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CECIL ALDIN'S MERRY PARTY
UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME
Many Illustrations in Colour and
Letterpress by May Byron
Containing an account ^Qf/w-^ i'\'-\ -
Forager's Hunt . Breakfast v'''\
Rags' Garden Party :,. :
Master QuacH-s Water Picmc
Tabitha's Tea Party ' .; \ vV*'" v '
Peter's Dinner Party •'•''
Humpty and Dumpty's Fancy Dress Ball
To/d by May Byron and Illustrated' with many Full-Page
Pictures in Colour
HODDER &> STOUGHTON
• • •*
■ ,R;tHARD Clay &» Sons,' JiVjiiTfio,
BRUNSy'lCK 'STREET, STAMF0RB.';3XREET, S.E.,
THE NEW YORK
1 8 O o I
ASTtR LENOX AND
A-HUNTING WE WILL GO
» » "a*
" HE SAT HIMSELF DOWN AT HIS DESK '
The hunting season had begun, ^ and the
days were bright and clear, ^ when Forager
said, " Let's have some fun ^ that will suit
this time of the year, o A jolly Hunt Break-
fast to all my friends <> is the sort of affair I
propose. ^ A gentleman never cares what he
spends -^ on big entertainments like those.
Now, sometimes people don't want to eat,
they are not hungry, indeed, <^ if they get
their breakfast before the Meet. ^ To see them
properly feed, ^ the breakfast must happen at
luncheon-time, ^ and last till it's time for
tea. ^ And oh, I intend it shall be prime ! "
^ said Forager, shouting with glee. ^ So he
sat himself down at his desk, and penned, <>
in his boldest, dashingest style, <> an
invitation to every friend ^ who lived within
half a mile.
When Forager's letter next day was
received ^ by Rags, he was mad with pleasure.
<^ " It's really too jolly to be believed ! " <^
he cried as he read it at leisure. -^ " I wouldn't
miss it on any account : ^ it's a most un-
expected treat. ^ The bother is, I must find
a mount, ^ or how shall I go to the
Meet ? "
DOUBTS AND FEARS
" INSTEAD OF HUNTING, WE MIGHT GET HUNTED "
Thouph Foraper worded his letter so
nicely ^ it didn't exactly strike ^ all his
neighbours as being precisely <> the kind of a
party they'd like. <> Tabitha merely shrugged
her shoulder, ^ and said, with another shrug,
^ " When Forager gets a little bit older, ^
he'll know one prefers to stay snug ^ by
one's own fireside, to such gallivanting ! " ^
And Humpty and Dumpty, they <=^ huddled
together, alarmed and panting, ^ and
whispered, " What shall we say ? " ^ They
never before had been confronted ^ with a
puzzle like that. They thought, ^ " Instead
of hunting, we might get hunted, — ^ oh,
gracious ! we might get caught ! " ^ So
they sent a very polite little letter, ^ regretting
in all sorts of ways ^ they couldn't accept,
but they thought they had better ^ stay
home, these changeable days.
MOUNTS FOR THE MEET
T .t) C|. -V
BOBS AND TOGO
Nothing could scare the Quacks, however ^
^ they were awfully plucky, those two. <^
They made up a plan that was rather clever.
^ They went to some twins they knew, ^
Bobs and Togo — just like each other — ^
and said, with an artful air, ^ " Will you let
us ride on you and your brother ^ to Forager's
Hunt affair P <^ We are both of us very light
weights, you know, ^ we really scarce
weigh a feather ; <^ and as, no doubt, you
are meaning to go, ^ 'twould be nice if we all
went together ! " ^ Bobs and Togo were
taken aback <^ at this cool composed request ; ^
but each of them answered, " Well, Master
Quack, <^ no doubt your plan would be
THE ROUGH RIDERS
TUB QUACKS AS HUNTSMEN
But Bobs and Togo, poor simple chaps, -^
soon found they were quite the prey ^ of the
Quacks, who, attired in huntsman's caps, ^
came practising every day. ^ They were made
to gallop, to canter, to trot, ^ they were
pulled up sharp with a jerk. ^ They gasped,
" We are getting most fearfully hot ! " — -^
they groaned, " This is very hard work ! " ^
But the Quacks were yelling, " Get on !
Tally-ho ! ^ Tantivy ! Gee-up ! Look
slick ! " ^ And they kicked their steeds when
they went too slow, o and choked them for
going too quick. ^ " It's excellent practice ! "
they kept on crying, <^ " why do you make
such a fuss ? ^ It's just as good, there is no
denying, ^ for you as it is for us ! "
/ 5 I
A SMART TURN=OUT
'THEY KEPT QUITE OUT OF THE WAY
But Peter, who was extremely wise, o was
keeping his movements dark. ^ He was taking
daily exercise, <> and riding out in the Park, ^
on Billy, a friend he long had known. ^ At
length he appeared on the scene o on the
day of the Meet, in a coat of his own, <> of
the smartest, huntingest green. <> Forager,
M. F. H., was ready : ^ he sat, with a
smiling face, <> mounted well on his comrade
Neddy, ^ the picture of health and grace.
Then the Quacks rode up at a spanking
rate, ^ with Bobs and Togo quite gay. o
They chortled, " It never will do to be
late, ^ for this is our hunting day ! " ^
And this is a secret, — whisper low ! o
The Humpties who didn't accept, <> because
they couldn't a-hunting go, o turned up all
the same, though they kept ^ quite out the
way J and Tabitha, she ^ took a peep from
a safe retreat. ^ They were so dreadfully
anxious to see ^ this noble and glorious
Meet ! ^
GALLANT AND GAY
'a fine old ENGLISH SQUIRE "
The newspapers said that the Meet, which
was splendid, <> took place at Bramblewood
Bank. ^ They added that it '' was largely
attended ^ by the height of our fashion and
rank." ^ They also gave the whole of the
run : ^ you can read it yourself if you choose ^
■^ you've only to buy a " Mudshire Sun," ^
or a copy of " Farmyard News." ^ The
breakfast, however, they couldn't describe : <^
it was much too rich and too rare. ^ All our
friends, the whole of the tribe, <> were gaily
assembled there, ^ including Humpty and
Dumpty, both, ^ and Tabitha, who had been
^ (no wonder !) feeling extremely loth ^ to
be absent from such a scene. •^ Forager looked
so portly and proud, ^ like a fine old English
squire, -^ as with courtly manner he asked
the crowd, <> " Have you everything you
require ? " ^ From venison pasty to fillet of
veal, oh, how the table was laid ! ^ That
Breakfast was the heartiest meal ^ that ever
a huntsman made !
"THEY WASHED THEIR SOMEWHAT ELDERLY DUCKS
When the summer was just about half-
way through, ^ and the strawberries just full
in, ^ " I know of a spiffing thing to do ! "
^ said Rags to himself with a grin. ^ " A
garden-party ! Cream buns, and fruits, ^
plenty of iced lemonade, ^ all the guests
in their lightest suits, ^ and tennis-courts
properly laid." <^ And he left a note at every-
one's door, -^ to say, " Sir, Madam, or Miss,
■^ excuse my not having written before, ^
and such very short notice as this ^ ^ but I
am At Home to-morrow at three. <^ There'll
be Chinese lanterns and flags, ^ tennis, bowls,
and a scrumptious tea. ^ Do come ! Yours
The Master Quacks were wild with delight.
•^ They bought a packet of Lux, ^ and
washed exceedingly clean and white ^ their
somewhat elderly ducks. ^ They mended
their gaudy tennis-jackets, ^ which were not
much the worse for wear, ^ and with elegant
hats and up-to-date rackets, ^ they did look
a handsome pair !
A NEW HOBBLB GOWN
Humpty and Dumpty had just been buy-
ing ^ each a new hobble gown. ^ Of course,
in those it is no use trying <^ tennis — you'd
tumble down, o They couldn't help wishing
the skirts were wider; ^ but still it was
nice to feel ^ both Humpty, and Dumpty
walking beside her, <> were stylish from head
to heel. ^ They could just sit down ; but they
chose a seat ^ as near as they could to the
table, ^ which was covered with beautiful
things to eat ; <> and they luckily found
they were able ^ to stow away quite a lot of
these, ^ in their mouths and their vanity
bags. ^ " Oh, thanks, I will ! " and " Yes,
if you please ! " <> they said every minute
* ' -Dwripw'i
PETER'S TROUSERS WERE DREADFULLY SHRUNK
Peter's trousers — grey flannels they were —
^ were dreadfully shrunk, he found. ^ " Yet I
cannot afford another pair," ^ he said as he
turned them round. ^ However, he managed
to let them out, ^ but they still were decidedly
small. ^ " I must take care how I jump or
shout, ^ and mind that I do not fall," ^ said
Peter. " My cricketing shirt and shoes, ^
they only were new this year ; <^ but I must
be careful how I use ^ these trousers — that's
very clear. ^ Tennis I shan't attempt to
play, — ^ certainly not in these bags. ^ I
must stand about in a graceful way, — ^ I'll
try and explain to Rags."
PETER RETIRED TO THE TENTS "
But, getting in rather a flurried state ^
with fixing his cummerbund neatly, ^
Peter arrived at the party late, <^ and he lost
his head completely. ^ He was dragged at
once to the tennis-courts — ^ no time to
refuse or explain — ^ and a whisper, " Peter's
in footer shorts ! " -^ was heard from the
Quacks, quite plain. ^ Peter was burning with
mdignation — ^ enough to make anyone
burn ! ^ He hit out wildly in desperation,
^ and, taking an awkward return, ^ he felt
something giving a little bit — ^ he heard
two pistol-like cracks ; <^ and the whole
side seam of his trousers split ^ amid deafen-
ing cheers from the Quacks. ^ In a sad
condition of tatters and rents, ^ and splintery
jags and tags, -^ unhappy Peter retired to the
tents, -^ escorted in haste by Rags.
'ROLLED IT AS SMOOTH AS A PLATE
But Tabitha, who, I forgot to mention, ^
was sitting all cool in the shade, ^ imme-
diately gave him her kindest attention ^ -^
and a very good job she made ^ of Peter's
garments. For, neat and nimble, ^ she
borrowed another pair ^ from Rags ^ pro-
duced from her pocket a thimble, ^ and let
them out then and there. ^ She did it so
well, she did it so quick, — ^ in a jiffy, or
not much more, — <> that Peter appeared
again, perfectly spick, ^ and gave the young
Quacks what-for ! ^
Forager saw to the bowling-green, ^ and
rolled it as smooth as a plate. <> But after
an hour, as no one had been, ^ he thought
he had better not wait. <^ He came and
sat by the lemonade, ^ an excellent place
to choose, ^ and watched how splendidly
Peter played, ^ and talked of the latest
HANDSHAKES AND BOWS AND WAGS '
When the garden grew dusk, and the sun
was low, ^ and all the refreshments were
done, ^ the visitors said, " I suppose we must
go, ^ but oh, it has been such fun ! <> Of
all the parties we ever were at," <> said each
delighted guest, ^ and Tabitha echoed from
where she sat, ^ " Rags' At Home is the
best ! " <^ And the air was thick with grunts
and purrs, ^ and handshakes and bows and
" Good-night to you. Madam and Misses
and Sirs ! ^ I'm glad you were pleased ! " said
" IF THEY can't ALL SWIM, THEY MUST JUST
LEARN HOW "
" Parties, It seems, are all the go," <>
said Master Quack to his brother Joe. ^
" We'll give a party ourselves, I vote, o A
water-picnic, entirely afloat, ^ would be
rather decent, and quite unique." ^ Joseph
replied in a joyful squeak, o " Right oh !
But I say, look here, brother Jim, <^ we
must only invite the folks that can swim."
•^ " Rubbish ! " said James, as he wrinkled
his brow, ^ "if they can't all swim, they
must just learn how. ^ Refreshments, all of
the nicest sorts, <^ will be on the shore, and
aquatic sports ^ upon the water. Come on !
let's send ^ an invitation to every friend ! "
Peter was asked, and at once declared
that if he went he should go prepared. ^ His
mackintosh, brolly, and life-belt he wore. ^
" Such things," said he, " seem absurd
ashore ; ^ but they're just the things when
one's going to partake ^ of the joys of a
picnic on the lake."
THE BATH BUNNIES
'THEY TOOK IT IN TURNS TO PRACTISE SWIMMING
Humpty and Dumpty were ever so keen ^
about the party ^ they'd never been ^ to a
water-picnic. " It's something quite new ;
^ a jolly notion, I think, don't you ? " ^ they
said to each other. " But we must prepare ^
ourselves at once for this fine affair ! " -^ So
they filled the bath-tin till it was brimming, ^
and took it in turns to practise swimming, ^
in bathing suits of the latest cut. <> And they
tried to practise some diving, but ^ the
bath-tin objected, and hit out madly, <> and
Humpty's elbow was hurt rather badly.
A LAND LADY
"RAGS ON THE SPRINGBOARD WAS SOMETHING GREAT!"
Rags and Forager, as you might guess, ^
looked very swagger in bathing dress, o At
diving and swimming they both were cracks,
^ almost as good as the Master Quacks. ^
Rags on the springboard was something
great ! ^ As for Tabitha, — well, she was
late o in sending an answer. When it came,
^ neatly written and signed with her name,
■^ with a beautiful seal and a clean, new stamp,
^ it said that she always avoided damp : ^
it gave her bronchitis. However, said she, <>
she'd be simply charmed to attend the tea ;
^ and although the aquatic sports on the
pond, -^ as the Quacks would see, were a
little beyond ^ such a delicate lady, they'd
like her, perhaps, ^ to act as crowd, — do
the cheers and claps.
NO SAILOR BOLD
■ I REFl'SE TO GO IN UNLESS MY LIFE-BELT
13 ROrND MV BACK "
The day was gloriously bright and sunny,
^ when at last it came. No end of money ^
had been spent by the Quacks, to have every-
thing there, ^ the programme of sports and
the tea bill-of-fare, -^ well arranged and
exceedingly pleasant. ^ Everyone who'd
been asked was present, ^ and they looked at
the water with joy extreme, ^ for it really was
calm as Devonshire cream ! ^ But Peter,
well, he hadn't the pluck -^ of a Humpty or
Dumpty, much less of a duck. -^ " I refuse to
go in," he told Master Quack, ^ " unless my
life-belt is round my back. ^ I won't run risks.
I am not afraid, <> but my health insurance
hasn't been paid ! "
"PETER SAT THERE, WRAPPED IN HIS MACKINTOSH'
So the sports began ^ and the very first
race, ^ amid great excitement, was taking
place, o and Tabitha cheering on the bank <>
with Humpty and Dumpty, when — Peter
sank ! <> The life-belt slipped, and next
moment, — no wonder, — ^ in half a twink-
ling Peter was under ! ^
The Master Quacks immediately flew <> to
the rescue — Rags and Forager too. ^ But
the rescue was very hard work, they found, ^
and meanwhile Peter got nearly drowned.
He had swallowed a gallon of water, before
they managed to lug him up safe on shore.
Peter, all dismal duckweed and slosh, ^ sat
there, wrapped in his mackintosh, <> while
Humpty fed him with something sweet, ^
and Tabitha rubbed his hands and feet. ^
And the Quacks said, " Too much life-belt
about him. ^ The sports had better go on
Vv »■■ ^
THE GREASY POLE
There isn't time to tell you the story
•^ of all that followed : such frolic and
glory ! — ^ the water-polo, the greasy pole,
^ the duck-hunt, the races, — the tea was the
goal, — o the marvellous swims and astonish-
ing dives. ^ They had never had so much
fun in their lives ! ^ And Tabitha cheered so
long and loud, ^ it sounded like an enormous
crowd ! ^ But when the very last sports were
ended, ^ the picnic happened — and that was
splendid ! ^ Everyone, as was only right, ^
had a large and a healthy appetite. ^ Oh !
didn't they polish off cakes and tarts, ^ and
sandwiches too, with thankful hearts ! ^ And
even Peter recovered his speech ^ when he saw
the ices within his reach. <^ " Has our water-
picnic been a success } " <> asked the Quacks.
And the visitors yelled out " Yes ! "
"he put ox all his nicest clothes "
Tabitha was the busiest cat you ever yet
did see. ^ She was getting everything ready for
her beautiful birthday tea. ^ The guests,
though there were only three, were very,
very select — ^ Hungry Peter and Humpty and
Dumpty. Of course, as you might expect,^
Peter accepted the invitation with great de-
light; for he said, ^ "Oh ! won't there be a
spiffing feast ! a most splendiferous spread ! "^
He put on all his nicest clothes, ever so spick
and spruce, ^ though he felt he might have
eaten more if they'd been a bit more loose ^ <^
and, hoping he shouldn't be quite the very
earliest to arrive ^ (but he was), he knocked
at Tabitha's door at just five minutes to five. ^
And he tried to be very calm and polite,
but could hardly hide his glee <> at the thought
of all the lovely things he would have at
Tabitha's tea !
CROCKERY AND CRUMPETS
" HER BIGGEST PARTY TEA-POT "
Tabitha wasn't exactly ready — it gave her
rather a shock, <> and made her hot and
flustered, to hear Peter's knocketty-knock. o
For she only that minute had fetched her
biggest party tea-pot out, <> and was rinsing
it very carefully, because of the crack in
the spout. ^ And the cups and saucers — " Oh,
dear, dear ! what shall I do ? " said she ; ^
" I thought I'd certainly five of them — and
I can't find more than three ! ^ Extremely
awkward ! " said Tabitha. But nobody ever
looked sweeter, ^ and more at ease, as she
opened the door, and said, " Welcome, dear
Mr. Peter ! ^ How well you're looking !
How pleased I am to think you were not
prevented o from coming ! " Peter, all soaped,
and brushed, and collared, and gloved, and
scented, ^ gazed at the crumpets in the
fender. " They mostly disagree," ^ thought
Peter, " but still, I do love crumpets. Hurrah
for Tabitha's tea ! "
OUT IN THE COLD
THEY BOTH FELT VERY MUCH OUT IN THE COLD "
Humpty and Dumpty, charmingly dressed,
appeared a few minutes after. ^ The room
was full of the scent of tea, and the sound
of chatter and laughter. <^ Everyone was
occupied with the very pleasing employment
o of eating all one possibly could, which, you
know, is perfect enjoyment, ^ when Rags and
Forager happened to pass.
Now, they hadn't even been told ^ of
Tabitha's party : and so they both felt very
much out in the cold. ^ " Cakes ! " said
Forager, giving a sniff. " Scones ! " said
Rags with a snuff. ^ " Crumpets, I think ! "
said both together, " but probably dreadfully
tough ! " ^ " Give me a leg up. Forager,"
said Rags, " I want to see."
Oh ! how he licked his quivering lips as
he stared at Tabitha's tea !
UPS AND DOWNS
' RAGS WENT SLITHERY — STAGGERY— SLIP '
But, of course, however good-natured one
is, and anxious to help a friend, <> one cannot
act as a bench, or a form, for at least ten
minutes on end. ^ While Rags was licking
his lips, as we've said, and gurgling,
"Crumpets! Oh! oh!" o Forager got a
trifle tired, and a good deal bored, below. <>
So he first sat down — without due notice —
perhaps it was rather rash, ^ for Rags went
slithery — staggery — slip, and then came down
with a crash.
" Hush ! " said Humpty and Dumpty,
within, quite frightened, " what could that
be.!^" o Peter said nothing : his mouth was
much too full of Tabitha's tea.
" You idiot. Forager ! " Rags exclaimed,
" why couldn't you stand up straight } " <^
" All very well," said Forager, " but you
really are rather a weight. ^ And I thought
it my duty to let you down — you know, it's
decidedly rude <> to glare through a lady's
window at people having their food ! "
BARKS AND BITES
"HE SEIZED FAST HOLD OF FORAGER's EAR '
Humpty, Dumpty, and Hungry Peter still
were quite in the dark ^ as to what had
happened. They only heard a smothered
sort of a bark ; <^ and Tabitha said, as she
helped the cake, " It's nothing at all, I think."
o So they all began to talk again, and
merrily eat and drink ; <=> when, just in the
midst of their joyful meal, there rose a great
noise beneath <> the window, such a yapping,
and snapping, and snarling, and gnashing of
teeth ! ^ For Rags, whose temper was shorter
than short, was feeling exceedingly vexed,
<^ first, because he hadn't been asked, and
then with Forager next. ^ And he seized
fast hold of Forager's ear, and yelled in an
angry tone, ^ " Mind your own business,
will you, stupid ! and leave my manners
alone ! "
Humpty, Dumpty, and Tabltha, all in a
terrible fright, ^ stood at the open window,
shocked at this painful sight. ^ But Peter
(when he was able to speak) mumbled, " Oh,
let 'em be. <> Don't let's waste time. Much
better for us to attend to Tabitha's tea ! "
PEACE AND PLENTY
"WHY wasn't I ASKED?"
Meanwhile, Peter sat still and ate, till at
last he really required ^ not a single crumb
or spoonful more ^ and then, feeling ever so
tired, ^ he lay and snored on the sofa.
" Dear me ! how glad I am ^ that noise
has stopped ! " said Tabitha, as she opened
some more plum jam.
" Why wasn't I asked ? " shrieked the
voice of Rags in a rage ^ and, lo and
behold, ^ there he was up at the window
again ! Humpty and Dumpty turned cold. -^
But Tabitha, who was very sensible, shut
down the window tight. ^ " Now," said she,
" that ill-behaved person can stare, if he likes,
all night! ^ Come on, I've got some beau-
tiful scones just ready, a quite fresh lot." ^
And she took them out of the oven, a plateful,
all piping hot. ^ When they'd finished the
tea at last, and the things were cleared away,
^ Peter awoke, and they had such fun, with
every game they could play ! <> All's well
that ends well, as you've heard ^ and certainly
nothing could be ^ more jolly than the
ending-up of Tabitha's birthday tea !
PETER PREPARES FOR
■ I KNOW I don't eat enough "
" I'm really growing thinner," said Peter
with much distress. ^ " My legs are like a
spider's ; my waist is very much less ^ than it
used to be. It's hunger! I know I don't
eat enough. ^ The things that I am given
are always such tasteless stuff. <> I think I'll
study cooking, — I'll teach myself how to
make ^ everything, from an omelet to a first-
class wedding cake." ^ And, with this noble
object, he studied by night and day, ^ and he
turned out splendid dishes in a quite remark-
able way. ^ And at last he declared with
triumph, " I'll give a big party now ! ^ I'll
ask my friends to dinner, if it's only to show
them how ^ that sort of thing should be
managed ! " So at once he made up his
mind. ^ He arranged the various courses, of
the most expensive kind ; ^ and he said, with
great satisfaction, " Oh ! this will be simply
fine ! ^ At Hungry Peter's party, I'll teach
'em the way to dine ! "
ROAST AND BOILED
"OH, didn't he jump and frolic !'
He put on cap and apron, when the
wonderful day came round. <> Oh, didn't he
jump and frolic ! oh, didn't he caper and
bound ! <> He chortled over the saucepans, he
warbled over the pots, ^ he sang as he washed
the silver — of which he had lots and lots. <>
And he hadn't a soul to help him \ but then
there was never, you know, <> such a diligent
person as Peter, when he made up his mind
The pans were all on the simmer, the pots
were just on the boil, ^ the dinner hour was
approaching, as Peter ended his toil. ^ The
pies and tarts in the oven were smelling
extremely nice ; ^ the puddings and col-
oured jellies, the trifle and strawberry ice,
o were much too lovely to tell you. And
Peter now, having placed <> everything ready
for dishing, took one little tiny taste, ^ to see
if it all was perfect. " Ha ! ha ! " said he
with a smile, ^ " they'll see that Peter does
things in a ship-shape and tip-top style ! " ^
But Rags and Forager sadly surveyed the
back of his head. ^ " Oh, bother ! why will
he taste it } It's not a bit safe ! " they
said. <^ " My goodness," said Rags, " let's
stop him ! Quick, Forager, make some sign,
o or at Hungry Peter's party we shan't be
able to dine."
RAGS IN MISCHIEF
RAGS HAD SINGED HIS TAIL "
Then Peter stood at his mirror, and made
himself dainty and spruce. ^ At first he felt
so excited, his fingers were not much use. <>
But at last, growing somewhat cooler, he
tackled his tie quite well ^ ^ and when he
was dressed, I assure you he looked no end of
a swell ! ^ But just as the finishing touches
were carefully being put, ^ he noticed a
terrible odour,^ — a mixture of feathers and
" Great Scott ^ there is something burning !
Oh ! can the turkey have caught ? o Oh !
can the cabinet pudding have boiled right
over ? " he thought. ^ And he flew down-
stairs to the kitchen, turning first red, then
pale, •'^ to find it was Rags who was scorch-
ing ^ for Rags had singed his tail, ^ by
peeping into the oven to try and look at the
smell, ^ which every moment grew larger,
and much more tempting as well.
" Rags, you've no notion of manners,"
said Peter very severely, ^ " opening the door
of the oven — you've spoilt things, or very
nearly. <> Don't you come meddling and
muddling ! — this dinner's not yours, it's
mine, <> and I've asked respectable people,
not rude little curs, to dine ! "
"they spilled the salad somehow, before thev sat down to dine
No sooner had Rags been mended, with
vaseline and with haste, <> than there
came a rat-tat-tatting, and Peter eagerly
raced <> to let in Humpty and Dumpty.
They both were delighted and much ^ sur-
prised when they saw the table. He begged
of them not to touch, <> while he left them
there for a moment — the dinner had to be
dished. ^ But, of course, to be left alone
there, however much they had wished <^ to
be good and behave quite nicely, you know,
it was rather trying. <^ The salad was on
the side-board, and I fear there is no deny-
ing ^ that the salad was strangely smaller
after a minute or two. ^ But I wouldn't say
they had touched it — oh no, that never
would do ! ^ Perhaps they were only ad-
miring the side-board cloth design, ^ and
they spilled the salad somehow, before they
sat down to dine !
' WHY, IT S CASTOR SUGAR 1
But now the guests were arriving, got up
in the latest style. ^ The front door bell and
the knocker were echoing all the while. <^
The scents that came from the kitchen, as
Tabitha said, made it seem ^ (she always
was sentimental) like a much-too-beautiful
dream. <> Peter was in such spirits, he almost
managed to make ^ (but don't let out that
I told you !) a most appalling mistake ! ^
He was putting a taste of pepper in the soup
— was just in the act, — ^ when he said,
" Why, it's castor sugar ! " — and it was, and
that's a fact !
' AS we're all teetotal, we ll drink this toast
— IN THE SOUP "
Well, Forager, Rags, the Humpties,
Tabitha, and the Quacks, <^ all sat down to
the dinner, as prim and as stiff as wax. ^ But
they cheered as the dinner proceeded ; and
they certainly cheered the most, ^ when
Peter, lifting his wine-glass, observed, " I
propose a toast. ^ Everyone's health ! " he
shouted ; but his voice had a gentle droop ^
while he said, " As we're all teetotal, we'll
drink this toast — in the soup ! "
Oh ! how they applauded Peter ! and how
their eyes did shine ! <> The dinner had
sixteen courses, so all is said in a line. <> But
it only was right and proper, that being both
host and cook, <> Peter was perfectly stunning
in the number of things he took. ^ There
wasn't a single dish there he could bring
himself to decline. ^ I tell you, at Peter's
party, he showed 'em the way to dine !
" A HORSEY GENTLEMAN — THAT'S MY LINE '
HuMPTY and Dumpty, when they had
thought ^ for weeks and weeks, decided they
ought ^ to give a party. They were, as you
know, ^ so very shy, and it frightened them
so ^ whenever they faced a lot of folk : <^
they simply blushed whenever they spoke. ^
But now they said, " Though our friends
are all ^ much more important, and large,
and tall, ^ than we, yet they all are ex-
ceedingly kind ; ^ and it's certain they each
will be inclined ^ to make our party a big
success. ^ Let's have a ball, then, — in fancy
So they sent out cards to the neighbours
all, ^ inviting them to " a modest ball," — ^
that's what they said ; and on top of the
cards ^ they put " Just fancy ! " and " Kind
regards." ^ R^gs, in a moment, or even
less, ^ had made up his mind how he would
dress. ^ " A horsey gentleman — that's my
line," -^ he said to Forager, "won't it be
fine ? ^ A spotted tie, and a smart check
tweed, <^ I flatter myself, will look well
indeed. ^ Gaiters and swagger cane and
pin : ^ I'll do it thoroughly once I begin ! "
THE EARLY VICTORIANS
■THE CRINOLINES irERE SO SILLY!'
The hostesses found it a difficult task ^ to
decide their clothes. So they went to ask ^
Tabitha for some useful advice. ^ " Oh,"
she told them, " you'd look so nice ^ in Early
Victorian fashions, my pets, ^ Crinolines,
dears, and pantalettes ; ^ coal-scuttle bonnets
and sandalled shoes." <> " What a lovely
notion," they said, " to choose ! " ^ And they
worked like mad, with sewing machines, o
at dimities and at bombazines, <^ with yards
of wire for the crinolines, <> and bonnet-
trimmings in emerald greens. ^ The panta-
lettes, all snowy and frilly, <^ were sweet ;
but the crinolines were so silly ! ^ Humpty
and Dumpty grew dreadfully flustered <>
putting them on, and hot as mustard. ^ " It
feels," said Humpty, " as if one had got <>
by accident into a lobster-pot ! " ^ " No,
that's just fancy ! " Dumpty replied, <^ as
she finally squeezed her sister inside. <^ They
also bought Early Victorian shawls. ^ You
do spend money for fancy dress balls !
'A WOLF THAT WENT WITH WHEELS AND A STRING
Tabitha wouldn't let anyone know o In
what costume she intended to go. -^ But she
meant to appear as something quite good : ^
what do you think ? — Red Riding Hood ! <>
Scarlet cloak, and apron of white, ^ she
really was the most charming sight, ^ with a
basket— really a life-like thing, — o and a wolf
that went with wheels and a string. ^ Before
the looking-glass, every night, <^ she practised
till she was satisfied quite. ^ " Just fancy ! "
she said to herself, " not one -^ will think of
doing as I have done ! ^ How they will
stare, and how they will call, ^ when Little
Red Riding Hood comes to the ball ! "
■ 1 Jii'ii^J \ \ nil
^jTB^B / ^^^^^
A TIGHT FIT
THEY FIT TOO WELL, DO THESE PAGE S CLOTHES '
But Peter's plan, it was quainter yet. ^ By
hook or crook he managed to get ^ a page's
suit of an old-fashioned sort, — ^ very tight
breeches and coat verv short : ^ a small silk
hat on the top of his head, ^ and a bun in
his hand. " Look here," he said ^ to
Forager, " what do you think of that ? " <>
" Well, Peter, you look a trifle fat," said
Forager, trying to be polite. ^ " Good ! "
exclaimed Peter, " first guess right ! ^ The
Fat Boy in ' Pickwick,' — that's what you see.
^ It's an eating part, and will just suit me.
^ I doze and I eat, — I eat and I doze, — ^
though they fit too well, do these page's
clothes, o It's a fine idea ! " chuckled Peter,
swelling ^ with pride. " What are you ? " —
" Oh, well, that's telling ! " ^ said Forager,
and he gave a wink. <^ " But I rather imagine
you'll see me in pink. ^ If I can't do a hop,
I'll do a crawl ^ in pink, at the Humpties'
fancy dress ball."
A TIP-TOP AFFAIR
MASTER QUACK AS MADAME PAVLOVA THE RUSSIAN DANCER
" My goodness me ! " — so Humpty said,
^ as she very cautiously poked out her head,
^ and saw the guests as they made their
approach -^ in waggon and wheelbarrow,
carriage and coach. ^ " My goodness me !
Oh ! Dumpty, do look ! " ^ And, perfectly
breathless, both of them took, ^ in turns, a
bit of a squint behind ^ the chink between
curtain and window-blind.
For there was Rags, in his sporty costume,
^ a kind of blend of a lord and a groom ;
<^ there was Peter, in blue and white, — <>
fat is no word for that wonderful sight ! <>
There were the Quacks, who could not be
beaten ^ for marvellous fancies, one in an
Eton ; ^ the other said, when pressed for
an answer, ^ he was Madame Pavlova, the
Russian dancer. ^ And Tabitha, who (as she
knew she would), ^ caused shrieks of surprise
as Red Riding Hood. ^ And Forager last,
big, bluff, and blunt, <^ in the gorgeous
dress of the Heathshire Hunt. ^ Never was
seen, no, never before, <^ such a troop as
entered the Humpties' door.
THE BELLE OF THE BALL
' REFRESHMENTS WERE SERVED WHENEVER ONE CHOSE '
The ball was all that could be desired. ^
The Humpties, at great expense, had hired
o a huge and magnificent gramophone o
(having no piano as yet of their own). ^ So
the music was fine. They had got an im-
mense ^ rich supper (also at great expense),
^ and refreshments were served whenever one
chose, — ^ bovril and cofl^ee and things like
those. ^ And the dancing — really there never
was such ! ^ Some said Peter had eaten too
much, o and they hinted his Fat Boy looked
too fat ; o but he waltzed divinely in spite
of that. ^ But as for Tabitha, great and
small o said she was the belle of the fancy
dress ball !
1 400. ch CENTRAL CIRCULATION