn’t swim !”

‘Oh, well, we got along very well without you,”
said Janet, cheerfully. ‘“ We were only a little fright-
ened, that’s all. Don’t you want to get into the boat?”

“Of course I do,” he replied, with a splendid leap

39



The Kanter Girls

from the rock which took him at once to the bow
of the boat.

‘“Do you want to go with us every time we sail ?”
asked Prue, not quite sure that she should like such
odd company as a steady thing, but thinking perhaps
it might be ‘the rule,” as they say in school, to have
him go with them.

‘Oh, no, no!” he answered, “that would be very
inconvenient, I have so many things to do. To-
day, for instance, I meant to have put up a large
quantity of pickles. But it is my business to see
that you have the word. I do hope you won't for-
get it again,” he added, pathetically.

‘“Oh, never fear, we won't forget,” said Janet,
and as the boat grazed against the garden bank,
she sprang out with her sister, and they found them-
selves back in the cottage just in time to tell the
whole story of their adventures to their mother
while the three pared apples for pies.

Many a sail after that did the Kanter girls take
in their pretty little boat, sometimes only to the
meadows, sometimes as far out as the lighthouses,
but they never again forgot to say, “Turn, stream,
turn,” and their acquaintance with the odd little
green man would have quite stopped short, if some-
thing had not happened.

40



me a “Fhe Unexpected
3 Appens<+4+- °

V

“Alas! my journey rugged and
uneven
. Through prickly moors or dusty
ways must wind.”
— Wordsworth,



‘“‘ Then, as I don’t like all the trouble I’ve had,
In future I'll try to prevent it ;
For I never am naughty without being sad,
Or good—without being contented.”
—Jane Taylor.

(): day Janet was naughty! Her mother

had so much sewing to do on that day that,
in the morning, she bade Janet and Prue
wash and wipe all the dishes and put the. rooms in
order entirely by themselves. They had never had
so long a task set them before, though they had
helped so often that they knew just how each thing
ought to be done. But they had planned some-
thing entirely different for that morning, and Janet’s
face was dark and gloomy as she cleared the table.
‘“‘Let’s run away !” she whispered to Prue.
“Oh, no!” said Prue; ‘maybe we can finish by
noon, and mother says we may bake cakes,”
41



The Kanter Girls

“T don’t want cakes,” said Janet, peevishly.
And in a few minutes she dd run away. When



no one was looking, she slipped out at the door,
past the poppies and asters, down to the stream,
42



The Unexpected Happens

and getting quickly into the little boat, floated away *
alone.

She tried to believe she was going to have a very
delightful time, all by herself and free as the air, but
it was hard to drive from her mind the vision of
patient little Prue doing all the dishes alone, and
after that the sweeping and dusting. Somehow it
seemed to her as if the very stream understood it
all, and as if the cat-tails on the bank whispered to
the rushes that here was the little girl who had run
away from helping her mother.

“ But I ought to be out of doors,” said Janet,
‘fresh air is good for people.”

She almost expected Prue to answer her when
she spoke, she was so used to having her sister at
her side all the time; but to-day there was no an-
swer, unless—could it really be ?—the waves rip-
pling by the boat’s side seemed to plash and bub-
ble ‘‘ Selfish Janet! Selfish Janet!”

“T don’t think I will go very far to-day,” said
Janet to herself, as the little boat floated down
through the meadows after passing the two farms,
which now lay between her and home. There was
a pear-tree growing in the meadows a short distance
from the water’s edge, and pears could be seen, which ©
looked most temptingly ripe, on the lower branches.

43



The Kanter Girls

“T’ll just step ashore a minute, and gather some
to take to mother and Prue,” thought Janet, ‘‘ and
then I will go right home.”

She steered the boat against the bank, and spring-
ing out, ran to the tree, where she soon gathered
her apron full of delicious pears. But when she
turned toward the stream again, expecting to sail
home at once, what was her dismay and terror to
see the boat almost out of sight, floating down the
stream, and the next moment disappearing.

“Oh! I have lost it!” she cried. ‘‘“Who knows
but it is gone forever! Oh! it is all my fault,
my pretty, pretty boat! Now I must walk all the
way home, and how tiresome that will be!”

She started on foot through the deep grass and
reeds of the meadow, where the ground was so un-
certain that in five minutes her shoes were wet
through and covered with mud, and yet she was not
half-way over it. She pushed on with many a
stumble, and at last, feeling utterly forlorn, reached
the wall beyond which lay Mr. Green’s farm, where
there was different ground. It was no longer wet
and marshy, but it was so full of stones. and stubble
that it-hurt her feet every step she took.

She was now so tired and faint that she ate two
or three of the pears to refresh herself, but the

44



The Unexpected Happens

stones had cut her shoes, and her knees were
bruised with the falls she had had, so by the time
she reached the next field she was wholly ex-
hausted.

‘Oh ! how naughty I have been!” she said, sob-
bing, “and this is my punishment! I wish I was
with Prue, setting away the cups and saucers in
mother’s cool pantry! But now I have lost our
beautiful boat, and I am too tired to go another
step. Oh! I am so very, very sorry I ran away !”

She was sitting on the low wall as she said this,
and as she swung one of her aching feet for a little
relief, it chanced now and then to hit the nearest
stone,

“I’m coming! Here lam!” said a plaintive,
cracked voice; ‘why azdn’t you call me before? I
was just digging in my garden when you rapped.”
And out from behind the stone popped the figure
of the little green man.

“T didn’t rap!” said Janet; “I only hit my
foot.”

“You must not play jokes on me/” exclaimed
the little man, reproachfully. ‘ But if you don’t
need me, I will go back to my garden,” ;

“Oh! don’t go,” cried Janet, eagerly, “I want
somebody to talk to. And I should need your help

45



The Kanter Girls

if there was anything you could do, but there isn’t.
I have lost the boat ; it is gone forever ; it is out on
the ocean by this time, and I must walk all the way
home over these rough fields.”

“How did it happen ?” asked the little man, fix-
ing his keen gaze upon her.

“I was very naughty,” confessed Janet, “I ran
away and left my sister to do all the work alone.”

“Oh! I know all about that,” he interrupted.
‘“‘But she had help, my wife stepped in and helped
her. How did you lose the boat, that’s what I want
to know ?”

‘“‘T just went ashore a minute to get these pears,”
she said, showing him what was in her apron, “and
I never thought to tie the boat, and now it is lost
forever !”

“T knew it! I knew it!” he exclaimed.
“You've forgotten the word again, and here I’ve
had to leave all my work!”

‘‘T am very sorry, I am sure,” said Janet, sadly ;
“but you see I was on the land, so the word
wouldn't be of any use. I haven’t forgotten it at
all, it is ‘Turn, stream, turn !’”

“You had better have said it an hour ago,” he
replied, shading his eyes with his hand as he looked
intently down the river.

46



The Unexpected Happens

‘Why, the river “as turned!” exclaimed Janet,
joyfully, and now she too shaded her eyes and
looked.

“T see it!” said the little green man at last,
pointing at something that seemed like the merest
speck, but which, as it swiftly floated nearer, the
little Kanter girl herself soon saw to be her missing
boat.

She ran gladly to the bank, the boat came up of
itself and stopped for her, and she leaped in, fol-
lowed by her odd companion. What happiness it
was to find herself sailing rapidly and safely home.

‘“Good-by,” said the little man when the garden
bank was reached, and Janet stepped out; ‘“ good-
by, and remember, when you want me again, to
rap three times on the nearest stone.”

““Good-by, I’ll remember,” said Janet, wonder-
ing, as she walked up the path between rows of
pinks, what sort of a house his could be, and whether
every stone one might happen to stop at were a
. door.

When she went into the cottage, expecting to be
met with well-deserved reproaches, there sat Prue
by her mother’s side, as smiling as a May morning,
in a clean apron, and all the work looking as if it
had been done for hours. Janet, worn and torn

47



The Kanter Girls

and dirty, told all the story of her woes and how
sorry she was, and it seemed to her that nothing in
the whole day had been so sweet as her mother’s
and Prue’s forgiving kisses. She gave them the
pears, which were now sadly bruised and not good
for much, but which at least showed that she had
tried to do one little kind act.

‘How did you get everything done so quickly
and so nicely ?” she asked, as she looked around.

“Why, it was very odd,” said Prue, laughing.
“Just after we missed you, the nicest little old wom-
an came skipping in. She took the broom, and you
ought to have seen how she brushed out all the
corners. She wore a green dress, and her eyes
were like little bright beads. She dusted and set
everything to rights, and when the dishes were put
away all was done. Then she and I baked cakes,
and after that she went away. I have had a deaudz-’
ful time !”

48





Vi

“Do not leave the sky out of your landscape.” ;
—Emerson.

‘Forward and back, and it’s just as far,
Out and in, and it’s just as straight.”
—Tbsen.
GAIN the two Kanter girls sat on the door-
step, talking of things they had done, and
of things they might some time do. They
were stringing purple larkspurs, and each had a
necklace almost done. Every now and then they
‘measured them to see which was the longer, but
without stopping their happy child-like talk.
‘“T wonder what kind of flowers grow in Eng-
land,” said Janet, ‘‘and whether girls string them.”
“ T wonder what kind growin China. They must
be different from ours, I know,” said Prue. ‘ Don’t
you wish we could go to other countries and see
what gardens there are, and what the people are
doing ?”
49



The Kanter Girls

“Yes,” said Janet, “I wish we had a golden
chariot that would fly through the air and take us
everywhere we want to go!”

“Yes, and birds to draw it,” added Prue ; and the
idea was such a pleasant one, that they let their
fancies run on as they would, thinking what wonder-
ful journeys they might take.

Suddenly they heard the sweet, clear note of the
bluebird overhead in the apple-tree. |

“ Peep into my nest /” she sang, ‘and what you
- see, take /”

Up jumped the Kanter girls, and on reaching
the nest they found in it two eggs, of a greenish-
gold color, which they at once secured and carried
back to their seat on the door-step.

“Break them! Break them!” sang the bird.

So they broke the first, and in it lay, oh, wonder!
a tiny golden chariot which grew bigger so fast that
they had to set it down in the grass as quick as they
could, and in one minute and a quarter it was of a
size to hold them both on its one seat, which was
cushioned with gold-colored silk. It did not have
wheels, but there were little wings at its corners.

They broke the second egg, against whose shell
they had already heard several impatient taps, and
out flew two tiny birds with feathers of glittering

50



By the Air-Line

green. In two seconds they were as large as
pigeons, in two more as large as hens, and in two
more as large as swans, which size they retained.
They immediately placed themselyes before the
golden chariot, to which they were attached by a
light golden harness, and now everything was ready
for the Kanter girls to take a ride.

“ We've time enough,” said Janet, “it’s not any-
where near noon yet. Get in quick, Prue!”

They sprang in and seated themselves side by
side. The birds rose with them into the air, quite
above the chimney and the apple-tree, and then
paused as if to await orders.

‘‘ Shall we visit a tea-garden, or a Spanish, or an
English garden?” asked Janet.

“I don’t know,” said Prue, ‘“‘let’s go to the big-
gest, most beautiful garden in all the world.
Maybe some king or queen has one more beautiful
and wonderful than any other, that we have never
heard about. We do not know what country to
find it in, but the birds will know.”

‘That’s just it,” said Janet. “ Fly, birds, and take
us to the biggest, most beautiful, most wonderful
garden in all the world!”

The great birds spread their pinions afresh, and
the little wings on the chariot fluttered, speeding

51



The Kanter Girls

through the air. The Kanter girls, as they looked
down, could see that they were passing rapidly over
mountains and plains and rivers, over towns and
cities, and over the great ocean itself.

“That is a pretty island right under us now,
Janet ; ‘let us visit it some day.”

‘““T see a volcano away over yonder,” said Prue;
‘“T don’t ever want to visit that!”

On and on they flew, till, as near as the Kanter
girls could tell, they must have gone about eight
thousand miles, when suddenly the birds slackened
their speed and then paused. Directly underneath
lay a most lovely garden, with flower-beds all in
bloom, and fountains playing. There were fruit-
trees full of fruit, and a velvety lawn where pretty
little spotted deer were nibbling grass. There were

’

’ said

arbors and greenhouses, graperies and shrubberies,
and in the midst stood a castle built of red and
green blocks of marble.

“This zs surely the most beautiful garden in the
world!” cried Janet; ‘fly down, birds, and take us
into it at once!”

The birds, in a hesitating manner, began slowly
to flutter downward, but before they reached the

_ground a golden-haired little girl ran out from one
of the arbors and exclaimed,

52







ANAS
PANN AA
ey
i

** SPEEDING THROUGIL THE ALR,”






s By the Air-Line

“No, no! go back! You never must come in
that way! It’s forbidden. You must only come in
by the gate.”

“We didn’t know that,” said Janet, pleasant-
ly. “Fly, birds, and take us to the garden
gate.”

The birds flew, and as the girls looked down they
saw that they were passing over innumerable gravel
paths and green hedges, with here and there a
house. Suddenly the birds descended to the
ground, and there they were directly in front of the
garden gate, which was arched, and had upon it, in
red letters, these words:

“THE Maze.”

‘Now we can go in!” said Janet, joyfully.
‘“Good-by, birds, we'll call you when we are ready
to go home.”

The birds seemed to understand, for they flew to
some tree-tops near by, and the Kanter girls, hand
in hand, passed through the arched gateway, and
took the first path they came to, which, as it
chanced, led to the left. On either side of them
was a carefully trimmed arbor-vite hedge, higher
than their heads, so that they could not look over it,
even if they stood on tiptoe. But the path was a
pleasant one to walk in, and they stepped along in

55



The Kanter Girls

high spirits, thinking this was the finest adventure
they had ever had. Presently, Prue said, .

‘‘ See, there is another path turning off from this
just ahead. Shall we take that ?”

They stopped and looked down it, as they
reached it, but decided to keep to the one they
were already in, and walked on. Ina few minutes
the path made an abrupt turn, which they followed,
and almost immediately found themselves staring at
the arbor-vitee hedge directly in front of them. The
path had come to a complete stop, and the only
way to take another step was to turn around and go
back.

‘“Flow provoking!” said Janet; ‘I hear birds
singing over the other side of that hedge!”

‘So do I,” said Prue. ‘ Let’s run back and take
that other path we saw, and maybe we shall get
there.”

It was the only thing to be done, so they went
back, half laughing at the mistake they had made,
and in a few moments they turned into the other
path, and walked gayly on. The path wound this.
way and that, and every little while a bird flew over-
head, singing.

‘“T think we shall reach the flower-garden pretty
soon now,” said Prue, hopefully, for they had gone

56



By the Air-Line

quite a distance ; but hardly had she spoken when a
new bewilderment arose. The path, in which they
were walking, divided into three paths, each leading
in a different direction, and each equally attractive.
Fortunately, there was a pretty little arbor just at
this point where they could rest a while and con-
sider.

“There ought to be a guide-post,” said Janet.

‘Or a mile-stone,” said Prue, “only perhaps we
haven’t gone a mile yet.”

They looked doubtfully down each path, and fin-
ally concluded to take the right-hand one. It was so
pleasant strolling between the high, green hedges,
with the blue sky above them, that they did not
at all lose courage yet, and besides, any moment
might bring them into the heart of the garden,
where the lovely flower-beds were; so they walked
lightly on. The path, as they followed it, made
seven turns, and then all at once they found them-
selves entering a small enclosure, where a little old
woman sat knitting on a bench, before a gray cot-
tage. She looked at them with an appearance of
great delight.

‘“Good-morning, dears!” she cried. ‘‘ I’m so glad
to see you. Most of the people go another way,
and it is very lonesome here.”

57



The Kanter Girls

“Then we have made another mistake,” whis-
pered Prue to her sister ; “‘ but as she seems so very
glad to see us, I suppose we ought to stay a few
minutes,”

“Can you tell us the way to the garden?” asked
Janet, politely ; but the old woman shook her head.

“T never leave home,” she said, “and you had
better stay here with me. If you wander about,
you will be lost. Do stay !”

‘Do you live here all alone?” asked Janet.

“Yes,” sighed the dame, “I am placed here to
take care of the herb-garden and knit. There is my
herb-garden in the corner.”

_ The Kanter girls went at once to look at it. it

was really a very snug little garden, with rue and
mint, thyme and sweet-basil, and many other herbs
green and flourishing. There was lavender in
bloom, and saffron, and pot-marigold full of yellow
flowers.

‘‘Pick some fennel,” said the old woman, ‘‘it is
good to keep folks awake in meeting,”

“ But you never go to meeting, do you?” asked
Prue, trying to remember whether she had seen a
spire anywhere in the garden.

“No, I don’t know the way But I always keep
fennel growing.”

58





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By the Air-Line

“It tastes good,” said Janet, nibbling at a stem;
‘it tastes something like caraway.”

“Oh, I can give you caraway,” said the old
woman, getting up. ‘You won’t mind taking it
in cookies, I hope.”

She hebbled into her cottage, and brought out a
pewter plate heaped with nice brown cookies. The
Kanter girls’ eyes brightened, for they were very
hungry, and caraway-seeds could not have present-
ed themselves in a more delightful form. The old
woman was pleased to see them eat, and, bidding
them take all they wanted, she sat down on her
bench and began to knit again. But after they had
eaten five apiece, they were a little ashamed to take
any more, and besides they wanted to be hastening
on their way to the garden. So they smoothed
' down their aprons, and tied their bonnets afresh.

‘Don’t go yet!” pleaded the old woman. “ Stay
here with me all summer.”

“Oh, no, we must go now,” said Janet. “ Thank
you for the cookies. It is very pleasant here, but.
we want to reach the garden. Good-by !”

‘“‘Good-by,” said Prue also, looking back a little
wistfully at the old woman, who seemed ready to
cry. “If I could find a kitten anywhere, I would
bring it to you for company.”

61



The Kanter Girls

Then.she and Janet ran swiftly away, along the
path with its seven turns, back to the little arbor
where they had paused before.

‘We will take the left-hand path this time,” said
Janet.

‘Tf we could only see over the top of these high,
green hedges,” said Prue, “we could get along very
much better.” ,

But that was out of the question, so, with toler-
able cheerfulness, they took the left-hand path, and
walked along in it for about five minutes, when they
turned a sharp corner, and found their way stopped
short by a pair of bars.

“There, now! we shall have to go back again.
How provoking !” exclaimed Janet.

“Let’s look over the bars first,” said Prue, “and
see what there is on the other side!”

So they looked over, and beheld a little enclosed
field where there were a number of snow-white
sheep and lambs cropping clover. Two or three of
the pretty creatures seemed to know that someone
was near, for they raised their heads and appeared
to be listening.

‘Lambie! lambie!” called Prue, softly, and at the
sound of her voice two lambs came trotting toward
the bars. The Kanter girls put their hands through,

62



. By the Air-Line

and patted the white, woolly heads; but the next mo-
ment they were startled by the sightof a rough, awk-
ward shepherd-boy, who ran across the field toward
them, shaking his crook in a threatening manner.

‘“Go away!” he shouted. “Don’t touch those
lambs; I’m here to guard them, and you had better
go away.”

“We don’t want to hurt them!” said Janet, in-
dignantly ; ‘‘we didn’t know there were sheep here.
We are trying to find the flower-garden.”

‘“Oho !” he exclaimed, ‘that’s what they all say.
But I keep a dog. Towser, Towser! here, sir! At
‘em, Towser !”

At this a great dog sprang forward and looked
over the bars. The little Kanter girls shrank back
in a corner, as close to the green hedge as they
could get. Suddenly Prue bethought herself, and
said, ‘Rings, Janet!” In another instant they had
slipped their invisible rings upon their fingers, and
disappeared from sight. The rude boy stared and
rubbed his eyes, the dog drooped his tail between
his legs, while the Kanter girls hastened down the
path the way they had come, and did not take off
their rings again until they reached the little restful
arbor, where they now sat down for the third time
to take breath.

63



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VII

“ Till so far through that green place she had won
That she a rose-hedged garden could behold.”

—Willtam Morrd?s.

HERE was nothing now to be done but to

take the middle path, so after Janet and

Prue had rested a while, they started again,
feeling sure that they were right ¢#zs time. Here
and there a red rose bloomed in the hedge, which
made it seem more garden-like, Janet said, and al-
together they felt quite encouraged. But they soon
found it a very bewildering path after all, so many
new paths continually branched off from it on the
right side and on the left, and sometimes there were
so many paths at once that the Kanter girls could
not tell whether they were keeping in the same one,

64



Roses and Honeysuckles

or changing again and again. But they did as well
as they could, and kept right on, sometimes walking
and sometimes running, while every now and then
a red rose appeared in the hedge, and the birds sang
louder than ever.

“Where are those birds?” exclaimed Janet, stop-
ping suddenly. ‘Prue, I do believe the garden is
just the other side of this hedge. Only smell, and
see how sweet the air is, as if there were millions
and millions of flowers close by. Oh! if we could
only climb over !”

But this was impossible, for the hedge seemed
higher than ever, and it grew so very thick there
was no way of pushing or even peeping through.

‘“‘Let’s run on, and maybe we shall come to the
entrance in a minute,” said Prue.

So they ran on full of hope, but, alas! the path
made a turn in another direction which took them
quite away, and they could not smell the flowers
any more, nor hear the birds.

‘Isn't this dis—” began Janet, but she never
finished the sentence, for they suddenly found them-
selves walking into a small square yard, in the cor-
ner of which stood a red cottage, and on the door-
step sat a little girl sewing piece-work. On the
other side of the yard was a row of bee-hives.

65



The Kanter Girls

The little girl saw the Kanter childrén and smiled
at them. She was a very nice little girl, with brown
hair braided in two long braids, and she had brown
eyes and red cheeks. She wore a brown and white
apron, so clean that it did one good to look at it.

“Come and sit down,” she said, pleasantly.
“ Aren’t you tired ?” .

“A little,” admitted Janet. ‘“ Do you live here ?”

“Yes,” said the little girl, “1 am put here to watch
the bees.”

The Kanter girls glanced rather timidly toward
the hives. Some of the bees were crawling in and
out, and some were flying in the air, and there was
a great sound of humming and buzzing.

“They might swarm, you know,” continued the
little girl. ‘‘ That apple-tree over the hives is on pur-
pose for them to swarm in. And I keep red and
white clover growing in the yard, so the bees that
don’t want to fly far can find honey near home.
But many of them go to the great garden.”

“That's just where we want to go,” said Janet.
“We thought we were almost there, but we have
made a mistake again, and I suppose we shall have
to go back.”

‘“Oh, no, you haven’t made a mistake,” replied
the little girl; “the way to the garden is right

66



Roses and Honeysuckles

through our yard. See, over the other side is
where you go out. People always have to go
through our yard.”

“Oh! how glad Iam!” cried Janet. ‘What a
dear little girl you are! What is your name ?”

“They call me the bee-girl, but my name is
really Polly,” shesaid. ‘ Don’t you think my piece-
work is pretty? Only I wish I had some pink to
put in it.”

‘“‘T have some pink at home,” said Prue; ‘I would
give it to you if I had it here. Don’t you ever feel
lonesome ?” .

“Oh! no,” laughed the bee-girl, “I like this yard
better than any place in the world. I have never
even wanted to go to the great garden, I like this
place so much, here with my bees.”

Janet thought this extremely strange.

“We want to go to the garden,” she said, “we
have been trying for a long time to get there. Iam
afraid we shall lose our way again after we leave
here. Of course yoz can’t tell us how to go, as you
have never been there yourself.”

“T cannot tell exactly,” said Polly, anxious to
help all she could. “I ¢hzzk it has something to do
with red roses. Sometimes I hear people talking
about red roses as they go through our yard. But

67



The Kanter Girls

I will ask my mother, se went to the garden once,
a long time ago, and maybe she will remember.”

The bee-girl jumped up and ran into the house.
In a few minutes she came back, bringing two bowls
of bread and milk.

‘Mother sends you these,” she said, “for she
knows you must be hungry. And she says, when
you go from here, you will know youare in the right
path if, every seventh step, you come to a red rose.
But after a while the flower changes, and she don't
remember what it is then. Still the red roses will
lead you quite a distance.”

“Thank you!” said the Kanter girls, and when
they had eaten their bread and milk they kissed
Polly good-by and went out of the little yard,
leaving her to sit down again contentedly, sewing
piece-work and watching bees.

At every seventh step they passed a red rose in
the hedge, so that they knew they were taking the
right direction, and this lasted until they had made
several turns, when all on a sudden, the path
divided into three paths again, with not a rose to
be seen in any one of them. As the Kanter girls
looked down them, in one path they saw an occa-
sional nasturtium running over the hedge, in the
. next there were honeysuckles here and there, and
68



Roses and Honeysuckles

in the third a trumpet-creeper appeared at what
seemed to be regular intervals. This was the path
Janet and Prue finally decided to take.

They walked along it in pretty good spirits, fan-
cying that they really began to smell the garden
flowers again, when, after passing a dozen or more
trumpet-creepers, the path turned and brought them
face to face with an immense gray rock, as steep as
the side of a house, which completely blocked the
way.

“There, now !” exclaimed Janet.

“Oh ! dear,” sighed Prue, “ I wish we could push
you away, old rock !”

And she kicked it two or three times with her
little foot as she spoke.

“Coming! coming! Oh! my. heart, what a
pother!” creaked a sharp, querulous voice, and out
of a cranny in the rock, stepped nimbly their old
friend, the little green man.

“T’m all out of breath, I have hurried so!” he
piped, panting. “My wife had just sent me to pick
up her ball of gray yarn when you called me,
and I’ve run so fast I’m all in a palpitation. Oh!
my, what a scolding I shall get when I go back with-
out that ball of gray yarn. What do you want
now? You didn’t come in the boat, did you?”

69



The Kanter Girls

“Tm very sorry I disturbed you,” said Prue,
gently ; “I just happened to hit the rock. But now
you are here, can you tell us the way to the big,
beautiful flower-garden ?”

‘“‘T don’t know,” he answered, disconsolately. “ It
will be the hardest work I ever didin my life. Fol-
low me, and I’ll see.” :

The Kanter girls followed him, turn after turn,
back through the trumpet-creeper path, till they
came once more to the parting of the three ways.

“This way!” said their guide starting briskly
down the path where now and then a sweet honey-
suckle ran over the hedge. Suddenly he stopped
short, staring at something on the ground.

‘What's that ?” he cried, pointing at it.

“Only a bit of gray yarn,” said Prue, bending to
pick it up.

“T might have known it!” he said, in an ag-
grieved manner. “I might have known my wife
had been to the garden when she brought home
her apron full of poppy leaves! She let the ball
drop out of her pocket, and here it is, all unwound.
A pretty job!” .

‘Maybe I can help you,” said Prue, beginning to
wind the yarn up as she walked along.

‘Of course you can!” he exclaimed, brightly.

7O



Roses and Honeysuckles

“Tt just occurs tome. Don’t you see? She went
to the garden, and the yarn goes to the garden, and
if you wind it all up you'll get there! Then you .
can put the ball in your pocket and bring it to me.
I'll go home to dinner now.”

And in an instant he had disappeared.

The Kanter girls walked on, Prue winding as
she went, and no matter what tempting paths they
passed, they followed the guiding gray yarn.

“Tt’s growing quite a big ball,” said Prue; and
hardly had she said it, when the path made a sharp
turn, and there they were, walking right into the
garden.

qi





VIII

‘A brave old house! A garden full of bees,
Large, dropping poppies, and queen hollyhocks
With butterflies for crowns—tree-peonies

And pinks and goldilocks.”’
—Jean Ingelow.

“ How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do.”

—Robert Louts Stevenson.
ae H! how sweet the air is, and how the
birds do sing!” exclaimed Janet.
The little golden-haired girl came run-
ning to meet them.
“Mow you can play with me,” she said, joyously.
‘My name is Althea. What are your names?”
The Kanter girls told their names, and then, as
they said they wanted to see the flower-beds first of

42



In the Garden

all, she moved ahead of them up and down the lit-
tle pebbly paths.

‘‘T never saw so many kinds of roses in all my
life,” cried Janet; ‘“‘and, oh! Prue, see all those
mountain daisies, red ones and white ones.”

‘““ Couldn’t we have some roots to carry home?”
asked Prue, eagerly.

“Yes, you may have all you want,” said Althea.

_“ And see all the trellises full of sweet-peas,” went
on Janet, in a rapture; “and I zever saw pink
peonies before, nor such big, dzg¢ white lilies.”

“Nor scarlet lilies either, nor double violets,”
said Prue.

It did seem, indeed, as if so many beautiful
flowers had never bloomed together before in all
the world ; such masses of phlox, and of geraniums,
such clumps of pansies, such beds of great, glowing
poppies, banks of sweet honeysuckles, stalks of
hollyhocks, and a countless crowd of sweet-will-
iams, carnations, and gilliflowers.

“T wish I could have some gilliflower seed for
mother,” said Prue.

“You may have all you want,” said Althea. She
hada curiously soft, slow, measured way of speak-
ing, which the Kanter girls wondered at a little, it
was so different from their own impulsive speech.

73



The Kanter Girls

They went along by the fountains next, and across
the lawn, where the pretty brown and white deer
came up to them confidingly, and allowed their gen-

tle heads to be

stroked. The lawn
— was dotted with trees
which had been cut
and trimmed in fan-
ciful shapes. Some
resembled ladies with
spreading gowns, and













HR A oF
ecetaman eee



g fais
ARV TS \



In the Garden

some. were like huge baskets. But the largest tree
was trimmed in the shape of an open umbrella, and
it gave a beautiful shade. Under it, Prue found
pretty, little white flowers, closed up like buds.

“Oh! here are go-to-bed-noons,” she cried, ‘‘and
they are all closed up, so it must be after twelve
o'clock, Janet.”

“Tam glad you have come to play with me,”
said Althea. ‘Let us go and have a swing.”

“Oh! yes,” said the Kanter girls. She then led
them to another part of the lawn, where there was
a fine swing, fastened to one of the limbs of an
apple-tree.

“Who shall swing first?” asked Janet. “Let's
count around.”

She did the counting-around herself, beginning
with Prue.

“ Six—men—driving—cattle—don’t—you-hear-their
buckets—rattle-one-two-three—out—goes—she /”

It was Janet who was left, when the others were
counted out, and she stepped toward the swing,
saying,

“Vou swing me, and afterward I will swing
you.”

“«Tom will swing us,” said Althea ; “he’s here on
purpose for that.”

75°



The Kanter Girls

The Kanter girls now, for the first time, noticed
a man standing motionless close by the tree. He
had a light brown complexion and dull eyes, and .
was dressed in sort of a gray livery.

“Will you please swing me, sir?” asked Janet,
addressing him ina very polite manner, but he made
no reply and did not stir.

“He isn’t one of the talking kind,” said Althea ;
“but if you will get in, he will swing you.”

‘Dumb, I suppose,” thought Janet, as she took
her seat in the swing. Immediately the man moved
forward, and began to push her with a strong, even
motion, so that presently her feet touched the green
leaves when she went up, and she shouted with de-
light. But she felt that the others ought to have
their turn, so in a minute more she called out to
the man,

“Now stop, and let the old cat die!”

But the man kept right on pushing the same as
before.

“Fell stop when it’s a hundred,” said Althea.
“Fie pushes just a hundred times, and then he
stops.”

Janet was very willing to finish her hundred, and
when at last the swing stopped, she sprang out and
said, 5

76



In the Garden |

‘“Now, Prue, you must go next. It is splendid.”

Prue hesitated. She thought she had never in
her life seen a man so stiff and solemn, and she was
‘a little afraid of him. However, she decided to try
it, and, as soon as she was seated, he began to swing
her just as he had swung Janet. It was fine, flying
through the air, in that way.

When she had her hundred, Althea took er turn,
and when that too, was finished, the man stepped
to the side of the tree again, standing there as
motionless as before.

‘““T would thank him if he were not so very deaf
and dumb,” said Janet.

Just then a bell rang in the red and green castle,
which was not far away, and another man, dressed
also in gray livery, came over the lawn, bowed re-
spectfully, and said, in a somewhat hoarse voice,

‘Lunch is served.”

‘‘Now you must go in with me and have some-
thing to eat,” said Althea, taking the little girls by
the hand. The man followed behind them silently.
He had brighter eyes than the other man, and red-
der cheeks, but still there was something about him
that did not seem quite natural to Prue, and she
was a little afraid of him also. Still, she considered,
perhaps he had rheumatism and a very bad cold.

77



The Kanter Girls

Althea led them up the marble steps, through a
hall, into the dining-room, where there was a table







MESES I INSisy . with flowers
Ses and grapes
s upon it.

‘Be seat-

ed,” said the
man, hoarse-
ly, drawing
out three
chairs.

“ Nothing

! iy , we

eo (
, o qs







Tio Tie If

(fA







but grapes!” said Althea, in her soft, slow voice.
The man moved out of the room, and returned
bringing plates of cake and biscuit.
78



In the Garden

“ Now help yourselves,” said the little, golden-
haired hostess, taking a biscuit in her own hands to
set the example.

The Kanter girls felt rather timid, but the biscuit
and cake looked nice, so they ventured to eat.

‘May we taste the grapes too?” asked Janet,
looking with longing at the purple and white clus-
ters.

“You may have all you want,” said Althea.

There certainly never were such delicious grapes
as those which the Kanter girls feasted upon that
day. As they ate, they heard the music of a piano
in another apartment, and Prue asked who was
playing.

“Oh ! it is only Tonne,” replied Althea. “I’ll take
you ‘to.see her now that you have finished your
grapes.”

79





“What am I seeking? I’m out of my wits!
Where is the key?”

—ITbsen

ISING from the table, they crossed the
hall, and entered an immense and mag-
nificent parlor, whose dark crimson cur-

tains subdued all the light. Stepping noiselessly
over the thick, soft carpet, they approached the
piano, where a lady sat playing. She had very red
cheeks and bright eyes, and she wore a blue silk
dress. She did not seem to notice them at all.

«She never misses a note,” said Althea. ‘That is
‘Home, Sweet Home’ that she is playing now.”

80



The Sound of the Drums

Janet thought to herself that the lady’s fingers
struck the keys like little hammers, but she did not
speak of it, and only said when the tune was fin-
ished :

“That is pretty. Won't she play it again !”



_ “Qh! she can’t,” said Althea, “she has to play
‘The Last Rose of Summer’ next.”

Tonne did in fact begin to play ‘““The Last Rose
of Summer,” but she stopped in the middle of it,
and sat motionless.

“She didn’t finish,” said Althea ; “I must speak
to my father about it.”

‘“‘Hasn’t she fainted?” asked Prue in alarm, but
81



The Kanter Girls

Althea only laughed, and led her visitors away
with her up the broad stairs, through one lovely
room after another. In the third room they found
a woman sitting with a book in her lap. She had
on a gray dress, a white apron, anda neat white
cap.

Althea went up and touched her shoulder.

‘“‘ Let us see that book,” she said. .

' The woman rose, courtsied, and held out the book,
saying,

‘Certainly—you—may—”

And there she stopped short, while the Kanter
girls stared at her.

‘‘She’s run down,” said Althea, calmly, and tak-
ing a key from her pocket, she put it under the
woman’s arm, and turned it.

‘‘— have it,” finished the woman, and giving the
book to Althea she sat down again.

“ Let us go,” whispered Prue. ‘I’m afraid of her,
she is so queer !”

‘Why, she isn’t alive,” said Althea. ‘She’s only
an automaton. She has works inside her like a
clock, and has to be wound up to make her go.”

‘““An automaton!” exclaimed Janet; “and was
the lady who played an automaton too, and the man
who called us to lunch?”

82 .



The Sound of the Drums

“Ves, indeed,” said Althea, laughing. ‘“ They all
belong to the castle. My father has the care of
them, and he lets me wind them up all I want to.”

“Where zs your father?” asked Janet, almost
fearing that he might prove to be an automaton too.

“Oh! he lives in a cottage just outside the gar-
den. I come here every day to play !”

“ Does he own the garden and the castle?” asked
Prue.

“No, indeed! They belong to a baronial lord.
I thought everybody knew that. He is so rich that
he owns thousands of chests of gold, and so stern
that you would tremble if hé looked at you. He
built this place just for amusement, but he has so
many castles that he hardly ever comes here.”

“T hope he won’t come while we are here,” said
Prue anxiously.

“T don’t think he will,” said Althea, ‘for he was
here only last week. If he should find you here,
he would be terribly angry, but we always know
when he enters the Maze, because his guards beat
drums and blow trumpets for a warning.”

The three little girls now went downstairs, and
as they passed through the hail, the gray-clad
automaton near the door said, more hoarsely and
slowly than before,

83



The Kanter Girls

“ Lunch—is—served.”

“He hasn’t quite run down yet,” said Althea
laughing, and then she led the way out on the red
and green marble steps. There the girls stood and
looked upon the lawn and garden.

“Tt is very wonderful and beautiful,” said Prue,
“but I should not want to Zve here. May I pick
one of those climbing roses ?”

“You may have all you want,” said Althea, in
her slow, soft voice. Just at this moment, as they
stood looking out, with the golden rays of the
afternoon sun shining aslant upon the fragrant
flower-beds and the plashing fountains, they heard
the faint sound of distant music. Gradually it
seemed‘ to draw nearer and grow louder, and they
could distinguish—yes, it was /—the beating of
drums and the blowing of trumpets! The baronial
lord was coming!

The Kanter girls trembled and grew pale. Althea
herself looked alarmed. A man now entered the
garden and ran toward them, a 7ea/ man, Janet was
sure, he ran so fast and breathed so hard.

“Child!” he panted as he reached them, ‘ where
are the keys? Are the figures all wound up?
Who are these girls? Let them hide themselves as
. quick as they can!”

84



The Sound of the Drums

“ We won't hide, we will go away!” said Janet,
provoked at herself for feeling so frightened, but
calling loudly,

“ Come, birds, come /”

In an instant down swept the green birds with
the golden chariot, and the Kanter girls, springing
into it, were carried up into the air, where at a safe
distance they paused and gave a farewell glance
back at the garden. .

In that last look, they saw Althea sinking upon
the marble steps as if she had fainted away, while
her father ran distractedly hither and thither. At’
the garden entrance, a brilliant procession was mak-
ing its way in, while the drums and trumpets
sounded louder than ever.

Then the birds flew on and away, over mountains
and cities, over rivers and valleys, and over the
broad blue sea, homeward bound.

“There! I forgot those gilliflower seeds!” said
Prue, suddenly.

“ And those daisy roots,” said Janet. ‘‘I should
rather like to have seen the baronial lord, too!”

“7 don't want to see him,” said Prue, “I am
afraid of them all. I am even a little afraid of
Althea now !”

85



OR TO SEE~ BP

SS ——



“ There a long line of breakers could we see,
That on a yellow sandy beach did fall,
And then a belt of grass, and then a wall
Of green trees, rising dark against the sky.

—William Morris.

”

a RUE,” said Janet one day, when they
ran out of the cottage for a good long
play-time, “you know that picture in our

' geography of the land where there is always snow

and the houses are made of snow and ice; don’t

you ?”
“Ves,” said Prue, ‘‘and the people wear fur
clothes.”
“Well,” said Janet, “that is where I want to go
next in our chariot.”
86



Strange Countries for to See

‘But / want to go tosome beautiful island,” said
Prue, “where it is always warm, and where there
are cocoanuts and oranges growing.”

They talked the matter over a little while, and
then decided to visit the cold country first, and af-
ter that some lovely, lonely, tropical island, where
there were no savages. So they called the birds,
and in a moment more were rising above the treé-
tops in the golden chariot.

‘““To the land where the houses are made of ice
and snow,” directed Janet, and the birds flew swift-
ly northward.

The character of the country beneath them
changed. Soon there were no more gardens and
orchards to be seen, but dark-green woods of pine
and fir, and after these came rough, rocky hills, and
barren wastes. Then they entered a region of snow,
and passed over frozen seas, alighting at last in the
midst of a little settlement of white, round-roofed
huts, looking, so Janet said, like mushrooms with-
out any stems.

‘“‘ But it is dark,” said Prue, ‘though we can see
pretty well. It is like clear moonlight.”

“There, now!” exclaimed Janet. ‘I do believe
this is one of the countries where the nights are six
months long. But, oh! just see that little girl all

87



The Kanter Girls

bundled up in a fur dress. What is your name,
little girl?”

“Brenda,” replied the child, coming toward them.
‘“Who are you?”

“We are little girls from the temperate zone,
come to play with you,” explained Prue, shivering
as she spoke, for the air was very cold.

“This is Polo,” said Brenda, as a little fur-clad
boy drew near. Other children were gathering shy-
ly around.

‘‘Let’s play something,” said Janet, and she led
the way, running up and down, and tossing hand-
fuls of snow. Brenda and Polo ran too, shouting,
but Prue stood still with chattering teeth.

‘“‘T don’t want to stay any longer,” she said. “1
am so cold in this thin dress.”

‘‘T am cold too,” said Janet, as she left off run-
ning. “I am so glad we have found where you
live, Fur-children, and we will come to see you
again very soon. But we are not dressed warmly
enough to stay now, and we'd rather be here when
it is day-time.”

‘‘Come into my house, and I will give you some
of my clothes,” said little Brenda, and, as she spoke,
she stooped down and disappeared in an opening
in the snow. Janet and Prue crept after her, for

88



Strange Countries for to See

they had read in their geography that this was the
proper way to enter a snow-hut. Inside, they found
Brenda’s mother sitting on a heap of furs, and dil-
igently sewing the two parts of a slipper together,
with a bone needle. She smiled at the little visitors,
and made no objection when Brenda brought forth
two little coats of silver-gray fur, with hoods and
mittens to match, and gave them to the Kanter
girls.

The children were delighted, but Janet said
with prim politeness, as she had heard grown people
do, “I am afraid you will rob yourself.”

“Oh! no,” said Brenda, ‘my father kills so
many silver-gray foxes, that my mother doesn’t
know what to do with all the
skins.”

Then the woman arose,
and took from a bowl great
pieces of walrus meat, which
she gave to the children.
They were hungry, so they
ate some, and it did not taste
bad to them. After that
they put on the coats, which fitted beautifully, and
went out of the snow-hut with Brenda, quite ready
for a frolic again.



89



The Kanter Girls

“But oh! dear,” said Prue, after they had had
three games of tag, “I keep feeling as if it were
bed-time here, and I want to go to my tropical
island. Come, Janet!”

So they summoned their chariot, said good-by to
the little Fur-children, who looked after them wist- |
fully, and with many promises to come soon again,
they rose in the air and floated rapidly away.

““ Now for my island!” exclaimed Prue, as, after
the space of about half an hour, the chariot began
to descend, and they could see beneath them a
beautiful shore, and trees loaded with fruit. They
had been obliged before this to lay aside the pretty
coats, and hoods, and mittens, which had become
burdensome in the warmer air.

‘“Let’s stop first at the top of one of the cocoa-
nut-trees,” said Janet, ‘“‘and gather some cocoanuts,
because when we are on the ground we can’t reach
up to them.”

This was a good idea, and the chariot stopped
long enough for them to throw down a dozen or so,
then finishing its descent, allowed them to step out .
on the shore.

go





XI

“ My dream is of an island place
Which distant seas keep lonely ;
A little island, on whose face
The stars are watchers only.
Those bright, still stars ! they need not seem
Brighter nor stiller in my dream!”
—E. B. Browning.

HEY found the sand strewn with bits of
coral, and numbers of delicate little shells,
some of which they gathered and put in their

pockets. Then they took off their shoes and stock-
ings, and went wading for a while in the clear, rip-
pling water, till Janet suddenly remembered that
there might be crocodiles around, and the bare
thought made them hasten back on the land again.
The grass grew very luxuriantly, and there were a
great many beautiful flowers, with brilliant butter-
flies hovering about them. Birds of gorgeous
plumage flew overhead, now and then alighting,
gl



Full Text
Fe Os at
he Se
3 Cle

5,
AN L. By een . Gory

a a







AY Pry conse a
Be ee fland oe

e ere be
st te th ce a Snare

ee Vana



r The Baldwin Library
University

of
Florida
i Te hl
ee CaIE: | |
Ce=Z
She
antrer

g irls- |
THE

KANTER GIRLS

BY

MARY L. B. BRANCH

ILLUSTRATED BY HELEN MAITLAND ARMSTRONG

DOWNEY & CO.
12 YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON
1896
CONTENTS

I The Invisible Rings, . . 2. 2. ew el, i
I. In the Woods, . . . 2... 2. ee. 3
Il The Stream that Ran Both Ways,. . . . . 2 3
IV. Go Back Stream—Go Back, . . . .. . . 32
V. The Unexpected Happens, . . . . . . . . i
VI. By the Air-Line, . . 1 7 2 1 we ee. 4g
Vil. Roses and Honeysuckles, . . . . .. . . 64
VII. In the Garden,. . . 1. 6 ee ee 7D
IX. The Sound of the Drums,. . . . . . . . 80
X. Strange Countries for to See, . . . . . . 86
Xl The Lunch Party,. . . 6... 2 ee OF
XII. The Little Dryad,. . 2 2 2 6 1 eee. G6
XIII. The Tenant of the Pear-tree,. . . . . . . 104

Vv
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX,
XXI.
XXiIl.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVIII.

Contents

The Forest Refuge,

Something New Thursdays Only,

Calling on the Neighbors, .

The Moonlight Picnic,

Down a Long, Long Stairway,
Little Guld, .

A Royal Playmate,

An Arctic Expedition,

The Home of the Snow Children,
In the Snow Garden, .

The Visit Repeated, .

In the King’s Hall,

Caught in a Snow-storm, .

Going Home, ,

PAGE

. . 110

. 116
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

The Kanter girls sat in the doorway .

In each box a lovely litile gold ring .

She was bare-footed and bare-headed .

“* 1 want those bonnets for my babies”
The drollest little man—all dressed in green
‘© Go back, stream!” cried Prue again
She slipped out, past the poppies and asters
Speeding through the air

‘«Good morning, dears!”

They went along by the fountains next

** Nothing but grapes!” said Althea .

She stopped in the middle of it.

Vil

PAGE
List of Lllustrations

After that they put on their coats. . : . 8&9
The sweetest, merriest face in the world peeped oul . 97

She took up some of the shining sand and sifted it

through her fingers , . . 7 : . 101
‘Tap! tap! tap!” sounded something : . . 118
Two little girls playing cat’s cradle. . : . 125
They met the eyes of a grave old schoolmaster. . 135

‘* That's the way down into the shed,” said Janet . 143

Bending over the crock, she lifted him out. : . 150
In the door stood the Kobold woman . : . . 159
“* The sky will do for a roof,” said Prue . : - 175
Janet hung the cage on a tree . : : : . 197
The Kanter girls walked on and on . ; . . 210
The shepherd . : : ; < . . . 213


7

Sms X f
EUUU il

MU

Rf

SATO

ui

“T dreamt I caught a little owl
And the bird was blue—
But you may hunt forever
And not find such an one.”
—Christina Rossett?.

“In birds, as men, there is a strange variety.”
—Mary Howttt.

HE names of the two Kanter girls. were

Janet and Prue. They lived in a snug

brown cottage at the foot of a steep woody
hill, and in front of the cottage there was a yard
with plenty of room for playing, besides flower-beds
full of poppies, marigolds, larkspurs, and_ asters.
There was also a fine large apple-tree, whose lower
limbs were quite within reach, and this apple-tree
was the beginning of wonders, for in it an unusual
kind of bluebird built her nest. The Kanter girls
saw her first when she was bringing little sticks and

I
The Kanter Girls

twigs to build with, and they ran to tell their mother
that the biggest, most beautiful bird in the world,
bluer than the sky, had come to their apple-tree.

Their mother went to the door and looked out.
_ The bird nodded to her kindly, and sang,

“How d’'ye do? How d’ye do?”

“ Pretty well, I thank you,” she replied, and then
she said to her little girls, “1 never saw a bird like
this before, it must have come for good luck, and
you had better be friends with it.”

She then went directly back to her housework,
for anyone, who has ever had an ovenful of thin
seed-cakes baking, knows that they cannot be left
long.

“Janet,” said Prue, “let's help pick up little
sticks.”

“Oh! yes, let’s!” said Janet.

So they gathered sticks and straws, and laid them
in acrotch of one of the apple-tree boughs for the
bluebird, and with their help she finished her nest
before night.

The Kanter girls sat in the doorway of the little
cottage watching her. It was a pleasant hour, the
sun was getting low, and its light flickered richly

on the green grass. The flowers seemed more frag- | ©

rant than at high noon, and the evening primroses

2


aoe

i ; !
Wy :

ea |



THE KANTER GIRLS SAT IN THE DOORWAY.
The Invisible Rings

were getting ready to open. The girls sat side by
side, they both had brown hair and rosy cheeks,
they both wore blue print dresses and white
aprons, and they looked happy and interested. Part
of the time they talked about the bluebird, and part
of the time about a queer story of which one of
them had read one chapter at a neighbor's the
week before. It was Prue who had read it.

“The story was called ‘The Invisible Ring,’” she
said. “A lady had an invisible ring. Anyone
could see it till she put it on her finger, but the
minute she put it on it was invisible, and she be-
came invisible too.” ,

“T wish I had an invisible ring,” said Janet,
“then I could go around to all the girls’ houses,
and hear what they said about me.”

“Tf I had one,” said Prue, ‘I would take it to
school, and if I didn’t know my lesson I would put
it on just before the question came to me, and then
the next one would have to answer it.”

“And if we met robbers coming through the
woods, we could put our rings on and the robbers
wouldn’t see us!” said Janet. ‘Oh! I do wish we
had invisible rings.”

“ Peep into my nest! Peep into my nest /”. sang
the great, blue, beautiful bird in the apple-tree.

5

222
The Kanter Girls

The Kanter girls never thought of disobeying.
They ran to the tree at once, and one held the other
up in her arms to
reach the nest.

“Oh! there are two
eggs in it!” cried the
one who could reach.

“Take them up, and
take them down /”
sang the bird. So the
little Kanter girl took
the eggs in her hand,
and slipped down to
the ground. Then she
and her ‘sister sat on
the doorstep again to
look at them. They
were small and smooth
and bluer than the sky.

a “Lift up the
= covers /” sang the.
bird.

That sounded so odd that the Kanter girls laughed,
but they touched the eggs carefully, which turned
out after all to be tiny blue boxes, and the lids flew
up disclosing in each box a lovely little gold ring.

6


The Invisible Rings

~ “Oh! oh!” cried Prue.

“Oh! oh!” cried Janet, and she slipped hers on
her finger.

“Why, Janet, where did you go?” asked Prue,
staring all about.

“T’m right here!” said Janet, taking off the ring
and re-appearing at once at her side. Prue looked
at her in surprise; and then tried on her own gold
ring.

“Why, Prue, where ave you gone ?” exclaimed
Janet, looking frightened.

“Tm right here, of course,” said Prue, re-appear-
ing on the doorstep. Then they understood it all
and began to laugh for joy, for these were the in-
visible rings they had so much desired.

‘““Come, children, come and set the table,” called
their mother from the kitchen; “I see your father
crossing the fields, and supper is nearly ready.” —

The Kanter girls were almost always quite willing
to help, so they ran in at once, laid the table-cloth,
and began to bring the dishes. All of a sudden
there stood Prue alone by the table arranging the
knives and forks, while from the pantry a tray of
cups and saucers was coming apparently without
hands. It just seemed to move along through the
air.

7
\

The Kanter Girls

“Oh! Janet, Janet!” cried Prue, laughing.
‘Mother, just look at Janet !”

‘““T don’t see her anywhere,” said the mother,
glancing around.

‘But just see the cups and saucers !”

At that moment the tray was set upon the table,
and there stood Janet laughing.

‘“‘She’s taken her ring off now,” said Prue.

‘“T don’t know what you are talking about,” said
their mother, and as her shortcake was burning in
front of the fire, she had to hurry away.

Their father came in, the hot cake was put upon
the table, with cookies, and bowls of bread and
milk, and the little Kanter girls were so hungry,
and found their supper so good, that they did not

‘think much about their ringsfor a time. But when
the table was cleared, and the dishes all set away
clean upon the shelves, and when their father sat
down to add up accounts, and their mother
drew out her sewing-basket, and when the Kanter
girls saw by the clock that it only lacked five min-
utes of eight (their bed-time was eight o'clock), they
looked at each other with merry, mischievous eyes,
and disappeared. Their mother thought it rather
strange when she looked up and saw they had gone
without so much as saying “good-night ;” and she

3 ;
The Invisible Rings

thought it very strange when the little dog that had
been dozing on the rug, suddenly, began to bark
and jump just as he did when the Kanter girls had
a frolic with him. He stood up and begged, he
walked around on his hind legs, and his tail wagged
as if he had gone crazy.

“Be quiet, Tip!” said his master, who was mak-
ing mistakes in his figures.

But instead of being quiet, Tip jumped up into
a chair and gave a series of short, fierce barks.

‘““T never knew him to act so before, when the
girls were not playing with him,” said the mother,
‘and they went to bed some time ago. Let’s put
him out of doors!”

“Oh, no ! we were only having a little good-night
frolic!” exclaimed Prue and Janet, suddenly ap-
pearing on either side of their mother with a merry
laugh. |

“Then it was you, you mischiefs! Now be off
to bed quick!” she said, and this time they really
went, their young feet making a pleasant clatter on
the stairs, and the murmur of their young voices in
the room above gradually sinking away into still-
ness.

But the next morning, oh! then came the fun !
The dew was hardly off the grass when the Kanter

9
The Kanter Girls

girls, looking very demure in their clean dresses and
white sunbonnets, started down the lane in search
of adventures. Presently they saw two boys, a long
way off, but coming toward them.

‘“Now let’s see,” said Janet, “what Tom and
Billy Green are talking about !”

And immediately the two little Kanter girls dis-
appeared, sun-bonnets and all.

“Say, Tom,” said Billy, “T thought I saw the
Kanter girls coming, but I guess they’ve run
away.”

‘“’Fraid of us, I guess,” said Tom. ‘ Remember
that time I snowballed ’em last winter ?””

‘Yes, and Ned Wray knocked you down for it,
and rubbed you with snow till you begged off.”
~ “ Be quiet, will you? Where did you say you
saw that nest of young birds ?”

“Right ahead there, in that old gnarly pear-tree.
Easy to climb, ain’t it?”

‘Real easy,” said Tom ; “we'll take the young
ones home in our pockets, and make a rush cage
for ’em, and if they don’t die, we’ll tame ’em.”

By this time the boys reached the foot of the
tree, and Billy was- beginning to climb, when he
suddenly dropped on the ground with a howl and
clapped his hands over his ears.

Io
The Invisible Rings

‘What's the matter?” asked Tom, astonished.

‘Something boxed my ears then! A regular
whack! Ow! ow!”

“Oh, pshaw!” said Tom, “you hit against a
bough, or something. I wouldn't cry for that!”

‘“ Wouldn't you?” said Billy, angrily, as he rose
to his feet and started up the tree again. His
hands reached the lower bough, but instead of pull-
ing himself up, there he hung. The old birds were
uttering cries of terror overhead. Was this bad
boy going to take their darlings ?

‘“Well, why don’t you get up?” asked Tom, im-
patiently.

““Can’t do it! What’s caught my feet? I feel
as if a fifty-pound weight hung on each of ’em.
There, I give it up, the old tree’s bewitched. Get
your birds yourself, if you want ’em.”

And with a scared,.sulky look he dropped to the
ground. Tom pushed scornfully by him and tried
the tree himself. He had nearly brought his knees
up to the first bough, when, as he said afterward,
something pushed him back so powerfully that he ~
fell heels over head to the ground. .

“There, now!” exclaimed Bill. He and _ his
brother stared at the tree, and at each other, for a
moment, and then, struck by a common terror, they

II
The Kanter Girls

turned and ran for their lives. They were almost
out of sight, and still running, when the two Kanter
girls suddenly stood beneath the tree, a little flushed
in their faces, but very happy and exultant. :

‘You needn't be afraid any more, birdies!” said
Prue, looking up. ‘‘ They will never dare to touch
this tree again !”

“T can climb better than Tom Green,” said Ja-
net, “but I’d be ashamed to hurt little baby-birds.
DPidn't he look scared when I pushed him! Have
you put your ring safe in your pocket, Prue ?”

‘Yes, and now let’s take that path through the
woods. I have always wanted to walk there, and
“if there show/d happen to be bears, we can put on
‘our rings, you know, and they won’t see us.”

‘“Well, come then,” said Janet, and -the two
Kanter girls took hold of hands, and ran; across the
pleasant sunny field till they reached thé woods.
There it looked dark and gloomy, the trees were so
tall, and their branches so interlaced, while the
thick underbrush seemed as if it might hold dread-
ful things in hiding. But the path was wide and
mossy, and Janet said she almost knew they would
come to checker-berries before long ; so they walked
bravely into the dark green woods like two innocent
little Red-Riding-Hoods.

12
Ny Tie Woops

II

“And anything might come at last
Out of those heaps of shade,
I would stay beside you
If I were not afraid!”
—Poems Written for a Child.

ERE and there the path took a turn to

H avoid some cliff or big bowlder, so that be-

fore long they had quite lost sight of the

entrance; but that they did not mind, it was so

much ‘pleasanter than they expected, wander-

ing along. The moss was deep and rich, with fairy-

cups in it, and there was ‘‘ prince’s pine” along the

edges of the rocks, and pretty little white bell-

flowers growing. The children gathered some of
them in their hands.

Presently they came to a spring of clear water at
the foot of a great rock, where they stopped, and
bending over dipped in their hands, curving their
palms like little cups, and drank all they wanted.
Then, picking up the flowers they had dropped,
they were just going to move on, when, from the

ey



\
The Kanter Girls

underbrush a few rods before them, two large bears
stepped out, and came slowly toward them.

“Oh! oh! one will eat you up, and one will eat
me!” said poor little Prue, in a horrified whisper.

‘“No, I shall look one of them straight in the
eye,” said Janet, firmly; ‘and you do the same to
the other. Then they won’t dare to touch us, I
read that in a book.”

‘Our rings! our rings!” exclaimed Prue, sud-
denly remembering, while she tried to stare fiercely
at the left-hand bear, what she had in her pocket. |

In an instant, both the Kanter girls slipped their
rings on their fingers, and when the bears came
trotting leisurely up, there were no little girls to be
seen anywhere. The two great brown creatures
took a drink from the spring, and then went their
way through the alder bushes. A few minutes
after the Kanter girls re-appeared, looking rather
pale, but on the whole quite pleased with such an
adventure.

‘‘T wouldn’t be afraid of the biggest tiger, now !”
said Janet, bravely.

‘Or rattlesnakes,” said Prue, not to be outdone.

But now another sight met their eyes. A little
girl came springing out. of the deeper part of the
woods, with an old tin pail, evidently in search of

14
In the Woods



d

n
headed

a

z

with a clear
skin

and a mass

bare-
brown

?

hair,

and she had

of tangled
big black

black

?



She did

not seem at all star-

tled

velvety eyes

when she saw



but

smiled at them, showing two rows of pearly-white

teeth.

?

S

girl

the Kanter

ling in

i

sm

‘What is your name?” asked Janet,

return.

5

1


- The Kanter Girls

‘“Pepita,” said the child.

“Where do you live?” asked Prue.

“Over in the woods there. Come and see!” re-
plied the child, invitingly.

‘“Let’s go,” said Janet, who was always fond of
visiting.

So the Kanter girls followed their little guide,
who with a light foot skilfully led the way, now
through underbrush, now over rocks, now through
a valley, going farther and farther into the woods,
till at last she brought them out on a grassy knoll
which had been partly cleared, and where there
were blue chiccory flowers in bloom around the
stumps. There they saw a weather-beaten tent with
some women and babies inside, and near by was a
shabby covered wagon, and an old horse nibbling
grass and sorrel. Two men lay on the ground,
seemingly asleep, and a woman more repulsive
than the rest was stirring something in an iron
pot over a smouldering fire. Into this group Pe-
pita sprang, laughing, and set down her pail of
water.

“Who may you be, my pretty ladies?” asked
the old woman atthe fire, with a smile which did
not at all fit her face.

“We met your little girl in the woods, and we

16


In the Woods

have come to play with her,” said Janet, as_ politely
as she could.

“She invited us to come,” said Prue, fearing they
might be thought intrusive.

“That was right, my dearies!” said the woman,
with another odd smile. ‘“Pepita, my darling
daughter, bid the little ladies to sit down here on
the grass. Tell them we are gipsies, and we don't
let our company wear shoes and stockings, for fear-
they will act proud.”

There was a loud laugh from the women in the
tent, and by this time the Kanter girls heartily
wished themselves at home; but not wishing to
offend, they made no resistance, when naughty
Pepita, with a mischievous glance, untied their
shoes, pulled them off, and next took their stock-
ings.

“T want those bonnets for my babies,” said a
young woman, coming out of the tent, and she
roughly took the clean, white sunbonnets from the
Kanter girls’ heads.

They were now thoroughly frightened, but the
thought of their rings gave them courage. Janet
suddenly vanished from sight, for she had put hers
on and was safe. Pepita stared in amazement, and
the women, missing one of their victims, ran hither

17
The Kanter Girls

and thither, pushing aside the bushes and. looking
in every direction.

“Mother! mother!” screamed the gypsy girl,
‘‘the shoes and stockings
are melting out of my
hands. That was a witch,
and she has gone into
the air!”

In fact, the first thing
Janet did when she be-
came invisible was to
snatch her shoes and
stockings, and put them
on, when of course they
became invisible too, and
then she ran to the tent
to get her sunbonnet.

But all this time poor
Prue was searching and
fumbling in her pocket



in vain, she could not
find her ring, and terrible
indeed was her situation without it. The gypsies
now cast dark, threatening glances at her, and she
gave herself up for lost.

Suddenly she heard a soft little whisper in her ear.
18


In the Woods

“Why don’t you put on your ring quick, Prue?”

‘““Oh, I can’t, it’s lost! I must have lost it by the
spring,” said Prue, in-a low voice, knowing it was
Janet by her side.

‘What are you muttering there?” asked one of
the women, fiercely.

But Janet had heard enough. Safe in her invisi-
bility, she hurried from the knoll, retracing the way
by which they had come, and after some anxious mo-
ments reached the spring, where she hunted all
about in the grass and moss for the precious ring.
Oh, what if she could not find it!

Just then a bird flew over her head, singing.

‘How much that looks like our bluebird,” she
thought, and then it seemed to her that the bird
sang,

“ Onder the fern leaf! under the fern leaf!”

There was a fern leaf growing at her feet, and
she peeped under it at once. There, to her great
joy, was indeed the ring! She caught it up, and
hastened as fast as possible back to the gypsy
band.

Poor Prue was crying bitterly, with Pepita danc-
ing mockingly about her, when suddenly she felt
the ring slipped upon her finger, and whiff! She
went out of sight as quick as one can blow out a

19
The Kanter Girls

candle. Pepita stopped short in her dancing, and
her face grew blank as she saw the second pair of
shoes and stockings melt into nothingness.

“They were witches! They were witches!” cried
the gypsies, who were even more frightened than
the Kanter girls had been, and they made ready
to leave the woods that very night, for fear of some
evil befalling them.

The Kanter girls could laugh now at their dis-
comfiture, as they slipped away unseen through
the woods, and came back to the old path which
little black-eyed Pepita had tempted them to
leave. Here they again put their rings into their
pockets, and looked at each other with a satisfied
smile. a

“We got through ¢hat adventure well, didn’t
we ?” said Janet.

“Ves, but I never want to visit gypsies again!”
replied Prue.

They now ran along the forest-path without meet-
ing any further mishaps, and presently came out on
the edge of the fields, not more than ten rods from
their father’s cottage. There was a boy crossing
the field a little ahead of them.

“That's Ned Wray,” said Prue.

“Pm glad,” said Janet, “I have something for

20
In the Woods

him. But first let’s put on our rings, and slip some
daisies into his hand, just for fun.”

.A moment after, Ned Wray, who was walking
quietly along with a very sober face, suddenly felt
something in his hands, and looking down, found
them filled with flowers.

‘Did they rain out of the sky!” he exclaimed,
looking up at the daisy-white clouds overhead.

A merry laugh drew his eyes down again, and
there were the Kanter girls right in front of him,
their faces all aglow with fun.

“Did you spring up out of the ground?” he
asked, gayly, looking very glad to see them.

“Yes, we grew and blossomed!” said Janet.
‘“What made you look so sober a minute ago, Ned ?
Have you lost anything ?”

“Yes, I have,” he replied, ‘that four-bladed
knife father gave me. Somebody must have stolen
it, for I left it on our fence just for a minute while
I went into the house to get an apple.”

“I £new it was yours!” said Janet, triumphantly,
producing the knife from her pocket and giving it
to him. ‘‘ Those gypsies stole-it, I found it in their
tent.” ,

‘‘ Have you been to the gypsy tent ?” Ned asked,
in amazement.

21
The Kanter Girls

“Ves, we went to play with Pepita!” answered
Prue; and then the Kanter girls ran off homeward,
laughing, for they did not want to answer any more

questions.

22
The Stream. fhat
ran both Ways ~

f
Kf

SS
Qe

III

‘“‘T’ve heard of nests of cinnamon
Where the great phoenix ‘sat thereon,
But of your nests I never heard.
What kind are they, pray tell me, bird? ”
—Mary Howiz7te.

ace



“ And clear the flood of silver swung
Between the brimming edges,
And now the depths were dark and now
The boat slid o’er the sedges.”
—Harrtet Prescott Spofford.

NE warm day, when the Kanter girls had
been kept very busy, going to school in the
morning, and helping about the house in the

afternoon, they had an hour all to themselves just
before supper, and they sat down on the doorstep to
rest and to talk. At one end of the step grew a
flowering almond, and at the other end a cinnamon
rose, while not very far off was the apple-trec where
at that moment the wonderful bluebird was hover-
ing over her nest.

‘““T am so warm,” said Prue, ‘I wish I could
jump into the river.”

“There isn’t any river here,” said Janet. “I wish

23
The Kanter Girls

there was, don’t you ? or a pond, or even alittle tiny
brook.”

-“*T should want it to be big enough to wade in and
to sail little ships in,” replied Prue, “And, oh! yes!
I should want it to be big enough for us to get into
a boat and go sailing ourselves !”

“Oh, yes! and have oars,” added Janet.

“ Peep into my nest! Peep into my nest /” sang
the great, blue, beautiful bird in the apple-tree.

The Kanter girls ran to the tree at once, and did
as before, one holding the other up in her arms to
reach the nest. It was Prue who peeped in, and
she exclaimed, ‘Oh! there are two more eggs
here !”

“Take them up, and take them down /” sang the
bird.

So Prue took the eggs, and slipping down to the
ground, went with Janet back to the doorstep and
looked at them. They were small and round, and
of a greenish-blue, the color of the sea.

“ Break them /” sang the bird.

‘Oh, I don’t dare!” said Prue, taking one of the
eggs in her fingers gently. But at that very instant
there was a faint ‘tap, tap, tap inside, as if some-
thing was in prison.

“It may be a dear baby-bird,” said Prue, giving a

24
The Stream that Ran Both Ways

little knock at the end of the shell, which broke in-
stantly and something leaped out on the step and
away into the grass.

“Tt was only a grasshopper,” said Janet, “and
we've seen the last of 4zm. He jumped so quick
that he carried the egg-shell off with him !” :

“ Was ita grasshopper ?” asked Prue. “I thought
he looked like a funny little green man.”

“Let me break the other egg,” said Janet.

She gave it a clever crack in the middle, and one
half flew off, leaving the other half in her hand.
There was nothing in it but a little water.

“Set ct in the rocks/” sang the bluebird, whowas
now mounting into the sky. There were some old
gray rocks lying in a heap at the foot of the hill, as
if some giant had hurled them there for sport, and
to these rocks the Kanter girls went, carrying the
shell very carefully, that not a drop might be spilled.

‘“Here’s a little hollow place where we can set
it,” said Prue, after looking around.

“Tt holds it just like an egg-cup, don’t it?” said
Janet, setting the shell in very gently, so as not to
break it.

Then, oh! wonder of wonders! hardly had she re-
moved her hand when the drops of water began to
bubble and overflow, running so fast down the rock

25
The Kanter Girls

and down the green slope, that in five minutes there
was quite a stream flowing right in front of the cot-
tage garden, and running on and on through the
meadows and farms below, farther than the eye
could reach.

‘“Oh! it is. our own stream! our own beautiful
stream !” cried the Kanter girls, and they hastened
to call their mother to see it. She was very much
pleased when she found what had happened.

‘“ Now we shall never suffer from drouth,” she
said, ‘“‘and it will be a good place to rinse the
clothes.” |

“Oh! oh! oh! our beautiful stream!” shouted
the little girls again and again, full of joy.

Suddenly Prue spied the other half of the egg-
shell which had dropped on the grass, and she
picked it up.

“Tm going to sail it,” she said, laughing, “ and
see how far it will go!”

She laid it on the stream, where it not only floated
extremely well, but also began to spread and grow
until, almost before they knew it, it had changed
into a little boat, white inside, and of a delicate
greenish-blue outside. Janet could reach it with
her hand, and she drew it to the bank.

‘“Let’s get right in and have a sail,” she cried ;

26
The Stream that Ran Both Ways

and in another moment she and Prue were seated
on its two little benches, and were floating easily
down the stream.

‘‘ Now we have passed our garden and our past-
ure,” they said as they moved on, letting their hands
reach over into the water, so the cooling ripples
could plash against them.

“ And now we are going by Ned Wray’s father’s
farm, and next comes the Greens’ farm, and then
we shall reach those long grassy meadows where the
boys get sweet-flag !”

The two children sat contentedly in the boat,
watching the changing banks as the pretty stream
carried them along. There was a peculiar sparkle,
and a great deal of rippling in the water, almost as
if it enjoyed the frolic itself. The cattle in the
pastures came down to the stream to drink, and in
some places there were cat-tails growing on the
banks. But the sun was now getting low, and as
they floated on through the sweet-flag meadows,
which they had reached at last, Prue said,

‘Let's go home now. I don’t want to be out in
the dark.”

‘Very well,” said Janet, taking up two small oars
which lay in the bottom of the boat; ‘ we shall have
to row back, you know, because it’s up stream.”

27
The Kanter Girls

But, ah! that was easier said than done. They
had no idea how to handle oars, to begin with, and
if they had, they never could have rowed with their
little strength against ‘Zaft stream which was now
hurrying them on resistlessly.

All at once they heard a voice calling wildly to
them from the bank. |

“Do stop! Oh, pray do, do stop!”

The Kanter girls could not see any person at all,
but Janet called back.

“We can’t stop! The stream takes us right
along.”

‘Run against that point, then !” replied the voice,
in the most pleading accents.

There was a little point of land ahead, and by a
desperate pushing with one oar Janet made out to
run the boat against it, when it instantly stopped as
if glad to rest.

“Tm here!” cried the voice from among the
rushes, “and, oh! I’ve got such a thorn in my foot
running all the way after you.”

By this time they could see the speaker, and he
was the drollest little man anyone ever saw, only
about twelve inehes high, all dressed in green, and
with a queer little cap on his head that looked for all
the world like an egg-shell. He was almost crying,

28
The Stream that Ran Both Ways

and they were afraid his feelings must be very much
hurt indeed. ;

‘“Why did you come off before you learned the
word?” he asked, reproachfully; ‘1
was just eating my supper and
didn’t know you had started.”

“What word?” asked
Janet, with great curiosity. a

‘““Let me get in before
I tell you!” said the lit-
tle green man, and with
that he cleared the bank
at a bound, and alighted
in the bow of the boat.

“Now I £xow you are





a grasshopper,” ex-
claimed Janet, “or you \WV
couldn’t jump so. But —
how you have grown!”

‘A grasshopper, in-
deed!” he replied, petu-
lantly. ‘I could have jumped ten times as far if it
had not been for the thorn!”

“What zs the word, sir?” asked Prue, with some
anxiety, for the sun was dipping down behind the
fields and it would soon be dark.

29
The Kanter Girls

“ Turn, stream, turn /” he said, and even as he
uttered the words, the ripples all seemed to turn
somersaults, and there was a rush and swash of the
water against the bank, and there they were-float-
ing home again as easily as possible, for the stream
was running just the other way.

“Oh, how beautiful!” cried fanet. ‘ Now it is
all as easy as can be, and we may sail as far as we
like.”

“Only don’t forget the word,” said the little
green man, with a grimace.

“What makes you care so much ?” asked Prue.

“Why, I can’t swim!” he exclaimed, “‘ And sup-
pose you got out into the Gulf Stream, you would
have to go all the way round the globe to get back.
And ¢hezx you wouldn’t come to the right place!”

Prue knew this would be very dreadful. Besides,
there might be storms and water-spouts out on the
ocean, and she made up her mind never, never to
forget the word.

By this time they had floated back, past the
Greens’ farm and the Wrays’ farm, and were com-
ing alongside the bank at the very edge of their
mother’s flower-garden. There stood their mother
herself in the open cottage-door, calling them to
come to supper.

30
The Stream that Ran Both Ways

So they sprang ashore, said good-by to the odd
little boatman, and ran into the house. Never did
hot waffles with cream taste so good to two little
girls before. They went to sleep that night listen-
ing to the pleasant sound of rippling water, with
their minds made up to take another sail the first
thing when day came.

31
f R
CAB nah

ts
<



“A plaything of the restless wave,
The boat on ocean tossed.”
— Whittier,

“And beside the silver runnel, on a little heap of sand,
I saw the green gnome sitting with his cheek upon his hand.”

—Robert Buchanan.

HEIR mother made no objection in the
morning when she found what they wished
to do, but after they had helped her with her

work, she put up a nice lunch for them, tied their
sunbonnets, and let them start.

The little light boat lay close to the bank, and
after they had stepped carefully in, it floated gently
with the stream. As they passed Mr. Wray’s farm
they saw Ned leading his father’s horse down to
drink. They nodded and smiled at him, and he
stood watching them as they went by.

32
Go Back Stream—Go Back

“He must feel surprised,” said Janet, compla-
cently.

And now they floated through the low green
meadows again, but this time without alarm, for
they had the day before them, and they wanted to
see where their stream went. The sun shone bright
and warm, the birds were singing overhead, the lit-
tle fish were swimming and leaping in the water,
and the Kanter girls were as happy as they could
be.

After the meadows came a thick wood, where
alders grew down close to the banks and shaded
the water. In one place two or three black bears
came to the very edge and growled, but the chil-
dren were not afraid, for the good little stream
swept them bravely and merrily by. Then there
were more farms, with orchards and sloping fields,
but the children could not tell whose they were, for
they had never been so far before. Then came a
little straggling village, and there were boys down
at the bank sailing chips.

The stream went faster now, there were more
farms, more forests, more villages, but the Kan-
ter girls did not grow tired, it was all new and
wonderful to them. By and by, the banks, in-
stead of being green and mossy, became sandy,

33
The Kanter Girls

with rocks here and there, and suddenly Janet ex-
claimed :

‘Why, our stream is a river! See how wide it
has grown! And, oh! Prue, Prue, wad is all that
dazzling blue space ahead that does not look like
sky?”

“Tt must be the sea!” said Prue, rapturously.
All her life long she had wanted to behold the sea.

Their stream, which was a river now, swept them
rapidly and resistlessly along. They passed islands
with lighthouses, they passed ships with white sails,
till finally they seemed to pass everything, and to
be alone with the sea and sky.

‘“Now we have gone far enough,” said Janet ;
“let’s eat our lunch and go back.”

So while Prue uncovered the basket, Janet called
out,

‘‘Go back, stream, go back!”

But nothing happened, the face of the waters did
not change at all, and the boat still bounded on.

‘Perhaps I ought to say rzver,” thought Janet,
so she called out again,

‘Go back, river, go back!”

Still nothing happened, and the boat bounded on.
Janet began to feel frightened, and Prue looked up
wondering.

34




= SS ——
tT liat apace eae

‘GO BACK, STREAM!” CRIED PRUE AGAIN,
Go Back Stream—Go Bach

‘Go back, sea, go back!” cried Janet, in despair ;
but still nothing happened, except that the boat
bounded on, and the two little Kanter girls, over-
come by the unexpected result, sat down in the
bottom of the boat and cried.

‘Now we shall go away around the globe,”
sobbed Prue, “and never get back to the right
place again. If we ever get anywhere, it will be
somebody else’s cottage and somebody else’s
mother !”

“L’m afraid of sinking and drowning,” wailed
Janet, “and I am so thirsty I don’t know what to
do.” .

‘Go back, stream !” cried Prue again. ‘‘Go back,
dear, darling stream, and take us home again !”

But still they went on and on, and now the sea,
the sky, and even the sun looked different.

“We must have gone thousands of miles,”
sighed Prue. ‘“ Look, there is an island, Janet ; see
the funny tall trees with bunches of big leaves up
at the top.”

“They are like the pictures in our geography,”
said Janet, with a little reviving interest. “And,
oh, see! There is an elephant walking along! I
wonder if we can get ashore!”

‘‘T should be afraid to,” said Prue, cautiously. “If

37-
The Kanter Girls

it is a tropical country, there will be snakes and
crocodiles.”

“Oh! oh! See the monkeys!” cried Janet.

The Kanter girls had now floated quite near land,
and more than fifty monkeys were running out of
the woods down on the shore to look at them, grin-
ning and chattering in great excitement. Some of
the little monkeys climbed on the backs of the big-
ger ones in order to see better, and one monkey,
who had stubbed his toe running, sat down and
held it with a very woe-begone face.

Janet and Prue could not help laughing, although
_their minds were so disturbed about getting home,
but all the while they were floating on, till presently
they had passed the. island, and the sense of deso-
lateness smote upon them afresh. Besides, some
great black clouds had come up over the sky, and
the wind began to blow in a gale. The Kanter girls
cowered before it, with the tears rolling down their
cheeks, and still the boat bounded on over the waves.

“Jt will be night before long,” moaned Prue.
“Oh, please, A/ease turn, stream, turn!”

Thzs time she had hit upon the right words, and the
instant she spoke, the billows all reared themselves
in just the reverse direction, the wind changed, and
there they were floating rapidly back toward the point

38
Go Back Stream—Go Back '

from which they had come. The little Kanter girls
could hardly believe in such good fortune at first,
and sat holding each other’s hands in silence. But
when they passed the island again where the elephant
wandered among the palm-trees, and found their boat
still bounding on the homeward way, their hearts
grew light as ever with the elasticity of childhood, and
they laughed and talked while they ate their lunch.

Back and back over the sea they sailed, repass-
ing the ships and the lonely lighthouses, and it did
not seem so very long before they were again upon
the river, whose current now flowed merrily just the
other way, bearing them toward home. Past the
villages and farms and forests they went, and would
have reached the cottage garden without once stop-
ping, if they had not happened to see, sitting on a
rock which jutted out into the stream, the forlorn
figure of their little boatman friend, with his head
on his knees, weeping.

He looked up at them as they floated near, and
said, in a heart-broken voice,

“T ¢old you I couldn’t swim !”

‘Oh, well, we got along very well without you,”
said Janet, cheerfully. ‘“ We were only a little fright-
ened, that’s all. Don’t you want to get into the boat?”

“Of course I do,” he replied, with a splendid leap

39
The Kanter Girls

from the rock which took him at once to the bow
of the boat.

‘“Do you want to go with us every time we sail ?”
asked Prue, not quite sure that she should like such
odd company as a steady thing, but thinking perhaps
it might be ‘the rule,” as they say in school, to have
him go with them.

‘Oh, no, no!” he answered, “that would be very
inconvenient, I have so many things to do. To-
day, for instance, I meant to have put up a large
quantity of pickles. But it is my business to see
that you have the word. I do hope you won't for-
get it again,” he added, pathetically.

‘“Oh, never fear, we won't forget,” said Janet,
and as the boat grazed against the garden bank,
she sprang out with her sister, and they found them-
selves back in the cottage just in time to tell the
whole story of their adventures to their mother
while the three pared apples for pies.

Many a sail after that did the Kanter girls take
in their pretty little boat, sometimes only to the
meadows, sometimes as far out as the lighthouses,
but they never again forgot to say, “Turn, stream,
turn,” and their acquaintance with the odd little
green man would have quite stopped short, if some-
thing had not happened.

40
me a “Fhe Unexpected
3 Appens<+4+- °

V

“Alas! my journey rugged and
uneven
. Through prickly moors or dusty
ways must wind.”
— Wordsworth,



‘“‘ Then, as I don’t like all the trouble I’ve had,
In future I'll try to prevent it ;
For I never am naughty without being sad,
Or good—without being contented.”
—Jane Taylor.

(): day Janet was naughty! Her mother

had so much sewing to do on that day that,
in the morning, she bade Janet and Prue
wash and wipe all the dishes and put the. rooms in
order entirely by themselves. They had never had
so long a task set them before, though they had
helped so often that they knew just how each thing
ought to be done. But they had planned some-
thing entirely different for that morning, and Janet’s
face was dark and gloomy as she cleared the table.
‘“‘Let’s run away !” she whispered to Prue.
“Oh, no!” said Prue; ‘maybe we can finish by
noon, and mother says we may bake cakes,”
41
The Kanter Girls

“T don’t want cakes,” said Janet, peevishly.
And in a few minutes she dd run away. When



no one was looking, she slipped out at the door,
past the poppies and asters, down to the stream,
42
The Unexpected Happens

and getting quickly into the little boat, floated away *
alone.

She tried to believe she was going to have a very
delightful time, all by herself and free as the air, but
it was hard to drive from her mind the vision of
patient little Prue doing all the dishes alone, and
after that the sweeping and dusting. Somehow it
seemed to her as if the very stream understood it
all, and as if the cat-tails on the bank whispered to
the rushes that here was the little girl who had run
away from helping her mother.

“ But I ought to be out of doors,” said Janet,
‘fresh air is good for people.”

She almost expected Prue to answer her when
she spoke, she was so used to having her sister at
her side all the time; but to-day there was no an-
swer, unless—could it really be ?—the waves rip-
pling by the boat’s side seemed to plash and bub-
ble ‘‘ Selfish Janet! Selfish Janet!”

“T don’t think I will go very far to-day,” said
Janet to herself, as the little boat floated down
through the meadows after passing the two farms,
which now lay between her and home. There was
a pear-tree growing in the meadows a short distance
from the water’s edge, and pears could be seen, which ©
looked most temptingly ripe, on the lower branches.

43
The Kanter Girls

“T’ll just step ashore a minute, and gather some
to take to mother and Prue,” thought Janet, ‘‘ and
then I will go right home.”

She steered the boat against the bank, and spring-
ing out, ran to the tree, where she soon gathered
her apron full of delicious pears. But when she
turned toward the stream again, expecting to sail
home at once, what was her dismay and terror to
see the boat almost out of sight, floating down the
stream, and the next moment disappearing.

“Oh! I have lost it!” she cried. ‘‘“Who knows
but it is gone forever! Oh! it is all my fault,
my pretty, pretty boat! Now I must walk all the
way home, and how tiresome that will be!”

She started on foot through the deep grass and
reeds of the meadow, where the ground was so un-
certain that in five minutes her shoes were wet
through and covered with mud, and yet she was not
half-way over it. She pushed on with many a
stumble, and at last, feeling utterly forlorn, reached
the wall beyond which lay Mr. Green’s farm, where
there was different ground. It was no longer wet
and marshy, but it was so full of stones. and stubble
that it-hurt her feet every step she took.

She was now so tired and faint that she ate two
or three of the pears to refresh herself, but the

44
The Unexpected Happens

stones had cut her shoes, and her knees were
bruised with the falls she had had, so by the time
she reached the next field she was wholly ex-
hausted.

‘Oh ! how naughty I have been!” she said, sob-
bing, “and this is my punishment! I wish I was
with Prue, setting away the cups and saucers in
mother’s cool pantry! But now I have lost our
beautiful boat, and I am too tired to go another
step. Oh! I am so very, very sorry I ran away !”

She was sitting on the low wall as she said this,
and as she swung one of her aching feet for a little
relief, it chanced now and then to hit the nearest
stone,

“I’m coming! Here lam!” said a plaintive,
cracked voice; ‘why azdn’t you call me before? I
was just digging in my garden when you rapped.”
And out from behind the stone popped the figure
of the little green man.

“T didn’t rap!” said Janet; “I only hit my
foot.”

“You must not play jokes on me/” exclaimed
the little man, reproachfully. ‘ But if you don’t
need me, I will go back to my garden,” ;

“Oh! don’t go,” cried Janet, eagerly, “I want
somebody to talk to. And I should need your help

45
The Kanter Girls

if there was anything you could do, but there isn’t.
I have lost the boat ; it is gone forever ; it is out on
the ocean by this time, and I must walk all the way
home over these rough fields.”

“How did it happen ?” asked the little man, fix-
ing his keen gaze upon her.

“I was very naughty,” confessed Janet, “I ran
away and left my sister to do all the work alone.”

“Oh! I know all about that,” he interrupted.
‘“‘But she had help, my wife stepped in and helped
her. How did you lose the boat, that’s what I want
to know ?”

‘“‘T just went ashore a minute to get these pears,”
she said, showing him what was in her apron, “and
I never thought to tie the boat, and now it is lost
forever !”

“T knew it! I knew it!” he exclaimed.
“You've forgotten the word again, and here I’ve
had to leave all my work!”

‘‘T am very sorry, I am sure,” said Janet, sadly ;
“but you see I was on the land, so the word
wouldn't be of any use. I haven’t forgotten it at
all, it is ‘Turn, stream, turn !’”

“You had better have said it an hour ago,” he
replied, shading his eyes with his hand as he looked
intently down the river.

46
The Unexpected Happens

‘Why, the river “as turned!” exclaimed Janet,
joyfully, and now she too shaded her eyes and
looked.

“T see it!” said the little green man at last,
pointing at something that seemed like the merest
speck, but which, as it swiftly floated nearer, the
little Kanter girl herself soon saw to be her missing
boat.

She ran gladly to the bank, the boat came up of
itself and stopped for her, and she leaped in, fol-
lowed by her odd companion. What happiness it
was to find herself sailing rapidly and safely home.

‘“Good-by,” said the little man when the garden
bank was reached, and Janet stepped out; ‘“ good-
by, and remember, when you want me again, to
rap three times on the nearest stone.”

““Good-by, I’ll remember,” said Janet, wonder-
ing, as she walked up the path between rows of
pinks, what sort of a house his could be, and whether
every stone one might happen to stop at were a
. door.

When she went into the cottage, expecting to be
met with well-deserved reproaches, there sat Prue
by her mother’s side, as smiling as a May morning,
in a clean apron, and all the work looking as if it
had been done for hours. Janet, worn and torn

47
The Kanter Girls

and dirty, told all the story of her woes and how
sorry she was, and it seemed to her that nothing in
the whole day had been so sweet as her mother’s
and Prue’s forgiving kisses. She gave them the
pears, which were now sadly bruised and not good
for much, but which at least showed that she had
tried to do one little kind act.

‘How did you get everything done so quickly
and so nicely ?” she asked, as she looked around.

“Why, it was very odd,” said Prue, laughing.
“Just after we missed you, the nicest little old wom-
an came skipping in. She took the broom, and you
ought to have seen how she brushed out all the
corners. She wore a green dress, and her eyes
were like little bright beads. She dusted and set
everything to rights, and when the dishes were put
away all was done. Then she and I baked cakes,
and after that she went away. I have had a deaudz-’
ful time !”

48


Vi

“Do not leave the sky out of your landscape.” ;
—Emerson.

‘Forward and back, and it’s just as far,
Out and in, and it’s just as straight.”
—Tbsen.
GAIN the two Kanter girls sat on the door-
step, talking of things they had done, and
of things they might some time do. They
were stringing purple larkspurs, and each had a
necklace almost done. Every now and then they
‘measured them to see which was the longer, but
without stopping their happy child-like talk.
‘“T wonder what kind of flowers grow in Eng-
land,” said Janet, ‘‘and whether girls string them.”
“ T wonder what kind growin China. They must
be different from ours, I know,” said Prue. ‘ Don’t
you wish we could go to other countries and see
what gardens there are, and what the people are
doing ?”
49
The Kanter Girls

“Yes,” said Janet, “I wish we had a golden
chariot that would fly through the air and take us
everywhere we want to go!”

“Yes, and birds to draw it,” added Prue ; and the
idea was such a pleasant one, that they let their
fancies run on as they would, thinking what wonder-
ful journeys they might take.

Suddenly they heard the sweet, clear note of the
bluebird overhead in the apple-tree. |

“ Peep into my nest /” she sang, ‘and what you
- see, take /”

Up jumped the Kanter girls, and on reaching
the nest they found in it two eggs, of a greenish-
gold color, which they at once secured and carried
back to their seat on the door-step.

“Break them! Break them!” sang the bird.

So they broke the first, and in it lay, oh, wonder!
a tiny golden chariot which grew bigger so fast that
they had to set it down in the grass as quick as they
could, and in one minute and a quarter it was of a
size to hold them both on its one seat, which was
cushioned with gold-colored silk. It did not have
wheels, but there were little wings at its corners.

They broke the second egg, against whose shell
they had already heard several impatient taps, and
out flew two tiny birds with feathers of glittering

50
By the Air-Line

green. In two seconds they were as large as
pigeons, in two more as large as hens, and in two
more as large as swans, which size they retained.
They immediately placed themselyes before the
golden chariot, to which they were attached by a
light golden harness, and now everything was ready
for the Kanter girls to take a ride.

“ We've time enough,” said Janet, “it’s not any-
where near noon yet. Get in quick, Prue!”

They sprang in and seated themselves side by
side. The birds rose with them into the air, quite
above the chimney and the apple-tree, and then
paused as if to await orders.

‘‘ Shall we visit a tea-garden, or a Spanish, or an
English garden?” asked Janet.

“I don’t know,” said Prue, ‘“‘let’s go to the big-
gest, most beautiful garden in all the world.
Maybe some king or queen has one more beautiful
and wonderful than any other, that we have never
heard about. We do not know what country to
find it in, but the birds will know.”

‘That’s just it,” said Janet. “ Fly, birds, and take
us to the biggest, most beautiful, most wonderful
garden in all the world!”

The great birds spread their pinions afresh, and
the little wings on the chariot fluttered, speeding

51
The Kanter Girls

through the air. The Kanter girls, as they looked
down, could see that they were passing rapidly over
mountains and plains and rivers, over towns and
cities, and over the great ocean itself.

“That is a pretty island right under us now,
Janet ; ‘let us visit it some day.”

‘““T see a volcano away over yonder,” said Prue;
‘“T don’t ever want to visit that!”

On and on they flew, till, as near as the Kanter
girls could tell, they must have gone about eight
thousand miles, when suddenly the birds slackened
their speed and then paused. Directly underneath
lay a most lovely garden, with flower-beds all in
bloom, and fountains playing. There were fruit-
trees full of fruit, and a velvety lawn where pretty
little spotted deer were nibbling grass. There were

’

’ said

arbors and greenhouses, graperies and shrubberies,
and in the midst stood a castle built of red and
green blocks of marble.

“This zs surely the most beautiful garden in the
world!” cried Janet; ‘fly down, birds, and take us
into it at once!”

The birds, in a hesitating manner, began slowly
to flutter downward, but before they reached the

_ground a golden-haired little girl ran out from one
of the arbors and exclaimed,

52




ANAS
PANN AA
ey
i

** SPEEDING THROUGIL THE ALR,”
s By the Air-Line

“No, no! go back! You never must come in
that way! It’s forbidden. You must only come in
by the gate.”

“We didn’t know that,” said Janet, pleasant-
ly. “Fly, birds, and take us to the garden
gate.”

The birds flew, and as the girls looked down they
saw that they were passing over innumerable gravel
paths and green hedges, with here and there a
house. Suddenly the birds descended to the
ground, and there they were directly in front of the
garden gate, which was arched, and had upon it, in
red letters, these words:

“THE Maze.”

‘Now we can go in!” said Janet, joyfully.
‘“Good-by, birds, we'll call you when we are ready
to go home.”

The birds seemed to understand, for they flew to
some tree-tops near by, and the Kanter girls, hand
in hand, passed through the arched gateway, and
took the first path they came to, which, as it
chanced, led to the left. On either side of them
was a carefully trimmed arbor-vite hedge, higher
than their heads, so that they could not look over it,
even if they stood on tiptoe. But the path was a
pleasant one to walk in, and they stepped along in

55
The Kanter Girls

high spirits, thinking this was the finest adventure
they had ever had. Presently, Prue said, .

‘‘ See, there is another path turning off from this
just ahead. Shall we take that ?”

They stopped and looked down it, as they
reached it, but decided to keep to the one they
were already in, and walked on. Ina few minutes
the path made an abrupt turn, which they followed,
and almost immediately found themselves staring at
the arbor-vitee hedge directly in front of them. The
path had come to a complete stop, and the only
way to take another step was to turn around and go
back.

‘“Flow provoking!” said Janet; ‘I hear birds
singing over the other side of that hedge!”

‘So do I,” said Prue. ‘ Let’s run back and take
that other path we saw, and maybe we shall get
there.”

It was the only thing to be done, so they went
back, half laughing at the mistake they had made,
and in a few moments they turned into the other
path, and walked gayly on. The path wound this.
way and that, and every little while a bird flew over-
head, singing.

‘“T think we shall reach the flower-garden pretty
soon now,” said Prue, hopefully, for they had gone

56
By the Air-Line

quite a distance ; but hardly had she spoken when a
new bewilderment arose. The path, in which they
were walking, divided into three paths, each leading
in a different direction, and each equally attractive.
Fortunately, there was a pretty little arbor just at
this point where they could rest a while and con-
sider.

“There ought to be a guide-post,” said Janet.

‘Or a mile-stone,” said Prue, “only perhaps we
haven’t gone a mile yet.”

They looked doubtfully down each path, and fin-
ally concluded to take the right-hand one. It was so
pleasant strolling between the high, green hedges,
with the blue sky above them, that they did not
at all lose courage yet, and besides, any moment
might bring them into the heart of the garden,
where the lovely flower-beds were; so they walked
lightly on. The path, as they followed it, made
seven turns, and then all at once they found them-
selves entering a small enclosure, where a little old
woman sat knitting on a bench, before a gray cot-
tage. She looked at them with an appearance of
great delight.

‘“Good-morning, dears!” she cried. ‘‘ I’m so glad
to see you. Most of the people go another way,
and it is very lonesome here.”

57
The Kanter Girls

“Then we have made another mistake,” whis-
pered Prue to her sister ; “‘ but as she seems so very
glad to see us, I suppose we ought to stay a few
minutes,”

“Can you tell us the way to the garden?” asked
Janet, politely ; but the old woman shook her head.

“T never leave home,” she said, “and you had
better stay here with me. If you wander about,
you will be lost. Do stay !”

‘Do you live here all alone?” asked Janet.

“Yes,” sighed the dame, “I am placed here to
take care of the herb-garden and knit. There is my
herb-garden in the corner.”

_ The Kanter girls went at once to look at it. it

was really a very snug little garden, with rue and
mint, thyme and sweet-basil, and many other herbs
green and flourishing. There was lavender in
bloom, and saffron, and pot-marigold full of yellow
flowers.

‘‘Pick some fennel,” said the old woman, ‘‘it is
good to keep folks awake in meeting,”

“ But you never go to meeting, do you?” asked
Prue, trying to remember whether she had seen a
spire anywhere in the garden.

“No, I don’t know the way But I always keep
fennel growing.”

58


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‘*GOOD-MORNING, DEARS !”
By the Air-Line

“It tastes good,” said Janet, nibbling at a stem;
‘it tastes something like caraway.”

“Oh, I can give you caraway,” said the old
woman, getting up. ‘You won’t mind taking it
in cookies, I hope.”

She hebbled into her cottage, and brought out a
pewter plate heaped with nice brown cookies. The
Kanter girls’ eyes brightened, for they were very
hungry, and caraway-seeds could not have present-
ed themselves in a more delightful form. The old
woman was pleased to see them eat, and, bidding
them take all they wanted, she sat down on her
bench and began to knit again. But after they had
eaten five apiece, they were a little ashamed to take
any more, and besides they wanted to be hastening
on their way to the garden. So they smoothed
' down their aprons, and tied their bonnets afresh.

‘Don’t go yet!” pleaded the old woman. “ Stay
here with me all summer.”

“Oh, no, we must go now,” said Janet. “ Thank
you for the cookies. It is very pleasant here, but.
we want to reach the garden. Good-by !”

‘“‘Good-by,” said Prue also, looking back a little
wistfully at the old woman, who seemed ready to
cry. “If I could find a kitten anywhere, I would
bring it to you for company.”

61
The Kanter Girls

Then.she and Janet ran swiftly away, along the
path with its seven turns, back to the little arbor
where they had paused before.

‘We will take the left-hand path this time,” said
Janet.

‘Tf we could only see over the top of these high,
green hedges,” said Prue, “we could get along very
much better.” ,

But that was out of the question, so, with toler-
able cheerfulness, they took the left-hand path, and
walked along in it for about five minutes, when they
turned a sharp corner, and found their way stopped
short by a pair of bars.

“There, now! we shall have to go back again.
How provoking !” exclaimed Janet.

“Let’s look over the bars first,” said Prue, “and
see what there is on the other side!”

So they looked over, and beheld a little enclosed
field where there were a number of snow-white
sheep and lambs cropping clover. Two or three of
the pretty creatures seemed to know that someone
was near, for they raised their heads and appeared
to be listening.

‘Lambie! lambie!” called Prue, softly, and at the
sound of her voice two lambs came trotting toward
the bars. The Kanter girls put their hands through,

62
. By the Air-Line

and patted the white, woolly heads; but the next mo-
ment they were startled by the sightof a rough, awk-
ward shepherd-boy, who ran across the field toward
them, shaking his crook in a threatening manner.

‘“Go away!” he shouted. “Don’t touch those
lambs; I’m here to guard them, and you had better
go away.”

“We don’t want to hurt them!” said Janet, in-
dignantly ; ‘‘we didn’t know there were sheep here.
We are trying to find the flower-garden.”

‘“Oho !” he exclaimed, ‘that’s what they all say.
But I keep a dog. Towser, Towser! here, sir! At
‘em, Towser !”

At this a great dog sprang forward and looked
over the bars. The little Kanter girls shrank back
in a corner, as close to the green hedge as they
could get. Suddenly Prue bethought herself, and
said, ‘Rings, Janet!” In another instant they had
slipped their invisible rings upon their fingers, and
disappeared from sight. The rude boy stared and
rubbed his eyes, the dog drooped his tail between
his legs, while the Kanter girls hastened down the
path the way they had come, and did not take off
their rings again until they reached the little restful
arbor, where they now sat down for the third time
to take breath.

63
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VII

“ Till so far through that green place she had won
That she a rose-hedged garden could behold.”

—Willtam Morrd?s.

HERE was nothing now to be done but to

take the middle path, so after Janet and

Prue had rested a while, they started again,
feeling sure that they were right ¢#zs time. Here
and there a red rose bloomed in the hedge, which
made it seem more garden-like, Janet said, and al-
together they felt quite encouraged. But they soon
found it a very bewildering path after all, so many
new paths continually branched off from it on the
right side and on the left, and sometimes there were
so many paths at once that the Kanter girls could
not tell whether they were keeping in the same one,

64
Roses and Honeysuckles

or changing again and again. But they did as well
as they could, and kept right on, sometimes walking
and sometimes running, while every now and then
a red rose appeared in the hedge, and the birds sang
louder than ever.

“Where are those birds?” exclaimed Janet, stop-
ping suddenly. ‘Prue, I do believe the garden is
just the other side of this hedge. Only smell, and
see how sweet the air is, as if there were millions
and millions of flowers close by. Oh! if we could
only climb over !”

But this was impossible, for the hedge seemed
higher than ever, and it grew so very thick there
was no way of pushing or even peeping through.

‘“‘Let’s run on, and maybe we shall come to the
entrance in a minute,” said Prue.

So they ran on full of hope, but, alas! the path
made a turn in another direction which took them
quite away, and they could not smell the flowers
any more, nor hear the birds.

‘Isn't this dis—” began Janet, but she never
finished the sentence, for they suddenly found them-
selves walking into a small square yard, in the cor-
ner of which stood a red cottage, and on the door-
step sat a little girl sewing piece-work. On the
other side of the yard was a row of bee-hives.

65
The Kanter Girls

The little girl saw the Kanter childrén and smiled
at them. She was a very nice little girl, with brown
hair braided in two long braids, and she had brown
eyes and red cheeks. She wore a brown and white
apron, so clean that it did one good to look at it.

“Come and sit down,” she said, pleasantly.
“ Aren’t you tired ?” .

“A little,” admitted Janet. ‘“ Do you live here ?”

“Yes,” said the little girl, “1 am put here to watch
the bees.”

The Kanter girls glanced rather timidly toward
the hives. Some of the bees were crawling in and
out, and some were flying in the air, and there was
a great sound of humming and buzzing.

“They might swarm, you know,” continued the
little girl. ‘‘ That apple-tree over the hives is on pur-
pose for them to swarm in. And I keep red and
white clover growing in the yard, so the bees that
don’t want to fly far can find honey near home.
But many of them go to the great garden.”

“That's just where we want to go,” said Janet.
“We thought we were almost there, but we have
made a mistake again, and I suppose we shall have
to go back.”

‘“Oh, no, you haven’t made a mistake,” replied
the little girl; “the way to the garden is right

66
Roses and Honeysuckles

through our yard. See, over the other side is
where you go out. People always have to go
through our yard.”

“Oh! how glad Iam!” cried Janet. ‘What a
dear little girl you are! What is your name ?”

“They call me the bee-girl, but my name is
really Polly,” shesaid. ‘ Don’t you think my piece-
work is pretty? Only I wish I had some pink to
put in it.”

‘“‘T have some pink at home,” said Prue; ‘I would
give it to you if I had it here. Don’t you ever feel
lonesome ?” .

“Oh! no,” laughed the bee-girl, “I like this yard
better than any place in the world. I have never
even wanted to go to the great garden, I like this
place so much, here with my bees.”

Janet thought this extremely strange.

“We want to go to the garden,” she said, “we
have been trying for a long time to get there. Iam
afraid we shall lose our way again after we leave
here. Of course yoz can’t tell us how to go, as you
have never been there yourself.”

“T cannot tell exactly,” said Polly, anxious to
help all she could. “I ¢hzzk it has something to do
with red roses. Sometimes I hear people talking
about red roses as they go through our yard. But

67
The Kanter Girls

I will ask my mother, se went to the garden once,
a long time ago, and maybe she will remember.”

The bee-girl jumped up and ran into the house.
In a few minutes she came back, bringing two bowls
of bread and milk.

‘Mother sends you these,” she said, “for she
knows you must be hungry. And she says, when
you go from here, you will know youare in the right
path if, every seventh step, you come to a red rose.
But after a while the flower changes, and she don't
remember what it is then. Still the red roses will
lead you quite a distance.”

“Thank you!” said the Kanter girls, and when
they had eaten their bread and milk they kissed
Polly good-by and went out of the little yard,
leaving her to sit down again contentedly, sewing
piece-work and watching bees.

At every seventh step they passed a red rose in
the hedge, so that they knew they were taking the
right direction, and this lasted until they had made
several turns, when all on a sudden, the path
divided into three paths again, with not a rose to
be seen in any one of them. As the Kanter girls
looked down them, in one path they saw an occa-
sional nasturtium running over the hedge, in the
. next there were honeysuckles here and there, and
68
Roses and Honeysuckles

in the third a trumpet-creeper appeared at what
seemed to be regular intervals. This was the path
Janet and Prue finally decided to take.

They walked along it in pretty good spirits, fan-
cying that they really began to smell the garden
flowers again, when, after passing a dozen or more
trumpet-creepers, the path turned and brought them
face to face with an immense gray rock, as steep as
the side of a house, which completely blocked the
way.

“There, now !” exclaimed Janet.

“Oh ! dear,” sighed Prue, “ I wish we could push
you away, old rock !”

And she kicked it two or three times with her
little foot as she spoke.

“Coming! coming! Oh! my. heart, what a
pother!” creaked a sharp, querulous voice, and out
of a cranny in the rock, stepped nimbly their old
friend, the little green man.

“T’m all out of breath, I have hurried so!” he
piped, panting. “My wife had just sent me to pick
up her ball of gray yarn when you called me,
and I’ve run so fast I’m all in a palpitation. Oh!
my, what a scolding I shall get when I go back with-
out that ball of gray yarn. What do you want
now? You didn’t come in the boat, did you?”

69
The Kanter Girls

“Tm very sorry I disturbed you,” said Prue,
gently ; “I just happened to hit the rock. But now
you are here, can you tell us the way to the big,
beautiful flower-garden ?”

‘“‘T don’t know,” he answered, disconsolately. “ It
will be the hardest work I ever didin my life. Fol-
low me, and I’ll see.” :

The Kanter girls followed him, turn after turn,
back through the trumpet-creeper path, till they
came once more to the parting of the three ways.

“This way!” said their guide starting briskly
down the path where now and then a sweet honey-
suckle ran over the hedge. Suddenly he stopped
short, staring at something on the ground.

‘What's that ?” he cried, pointing at it.

“Only a bit of gray yarn,” said Prue, bending to
pick it up.

“T might have known it!” he said, in an ag-
grieved manner. “I might have known my wife
had been to the garden when she brought home
her apron full of poppy leaves! She let the ball
drop out of her pocket, and here it is, all unwound.
A pretty job!” .

‘Maybe I can help you,” said Prue, beginning to
wind the yarn up as she walked along.

‘Of course you can!” he exclaimed, brightly.

7O
Roses and Honeysuckles

“Tt just occurs tome. Don’t you see? She went
to the garden, and the yarn goes to the garden, and
if you wind it all up you'll get there! Then you .
can put the ball in your pocket and bring it to me.
I'll go home to dinner now.”

And in an instant he had disappeared.

The Kanter girls walked on, Prue winding as
she went, and no matter what tempting paths they
passed, they followed the guiding gray yarn.

“Tt’s growing quite a big ball,” said Prue; and
hardly had she said it, when the path made a sharp
turn, and there they were, walking right into the
garden.

qi


VIII

‘A brave old house! A garden full of bees,
Large, dropping poppies, and queen hollyhocks
With butterflies for crowns—tree-peonies

And pinks and goldilocks.”’
—Jean Ingelow.

“ How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do.”

—Robert Louts Stevenson.
ae H! how sweet the air is, and how the
birds do sing!” exclaimed Janet.
The little golden-haired girl came run-
ning to meet them.
“Mow you can play with me,” she said, joyously.
‘My name is Althea. What are your names?”
The Kanter girls told their names, and then, as
they said they wanted to see the flower-beds first of

42
In the Garden

all, she moved ahead of them up and down the lit-
tle pebbly paths.

‘‘T never saw so many kinds of roses in all my
life,” cried Janet; ‘“‘and, oh! Prue, see all those
mountain daisies, red ones and white ones.”

‘““ Couldn’t we have some roots to carry home?”
asked Prue, eagerly.

“Yes, you may have all you want,” said Althea.

_“ And see all the trellises full of sweet-peas,” went
on Janet, in a rapture; “and I zever saw pink
peonies before, nor such big, dzg¢ white lilies.”

“Nor scarlet lilies either, nor double violets,”
said Prue.

It did seem, indeed, as if so many beautiful
flowers had never bloomed together before in all
the world ; such masses of phlox, and of geraniums,
such clumps of pansies, such beds of great, glowing
poppies, banks of sweet honeysuckles, stalks of
hollyhocks, and a countless crowd of sweet-will-
iams, carnations, and gilliflowers.

“T wish I could have some gilliflower seed for
mother,” said Prue.

“You may have all you want,” said Althea. She
hada curiously soft, slow, measured way of speak-
ing, which the Kanter girls wondered at a little, it
was so different from their own impulsive speech.

73
The Kanter Girls

They went along by the fountains next, and across
the lawn, where the pretty brown and white deer
came up to them confidingly, and allowed their gen-

tle heads to be

stroked. The lawn
— was dotted with trees
which had been cut
and trimmed in fan-
ciful shapes. Some
resembled ladies with
spreading gowns, and













HR A oF
ecetaman eee



g fais
ARV TS \
In the Garden

some. were like huge baskets. But the largest tree
was trimmed in the shape of an open umbrella, and
it gave a beautiful shade. Under it, Prue found
pretty, little white flowers, closed up like buds.

“Oh! here are go-to-bed-noons,” she cried, ‘‘and
they are all closed up, so it must be after twelve
o'clock, Janet.”

“Tam glad you have come to play with me,”
said Althea. ‘Let us go and have a swing.”

“Oh! yes,” said the Kanter girls. She then led
them to another part of the lawn, where there was
a fine swing, fastened to one of the limbs of an
apple-tree.

“Who shall swing first?” asked Janet. “Let's
count around.”

She did the counting-around herself, beginning
with Prue.

“ Six—men—driving—cattle—don’t—you-hear-their
buckets—rattle-one-two-three—out—goes—she /”

It was Janet who was left, when the others were
counted out, and she stepped toward the swing,
saying,

“Vou swing me, and afterward I will swing
you.”

“«Tom will swing us,” said Althea ; “he’s here on
purpose for that.”

75°
The Kanter Girls

The Kanter girls now, for the first time, noticed
a man standing motionless close by the tree. He
had a light brown complexion and dull eyes, and .
was dressed in sort of a gray livery.

“Will you please swing me, sir?” asked Janet,
addressing him ina very polite manner, but he made
no reply and did not stir.

“He isn’t one of the talking kind,” said Althea ;
“but if you will get in, he will swing you.”

‘Dumb, I suppose,” thought Janet, as she took
her seat in the swing. Immediately the man moved
forward, and began to push her with a strong, even
motion, so that presently her feet touched the green
leaves when she went up, and she shouted with de-
light. But she felt that the others ought to have
their turn, so in a minute more she called out to
the man,

“Now stop, and let the old cat die!”

But the man kept right on pushing the same as
before.

“Fell stop when it’s a hundred,” said Althea.
“Fie pushes just a hundred times, and then he
stops.”

Janet was very willing to finish her hundred, and
when at last the swing stopped, she sprang out and
said, 5

76
In the Garden |

‘“Now, Prue, you must go next. It is splendid.”

Prue hesitated. She thought she had never in
her life seen a man so stiff and solemn, and she was
‘a little afraid of him. However, she decided to try
it, and, as soon as she was seated, he began to swing
her just as he had swung Janet. It was fine, flying
through the air, in that way.

When she had her hundred, Althea took er turn,
and when that too, was finished, the man stepped
to the side of the tree again, standing there as
motionless as before.

‘““T would thank him if he were not so very deaf
and dumb,” said Janet.

Just then a bell rang in the red and green castle,
which was not far away, and another man, dressed
also in gray livery, came over the lawn, bowed re-
spectfully, and said, in a somewhat hoarse voice,

‘Lunch is served.”

‘‘Now you must go in with me and have some-
thing to eat,” said Althea, taking the little girls by
the hand. The man followed behind them silently.
He had brighter eyes than the other man, and red-
der cheeks, but still there was something about him
that did not seem quite natural to Prue, and she
was a little afraid of him also. Still, she considered,
perhaps he had rheumatism and a very bad cold.

77
The Kanter Girls

Althea led them up the marble steps, through a
hall, into the dining-room, where there was a table







MESES I INSisy . with flowers
Ses and grapes
s upon it.

‘Be seat-

ed,” said the
man, hoarse-
ly, drawing
out three
chairs.

“ Nothing

! iy , we

eo (
, o qs







Tio Tie If

(fA







but grapes!” said Althea, in her soft, slow voice.
The man moved out of the room, and returned
bringing plates of cake and biscuit.
78
In the Garden

“ Now help yourselves,” said the little, golden-
haired hostess, taking a biscuit in her own hands to
set the example.

The Kanter girls felt rather timid, but the biscuit
and cake looked nice, so they ventured to eat.

‘May we taste the grapes too?” asked Janet,
looking with longing at the purple and white clus-
ters.

“You may have all you want,” said Althea.

There certainly never were such delicious grapes
as those which the Kanter girls feasted upon that
day. As they ate, they heard the music of a piano
in another apartment, and Prue asked who was
playing.

“Oh ! it is only Tonne,” replied Althea. “I’ll take
you ‘to.see her now that you have finished your
grapes.”

79


“What am I seeking? I’m out of my wits!
Where is the key?”

—ITbsen

ISING from the table, they crossed the
hall, and entered an immense and mag-
nificent parlor, whose dark crimson cur-

tains subdued all the light. Stepping noiselessly
over the thick, soft carpet, they approached the
piano, where a lady sat playing. She had very red
cheeks and bright eyes, and she wore a blue silk
dress. She did not seem to notice them at all.

«She never misses a note,” said Althea. ‘That is
‘Home, Sweet Home’ that she is playing now.”

80
The Sound of the Drums

Janet thought to herself that the lady’s fingers
struck the keys like little hammers, but she did not
speak of it, and only said when the tune was fin-
ished :

“That is pretty. Won't she play it again !”



_ “Qh! she can’t,” said Althea, “she has to play
‘The Last Rose of Summer’ next.”

Tonne did in fact begin to play ‘““The Last Rose
of Summer,” but she stopped in the middle of it,
and sat motionless.

“She didn’t finish,” said Althea ; “I must speak
to my father about it.”

‘“‘Hasn’t she fainted?” asked Prue in alarm, but
81
The Kanter Girls

Althea only laughed, and led her visitors away
with her up the broad stairs, through one lovely
room after another. In the third room they found
a woman sitting with a book in her lap. She had
on a gray dress, a white apron, anda neat white
cap.

Althea went up and touched her shoulder.

‘“‘ Let us see that book,” she said. .

' The woman rose, courtsied, and held out the book,
saying,

‘Certainly—you—may—”

And there she stopped short, while the Kanter
girls stared at her.

‘‘She’s run down,” said Althea, calmly, and tak-
ing a key from her pocket, she put it under the
woman’s arm, and turned it.

‘‘— have it,” finished the woman, and giving the
book to Althea she sat down again.

“ Let us go,” whispered Prue. ‘I’m afraid of her,
she is so queer !”

‘Why, she isn’t alive,” said Althea. ‘She’s only
an automaton. She has works inside her like a
clock, and has to be wound up to make her go.”

‘““An automaton!” exclaimed Janet; “and was
the lady who played an automaton too, and the man
who called us to lunch?”

82 .
The Sound of the Drums

“Ves, indeed,” said Althea, laughing. ‘“ They all
belong to the castle. My father has the care of
them, and he lets me wind them up all I want to.”

“Where zs your father?” asked Janet, almost
fearing that he might prove to be an automaton too.

“Oh! he lives in a cottage just outside the gar-
den. I come here every day to play !”

“ Does he own the garden and the castle?” asked
Prue.

“No, indeed! They belong to a baronial lord.
I thought everybody knew that. He is so rich that
he owns thousands of chests of gold, and so stern
that you would tremble if hé looked at you. He
built this place just for amusement, but he has so
many castles that he hardly ever comes here.”

“T hope he won’t come while we are here,” said
Prue anxiously.

“T don’t think he will,” said Althea, ‘for he was
here only last week. If he should find you here,
he would be terribly angry, but we always know
when he enters the Maze, because his guards beat
drums and blow trumpets for a warning.”

The three little girls now went downstairs, and
as they passed through the hail, the gray-clad
automaton near the door said, more hoarsely and
slowly than before,

83
The Kanter Girls

“ Lunch—is—served.”

“He hasn’t quite run down yet,” said Althea
laughing, and then she led the way out on the red
and green marble steps. There the girls stood and
looked upon the lawn and garden.

“Tt is very wonderful and beautiful,” said Prue,
“but I should not want to Zve here. May I pick
one of those climbing roses ?”

“You may have all you want,” said Althea, in
her slow, soft voice. Just at this moment, as they
stood looking out, with the golden rays of the
afternoon sun shining aslant upon the fragrant
flower-beds and the plashing fountains, they heard
the faint sound of distant music. Gradually it
seemed‘ to draw nearer and grow louder, and they
could distinguish—yes, it was /—the beating of
drums and the blowing of trumpets! The baronial
lord was coming!

The Kanter girls trembled and grew pale. Althea
herself looked alarmed. A man now entered the
garden and ran toward them, a 7ea/ man, Janet was
sure, he ran so fast and breathed so hard.

“Child!” he panted as he reached them, ‘ where
are the keys? Are the figures all wound up?
Who are these girls? Let them hide themselves as
. quick as they can!”

84
The Sound of the Drums

“ We won't hide, we will go away!” said Janet,
provoked at herself for feeling so frightened, but
calling loudly,

“ Come, birds, come /”

In an instant down swept the green birds with
the golden chariot, and the Kanter girls, springing
into it, were carried up into the air, where at a safe
distance they paused and gave a farewell glance
back at the garden. .

In that last look, they saw Althea sinking upon
the marble steps as if she had fainted away, while
her father ran distractedly hither and thither. At’
the garden entrance, a brilliant procession was mak-
ing its way in, while the drums and trumpets
sounded louder than ever.

Then the birds flew on and away, over mountains
and cities, over rivers and valleys, and over the
broad blue sea, homeward bound.

“There! I forgot those gilliflower seeds!” said
Prue, suddenly.

“ And those daisy roots,” said Janet. ‘‘I should
rather like to have seen the baronial lord, too!”

“7 don't want to see him,” said Prue, “I am
afraid of them all. I am even a little afraid of
Althea now !”

85
OR TO SEE~ BP

SS ——



“ There a long line of breakers could we see,
That on a yellow sandy beach did fall,
And then a belt of grass, and then a wall
Of green trees, rising dark against the sky.

—William Morris.

”

a RUE,” said Janet one day, when they
ran out of the cottage for a good long
play-time, “you know that picture in our

' geography of the land where there is always snow

and the houses are made of snow and ice; don’t

you ?”
“Ves,” said Prue, ‘‘and the people wear fur
clothes.”
“Well,” said Janet, “that is where I want to go
next in our chariot.”
86
Strange Countries for to See

‘But / want to go tosome beautiful island,” said
Prue, “where it is always warm, and where there
are cocoanuts and oranges growing.”

They talked the matter over a little while, and
then decided to visit the cold country first, and af-
ter that some lovely, lonely, tropical island, where
there were no savages. So they called the birds,
and in a moment more were rising above the treé-
tops in the golden chariot.

‘““To the land where the houses are made of ice
and snow,” directed Janet, and the birds flew swift-
ly northward.

The character of the country beneath them
changed. Soon there were no more gardens and
orchards to be seen, but dark-green woods of pine
and fir, and after these came rough, rocky hills, and
barren wastes. Then they entered a region of snow,
and passed over frozen seas, alighting at last in the
midst of a little settlement of white, round-roofed
huts, looking, so Janet said, like mushrooms with-
out any stems.

‘“‘ But it is dark,” said Prue, ‘though we can see
pretty well. It is like clear moonlight.”

“There, now!” exclaimed Janet. ‘I do believe
this is one of the countries where the nights are six
months long. But, oh! just see that little girl all

87
The Kanter Girls

bundled up in a fur dress. What is your name,
little girl?”

“Brenda,” replied the child, coming toward them.
‘“Who are you?”

“We are little girls from the temperate zone,
come to play with you,” explained Prue, shivering
as she spoke, for the air was very cold.

“This is Polo,” said Brenda, as a little fur-clad
boy drew near. Other children were gathering shy-
ly around.

‘‘Let’s play something,” said Janet, and she led
the way, running up and down, and tossing hand-
fuls of snow. Brenda and Polo ran too, shouting,
but Prue stood still with chattering teeth.

‘“‘T don’t want to stay any longer,” she said. “1
am so cold in this thin dress.”

‘‘T am cold too,” said Janet, as she left off run-
ning. “I am so glad we have found where you
live, Fur-children, and we will come to see you
again very soon. But we are not dressed warmly
enough to stay now, and we'd rather be here when
it is day-time.”

‘‘Come into my house, and I will give you some
of my clothes,” said little Brenda, and, as she spoke,
she stooped down and disappeared in an opening
in the snow. Janet and Prue crept after her, for

88
Strange Countries for to See

they had read in their geography that this was the
proper way to enter a snow-hut. Inside, they found
Brenda’s mother sitting on a heap of furs, and dil-
igently sewing the two parts of a slipper together,
with a bone needle. She smiled at the little visitors,
and made no objection when Brenda brought forth
two little coats of silver-gray fur, with hoods and
mittens to match, and gave them to the Kanter
girls.

The children were delighted, but Janet said
with prim politeness, as she had heard grown people
do, “I am afraid you will rob yourself.”

“Oh! no,” said Brenda, ‘my father kills so
many silver-gray foxes, that my mother doesn’t
know what to do with all the
skins.”

Then the woman arose,
and took from a bowl great
pieces of walrus meat, which
she gave to the children.
They were hungry, so they
ate some, and it did not taste
bad to them. After that
they put on the coats, which fitted beautifully, and
went out of the snow-hut with Brenda, quite ready
for a frolic again.



89
The Kanter Girls

“But oh! dear,” said Prue, after they had had
three games of tag, “I keep feeling as if it were
bed-time here, and I want to go to my tropical
island. Come, Janet!”

So they summoned their chariot, said good-by to
the little Fur-children, who looked after them wist- |
fully, and with many promises to come soon again,
they rose in the air and floated rapidly away.

““ Now for my island!” exclaimed Prue, as, after
the space of about half an hour, the chariot began
to descend, and they could see beneath them a
beautiful shore, and trees loaded with fruit. They
had been obliged before this to lay aside the pretty
coats, and hoods, and mittens, which had become
burdensome in the warmer air.

‘“Let’s stop first at the top of one of the cocoa-
nut-trees,” said Janet, ‘“‘and gather some cocoanuts,
because when we are on the ground we can’t reach
up to them.”

This was a good idea, and the chariot stopped
long enough for them to throw down a dozen or so,
then finishing its descent, allowed them to step out .
on the shore.

go


XI

“ My dream is of an island place
Which distant seas keep lonely ;
A little island, on whose face
The stars are watchers only.
Those bright, still stars ! they need not seem
Brighter nor stiller in my dream!”
—E. B. Browning.

HEY found the sand strewn with bits of
coral, and numbers of delicate little shells,
some of which they gathered and put in their

pockets. Then they took off their shoes and stock-
ings, and went wading for a while in the clear, rip-
pling water, till Janet suddenly remembered that
there might be crocodiles around, and the bare
thought made them hasten back on the land again.
The grass grew very luxuriantly, and there were a
great many beautiful flowers, with brilliant butter-
flies hovering about them. Birds of gorgeous
plumage flew overhead, now and then alighting,
gl
~

The Kanter Girls

and looking at the Kanter girls with unterrified
eyes. One gayly colored macaw, in particular,
seemed determined to keep in their neighborhood,
and whichever way they turned, he would almost
immediately appear on some rock or shrub close
by. .

“‘T wish I knew how to talk to him,” said Prue.

It was still early in the afternoon, and the sun
shone with such heat that Janet said they had better
walk in the shade, where the trees were thicker.

So they took a little path which led them along
in a roundabout way among the trees, and presently
brought them into an orange-grove, where the
oranges grew as thick as the apples in their father’s
apple orchard at home.

“The ripest and -yellowest are at the top,” said
Janet, looking up. ‘“ How shall we manage to get
them ? I tnink I will try to climb.”

But just as she took hold of a bough, the macaw
settled down upon it and screamed at her, so she
drew back and stood hesitating.

‘‘T hear voices up in the trees,” said Prue, catch-
ing her by the arm, “but it isn’t like our language,
and I can’t tell what they say. Oh! look, don’t
you see a boy up there ?”

“Yes, and he is going to throw oranges at us!”

925°
The Lunch Party

exclaimed Janet, dodging just in time to escape the
biggest one she ever saw. *

They could hear a great chattering now in the
tree-tops, as if there were at least five or six boys
there, and oranges came tumbling down on every
side.

‘Do you suppose they are savages?” whispered
Prue, as she and Janet sought refuge close by the
trunk of the largest tree.

“I’m afraid they are,” said Janet. “Oh! dear,
oh! dear, there is one climbing now down that tree.
I never saw a common person look like that! I
know it is a savage boy, but maybe he is too
young to have a bow and arrows or spears!”

The savage boy now leaped to the ground, and
was followed by four or five others, all grinning
and chattering and gesticulating. They seated them-
selves on the soft green grass and began to eat
oranges, beckoning to the Kanter girls, as if invit-
ing them to join them.

‘I never saw such big, juicy oranges,” said Janet ;
“and, oh! Prue, I do believe they are not sav-
ages at all, they are just big apes! Don’t let’s be
afraid of them.”

So the little girls edged along slowly, and as soon
as they reached the oranges they sat down on the

93
The Kanter Girls

grass and began to eat. They found the golden
-fruit so sweet, so delicious, and so refreshing that it
seemed as if they could never have enough of it.

It was a strange little lunch party they made there,
on the shady bank of the tropical island, the Kan-
ter girls with their bonnets falling back on their
shoulders, their eager eyes and rosy cheeks, and the
wild, grotesque apes with hairy legs. and arms, and
constant grin and chatter; the macaw perched on
a branch near by, watching them; and there were
birds of Paradise, and humming-birds, coming and
going all the time.

The feast went on very peaceably for some time,
till at last, unfortunately, Prue put out her hand to
take a fine orange which one of the apes had just
selected for himself. As quick as a flash he slapped
her rudely, and then all the apes sprang to their feet
at once, and the macaw began to scream with all
his might.

‘“Let’s go away!” said Janet, trying to speak
calmly and taking her sister by the hand. But as
they turned the apes sprang after them, seizing
them by their aprons and dresses, so that they could

anot get away.

“Oh! they will drag us off to their houses,”
sobbed Prue, overcome with terror.

94
The Lunch Party -

“Our rings! our rings!” cried Janet, and im-
mediately both the little girls plunged their hands
into their pockets.

The skinny, hairy hands of the apes suddenly
ceased clutching, for there was nothing to clutch.
Where had their victims gone? They ran about,
searching fiercely for a few moments, and then, as
if accusing one another, had a rough-and-tumble
fight together, wrestling, growling, and scratching,
and finally took themselves off out of sight and
sound, disappearing among distant trees.

95


XII

“What tale ne’er to be told, of folk unborn ?
What images of gray-clad damsels sweet
Shall cross thy sward with dainty, noiseless feet ? ”
—Welltam AMorres.
OW still it was after they went! Only the
breeze rustling the leaves ever so faintly,
only the mute fluttering of the butterflies,
only the soft low chance note of a bird. The ma-
caw stepped down upon the ground, and hopped
about as if uncertain which way to go.

Suddenly, in the trunk of a palm-tree near by, a
window seemed to open, the bark parting like
blinds, and the sweetest, merriest face in the world
peeped out, about six feet above the ground.

‘“Can’t you find them, macaw ?”
These words were uttered in a musical, teasing
voice. The macaw shook his head solemnly.
96
The Little Dryad

“Well, never mind, I'll come down there a little
while myself. Please just stand out of the way !”



And now a little
figure crept through
the palm-tree win-
dow, and with a
quick spring alight-
ed on the grassy turf in the very spot where, a short
time before, the feast of oranges had been held.
This new-comer was a little girl with brown eyes,
brown hair that twisted and curled like vine-ten-

97
The Kanter Girls

drils, and she wore a scant gown of changeable
green and wood color.

“They have left me at least oe, I am glad to
see!” she said, joyously, picking up an orange that
lay on the grass. The macaw was still hopping
and peering uncertainly about.

‘‘Oh! you needn't search any longer!” exclaimed
the little girl. ‘They are safe enough inside of
their trees by this time, and they will never be so
venturesome again. I only wish I knew whzch
trees they belong in,” she added, with a sigh, ‘ be-
cause then we might talk across to each other
sometimes, on moonlight nights.”

She began to skip and dance, all by herself,
over the grass, now and then gathering flowers and
again throwing them down. Suddenly the macaw
screamed, and she darted to the side of the palm-
tree, clinging to it so closely that she almost seemed
to become a part of it; but in a moment more she
ran out again, and said, laughingly :

“Why did you scream, macaw? There is noth-
ing here! Did you think the two little dryads
were coming back? I wish they would come, I
am so lonely here with nobody but grandmother !”

‘Here we are!” exclaimed two merry voices to-
gether, and there, all on a sudden, were Janet and

98
The Little Dryad

Prue, holding the little palm-tree girl’s hands in
their hands, and pressing their warm, rosy lips
against her cheeks.

‘“You are such a darling!” said Janet.

‘Why, where dd you come from?” asked the
little girl. “Do you live in any of these trees
close by? I never saw you before.”

“Live in trees!” laughed Janet. ‘‘ Why, what
do you take us for?”

‘““Aren’t you dryads?” the little one said, look-
ing startled. ‘“/ am a dryad, and I thought you
were some of my cousins from the trees on the
bank !”

“Oh! no,” said Prue, “we are just little girls,
But we saw you come out of that tree. How did
you do it?”

“That is my home,” said the little dryad, wonder-
ingly. ‘‘Oh! dear—oh ! dear, I have made a mis-
take! My old grandmother told me never to leave
my tree unless other dryads were out, and now she
will give me a scolding. There, she sees me!”

The Kanter girls glanced where she pointed, and
there, from the trunk of a very old fig-tree, peered
a stern, dark face, and a hand beckoned imperatively.

“Oh! don’t go back!” entreated Janet, as the
little dryad hesitated:

99
The Kanter Girls

A mischievous, rebellious gleam came into the
pretty brown eyes.

“JT won't go back!” she said. “I'll pretend I'don’t
see her. I have never been away from under these
trees in my life, and I have always wanted to go
down on the shore and see the waves.”

“Well, let’s go now,” said Prue, and away they
ran, all three of them, taking hold of hands. The
macaw flew screaming after them, and from a great
many of the trees that they passed, startled faces
looked out, and voices cried, ,

‘“Come back, sister! Come back, sister!”

But the little dryad only laughed mockingly, and
did not once stop running till she reached the sandy
shore. There she stood, looking out on the sea,
the blue, billowy sea, with-its great pulsating waves,
fringed with foam, beating at her feet.

“T don’t understand it! I don’t understand it!”
she said, softly.

“See the dear little shells down under your feet,”
said Prue; ‘I have my pocket half full, and I am
going to pick up some more.”

The child-dryad stooped and gathered a few, sil-
ver- and rose-colored. Then she. took up some
of the shining sand, and sifted it through her fin-
gers.
The Little Dryad

“T wish I could live in a rock or a shell,” she
said, wistfully. ‘‘Then I would stay here forever.”

“Do dryads have names?”
asked Prue. AERP

“My name is Sylvie,” an- 4
swered the little
one.

“JT wonder if
there are any
dryads in the
trees near our
house,” said Janet.

“Why, don’t you live
in your trees your-
selves?” asked Sylvie.

The Kanter girls
laughed merrily.

“We do live in a’
house of trees,” replied

_ Prue, “‘ but the trees had
to be cut down first, and
sawed into boards.”

“There! I thought
you were a sort of dryad!” exclaimed Sylvie, tr
umphantly. ‘‘ Where zs your house ?”

‘“‘Oh! it is in another country, very far away,” said





Io!
The Kanter Girls

Janct, adding, earnestly, ‘‘I do wish you would let us
take you there to live, we want another little sister
so much. There is an old pear-tree in the corner of
our yard, by the stone wall, and I know there isn’t
any dryad living in it, for when I stand on tiptoe on
the wall, I can just make out to look down in a
deep hole there is in the trunk, and it is all dark
and empty. I dropped some little stones in there
one day. Can’t you come and live in that tree?
We will go there and play with you every day.”

“Oh! do, do, po!” entreated Prue, throwing hcr
arms about the little dryad, and kissing her.

“T wonder if I dare?” said the dryad, thought-
fully.

“Oh! please, please do!” chorused the Kanter
girls.

The macaw, who had mounted a gray rock close
by, flapped his wings and screamed warningly.

“T believe I wzd/ go,” said Sylvie, “if only to get
away from the macaw. I will go and live in your
pear-tree in your far-away country. But how can
you take me there ?”

“Tn our Chariot,” said Janet, eagerly. “Tl call
the birds, Prue, and you gather up the cocoanuts
in your apron, and we'll go right straight off !”

In a few moments more, they were all three

102
The Little Dryad

seated in the chariot, and gently rising in the air.
Sylvie looked down on the beautiful island which
had always been her home.

‘‘Good-by, sisters! good-by, macaw!” she said,

and there was just a little sadness in her voice, but
still she wanted to go.

103


~ XIII

“T would with such an one confer,
To know what strange things chanced to her.”
—Philip Bourke Marston.

WAY, over sea and land, over mountains
A and valleys, onward the chariot sped, and
the sun was not yet setting when it came
softly to the ground, right among the hollyhocks
in the yard by the little brown cottage. Sylvie
was pale and trembling as she stepped out.
“The pear-tree ! quick, quick!” she whispered, “I
am so frightened here.”
The Kanter girls hurried her to the corner by the
stone wall, and the instant she reached the tree she
104
The Tenant of the Pear Tree

sprang lightly up to the opening in the trunk, and
immediately disappeared within. The Kanter girls
waited a little while, and then called her anxiously.

“Sylvie! Sylvie!”

Presently her. face appeared at the opening, and
she looked more at her ease.

“Tt is very nice in here,” she said, “though I

think no one has lived here for a long, long time.
But I shall get used to it pretty soon, and get
things settled.”
_ “Mamma is calling us in,” said Janet, ‘“‘so we
must go now. But we will come to-morrow
morning, and bring you things and play. Good-
night !”

‘“Good-night !” replied Sylvie, drawing her
pretty head in.

“Are there any bed-clothes?” asked Prue, lin-
gering, ©

“Everything I want,” answered the little dryad,
far down in the trunk.

When the Kanter girls went to bed that night,
the last thing they said, before going to sleep, was,
“Oh! how very nice itis to have a little dryad of
our own!”

When they awoke in the morning, their first
thought was of Sylvie, but their mother wanted

105
The Kanter Girls

their help about getting breakfast and clearing it
away, so that it was not until the dew was nearly
dried off the grass that they made their way to the
old, hollow pear-tree, carrying in their hands a doll,
a picture-book, a cup of milk, and a piece of cake.

“Sylvie! Sylvie!” they called, and instantly her
bright little face appeared at the opening.

‘“Come down and play,” they cried. ‘‘ See, we
have brought things for you.”

The little dryad laughed.

‘“‘T don’t care for things like that,” she said, “but
I should like to run about over the grass, and I
should like to see your house.”

She sprang down, bringing in her hand a string
of beads, which Janet hailed with delight.

‘“‘T lost them ever so long ago,” she said, ‘but I
did not know they were down in the pear-tree. I
must have dropped them there.”

Prue now pointed out the window of the room
where she and Janet slept. A wistaria vine had
grown up to the very sill.

‘‘Come into the house,” said Prue, “and we will
take you upstairs.”

‘Those are my stairs on the outside,” said Sylvie,
quickly ; “I am afraid to go up any way but my
own.”

106
The Tenant of the Pear Tree

And running to the vine, she climbed it with such
ease and lightness that the children had hardly time
to cry, “Oh!” before she was safe inside the win-
dow, smiling down at them.

The Kanter girls went up the usual way, and
joined Sylvie in their little bed-chamber, where they
began to take out one treasure after another to show
toher. But Sylvie did not seem properly impressed
by their Sunday hats, and their best hair-ribbons,
and she laughed with merry disdain at their pro-
posal to lend her shoes and stockings to cover her
little bare feet. There was, however, a small green
parasol of Prue’s, which she at first wondered at,
and then took such delight in, that Prue made her
a present of it on the spot.

While the Kanter girls were thus occupied with
their guest, their mother opened the door at the
foot of the stairs and called them to dinner. This
startled -Sylvie, and she retreated toward the
window, but Janet and Prue seized her good-nat-
uredly, and compelled her to go down with them,
and to take a seat between them at the table.
Their mother spoke kindly to her, gave her a plate,
and helped her like the rest.

But the little woodland dryad was not used to
such food, and she ate nothing, but looked sadly

107
The Kanter Girls

across the table at the open door, as if longing to
flee away.

When dinner was over, the pitying mother no-
ticing what scanty clothing Sylvie wore, took her
into another room and pinned about her shoulders
a little shawl which Janet could easily spare. The
dryad stood patiently, afraid to object.

‘“ But I want only my own little gown,” she said,
timidly.

‘‘Oh! nonsense, dear, you’d take cold,” said the
girls’ mother. Meanwhile the girls waited with
eagerness for their playmate.

‘Shall we go upstairs again, or out in the gar-
den ?” they asked, the moment she was free to join
them.

But she did not stop to answer. She sprang
through the doorway, over the steps, and across the
grassy yard, with such fleet feet that they could not
overtake her, and by the time they reached the pear-
tree, she was already safely hidden within it. But
they thought they could see her peeping out at
them from a crevice.

‘Come and play with us!” they cried.

“I can’t play any more to-day,” she said, wearily,
‘““T am too tired.”

Janet was compassionate. ‘‘ Poor little thing,” she

108
The Tenant of the Pear Tree

said, ‘never mind, we will come again for you to-
morrow.” .

“Yes, to-morrow!” answered the little dryad,
and her voice breathed so much sadness that it
quite haunted the Kanter girls for the rest of the
afternoon.

_ But, oh! how many plans they made about her!
They were so glad that they had brought her away
from the island, and that they had her safe in their
own pear-tree, .

“We will dress her just like ourselves,” said
Janet, “and we will teach her how to sew and
mend.”

“Ves, and teach her to read,” said Prue, ‘‘and
have her learn the multiplication-table.”

Then they planned which of their aprons they
would give her, and which of their playthings. They
thought they would let her have some of their
story-books, and they would cut out sewing work
for her, and let her help them weed their flower-
beds. She would be like a little new sister, and
maybe their father would ‘take her and them over
to the next town, in the wagon, some day, and
have their picture taken all together.

109


XIV

“Rheecus, I am the Dryad of this tree,
The rain and sunshine are my caterers,
Nor have I other bliss than simple life.
—James Russell Lowell,

HE next morning, as early as possible, the
Kanter girls hastened to the pear-tree to
call Sylvie. They were almost provoked
when they found, lying on the grass under the tree,
the nice, warm shawl which their mother had so
kindly put upon the little, scantily dressed dryad.
“Tt seems as if she was just determined to catch
cold and have rheumatism!” said Janet, with an air
of mature wisdom, and then she called, ,
“Sylvie! Sylvie!”

IIo
The Forest Refuge

But there was no answer. No bright little face
peeped out from the hollow trunk above her.

She called again and again, and so did Prue.
They called kindly, and then impatiently, and then
coaxingly, and finally they commanded her, but all
in vain. There was no answer, no little face, and a
strange dread crept over them.

“Let’s climb up and look in,” said Janet, softly.

“T’m afraid,” whispered Prue. ‘“ You doit, Janet.”

So ‘Janet climbed up with difficulty, but could
see nothing in the deep, dark hollow. Then Prue
found a long stick, and Janet, taking it, pushed it
away down inside the tree; but there was nothing
there, absolutely nothing, unless it might be a few
dead leaves.

“She’s raz away /” said Janet, dropping to the
ground, and looking at Prue with a very sober face.

“Ves, she must have run away,” sighed Prue.

They took up the shawl that she had cast off.
She had gone away clad only in her own little
wood-green gown. The burden of civilization was
too great for her, and she-had fled.

“T suppose,” said Janet, thoughtfully, ‘maybe
she did not like to go into houses and do the way
folks do.”

“T’m so sorry we tried to make her,” mourned

Itt
The Kanter Girls

Prue ; “she would have been so lovely to play with,
in the fields.”

‘Well, anyway, she has carried off that green
parasol,” said Janet.

‘“That’s good!” exclaimed Prue; “it will make
her remember us!”

They felt so depressed at the loss of their little
dryad, that they did not play very much that day,
but in the afternoon they took a walk up the woody
hill behind the house, for it seemed to them as
though they might perhaps find Sylvie hiding there.

They pushed on and on, without having much of
a path to follow, but they did not mind the under-
brush, and the air was sweet, and the birds sang
overhead. Every little while they called “Sylvie!
Sylvie!” very gently, but there was no answer but
the singing of the birds.

After they had climbed the hill for about an
hour, they found the trees growing farther apart,
and there were rocks covered with gray moss,
where the sun shone down. As the Kanter girls
were tired, they sat on one of these rocks to rest.

“This is a very pretty place,” said Janet, when
she had regained her breath a little.

“Yes, indeed,” said Prue; ‘and see that little
brook running over a rock and shining.”

Il2
The Forest Refuge

‘If Sylvie came away up here, she would like it
too well to go any farther,” remarked Janet.

Was it a little ripple of laughter they heard, or
only the plash of the shining, shallow brook ? They
looked before them, and behind them, and on every
side, but the sound had ceased.

‘What is that big green leaf, in the side of that
birch-tree, as far as you can see, over there?” asked
Prue. ‘It doesn’t look like a birch-leaf.”

“We'll go and see,” said Janet, springing up.

They ran together toward the tree, and as they
neared it Janet exclaimed :

“Why! It is your green parasol, Prue, just as
true as ever you live!”

“Then Sylvie is there! Oh, Sylvie, Sylvie!”
cried Prue, eagerly.

As they reached the tree and stopped breathless,
the parasol moved a little, was closed, and drawn
in, and in.another instant Sylvie herself peeped out
at them, a little timidly, but smiling.

‘What made you run away ?” demanded Janet.

‘Do come back!” pleaded Prue. ‘We have
not shown you the pretty pasture, nor the river-
banks! Do come back to the pear-tree again!”

“Oh! no,” murmured the little dryad, with a
shudder. “I do not like your houses, and your

113
The Kanter Girls

roads, and the men and wheels, and the dreadful
tramping and barking! I love you dearly, little
sisters, but I must stay among the trees, and with
my own people.”

“Are there other dryads here?” asked Janet,
looking about her anxiously.

The little dryad nodded.

“*Plenty of them,” she whispered, ‘but they don’t
want you to know it. If you came here hunting
for them, they would all go away to other forests
where no human foot ever treads. But they love
this spot, and I love it too, and I found a home in
this dear tree as soon as I reached it in the night.”

“Come out and play with us on the rocks,”
coaxed Prue.

But the little dryad shook her head.

“T cannot play with you any more,” she said, a
little sadly ; “I must never come out again except
when the dryads call me. I dare not venture. But
I love this spot, and I shall live happily here, only
you must not come to frighten the dryads, or we
shall all depart together.”

“Qh ! dear,” said Prue, with tears in her eyes, “I
did not want to lose you!”

Janet now argued and entreated, but it was all in
vain, the little dryad grew firmer still, and at last

II4
The Forest Refuge

drew her pretty curly head quite down out of
sight.

The Kanter girls waited under the birch-tree, and
called her several times, but she would not show
herself again, so at last, as the sun was getting low,
and there were clouds coming over the sky, they
slowly left the place to go down the hill, home-
ward bound.

When they were about entering the thicker part
of the forest, they heard, far behind them, a sweet
little voice calling faintly,

‘““Good-by !”

They turned and caught one last Sirnpse of Syl-
vie. Prue said afterward that she was sure she saw
other faces peeping from other trees.

“Good-by!” the Kanter girls called back in
reply, and then, hand in hand, they ran down the
hill as fast as the underbrush would let them, and
were glad when they saw the smoke curling up from
their own kitchen chimney, where they knew their
dear mother was getting a nice warm supper ready
for them.

“T like my own kind of folks,” said Janet, as they
entered the yard.

“So do I,” answered Prue, ‘but I love Sylvie too,
and I am so sorry she couldn’t stay in the pear-tree !”

115
J



XV

“ Surely,” said I, “surely that is
Something at my window lattice.”
—Edgar Allan Poe.

“ To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower.”
—William Blake.

T was a showery day. Part of the time the rain
pattered down so briskly that the garden-
paths were full of little pools, and the flowers

hung their heads heavily, drenched, but rejoicing,
for this was far better than the heat and dust of the
days before. The Kanter girls were learning to
hemstitch, and they took their work up into their
own room, so as to hear the rain-drops on the low
roof, which was a kind of home music that they
always liked.
116
Something New Thursdays Only

A part of the ceiling in their room slanted down-
ward, because it was directly under the roof, but
this slanting portion did not reach quite across the
top on the one hand, nor quite down to the floor on
the other hand, and it was always a mystery to the
Kanter girls what there could be in the little cut-off
places.

‘Of course there ave places,” said Janet, posi-
tively, “for if you take a right-angled triangle, and
cut off the sharp corners till you make it look like
the shape of our room, it leaves two little empty
triangles in those two corners, and they are trian-
gular halls just as long as the room is. What I
want to know is, what is in them.”

‘“‘ Besides,” said Prue, “there are two more just
such places belonging to the room next to this.
And then, don’t you know the ell our pantry is in,
downstairs? The pantry doesn’t reach up into the
sharp part of the roof. The roof goes up a good
deal higher, and yet there isn’t any room of ours
there, nor any way to get in there. There is a. win-
dow in that part too, we can see it from the yard,
you know, but father says it is only an imitation
window, just for looks, and not a real one. The
blinds are always closed, and it is smaller than our
windows.”

117
The Kanter Girls







“Tl tell you,” said Janet, lowering her voice
mysteriously, “I do believe there is another family
living in this house, and their rooms are in those
places where we have never been.”

118
Something New Thursdays Only

Prue was delighted with this idea.

‘‘T wish we could see them,” she said. “The
people must be smaller than we are. I have heard
noises sometimes. If the rain were not so loud on
the roof, maybe we could hear them now.”

‘Perhaps the rain isn’t a// that we hear,” re-
marked Janet, suggestively, and then she went on
to say, ‘‘ There area great many things that we can’t
see, and that I want to see so very much. There
are the animals in a drop of water, and the little
mites of things that live on plants. And I should
like to go down into ant-hills, and in mouse-holes.
But there isn’t any way that we can manage it. We
are not little enough, to begin with.”

‘“No,” said Prue, ‘we ought to be able to grow
big or little, just as we likey and to go into any
place as if we belonged there. J wish we could.”

“Tap! tap! tap!” sounded something, rapping
sharply. at the window-pane, and there stood the
beautiful bluebird on the: sill.

The Kanter girls ran to open the window, and
cried, ‘Come in! Come in!”

But the bird dropped from her bill two little
packages into their hands, and stopping only long
enough to say, ‘‘Good for Zhursdays only, mind!”
she flew away, shaking silvery drops from her wings.

119
The Kanter Girls

“Oh! joy, joy!” exclaimed Prue, ‘I know there
is something nice for us here!”

But when they opened the parcels, they found in
each of them only a stout plaid apron with pockets.
Prue put hers on and found it fitted very well.

‘““What a funny present!” said Janet, holding
hers still in her hand.

There was a slip of a monthly rose growing quite
vigorously in a flower-pot on the window-sill, and
Prue, suddenly turning that way, remembered what
Janet had said about tiny living things on plants.
It occurred to her that perhaps she could see some
of them if she tried very hard, and she stepped to
the window.

‘“Where are you, Prue?” exclaimed Janet, the
next instant, for Prue had vanished.

‘She didn’t go out of the room,” said Janet to
herself, ‘for I stood right here by the door. And
she hasn’t put her ring on, for that is in the pocket
of her other dress. And she is not under the bed.
But—that plaid apron! and this is Thursday. [’ll
put mine on.”

She put it on as quickly as she could, but still
not seeing Prue anywhere, she determined to go
downstairs. At the foot of the stairs, a gray mouse
darted before her and disappeared in a hole.

I20
Something New Thursdays Only

‘Oh! that’s where you live, is it?” said Janet,
“T wish I could go in there with you !”

She bent down as she spoke, and suddenly found
herself standing within, yes, wzthzz the hole, and
the mouse was looking over his shoulder at her.

‘ Please don’t go so fast,” said Janet, “I want to
look about a little. It isn’t so dark as I thought it
would be.”

The mouse slackened his speed, and Janet trudged
on after him, now and then jumping over bits of
plaster, then turning corners, till at last he made a
bold leap from beam to beam.

“Oh! I can’t do ¢hat /” said Janet ; “and on the
whole, it is rather dismal in here. I think I will go
home.”

“It would be quite as well,” said the mouse,
sharply, and another leap took him out of sight.

Janet made her way back as best she could, and
after reaching the stairway hastened to her room.
There she found Prue waiting for her.

‘Where have you been?” each demanded of the
other. .

Janet told her story, and then Prue said that she
herself had been visiting the rose-tree, or rather she
had meant to do so, in order to see what kind of
creatures lived upon it. She had begun her journey

I2I
The Kanter Girls

at the edge of the flower-pot, but she had become
so very, very small, that the earth before her seemed
heaped up like mountains, and it was such a long,
tiresome task to cross them that she had to stop to
rest. .

‘Then a fly, a thousand times as big as I was, lit
down near by, and frightened me so, that all I could
think of was to wish myself back with you in our
room. And when I did that, here I found myself
again. I took the plaid apron off, and put it
away in the bureau.”

“IT think we ought to use our aprons more care-
fully,” said Janet, after a little consideration. ‘We
made a mistake, going to those places. What we
wanted was to find out who lives in the parts of
this house where we do not live, and as soon as
you are rested, Prue, I wish you would put your
apron on again, and come with me, for it will be
a whole week before we have another Thursday.”

“No,” said Prue, shaking her head, “I am not go-
ing anywhere else to-day. ee apron is put ome)
and I am tired.”

‘Well, then I am going alone!” said Janet ; and
with an air of great determination she left the
room.

122








Ming a the i
Weight bors~



XVI

“The world is so full of a number of things
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
—Robert Louts Stevenson.

“One half of the world does not know how the other half lives.”
—Common Saying.

S she stood a moment in the passage, glan-
cing this way and that, she saw a narrow
door in the wall under the eaves, which

she had never noticed before. She went to it,
opened it, and almost before she had time to think,
found herself entering a long, rather dark hall,
at the end of which was another door partly open.

“There, now!” said Janet to herself. “I Anew
there was another house inside of our house, and I
am sure there are people too, for this hall is car-
peted.”

123
The Kanter Girls -

It had indeed a carpet so thick and soft. that
not a footfall could be heard upon it. Janet kept
on until she reached the half-open door. There
she stopped and looked in. She could see two or
three rooms leading on one from another, all dimly
lighted. In the nearest. room, by an open fire, sat
two little golden-haired girls in their night-gowns,
playing cat's cradle. .

‘May I come in?” asked Janet, softly.

They sprang up instantly, very much startled, and
yet smiling as if they were not afraid. One of them
came forward, and taking Janet by the hand, led
her in. :

‘“You mustn’t wake the family,” she said, in a low
voice, ‘‘ but Claribel and I are very glad to see you.
Come and sit by us. How do you happen to be
awake and dressed at this hour? We could not
sleep at all, Claribel and I, so we slipped out of bed
and came here by the fire.”

“The rain on the roof kept us awake,” said Clari-
bel, curling her toes up as she held them toward the
fire, ‘and we thought we heard other noises. Rosa-
bel and I often say we think there are other folks
in the house, but papa and mamma and Prim only
laugh at us. How azd you come here in the rain,
and who are you, and where do you live?”

124


} ft Dy,
v

TWO LITTLE GIRLS



PLAYING CAT’S CRADLE.
Calling on the Neighbors

‘Why, I live Zere, this is my father’s house!”
said Janet, “and I came through your door away at
the end of the hall.”

“There, now!” exclaimed Claribel. ‘“ Prim must
have forgotten to lock it before he went to bed.
Mamma said he would forget some time, but he has
invented a new kind of lock, and nobody but him- -
self knows how to turn the key, so papa trusted
him.”

‘Do you ever go out by that door?” asked Janet,
wondering how it could be that she had never seen ©
these pretty children before.

‘“Oh! no, indeed!” replied Claribel. ‘‘ We are not
allowed. There is only an old lumber-room there.
Even papa and mamma never pass that door, and
they keep it locked.”

‘We have plenty of doors besides that,” remarked
Rosabel, contentedly.

“Well, of all things!” exclaimed Janet. “ Our
folks don’t know you are living here at all! I wish
Prue were here—she is my sister. What a pretty
bed you have, and what a nice room this is! How
many of you are there ?”

“Why, westwo, of course, and papa and mamma,
little boy Ray, Aunt Pen, and our big brother
Prim.”

127
The Kanter Girls

“ What a nice number!” said Janet. ‘ How I do
wish Prue were here!”

“Go and call her,” replied Rosabel.

“But first come out into the far room with me
and get cream-cakes,” said Claribel, taking Janet's
hand in hers and leading her away.

“Bring me some cream-cakes, too!” were the
words Rosabel sent after them, as she nestled down
by the fire again.

“Step softly, so as not to wake anybody,” whis-
pered the little girl in the night-gown, as she took
Janet through four rooms in succession. In each
room stood a bed, and in every bed there was some-
one sleeping. Janet felt utterly bewildered. The
rooms were all partially lighted, and the furniture,
though very comfortable looking, was well worn,
as if it had been in use for years.

“ And there are things here that zever could have
come up our narrow stairs!” thought Janet.

At last they reached the farthest room, where
there was a stove, and closets, and a white cat asleep
in a chair. Claribel found a jar from which she
helped herself liberally to cakes, filling Janet’s hands
as well as her own. The cakes were odd, but
good, Janet decided, as she tasted one. There was
certainly cream in them, and they seemed to melt

128
Calling on the Neighbors

in the mouth. There were two covered baskets
standing on the table.

‘Those are for the picnic we are going to have
next moonlight,” said Claribel; and just then her
foot hit the tongs, so that they fell with a ringing
noise on the floor.

‘“What’s that?” called a quick, clear voice from
the next room.

“Only me, Aunt Pen! I’m out here getting
cream-cakes, and there’s a new little girl with me
that’s come to call.”

‘All right,” said Aunt Pen; ‘keep quiet, and
don’t touch the raisins. You can invite the girl to
the picnic.”

‘“What’s that ?” asked a voice from the room be-
yond.

“Oh! only Claribel, with a little girl visitor, get-
ting cream-cakes,” answered Aunt Pen.

‘“What did she say, Prim ?” asked a sweet, sleepy
little voice.

‘‘Claribel is eating cream-cakes and has company.
Go right back to sleep, Ray!”

‘“Why, we have waked everybody up !” whispered
Janet, in dismay.

‘““Never mind. They’ll go to sleep again,” said
Claribel. ‘And I’m glad Aunt Pen azd wake up,

129
The Kanter Girls

because now you can come to our picnic, you and
your sister Prue.”

“ Well, we will,” said Janet.

The two children then softly made their way back
‘through the row of sleeping-rooms, and found
- Rosabel nodding by the fire. .

“T’m getting sleepy myself,” said Claribel, ‘ but
I'll go through the hall with you, and you must be
sure to come early next moonlight to the picnic.”

Janet turned a little reluctantly from the pleasant
room, making her way into the hall and back to the
door by which she had entered. As soon as she
passed through, it closed behind her, with a soft
good-by from Claribel.

130
een

Pens



XVII

“Oh, if you could see zy moon!”
—Lowell’s Letters.

“ Who felt the quaint light subtly shining in ?
Who heard that other wind within the wind ? ”
—Ars. Piatt.

ANET lost no time in telling the story of her
great discovery to Prue. They debated with
much interest the question where all those

rooms could be, and in what business the father of
the children was engaged

The rain had now ceased falling, and the girls
were able to go out of doors in the afternoon to
work in their flower-beds. Their pansies needed
weeding, and their pink-roots were ready to be
divided. As they worked they cast many a glance
up at the sloping roof over the pantry, and at the
window whose blinds were never opened.

131
The Kanter Girls

‘Tt must be dark in there,” said Prue, thought-
fully.

‘No, it isn’t very dark,” said Janet, ‘ and if it
were, they wouldn’t care. They have gone to
sleep.”

That evening, as the Kanter girls’ mother opened
the house door, to look out before locking it, she
saw that the wind had blown all the clouds away, :
and the sky was clear and blue. The moon was
high, and its white light filled the garden so that
she could tell one flower from another.

“Tt is a bright moonlight night,” she said; “it is
beautiful outside.”

The Kanter girls exchanged glances, for they
knew what they meant to do. They remembered
that they were invited to a picnic.

When they went upstairs, they first put on their
plaid aprons, and then, leaving their moon-lit room,
they stepped into the passageway.

““ Which side is the door?” asked Prue.

‘This side,” said Janet, and, turning to the left,
she found the door, indeed, but could not open it.
She tried it again and again.

“Prim has locked it,” she said; and then she
rapped as loudly as she dared, but no one came.

Meanwhile, Prue discovered a door on the other

132
The Moonlight Picnic

side, at the right, and told Janet she saw a light
shining through the crack.

“Ts it locked ?” asked Janet.

“Yes,” said Prue, trying it, “but Iam going to rap.”

As she did so, they heard a soft shuffling step ap-
proaching, that suggested loose slippers, and the next
moment a pleasant-faced old man opened the door.
He had a bald head and a stoop in his shoulders.
His spectacles were pushed up on his forehead, and
in one hand he held a little shoe.

‘Come in, come in,” he said, cordially.

So the girls went in, and were surprised to find
that the first room they entered was a cobbler’s
shop. Shoes lay around, both new and old, with
pieces of leather and two or three lasts. The cob-
bler seated himself on his bench, and went to work
on the little shoe, which needed a patch. He asked
the girls what he could do for them.

“We want to find the house where Claribel—”
began Janet, but Prue whispered,
“We are in the house now ;”

herself, and said,

“Can you tell us where two little girls live,
named Claribel and Rosabel ?”

‘““Those are Mr. Barley’s children,” said a voice
from the next room.

so Janet corrected

133

'
The Kanter Girls

It was the cobbler’s wife who spoke. She was a
stout, short-waisted woman. She was very busy
about something, the girls could not tell what, for
she stood with her back toward them.

“Oh ! yes,” said the cobbler; “you have only to
go through Mr. Mory’s premises, and you will find
yourselves at the Barleys’ residence.”

“Vou see,” said Janet, in explanation, ‘‘ we are
invited to a picnic, and we don’t want to be late.”

“Just so,” replied the cobbler. “ Well, now, this
is Master Ray’s shoe I have been mending for that
same picnic, and you may take it to him.”

So Prue took the little shoe, and the cobbler,
pointing out a distant door as the one for them to
depart by, took up another shoe, and began peg-
ging.

The Kanter girls, going through the door, found
themselves at the foot of a long stairway, up which
they ran eagerly, and at the top, seeing another
door ajar, they pressed in, breathless and somewhat
abashed, as they met the eyes of a grave old school-
master—evidently a school-master—dressed in black
broadcloth, who sat at a desk mending quill pens.
The room was full of desks, but the seats were
empty.

“ Quietly, quietly, my children!” said the school-

134
The Moonlight Picnic



“this is a holi-
day. Why have you
come ?”

“If you are Mr. Mory,
will you please tell us
the way to Mr. Barleys?” asked Janet.



E35
The Kanter Girls

“Go out by the opposite door, and you cannot
miss it,” he replied.

The girls thanked him, and crossed the school-
room as quick as they could. Now, there was a
stairway to go down, but that took only a moment,
and then, ¢#ez they were inthe comfortable kitchen
where Claribel had given Janet cream cakes, and
where the white cat was still dozing in the chair.

No person was in sight, and no sound was to be
heard, except now and then what seemed like a
smothered sob in another room. The girls stole
softly along, and in the third room they found little
Ray on his bed, crying.

“Dear little Ray, don’t cry!” said Janet.
‘“Where’s Claribel ?”

‘““She’s gone to the picnic, and everybody is
gone,” sobbed Ray.

“Oh! then we ave late. But why didn’t they
take you?”

‘‘My shoe went to be patched,” said Ray, “and
it hasn’t come back, and I can’t go barefoot. I
could go barefoot, but papa won’t let me.”

“Well,” said Prue, merrily, “ you may go to the
picnic now, and you need not go barefoot, for I
have brought your shoe. The cobbler has just
mended it.”

136
The Moonlight Picnic

The tears gave way to smiles as little Ray saw
his shoe. He sprang up and put it on.

‘Tm going!” he said, catching up a small straw
hat from a chair.

‘Take us with you,” said Janet ; ‘we are invited,
but we are late.”

‘And now “ow will he go?” she thought. “ Will
he go out into our part of the house and down our
stairs ?” .

But no! He went to a window, opened it, and
looked out.

‘The ladder is here,” he said, cheerfully. ‘“ Will
you go first, or are you afraid ?”

‘I’m not afraid,” said Janet, ‘it looks like a very
strong ladder.”

‘Tt looks like a very long ladder,” said Prue.

But the girls had steady heads, and they had
climbed ladders before now, so they crept out upon
this one, first Janet, then Prue, and then little Ray.

As they went down they heard the clapping of
hands, and when Janet reached the bottom, Claribel
caught her in her arms.

‘Tam so glad!” she exclaimed.

Then Prue reached ground, and Rosabel smiled
upon her and took her in charge.

‘““What made you so late?” asked Aunt Pen.

137-
~

The Kanter Girls

She was-a tall lady with brisk movements and a
pleasant smile.

Janet explained that they had been obliged to
come by way of the cobbler’s and Mr. Mory’s
premises.

‘There now, Prim!” said Claribel, looking re-
proachfully at a boy who stood near by.

‘“T forgot, Claribel. Indeed I forgot,” he said ;
‘‘and besides the key was in my other pocket.”

The picnic now was at its height.. Janet and
Prue joined in everything; they ran races, they
played games, made grape-vine swings, and tossed
balls. Meanwhile the older people laid a table-cloth
on the ground near the pear-tree, and spread forth a
feast of cream-cakes, cracked nuts, raisins, and other
dainties. ,

When the children were called, Janet and Prue
found plates set for them the same as for the others,
and everything was delicious.

‘“T like a moonlight picnic,” said Prue. All the
family smiled upon her and told her she must come
again,

Was it the moonlight that gave the charm? It
streamed through the trees, it lay broad upon the
grass, the garden flowers fairly shone in it, and
there was a spell of peace and happiness upon all.

138
The Moonlight Picnic

When it was all over, when the supper was fin-
ished, the games ended, and the moonlight picnic
had come to a close, when Janet and Prue had said
good-night to their dear new neighbors, and in
their own room had laid aside their wonderful
aprons, Prue said:

‘Janet, you know their home is right within our
home and nobody has realized it. Do you suppose
their moonlight is within our moonlight, and their
garden within our garden, in just the same way ?”

“Maybe,” replied Janet, briefly.

Then they made ready for bed, and said softly
to each other, as their heads sank upon their pil-
lows :

“ How beautiful it has been !”

139


XVIII

“ Off talys, and tryfulles, many man tellys ;
Sume byn trew, and sume byn ellis.”

(): day the Kanter girls were sent by their

mother to Mrs. Wray’s house, to return a

borrowed pattern. They liked this errand,
because it gave them the chance of a good play-
hour with Ned and Susie Wray. So*they set forth
with light hearts and soon crossed the fields that
lay between the two dwellings.

But this morning, as it happened, Ned and Susie
were away from home, so the Kanter girls stood in
the pleasant door-yard when their errand was done,
a little disappointed and a little uncertain which
way to turn. Mrs. Wray saw it, and said,

“If you like butternuts, girls, there are a plenty
up in our garret on the floor, and you may get all
you want. Susie keeps a stone there to crack them

140
Down a Long, Long Stairway

on, but Ned brings them down to that big rock
under the ash-tree.”

“Oh! thank you,” exclaimed Janet, “we do like
butternuts,”

“Yes, we do very much,” said Prue.

‘Not the main garret,” said Mrs, Wray, as they
turned toward the entry stairs, “ but the garret over
the kitchen. Turn to the right as you get to the
top, through the low door, and that will take you
down three steps into the kitchen garret. There’s
another way through the shed, but you don’t want
to go out there.”

The Kanter girls went up the stairs as directed,
and at the top opened the door on the right. It
was just high enough for them, but a man would
have had to stoop going through. They then went
down three wooden steps into this little garret,
which they had never seen before. Here bunches
of herbs’ were hung, and the air was heavy with a
mingled scent of catnip, mint, and pennyroyal.
There was a spinning-wheel in one corner and a heap
of dried sweet corn in another. On anold piece of
canvas spread over the floor, a barrel of butternuts
had been poured out, with Susie’s stone and ham-
mer lying close by. In the end of the garret was
one cobwebby window through which the morning

141
The Kanter Girls

sun shone in dusty lines, and by the window, ina
low splint chair, sat a little old woman knitting.
She held her work near her eyes, and only glanced
up once as the girls opened the door. She wore a
brown gown and a brown cap. Seeing that she
paid no attention, the girls quietly gathered up a
quantity of butternuts in their aprons. They had
meant to crack them upstairs, but fearing to disturb
the knitter, they now carried them down under the
ash-tree.

“This is better too,” said Prue, ‘because the
shells won’t make such a litter.”

In their haste they had not taken butternuts
enough, and were soon ready for more. They ran
up the stairs, and as they opened the door again into
the little garret, they saw the old woman just disap-
pearing by another door behind the spinning-wheel.

‘That’s the way down into the shed,” said Janet.

‘Oh ! she’s left one of her needles!” exclaimed
Prue, picking up a long shining steel. ‘“ Let us run
after her with it.”

They pushed in behind the wheel, opened the door,
which was left a little ajar, and passing through,
found themselves on a dark descending stairway,
very narrow, and with very small steps. Janet went
ahead and Prue followed carefully.

142


SAID JANET.

SHED,

THE

INTO

E WAY DOW

THAT’S TH
Down a Long; Long Stairway

‘‘T suppose the door at the foot of the stairs is
shut,” said Janet, “and that is what makes it so
dark.”

“} have a mind to wait till you get there and
open it,” said Prue.

“Oh! no, come right along,” urged Janet, “ we'll
be out in the shed in a minute. I wish we had
brought our nuts, so as not to go up again.”

‘“Why don’t we reach the bottom ?” asked Prue,
after a few moments, as they still descended the
stairway, making a turn from time to time.

‘““T don’t know,” said Janet ; “ they are such little
steps that maybe we think we get along faster than
we really do.”

“J believe they go into the shed cellar,” remarked
Prue, picking her way with close-gathered skirts.

‘Perhaps they do,” said Janet, cheerfully. “1
wish we had counted the steps. I mean to begin
‘now, though there cannot be many left. One, two,
three, four—’

And so she went on, until at the twentieth, Prue,
who began to feel timid, whispered,

“Let us go back!”

“Oh! no, hark! I hear someone just below. It
is a boy whistling. Perhaps he is coming for the
needle.”

145
The Kanter Girls

There surely were steps approaching, and soon
a little light appeared, a tiny lantern, held by a boy
who was groping his way upward. His brown
clothes looked like dark leather, and his shaggy eye-
brows met over his eyes, but his face was child-
like and not unattractive. His brown cap rested
on clustering, black, curly hair, and the little button
at the top hung loose.

“You needn’t come up any farther,” said Janet,
“we have brought the needle. How much longer
are these stairs?”

“Twice as much again,” said the boy, looking at
them in amazement.

‘Don’t they lead into Mrs. Wray’s shed ?” asked
Prue, looking over Janet’s shoulder.

“They lead into my playhouse,” said the boy.

‘Oh! take us there, then!” exclaimed Janet ;
“we don’t want to climb the stairs again, and we
should like your playhouse, I know. When we have
seen it we can go home.”

Prue could not remember ever having seen a
playhouse on the Wray farm, but she thought he
might mean the grape-arbor, so she kept silence.

The boy turned and led the way downward, Ja-
net and Prue following as best they could, for it
really seemed better now to keep on than to turn

146
\
Down a Long, Long Stairway

back. But, oh! the endlessness of it, down, down,
down, with no variation, except that now and then
the light disappeared for a moment and there was a
corner to turn.

‘‘How much farther is it?” asked Janet.

‘Quarter as much again,” said the little guide,
speeding downward.

“Go slower,” said Janet.

“T wish we Aad gone back,” Prue began, but just
then they came out on a landing, and the little boy
waved his lantern and exclaimed,

‘Now you are down, and here is my playhouse.”

He guided them into a dimly lighted enclosure,
where some low seats cut in the rock were all
that the Kanter girls could see.

“JT don’t call this a playhouse,” said Janet, “I
call it a cellar.”

‘‘But maybe the family house is pleasant,” said
Prue, “and we want to give the old lady her needle.
What is your name, boy ?”

“Klein,” he replied, soberly. He had expected
them to praise his playhouse. .

“That was my great-aunt who dropped the
needle,” he added, directly after. ‘‘ We always tell
her she will lose something, going up in that
strange place to knit.” .

147
The Kanter Girls

“Take us to her,” said Janet, imperatively.

The boy nodded, and beckoned them to follow
him through a roughly hewn passageway.

The Kanter girls now found themselves on a
narrow road with walls of rock, and the light was
like late twilight, but their eyes were becoming
used to it, and they could see the little figure push-
ing steadily ahead with the button bobbing on his
cap. :

“He don’t look quite like common boys,” whis-
pered Prue.

“No,” answered Janet, ‘“‘I don’t think he is a
common boy, but he may be a miner.”

By this time they were in sight of a jagged arch-
way. The boy went through it, and they heard
him calling tosomeone. The Kanter girls followed,
and found that the archway was the entrance to a
dwelling. There was a fire inside, and a table sct
with a great many plates—as many as thirty, Pruc
thought, but she did not like to be seen counting.
A short, brisk woman was stepping about, and in
the chimney-corner sat the little great-aunt, still
knitting, but with only three needles.

The unexpected appearance of the Kanter girls
caused some excitement. The brisk woman dropped
the skillet she was carrying, the great-aunt peered

148
Down a Long, Long Stairway

anxiously over her work, and there were mysterious
scuffling sounds in the darkest and farthest part of
the room.

“They wanted to come, and I couldn’t help it,”
said Klein, in a tone of self-defence.

“‘T did not wait to latch the door,” sighed the
great-aunt. ‘But they must not stay long, they
must go home, or a



‘We have an errand,” said Janet, quickly; ‘“ we
found your needle, and came to bring it to you.”

The great-aunt put out her hand to take the
needle, but Janet stepped backward and continued
to hold it.

“Thank you, child,” said the great-aunt. ‘It is
well that you have an errand. Now give me the
needle and go home. It will take a long time to
clirab the stairs. And you, Klein, go with them
and fasten the door.”

“Who is that under the table?” asked Janet,

Prue was surprised at Janet’s inquisitiveness, but
the great-aunt replied, in a mild voice,

“ Klein’s brother. Come out here, Heft!”

Out crept Heft, and stood in plain sight. He
was smaller than Klein, but he looked older and
more surly.

149
The Kanter Girls

“Who is that behind the big chair ?” asked Janet.

‘‘Klein’s sister, Mog,” said the great-aunt, gent-
ly. ‘Come here, Mog!”

Mog came slowly forth, and stared at the Kanter
girls from under her heavy eye-brows.

“Who is in that earthen crock behind you?”
demanded Janet
assuming a stern
tone. Prue felt
distressed at Ja-
net’s persistence,
but the great-
aunt answered
very softly,

“Tt is little
* Guld!”

And _ bending
over the crock,












Down a Long, Long Stairway

she lifted him out. He was smaller than any of
the others, with shrewd eyes and warlike fists, but
when Janet laughed, little Guld looked up at her
and laughed back again.

Janet was no longer in doubt.

‘‘T am so glad we have found you,” she said, cor-
dially. ‘‘ You are kobolds, I am sure, and I sup-
pose there are dozens more of you in those dark
corners. We didn’t know you were in the neigh-
borhood.”

‘“You won't mention it, I hope,” said the brisk
woman, uneasily.

The great-aunt laid down her knitting and asked
in a trembling voice if Janet would not kindly give
her her needle. _

“Not yet,” said Janet ; and Prue, who had felt a
slight alarm relieved only by the thought of the in-
visible ring in her pocket, now remembered what
she and Janet had read about odd little people who
live in strange corners of the earth, and who will do
all in their power to oblige a person who has any-
thing of theirs in his possession.

““We want to see the place, now we are down
here,” said Janet, “and you must guide us about
and protect us. After that, I will give up the
needle.”

I51
The Kanter Girls

“Tam too busy,” said the brisk woman.

‘T am too tired,” said the great-aunt.

“ We won't go!” said Heft and Mog.

But Klein said he would go if he could find the
way, and little Guld said,

“Take me, and I will show you !”

So Klein took Guld upon his shoulder and led
the way out, Janet and Prue following. They went
along another road, and in the dim light the Kanter
girls saw trees and walls and fields, with here and
there a kobold digging the ground. It was like a
landscape painted in sepia. Wherever the road
divided, Guld pointed out to Klein the way he was
to take. Here and there they saw a dwelling in
the rocks, and surprised faces at the windows as
they passed. The whole region was roofed over
like one immense and continuous archway.

152
IS ithe




“‘T have not time to stay,
And yet I will.”

—Long fellow.

“It would have been a pity for such a race to go extinct.”
— Thomas Hood.

HEY came presently to a little stream
which ran out of the rocks and trickled
away into silence down a cleft. There

was a bench near by, and Prue said :

‘“ Let us sit down and rest.”

Janet consented, for she wanted to look about
her more. There was a turn ahead which cut off
the view, but she could see a long way back down
the road, and there were two moving specks in the
distance.

‘‘T am very glad you have stopped !” cried a ko-
bold, running toward them from a stone hut a few
rods away. His voice was thin and high-pitched,

153
The Kanter Girls

but he tried to make it agreeable, and smiled as he
spoke. Prue wished he wouldn't smile.

‘Please lend me the needle a moment,” he said
to Janet. ‘My sister wants it while she turns a
stocking-heel. It won’t take her two minutes.”

‘““T can’t spare it,” said Janet.

‘Oh, do let me touch it!” he begged. “I want
to see if it is sharp.”

Janet did not answer, but Guld said quietly
“Go!” and the kobold retreated.

By this time the two specks grew bigger and
more distinct.

‘““T do believe that Mog and Heft are coming
too,” said Prue.

‘TI knew they would follow us,” answered Klein.

‘‘We are not going to sit here waiting for them,”
exclaimed Janet, springing up. ‘“ Aren’t you rested,
Prue?” ;

Prue was quite rested, and starting off again they
were soon around the turn with a new stretch of
road before them, wider and with a loftier roof and
fresh signs of habitation.

As they drew near a dwelling somewhat higher
in its situation than the rest, deeper recessed in the
rock, and with a rough outer stairway leading up
to its door, which stood open, they heard a woman’s

154
Little Guld

voice inside singing. It was such a pleasant, cheery
sound that the Kanter girls stopped to listen.

“Let us go in and visit her,” said Janet.

“Oh! may we?” Prue asked Guld.

Guld hesitated, and Klein started to move on,
but the Kanter girls would not follow.

“Tt will delay us too much,” said Guld then in a
low voice.

‘“Oh! ze don’t care,” said Janet, twirling the
needle lightly in her fingers.

“Very well,” said Guld. ‘Go in, and make your
visit. Klein and I will sit out here on the rocks
until you come back.”

Janet had at first half a mind to compel Guld to
go with them, but as it occurred to her that perhaps
she and Prue could talk more freely without listen-
ers, she decided to leave him.

‘“Now remember, you are not to run away!”
she called back when half way up the steps. Guld
nodded soberly.

In another moment the Kanter girls stood be-
fore the open door and the woman within stopped
her singing and said, quickly :

“Why, you dear little girls! Come right in!
Who are you?”

Now it was like dusk outside, but the Kanter

155
The Kanter Girls

girls having become used to it, they could see their
-way without any trouble. Inside this house, how-
ever, there was more light, something like very
early dawn, and the woman’s face was so bright and
kind that Janet exclaimed :

‘You are the very nicest kobold we have seen
in all this country !”

“ Now sit down in these two little stone chairs,
and tell me your names,” she said. As she spoke
she opened the door into an inner room which was
even lighter than the first and made everything
plainer.

‘“Why, this seems almost like home,” said Janet,
“but out of the windows it is like black night.”

‘Have you lost your way?” asked the kobold
woman. ‘If you have, I can help you.”

“Oh, no!” said Janet. ‘ We know the way per-
fectly as far as we have come. We are the Kanter
girls, and we are just seeing the country. We are
not afraid, and we can go back whenever we like
because we have the great-aunt’s knitting-needle.”

So saying, she held it up to view.

‘So you came by way of the great-aunt’s,” said
the woman, thoughtfully. ‘‘ You are quite right in
keeping the needle. Tell me, did you see—but no,
probably you did not! They are very careful.”

156, ;
Little Guld

“We followed Klein down the stairs. There
were hundreds of steps!” said Janet.

‘‘T suppose so,” replied the woman, “my own
road is much shorter and I could take you that way
if you are ready to go home.”

‘Oh, no, we want to see everything we can
down here first,” said Janet. ‘ But it is dim out-
side, and your rooms have light in them. What
makes them light ?”

The woman paused a second before replying, and
then said, ‘‘ The ceilings are high.”

Prue looked up, away up, and it seemed to her
that she saw light softly stealing down to meet her
gaze. A silence fell upon them, which Janet broke,
saying,

“We must go now. Guld will be tired of wait-
ing.”

“Guld! Little Guld!” exclaimed the woman.
“My little Guld?”

“He is waiting for us with Klein,” said Janet.
“Do you want him? I will tell him to come in.”

And running out down the steps, she called him.
His back was toward her and he seemed not to
hear. She went around in front of him and said,
firmly,

“Guld, come in! That nice kobold’ woman

157
The Kanter Girls

wants to see you. Come right in this minute!”
And she tapped him on the shoulder with the
needle.

“You can stay here, Klein,” said Guld in a low
voice,- and then, rising, he himself went up the
steps, and as the light from within fell on his face
Janet, looking at him sharply, saw tears in his eyes.
In the door stood the kobold woman with out-
stretched arms and Guld ran into them. She car-
ried him inside, held him for a few moments, and
then drawing forward a broad low chair from the
corner placed him in it. The chair sparkled with
bits of colored light as if set with gems.

‘‘My own chair!” said Guld, contentedly. Prue
thought of the crock, but was silent.

‘Sing to me,” said little Guld.

_And the woman sang, in a sweet, clear, rest-
ful voice, sang a song of home and peace, and
while she sang little Guld fell asleep, sitting in his
chair.

‘‘He must be tired,” said Janet. ‘He isn’t your
boy, is he?”

‘““T had the care of him,” replied the woman.
‘But by our laws, if he chose he could go from
house to house. And he did choose.”

‘‘ Maybe he will come back now,” said Prue

158


OBOLD WOMAN.

K

THE DOOR STOOD THE

IN

Little Guld

As they watched him he awoke, stood up, and
said, “I’m not sleepy! We must go now.”

‘Where are you going, Guld?” asked the
woman.

‘Along the highway,” he replied. ‘These are
my visitors and I have to guide them.”

‘ Listen, little Guld,” said she. ‘“ You may take
these visitors into the grand hall where I went with
you one day. You know the way.”

Guld’s face brightened. ‘Oh, that will be
best of all!” he exclaimed. “And may Klein
go?”

‘Klein may, but no more. And tell me about it
as you come back.”

She stood at the door and watched them down

the steps.
‘‘How dim it is out here, after being in a light
room!” said Janet. ‘I can hardly see you, Klein,

What are you laughing at ?”

‘“Why,” replied Klein, “Mog and Heft have
turned the wrong way! They looked this way and
that, but I hid in the rocks and they didn’t see
me.”

And he laughed again.

‘‘Now we shall have to go after them,” said
Guld. ‘They may stray into the dens. But they

161
The Kanter Girls

have not gone far yet. We will go back to the
bend, and wait while you call them, Klein.”

So they all walked back to the bend, and Klein,
who had become very sober at the mention of the
dens, called loudly,

‘“Mog, Mog! Come back, you and Heft!”

His voice rang down every turn. In a moment
more they heard the sound of feet clumsily run-
ning, and then Mog and Heft appeared, two dark
little figures coming out of the darkness.

“Is that you, Mog?” said Janet. ‘Were you
trying to catch up with us?”

“Yes,” said Mog. ‘ Heft and I wanted to come
too.”

Prue looked at them and smiled, for their faces
seemed pleasanter than when she saw them first.
She wanted to tell them so, but hesitated as to how
she should express it.

“We dipped our hands in dive brook and
splashed our faces,” said Mog, complacently.

“That's good,” said Janet, in an approving tone.
‘‘ Prue and I do that every day.”

‘‘ Not in owr brook,” said Heft, raising his heavy
eyebrows.

‘No, in our own brook,” Janet replied, “close
by where we live.”

162
Little Guld

‘Their brook may have something to do with
ours,” suggested Prue. “We may be going right
under our own front yard now.”

“That's true,” said Janet, looking up, ‘and those
gnarly black things overhead may be the roots of
our apple-tree.”

The children now walked on together, Klein and
Guld ahead, the Kanter girls next, with Mog and
Heft behind.

“This way,” said Guld at length, pointing to a
turn at the left.

163


AX

“ Among the rocks his city was.”
—Robert Browning.

. S they passed round the turn they heard a
A sound of hammering, and suddenly came

into view of what seemed to be a workshop
with great numbers of kobolds actively employed.
Some were making bowl-shapeé dishes, and some
were cutting out blocks of stone. All the kobolds
as they looked up at the visitors took off their caps
to Guld.

_ “That’s a pretty bowl,” said Janet to the nearest
kobold. ‘‘ You grind out the inside, don’t you? I
didn’t know bowls were made that way.”

Mog and Heft were very much interested. They
pressed up close to the kobold so as to watch him,
and he gave them each a round stone and showed
them how to grind. They went to work at once,
and hardly noticed when Guld said to the kobold,
“Keep them with you till we come back,” and then
beckoned the Kanter girls away.

164
A Royal Playmate

After leaving this scene and making another
abrupt turn, they came to a very narrow aperture,
through which they went, bending low to avoid the
rock overhead. Guld, whom Klein no longer car-
ried, slipped quickly ahead as leader.

“Guld knows,” said Klein, ‘‘ but I have never
been this way before.”

‘“How comes Guld to know so much ?” asked
Janet, groping along in the dark behind Klein.

‘Oh ! he’s the heir, he is going to be king. He
is brought up to be a king, and he knows.”

At this moment they came out into space and
light, and found themselves in a magnificent cav-
ern, paved with crystallized granite, and overhung
with crystals, red, white, and purple. All around
the walls were set hollowed stones crusted inside
with crystals, and in each of these a light was burn-
ing. Every light was reflected again and again on ~
roof and walls, so that the whole cavern shone with
splendor.

“Oh! oh! how beautiful!” cried the Kanter
girls.

Little Guld laughed joyously. The queer old
look softened on his face, and he began to run
about like a happy child. Janet, always ready for a
frolic, proposed that they should run races over the

165
The Kanter Girls

s

flinty floor. The track was chosen, and the Kanter
‘girls and the two little kobolds stood side by side,
ready for a start. .

“One, two, three, off!” cried Janet, and away
they flew.

Janet and Prue were light-footed and very quick
in any race, but, run as swiftly as they. might, little
Guld always kept ahead, his eyes shining and his
black hair tossing. Again and again they tried the
race, but Guld always won.

“Jt is because he is brought up to be a king,
said Klein, who came in last.

In the next race, as they sped along over the floor,
Janet threw the knitting-needle off to the left with
all her force, and it tinkled on the crystal as it fell.

Guld sprang after it, caught it up with an exult-
ant cry, flew back to his place, and shot like an
arrow to its mark, reaching the opposite wall just a
second before Janet gained it.

“You are a king!” she exclaimed. ‘I almost
wish you were our little brother.”

“T can keep you both here now to be my sisters,”
said little Guld, lifting the bright needle like a
sceptre. ‘“ You have lost your power to command
me !”

“Oh! no,” said Janet, composedly, “I pulled the

166

”
A Royal Playmate

button off from Klein’s cap when we were coming
through the dark passage, and I have it here safe in
my hand.”

Klein looked at Guld and trembled, but little
Guld, who was going to be a king, smiled instead
of frowning.

‘You are my guests,’ bie said, ‘I should not have
kept you.”

But Janet felt safer with the button in her pos-
session.

“Tflark!” exclaimed Klein, “I hear other
voices !”

They stood for a moment listening, and then
Guld led the way up through a crevice in the wall,
where they could climb by grasping the projections
on each side, almost as if upon a ladder, until they
reached a natural platform in the rocks, on which
a small ray of light fell which was not of any candle,
but the light of the dear bright sun in the heavens.

Now they could certainly hear voices, and all four
listened intently. The sound was not more than
six feet away. It was the Wray children talking
together.

‘““What a beautiful grotto this is!” said Susie
Wray. Janet and Prue recognized her voice at
once, although they could not see her.

167
The Kanter Girls

“T knew you would like it,” said Ned. ‘We
can bring moss to carpet it, and keep some of our
things here.”

“T wish the Kanter girls could see it,” said Susie.

“We-will bring a lunch to-morrow and invite
them to come with us,” replied Ned.

“We will come! We will come!” the Kanter
girls called out eagerly.

‘Where are you!” exclaimed Ned, looking up
and down in every direction.

‘In behind the rocks! Oh! Guld, do let us get
out here! Can we?”

Little Guld hesitated. He would have liked a
longer visit from these merry playmates, but he was
to be a king, and after a moment he said,

‘“Come, Klein, and help me move the gate. It
has not been stirred in a hundred years.”

With all their strength the little kobolds pushed
on a block of granite before them, and it turned as
if upon apivot. In rushed the light and air, and the
Kanter girls hastily made their way through the
opening out into the rounded nook which the Wrays
had discovered that morning and called a grotto.

‘“‘Good-by !” said little Guld.

‘‘Good-by !” said Klein, and the block of granite
began slowly to turn back again.

168
A Royal Playmate

“Oh! Janet, Klein’s button!” cried Prue, and
catching it from her sister’s hand, she hastened to
put it through the small opening that was still left,
into a little brown hand.

‘‘Good-by, dear kobolds !” she said, and then the
rocks closed so tightly that, search as they might,
neither the Wrays nor the Kanter girls could find a
crack or seam.

But they had the grotto and the sunshine, the
green trees, the blue sky, and their favorite friends,
and these made them happy, although for a moment
Janet did regret that Prue had been so particular
about returning the button.

169


AX]

“Where the ermine hunters
On their far journeys go,
Where the reindeer sledges speed
Over the wastes of snow.”
—Mary Howrtt.

* OW,” said Prue, one day, “let us go and
N visit those dear little Fur-children again.”
Janet was very willing. Their mother
consented, but told them they must wear their stout
plaid aprons over their woollen dresses, and she her-
self buttoned up their fur coats, and put on their
fur hoods and mittens. Then she kissed their rosy
upturned faces, and let them run away to call their
chariot.

They stood side by side on the doorstep and;
waited, while the great green birds came sweeping —
gracefully down, with the pretty golden chariot.
Then they climbed in and gave the word of com-

mand.
170
An Arctic Expedition

“To the cold country where houses are built of
ice and snow.”

The chariot rose in the air and sped swiftly
along.

‘“Now we are over the rough land where the
stunted pines grow,” said Prue, looking down.

‘““And oh! now the snow is beginning,” cried
Janet ; “and just then I saw some seals.”

A few moments later, the green birds swept
down and alighted in the snow, in the midst of the
little settlement. The Fur-children came running
out with cries of joy to welcome their young play-
mates, who, they said, had come at the best possible
time, for their fathers had just returned from a
walrus hunt, and now they could all have lumps of
fat as big as their heads.

“And my mother has dressed two dolls for
you!” said little Brenda. ‘They are cut out of
bone, like ours, and dressed in fur.”

‘And I have brought something for Polo,” said
Janet, handing a box to the little black-eyed boy.

Polo opened it, screamed, and tumbled backward
into the snow, looking like a round ball of fur. It
was a Jack-in-the-box that Janet had given him, and
it looked so much“ like a bear, it was no wonder
that it scared him.

171
The Kanter Girls

The birds and chariot now disappeared, and the
Kanter girls were left with their fur-clad friends.

‘“We have come to play,” said Prue, ‘and I’m so
glad it’s day-time.” She glanced at the sun, which
was in sight, though it hung low in the sky. From
the snow-huts the women now peeped forth and
nodded kindly to the children, but the men paid no
attention ; they were busy cutting up walrus.

‘‘ Let’s play hide-and-seek !” proposed Janet ; and
taking little Brenda, she hid behind a snow-bank,
while Prue made the others cover their eyes. It
did not take long for them to learn the game, and
they shouted, laughed, and tumbled merrily about.
Presently it was the turn of Janet and Prue to hide,
and they ran into a deserted snow-hut, which was
almost in ruins. There they crouched behind a
block of ice, but Polo soon spied them, and, full of
mischief, rolled a huge snowball against the little
low entrance, walling them in completely. The
other children stood by and watched him, half
laughing and half scared. But Janet and Prue
were not at all dismayed.

‘‘ Let’s play a trick on them,” said Janet. ‘“ You
have brought your invisible ring, haven’t you, Prue?
I have mine, and we will put them on. They
won't dare to leave us here always, and when they

172
An Arctic Expedition

roll the door open, they will be so frightened they
will not know what to do.”

So the girls put on their rings, and it happened
just as Janet had said. Polo wondered why they’
made no noise, and why they did not try to come
out. Then Brenda began to cry a little, so at last
he rolled the big snowball away and looked in.

“Why, that’s queer!” he said; ‘I’m sure I shut
them in here, but now they are gone, and there is
nowhere they could get out.”

“Oh!” wept little Brenda, ‘“‘you’ve killed them,
you bad boy, and we never shall see them again !”

At this, Polo pushed resolutely into the hut, and
searched every nook and cranny; but it was too
true, the pretty little strangers were not there, and
he began to be afraid he ad killed them in some
mysterious way.

Brenda ran to tell her mother, who now came
out from her hut, and assisted in the search, but all
_in vain. Her round, pleasant face grew very sober,
as she said,

“It was wrong to shut them up so, they are not
strong and hardy like us; some terrible thing has
befallen them.”

She returned sadly to her hut, followed by the
bewildered, grieving children, when, suddenly, she

173
The Kanter Girls

espied a movement in the warm, heavy, black fur
coverlid on her couch. She lifted it, and behold!
there were the Kanter girls, safe and sound, and
laughing merrily.

You ought to have seen the Fur-children! They
stopped crying, and stared, without a word-to say
for themselves, while Janet and Prue, still laugh-
ing, sprang up and hugged little Brenda. Polo
rubbed his eyes and shook his -head, he could
not understand the way things had turned out at
all.

“Let's make a snow-house now!” said Janet,
leading the way out with all the rest after her.

Building a house is always fun, whether you do
it with blocks in the nursery, or stones by the road-
side, or snow up in the Arctic regions. There was
a hill covered deep with snow, directly back of the
settlement, and at the foot of that the children be-
gan their house. They heaped and piled the snow
up all around, till they had enclosed a spot about
ten feet and three inches square, and they built their
walls as high as the upstretched hands of the tallest
ones could reach, and there they stopped

“The sky will do for a roof,” said Prue, looking
up and thinking it was the bluest, most beautiful
sky she ever saw.

174


“THE SKY WILL pO FOR A ROOF,” SAID PRUE,
An Arctic Expedition

‘“Now let us make some snow-children,” said a
little Fur-girl named Meemee. |

One word was enough. The little hands, in
their fur mittens, all became busy again at once,
and there never was any snow so easy to mould,
Janet thought, as she shaped a plump, little figure
With a round head. She patted its cheeks, gave it
a dimple, and a tip-tilted nose, and then turned to
see how Prue was getting along,

“Oh! how pretty yours is!” she exclaimed.
Prue's snow-figure was just done, and it was, in-
deed, very pretty, with quite a natural droop: of
the shoulders and a dainty poise of the head.

‘And, oh! what a cunning little one Brenda has
made!” Janet went on, turning around, “and Po-
lo’s image has a really mischievous face. Now let
us all stand off and have a good look at them.
Aren't they white and pretty, and a great deal nicer
than dolls ?”

177
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XXII

“ Ah, happy day, refuse to go!
Hang in the heavens forever so!”
—ffarrtet Prescott Spofford.

“A beautiful race were they, with baby brows,
And fair bright locks, and voices like the sound

Of steps on the crisp snow.”
—Bryant.

Nee up in this northern country, where the

days were six months long, it was of
course hard to keep track of the days of
the week. But it was really Thursday, and Janet
and Prue, who had quite forgotten the plaid aprons
which were hidden so completely by their fox-skin
cloaks, suddenly saw one of the snow-children smile,
yes, actually szzle, at them. Then moving toward
a door, which was now for the first time visible,
178
The Home of the Snow Children

and which stood slightly ajar, the snow-child beck-
oned to them invitingly.

“Oh! Janet, Janet,” cried Prue, “ it is Thursday !
How glad Iam! I do believe they are going to
let us play with them.”

But Brenda, crying out that her little snow-girt
had fallen against the wall, ran to set her up in her
place again.

“Don’t, Brenda!” said Janet, ‘the snow-girl is’
only leaning against the wall, while she waits for
us to come. Oh, Prue, what shall we do? You
and I can go through that doorway, and I do want
to see what is in there so very much; but the Fur-
children cannot go, they do not see her beckon, and
they don’t know what it means. I wish we could
take them too.”

‘‘T wish Brenda could go,” said Prue. ‘I mean
to lift up my cloak and let Brenda take hold of the
corner of my plaid apron, and if she holds it tight
enough, maybe she can go with me.”

“Well, try it,” said Janet ; “if we can get her in,
we can get them all in.”

So Prue called Brenda, and showing her the
apron under her cloak, told the little girl to keep
hold of it with her hand. In that way the two
children went through the open door together.

179
The Kanter Girls

The little snow-children all ran after them at once.
Prue stepped back to the doorway to speak to
Janet.

“I took Brenda in as easily as could be,” she
said, eagerly ; “and oh, Janet, it is perfectly lovely
here. Make haste, and bring Meemee and Polo
and the rest. I think we can lead in everyone of
them.” ©

So Janet took Meemee and Polo, one on each
side of her, each holding a corner of her apron, and
they stepped together through that strange, wonder-
ful doorway, which they now saw plainly, and which
led into the side of the hill) Then Prue took a
dear little boy named Henjee, who was covered al-
most to the tip of his nose with brown fur. But
the other children grew frightened at seeing their
playmates disappear so suddenly in what looked
to them like a blank white wall, and they scampered
away as fast as they could go, losing all the pleasure.

The door was now closed. Janet and Prue looked
around them in wonder and delight. The room in
which they found themselves was carpeted with
snowflakes so large that they could trace the
crystalline pattern perfectly, and the walls and ceil-
ing were of dazzling white snow. It seemed to be
a dining-room, for there was a large snow-table in

180
The Home of the Snow Children

the middle, with snow-chairs about it, and set with
a dinner-service which looked like white Parian, but
which was really made of snow, pressed firm and
hard and thin like china, by some process known
only to the makers of it.

The little snow-children who had: been dancing
gleefully about, now, in sweet, merry, flute-like
voices, said,

“*Come and eat with us.”

The little one with dimples in her cheeks, came
up to Janet, and led her to a chair, which was as
easy as any dining-room chair ever is, Janet said
afterward. Then all the rest were seated. The
Fur-children were not yet used to things, and sat in
a sort of dazed quiet, taking whatever was offered
them, but Janet and Prue were not afraid to talk,
and the snow-children chattered like so many bells
ringing together.

Such a feast as that was! The snow-children
waited on their guests, uncovering one dish after
another. The dishes had been covered to keep the
nice things in them fresh and cold until served.
Janet waited eagerly for the first thing to be laid
on her plate, and as soon as she tasted it, she said
softly to Prue, °

“Isn't it delicious !”

181
The Kanter Girls

It was a slice from a splendid, large turkey that
lay upon the principal platter, and it tasted like
nougat. The snow-boy who carved it cut it in
slices with perfect ease, as one would cut bread,
without regard to bones or anything else. There
were things that looked like bones in it, but they
tasted like almonds.

The bread was nicer than the most aciieate cake,
and the children spread it with a sweet, white jelly
instead of butter. The potatoes melted in the
mouth like cream-candy, and the cakes were frosted
to the last degree, and crisp as icicles. Wonderful
cooks, to be sure, they must have had among the
snow-people. There were white bowls set around
the table for the children to drink from, and as
Janet and Prue sipped and sipped, they whispered
to each other that it was like sweet-flavored cream.
When their bowls were empty they took their
spoons, as they noticed the snow-children did, and
scraped the inside. It was well they did so, it was
the proper way, for the bowls were inch-deep all
around the inner surface with the finest ice-cream.

‘Seems like digging out a snow-cocoanut, doesn’t
it ?” whispered Prue ; “I believe these ave their kind
of cocoanuts !”

If the dinner tasted good to Janet and Prue,

182
The Home of the Snow Children

what must it have been to the Fur-children, who.
were in the habit of eating nothing but walrus-fat
and bear’s meat ? Polo ate as though he thought he
should never have such a chance again in his life,
but poor little Henjee, who was bashful, managed
to spill his bowl of cream on his brown fur suit,
and as it became frozen immediately, he. had to
wear it like a white stripe down his side the rest of
the day.

‘Do take more! do take more!” urged the
friendly snow-children, coming again and again with
dainties. But Prue said, in an undertone, to Janet,
that they ought not to appear greedy, so after that
they replied each time,

‘““Not any more, thank you !”

‘“Now come and play with us,” said the snow-
children when dinner was done, and they ran ahead
and opened another door, through which their guests
followed them into a large, beautiful play-room,
with the walls and ceiling of snow, as before; but
instead of the long table, ‘there were the greatest
number of pretty toys, all made of snow.

One little snow-boy sprang upon a rocking-horse,
and laughed as he made it gallop. The youngest
little snow-girl pickéd up a lovely snow-dolly and
handed it to Brenda, who was almost afraid to

183
The Kanter Girls

touch it for fear it would fall to pieces, but it diJ
not.

Prue found a kaleidoscope, containing crystals of
snow and ice, which changed about, as she turned
it, in a wonderfully pretty fashion ; while Janet fast-
ened a drum to Henjee’s fur-clad figure, and showed
him how to be a drummer-boy.

There was a small snow-sledge which Polo
dragged about in great glee, giving Meemee a ride
upon it.

‘“Ho!” he said, “I am as strong as two rein-
deer!”

The little snow-children ran around among the
rest, clapping their hands and laughing, they were
so pleased with their strange, funny guests, who
were not white like them, and who made so much
more noise than they did, but who were so friendly
and good-humored.

184


AXITI

** And then, when the rare hoar frost would come,
"T'was like a dream of wonder,
Above us grew the crystal trees
And the crystal plants grew under.”
—Mary Howttt.

* All seemed wrought
Of stainless alabaster, up the trees
Ran the lithe jessamine, with stalk and leaf
Colorless as her flowers.”
—Bryant.

AM going to call you Lily,” said Prue to one
dear little snow-girl who hovered about her.
‘“‘T-like that name,” said the child, her eyes
sparkling. “I wish you would stay here with me
always.”

“You must come and visit zs some time,” said
Janet, hospitably. ‘ But please, won’t you tell me
if that is a door I see over yonder in the snow
wall ?” ‘

“Yes,” said the little snow-girl ; “come and look
185
The Kanter Girls

in when I open it, and you will see our sleeping-
room.”

Janet and Prue crossed the white floor with her,
and she showed them the room fitted up daintily
with two rows of little white beds, made up with the
snowiest of pillows and spreads. It was very
pretty, and they said so, but the play-room had
more attractions for them.

Henjee and Meemee had found some _ blocks,
tiny little brick-shaped blocks of ice, and they were
building with them:on the snowy floor. But in-
stead of building houses and churches, as the Kan-
ter girls would have done, they made little round
huts, such as their parents lived in.

‘‘ Now let’s play tag!” said Janet, who was rest-
less ; and, telling all the others to run, she chased
them about merrily, making the air fairly dusty with
snow. She tagged Brenda first of all, and then the
little Fur-girl in her turn chased the rest. But the
snow-children flitted about so swiftly that they
were never caught at all, and a new door opening
suddenly on the farther side of the room, they went
whirling out as if the wind had blown them.

‘‘Come! come! come into the garden with us!”
they called, looking backward over their shoulders.

Janet caught Brenda and Polo by the hand, and

186
In The Snow Garden











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ran out, followed by Prue, who led little Meemee
and Henjee.
“Oh! how lovely !” cried Janet; ‘see the trees,
and the apples hanging on them !”
“See the dear little snow-flowers!” said Prue,
187
The Kanter Girls

who found herself walking in a path between beds
full of lilies, and asters, and violets; but they had
no color nor perfume—they were all of the purest
snow. The trees were snow and the apples were
snow, as Polo found when he picked one and bit it.

There was a wall of snow all around the garden,
and a gate in the wall, which stood temptingly ajar,
but no one noticed this circumstance at first.

“Don’t you have any birds?” asked Prue, who
thought the apple-trees would furnish very nice
places for nests.

‘““We had some this morning,” said the dimple-
cheeked snow-girl. ‘They must have flown away.
Let’s make some more!” -

And immediately the snow-children fell to work,
gathering up snow in their hands, and shaping little
fat birds with short legs, which as soon as they were
set down, began to hop about, as lively as possible.

“Oh! how funny!” cried Janet, laughing until
the tears came into her eyes. ‘“ Now what would
happen if I should take up some snow and make
a cat?”

“Oh! don’t!” said Prue; but Janet, full of mis-
chief, had already begun, and in a few moments
she had moulded an unmistakable cat, only he had
no whiskers, and his tail was too long. She put

188
In The Snow Garden

him down and watched him. He saw the birds
instantly, and making a spring, caught one in his
mouth. :

“Oh! oh! oh!” wailed the snow-children in a
chorus, wringing their little white hands. |

“It's Zoo bad!” exclaimed Prue, who was very
tender-hearted.

“Scat ! scat!” cried Janet, clapping her hands at
the cat and rushing toward him. He started off on
a run, and jumping over the wall, disappeared from
sight.

“There! I hope that is the last of 42m /” she
said, feeling rather ashamed of herself.

Just at that moment, Polo, who had ventured
near the partly opened gate, uttered a loud scream
and fled across the garden. The cause was evident,
a huge white bear was just pushing his way in, and
there was the wildest consternation among the
children, who ran in all directions to save them-
selves. Janet and Brenda tried to find the play-
room door, but instead found themselves pushing in
vain against the great snow wall.

Prue was running, but suddenly remembered
Henjee, and looking back, saw the poor little fellow
sprawling in the snow. She helped him up, and
then there was Meemee stumbling, so she helped her

189
The Kanter Girls

up too, and plodded along with them both as well as
she could, fancying she heard the bear breathing
close behind her.

“Come! come! Follow us in here!” cried the
snow-children, who had opened the play-room door,
and at last they got all their little guests, one after
another, in there again together and uninjured, and
the door was shut in the bear's face. He pushed
against it a few times, and then trotted quietly
away.

“Oh! how my heart beats!” exclaimed Janet.
“ He would have killed us if he could!”

“He has chased us before,” said the snow-chil-
dren, “and he has never hurt any of us yet, but we
are always afraid of him.”

“T should have shut the gate if I had seen it was
ajar,” said the tallest snow-girl, “and then he could
not have got in.”

“Janet,” said Prue, who was still trembling,
“don’t you think we had better go now? I am
sure it must be almost Friday morning, and we
don’t know what woudd happen if we staid till
then!”

“Ves, we must go now,” said Janet. “ Come,
Brenda and Polo and Meemee and Henjee. Your
fathers have cut the walrus all up by this time.”

190
In The Snow Garden

So, although the pretty snow-children begged
and entreated them to stay longer, the little guests
declined as politely as they could, and passed back
through the dining-room out into their own snow-
walled house with the blue sky roof. They must
have been just in time, it must have been the very
last flying moment of Thursday, for no sooner had
they fairly stepped on their own ground than the
door through which they had just come vanished
completely, and there stood all the snow figures
they had made, white and motionless as at the very
first.

But Polo, who wanted more play, declared he
should take the snow-children home with him, and
although the Kanter girls begged him not to do so,
fearing some harm would follow, he insisted upon
dragging two of the figures away to his father’s hut.

He pulled them through the low entrance and
showed them to his mother. She was just trim-
ming her lamp, which was nothing but a wick float-
ing in a bow! of oil.

‘T don’t want all that snow in here,” she said,
roughly.

There was nothing for Polo to do but to put the
figures out again, and he did this so clumsily that
each of them lost an arm. Losing all his interest

Ig
The Kanter Girls

in them, he left them lying on a snow bank, and
went back into the hut to devour his supper of
walrus-fat.

‘“Isn’t that too bad!” said the Kanter girls, who
came up a few minutes after and saw the prostrate
figures. ‘‘ We must put them right back where he
found them, or maybe they will perish.” -

So, with Brenda’s help they carried the poor little
snow-figures back into the snow-house, and stood
them up among their companions. By this time
Brenda was yawning, she was so tired, and the Kan-
ter girls themselves did not care to play any longer.

‘“Let’s go home,” said Janet, ‘I am sure mother
must be expecting us by this time.”

So they called for their chariot, and the birds
made such good speed that in ten minutes Janet
and Prue were toasting their feet before the fire in
their mother’s kitchen, and eating hot biscuits and
honey which she had all ready for them.

192


XXIV

“And on the whole I like it greatly,”

—Long fellow.
“‘T wonder if this is the wolf that ate
Little Red Ridinghood!
O, no!
That wolf was killed a long while ago,”
—Long fellow.

UT, in spite of the bear, the Kanter girls
found, when they talked over their advent-
ures, that they were quite ready to repeat

them. ;

‘‘T meant to have looked all around to see if
there were any more doors,” said Janet, regretfully.
‘“There may have been other rooms more wonderful
still—and where do you suppose the kitchen was?”

“There must have been a snow-mama some-
where,” said Prue. ‘‘ Maybe she tells them stories,
sometimes. I mean to ask Lily, if we go there
again.”

193
The Kanter Cir’s

‘Was the bear very ficrce ?” asked the children’s
mother, who sat at a table near by with her mend-
ing.

“ Mother,” said Janet, eagerly, “he only chased
us as a big, burly dog might, and if I had had a
stick to hit him with, I think he would have
crumbled all into bits of snow. Let’s go again,
Prue!”

“Ves,” said Prue, “and let’s carry presents. [ll
take them some strawberries.”

“And I will carry my canary,” said Janet, “to
show them what a bird can be. But I shall bring
it home with me again.”

“Carry it in the little wooden cage that it first
came in,” advised their mother, “and throw some-
thing over it for warmth.”

It was the morning of the Thursday after their
first visit. The chariot was summoned, and they
departed, waving a good-by to their smiling mother.
The birds by this time knew their way so well, that
it was not five minutes before the Kanter girls were
running over the crisp snow between the huts, call-
ing for their playmates. Polo’s father had been
out hunting, and had killed a fine, large bear, and
all the people in the settlement were having a
great feast of bear's meat. But Brenda and Polo.

194
The Visit Repeated

with little Meemee and Henjee, were soon ready to
stop eating, and play with the Kanter girls.

‘Tt may not be quite Thursday yet in this coun-
try,” said Janet, looking at the sun, which remained
just so high and told no tales, “but we will go to our
snow-house and be ready.”

Even if Thursday had begun, however, Janet
expected to find the snow-figures just where she
had left them, but when she entered the cold, lonely
playhouse there was not a snow-child there—they
had all gone. The Kanter girls soon found the
door, which stood slightly ajar, and giving the Fur-
children a corner of the plaid aprons to hold as
before, they pressed into the dining-room, which
you may be sure none of them had forgotten. But
this time the table was cleared; if there had been
any feasting, it was over, and there was not a snow-
child in the room. So they went on into the next
room, and there they found, in a corner, two little
snow-children weeping.

“Oh! what is the matter?’ ” asked Prue, who
was at their side instantly. They looked up and.
said, in a sad voice,

“Our brothers and sisters are playing in the
garden, but we cannot go, because we have each
lost an arm.”

195
The Kanter Girls

“Oh! what a shame!” exclaimed Janet, with a
reproachful glance at Polo, who hung his head in
confusion.

‘“Maybe we could mend it,” said little Brenda,
‘with some of the snow in the garden.”

The snow-children brightened at this, and one of
them said, gratefully,

‘“No one has thought of that before 1

So, all together, they went out into the garden,
and although they heard the voices of the other
snow-children in merry play on the other side of
some shrubbery, they did not go to seek them until
the kindly work was done. Polo gathered a quan-
tity of soft white snow, and the Kanter girls made
two nice little arms, which they set against the
snow-children’s shoulders, and they grew fast at
once, as good arms as before. Then the snow-chil-
dren were happy again; they danced and laughed
for joy, and ran round the shrubbery, followed
by their guests, to join the other children, who .
welcomed them gladly.

“T have brought you some strawberries,” said
Prue, producing her basket and dividing the ber-
ries all around. She watched the snow-children
eagerly, as they ate them, for she hoped the
berries would make their lips pink. It seemed

196




JANET HUNG THE CAGE ON A TREE,
The Visit Repeated

as if they did, just a little, but she was not quite
sure.

“T have brought my canary to visit you,” said
Janet, showing the small wooden cage that she
held in her hand. The children crowded close
around her, and at that very moment the canary be-
gan to sing, sweet and clear, a perfect gush of mel-
ody. At the sound, there came hopping from the
shrubbery and from all parts of the garden, the
funny, little, fat snow-birds, who did not know what
music meant. Janet hung the cage on a tree, and
the snow-birds stood beneath in rows like little
scholars, listening. Pretty soon there was a peep-
ing and a chirruping among them.

“They'll learn to sing now!” said Janet, much
pleased.

But while the children all stood around, watch-
ing, there was a sudden gust of wind that blew some
of the snow-leaves to the ground, and it must have
blown the gate open too, for there was immediately
the sound of something rushing, and a wild, fierce
growl which made the children flee at once.

“The were-wolves! the were-wolves!” they
screamed, bursting open the playroom door, and
running inside. They all succeeded in getting
safely into the room, except that Polo, who was

199
The Kanter Girls

last, had a piece of his fur coat torn off by one of
the savage white beasts.

“They cannot touch us now!” said the snow-
children, when the door was shut tight.

‘‘T think I will take little Meemee and Henjee
home,” said Brenda, and although the Kanter girls
begged her to stay as long as they did, she was firm,
and leading the small Fur-children, who clung to
her for protection, she departed, the heavy snow-
doors closing softly behind her as she went. But
Polo staid, he meant to see all that Janet and Prue
saw.

‘“Let’s play hide-and-seek !” proposed Janet, wish-
ing to bring back a cheerful state of things. So
they began a game which soon grew very merry. It
was presently the turn of the Kanter girls, Polo,
and the child Lily to hide, and the rest of the snow-
children ran into the dining-room to wait for the
call. Polo had a place already in his mind, and he
.at once hastened to it. It was in the bed-room. _

‘Can you take us somewhere that we have never
been before ?” asked Janet, coaxingly, as she took
little Lily’s white hand in hers.

The snow-child hesitated a moment, and then
said,

“Ves, follow close behind me!”

200






















PR > aN ‘ Uy >
ae

SCA AN AR A

XXV

“ The white walls widened and the vault
Swelled upward like some vast cathedral dome.”
—Bryant.

ILY raised a soft, snowy curtain, which
L Janet and Prue had not seen before, and
disclosed a little narrow door, like a panel
in the wall, which she opened. The three slipped
through quickly, the door closed fast behind them,
and the Kanter girls stood for a moment be-
wildered. A great sense of space smote upon them,
and the air seemed colder than before, and the light
dimmer.
“Come quick,” said the snow-child, ‘we must
hide!” - ~
And she led them swiftly over the icy floor to a

201
' The Kanter Girls

small nook in thé wall,.where they crouched down
out of sight. Afar off they could hear the merry
voices of the snow-children, who were running
hither and thither searching for them, but no one
opened the narrow door, no one peeped into this
vast, strange, silent hall.

“The roof is almost as high as the sky,” whis-
pered Prue, “and it glitters like the prisms of chan-
deliers.”

‘‘Those are icicles hanging down,” said Lily, “if
it wasn’t for them it would be almost dark here.”

“IT don’t believe they will ever think of coming
in here for us,” said Janet, ‘and that floor of ice
looks so nice I want to run and slide on it. Let’s
do it.”

She started off as she spoke and took a long,
beautiful slide that carried her to the middle of
the hall. Prue followed her at once. The snow-
child Lily seemed reluctant to join them at first,
and when she did so, cast a timorous glance now
and then over her shoulder. But this wore off, and
soon they were all three gliding and sliding swiftly
in every direction like little spirits, they were so
noiseless. .

‘““Now I must rest,” said Janet, when quite out of
breath.

202
[1 the King’s Hall

‘“What zs this place?” asked Prue of the snow-
child.

“Tt is the King’s hall,” she said softly; ‘“‘we are
_ not allowed to come here, but the King is on a
journey, and no one will know.”

‘“What would happen if anyone azd know ?”

While Prue was asking this question, Janet had
discovered -a new wonder, something that looked
like huge organ-pipes all in a row like so many
icicles, and she began to search about for the keys.

“Stop ! stop !” cried the snow-child, flying toward
her, but it was too late. Janet had already struck
the strange ice-keys, and some sweet but discordant
notes sounded through the hall. Instantly a wide
door swung open, letting in a freezing blast, and an
enormous snow-ball was precipitated into the hall.

“The Chamberlain! the Chamberlain!” shrieked
the snow-child, in the wildest terror.

The ball immediately turned toward them, and
now the Kanter girls could see that it had eyes and
nose and mouth. It came rolling nearer to them—
at least Janet said afterward it either rolled or
turned somersaults, and if it turned somersaults it
must have had little short legs and arms too
small to be seen. But it Jooked asif it rolled. The
nearer it came the more alarming it appeared, and

203
The Kanter Girls

the children in great fright ran to escape it. They
ran as fast as they could, but they could hear it
thumping, thumping, close behind them all the time,
and muttering in an angry manner.

“Hide in here!” panted the snow-child, darting
into a recess in the wall which none of them had
seen before. The Kanter girls followed her in
haste. This refuge was about as large as a pew in
a church, and the best of it was that the entrance
was too narrow for the Chamberlain to come in
after them, for he was as much as four feet across.

He rolled up with a puff and a thump, and tried
to push in, but wedged himself tight in the entrance.
Luckily he was right side up.

‘Shameful ! shameful! shameful!” he said, in a
deep bass voice.

The children crouched together in the farthest
part of the recess. The Kanter girls had not once
thought of their rings, and if they had they would
not have deserted poor Lily, who was much the
most frightened of the three, and who lay in a little
palpitating heap on the icy floor. ,

“ He'll grow tired and go away presently,” thought
Janet, “if itis only a question of waiting we can
stand it as long as he can, for he must be very un-
comfortable.”

204
In the ‘King’s Hall

But hardly had she thought this, when his eyes
suddenly closed, his great snow-mouth opened in
a yawn, and there he was, sound asleep.

“ Now he looks more like a snow-ball than ever,”
said Janet. ‘Oh! Prue, how long do you suppose
snow-balls sleep ? a may not wake up for a year,
and we shall starve.”

“Or we may go to sleep eu said Prue,
“and be like Rip Van Winkle when we wake up,
and be grown women, maybe.”

“We might roll him out,” suggested Janet.

“There, he moved a little,” whispered Prue.

And in a moment more the Chamberlain slowly
opened his eyes again, stared about him in a drow-
sy, surprised manner, as if trying in vain to remem-
ber something. Then releasing himself from his
cramped position, he rolled away, muttering,

“Tt’s half an hour past bed-time !”

‘“ He’s forgotten us!” whispered the Kanter girls,
joyfully, and when the thump, thump died away
in the distance, they aroused the snow-child and
came out of their prison.

“And now we had better get out of the King’s
hall as quick as we can,” said Janet, “1 wouldn't
have gone in if I had known it was against the
rule. The children must have stopped looking

205
Thz Kanter Girls

for us, I have not heard their voices for a long
time.”

But it was of no use their trying to find the
little narrow door through which they could pass
into the playroom again, for the solid white wall
of snow showed not the slighest trace of a crack or
hinge or latch or keyhole. They searched on every
side, passing their hands up and down the wall, but
allin vain. LEven the snow-child looked thoroughly
bewildered and dismayed.

“Well!” exclaimed Janet, leaning against the
wall to rest herself, ‘I think—mercy! what’s
that ?” .

She had leaned with all her weight against the
very door itself without knowing it, and as it sud-
denly gave way behind her, she fell backward on
the playroom floor, just as she exclaimed “ Mercy !
what’s that ?”

“T don’t care, I’m glad of it!” she said, as she
picked herself up, for now they were all in the play-
room again, and safe from the Chamberlain.

“ But where are the snow-children and Polo?”
asked Prue. ‘Oh! Janet, I do believe we have staid
past the time, and it is Friday, and we cannot get
out for a whole week !”

But Janet said she did not care, she wanted more

206
In the King’s Hall

adventures, and they had Lily for company, and
when they were tired they could sleep in the pretty
snow-beds.

‘“Only I don’t believe I ever caz be sleepy,” she
added laughingly, “in a country where the sun
doesn’t go down. Come, let us run out into the
garden.”

207 |


XXVI

“Safe on a snow too far, too high,
For scent of dogs or feet of men,
The shepherd watched the clouds sail by
And dreamed and sang again.”
—Helen Hunt Jackson.

HEY found plenty to do in the garden for

a time, weeding out all the hailstones that

had fallen in among the asters and violets.
The little snow-birds hopped about them, twittering
very sweetly, and the canary still sang in the white
apple-tree. But after awhile Janet noticed that the
garden gate had swung open, and she went thither
at once.

“Oh! Prue,” she exclaimed, ‘come right here
and look at the lovely snow-fields, and that nice
path! Let us go out there and take a walk!”

“Oh! no, no!” said Lily, shuddering. ‘The
were-wolves may chase you !”

But Janet was wilful. There were no wolves in

208
Caught in a Snow-storm

sight over all that expanse of glittering snow, and
if any dd appear, why, she and Prue had invisible
rings in their pockets, and they waxted adventures.
So they started off, leaving Lily looking disconso-
lately over the gate.

They walked hand in hand, with the low sun
shining pleasantly in their faces, two little figures
crossing a wilderness of snow.

“T didn’t know but we might see some snow-
cows and dear little snow-calves,” said Prue..

“ 7thought we might see squirrels or ad
said Janet. ‘ There ! what’s that ?”

From the other side of a snow-hillock there sud-
denly appeared, coming toward them, a strange”
animal with an extremely long tail dragging after
him.

“‘Oh! Janet, it’s that cat you made,” cried Prue.

“Well, cat, how do you do?” asked Janet, coolly.

“Vou should have made me whiskers,” said the
cat, in a reproachful voice.

“T forgot them, and besides I could! ¢ make
them,” answered Janet. ‘What do you want them
for?”

‘“T can’t go through holes,” whined the cat. “I
get my sides rubbed> I am growing thin. Won't
you make me whiskers. now ?”

209
The Kanter Girls

‘“No, I will not,” said Janet ; “you caught that
dear little snow-bird, you bad thing! Scat ! scat !”

Sy
AS



She clapped her hands and the cat ran out of

sight. The Kanter girls walked on and on, till

210
Caught in a Snow-storm

they came to a great snow-wall, but there was a
gap in it.

“Shall we go through ?” asked Prue.

“Yes, of course,” replied Janet. So they went
through.

“T don’t think it is so pieasaiit in this field,”
said Prue, when they had gone a short distance.
“The wind blows, and the woods are near.”

“It is growing cloudy too,” said Janet, ‘but I
want to see what there is over by that hill. I am
sure there is something moving.”

There certainly was, and Prue could hardly re-
press a scream when five white figures, coming
from the direction of the hill, confronted them.
The figures themselves paused and looked star-
tled.

“You are strangers,” said one of them gently.
‘Please stand aside so that our sheep will not be
frightened. A storm is rising, and we are leading
them home.”

Then for the first time the children saw that there
were numbers of sheep crowding along behind the
men. They. were so white that at a little distance
they had not been distinguishable from the snow
drifts. ~

There was a large tree near by, and the children,

211
The Kanter Girls

turning that way, took shelter beneath its crystal
boughs. The men went on and ‘their flocks fol-
lowed them.

“They are shepherds,” said Janet, under her
breath.

‘“‘T think we had better follow them ourselves,”
whispered Prue, ‘if there is a storm rising.”

‘Well, in a few minutes, perhaps,” said Janet.
“You see they have left quite a path where they
have trodden, so we cannot get lost. And there
are some more sheep over on the side of the hill;
how pretty and peaceful they look! I wonder
why they did not go with the rest. They seem
so gentle that maybe they would not be afraid of
us if we went to them.”

“Hark !” said Prue, “I hear someone singing.”

“T hear it too,” said Janet, listening ; “it sounds
high: up but not far away.”

. And then they both saw a figure coming down
the hillside, singing.as he came, and the sheep
raised their heads and looked at him, bleating.

‘‘ That’s their shepherd,” whispered Prue.

The sky was now becoming quite dark with
clouds, and the shepherd on reaching his flock
spoke to them, and as he called they followed him.

“He is coming this way,” said Janet; “he is go-

212.


THE SHEPHERD,

Caught in a Snow-storm

ing home like the rest. We will go with him,
Prue.”

The shepherd now drew near them, with the
sheep pressing behind him. Already the snow was
falling and obliterating the path. It seemed like a
wild and stormy waste all around them, and strange
sounds, perhaps of the wind, were heard from the
woods. The shepherd’s face was so kindly in its ex-
pression, that Janet and Prue felt no fear in run-
ning up to him and walking by his side. He showed
no surprise, and the sheep pressed their heads con-
fidingly against the little girls, as all of them fol-
lowed the way home together.

“Flow dark it is!” said Janet. :

“Tt is only the storm that makes it dark,” said
the shepherd ; ‘the sun is shining just the same, all
the time.”

‘Yes, I know it is only the storm that makes it
dark,” answered Janet, stumbling and catching at
his outstretched hand.

“T don’t mind as long as I can see where I
step,” said Prue. “I’m glad we met you, for the
other shepherds are quite out of sight.”

“T always come with the last of the flocks,” said
the shepherd; “I know, then, that none are left
behind.”

215
The Kanter Girls.

On they pushed, through the falling snow, and
could see so little way ahead of them, that the chil-
dren were surprised when they suddenly found them-
selves at the garden gate. This was at the edge of
the storm ; no snow was falling in the garden, but
little birds in all the trees were singing clear and
sweet.

‘‘Have you been teaching the birds to sing?”
asked the shepherd, smiling.

Then he opened the gate for them, and told them
to go inside, while he himself kept on to the sheep-
fold, to put his flock under shelter.

216


XXVII

“Mid pleasures and palaces though we may ream,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”
—/. Howard Payne.
mr H! I am so glad you have come back
safe!” exclaimed Lily, who was waiting
for them in the garden. ‘I have watched
for you so long! Now let us go into the house,
where we cannot see the storm.”

“Wait till I get my canary,” said Janet.

She caught the little bird easily, for it was very
tame, and placed it in its wooden cage to carry home
with her.

“She didn’t bring it here to leave, you know,”
said Prue, fearing that Lily might feel sorry to see
it go; but Lily was smiling and listening to the
singing of the snow-birds.

217
The Kanter Girls

The children then entered the house together by
the door which led into the playroom.

. “J think we had better go home,” said Janet ;
‘““we have had a beautiful time, Lily, but we must:
go now.”

‘Provided the door opens,” said Prue.

‘“‘T wonder if we left anything in the. sleeping-
room,” said Janet, going to take a look at the row
of pretty beds. ‘Why, Lily! see that dark head
on the pillow! someone is in bed; who is it ?”

Lily stepped forward rather timidly to look, and
then she began to laugh.

“Tt is that little boy, Polo!” she said.

Janet went to him and shook him vigorously.

“Wake up, Polo !” she exclaimed, “see how you
have tumbled the nice bed. What are you doing
here ?”

“T went to sleep,” replied Polo, drowsily, rubbing
his eyes ; ‘‘ but they didn’t find me, did they ?”

‘We are going home now,” said Prue, ‘‘and you
must come too. Brenda and Henjee and Meemee
went long, long ago.”

So, Prue leading Polo, and Janet carrying the
canary, they went to the snow-door, and met the
snow-children just entering, laughing merrily, and
quite ready for more games.

218
Going Home ,

“We are going now,” said Janet, “we have staid
too long. We have had a good visit, and now we
must go.”

The snow-children tried to detain them, but in
vain.

‘‘Good-by, dear Lily!” ‘“Good-by, all!” the
Kanter girls called back, as they ran out under the
open sky. And then the door in the snow-wall
closed behind them, and they were among the little
round huts again. Polo ran home at once, for he
was tired and hungry.

‘‘Come, birds, come!” cried Janet, without wait-
ing, and the great, superb birds, circling in the air,
came gently downward with the chariot. The Kanter
girls climbed into it, side by side, and in five min-
utes they were hundreds of miles away from the
land of snow, and going in at the door of their own
little home.

“ Did the Kanter girls always keep the invisible
rings, and the plaid aprons, and the chariot ?”

They did, until they grew up.

“Did they take more journeys ?”

A great many more, but the record was lost.

219







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