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LIBRARY OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
"SOMETHING REALLY USEFUL " (Page 76)
ELLEN OLNEY KIRK
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
CIjc iiiiuTsi&c press, Cambriti0e
COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY ELLEN OLNEY KIRK
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
, . .
JULIA, MARION, and HERBERT LIONEL INGHAM
of " Mangi'oville," Paget, Bermuda
this little chronicle of the doings of old-time
New England children is lovingly
inscribed by their
I. CHRISTMAS EVE 1
II. MERRY CHRISTMAS 20
III. DOROTHY'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS .... 37
IV. DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 49
V. DOROTHY AT HOME 70
VI. COASTING BY MOONLIGHT .... 94
VII. TELLING STORIES 116
VIII. GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS . . . 135
IX. KEEPING CHICKENS 154
X. MARCIA'S PICNIC 176
XI. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD . . .206
XII. UNEXPECTED GUESTS 222
Xni. A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 250
XIV. LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES .... 277
XV. EXPECTED GUESTS 292
XVI. A NIPPING FROST 309
XVH. "THE PARTING OF THE WAYS" . 318
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"SOMETHING REALLY USEFUL" (page 76) Frontispiece
THE FEAST BEGAN 62
"DON'T TELL, JOHN" 138
"WE MUST GO HOME" 212
IN THE GREAT ATTICS 280
CLOSE IN THOSE LOVING ARMS . . . 316
MKS. BICKERDYKE always knitted twenty face-
cloths for Christmas presents. On this 23d of
December she was hard at work on the sixteenth
of the number, and her little great-granddaugh-
ter, Dorothy Deane, was sitting beside her doing
up the fifteen already completed, into packages.
Each knitted face-cloth was folded round a cake
of Ivory soap ; both were inclosed in a square
of white tissue paper and then neatly tied with
narrow blue ribbon.
When Mrs. Bickerdyke bestowed one of these
souvenirs upon one of her poorer friends, it was
her habit to say, with her commanding glance,
" Now, there can be no excuse."
And it must be confessed that even when rich
and well-to-do people received these tokens,
people to whom cakes of soap and wash-cloths
could offer no unusual opportunity, even they
2 DOROTHY DEANE
had the feeling that Mrs. Bickerdyke was ex-
horting them to wash and be clean. For every-
body knew that both Mrs. Bickerdyke and her
daughter Hester lived only to do good to who-
soever came within their reach.
Mrs. Bickerdyke was a handsome old lady, in
spite of her rather eagle-like nose and glance.
She was always well dressed, wearing in the
morning a black stuff gown, with a fine lawn
handkerchief folded over her shoulders ; and
black silk in the evening, with a fichu of bob-
binet lace. Her head was set off at all times by
a widow's cap of the sheerest white material. In
front of the spotless frills of the cap, and resting
on the old lady's tranquil forehead, were four
puffs of white hair. When Dorothy first came
to Swallowfield to live, she used to sit looking
at Mrs. Bickerdyke, wondering whether those
four puffs of hair belonged to the cap or to
her grandmamma's head. Nowadays Dorothy
knew, but I shall let her keep the secret. I
will only say that after the little girl found it
out she wondered almost more than she did
At this present moment Dorothy was trying
to keep all her thoughts upon the knitted face-
cloths and cakes of soap. She knew that al-
though Mrs. Bickerdyke was knitting vigorously,
CHRISTMAS EVE 3
there was a vigilant eye upon her own doings,
and that at the least deviation from the pre-
scribed rule she would hear,
"Not that way, Dorothy. Undo it all and
This feeling of being overlooked made the lit-
tle fingers stiff and awkward. The pieces of
soap slipped, the paper tore, the ribbons tangled
themselves up into knots. Oh, how tired she
was ! It seemed to Dorothy as if all her life
long, indeed from the very beginning of the
world, she had been tying up face-cloths. Time
was always long, oh, so long, in Mrs. Bicker-
dyke's sitting-room. Nowhere else in the world
did clocks tick so slowly or so loudly as here.
But now all at once something unexpected hap-
" Why, grandmamma," Dorothy burst forth
in surprise, " that 's the end of the ribbon."
" You must have used it too freely," said Mrs.
" No, really and truly, grandmamma, I have
measured off every one and cut it by the piece
of tape you gave me."
" Go upstairs and ask your aunt Hester if she
has any more ribbon."
As Dorothy left the room she drew a long
breath of relief.
4 DOROTHY DEANE
" Oh," she said to herself, " I do hope that
aunt Hester has n't got the least bit more."
She saw as she went into the hall that the
street door stood open, and that her aunt stood
talking to a person outside, as if giving direc-
tions to some one about to take a journey. " Tell
your mother the best connection is by the 10.15
train," she was saying. " I hope you will have
a pleasant Christmas. Good-by."
She was about to close the door when a voice
" Oh, Miss Hester, there is Dorothy ! May n't
I come in and speak a few words to Dorothy ? "
It was Marcia Dundas, and Dorothy loved
Marcia Dundas almost more than anybody except
her own mother.
" Dorothy is helping her grandmother to-day,"
replied Miss Hester.
" Oh, aunt Hester," cried Dorothy eagerly,
" grandmamma sent me to ask you if you had
any more ribbon. I have used up every bit."
" Come in, Marcia," Miss Bickerdyke now
said, yielding rather ungraciously. " You and
Dorothy may sit down on that divan and talk
for fifteen minutes by the clock."
The two children looked at each other, each
with a little smile of satisfaction as they took
their places side by side in absolute silence.
CHRISTMAS EVE 5
Miss Hester, who was a tall, slender woman,
with a fine, quiet, earnest face, went slowly up
" We 're going to spend Christmas at aunt
Mary's," Marcia said. " We 're going to-mor-
row, for four days."
" Oh dear," cried Dorothy, and the corners
of her mouth went down.
" I shan't like it," said Marcia, as if her mind
were quite made up. "I shall keep thinking
about you and Lucy and Gay."
The two exchanged a smile. Dorothy was
eight years old and Marcia eleven. Dorothy
was perhaps no smaller than others of her age,
but she had a way of looking younger and
smaller ; while Marcia was overgrown, with long
legs and arms, so that her frocks seemed always
too short for her. Dorothy had a nice little
round face, with large, meditative brown eyes,
and a pair of sweet, smiling lips that everybody
liked to kiss. Her hair, bright gold in color,
was cut short and curled in large, loose rings all
over her head. Marcia' s hair was very long and
dark and thick and rough and shaggy, like a
pony's mane. She wore it braided in two great
untidy plaits, which, always in the way, were
always being flopped first on one shoulder and
then on the other. The braids, however, being
6 DOROTHY DEANE
a part of Marcia, each flop was full of character
and significance. Dorothy thought Marcia' s face
quite the most beautiful face in the world. Her
skin was like ivory. Usually she was pale ; but
when she became excited, her cheeks grew as
red as roses. Her eyes were black, laughing,
rather saucy. Her well-cut mouth could easily
express a great many meanings. She could look
proud, she could look disdainful; but the mo-
ment her lips parted, and her small, even teeth
showed, why, then, the sun came out !
" I shall want to hear about everything you
do for Christmas/' Marcia went on. " Do you
expect any presents, Dorothy? "
" Oh, I should hope so ; don't you ? " Dorothy
" Oh, it 's our Christmas present going to
aunt Mary's," said Marcia. " She has sent the
money for our journey. That 's why I hate it
" Oh, you '11 have something else," said Dor-
" Nothing I want," returned Marcia. " Oh,
how I wish one had only to walk into shops at
Christmas time and pick out just what one
liked without having anything to pay ! Oh,
would n't I just enjoy picking out things ! "
" Go into shops and take whatever you
CHRISTMAS EVE 7
Canted ! " said Dorothy, drawing a deeper
breath. " Why, they would n't let you."
" At Christmas, you know. I think that would
be the nicest possible sort of Christmas ! "
" I should think it would," murmured Doro-
thy. " What should you pick out ? "
" Chocolates," said Marcia, with instant deci-
sion. " Lots of chocolates and oranges and
bananas and everything good to eat, you know.
Then all sorts of things to wear : frocks and
hats and muffs and tippets, besides books! oh,
the greatest quantity of nice books about pirates
and soldiers and kings and queens."
"Wouldn't it be splendid?" said Dorothy,
kindling at the magnificence of the idea. " It
would be almost better than having Santa Claus
come down the chimney."
" A great deal better. I never did care about
Santa Claus. I never believed in him, hardly
even when I was a baby."
" Oh, Marcia ! "
" Are you such a goose as to believe in Santa
" I want to," said Dorothy earnestly. " I '11
believe in him all my life long, if he only brings
me what I have asked him to bring me."
"What have you asked him for?" Marcia
inquired with a little shrug of her shoulders.
8 DOROTHY DEANE
" I don't dare tell."
" Oh, tell me," Marcia insisted. " I 'm going
away, so there 's no harm in telling me."
" I want two dolls," Dorothy piped in her
soft, clear little voice ; " one big and one little.
Then I want a large, nice paint-box and a writ-
" Well, you do know what you want, don't
you ? " returned Marcia, laughing. " I know
what would happen to me if I asked for two
dolls, one big and one little, a paint-box, and
" What ? " demanded Dorothy.
" Why, I should n't get them," Marcia re-
plied. " But then you 're lucky, and I 'm un-
" Oh, I 'm not lucky, am I ? " said Dorothy,
with little, happy dimples coming in her cheeks.
She did not know the world very well yet, and so
could not be sure. It was pleasant, nevertheless,
to be called lucky by Marcia, who knew all sorts
of things better than Dorothy.
" Everybody is lucky except me," Marcia pur-
sued. " I should n't mind so much if it was n't
for mamma, but nothing goes right with us.
Papa has been ill again, so no money has come
from him. Mamma had surely expected some,
but I don't know that I did. I 've got used to
CHRISTMAS EVE 9
having things go wrong. Rosalie went away
" Oh, did she go, too ? " inquired Dorothy.
" I hoped she would like to stay."
" Oh, no ; everybody goes, nobody stays
with us. I made mamma's coffee this morning
and poached her an egg. I don't mind."
Dorothy listened with a critical air, her head
a little on one side like a wise bird's.
" Mamma tells me," she now observed, " that
when I cannot have what I like I must try to
like what I have."
" Well, do you ? " inquired Marcia with high
" I try to make believe sometimes," said Dor-
othy with a half sigh.
" I don't," returned Marcia with a decisive
little nod ; " if I 've got nothing to eat but dry
bread, I just say it's dry bread. I don't tell
people it 's plum pudding."
" Oh, I don't mean telling what is n't true,"
" I know what you mean. But I don't like
dry bread, and I will not tell anybody I like dry
bread and think it 's good and wholesome.
That 's what you would do. I want my bread
fresh, spread thick with butter, then a layer of
jam on that and cream on top ! "
10 DOROTHY DEANE
The fifteen minutes were up. Miss Hester's
foot was on the lowest stair. She held in her
hand a roll of blue ribbon. Almost before
Dorothy knew what was happening, Marcia had
departed and she herself was again sitting beside
her grandmother, tying up cakes of soap in
knitted face-cloths. All the happy hopes that
had been bubbling up within her while she was
talking with Marcia seemed to have vanished.
It was dreadful to think that for five whole days
she could not see Marcia. She no longer be-
lieved that Santa Glaus would bring her the
two dolls, the paint-box, and writing-desk, that
she had begged for. All at once the dreadful
thought occurred to her that perhaps she would
have to accept one of these face-cloths and
cakes of soap from her grandmamma. Oh, how
could she bear it ? When she had sat hour after
hour tying them up with blue ribbon, to be
obliged to have one for her own ! Oh, how
angry she was going to be if it happened so,
how raging, how furious ! All the blood in
her body seemed to rush to her cheeks.
" It must be too warm here," exclaimed Mrs.
Bickerdyke. " Your whole face is crimson,
Dorothy. Look at the thermometer."
It was a rule of the house that the rooms
must never be warmer than seventy-four degrees
CHRISTMAS EVE 11
Fahrenheit. When Jerusha, the maid-of-all-
work, had first come, it had been explained to
her that she must never let the thermometer go
above seventy-four degrees. Miss Hester next
morning missed the thermometer, and on making
inquiries learned that Jerusha, seeing that it
was in danger of going too high, had hung it on
Jerusha by this time understood all the ways
of the house. Dorothy understood some of
them, and was pleased to make the discovery
that the mercury pointed to seventy-seven de-
grees. Doors had to be opened on the instant ;
a distant window raised. Dorothy ran round
like a little cyclone, delighted at the excuse for
Her aunt looked down from the upper landing
" Dorothy, if grandmamma does not need you,
come to my room a minute ! "
Mrs. Bickerdyke had just cast on the stitches
for her seventeenth face-cloth, and decided to lie
down and take a little nap. Dorothy went
slowly up the stairs, her heart feeling as if it
had jumped into her throat. Miss Hester al-
ways seemed to see into her heart and to know
just what was passing in her mind, and Dor-
othy's conscience was not clear at this moment.
12 DOROTHY DEANE
She was not quite sure but that it was her rage
at the thought of having to accept one of her
grandmamma's face-cloths that had sent the
thermometer up to seventy-seven degrees.
Miss Hester was sitting at her desk writing
down a list of things in her note-book, and Dor-
othy, entering, stood looking at her, not ventur-
ing to interrupt. Aunt Hester was not at all
old like grandmamma, but still she was not at all
young. Dorothy, as we have seen, had many
speculations in her mind, and one was whether
Miss Hester might not early in life have been
exposed to the freezing cold and never quite
thawed out afterwards. Her face was so pale,
so regular, so quiet. Her dark hair, just touched
with silver threads, was always so immaculately
smooth. Her eyebrows were very dark and very
straight ; her eyes, too, were dark, yet had a
clear light in them. Between the brows were two
little up and down wrinkles ; then there were
deep lines on each side of the thin, straight
Dorothy thought to herself,
" Oh, I could n't love aunt Hester, I really
could n't. She makes me feel cold somehow."
At this moment Miss Hester, turning, looked
at Dorothy all over and through and through,
as if she read as on a printed page her every
CHRISTMAS EVE 13
thought, feeling, and wish. Just as Dorothy
expected to be consumed by her aunt's righteous
indignation, Miss Hester inquired,
" Should you like to go to town with me to-
morrow, Dorothy, to buy a few Christmas pre-
sents ? "
" Oh, aunt Hester ! " Dorothy burst out. Then
she paused and drew a deep breath. " Do you
really mean it ? " she faltered.
" I inquired whether you would like to go to
town with me to-morrow to buy Christmas pre-
sents," Miss Hester repeated, with the look and
tone of one who has no time to waste on unmean-
" Yes, please, aunt Hester," gasped Dorothy.
She suddenly regarded her aunt from a quite
different point of view, wondering if she might
really thank her, kiss her, hug her, cling to her ;
but no, she did not venture.
At 9.55 next morning Miss Hester and Dor-
othy took the train for town. At 4.02 they
returned. It had been a bewildering experience
for Dorothy, but any one looking at the little
girl as she sat beside the rather severe looking
lady in a sealskin pelisse would have known
that the day had been a happy one.
" You can put the parcels on the rack, Dor-
othy," Miss Hester had said to her.
14 DOROTHY DEANE
" Oh, please, aunty, may n't I go on holding
them ? " Dorothy pleaded. " I do so love to
So she sat straining her little arms round three
great packages. Her heart beat lovingly against
them. Once, when she was sure her aunt was
not looking, she kissed the brown papers which
wrapped them up, one after the other. She
knew so well what was inside : in the long slen-
der parcel two dolls, one big and one little ; in
the oblong thin one a box of paints; in the
square thick one a writing-desk.
Everybody in the long train of cars was loaded
down with brown-paper parcels, but probably
none of all those Christmas presents was to give
the same amount of pleasure that Dorothy ex-
perienced in clasping her aunt's purchases to
When Mrs. Deane (Elizabeth Deane was
Dorothy's own mother, to whom I must now give
a passing introduction to the reader) arrived at
the house at six o'clock that Christmas eve,
she knew the moment she met her little girl's
eyes that something very pleasant had happened.
Dorothy could look intensely serious, but when
anything made her smile it was hard for her to
leave off smiling. Usually she was pale, so when
a spot of color began to burn on each cheek, one
CHRISTMAS EVE 15
might safely guess that she was excited. Dor-
othy's eyes, too, had a way, when she was fairly
waked up, of getting on fire, as it were. When
she ran to throw her arms round her mother, she
was smiling, her eyes were aglow, and her cheeks
were just the color of a pink shell.
"Don't ask me anything yet, mamma," she
whispered. " I '11 tell you when you put me to
bed. But oh, it 's perfectly beautiful ! "
When I have told how Dorothy looked, I have
also described her mother, except that Mrs.
Deane was twenty years older than her little
daughter, and that while Dorothy's hair was
bright gold and in close little curls all over her
head, Mrs. Deane's was bright brown, and so long
that it could be coiled up in a knot. Twenty-
eight is not such a very great age when one has
reached it. Mrs. Deane was not so old that she
could not have enjoyed pleasant times quite as
much as Dorothy, if they had come in her way.
Elizabeth had had a pretty hard tussle with life
since her husband died, six months after their
wedding day, and five months before Dorothy
was born. He had been Mrs. Bickerdyke's grand-
son and Miss Hester's nephew. It took Mrs.
Bickerdyke and Miss Hester almost six years
to forgive Elizabeth for having married Frank
Deane. Finally, however, they had come to see
16 DOROTHY DEANE
their duty clearly, and they had offered a home
to Dorothy and an occasional place of refuge to
"Of course you must pay for the child's
board, and for your own when you are with us,"
Miss Hester had said in her quiet, earnest way.
" We could not afford to take you in on other
terms. But you will have the comfort of feeling
that Dorothy is well looked after, that she will
never be neglected, that she will have the train-
ing her father had before her."
Elizabeth Deane was grateful. It was what
she had longed for. She had a position in a
large school for girls ; she taught elementary
French, and music, and English ; she corrected
exercises and compositions ; she prepared and
looked over examination papers; she tutored;
she coached ; she drilled ; she was, in fact, a
low-priced teacher-of-all-work, never having had
diplomas or degrees. Her bag was always full
to overflowing with exercises, examinations, and
essays. Her pocket bristled with blue, red, and
black pencils. She almost never had a real hon-
est holiday. She was always taking extra work ;
always trying to earn a little more money ;
always working towards a possible future when
Dorothy would need a generous outlay for her
education. Now she was to have just Christ-
CHRISTMAS EVE 17
mas, for on the morning after Christmas she
was to go back to school to look after the pupils
who stayed on through the vacation.
If Elizabeth had not really understood Mrs.
Bickerdyke and Miss Hester, she would not have
been willing to give up Dorothy to their care.
She knew that they were conscientious, that they
were always looking beyond the pleasure of the
moment, but that their hearts were kind, even if
they did feel it to be wrong that any erring
human being should have too smooth and easy a
road. For example : when Dorothy had first
come to Swallowfield her hair was long and
floated over her shoulders. Elizabeth had loved
to brush these " goldilocks," and she had done
it so gently, Dorothy could have slept during
the operation. Not so when this duty became
Miss Hester's ; if she pulled and twisted the
tangled curls, she would say,
" You must learn to bear pain. You will have
a great deal of pain to bear before you die, and
you must remember that pain is good for you."
This was sound, bracing doctrine. Elizabeth
saw the truth of it, yet she acted on a different
theory. Just because there is so much inevita-
ble pain to bear in life, it seemed to her a pity to
inflict unnecessary tortures. Accordingly, one
morning Dorothy woke up to find that her pretty,
18 DOROTHY DEANE
fluffy, baby curls had all been clipped off in her
That was two years ago, a long past event.
Let us get on with our story.
When Mrs. Deane took Dorothy upstairs that
Christmas eve, Dorothy whispered to her,
" Oh, mamma, I am going to have such beau-
tiful presents ! "
Mrs. Deane heaved a soft little sigh.
" I am afraid, dear, that Santa Glaus "
"But, mamma, aunt Hester bought me four
splendid Christmas presents to-day, just ex-
actly what I asked Santa Claus for."
" Why, my dear child, you must not think
" Yes, mamma, she did ! Two dolls, one big
and one little," insisted Dorothy. "A paint-
box, oh, the most lovely paint-box, with four
saucers and four brushes, and then the sweetest
little writing-desk ! "
"Dorothy, dearest, your aunt would never
have bought you such presents, never in the
world," said Mrs. Deane earnestly. "Put the
idea quite out of your mind. If she bought
them, they were for somehody else, not for
" Oh yes, she did buy them for me ! " Dor-
othy maintained, smiling and dimpling, her eyes
CHRISTMAS EVE 19
alight, her cheeks rosy. "Aunt Hester said,
when we came to the doll-counter, * Now, Dor-
othy, if you were to have the choice of two dolls,
one large and one small, which of them should
you pick out ? ' Then it was just the same with
the paint-box and writing-desk."
Mrs. Deane shook her head. It had not been
her experience to gather grapes from thorns, nor
figs from thistles. The principle upon which
Miss Hester acted was not to try to make Dor-
othy happy, but to make her good. Still, who
could tell ? It is the unexpected that happens.
Dorothy might as well have the present comfort
of hoping and believing. Accordingly the little
girl went to bed that Christmas eve hugging in
anticipation the two dolls, the box of paints, and
the writing-desk, which she was to receive on the
WHEN one wakes up on a Christmas morning,
it does not at first seem anything in particu-
lar. One generally wakes up three hundred and
sixty-five times a year ; one thinks to one's self,
" Oh, if I could only have one more nap ! "
One turns to find the right spot on the pillow,
then comes from some corner of the brain a
flash of illumination, Why, it 's Christmas ! The
idea of wanting another nap on Christmas morn-
Dorothy actually could not keep her head
down on her pillow. She sat up in her little
white bed and looked across at her mother,
who seemed to be fast asleep. Some faint light
was struggling in through the shutters. It was
certainly daylight, not lamplight or gaslight,
and everybody knows that at Christmas - time
when the sun is up it is time for everybody to
At any rate it could do no harm to look and
see what time it was. One little foot stole out
MERRY CHRISTMAS 21
of the warm bed, then the other ; the little body
and head followed. It was just light enough to
see by the clock which stood on the table by
Mrs. Deane's bedside that it was six minutes
past seven. Oh dear ! Dorothy knew that on
Christmas, as on Sunday mornings, breakfast
did not come until a quarter past eight. How
could any one, whose eyes were so wide, wide
open, and whose heart was beating so that it
seemed to jump into one's mouth, be expected
to wait more than a whole hour ? Dorothy
decided that where she was concerned such pa-
tience was quite out of the question. She crossed
the room without making as much noise as a
mouse. She turned the knob of the door, oh, so
gently ! but it ungratefully opened with a sharp
click. No matter. She was on the top of the
landing, her hand on the balustrade.
" Dorothy," a voice came from Miss Hester's
room, " go back to bed this minute."
" Oh, aunt Hester," Dorothy murmured piti-
fully. " I was n't going to touch anything ! I
just wanted one peep."
" Go back to bed, and do not get up till the
bell rings," said Miss Hester inflexibly. " I
will not have you exposing yourself to the
Dorothy, with a huge sigh, turned back. She
22 DOROTHY DEANE
was trembling and shivering, and when her mo-
ther, who was now awake, held out her arms,
Dorothy nestled into them gladly enough, for it
was a very cold morning. When Mrs. Deane
found that all Dorothy's ideas were still running
on presents, that is, on the two dolls, little and
big, the paint-box, and writing-desk, she tried
to direct her to some higher Christmas thought
and suggestion by repeating,
" When shepherds watched their flocks by night,"
" It was the winter wild, while the heaven-born child."
But then Dorothy's turn came, and she capped
these verses by repeating,
" T was the night before Christmas."
It was all of no use. The little girl was hanker-
ing after fresh sight and touch of those beloved
packages. Even after she was washed and
dressed, there still was an interval before the at-
tainment of her heart's desire. Miss Hester read
prayers ; then breakfast must be eaten, a more
elaborate breakfast than usual, with beautiful
buttered waffles. Buttered waffles, according to
Dorothy's way of thinking, were quite thrown
away on a Christmas morning. They ought,
instead, to be reserved to fill up the vacuum of
those empty days in the year when one was not
MERRY CHRISTMAS 23
longing in every nerve and vein and muscle and
bone and throb and beat of one's body to get at
one's presents. But,
" Time and the hour runs through the roughest day."
When Miss Hester finally said, "Now, mo-
ther, I will call Jerusha and John Pearson, and
we will distribute our little Christmas offer-
ings," Dorothy was as much startled as if she
had not been expecting it ; there came a knot
in her throat, and tears started to her eyes.
Mrs. Bickerdyke led the way into the parlor ;
Miss Hester followed; and Mrs. Deane and
Dorothy, then Jerusha and John Pearson, filed
after. A long, slim black stocking hung against
the chimney-piece. On a table beside it were
packages of different shapes and sizes, and un-
derneath the others the three that Dorothy had
brought home in her arms the day before.
" Oh, good - morning, you dear, beautiful
things," the little girl said to herself as her eyes
fell on these. She smiled and nodded and felt
very happy, yet could not help crying just a
Mrs. Bickerdyke sat down in the armchair,
and Miss Hester laid in her lap five little pack-
ages done up in white tissue paper and tied with
24 DOROTHY DEANE
" You shall begin, mother," Miss Hester said.
" Elizabeth," called Mrs. Bickerdyke in her
fine, stately way, "here is a little present I
have made for you. It is a trifling thing, but it
possesses at least the merit of being useful,
I may say indispensable."
As she said " indispensable " she looked at
her daughter-in-law in a way which no one with
any sins of omission of soap and wash-cloths on
her conscience could have borne.
"I am sure I thank you very much, dear
grandmother," said Elizabeth Deane. " It was
very, very good of you."
" Here, Dorothy, here is one for you as well,"
Mrs. Bickerdyke proceeded. " I myself wrapped
this iip for you. Now let me see a bright, happy,
clean face for a whole year to come."
" Thank you so much, dear grandmamma,"
Dorothy answered cheerfully, for the sight of the
three precious packages and of her stocking full
to overflowing made her feel she could easily
endure what only two days before had seemed
" Come here, Jerusha," said Mrs. Bickerdyke,
addressing the tall, angular, mottled-faced, mid-
dle-aged New England woman, who now ad-
vanced a few steps. " Take this little present,"
Mrs. Bickerdyke went on. " You will find it
MERRY CHRISTMAS 25
useful, and you will at the same time value it
because I knitted the wash-cloth with my own
Jerusha took the package with a slight nod,
but vouchsafed no other thanks.
" Here, John," Mrs. Bickerdyke now called
to the man who took care of the garden and did
odd jobs about the house ; " here is a nice wash-
cloth and a cake of soap for you. Henceforth,
there can be no excuse."
" Thank ye kindly, ma'am," said John Pear-
son, instantly dropping the parcel into his pocket.
" I should n't presume to use it, ma'am, but will
keep it as a keepsake."
Miss Hester now advanced with her own pre-
sents ; she gave a small volume to Elizabeth and
to Dorothy, to Jerusha and to John Pearson.
" It is a handy edition of Pilgrim's Progress,"
she explained to each in turn. " Please to accept
it with my best wishes."
Elizabeth Deane then brought forth a fine
handkerchief for grandmamma and for Miss
Hester, a calico dress pattern for Jerusha, and
some warm gloves for John.
" And here, Dorothy, is what Santa Glaus
brought for you," Elizabeth said to her little
girl, taking down the stocking.
Even while Dorothy joyfully grasped the
26 DOROTHY DEANE
stocking, she still stood regarding the three
packages which lay together on the table, her
eyes wide open with eager expectation.
" Were you counting on anything more, my
dear ? " inquired Miss Hester, with a searching
"Oh, no indeed, dear aunt Hester," Mrs.
Deane made haste to say. " Dorothy is de-
lighted with what she has received, and is most
Miss Hester lifted the little table with its
three packages and put it away in the corner.
" These things shall wait until after we have
had dinner," she now remarked.
Dorothy, hearing this explanation, smiled into
the stocking she was holding. It was better
perhaps to wait. To have everything at once
would have been almost too much. The stock-
ing bulged into so many queer shapes, she could
not begin to guess what it contained. She looked
up at her mother, met her look and smiled, then
sat down on the floor and began to explore.
There was sure to be a wonderful " find " in
the stocking Elizabeth Deane packed for her
little girl. At the very top were two oranges ;
then came two round flat boxes of bonbons, a
knitted Tarn O'Shanter cap, a pair of silk mit-
tens, a pair of worsted mittens, and three nice
MERRY CHRISTMAS 27
little hemstitched and embroidered handker-
chiefs. Cap, mittens, and handkerchiefs were
the work of Mrs. Deane' s " leisure moments."
All these, together with a dozen lady-apples,
were crammed into the leg of the stocking,
while in the foot were the drollest little odds
and ends, a tiny doll, nuts, barley-sugar birds
and animals, a cat in bronze, a little knife, and,
oh, it would be no easy matter to catalogue
everything the long, slim stocking contained.
Mrs. Deane had just one thought in life when
she saw, heard, or enjoyed anything. " Oh, if
Dorothy could have this ! If Dorothy might
hear, see, or feel this ! " She had so hoped that
these trifles, gathered together by a loving hand,
would make Dorothy happy, it troubled her now
to see the longing, lingering look cast behind her
at the brown paper parcels on the table when she
was called to go upstairs to dress for church.
" I think, dear," Mrs. Deane said as she kissed
the little upturned face, " that you had a very
Dorothy laughed roguishly as she whispered,
" It has n't all come yet."
Mrs. Deane shook her head.
Dorothy went to church with Miss Hester ;
Mrs. Deane staying at home to read the service
to Mrs. Bickerdyke. Lucy and Gaynor Lee sat
28 DOROTHY DEANE
in a pew near Dorothy, and the three children
looked at each other whenever they had a chance
all through service. When Lucy held up her
hand with thumb and fingers outstretched three
times, of course Dorothy at once guessed that it
meant she had so many presents. How delight-
ful it would have been to stop and exchange
confidences after church, but Miss Hester was
holding Dorothy's little hand inside her own as
they came down the aisle, and that meant that
there must be no loiterings or whisperings. In-
deed, when she was walking with Miss Hester,
Dorothy's entire strength was sure to be ex-
pended in the effort to keep up with her aunt's
long, rapid strides. Miss Hester liked, when
she and Dorothy were together, to ask questions
which should stimulate the child's thinking
powers, thus reaching some solid, good result.
So now, while they raced home, Miss Hester
" Tell me, Dorothy, when was the first Christ-
" The first Christmas ? " gasped Dorothy,
repeating the words just to gain time.
" When was the first Christmas ? That was
what I asked you."
Dorothy's head was spinning round. It was
so hard to have to think when it was not too
MERRY CHRISTMAS 29
easy a matter to breathe. The first Christmas !
When could it have been ?
" Of course you know, Dorothy, you know
perfectly well," said Miss Hester in her earnest,
" With Noah in the ark," suggested Dorothy,
in a soft, fearful little voice.
" With Noah in the ark ! " repeated Miss Hes-
ter in a voice that made Dorothy tremble.
" Tell me what Christmas means."
" It means," faltered Dorothy, " it means
" Presents ! " said Miss Hester sternly. " Is
" Turkey for dinner," Dorothy murmured,
wholly confused and upset.
Now what Miss Hester had been afraid of was
that the real deep down and sacred meanings of
Christmas were lost on Dorothy ; that she had
a covetous little heart thirsting after selfish
pleasures and selfish possessions, wholly taken
up with the idea of presents and feasting.
At this moment, however, there was no chance
for Miss Hester to correct those false impres-
sions. They were in sight of their own house,
and Mr. and Mrs. Fuller were descending from
their carriage at the gate, and Mr. Samuel Bick-
erdyke was walking up from the station towards
30 DOROTHY DEANE
them all. Mrs. Fuller was Miss Hester's sister,
and she and her husband lived at North Swal-
lowfield ; Mr. Samuel Bickerdyke, the only
brother, was a childless widower, who practiced
law in the city. They had come as usual to
eat Christmas dinner with their mother, and
now, after exchanging greetings and Merry
Christmases, they all went in together and found
Mrs. Bickerdyke and Elizabeth Deane sitting
before the fire.
Of course each one of the newcomers received
one of the three packages which lay on Mrs.
Bickerdyke's black silk lap.
" A face-cloth ! " exclaimed Mrs. Fuller, as if
she had never in her whole life been so surprised
or so delighted. " And a cake of soap ! Why,
my dear mother, how pleased I am ! "
Mr. Fuller, too, who had a round, rosy face
with blue eyes, beamed his thanks. " What
a thing it was to have just that sort of useful
present ! "
Mr. Bickerdyke was of sterner stuff, and never
pretended to be pleased out of mere compliance
with other people's wishes. He simply gave a
sort of grunt.
" Never make presents myself," he said as he
sat down. However, he bestowed on Dorothy a
brand-new ten-cent piece after she had kissed
MERRY CHRISTMAS 31
him ; and he was, we may as well explain, the
best sort of son and brother, giving Mrs. Bick-
erdyke and Miss Hester half their income. Mr.
and Mrs. Fuller had sent a turkey and six
chickens, so they could accept the face-cloths
and cakes of soap, even a copy of Pilgrim's Pro-
gress, with a clear conscience.
Dinner was to be served at two o'clock, and it
was a relief to Dorothy to help Jerusha prepare
the celery and the cranberry jam, and arrange
the pieces of bread under a fold of the napkins.
Jerusha was a little cross, but as she always
said, with a turkey on one's mind, how could one
take things lightly ? Dorothy was used to Jeru-
sha's ways, and to-day was so happy, she could
laugh when Jerusha found fault with her. It
was delightful to reflect that dinner was getting
ready all the time ; that dinner would soon
come ; and, more delightful still, to think that
dinner would be over, and then !
At one minute past two Mrs. Bickerdyke sat
down in great spirits at the head of the table,
with her son and son-in-law on either hand.
Miss Hester was at the other end, with Mrs. Ful-
ler on her right and Elizabeth Deane on her left.
Dorothy was squeezed in between her mother
and Mr. Fuller, and Mr. Fuller's elbow con-
stantly made itself felt as he used his knife and
32 DOROTHY DEANE
fork and spoon. Conversation went on for a
time quite briskly while they ate their oyster
soup, for each person had some remark to con-
tribute about the weather or their minister's
family. Along with the turkey came a pause,
which Mrs. Bickerdyke broke by asking if there
was much sickness over in North Swallowfield.
This subject was most useful and lasted through
two helpings apiece of turkey, to say nothing of
vegetables and cranberry jam ; for there had
been an epidemic of influenza, besides two cases
of typhoid fever, among the Fullers' neighbors.
Dinner was progressing cheerfully. Dorothy
was gazing at the splendid chicken-pie which
Jerusha had just set before Miss Hester, think-
ing how nice it was, when, all at once, Mr. Sam-
uel Bickerdyke uttered a sort of groan, sat
back in his chair, and looked most unhappy.
" Oh, Hester," cried Mrs. Bickerdyke in great
distress of mind, "something must have dis-
agreed with Samuel."
" What is wrong, brother Samuel ? " inquired
Mr. Bickerdyke's face certainly suggested keen
physical discomfort, or else unhappiness. At
this question he shook his head mournfully.
" Why did n't you tell me," he returned,
" that there was a chicken-pie coming ? "
MERRY CHRISTMAS 3S
And he looked at the huge crusty pasty, into
which Miss Hester was thrusting a silver knife,
as if the sight pained him.
" Why, brother Samuel," Miss Hester said
in her quiet, even way, " don't you know that we
always have chicken-pie for Christmas ? "
" Perhaps he forgot, for it used to be mother's
way to have everything on the table at once,"
suggested Mrs. Fuller.
"Now, for my part," Mr. Fuller observed
cheerfully, " I like Hester's new-fashioned way.
A man has a chance, as it were, with a fresh
course to take a fresh start, and goes at it with
a fresh appetite."
These reflections, however, failed to console
" If you had just simply told me it was com-
ing," he said disconsolately.
" I 'm an old woman," Mrs. Bickerdyke now
remarked, " and for my part I never did see any
good in new-fangled notions. Now I have always
felt that what was good enough for my father
and mother was good enough for me. People
used in those old times to be governed by reason
Mrs. Bickerdyke had of late fallen almost com-
pletely under the severe but righteous yoke of
Miss Hester's ways, but there were times when,
34 DOROTHY DEANE
as it were, she chafed slightly, and this was one
" I recollect," she now proceeded, " when I
was a little girl like Dorothy there, eating the
best Thanksgiving dinner I ever ate in my life.
There were two turkeys, two pair of geese, two
pair of ducks, and three great chicken-pies, be-
sides six mince, apple, cranberry, and pumpkin
pies, all on the table at once."
" Oh, grandma ! " exclaimed Dorothy, " how
did you know what to eat first ? "
It was quite against all rule for Dorothy to
speak at table, unless spoken to. At this mo-
ment, however, everybody was so much con-
cerned with Mr. Bickerdyke's troubles that
nobody noticed Dorothy's breach of etiquette
except her mother, who smiled and clasped the
little hand nearest her.
" I don't so much insist on everything being
on the table at once," Mr. Bickerdyke explained,
" if I am only prepared for what is coming."
Miss Hester, no matter what regrets she might
feel at having taken away her brother's enjoy-
ment of the dinner, was helping the chicken-pie
as if nothing had gone wrong.
"Will you have some, brother Samuel?"
she inquired when his turn came.
" Oh, do take a little, Samuel," pleaded Mrs.
MERRY CHRISTMAS 35
Bickerdyke almost tearfully. " It seems to me I
could n't rightly go on eating my dinner unless
This consideration, perhaps, had its weight
with Mr. Bickerdyke. At least he accepted a
plateful of the beautiful flaky crust, with the
breast of one chicken, the wing of another, and
the leg of a third, all well covered with rich
gravy. It quite cheered up Dorothy to see him
eat it. Then how surprised she was when he
took a second helping equal to the first !
"If I had only known," he still murmured
complainingly, "if I had only known it was
coming, I might have been better prepared for
Mr. Fuller's eye twinkled, but he had learned
never to make jokes at his mother-in-law's.
Mrs. Bickerdyke, with the keenest satisfaction,
watched the rapid diminution of chicken-pie on
her son's plate.
" I do think," she observed, with a sigh of re-
lief when he had finished his second supply,
" that Jerusha makes good pies."
" If I had only known it was coming," said
Mr. Bickerdyke ; " and I do feel, mother, that
you or Hester ought to have warned me."
He was looking at the pie, and Dorothy was
very much interested to see whether he would
36 DOROTHY DEANE
have a third helping. He had no chance. Je-
rusha all at once whisked off the dish, then set
herself to clearing the table of vestiges of din-
ner, preparatory to offering the sweets.
Mrs. Bickerdyke also felt a little disappointed.
" Could n't you have taken a little piece more,
Samuel ? " she asked tremulously.
" No, no ; plenty, plenty. Enough is as good
as a feast," Mr. Bickerdyke answered, but with
such an evident attempt to make the best of cir-
cumstances that Dorothy was certain in her own
mind he had some slight hankering after that
possible third piece. It is true he partook of
mince-pie, pumpkin-pie, and ice-cream, but each
time he accepted anything he went back to his
grievance about not being prepared for that
DOROTHY'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS
IT was well past three o'clock when they rose
from the dinner-table, and that was the signal
for the breaking up of the family party. The
Fullers' carriage was waiting to take them to
their daughter's house to spend the remainder
of Christmas day. Mr. Bickerdyke wished to
make the 3.45 train to town. He sadly put on
his great-coat and muffler, and bade good-by to
his mother and sister, saying that he had been
glad to see them, that, although he should
have felt more like enjoying his dinner had he
known about the chicken-pie, it had still been
his wish not to rob other people of their satisfac-
tion in their Christmas meal. Then, after shak-
ing hands all round, he drew on his warm gloves,
took his umbrella, and went out the door, down
the steps, and up the street.
Dorothy stood at the window watching the
Fullers get into their carriage and uncle Samuel
vanish round the corner, but what she was think-
ing of was that now the time had come ! She
38 DOROTHY DEANE
had waited so long ; she had tried to be patient ;
but there is an end to everything. She wanted
those dolls, and that paint-box and writing-desk,
to see, to touch, to handle !
" Dorothy," called Miss Hester.
Dorothy knew that her aunt was standing be-
side the little table which held the three brown
paper parcels. Yet something seemed to hold
her back from answering the call. She could not
help trembling all over at the thought of how
happy she was going to be.
" Dorothy ! " Miss Hester called again.
Dorothy turned a little flushed, quivering face,
with eyes running over with glad tears. She
could not speak a word. She half smiled as she
went towards Miss Hester.
"I do not need to tell you, Dorothy," Miss
Hester now said, " what is in these bundles, for
you helped me choose the things yesterday. Now
I am about to give you a great privilege. I am
going to let you take these things to children
who have very few presents, and very little to
give them comfort and pleasure. If your mo-
ther has no objection, I should like to. have you
put on your hat and jacket, and carry the dolls
to Jane Smillie, the paint-box to Kobbie Todd,
and the writing-desk to Emily Brown."
Miss Hester was looking down into the little
DOROTHY'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS 39
expectant, upturned face, which had a look as
if the child did not quite comprehend, but was
waiting to hear more.
" Do you quite understand, Dorothy ? " de-
manded Miss Hester, taking in the whole mean-
ing of the dazed, helpless expression gathering
in the little face.
It was Elizabeth Deane who answered for
" She quite understands, aunt Hester. She
will take the presents ; I will go with her, if you
do not object."
" I want to have Dorothy repeat the names,
so that I may be sure that the presents go as I
direct," Miss Hester said. " The dolls are to go
to Jane Smillie."
Miss Hester paused and waited. Dorothy's
lips opened and then shut tighter than ever. Her
mother put her hand on her shoulder and said,
"The dolls are to go to Jane Smillie, aunt
Hester." Elizabeth's wide, quiet gaze met Miss
Hester's, and Miss Hester decided not to force
Dorothy to repeat the formula.
"The paint-box to Eobbie Todd," she said
briskly, " and the writing-desk to Emily Brown,
with Miss Bickerdyke's and Dorothy Deane's
wishes for a happy New Year." Then holding
out her hand to Mrs. Bickerdyke, she added,
40 DOROTHY DEANE
" Come, dear mother, it is time for you to lie
down," and the two went away arm in arm,
leaving Dorothy alone with her mother.
The moment the door was closed, Dorothy
seemed to wake up. She dashed at the sofa,
gathered all the cushions, and flung them on the
floor. Then she put her hand on a chair as if
she were about to upset it. But Elizabeth Deane
" Dear, you are behaving very naughtily."
" I know I 'm naughty," Dorothy returned
fiercely. " I want to be naughty. I ? m going
to be just as naughty as I know how to be."
Elizabeth knelt down on the floor and held
out her arms wide. Dorothy stood at a little
distance, with red cheeks and bright, sparkling
eyes, her lips set close, gazing back at her
mother, not yielding to the proffered clasp. But
Dorothy could not look long unmoved into her
mother's sweet, sad, tender face. Her mood
changed. Her breast began to heave. The cor-
ners of her mouth curved down.
" She knew I wanted those
things," she faltered, one word coming slowly
after the other. " She heard me tell
Marcia I wanted them. Then she took me to
town and told me to look and choose to tell
her those I liked best "
DOROTHY'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS 41
" My darling," began Elizabeth, as the voice
died away for a moment. It was only for a
" I hate aunt Hester," Dorothy cried out at
the top of her voice. " I just do hate her, and
I hate grandma I do, I do, I do." She fin-
ished by throwing herself on the floor, face
downwards. The flood of her sorrow, her disap-
pointment, and her rage broke over her. She
sobbed, she moaned, her breath came in angry
pants. Her hands caught and pulled at every-
thing within reach, her feet as well. In fact,
at this moment Dorothy was such a naughty,
rebellious, wicked girl, I quite blush at the idea
of offering her as my heroine. But then she
had rather a hot temper, and having been very
happy, very hopeful, her disappointment was in
proportion to the happiness and hope she was
compelled to give up.
" Dorothy," said Mrs. Deane after waiting a
little. Then, when there was no answer, she
said again, " Dorothy, my own dear little girl, I
want to tell you what Christmas means."
"It means nasty, horrid things," declared
Dorothy, lifting her head and showing a stormy
face. " It means just having a face-cloth and a
cake of soap and a mean little book. I '11 never
read that book ; I '11 never wash my face with
42 DOROTHY DEANE
grandmamma's face-cloth, never, never, never!
I just hate Christinas."
" No, you don't hate Christmas," said Eliza-
beth ; " you hate your own disappointment, and
I, too, feel very unhappy about your disappoint-
ment. But then your aunt Hester knows, just
as I know, that it is a very poor sort of Christ-
mas that makes us think only about getting our
own comfort and satisfaction out of it. What
Christmas means, Dorothy, is that every year
we do the most we can to have Christ born again
into the world. And how do we do that? "
" I don't know," Dorothy replied hesitatingly,
her bright, impatient gaze fixed on her mother.
" Before Christ was born at all, the world was
so hard and cruel," said Elizabeth. " Everybody
thought only about what he or she wanted for
himself or herself ; some people even liked to
make others suffer pain in order that they them-
selves might have a keener sense of enjoyment.
What Christ did was to show men and women
and little children that the best sort of happi-
ness came in thinking first about making other
people happy. He taught us that if we give
up looking after and expecting pleasures and
rewards for ourselves, why then, we are free
of a burden and can have wide, loving, gener-
ous thoughts for others. Christmas means that
DOROTHY'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS 43
love and charity must be born afresh into the
Her persevering look and tone made itself
felt at last. Dorothy was thinking ; that was
" Now," continued Elizabeth, " have you de-
nied yourself anything this Christmas ? Have
you said to yourself, ' I wish I could make some-
body very happy ' ? "
" I want to be happy myself," Dorothy de-
"Yes, and think how much you will enjoy
giving the dolls to Jane Smillie. Poor little
Jane ; she does n't live in a bright, sunny, warm
house with flowers all about ; she has no good
dinners to eat. I don't suppose she ever in her
life had anything better than a rag doll to play
with. How happy she will be with these ! "
Dorothy had gradually lifted herself from the
floor and sat looking at her mother ; but at this
suggestion she gave a little cry, quivered from
head to foot, and gasped,
"Oh, I want them myself, I do want them
myself ! "
" Not so much as Jane wants them. Jane is
only five years old, just old enough to know
how to play with dolls. You are beginning to
44 DOROTHY DEANE
" I wanted two more dolls. I wanted them
to put to bed at night with Gill and the Count-
" But just think what good times Jane will
have. Every night you can say to yourself, ' I
can guess what Jane is doing.' '
Dorothy was again sitting up. She heaved a
" I don't so very much mind Jane's having
" No, indeed ; you will find that it will be a
real pleasure to think of her having them. And
perhaps you can tell her what to call them, and
tell her how to play with them, all about Gill
and the Countess."
" I did n't feel quite sure," Dorothy murmured,
with a queer little sort of smile at her mother,
" how Gill would like my having two new dolls.
She fell down and smashed her face, she was so
jealous, when I had the Countess."
" I think both Gill's and the Countess's feel-
ings would have been dreadfully hurt," said
Mrs. Deane, "if you had brought in two fine,
Dorothy had jumped up on her feet.
" I shall tell Jane what she must call them,"
she now said, running towards the table ; " I
know what their names are."
DOROTHY'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS 45
Then when she put her hands on the packages
the feeling of loss and pain came over her
" Oh, mamma," she murmured piteously, " I
do want the paint-box."
" But not so much as Robbie Todd. He is
getting better of that trouble with his knee, but
he will not be able to walk about for months to
come. Think what fun he will have sitting up
and painting pictures."
However, Dorothy's tears were streaming.
" I want to paint pictures, too."
" You have your old paint-box, dear."
" But there are only four colors left, and not
one single pretty one ; just an ugly green and
purple and yellow and black."
"You can think that Robbie has beautiful
Five minutes later, Miss Hester, glancing out
of the window, saw Mrs. Deane and Dorothy set
off in the highest spirits, Dorothy holding both
arms clasped tightly about the three brown pa-
per parcels, just as she had held them yesterday.
The low sun was lighting up the west with crim-
son and gold and flame. In the east a great
moon, almost at its full, loomed large in rosy
and violet mists.
The house was lighted up and the table was
46 DOROTHY DEANE
spread for tea when the two came back, entering
flushed and eager and full of smiles.
" Oh, aunt Hester ! " Dorothy cried, dashing
into the room, " it was just beautiful. I never
did have such a good time before. Oh, I do
thank you so much for letting me give those
presents ! "
Dorothy was so full to overflowing with high
spirits that she even ventured to throw her arms
round Miss Hester. Miss Hester had felt it to
be a duty to disappoint Dorothy ; to set her to
thinking of others instead of herself. She was
not cruel, and now, with the little arms round
her neck, an odd sort of softness came over her.
She had to make an effort to say calmly,
" Well, did the children like the presents?"
" Oh yes, indeed they did ! Jane just danced
up and down," said Dorothy. " I told her she
must call the dolls Elsie and Poppy, for that
was what I was going to call them if they had
been mine, but she said she wanted to call them
both Dorothy. One, ' big Dorothy ; ' and the
other, 4 little Dorothy.' "
Dorothy's own clear laugh rang out.
" So I let her," she added.
"And Robbie Todd?"
" Robbie Todd could n't say anything he was
so pleased, but his mother did. She said it was
* DOROTHY'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS 47
just what she had tried to save up money to buy
for him, but there were so many things that had
to be bought, oh, it's beautiful that he has
got the paint-box, aunt Hester ! "
" How about Emily Brown ? "
" Emily Brown is going to write you a note.
She said she never knew before what Christmas
was," Dorothy replied, beaming. " She can
write to her sister now while she lies on the
lounge, and never trouble anybody to bring her
ink and pen and paper, for she has them all in
" Now it is time to get ready for tea," said
Elizabeth Deane gave one little glance at
Dorothy, who understood, and now faltered in a
soft, breathless, shamefaced sort of way,
" Oh, aunt Hester ! "
" I was naughty this afternoon, dreadfully
" I am very sorry to hear it."
" You see," Dorothy explained, " I did want
those dolls and the paint-box and the writing-
desk dreadfully, yes, dreadfully. But now
I'm glad, I'm really and truly glad, aunt
Hester. I do like this sort of Christmas best."
Miss Hester kissed the cool little lips.
48 DOROTHY DEANE
Two hours later, when Dorothy went to bed,
she took "her two dolls, Gill with a smashed
nose and two painfully dislocated arms, and the
Countess, a most superfine creature in blue silk
and silver spangles, and put them on top of
her pillow, and looked at them with a serious,
critical, penetrating gaze.
" They would n't have liked it, mamma," Dor-
othy then whispered to her mother, after she had
read the secrets of the two dolls, who, propped
against each other, stared steadily, each in an
opposite direction, " they would n't have liked
it at all if I had kept big Dorothy and little
When she had undressed and knelt at her
mother's knee, she repeated her usual prayers,
then asked if she could make up another out of
her own head.
This was the prayer out of her own head :
" O Lord, I thank thee for having such a
beautiful birthday. I hope it will have many
happy returns. For Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."
MARCIA DUNDAS came back from her Christ-
mas visit just before New Year's. There was a
window on the landing halfway up the stair-
case at Mrs. Bickerdyke's, out of which Dorothy
always paused to look in her journeys up and
down. Just before noon on the Thursday she
saw the white flag flying out of the oriel window
of Dundas House.
Marcia had long since established a code of
signals, so that Dorothy and Lucy and Gaynor
Lee always knew what she was doing and wish-
ing and contriving.
A white flag meant : All come over ; I 've got
something to tell you.
A blue flag: All come over; I'm going to
make something perfectly delicious to eat.
A red flag : All come over ; I 'm going to
A black flag : I 'm awfully lonely ; do come.
To see these signals, to feel the very heart
and soul drawn out of one by Marcia's imperi-
50 DOROTHY DEANE
ous summons, yet not to be able to answer it,
to be kept at home by sickness, weather, or
other circumstances beyond their control, was
considered a very serious trouble by all these
Lucy and Gaynor Lee were twins, and were
almost two years older than Dorothy. They
were the youngest of a family of ten children,
and were so quiet, so docile, that as long as they
made their appearance regularly at meal-times
with smooth hair and clean hands and faces, it
was taken for granted they were in no mischief.
Four hours a day they spent at school, where
they received the best marks. Miss Hester, too,
besides their teachers, held the twins in high
esteem. Some joking person has said that one
ought to be very particular in the choice of one's
parents. It might also be wisely observed that
one ought to be very particular in the choice of
one's neighbors ; and, indeed, one's neighborhood
does seem to be a circumstance under one's con-
trol. The fact is, however, that there are a
great many things in life that we have to accept
as we find them, not to say, be happy that we
get them. Miss Hester was rejoiced that Dor-
othy had such nice little neighbors as Lucy and
Gaynor. When they came to see Dorothy, the
two little girls seemed perfectly happy in cutting
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 51
paper dolls and dressing them in tissue paper,
while Gay, lying face downwards on a rug, his
chin propped up with his two hands, buried
himself in a book. The twins were so pretty,
with their smooth, fair hair, their blue eyes,
their straight little noses, and mouths with a
short, curled upper lip showing their teeth when
they smiled ; they were always so neatly dressed ;
they had such good manners, it did seem a very
excellent arrangement that Dorothy could get
to their house, and they to hers, by slipping
through a wicket in a corner of the yard where
Jerusha dried her clothes. What seemed to the
three children the delightful fact which altered
all their lives was that, by stealing through a
gap in the arbor-vita3 hedge just beyond the
play-room at the foot of the Lees' lawn, they
were on the grounds of Dundas House, and,
except themselves, nobody in the world the
wiser. For Miss Hester knew nothing about
that gap in the hedge. Now and then when,
with her aunt's permission, Dorothy went to
spend the afternoon with Marcia, Jerusha would
take her round the long way by the street, and
ring the bell at the great door. Nor did Miss
Hester know about the code of signals. She
had not seen the white flag flying that day,
and when Lucy and Gay came in to ask if Dor-
52 DOROTHY DEANE
othy could play with them, she would never
have thought of guessing that, three minutes
after she saw Dorothy's red hood and jacket
vanishing through the wicket which led to the
Lees', the three children and the two dogs, Carlo
and Flossy, were arriving breathless, where
do you suppose ? Why, in the great kitchen of
" Oh, I 'm so glad you 've come," called Mar-
cia, who was at the big fireplace engaged in
cleverly raking out a new bed of glowing em-
bers from under the blazing logs ; " I was just
going to put out the blue flag. I'm making
some chocolate for mamma."
Dorothy and Lucy and Gay had lately risen
from a bountiful meal, but anything Marcia
could offer in the way of refreshments was sure
to be acceptable.
" When did you get home ? " Lucy inquired
sedately, as soon as all three were established
on the settle before the fire.
" Last night at seven o'clock," returned Mar-
cia. " Oh, but was n't the house cold ! I put
mamma to bed, and she is only just getting up.
Gay, do you mind just stirring that chocolate ?
I want to drop these eggs."
One reason that Dundas House seemed to the
children so superior to other people's houses was
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 53
that everything was so different, so little formal
and cut-and-dried . Mrs. Dundas, being some-
thing of an invalid, rarely left her room. A
great part of the time there was no servant, ex-
cept old Chloe, who came for a day or two every
week ; and thus Marcia was left to run the
establishment. Marcia's housekeeping was not
a science nor an art, but a dodge. She liked to
cook, and could make an exquisite cup of coffee,
tea, or chocolate. Now, after setting Dorothy to
toasting two slices of bread, she arranged on a
tray a graceful little meal, consisting of a small
pot of the chocolate, the poached eggs, bread,
and a pat of butter. This was to go up to Mrs.
" Now, Gay," Marcia said, pausing at the
door, salver in hand, " keep stirring the choco-
late, and somebody toast all the rest of the
bread, and I'll be down again in a few min-
Gay and Dorothy were very proud when
Marcia permitted them to help her. Gay had
become quite expert in turning pancakes, and
Dorothy's toasted bread was sometimes just the
right shade of golden brown. They hoped that
finally they might arrive at the point of helping
Marcia make a welsh rabbit ; but so far they had
only looked on first and eaten it afterwards.
54 DOROTHY DEANE
Carlo and Flossy knew Dundas House, and the
ways and manners of the kitchen, as well as did
Gay and Lucy and Dorothy. In fact, the two
dogs went everywhere with the children.
" Just like Mary and her little lamb, only
more so," as Marcia said. But then they were
such knowing, loving, sympathetic creatures ! If
Gay and Lucy ever did contrive to go anywhere
without them, they were always sure to say,
" Oh, how Flossy and Carlo woidd have enjoyed
this ! "
Flossy was snow-white, with hair like spun
silk and a tail like an ostrich plume. Carlo had
somehow contrived to get the most beautiful
black setter head on his black-and-tan body, a
sleek head, with long silky ears ; a wise, mag-
nanimous face, with eyes that one could look
into and never get to the depths of, they were
so full of dumb, loving expression, that is when
they were not full of mischief. At this moment
both dogs were squeezed in between Dorothy
and Lucy and the fire, enjoying the warmth,
smelling the toast and chocolate, and thinking
to themselves something good was coming pre-
The kitchen was a great pleasant room with
two windows opening on the south, with wide,
old-fashioned window -seats, and another to the
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 55
east. There were two chimneys, one taken up
by a long unused and rusty range ; but the other
had this wide open fireplace, where one could in
a moment kindle any sort of a fire, from a hand-
ful of twigs to one of great logs that would
make a blaze that roared up chimney.
No house in Swallowfield could compare with
Dundas House, and until this generation the
Dundases had represented to Swallowfield peo-
ple all that was most splendid and aristocratic.
They had been great people in colonial times ;
they had figured in the Revolutionary days, and
had done no little towards the building of the
nation. But spending, never harvesting, has its
results sooner or later, and, alas, the Dundases
had grown poor. The death of old Madam
Dundas, twenty years before, had ended the mag-
nificence of the family. Her grandson, Paul,
the only Dundas that was left, went away to
make a start in life. The house was closed,
shuttered, barred. Grass had grown on the
drives. The beautiful old garden, with its bor-
ders of box and its hedges of privet, had become
a wilderness. This state of things had gone on
for seventeen years ; then, three years before the
opening of our little chronicle, Mrs. Paul Dun-
das and her daughter, Marcia, had come to stay
in the empty old house, which still remained poor
56 DOROTHY DEANE
unlucky Paul's sole possession. Paul had now
gone out to South Africa to see if he could not
make the fortune which he had not been able
to make in his own country. Just as soon as he
saw his way clear, he was to send for his wife
and child. Almost any day the summons
might come ; thus although in some of the
rooms the ceilings were ready to fall, although
the glass was broken in many of the windows,
although the range and water-pipes were rusty,
what did it matter ? They were only staying
there, not living. So Mrs. Dundas and Marcia
adjusted themselves to this casual existence, just
as one accepts the miseries of a sea voyage, try-
ing to sleep through the gales.
Mrs. Dundas had been much admired and
sympathized with on her first coming to Swal-
lowfield. She was a tall, slender, graceful
woman, with much charm of manner, if she
chose to exercise it. But she grew listless and
melancholy ; hope deferred maketh the heart
sick, and she knew nothing else but hopes con-
stantly disappointed and constantly rising out
of their own ashes. Swallowfield people soon
found out that she cared for nothing except re-
joining her husband. She had perhaps a mel-
ancholy pleasure in going about the rooms where
her husband had grown up to the age of seven-
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 57
teen. He had told her about the garlands above
the doors ; the flutings in the mantelpieces with
cherub faces in the corners. There were some
fireplaces with tiles set about the brickwork, and
Mrs. Dundas, as she studied out the pictures and
the stories, could remember little stories and
incidents that her husband had told her. The
chairs, the couches, the bookcases, all were a
part of the story of Paul ; even the way the sun
came into the house at morning and evening.
Miss Roxy Burt was the only woman in Swal-
lowfield who had established any sort of in-
timacy with Mrs. Dundas. Miss Roxy had
had a nephew who had died at the age of six-
teen, and he and Paul Dundas had been play-
mates. Miss Roxy in her pony-phaeton was
often seen driving up the grass-grown avenue to
Dundas House, but nobody else. What Swal-
lowfield people felt was that Mrs. Dundas's ways
were different from theirs. She had no thought
of keeping up the place ; lived contentedly at
sixes and sevens ; allowed Marcia to outgrow her
clothes ; had herself no thrift, no faculty, yet
could not contrive to keep a servant in the
house. The difference was not, however, be-
cause she could not keep her servants. Every-
body in Swallowfield had such troubles except
the Bickerdykes, who possessed Jerusha. It was
58 DOROTHY DEANE
more of a grievance to Swallowfield people that
when Mrs. Dundas had a servant, her habit was
to breakfast in bed, at least in her own room,
and to give out directions for her dinner without
ever going down to the kitchen. Then, too, such
directions for her dinner ! She liked dishes out
of the usual way, all beautifully served. Mrs.
Dundas seemed unable to understand that a
knowledge of how to make croquettes and pre-
pare sweetbreads does not come by nature. She
was also exquisitely dainty about all that she
wore ; as Swallowfield said, " bathed four times
a day and changed her clothes every half hour."
This made no end of washing and ironing, so
that the bewildered maid-of -all-work, who was
expected to be an expert cook, laundress, and
parlor-maid, if she stayed more than a week was
certain to depart at the end of a month.
Marcia was bright by nature, and experience
had sharpened her. She took the ups and downs
of life philosophically, generally declaring that
she preferred the downs, for then she knew
where she was. To have a servant meant com-
plaints. She hated hearing complaints. It also
meant the need of ready money. They never
had ready money. Twice a year, there came a
few dividends ; not quite enough to settle the out-
standing bills fully, but sufficient to tide them
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 59
over the brief interval until, as Mrs. Dundas
said in her easy, graceful way, " until I hear
from Mr. Dundas."
Marcia, poor child, was used to bills. All
her life long she had seen and heard of bills.
To Marcia's consciousness, bills grew on even the
most innocent experience, just as thorns grow
on roses. Of course a new hat or a frock or a
pair of shoes meant a bill. One could under-
stand that. What seemed odd to Marcia was
that necessary things, things that one abso-
lutely couldn't get along without, like eggs,
chops, beefsteaks, loaves of bread, milk, and
cream, things, in fact, that ought to rain
down, meant bills. It was odder yet that things
one hated to do, like going to the dentist's, hav-
ing doctors, and taking medicine, things that
really one ought, in justice, to be paid for doing,
meant bills, just as if one had done it all
with a view to selfish enjoyment. But to return
to our story.
Dorothy had toasted four slices of bread.
" Is that enough ? " she asked Lucy, who sat
on the settle, and Gay, who was faithfully stir-
ring the chocolate.
" I don't think it is, quite," replied Lucy.
"I I I " Gay began, for poor Gay
60 DOROTHY DEANE
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
This counting three was the bane of Gay's
existence. The doctors had ordered him always
to count three before he spoke, as his stammer-
ing was not yet a confirmed habit, and might
easily be cured by coolness and resolution.
"One, two, three," Gay now said. "I feel
pretty hungry myself."
The dogs, too, scenting the coming feast,
watched all the preparations with a look of per-
sonal interest and expectation.
At this juncture Marcia descended, seized
two slices of toast, with a saucy, laughing face,
and ran off with them to her mother.
" I '11 be down in another minute," she said.
" Lucy, you can be setting the table."
Lucy obeyed. They all obeyed Marcia, who
knew not only how to keep her foot on their
necks, but to make them all love, admire, and
worship her. She also made them work. At
least once a week Marcia was sure to set her vis-
itors to polishing her two copper saucepans, her
tea-kettle, and biggin. A workman is known by
his tools and a cook by his saucepans. The
great fire in the great fireplace had to be fed,
and they were all used to carrying logs and
collecting bundles of fagots. Everything that
Marcia told them to do became interesting :
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 61
scouring saucepans, beating eggs, or foraging
for water-cresses, berries, and nuts. Without
Marcia, everything was safe, tame, dull. She
expanded possibilities for them, and added im-
mensely to their enjoyment.
Even the chocolate and toast would have been
nothing unless she could share it with them, and
now here she was ready to sit down, and the
" Oh, children," was her exclamation, as soon
as she had poured out the chocolate, " I 've got so
much to tell you. Then when we are through
eating and drinking, I '11 show you the things
I 've brought you."
As Marcia uttered these words, she gave a
comprehensive little nod all round the table.
That she had brought them presents was the
most delightful surprise.
" Oh, Marcia ! " exclaimed Dorothy fervently.
" Oh, Marcia ! " said Lucy.
" M M M " Gay was beginning, when
Lucy put in admonishingly,
" Count three, Gay."
Gay had no time to count three. Marcia was
talking on and on. He had to look his thanks.
" I 've had a perfectly splendid time, chil-
dren," she proceeded, sitting at the head of the
small, square deal table, drinking her chocolate
62 DOROTHY DEANE
out of a great gilt cup with a broken handle,
which necessitated her holding it up to her lips
with both hands. Her black eyes were dancing ;
her cheeks were bright red ; her long braids,
tied with a scarlet ribbon, were thrown forward
over her left shoulder. " I have learned all sorts
of things. I know a great deal more than I did
before I went away."
This sounded incredible, for the children had
long believed that what Marcia did not know
was not worth knowing. They all looked at her
with expectant eyes. She nodded back at them.
" First," she began, " I '11 tell you about my
journey. When we took the train the day before
Christmas, it was so full of people mamma had to
sit down on one side of the aisle with an old lady,
and I went in with a nice-looking gentleman,
not so very old. It was warm in the cars, so I
took off my jacket and laid it across the back of
the seat in front of me, behind a woman with
four children. When we came to the junction,
she had to get out in a terrible hurry. Besides
all the four children, she had a basket with a
puppy in it, and too many bags and parcels to
count. The gentleman I was sitting with helped
her with the children and the puppy and the
bags and the bundles, carrying them down the
aisle to the door of the car. Then when he
THE FEAST BEGAN
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 63
came back, there she was on the platform out-
side making signals. He threw up the window.
4 1 've left my shawl and Robby's jacket in the
rack,' she called. The train was just beginning
to move off. He reached up, found the shawl and
Hobby's jacket in the rack; then what did he
do but take my jacket, too, and throw all three
out of the window."
"Out of the window?"
44 Out of the window."
"Your jacket, too?"
44 He threw your jacket out of
44 That is just what he did. 4 Oh, sir,' I cried,
4 you have been and gone and thrown away my
jacket ! ' 4 Your jacket ! ' said he ; 4 what do
you mean ? It was Hobby's jacket ! ' * Rob-
by 's jacket was in the rack. My jacket was
here in front of me.' ' Why did n't you say
so ? ' said he. I told him I had no time.
4 Bless my soul ! ' said he. * What business had
you to put your jacket there at all ? ' He be-
gan to scold. He said that was always the way
with women. They couldn't sit down neat,
snug, compact ; they were always slopping over.
4 What did your jacket cost?' he went on.
4 More than I can spend to buy another,' I
answered. 4 What was it made of ? ' he asked.
64 DOROTHY DEANE
' Sealskin ? ' I told him not exactly sealskin.
' Well,' he said, < I 'm thankful if it is n't seal-
skin. I have bought one sealskin jacket this
winter ; another would ruin me. But why 011
earth ' Then he went at me again. He said
that once when he was young he went a journey
on a stage-coach, and one of the passengers was
a young woman with four parcels, who kept say-
ing, ' Great box, little box, bandbox, and bundle,'
putting her hand on one after another article
of her luggage as she spoke. ' That 's the sort
of woman a man might have some pleasure in
traveling with,' he said. ' I should be proud to
have a woman belong to me who could keep her
mind on her belongings.' Just then the con-
ductor came along, and the gentleman told him
what had happened to my jacket. ' We shall
stop at Smithtown for five minutes, and I will
wire back to the junction and have the jacket
sent on,' answered the conductor, as if everybody
every day threw jackets out of the window. ' I
don't suppose he '11 find it,' the gentleman said
to me very fiercely. 4 1 dare say I shall have
to take you and fit you out with a new jacket
when we get to town ! ' Then he asked if I were
traveling alone. I pointed out mamma to him.
He made up a face. ' I suppose I must go and
ask her pardon,' said he. Up he jumped.
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 65
' Madam ! ' he shouted at the top of his voice,
' I 've thrown your daughter's jacket out of the
window. It 's just like me. The other night I
was coming up in the Elevated, when I saw a
little boy sitting all alone and crying. I took
him up in my lap and asked what was the mat-
ter. He told me he wanted his mother. She
had set him down there and had n't come back.
" Heavens and earth ! this child has been de-
serted by its own mother ! " I cried. I rushed
out to the guard and informed him what had
happened. " I '11 hand him over to the policeman
at the next station," said he ; " these mothers
have n't any heart." We exclaimed over the in-
fernal barbarity of the action until the train
slackened up ; then I seized the little blubbering
chap and was about to pitch him to the guard to
hand over to the policeman, when a woman I
had n't seen before gave a yell and rushed to-
wards me, crying, " Put my child down, you vil-
lain ! " The boy, madam, was hers. She had
simply gone to the end of the car to speak to an
acquaintance. I give you my word of honor,
madam, that I thought there was n't a passenger
in the car except the child and myself. The
conductor as well thought the car was empty.' '
" What did your mamma say ? " inquired Dor-
66 DOROTHY DEANE
" She said," returned Marcia, drawing herself
up to an elegant height, " she said, ' You
seem, sir, to be rather an impulsive man.' '
" What did he say ? " inquired Lucy.
" He said," answered Marcia, " ' Madam, I
am an impulsive man, and I 'm proud of being
an impulsive man. Hang it, madam, I would
rather run away with children and throw jackets
out of the window every day of my life, than to
be one of your self-satisfied, cut-and-dried mum-
mies who sit and look on and see their fellow-
beings in distress and never lift a hand to do
them any good.' "
The children laughed, but not with the same
ringing note that Marcia put into her mirth.
Gay, in particular, had something on his mind ;
it was clear that he was struggling with some
question. His lips moved, he made an explosive
sound, but nothing articulate came.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" One, two, three," said Gay heroically.
" D did you get your jacket, Marcia ? "
" / hope he had to buy you a beautiful new
one," Lucy suggested.
" No," said Marcia. " After we had stopped at
another place the conductor told us the jacket
was coming by the 11.55 way train, and would
reach the city thirty-five minutes after we got
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 67
there. In any case we had to wait almost an
hour. We sat down in the waiting-room, and
the gentleman kept bobbing in and out. ' Why
does n't that train get in ? ' he would roar.
' There 's been some smash-up, I 'm sure of it.'
But when the time was up he appeared with my
jacket all right. I put it on, and he said, ' Ke-
member next time not to let your things lie
around loose, but keep your eye on them ! ' Then
he handed me a box. 4 What is this ? ' I
asked. ' Never mind,' said he. ' It 's for a
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,' and
off he went."
" And what was in the box ? " inquired Dor-
" I '11 show you," said Marcia triumphantly.
Indeed, as the chocolate was finished to the
last drop and the toast to the final crumb, and
as at least the first chapter of Marcia's surpris-
ing adventures was told, the next thing in the
programme was to show the children what she
had brought them. She had left the box in the
hall just outside and now produced it.
" It was just the most wonderful box of can-
dies you ever saw in your lives," she said. " To
begin with, see what a beautiful box it is.
Mamma says I can use it all my life as a work-
box. Then inside there were six layers of choco-
68 DOROTHY DEANE
lates, each with a different flavor. See, I 've
saved one of each for each of you."
" Oh, Marcia ! "
" Oh, M "
" Count three, Gay."
It was certainly an act of self-denial on Mar-
cia' s part to have saved three out of each layer
of bonbons, but she had ample reward in seeing
what pleasure she was giving.
" But you have n't got any yourself," cried
Dorothy in distress.
Marcia observed with a proud and pleased air
that she had already eaten so many nothing
could possibly induce her to touch another.
Nevertheless her lips closed presently over one,
and finally over two more of Dorothy's share ;
which proceeding gave Dorothy quite as much
satisfaction as it gave Marcia. Lucy and Gay
ate theirs ; not that they were greedy, but what
was theirs was theirs, and there was the end
This was but the beginning.
"You see," she now explained, "at aunt
Mary's there is so much to eat; then if she
took us anywhere there was generally more to
eat ; and one afternoon I went to a sort of four-
o'clock tea with Bel and Lil, and they kept pass-
DOROTHY'S NEIGHBORS 69
ing round cakes and bonbons and ices. Well,
of course I had to eat the ices. I could n't
bring them ; but I 've got all the cakes and all
" Oh, Marcia I " went all round again.
The cakes were a trifle crumbled, but oh, how
delicious ! The bonbons were wrapped in paper.
To think of Marcia's having remembered them
all the time she was away !
"I used to carry off an orange from table
every chance I had," continued Marcia. " They
all laughed at me. They said it was the way
somebody did in 4 Cranford,' wherever that was.
They had an idea I sucked them in my room.
But I did n't. I saved them all for mamma.
I 've got thirteen. Mamma loves to eat an
orange when she first wakes up in the morn-
Altogether the children felt with increased
admiration that Marcia had made a substantial
gain out of her visit.
DOROTHY AT HOME
A GREAT deal that went on in the way of
chocolate-making in the kitchen fireplace, and
other doings at Dundas House, was only guessed
at outside. Still, Swallowfield people were in
the habit of saying that old Madam Dundas
would turn in her grave were she to suspect
how things were ordered nowadays in the stately
old mansion where she had lived so long.
Miss Hester Bickerdyke, in particular, was
not without an uneasy feeling that Marcia was
not just the sort of playmate for Dorothy. Miss
Hester admired Marcia, and pitied her even
more than she admired her ; but did Marcia
offer a good example for Dorothy to follow?
That was the question. There was a little coup-
let the children were fond of repeating when
" If I 'm I, and you 's you,
What do we care, who 's who ? "
which came from Marcia, and which displeased
Miss Hester. Marcia, poor girl, was somehow
DOROTHY AT HOME 71
so different from regularly well-brought-up chil-
dren. Mrs. Dundas was too languid and indif-
ferent to look after her daughter properly.
Marcia's hair was so untidy ; her feet so ill-shod.
Then, too, she grew so fast that she was con-
stantly getting beyond her* clothes. Miss Hester
would give a glance at the skirt of her frock and
say in a freezing tone,
" Your dress is too short, Marcia."
However Marcia might suffer under the
douche of Miss Hester's disapproval, she never
showed it, but would reply,
"I 'in going up like Alice in Wonderland
after she drank out of the bottle. 4 Good-by,
feet,' " and Marcia would look down at her
shabby shoes and laugh ruefully.
To Miss Hester, as well as to other Swallow-
field people, not to have a regular meal set
out three times a day ; not to have washing on
Monday, ironing on Tuesday, clearing up gen-
erally on Wednesday, doing the bedrooms
Thursday, the living-rooms Friday, and the
altogether, including baking, on Saturday, was
flat heresy and schism. Perhaps Mrs. Dundas
was equally of that way of thinking, and might
herself have liked to have things decently and
in order : obsequious servants, tradespeople call-
ing regularly and taking orders respectfully,
72 DOROTHY DEANE
knowing that there was always a big balance at
the banker's to settle all accounts. The poor
lady's dream was probably of just what Swallow-
field people demanded of the Dundases. All
that and more was to come to pass as soon as
Paul Dundas made the fortune he was working
for. Then Marcia would enjoy the advantages
she had so far missed.
Marcia, meantime, could not, like her mother,
live in the past and in the future, but tried to
make the most of the present. Life was full of
disappointments, troubles, and humiliations for
her, but she was too much interested in what
she had to do to think of any personal vexation
beyond the moment. She was never contented
to be still ; she must always be doing something.
She was scornful of Lucy's and Dorothy's play-
ing with paper dolls.
" Such mean things," she declared ; " you can't
even hug 'em ! " Yet, taking the scissors out of
the little girls' hands, she would fashion the
most wonderful dolls and dresses out of tissue
paper. If she saw Gay reading, down went
Marcia on the floor beside him and devoured the
page with him. To read was for Marcia in-
stantly to long to put into action all she had
read. Whatever other people had done, she
believed she could dare and do. Why not ? Had
DOROTHY AT HOME 73
anybody that ever lived had more than eyes,
ears, and a brain behind the eyes and ears;
hands and feet, and a will to govern hands and
Marcia's attendance at school was rather irreg-
ular. She was one of the older pupils at Miss
Pratt' s, where Gay and Lucy went. She was
no prodigy of learning, and, bright as she was in
practical matters, in certain of her studies she
found no little difficulty. But Marcia's theory
was that if one needed to do a thing, why, one
did it. When she was obliged to grasp some
intricate bit of knowledge, as, for example, that
seven times nine made sixty-three, she grasped it
with both her hands, as it were. Then when she
correspondingly made out that nine times seven
also made sixty-three, she put up the white flag ;
and when Dorothy, who was on the watch, crept
through the gap in the hedge, Marcia ran to-
wards her with sparkling eyes, threw her arms
about her, and cried,
" Oh, Dorothy ! I wanted to teU you."
Dorothy was not so far advanced in mathe-
matics, hence she was very proud indeed at
being initiated into the wonderful mystery of
seven times nine making sixty-three, and nine
times seven also making sixty-three. Marcia
74 DOROTHY DEANE
found Dorothy most sympathetic in receiving
impressions. Dorothy, indeed, picked up a great
many bits of information, and was herself in-
clined benevolently to pass them on. Once she
said to Miss Hester,
" Aunt Hester, did you know that a thousand
is just ten hundred ? "
" Yes," Miss Hester replied, " I know so
" I thought perhaps you had n't happened to
hear it," said Dorothy, a little disappointed.
Accordingly it was John Pearson whom she
asked if he were aware of the fact that anything
you could see or hear or taste or touch or smell
was a noun.
" A noun ? " said John. " What 's a noun ? "
" That is what I am telling you," Dorothy
answered. " Anything you can see or hear or
taste or touch or smell is a noun."
"How did you happen to hear that?" in-
quired John skeptically.
" Marcia told me."
" Marcia 's smart," John conceded. " Do you
mean that this here snow-shovel I 'm making
paths with is a noun ? "
" Yes," said Dorothy. " And your pipe, too,
that 's a noun."
John took his pipe out of his mouth.
DOROTHY AT HOME 75
" I can see it an' taste it an' "
" Smell it," suggested Dorothy.
" Curious now, I never thought of my pipe 's
being a noun," John observed, gazing at the
piece of clay affectionately. " It does seem to
make things clearer, don't it now ? "
" Yes, everything almost is a noun," Dorothy
pursued. " The shed there, that 's a noun, and
the window and the trees and the snow "
" That is, the snow is a noun till it melts, I
suppose ? " observed John. He was clearing
away the last night's snowfall, and Dorothy was
This query about the snow quite staggered
Dorothy. She said she would ask Marcia. Here
was the snow now, they could see it, taste it,
touch it ; but suppose a thaw were to set in,
what then ? Could a noun melt and absolutely
vanish out of sight ?
" I tell you," said John Pearson, rather proud
of having upset a theory, " people, that is some
people, know a good deal, but they don't know
" Marcia does," insisted Dorothy ; " that is,
" I tell you, Dorothy," said John impres-
sively, " it 's hard work to know everything.
Marcia may know a thing or two more than
most people, but she can't know everything."
76 DOROTHY DEANE
" Oh yes she can," retorted Dorothy.
Mrs. Deane's Christmas holiday had ended the
day after Christmas. Dorothy was more used
to having her mother away from her than with
her; still it was always the same dreadful,
dreary settling down to things when Mrs. Deane
went away. Now Dorothy began to look for-
ward to Easter, when there would be one or two
happy days again.
Dorothy's life went on in this wise : breakfast
at a quarter before eight ; then at nine o'clock
a bell rang and Dorothy sat down at her desk
in Miss Hester's room and studied her lessons
until a quarter to ten, when she was called
to read and spell. Next came a recess of an
hour, which in pleasant weather she spent with
John Pearson out of doors, and in bad weather
playing in her own room or talking to Jerusha
in the kitchen. An hour and a half of lessons
followed, and that brought the day almost up to
dinner-time. After dinner Dorothy sat for three
quarters of an hour with Mrs. Bickerdyke, and
learned to sew or darn or knit, " something
really useful," as the old lady said. According
to Mrs. Bickerdyke, all the evils of the last
quarter of the nineteenth century might safely
be laid to the fact that instead of spending all
their time at their needle, women nowadays go
DOROTHY AT HOME 77
gadding about from morning till night. Not
even snowstorms, blizzards, or deluges of rain
can keep them at home, for every one of them
has rubber-shoes, waterproofs, mackintoshes, and
umbrellas. Mrs. Bickerdyke's wish was to bring
Dorothy up in the good old-fashioned way, and
it would be no fault of hers if the little girl did
not know how to stitch, hem, fell, over-and-over,
gather, whip, make button-holes, embroider,
quilt, and darn.
Dorothy used to like to hear grandmamma
Bickerdyke's stories about what was done, and
how it was done, when she was a girl. When
the task at her needle was accomplished, she
sometimes was taken by Miss Hester to visit
sick and poor people. Miss Hester, as we have
seen, liked to stir the spirit of self-sacrifice.
More than once, after she had asked Dorothy to
choose the kind of pudding for Jerusha to make
for dinner, she would say when it was put on
" I think we will eat rice and sugar and milk
for our dessert, and take this tapioca cream to
Constant habits of disappointments like this
developed gradually in Dorothy's mind a feeling
of suspense as to whether anything dangled
temptingly before her eyes was really to be hers.
78 DOROTHY DEANE
But she soon learned philosophically to console
herself for the loss of her favorite pudding by
thinking of Johnnie Long's enjoyment of it.
In going to see poor people, Dorothy liked
best to have a nice pudding or a doll or a paint-
box to take along. For when Miss Hester gave
nothing but good advice, the poor people did not
seem to appreciate their visits so much. Every-
body knows that it is more blessed to give than
to receive good advice. The point Miss Hester
particularly insisted on was that everybody
should be clean. She did not believe that godli-
ness was even possible until people were clean.
After they had scrubbed and scoured their beds,
their tables, their floors, their clothes, and them-
selves, then there was some chance of physical and
spiritual improvement. There were not a great
many destitute people in Swallowfield. Mrs.
Vance and the shiftless Porters with their ten
children were the worst off, and it was for their
benefit that Miss Hester preached her sermons
on the efficacy of soap and water.
Dorothy and Mrs. Bickerdyke had been mak-
ing some clothes for Mrs. Vance, and when they
were all finished Dorothy went with Miss Hes-
ter to give them to the poor woman. They found
her sitting over her stove, in her dingy little
room, drinking tea.
DOROTHY AT HOME 79
Miss Hester explained that they had brought
her two whole suits of nice fresh underclothing.
" Now, Mrs. Vance," she proceeded, " I want
you to take a bath and put these on."
" Take what ? " questioned Mrs. Vance grimly.
" A bath, a good all-over bath," said Miss
" Me take a bath ? " returned Mrs. Vance
scornfully. " Me wet myself all over ? I never
did such a thing in all my life."
44 It is high time you did," insisted Miss Hes-
ter. " I wash myself from head to foot the
first thing every morning when I get out of
Mrs. Vance glanced at her visitor, then looked
away, and said with an air of offended pro-
44 Well, if I did, I guess I would n't tell of
The Porters' ten children were never clean,
but Miss Hester hoped that, by beginning early
with them, she might enforce ideas of personal
cleanliness. Mrs. Bickerdyke's knitted wash-
cloths and cakes of soap were quite thrown away
on this family. Once, Miss Hester, in despair,
told two or three of the elder girls, whom she
was trying to civilize, that she would give them
each a penny if they would go home and wash
80 DOROTHY DEANE
their faces. This powerful argument prevailed
over natural instinct, and for months afterwards
three or four Porters at a time would ring at
Mrs. Bickerdyke's door-bell, send in word that
they had washed their faces, and demand pay-
ment according to promise.
What Dorothy particularly enjoyed in her
home life was having a good talk with Jerusha
in the kitchen.
Jerusha had lived with Mrs. Bickerdyke for
more than twenty years. She was young and
untrained when she entered the house. To Mrs.
Bickerdyke, and to Miss Hester as well, there
was but one right way in the world and that
was their way, and for Jerusha to be initiated
into their way was no light experience. John
Pearson came into the kitchen one day and
" Here, Jerusha, I want them seeds well
soaked, an' I want it done my way."
To John's surprise, Jerusha burst into tears.
" What in goodness is the matter, Jerusha ? "
demanded John. " Don't cry."
" I must cry," said Jerusha. " First there 's
Mis' Bickerdyke says I must bile water fresh
from the well for every cup of tea and coffee
I make, an' make it when it 's just on the
bile, and make it just her way ; then there '
DOROTHY AT HOME 81
Miss Hester says I must sweep a room just so,
put my broom down bottom upwards, and then
dust it first with a dry cloth, then with a damp
cloth, besides settin' a table an' waitin' on it her
way, and now here 's you with your ways."
That was twenty years ago. By this time Je-
rusha had her ways. They governed the house-
hold. Not even Miss Hester ventured to go
against them. The strict rule in the house had
developed in Jerusha's mind an awful conscien-
tiousness. On certain days her general wrath
against moth and dust became a holy crusade.
Before Jerusha's reign, Mrs. Bickerdyke used
to lie in bed and trouble her soul because she
was afraid the maid would not get up in good
season. Nowadays, she lay and wished that
Jerusha would be content to lie in bed a little
later. There were mornings, indeed, when the
old lady trembled at the sound of that step on
the stair. When it gave forth a certain martial
tread, she knew that Jerusha would turn her
out of her warm, comfortable room that day
and sweep it and wash it and polish it and
Dorothy knew all Jerusha's ways ; all the
signs of the weather. She had only to peep
into the kitchen to know whether it promised a
happy haven, or whether the domestic ship was,
82 DOROTHY DEANE
as it were, scudding under bare poles, with no
friendly beacon in sight. When the washing
and ironing were over ; when the house was clean
from top to bottom ; when the silver was rubbed,
the glass polished ; when there were six loaves
of bread, three of brown and three of white, in
the box; three kinds of cakes and as many of
pies in the store-room, and shelves on shelves of
preserves, jams, and jellies, then Jerusha was
a peaceful person to live with. There was a low,
wooden rocking-chair, painted black with gilt
markings, in which several generations of Bick-
erdyke children had sat, that used to be placed
on a certain round braided rug for Dorothy
when all things suited. Dorothy had great
comfort in that chair, gently swaying to and fro,
watching Jerusha, who was always doing some-
thing ; listening to the comfortable noises of the
kitchen, the burning of the fire, the sissing of
the tea-kettle, the ticking of the clock, the pur-
ring of Kory O'More, the cat. Jerusha was no
talker, but she could listen. Everything that
passed in Dorothy's mind, everything she had
said and done, and what Marcia, Lucy, and Gay
had said and done, was translated into speech for
Jerusha's benefit. Mrs. Bickerdyke used to com-
plain sometimes, and with good reason, that
Dorothy did not tell her everything ; but with
DOROTHY AT HOME 83
her grandmamma, somehow, there seemed to be
so little that was worth telling, whereas with
Jerusha each thought and fancy and hope and
memory seemed to have a life of its own,
wings, feet, and a voice, and would make its
Really that sense of repose, of intimate com-
panionship, which Dorothy felt in the kitchen
with Jerusha, was as pleasant as a down pillow.
Jerusha was not, to Dorothy's thinking, exactly
handsome, but she had the nicest face in the
world. It was full of little knobs, as it were,
and each one took on a high polish. Her eyes
were small, but they were wonderfully bright.
They seemed to have no brows nor lashes,
really they were very odd little eyes, but they
could twinkle and snap with fun. Her cheeks
shone like a streaked red apple which has been
rubbed hard. Her hair was black and of the
glossy sort, and it was Jerusha's way to pack it
all in one small knot on top of her head, giv-
ing the effect of a big button. Her lips always
looked as if her mind were quite made up, but
a queer, grim smile for Dorothy was generally
lurking somewhere about the mouth.
Jerusha was proud of her laundry work ; she
was proud of her sweeping and cleaning; she
was proud of the rugs she braided ; but the one
84 DOROTHY DEANE
thing she excelled most people in she had no
pride about. She was a capital cook, but, to her
thinking, cooking came by nature. She helped
a little, as John Pearson helped the flowers.
" But, laws ! they grow and they blow of their-
selves," she would have said.
Marcia had learned more than one trick of
cooking from Jerusha. Marcia, too, was a born
cook. Jerusha liked to roast a good piece of
meat, to cook vegetables, bake bread, and the
like ; but what she loved to do was to make cake.
At the sight of butter, eggs, flour, sugar, clean
bowls, a stirring-dish, spoons of different sizes,
and buttered tins, life became to Jerusha sheer
satisfaction and pleasure. She used to think
out the kinds of cake she was to make days
beforehand. It was her joy to make angel cake j
perhaps on account of the associations. She did
not actually believe that angels -in heaven ate
that particular variety of cake, but, as she and
Dorothy agreed, they might have done so with
satisfaction. Dorothy sincerely hoped they did.
Angel cake was for occasions, like fruit cake,
raised loaf cake, pound cake, cake made in layers
with, fillings of chocolate, cocoanut, whipped
cream, nuts, bananas, and oranges. These choice
confections were for company times. For other
times there was sponge cake, ginger cake, and a
DOROTHY AT HOME 85
Dutch cake, that is, a particularly delicate bread
sweetened slightly and with a few raisins. Of
course, there was always a loaf of rich cake in
the closet to offer to casual guests.
But what most nearly appealed to Dorothy
was Jerusha's little round cakes. In the dark
pantry stood two huge stone jars, which every
Saturday afternoon were filled to the brim, one
with crisp and the other with soft cakes. Few
of these ever went to the table, yet by the fol-
lowing Friday the contents of these jars had
" Small by degrees and beautifully less "
one had really to go down to the very depths to
find a cake. Who the " forty thieves " were
that got into these jars may be guessed at.
Even Carlo and Flossy knew where the cakes
they loved came from, and, if they could find
their way into Jerusha's kitchen, would stand
and gaze at the door of that pantry as if they
expected it to open of its own accord.
The children were always trying to decide
which variety of Jerusha's "cookies" was the
best. There was one crisp kind, cut in heart-
shapes, full of currants and sprinkled on top
with sugar, of which they never tired. Another,
thicker, softer kind, with scallops, contained
86 DOROTHY DEANE
caraway seeds ; Lucy decided that this was her
favorite. Gay liked a soft, thick, cinnamon cake,
sweetened with molasses ; there was such a rich-
ness and depth of flavor to it. Dorothy had a
fancy for what Jerusha called " Fairy Drops,"
delicate, delicious, wafery things, with a dab of
frosting on top ; but there was another sort, with
jam, which was even more delicious. The trouble
about the richer ones, with jam or frosting,
was that one could not eat so many. The little
plain ones with caraway seeds one could go on
munching endlessly. Marcia liked all kinds of
Jerusha's cakes, some for one thing, others for
another. Even Herbert Lee, Lucy's and Gay's
brother, a boy of thirteen years, and, to their
thinking, almost, if not quite, grown up, who
hardly ever confessed that he approved of any-
thing, did not disdain Jerusha's cakes.
" Halloo," he would say, " what 's this ? " when
he came upon the children having afternoon tea
with milk and water and cakes. And, taking
two or three of the cakes abstractedly, as if he
did not know what he was doing, he would walk
away, eating them with an air of contempt rather
than relish, then come back, and absent-mind-
edly gather up another handful. The children
were pleased to observe that Bert was not too
proud to eat the cakes, but his condescension
DOROTHY AT HOME 87
seriously scrimped their own measure. With
only Marcia, Gay, Lucy, Dorothy, and the two
dogs, the stone jars were easily emptied. Bert's
appetite, added to theirs, soon created a famine.
Once, when eggs seemed plentiful, Jerusha
made an angel cake, and told Dorothy she could
take it over to Marcia's mother. Dorothy had
rarely seen Mrs. Dundas, but now, finding no
one in the kitchen or in the hall, she had no
other resource than to make her way up the
stairs and tap at the door of the great south
room where Mrs. Dundas spent her solitary life.
" Come in," said a voice.
Dorothy, holding the cake in one hand, with
the other tried to turn the knob of the door, but
in vain. In another minute the door opened
from inside, and a tall, pale lady, with dark
hair and eyes, stood looking down at her.
" Who is this ? " she asked.
"Dorothy Deane," replied Dorothy. "I've
brought you an angel cake."
Mrs. Dundas took the cake from Dorothy and
set it on the table. Then she leaned down and
" Come in," she said. " Marcia will be back
presently." Dorothy entered the great room
with a sort of awe. Mrs. Dundas had gathered
about her much of what the great house offered
88 DOROTHY DEANE
in the way of comfort or of luxury. There were
pictures on the walls, pictures propped up
against the wainscot, pictures in chairs; books
innumerable in the cases and lying about in
piles. There was an open fireplace with a few
logs burning, and in front of it two armchairs.
In the corner was a large divan covered with
rugs and piled with cushions. It seemed to Dor-
othy as if this tall, stately, languid lady had
been reclining there.
Mrs. Dundas sat down in one of the arm-
chairs and motioned to her visitor to take the
other, but Dorothy preferred the footstool. The
two looked at each other for a moment in silence,
then Mrs. Dundas said,
" You are all so good to Marcia."
" Oh, no ! " exclaimed Dorothy in surprise.
" It 's Marcia that 's good to us."
Mrs. Dundas smiled ; a peculiar, melancholy
" One of these days," she said, " I hope that
Marcia will be in a position to do something for
her young friends who give her so much plea-
sure. Just now we are only living from day to
day, waiting to hear some good news from
" Yes, ma'am," said Dorothy softly.
Her eyes traveled round the room.
DOROTHY AT HOME 89
" Do you like it here ? " inquired Mrs.
" It 's the most beautiful room I ever saw,"
" Is it ? " said Mrs. Dundas. She smiled
again. " It 's my prison, you know," she added,
" and when one is in prison one longs to escape
Dorothy gazed at her in surprise. She had
such very different ideas of a prison.
"Let me see," Mrs. Dundas now observed;
" your mamma is away."
" Yes, ma'am," said Dorothy. " She is a
teacher in a school."
" She must miss you very much," said Mrs.
Dundas. " At any rate, I have my Marcia, if I
have nothing else."
She looked at Dorothy with such a deep,
steady gaze, Dorothy felt as if something op-
" I had better go now," she said, rising.
" Very well. Thank you for the cake. Good-
Mrs. Dundas put her arms round the little
girl and folded her in a close embrace.
" I pity your mother," she said ; " she must
When Dorothy told Jerusha about her visit,
90 DOROTHY DEANE
Jerusha was at first inclined to feel aggrieved
that her angel cake had not been received with
more enthusiasm. But John Pearson, who hap-
pened to be sitting by the stove, said,
" It comes hard to Dundas pride to receive.
They used to give."
Dorothy had almost as much comfort in John
Pearson as in Jerusha. She could always de-
pend on John. He had no ups and downs. He
lived on the hill, in a neat little place of his
own. He had lost his wife about a year before
the beginning of our story, an excellent, hard-
working woman, who had helped him in every
way for almost thirty years, and had brought up
a family of four children, of whom three, two
daughters and a son, were living at home at the
time of her death.
Miss Hester had taken Dorothy with her
when she went to condole with the family on the
death of Mrs. Pearson.
" It is a very great loss," said Miss Hester.
" It is a terrible thing to lose a good mother."
" Yes, an' she were the very best o' mothers,"
answered Jemima Pearson. " You may well
say, Miss Bickerdyke, it is a turrible thing to
lose her. Then, you see, Miss Bickerdyke, we
be so taken aback, as it were. It 's such a sur-
prise! For we always planned, Miss Bicker-
dyke, that father should go first."
DOROTHY AT HOME 91
John Pearson was not present when this con-
versation took place, but he had, perhaps, gath-
ered the idea from other discourses that his
daughter felt as if the lot had fallen to the
wrong person. He was for a time considerably
dazed ; liked to sit in the sunshine and muse, to
the neglect of his work. Miss Hester waited,
then saw that John had regathered his forces,
and was displaying almost more than his old
energy as he went at his hoeing and weeding.
" I am glad to see, John," Miss Hester then
observed, " that you are taking your trouble in
the right way."
"Why, yes, ma'am," said John. "I didn't
at first rightly understand it."
" Now you have made up your mind to submit
"Why, yes, ma'am," John replied. "You
see, Miss Hester, she wor always the best kind
of a care-taking wife ; always on the lookout to
make things comfortable for me like. An' this
is just a fulfillin' o' Scripter."
" How so ? "
" What her feelin' was," said John, " was to
go like the dove out of the ark and find me a
In bad weather John had a safe retreat in the
loft of the old unused stables at Mrs. Bicker-
92 DOROTHY DEANE
dyke's. Dorothy and indeed all the children
liked to join him there, especially in fruit time,
for pears, apples, and even bunches of grapes
were apt to be forthcoming.
Sometimes on spring days a shower would
overtake John while he was planting the garden,
with Dorothy helping, and at such times they
would both run to this shelter. John would mend
and polish his tools, look after his seeds started
in boxes, while Dorothy, perched on the high
window-ledge, would watch the sunshine and
clouds chase each other across the fields, and
listen to the drip, drip, drip on the roof.
John was not a great reader, but he knew one
book by heart, " Masterman Ready ; " and at
such times he liked to repeat a chapter out of it.
" Oh, John," Dorothy would cry, " should n't
you like to be cast away on an island ? "
" I hain't never had no such chances," John
It might happen, Dorothy argued. Almost
everybody sooner or later went to sea, and why
might they not be shipwrecked ? Thus the sub-
ject of their being castaways was always open to
" I suppose we should all have to go," said
" I should say," suggested John, " not speak-
DOROTHY AT HOME 93
ing in a disrespectful manner to no person, that
they ought to be all hale and hearty, and
" You feel as if, perhaps, grandmamma
would n't do ? " said Dorothy.
" And I don't feel as if Miss Hester would
rightly like it," John pursued.
" We should have to have Jerusha to cook,"
pleaded Dorothy ; " but how could we take her
away from aunt Hester and grandmamma ? "
John would not commit himself on this point,
but Dorothy had a feeling that what he really
wanted was the party of castaways she herself
wanted ; namely, herself, John Pearson, Lucy
and Gay, and Marcia. Yet how could they get
on without Jerusha ?
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT
IT takes a great many different kinds of
snowstorms to make a New England winter.
There had been flurries which blew the snow
into the ditches and hedges and so amounted
to nothing; there had been soft, wet, slushy
snows that melted almost as soon as they came ;
there had been a white, blinding, drifting cloud
out of doors which nobody could see through,
but which piled itself in the wrong places and
left the right spots bare. But on the twenty-
fifth of January came a wonderful sort of snow-
storm, the sort which promises sleighing and
sledding and coasting for weeks to come. First
it rained and snowed together, then hailed and
froze the whole mass solid. But that was only
the beginning. Next it snowed steadily for
twenty-four hours, without a breath of wind to
disturb it, and afterwards it rained a little
while it was clearing off. Finally came a cold
wind out of the northwest, and oh, how cold it
was, and what a beautiful crust it made on the
deep, deep snow !
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 95
Marcia had kept the black flag flying all
through this snowstorm, and Dorothy and Lucy
and Gay had felt a little remorseful for their
own joy in the snow. Marcia did not like snow.
In fact, the rigors of winter tried her soul in a
variety of ways, bringing home to her a sense
of the deprivations at which she could snap her
fingers in pleasant weather. It was a point of
honor with Dorothy, Lucy, and Gay to believe
all Marcia said ; but when she said she did not
like to slide down hill, it did occur to them that
she was merely trying to make the best of it,
and that, if she only had a sled
So when on that bright, crisp, clear afternoon,
Dorothy with her sled, and Lucy with her sled,
and Gay with his sled were all going down the
slope in the Lee orchard, then climbing up
again, in spite of the joy of it, there was still a
little wistful feeling which pulled at their hearts.
Not even the black flag had been seen flying
from the oriel window to-day. Marcia, almost
for the first time they could remember, had given
them no sort of an invitation to " come over."
What could she be doing ? What could she be
They had been coasting for more than an hour ;
first Lucy, then Gay, then Dorothy ; then Gay
took the lead, and finally Dorothy. The hill
96 DOROTHY DEANE
was not steep ; their sleds did not go at light-
ning speed; but still it was all pleasant and
would have been delightful if the thought of
Marcia sitting at home without any sled
had not disturbed their hearts and consciences.
The sun was by this time near the horizon in
the centre of a bright flare of red and gold in
the southwest sky. All round the horizon was
a belt of rose color shading into violet, and in
the east hung a great yellow moon about full.
" I suppose it 's almost time to go in," ob-
served Lucy, as, when they reached the foot of
the hill, they all gathered the strings of their
sleds into their hands and prepared to mount
" Th th th " began Gay.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
Gay could n't stop to count three, he was so
excited. He pointed to the top of the hill.
" Oh, Marcia," cried Dorothy, " I 'm so glad
you 've come."
" So am I," said Lucy.
" I, too," faltered Gay.
The three toiled up the slippery slope, tum-
bling over each other in their effort to reach
Marcia. She was not looking unhappy in the
least ; on the contrary, her eyes were sparkling,
her cheeks were glowing, and her lips smiling.
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 97
It began to dawn on the children that there
was something unusual, something almost mag-
nificent about her appearance, for she was
dressed in red from top to toe, red bordered
with gray fur. Her frock was red, her jacket
was red, and so was her cap. If they had not
been afraid it might not be polite, they would
have said, " How grand you are, Marcia ! "
As it was, they only stared, until Marcia, un-
derstanding their dumb admiration, called,
" Did you ever see anything so splendid ? "
As she asked this she laughed, but still it was
clear that she had pride and joy in her new
" Beautiful," said Dorothy. " I never did see
you look so beautiful, Marcia."
" Where did they come from ? " inquired
" Out of the camphor chests up in the gar-
ret," said Marcia. " Mamma was shivering,
don't you see ; I said, ' I 'm going to find some-
thing warm to wrap you in.' I took a bunch of
keys and went upstairs. Almost the first one I
tried turned the lock of the chest, and there on
top, wrapped in paper, was a great fur cloak,
beaver outside and squirrel inside. I ran down-
stairs and said, ' Here 's a rabbit-skin to wrap
my baby up in ! ' Mamma stared and asked,
98 DOROTHY DEANE
' Whose is that ? ' I told her it was mine.
Whose else could it be ? Except papa, I 'm the
only Dundas there is left in the world. Mamma
laughed, put it on, and said she was delightfully
comfortable. So I went rummaging for myself
and I found this." She turned herself round for
their inspection. " We had to rip it and clip it
and sew it up again," she explained. " Then
mamma made me the cap out of the odds and
She was in such high spirits that she needed
something on which to spend them.
" Now, if I had a sled," she exclaimed.
" Sometimes I think coasting is poor fun, but
this is such a splendid, deep snow."
" Oh, Marcia," cried Dorothy, " take mine."
" Take mine," said Lucy.
" T t take mine," stammered Gay.
Marcia looked at the offering of their sleds
with a half -disdainful shrug.
" They 're so little," she returned. " I 'm too
long-legged for them. What I want is a great
long sled with steel runners."
" Like Bert's," suggested Gay on the instant.
" Yes, Bert's is something like a sled," con-
" And Bert is n't using his," Dorothy burst
out ; "he has gone over, to Rosemary port."
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 99
"Bert never likes anybody to touch his
things," observed Lucy in a cautious tone, for
she saw the sudden gleam that came into Gay's
" I don't care," said Gay, and was off like a
flash. Marcia seemed not to know what Gay
had gone for, but Dorothy knew and was pleased ;
Lucy also knew, and was awestruck, not to say
a little frightened. Marcia, never at a loss,
began to tell the girls what she had been doing
all through the snowstorm, but long before she
had come to the end of her story, Gay appeared
dragging a toboggan-sled.
" Is that Bert's ? " Marcia inquired, taking
possession of it on the instant. " I '11 do some-
thing for you one of these days, Gay."
They all felt that if Bert had seen Marcia at
this moment with her red, fur-trimmed dress and
jacket and cap, even he would not have been
displeased, for, with the colors of the sunset
lighting her up in her red frock, Marcia was
really a dazzling spectacle.
" Let me go," cried Marcia, and off she went,
the sled flying as if it were alive, and carrying
her far across the orchard, even up a little on
the opposite bank.
The others gazed at her with admiration. They
had been contented with their own modest
100 DOROTHY DEANE
doings, taking the descent gently, with little
shoves to encourage their progress. But who
could expect Marcia to be so easily satisfied ?
" Oh, this is n't high enough ; it is n't steep
enough ! " she cried. " Let 's go over to Bishop's
Gay, being a boy, liked the idea of going to
slide down Bishop's Hill. But being a "twin,"
and the other half of him, as it were, being a
girl, he had to repress a great many of his
yearnings. Now, what Lucy said was,
" Oh, Marcia, it 's so late ! It 's time to go
"Home? It won't be tea-time for an hour
and a half or more," Marcia declared. " There
is time enough to do anything."
And at this moment the church clock struck
The sun was down, but the afterglow lighted
up the sky in the west, and in the east the great
round moon was growing brighter each mo-
" Leave your sleds here," said Marcia ; " we
will take them on the way back. Now, Dorothy,
you and Lucy jump on the big one, and Gay
and I will drag you."
Marcia's quiet decision settled the matter, not
only satisfactorily to her own mind, but to Dor-
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 101
othy's and the twins'. She could not only put
spirit into them, but a feeling of emulation and
a desire to act up to her requirements of them.
Not to like to do what Marcia wished to do was
to be poor, tame, paltry. Accordingly, Dor-
othy and Lucy, each with a demure, smiling
look, seated themselves on the sled. It fright-
ened them both a little to think of the big sled
and the long hill.
" I hope," whispered Lucy, " I hope I shan't
be much afraid."
" I don't mean to be afraid if I can help it,"
Marcia and Gay, taking hold of the rope,
dashed along the orchard, the sled swinging this
way and that behind them, more than once al-
most running against the trunk of an apple-tree.
They thought it was such fun that Lucy and
Dorothy, who had at first held on with all their
might, feeling as if they might be thrown off,
also began to pluck up a spirit. Presently the
orchard was left behind ; they crossed the
quiet road and reached the foot of the hill,
which on its north side had a long, gradual in-
cline. Marcia and Gay were now forced to stop
for want of breath, so Dorothy and Lucy said
they would drag the sled up the hill, and off
they set, Marcia and Gay lagging behind.
102 DOROTHY DEANE
The village boys and girls had been sliding
here all day, so that the way was well worn.
But at this moment everybody had gone home,
and it was as if there were nobody in the whole
wide world except these four, under the great
dome of sky which every minute filled more and
more with the broad white light of the moon.
It really seemed to Dorothy that they had
entered a new world altogether. Of course that
was the same moon that looked into her window
at home, yet somehow it had not a home-like
look. If Marcia had not been there, she would
have been afraid. As it was, even while she
trembled a little, she liked the wonderful white-
ness that covered the river, the bridge, the far-
off hills. In the southwest was still an arc of
rosy and golden light, but everything else was
spotlessly white. Even the branches of the
trees were laden with snow. Dorothy could not
feel quite comfortable. The greatness and far-
offness of the sky touched her with a sense of
awe. The utter silence (for their voices did
not seem to break the silence) weighed upon
her. She felt as if they were intruding upon
this world of snow and ice and sunset and moon-
light, yet, all the same, there was a little intoxi-
cation in the idea that whether or no she ought
to be here she was here ; and that hereafter,
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 103
when she saw the moon shining in at her win-
dow, she would know what it was doing in these
wide, lonely places.
" Is n't this perfectly splendid ? " exclaimed
Marcia, when they had all reached the top of
the hill and stood taking a long, deep breath of
satisfaction. " Does n't it seem as if the whole
world belonged to us ? "
Marcia did not, however, stop long to muse
over the silent stretches of untrodden snow.
She had taken possession of Bert's toboggan
and established herself in front.
" Now, Dorothy," she said, " you sit next to
me, and then comes Lucy. Gay will push off,
and then jump on behind."
Everything went beautifully. Gay put his
hands on the toboggan, ran with it a few steps,
gave one violent shove, then sprang to the end
of the seat, clasping Lucy, who in turn put her
arms about Dorothy, who had hold of Marcia.
Marcia steered, and the sled, not once swerving,
ran with a not too swift but pleasant motion
down the long inclined plane, stopping at the
base in a sensible, moderate way. Then all to-
gether they pulled it up, and took the same slide
"Now, Gay," said Marcia, "you steer and
I '11 push it off."
104 DOROTHY DEANE
Marcia gave the sled a powerful start, and off
they went at twice their former pace. Dorothy
and even Lucy had by this time quite warmed
to the sport ; and now, as the keen wind cut in
their faces as they made this headlong rush,
they tasted the joy of doing something wild and
adventurous. The feeling of success, besides
the sense of quickened vitality, put Marcia a
little beside herself. She danced, she frisked
up the hill, and they all danced and frisked.
" Don't you wish," she cried, " that the whole
world did belong to us; that we were just by
ourselves, and could go on always doing just as
we wanted to ? "
"How should we get anything to eat?" in-
" Oh, we 'd kill bears and things, just as the
men do when they go to the north pole," Marcia
answered. " I '11 be a bear." She went down
on her hands and knees and began coming to-
wards them with loud roars. Gay immediately
followed suit, and went down on all fours.
Dorothy and Lucy had to endure this double
attack, and drag the sled up-hill at the same
time that, on their two legs, they ran away from
the bears, who, after waddling about a little
longer and spending their breath in strange
noises, came after them.
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 105
" I '11 tell you what we will do," said Marcia,
always eager to do a little more. " We '11 have
one slide down the west side."
Now the angle on the west side was very
" See how splendidly it goes," Marcia cried,
picking up a little block of ice and snow and
sending it spinning. The east side of the hill
also dropped away suddenly, and was, besides,
broken by groups of cedar-trees ; a fence, too,
ran across it. Here on the west, however, was
no visible break or impediment, and after the
first ridge was passed there came a long series
of easy slopes, over which, so Marcia explained,
the sled, after gaining its first powerful impe-
tus, would bound like a bird.
" I should n't wonder," she added, " if we
went on clear across the meadow."
Dorothy, Lucy, and Gay felt their spirits rise
to Marcia's demands. It did look steep at first,
but they kept their eyes fixed on the farther
spaces, where any inequality of surface was lost
in the general whiteness.
Marcia now took the front place, put out her
feet firmly, and told Dorothy to come close be-
hind her. Lucy sat next, and Gay was to start
them as at first.
" Now, then," cried Marcia, " we 're ready,
106 DOROTHY DEANE
Gay was just about to put his hands on the
sled, when where was it ? What had hap-
pened ? The sled had started off as if it had
life of its own, and went plunging down the
steep grade, leaving Gay behind.
What Marcia thought to herself was that Gay
had overdone the thing. How they did fly!
There what was that ? Had they run against
a rock ? For a moment everything seemed to be
in air. The sled had swung halfway round and
for a while went on sidewise. Then came an-
other bounce. Marcia had to hold on with both
hands ; but there, it had righted itself !
" Now we 're all right," said Marcia.
She was all right, for the sled was now career-
ing on at a high rate of speed, taking the billows
of snow smoothly as a ship rides the waves.
The runners glided on with a soft, hissing sound,
pleasant to hear.
" Here we go ! " Marcia said again, laughing ;
for by this time the sled was almost half across
the wide meadow.
" Here we come ! " she said again, and here
she came, indeed, hard up against the fence.
Had it not been for the fence, she was ready to
believe the sled would have gone on over the
railroad, down the lane, and across the river.
Marcia had longed to accomplish this wonder-
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 107
ful feat, and now gathered herself up and turned
with pride to say to the others, " Did n't I tell
She had been so busy holding on with feet
and hands, and trying to keep the course of the
sled straight, that she had not found out until
this moment that she was the only passenger.
Nothing but the white moon and the faint, far-
off stars was looking at her. She gazed stupe-
fied over the great shining plain of snow behind
her, on which she could not see one single
" Where are you all ? " she ejaculated, trying
to make her voice heard ; but only a faint sound
came, which returned to her ears with a derisive
She began the walk back, but to pull the sled
across that slippery, shining waste of ice and
snow was a dreary affair. Where could the
children be? Were they hiding? There was
nowhere to hide. There was no shadow any-
where ; all was open before her like the face of
" Where are you ? " she shouted.
Was that the echo, or did she hear a faint
Far above her rose the summit of the hill,
white and symmetrical, the sky-line sweeping
108 DOROTHY DEANE
sharply against the sky, here and there taking on
a halo of misty gold where some point caught
Was something moving there? On she
toiled, slipping, sometimes falling, again slid-
ing ; occasionally helping herself across a level
place by throwing herself across the sled, giving
it a push, and thus covering a good bit of the
distance. She was obliged to round the hill to
the base of the long incline, for to climb up
the steep side down which she had come looked
like climbing up the side of a house ; and pre-
sently she saw two little figures coming down
to meet her.
" Well ! " said Marcia, pausing. " Well ! "
She expected that the two, whom she gradually
identified as Gay and Lucy, would account for
themselves. What they said, however, was,
" Where 's Dorothy ? "
" Where 's Dorothy," repeated Marcia blankly.
" Don't you know ? "
" I supposed she stayed with you," said Lucy.
Each began to explain to the others what had
happened. Nobody quite understood, but all
three wished to exonerate themselves from any
share of blame. The sled had started off of its
own accord and on its own account, Gay said.
He had no chance to get on. Then Lucy, miss-
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 109
ing him, had turned round, and, in doing so, had
fallen off, and, being only a little way down the
hill, had gone back to Gay. When she looked
again at the sled, it was far away in the distance,
a mere speck on the snow. They had sup-
posed that Dorothy was with Marcia.
" She was n't with me," declared Marcia.
"Where can she be?"
" Let 's call," said Lucy.
They all called, " Dorothy, Dorothy, Doro-
How awful the silence was ! How terrible the
face of the moon ! How cold it had grown !
They all trembled and shivered as they stood
listening. There was something in the dead
quiet of the world under the skies which fright-
ened them all.
" Oh, here 's John Pearson," Marcia ex-
claimed suddenly. " Oh, John, we 've lost Dor-
othy ! "
Now what had happened to Dorothy was that
when the sled struck the side of a rock halfway
down the hill, it careened for a moment, and
Dorothy, whose hold upon Marcia had not had
time to tighten itself, had bounded off and
slipped smoothly the whole length of the hill,
finally settling down in a hollow between two
snowbanks. She was slightly stunned, and lay
110 DOROTHY DEANE
there for some minutes without any clear con-
sciousness. Then she had a sensation of cold,
and thought to herself that the bed-clothes had
fallen off her, for she supposed she was in her
little bed at home. She reached out her hand
to draw up the blanket, but did not find it. No
matter ; she felt rather comfortable. She would
go to sleep again.
Who was that calling ? She half started up.
Was it aunt Hester ? Then that odd, drowsy
feeling quite overpowered her. Again she heard
voices, and this time they did call " Dorothy."
Every faculty and sense were now on the instant
sharply awake, and for the first time she opened
her eyes. Where was she? What was it?
The great shining sky and the white snow sur-
" I wonder if it 's heaven ? " Dorothy said to
herself. She turned over and the moon shone
full in her face. She sat up and tried to think ;
then, feeling very queer, sank back.
" Oh, here she be," said a familiar voice.
" I 've found her," the same voice called loudly
to somebody farther off.
A figure not only bent over her, but gathered
her to itself. Something clasped her.
" Are you hurt, Dorothy ? " somebody in-
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 111
" Oh, no, not at all, thank you," she tried to
reply, but couldn't quite be sure whether she
really said it. It was pleasant to feel warmer,
and she had no difficulty in going off to sleep.
It was rather disagreeable to feel that the light
was shining brightly on her face. She was sur-
rounded by little figures pressing up to her.
Somebody kissed her.
" Why, Lucy," Dorothy said now, with a fee-
ble little laugh, " you are crying." She laughed
again. " Why, Marcia 's crying too," she added,
surprised. " I did n't know Marcia ever cried."
Dorothy must again have dropped asleep, for
something roused her.
"Let her be," said John Pearson. "Of
course I 'd ought to tell. I tell you, Miss Mar-
cia Dundas, you 're old enough to know better.
She 's a tender little critter to be led into mis-
" Now, John Pearson," argued Marcia, " you
say Dorothy is n't hurt, and if she is n't hurt,
why, there 's no harm done."
" But you had n't ought to "
" I tell you, John Pearson, the children
wanted to do it just as much as I did. Did n't
you, children ? "
" Yes," Dorothy observed unexpectedly.
" Well," said John, " you had n't ought,
112 DOROTHY DEANE
but laws ! I 've been young, myself, once. An'
bein' young, a young thing is still old enough
to know it 's alive and wants to do things, and
there 's no great harm done if it 's nothin' actu-
ally wrong. We 've got to buy our expe'unce,
an' buy it dear, somehow. Suppose you does
somethin' foolish at the time, if it 's not wrong,
it finally grows to be a comfort. If it ain't a
comfort, it 's an awful misery. For what we do
when we 're little, we do for life, we don't for-
get. When I was a boy, up to home, I used to
weed flower-beds for Mis' Brown. One day she
had been making cherry bounce, and she called
me and giv' me the cherries she had used to
throw to the pigs. Eatin' was eatin' in those
days, an' I thought wild cherries was pretty
good, too good to give pigs until I 'd had all I
wanted. So I just sat down surruptiously, as
it were, an' ate them cherries until I was satis-
fied. Then I tried to get up to go and give the
rest to the pigs, but it were actually astonishin'
how quick I set down again. Everythin' seemed
to be whirling round and round, the sun an'
the sky an' the trees an' the grass an' the
flower-beds. It did n't seem safe to sit on the
bench any more, so I jest fell down on the grass
an' laid hold of it by the roots, for the whole
world was a-whirlin' an' a-turnin' upside down,
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 113
and I knew I should fall off if I did n't hold on
" Why, what was the matter, John Pearson ? "
" I 'm ashamed to say, Miss Marcia, the rum
that them cherries had been soakin' in had gone
to my head. Now, of course, 't ain't right to be
tipsy, an' 't ain't right to steal wild cherries sur-
ruptiously, as it were, but all the same I had
bought my expe'unce. A man must hev his
expe'unce. Hevin' hed my expe'unce, I left off.
Ben a teetotaler ever since. I 'd ben there, and
know'd what 't was like not to be a teetotaler."
Dorothy had partly heard this, and now, when
something began to buzz in her head, she said,
or tried to say,
" I guess I 've had some cherry bounce."
She opened her eyes, and was surprised to find
herself at home in the kitchen with her head
against Jerusha's shoulder.
" No real harm done," Jerusha was saying.
" She '11 sleep it off. She was out too long in
the cold. I 'm glad I sent you after her."
" It 's that Marcia Dundas," John said.
" Children have to learn," observed Jerusha.
" Expe'unce," murmured Dorothy sleepily.
Her feet were warm, now, and she felt wonder-
fully comfortable. She kept smiling to herself,
114 DOROTHY DEANE
and when Jerusha carried her into the dining-
room and put her in her chair at the table, she
felt very happy at the sight of the hot bread
and milk in her bowl.
"Why, the child's asleep," she heard Mrs.
" Oh, no," murmured Dorothy, smiling more
than ever. " I 'm not asleep."
" Why don't you open your eyes, then, and
eat your supper? "
" I guess I 've had some cherry bounce," mur-
" Cherry bounce ! " said Mrs. Bickerdyke.
" Cherry bounce ! Jerusha, have you been giving
Dorothy cherry bounce ? "
" Hain't got none to give," Jerusha replied.
" She 's dazed like with the cold. That 's what
Dorothy tried to sit up. She wanted to eat
the hot bread and milk, but, curiously enough,
her eyelids seemed glued together, still she could
see Mrs. Bickerdyke's white cap and gray puffs
between her closed lids ; they looked so far off.
"I c'n see you, grandmamma," Dorothy now
" She 's jest dead with sleepiness," Jerusha
observed. " I '11 feed her."
Nothing more was clear to Dorothy's mind
COASTING BY MOONLIGHT 115
that night. She had such odd dreams. Mrs.
Bickerdyke was talking about cherry bounce and
asking if John Pearson could have given it to
Dorothy, when somebody was it Dorothy ?
replied that John was a teetotaler and had been
ever since he was thirteen years old. Then pre-
sently she was in a warm bath and it felt very
nice. Somebody was hugging her and kissing
her. " This must be mamma," Dorothy tried
to say, but oddly enough it was her aunt Hes-
" It must be the cherry bounce," Dorothy said,
for certainly everything seemed so oddly turned
round. It was n't even her own bed she was in.
It was her aunt Hester's.
DOROTHY was not quite well the next day,
or at least Mrs. Bickerdyke and Miss Hester
were afraid she was not well, and accordingly
they kept her on the lounge and fed her upon
gruel. Miss Hester said she had taken cold.
Mrs. Bickerdyke could not free herself from the
thought that cherry bounce had something to do
with Dorothy's condition. She questioned the
little girl on the subject, but, odd to relate,
Dorothy could not to-day remember anything
about cherry bounce. Everything that had hap-
pened yesterday had become very much mixed
up in her mind. She slept a great deal, but
finally towards evening woke up, feeling quite
refreshed and like her usual self.
"Should you like to see Gay and Lucy?"
Miss Hester asked her then.
" Oh, yes, please," Dorothy replied.
" Is she here ? Oh, please, aunt Hester, I
should like so much to see Marcia ! "
TELLING STORIES 117
Marcia and the twins came up and stood in
the doorway, at first a little awed, not only
by the sight of Dorothy lying bolstered up on
the divan by cushions, but at the sight of Miss
Hester's beautiful, stately, spotless room, with
its white hangings.
" Oh, Dorothy ! " said Marcia, bounding for-
ward after that one moment's pause and clasp-
ing her arms round the little girl ; " you are n't
really ill, are you ? "
" Oh, no ; I 'm all well now," Dorothy re-
plied. " I was n't anything except oh, so sleepy !
Somehow I could n't keep awake."
They all drew a breath of relief, but they all
smiled half furtively as they looked at each other.
And that smile and that glance meant that they
remembered pulling the big sled up the hill;
that they remembered how the keen wind had
caught their breath as they went down ; the
white moonlight, too, and the strange quiet
under the great pale sky, and the sunset col-
ors dying away. They remembered all that had
happened, some of which Dorothy knew nothing
"Did Bert mind?" inquired Dorothy in a
" N n not much," Gay answered.
What had happened when Bert came home
118 DOROTHY DEANE
in the morning was that, after one single look
at his sled, he said to Gay,
" Somebody has had my toboggan."
Gay had tried to carry off the matter with
an air of indifference, when Bert went on to
" I would n't be a sneak."
" I 'm not a s s s sneak," answered Gay.
" A gentleman does n't do those things," Bert
had then remarked. Lucy and Gay had trem-
bled for a time, but Bert had had his say on the
subject. Nobody really knew about the coasting
by moonlight except the four children and John
" I cannot let Dorothy talk much," Miss Hester
now observed ; " but if you children like to stay
with her quietly for an hour, and talk to her "
"Could we tell her stories, Miss Bicker-
dyke ? " asked Marcia.
Telling stories was the very thing. Marcia
and the twins sat down on the rug between Dor-
othy's divan and the grate. A little daylight
streamed in for a while at the window, but
gradually it died away, and there was only the
light of the coal-fire, which grew brighter and
" You begin, Gay," said Marcia ; " then I '11
TELLING STORIES 119
Gay liked to tell stories. The only trouble
was that Gay's stories somehow always sounded
familiar. Dorothy said she liked best to hear
stories that she knew, but Marcia insisted that
Gay should tell them something they had never
" Yes, do tell us something new, Gay," Lucy
" Well, I '11 try," said Gay. He shut his eyes
and leaned his head back against the chimney-
piece. When he shut his eyes and gave all his
mind to his story, his stammering ceased. It
was only in conversation that the words would
" Once," he began, " once upon a time there
was a boy whose father and mother had died
before he was born."
" Died before he was born ! " broke in Marcia
incredulously. " How could they die before he
was born ? "
" Anything may happen in a story," said Gay.
" This little boy's parents died before he was
born, and he had to grow up by himself."
" What was his name, anyhow ? "
"His name was Ferdinand, and they called
him Ferdy for short, and his sister "
"Oh, so he had a sister! What was her
name ? "
120 DOKOTHY DEANE
" Isabella, and they called her Bel."
" Was she older or younger ? "
" Just a little tiny bit younger."
" Well," said Marcia with a hopeless air, " I
confess I can't for the life of me understand
how, when a boy's father and mother died
before he was born, he could have a sister
younger than himself."
" He c c could," returned Gay indignantly.
" That 's the point of the story ; but if you keep
" I only could n't exactly see how two children
could be born and brought up without any rela-
" Oh, they had an uncle ! He brought them
up," Gay now explained. " This uncle was an
awfully cruel man. You see the kingdom really
belonged to Ferdy and Bel, but "
" Do you mean they were a prince and
princess ? "
" Of course Ferdy was a prince and Bel was
a princess. You don't suppose I should think
it worth while to tell a story about common
people. The kingdom really belonged to them,
but this uncle, who was now king, had killed
their father and mother before they were born."
" How did he kill them ? " demanded Marcia
TELLING STORIES 121
" He poisoned them."
" What did he poison them with ? "
"He made up a poison out of all sorts of
things, and they died right off. The strange
thing was that when he tried to poison Ferdy
and Bel, the same stuff did them good ; they
kept growing bigger and bigger and fatter and
" That was curious, was n't it ? " mused Dor-
" Well, as they would n't die of the poison,"
Gay proceeded, " the cruel uncle wanted to get
rid of the children in some other way. So he
told them to put on their hats and jackets, and
he would take them on a picnic ; but what he
did was to carry them to a great big black
forest, and then ride off and leave them."
" Oh, I know that story by heart ! " said Mar-
cia with disgust.
" So do I," added Lucy. " It 's ' Babes in
the Wood.' "
" Now I like to hear stories over and over
again," murmured Dorothy.
" You just wait," Gay protested. " I tell you
this is a new story."
" Very well. Ferdy and Bel are left in the
woods, and the cruel uncle rides off," said Mar-
cia, with an air of knowing all about it. " Go
on and let 's see what happened next."
122 DOROTHY DEANE
" Ferdy and Bel liked it first-rate," Gay re-
sumed; "that is, at first. There were lots of
berries and fruits and nuts, and they had a jolly
good time. They would have liked to live there
always, except that it got cold sleeping on the
moss at night, and there were bears came an'
looked at 'em."
" Why did n't the bears eat them ? " inquired
" 'Cause," replied Gay, " the bears was all fat-
ted up already for winter, and was n't hungry."
" It was f aU, then, was it ? "
" Yes ; and Ferdy and Bel wanted something
comfor'ble for winter, an' one morning when
they were out walking they happened to meet a
wolf, an' he said to them quite polite, 4 Good-
morning ; how do you do ? ' and they answered
good - morning, that they were quite well.
4 Where are you a-going? ' asked the wolf."
It seemed both to Marcia and to Lucy that
this had a strangely familiar sound, but by great
effort they kept quiet. Gay went on rapidly :
"They told him they was looking for a
boarding-place for the winter, an' the wolf said
he knew of a nice old lady who would be glad
of their company."
Marcia could not repress an exclamation.
Gay opened his eyes, looked at her a moment,
TELLING STORIES 123
" The children went on till they came to the
house the wolf had told them about. It had a
big door, with iron clamps and a brass knocker.
Ferdy was tallest, so he reached up and
" Somebody said, ' Come in,' " Marcia cried.
"They opened the door, and there was the
wolf in bed with the old lady's cap and spec-
" 'T was n't so at all," rejoined Gay with high
disdain. " Ferdy rapped an' rapped till he was
tired. Then Bel, she rapped an' rapped till she
was tired. So, thinking everybody had gone
out, they pushed open the door and went in.
There was a great big fire burning in the chim-
ney, and before the fire was a chicken all
roasted, with mashed potatoes an' cranberry
sauce, an' the moment the children had entered
an' shut the door, what did the chicken an'
potato an' cranberry sauce do but jump upon a
nice little table laid for two people."
" That was beautiful," said Marcia. " I do
hope, Gay, that, no matter what happened after-
wards, Ferdy and Bel ate up that chicken and
" They did," said Gay. " There was bread
an' butter too, an' an' an' other good
things ; they ate everything up clean. Then
124 DOROTHY DEANE
they looked round and saw two nice little beds,
an' so each of 'em got into one an' went fast
asleep. Presently came a great knocking at the
" Oh, dear," said Marcia, " this is the ogre.
He comes in and says,
* Fee, faw, fo, fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman.' "
" Not a bit of it," said Gay. " It was the
uncle, the cruel uncle. He came back to make
sure that Ferdy and Bel were dead."
" Did he kill 'em as they lay asleep in their
nice little beds ? "
" No, not then. He did n't dare kill 'em
then, for somebody might come in an' find out.
No, he treated them quite polite, an' asked them
to go sleigh-riding with him."
" You had n't said anything about snow being
on the ground," observed Lucy.
" Oh, yes, the snow was almost up to the roofs
of the houses," said Gay, " and the uncle had a
splendid sleigh outside with two black horses.
He put Bel in ; next he put Ferdy in, and then in
he jumped himself and took the whip and the
reins, and off they went, the bells jingling and the
sleigh dashing on as the horses kept going faster
and faster. Ferdy and Bel crouched down under
the buffalo robes and wondered what would hap-
TELLING STORIES 125
pen next. They could see how scowling their
uncle looked, and how he kept lashing the horses
with the whip. They wondered where they were
going ; through the woods, up an' down moun-
tains, an' over rivers. All at once the horses
stood still an' listened. The uncle laughed an'
" 4 Children, do you hear that noise ? '
" Ferdy an' Bel did hear a howling.
" ' It 's a hungry pack of wolves,' said the
uncle. ' Do they make you tremble ? '
" Ferdy an' Bel trembled so they could n't an-
swer. The horses, they trembled ; that is, for a
minute they trembled, then they began to gallop.
The uncle could n't hold 'em in. On they went
rushing, and behind 'em came the wolves a-howl-
ing. No matter how swift the horses galloped,
the wolves was a great deal swifter. First their
howling sounded very far off, but now it kept
sounding nearer and nearer nearer and nearer.
The hungry pack was close behind now, and
their red eyes was shining like like like "
" Like lamps ? " suggested Dorothy.
" Shining like lamps," said Gay, catching
gratefully at the phrase. " And the uncle, he
could n't begin to hold in the horses that was
raging and tearing. So he stood up and looked
back at the wolves ; he smelt their dreadful
126 DOROTHY DEANE
breath ; he watched 'em getting so near he could
look into their eyes ; just as they was jumping
up to get into the sleigh, up he picked Bel an'
flung her out to them."
" Oh, oh, oh," cried Dorothy, " not Bel."
" Yes, he did ; he flung her out ; then he
picked up Ferdy an' flung him out. You see
the uncle hoped the wolves would be satisfied
an' leave him alone. But it was n't so ; the
wolves was bound to have him. They kept get-
ting closer an' closer ; up jumped six at once
into the sleigh."
" I hope they finished the uncle," observed
" Yes, they ate him up, an' when they had got
through with him, they devoured the two horses."
" Oh, Gay," faltered Dorothy, "I can't bear
to think that Ferdy and Bel were eaten up by
" They was n't," Gay replied. " Wolves and
lions never eat the true princes ; it 's only the
false ones. They did n't even bite Bel once.
No, the two children picked themselves up an'
began to walk back."
" Through all that snow ? " inquired Lucy.
" They had n't far to go," said Gay. " The
people of the kingdom that belonged to them
was coming after them with a carriage an' a
TELLING STORIES 127
brass band ; and so they went to the palace an'
reigned happy ever after."
The three listeners sat silent for a moment
taking in this conclusion ; then Marcia broke
the pause by observing,
" It was n't a bad story, take it altogether.
But somehow it did remind me now and then of
things I had heard before. You did n't quite
make it all*up, Gay."
" Wh wh wh " Gay began.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" One, two, three. Why, what 's the use of
making up stories when there 's such heaps
already ? " Gay burst out indignantly.
" Now, I 've got a story," said Marcia, " that
I made up myself."
" Oh, do tell it," implored Dorothy.
" It 's just a little story," said Marcia ; "but
I thought it every bit to myself. Its name is
* Six Matches.' "
The firelight shone on Marcia's face, and she
gazed back at the fire, and kept her hands busy
braiding and unbr aiding the ends of her hair
that hung over her shoulder.
" Once," she began, " six matches lay in a
tray together. One of them was taken by a
servant-maid to make the kitchen fire and she
cooked the family breakfast."
128 DOROTHY DEANE
Marcia glanced from one to the other of the
three eager faces to be sure she interested her
"A man took another of the matches and
lighted his pipe. In fact, he took two, for one
would n't light, but broke off."
" That makes three," said Lucy, keeping the
tally on her fingers.
" That makes three," said Marcia. " Now
the fourth went to light a ball-room, where beau-
tiful ladies with wonderful dresses and neck-
laces and bracelets and feathers in their hair
danced all night."
They all drew a deeper breath. They could
tell by Marcia's face that something else was
"The fifth set fire to a city," said Marcia.
"It was dropped in a stable and somebody
stepped on it. It made a blaze in the straw
and everything was burned up, houses and
horses and men and women and children ; peo-
ple at church and people at theatres."
" Oh, Marcia, there 's one more," whispered
" The last one lighted a tallow candle in the
cell of a prisoner who had been condemned to
death," said Marcia. " The place was very black
and dismal, and the light was very poor and dim.
TELLING STORIES 129
But the man was to be hanged at daybreak, and
he was glad even of the tallow candle, for his
heart was much oppressed, and he was afraid of
" Is that all ? " inquired Lucy.
" Yes, that 's all," answered Marcia. " How
did you like it, Gay ? "
"P p p "
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" Pr pretty well," said Gay. "I I I
I think I rather like to know what 's coming in
" Marcia will tell it to us again," said Doro-
thy. " Won't you please, Marcia ? "
" Some time, perhaps ; not now," Marcia re-
turned. " I 've got another to tell you, if you
want very much to hear it."
" Another you made up all by yourself ? "
" Yes," said Marcia, " all by myself."
" Oh, how do you do it ? Oh, tell it, tell it ;
do tell it."
Marcia looked into the fire silently for a min-
ute, then began :
" It was a straight, ugly post, nothing in
the world but a straight, ugly post, and it did n't
like it. It stood not far from a fine country
house, and at first it had been intended to have
a dovecote on top, but something happened so
130 DOROTHY DEANE
that the dovecote wasn't built, and there the
post stood. Nobody even took the trouble to
paint it. Sometimes the owner of the house
said, ' I '11 have that ugly post cut down.' But
the thing did n't get done, and there the post
stood. In winter, it was n't so bad. The trees
and rosebushes were all bare and ugly then ;
their leaves and flowers had dropped off, and the
post tried to believe that there was n't so much
difference between it and them. However, the
trees and the shrubs were always whispering
about how they longed for the summer-time and
the birds and the bees and the flowers. Once the
post thought it would not be entirely left out
in the cold, so it said, ' Summer is on its way
back/ But the trees and the bushes just laughed
and said to each other, ' As if summer made any
difference to a bare pole just stuck down in the
earth without any life or any roots.' You see,
they did n't suppose the post had any real feel-
ings. But it had, and the post just despised
itself for not having any leaves or flowers or
fruit quite as much as the trees and rosebushes
despised it, if not more.
" Well, when spring-time came and everything
else put out leaves, there the post stood browner
and uglier than ever. But something happened.
There was a pretty girl who lived in the house,
TELLING STORIES 131
and, when the weather was warm, she went about
planting seeds and setting out plants. And one
day she stopped by the post and said to herself,
4 This would n't be a bad place for a moon-
flower,' and she dug a hole close beside the
post and set out a little vine. ' That 's a poor, del-
icate, sickly thing,' the post said to itself at first.
4 1 never have any luck. If it had been a climb-
ing rose, that might have done me credit.' The
girl forgot the moonflower after she had planted
it. Presently it began to grow and looked about
for a support. ' If you would lean on me/
said the post, and the moonflower put out one
little tendril and then another, for it was glad
not to be left to draggle on the ground. It was
the first time the post had ever received such an
attention, and, feeling rather embarrassed, it
stood up straighter and uglier than ever ; for a
mere bit of a green vine down at its feet was no
great company. But in a week the moonflower
was halfway up. ' How you do grow ! ' said the
post. 4 Oh, this is nothing,' said the moon-
flower. c In a few weeks I shall have wound
myself all round you, and covered you with fes-
toons, and then I shall blossom. Until you have
seen me in blossom, you really have no idea ! '
" Oh, how happy that post was now ! Day
and night to have this beautiful thing twining
132 DOROTHY DEANE
all round it ! Then to see it break out into buds !
Really, the post had no reason to envy the rose-
bushes or the apple-trees. People stopped and
looked at the post covered with the moonflower,
and said they never had seen anything half so
beautiful. The girl who had planted the moon-
flower began to watch the buds, and finally she
said, '.They will come out to-night.' The post
really grew so excited that afternoon, it would
have trembled except that it was fastened deep
into a stone foundation. When the sun was go-
ing down it was something to look at the lovely
white petals untwisting. Then, all at once, they
were open ! It was as the vine had said, until
it was in blossom, the post really had no idea !
"Why, it was hard to tell whether the real moon
and the stars were more beautiful I The post
was a part of the wonder of the night. The
moon and stars nodded and greeted it ; the wind
blew round it ; great white moths came. Then
finally it grew red in the east and the sun rose
and saw the secret of what had happened ! The
birds saw it, too. A humming-bird, up early,
came and found what honey the moths had left
in the blossoms. Then a bee crept into the cup
of one, and, finding it sweet, forgot that moon-
flowers do not keep open all day and was shut
up in it.
TELLING STORIES 133
" Well, this went on all the rest of the sum-
mer, and until frost came in the fall. The post
knew that leaves and blossoms always faded
then, but it had a dreadful heartache when it saw
that the vine was dying. Day by day its hold
was looser. Finally it all shriveled up and fell
to the ground quite dead. ' It will come back,'
the post thought, trying not to be too wretched,
for the rosebushes were in the same plight.
' Wait till spring and I shall have my beautiful
vine and moons and stars again ! ' However, just
before Christmas a man was going round the
house trimming up the place, and he chopped
down the pole. ' Just right for kindlings/ he
said, and put it under the great Yule-log which
was to be lighted Christmas eve.
" ' I shall have great sport,' the post re-
marked to itself. ' There are six of me now.'
" Just then the fire was lighted, and the post
thought when it saw the blaze that it itself was
bursting into blossom.
" ' I always did believe I should do something
at last,' it whispered as it burned away vigor-
ously. Next day its ashes were carried out and
put round an apple-tree."
" Oh," said Dorothy, drawing a long breath.
She was about to tell Marcia how delighted
she was with the story, but Miss Hester came in
134 DOROTHY DEANE
from the hall, where she had been sitting, and
told Marcia, Gay, and Lucy that it was tea-time,
and that they would be expected at home.
Then Dorothy ate her hot bread and milk,
was put to bed, and went to sleep.
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS
EVEN in the midst of winter there comes now
and then a day when there is such a shining of
the sun, such a soft stirring of the wind, that
one has a new feeling, and knows that spring is
on the way.
On such days the children always said to each
other that it would soon be time " to go to the
Dorothy loved to go to the " spring-lot " al-
most better than to do anything. It was such a
delightful place. The spring itself was halfway
up a hill that sloped to the southeast. The
clear water boiled out of white sand, filled the
basin to the brim, then overflowed and made a
gay little rivulet, which went dancing down the
hillside and lost itself in the river. Around
this spring grew the finest, thickest, greenest
grass, like velvet ; and all along the course of the
brook the grass kept green almost all winter.
The spring was always a fresh miracle to Dor-
othy. What made the water boil up ? Surely
136 DOROTHY DEANE
not the heat, for, unlike other boiling water, this
was icy cold. They had all tasted it, and, be-
sides, Dorothy had once fallen into the spring,
and might have said, as a great poet did of a
" I 've measured it from side to side,
'T is three feet long and two feet wide."
However, the spring was but one attraction of
the spring-lot. The really wonderful and deli-
cious secret of the place was that just at the edge
of a thicket of birches, a little above and to the
side of the spring, there grew the earliest wild
flowers. When not a flower was to be seen in
any other spot, here could be found the blue
liverwort and the white stars of the bloodroot,
and these blossoms were soon followed by
anemones or windflowers, dogtooth violets, and
troops of others. As for blue violets and Quaker
Ladies, not to say dandelions, the grass was
soon so full of them it was like a picture.
Then the walk to the spring-lot was such an
enjoyable experience. It was along the lane,
which was really a part of the Dundas place,
and had, in the old, prosperous days of the
family, been a cow-path to and from pasture.
Thrilling incidents belonged to this lane, which
was bordered with tall ferns and elders and
brier-roses. The children had once seen a snake
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 137
there ; then, again, they had encountered a large
and very fierce-looking mud-turtle. Dorothy
had been startled by a rabbit whisking across,
and something else had scuttled away as she ad-
vanced, something big and bushy -tailed, which
Bert Lee thought was probably a woodchuck.
The lane led to the bridge over the Swallow
River, which here meandered through a wide,
open meadow. It was such a pretty river. Just
where the bridge crossed it the water spread out
wide and shallow, and any one driving horse or
oxen was apt to ford it. It was said that Bert
Lee had waded across, but then Bert did such
wonderful things. Dorothy and Lucy and Gay,
even Marcia as well, were quite contented to
cross by the bridge, which was some twenty-five
feet wide, made of planks, with, on either side, a
huge log, which seemed made to sit down on
and loiter away almost more time than could be
spared, listening to the murmur of the river, or
the bees that buzzed in the blossoms of the old
willow-trees which grew at the west end of the
bridge. Beyond the river the lane became a
mere cart-path, and led to Wolf Hill and the
great woods, but when one was going to the
spring-lot, one skirted the pasture, or the " rye-
lot," and so gained the spring.
This winter had been one of intense cold and
138 DOROTHY DEANE
deep snows. March not only came in but went
out like a lion, and roared through storms and
tempests. Finally, however, the sky was clear ;
the sap was running from the sugar maples ;
the catkins of the willows were bursting their
sheaths ; the sunny slopes were growing green.
" I am sure it must be time to go to the
spring-lot," said Dorothy to Marcia.
" We will go next Saturday," Marcia an-
swered, with her little nod which always settled
All that week Dorothy could think of nothing
else but the little blue and white stars blossom-
ing on the edge of the thicket. The idea of
them got into her reading and writing and
spelling and geography, and the multiplication
table. When lessons were over she sat with
Mrs. Bickerdyke and knitted two rounds on a
stocking ; then Jerusha overlooked her while she
pieced three blocks of a silk quilt. Thus life
went on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurs-
day, and Friday ; but Saturday dawned at last.
"Don't tell, John," Dorothy whispered to
John Pearson that morning when they were
looking at the daffodils and narcissi and hy-
acinths and crocuses in the beds which he was
at last uncovering. "We are going to the
spring-lot this afternoon."
DON'T TELL, JOHN"
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 139
" 'T ain't likely you can get there," John an-
swered. " River 's too high. Never know'd it
so high before in all my born days."
Dorothy speculated as to what it might mean
that the river was " too high." She did not find
out that day, for on that Saturday afternoon,
when Dorothy came out of the house to set
forth on the walk, Marcia met her.
" Lucy and Gay can't go," she said.
" Oh, dear ! " answered Dorothy. " Why
" It 's Bert. It always is Bert," said Marcia.
" His father told him to pile the wood, and he
has bought up Lucy and Gay, and made them
do it. They always feel so proud when Bert
lets them do anything for him."
"Oh, dear!" Dorothy said again. "What
shall we do?"
" Go without them ? " asked Marcia.
" They will feel so unhappy," faltered Dor-
othy. "Perhaps if we wait a little they will
" Let 's go and see," said Marcia, and going
through the wicket they entered the Lee place,
and soon found Gay and Lucy hard at work
carrying the sticks of wood, freshly sawed and
chopped, into the shed.
" Can't go till it 's all piled," said Lucy.
140 DOROTHY DEANE
" We 're p p piling it as fast as we can,"
said Gay. " P p p "
" Count three, Gay," called Lucy warningly.
But Gay couldn't stop to count three just
" P p p'raps," he spluttered, " we shall
get through in time."
"Wouldn't your mother let you go, if I
asked her ? "
" Mother might, it 's Bert we 're afraid of,"
explained Lucy. " We promised him we 'd do
it, if he would let us have part of his garden."
" Where is Bert ? " inquired Marcia.
" He went over to aunt Morris's to spend the
" Oh ! " Marcia said in a significant tone.
" He gave us some peanuts besides," remarked
" A a a " Gay began.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" And his knife, too," gasped Gay.
" Marcia," suggested Dorothy, " if we helped
Lucy and Gay "
" Let 's," said Marcia. " I '11 pile the sticks,
if you children will bring 'em."
" You shall have some of the peanuts," Lucy
hastened to promise.
" I 've got some taffy, too," said Gay.
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 141
Whatever Marcia did she liked to do well.
Accordingly she began by pulling all the wood
down and piling it from the beginning. The
peanuts and taffy furnished a pleasant occa-
sional refreshment. The time passed. They
all talked a great deal. Then, too, one has to
rest when one is worn out. Lucy's way was to
take two sticks and go backwards and forwards
very rapidly. Dorothy tried to take four, but
was apt to drop one. Gay remembered what big
armfuls Bert carried, tried to follow his exam-
ple, and constantly tripped himself up, or, fall-
ing over the dogs, who constantly got in his way,
would drop his whole pile and tumble over it.
When the last peanut was eaten, and the last
stick piled, it was almost six o'clock, and, of
course, going after wild flowers was not to be
thought of that day. They all expressed bitter
disappointment, but they had all had a capital
time, and Marcia was as proud of her straight
rows of sticks as if they were a work of art.
Next day came a deluge of rain, and for four
days it poured. Oh, what black skies! what
dark, late mornings ! what early evenings ! But
on Friday, after an interval of twenty -four
hours when the rain had ceased, but the north-
east wind had not relaxed its grip, it finally
cleared off. Then, next day it was Saturday,
142 DOROTHY DEANE
and now it really was to happen that the chil-
dren were going to set out for the spring-lot.
It was a bright, sunny day, and, although
there was a cool edge to the wind, in protected
places it was really warm. Not one of the chil-
dren had so far seen even a dandelion blossom-
ing in a door-yard, but still they all felt sure
that there would be a gush of flowers under the
birches in the spring-lot.
It was so pleasant to be really doing some-
thing, going somewhere, after the long winter.
Carlo and Flossy were of the same mind.
Few leaves showed yet, but the buds were
swelling, and some of the maples hung out tas-
sels. There were a great many birds crows,
blackbirds, robins, and bluebirds - flying hither
and thither, and certainly it must be spring if
the birds had come. They all ran ; they jumped ;
they dabbled with sticks in the little pools they
met. The dogs, as well, felt the joy of being
in the lane ; they had run races with each other ;
they had far outstripped the children, when sud-
denly they stopped short.
In another minute, Marcia, Dorothy, and the
twins came up standing.
" Oh," said Dorothy.
" Oh, dear me," said Lucy.
" Is n't that a shame ? " ejaculated Marcia.
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 143
Gay really could n't utter a word. He had to
set to work counting to himself.
" I suppose that 's what John meant by the
river's being high," murmured Dorothy.
" It 's a freshet," Gay now observed saga-
" I declare, I do think it 's too bad," exclaimed
Marcia again. " Two Saturdays we had to stay
in because it was stormy. Then last week we
helped Lucy and Gay, and now "
" There 's always something in the way," said
Lucy, who was easily discouraged.
" And now it 's the river," said Dorothy, al-
most ready to weep.
It was the river, sure enough, that was in the
way. It was no longer a pretty, shining little
river, with laughing ripples tinkling over the
pebbles on the bottom, but a river that stretched
out like an ocean. It had flooded the whole pas-
ture, and flowed up the lane to their very feet.
" On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie."
That was Dorothy's thought, and her coveted
possessions were the flowers blossoming away in
the spring-lot, feeling lonely, and wondering why
she did not come to pick them.
" I don't mean to give it up," said Marcia.
144 DOROTHY DEANE
The three children always expected something
fine and heroic from Marcia. The dead calm
and nothingness of giving up helplessly before
the rushing river might have suited them, but
Marcia found no evil without its remedy. Her
spirit rose. She liked the spice of danger.
" Why not cross on the fence ? " she sug-
" Why, yes," said Dorothy. " Why not ? "
" Is it s s s afe ? " inquired Gay.
" I would n't be so prudent as you are for all
the world," said Marcia, with high disdain for
" Mother would n't want us to go if it was n't
safe," Lucy now remarked.
" It 's perfectly safe ! " declared Marcia.
" We 've all walked on fences. It 's just as
safe to do it over water as over dry land."
There was, of course, a fence on each side of
the lane. That on the north would have been
the desirable one to cross by, for it led straight
up to the bridge. But bushes grew against it,
and thorns and briers were plentiful. Thus
the fence on the south side, being clear of any
hedge, or any sort of impediment, was the one
to be attempted. Yet, even when the river
was within its banks, it would have been a diffi-
cult and dangerous enterprise, for, as we have
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 145
seen, there was a ford, and the fence spanned
the river some fifty feet below the bridge.
Marcia, however, had n't thought this out.
" You '11 try it, won't you, Dorothy ? " she
" Oh, yes, I '11 try it," answered Dorothy,
only too eager to get over.
" And of course, Lucy, you and Gay will go
if Dorothy will. She 's so much younger than
you are," pursued Marcia.
Gay had looked at Lucy, and Lucy at Gay.
Lucy was prepared to take a high moral tone
and insist that her mother would not approve,
which was most certainly the case. But what
Gay thought of was how Bert would despise him
for backing out, for Bert always said,
" A man does n't back out, you know."
So what Gay said was,
" We '11 go. Lucy, we will go."
" All right," exclaimed Marcia. " Here, Dor-
othy, you are the lightest ; you go first."
" I go first ! " repeated Dorothy, a little sur-
prised, and opening her eyes very wide.
" Of course ; you are the lightest, so you go
first. Then, Gay, you follow, and Lucy after
you. I 'm heaviest, so I '11 go last."
Marcia's orders always carried a logical con-
vincing quality along with them. Dorothy
146 DOROTHY DEANE
obeyed. The fence had four rails, and by put-
ting her feet on the lowest rail, she grasped
the upper one tightly and securely, and could
advance sideways by putting one foot and one
hand over the other. When she came to the
post she drew a long breath, for there she had to
reach round and get hold of a new and untried
rail. But, after all, it was not a very difficult
undertaking ; and she did so long to reach the
flowers, any road to them was welcome, no mat-
ter how hard. So she looked back to the others
with a nod and smile, calling,
" I shall get there first."
Gay was following her, putting all his might
into the task, and Lucy was following him.
" Hurry up," called Marcia.
So on went Dorothy, putting hand over hand
and foot over foot. She needed to give all her
attention to the task, for the rails were rough
and uneven. Her mind soon became completely
absorbed in the mere mechanical operation of
changing her position at each moment without
ever releasing her hold upon the rail. She felt
in a hurry, lest she should get in the way of the
others and hinder them. Then, too, the sound
of the water kept growing louder and louder.
It must also be getting deeper and deeper, for
all at once, not to get her feet wet, she had had
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 147
to mount to the second rail. At first, too, the
water had been quiet. Now, it swept along with
a strong current, and was so full of life and
motion she would have liked to stop and watch
it swirling and eddying beneath her, if there had
been time. The wind, too, kept blowing harder
and harder and colder and colder. If the others
had not been within hail, she might have thought
this was more than she had bargained for. As
it was, she rather liked the excitement of feeling
that she was leading the way.
" I must be almost across by this time," she
said to herself, and stopped for one second to
give a look. She had not looked before. What
she now saw almost took her breath away.
The waste of waters about her seemed endless.
They broke into waves ; they foamed and ed-
died ; here and there were actual whirlpools, in
which sticks and branches swirled round and
round in circles. She heard such curious voices
in the water : there were cries and calls, it
seemed to her, and a loud babble as if dozens
of people were talking at once.
" Oh, dear," said Dorothy to herself, " I don't
think I quite like this."
She now turned her head and glanced behind
her. She was about to ask Marcia if she had
better try to go on. But where was Marcia ?
148 DOROTHY DEANE
Dorothy rubbed the mists off her eyes. Where
were Gay and Lucy ? She could see nobody ;
she could see nothing, that is, nothing but
water. She could not even see all the fence by
which she had come. Some of it was gone, and
the rails were floating in the water.
" Dear me," Dorothy thought to herself, " I
hope this fence won't tumble over with me
Perhaps, if there had been time, Dorothy
might have been alarmed about the possible fate
of her companions who had been on that fence.
But there was no time to think. She was con-
scious of a sudden terrible disturbance in the
water ; also of a rushing and a roaring wind.
There was a loud, crashing noise just behind her.
At this same moment, the rails she was holding
by began to sway and totter. She clutched at
a fresh support, not knowing what it was. But
with everything giving way under her feet, it
was a comfort to get hold of something.
What she had caught was the branch of a
tree which, dislodged from the bank a mile away,
had floated downstream two days before and
caught under the bridge. There it had stayed,
twisting its roots and branches among the stones
and boards. The time had come, however, for
it to go on its way. The wind blew hard through
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 149
the arch of the bridge ; the fierce, strong cur-
rent beat through. The tree had to move ; once
outside, it turned over and over, then planted
itself vigorously in midstream, turning itself
down towards Dorothy, who, just as the rail
fence toppled, was able to seize hold of the
branches. Dorothy had no particular idea of
what she was doing. In fact, she was so dazed,
so exhausted, so blinded by the spray, and con-
fused by the roar of the water, she could never
afterwards tell just how it happened that she
, presently found herself sitting quite cosily, al-
most at ease, among the branches of the tree,
high above the water.
What she experienced was an intense surprise.
She was almost curious to see what would hap-
pen next. The wind blew ; the waters seethed
and roared. Overhead flew a flock of crows,
and it sounded to Dorothy as if they cawed
derisively. She began to feel as if everything
were moving, the clouds above her, the waters
opening in a deep gulf beneath her, the tree to
whose branches she was clinging.
" Now we 're sailing," she seemed to hear
somebody say out of a story she had read.
It was just at this moment that she caught a
" Hulloa! " said a voice ; " huUoa ! "
150 DOROTHY DEANE
"Why, John, is that you?" said Dorothy,
turning round. " I hoped you 'd come."
44 Wa-al, I never ! " said John Pearson.
44 Wa-al, in all my born days I never see the
like o' this ! "
John was in a wagon, a wagon drawn by
a stout horse. The water was already about up
to the seat of the wagon, and he did not know
how to venture deeper into the stream. He sat
looking at Dorothy, and Dorothy in the tree
looked at John.
44 1 think this tree is going on, John," Dor-
othy suggested. " I feel it move."
44 Oh, thunder," said John. " Git up, git up,
I tell you." This was addressed to the horse,
who, feeling his way carefully, advanced slowly
a little nearer and then a little nearer to Doro-
44 Can you jump ? " inquired John gruffly.
44 1 don't know," said Dorothy. " I think the
branch is in the way."
44 Oh, thunder," muttered John again. " Git
up, git up, I tell you."
The horse obediently pushed on. By this
time he was swimming and the wagon was float-
Dorothy could now reach John's extended
arms, and in another moment she was sitting
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 151
cross-legged on the seat beside him. They
could not turn back, so were obliged to go on,
the water flowing into the wagon, the horse
swimming on bravely, trying all the time to find
" Here we be," said John ; and in another
minute the horse was toiling up the bank.
" Why, we really can go to the spring-lot,"
" I guess not to-day," answered John.
He gave a smile, as he looked at Dorothy.
She was smiling, too, but she looked pale.
" Was n't you frightened any ? " he inquired.
" Oh, I don't know," she answered, and then
she began to cry.
" Don't cry, now it 's all over," said John.
" That 's what makes me cry," said Dorothy.
John had been letting the water out of the
wagon by taking out the tailboard.
Now he clambered in again by Dorothy's side,
turned the horse, and they went slowly and
carefully over the bridge and then down the
slope into the lane, where the water was twelve
to eighteen inches deep. Dorothy could see the
rails of the fence floating in the water. It all
grew dream-like to her. It was like a dream,
also, to find Marcia, Gay, and Lucy, and the
dogs standing waiting for her where the dry
land appeared in the lane.
152 DOROTHY DEANE
" Oh, Dorothy," said Marcia.
" Oh, Dorothy," said Lucy.
Gay was counting to himself, that was evi-
dent, but no sound escaped him. He looked a
little ashamed of the way he had kept safe on
" Oh, Dorothy," Marcia said again, " I
thought for a minute "
" So did I," said Lucy.
" Oh, was n't I glad that John Pearson came
along ! " said Marcia.
"Ef I hadn't a-started to cut pea-brush,"
said John, " I dunno I dunno what would
" It was all my fault," said Marcia magnani-
mously. " I should be glad if you would all run
pins into me."
" Eun pins into you ? " repeated Dorothy,
" I don't mind your running pins into me,"
said Marcia tragically. " I deserve it, I know
I deserve it. What I do mind is your telling
Miss Bickerdyke, or Gay and Lucy's telling
their mother. For, if they know, they will never,
never, never let any of you play with me again."
" Oh, we won't tell," said Dorothy.
" I won't tell," said Lucy, " and Gay won't
tell, either. Will you, Gay ? "
GOING AFTER WILD FLOWERS 153
" N n no," said Gay.
Marcia turned to John Pearson.
" You 're such a dear, good old John, you
" 'T ain't right," John replied.
"But you won't tell?"
" You 'd ought to be punished, Miss Marcia
" I am punished," said Mareia.
MRS. DEANE came for a little visit at Easter,
when the weather was really spring-like, and she
and Dorothy planted flower - seeds together.
Then mother and child bade each other good-by
for a good many months, for Mrs. Deane was
to go to Europe in June, for the summer, with
some of the pupils of the school where she
taught. Thus it was a comfort to Dorothy to
have a new interest and a new enterprise.
Jerusha had grown up on a farm in Maine,
where, of course, hens and chickens were kept
and eggs had been abundant. She had for
years petitioned Miss Hester to allow her to
keep hens. To Jerusha's way of thinking, hav-
ing hens meant thrift, abundance, economy.
She could do so much more if she had all the
eggs she wanted to use. Besides having eggs
for boiling, poaching, frying, scrambling, and
omelette making; eggs for cakes, puddings,
mayonnaises, there were other uses still for eggs,
chickens came out of them. Miss Hester
KEEPING CHICKENS 155
reflected that Mrs. Bickerdyke was fond of
chickens, and that, moreover, nourishing food
like chicken was good for the old lady.
"What do you think, John?" Miss Hester
inquired of John Pearson.
" All I say is, hens must be kept off my gar-
" They '11 be kept off his garden," Jerusha
promised. " Well-fed and well-tended hens won't
want more than their own yard."
" Do you suppose, Jerusha," proceeded Miss
Hester, " that they will pay for themselves ? "
" Pay for themselves ? They will make you
rich," said Jerusha.
Miss Hester finally yielded. She had not
asked Dorothy's opinion on the matter, for she
knew that Dorothy would be perfectly happy if
they kept chickens. Dorothy had not had many
pets of her own. Once she had found a half-
dead bird in the lane, its wing slightly injured,
and had brought it back to life by holding it
against her warm throat. She had begged Miss
Hester to let her keep it for her own, and Miss
Hester who recognized the bird as a rose-
breasted grosbeak, that probably had hurt its
wing flying against a wire when it was on its
way south for the winter had consented. Dor-
othy had made all sorts of beautiful plans about
156 DOROTHY DEANE
herself and the bird. She had not quite decided
when she went to bed what his name was to be,
but she knew exactly how she was to tame him ;
how he was to come to her and perch on her fin-
ger ; how he was to live in her room and sing at
night, for the grosbeak is a night warbler. Yes,
Dorothy went to bed very happy and woke up
very happy. Rory O'More, however, was up
before her, and by the time the little girl had
opened her eyes, Rory O'More had eaten up the
It had been very hard for Dorothy to go on
living with Rory O'More. Sometimes, even now,
when she saw Rory lying on his cushion in the
chair before the range, so white, so soft, blink-
ing his eyes and purring, Dorothy would sud-
denly burst out with a wail,
" Oh, Rory, I can't help loving you, and
yet I don't want to love you ! I feel as if I
ought not to love you you were so wicked,
Rory! It does sometimes seem as if you had n't
any conscience ! "
No, as long as Rory had a soft, warm place
and plenty of milk to drink, nothing troubled
him very much. Dorothy went on being fond
of him because she loved everything and every-
body, and pined for more things to love. Over
at Gay's and Lucy's there was an endless sue-
KEEPING CHICKENS 157
cession of pets, and an equally endless succes-
sion of disasters. The rabbits burrowed their
way out of their inclosure and utterly vanished ;
battles, murders, and sudden deaths finished off
birds of all sorts, guinea-pigs, and squirrels. At
present, Carlo and Flossy were the only pets be-
longing to any of the four children ; thus Marcia
and the twins were almost as much interested as
Dorothy herself in the chicken enterprise.
The little shed outside of the stable was to
be used as a hen-house. The hens were also, to
some limited degree, to be permitted to have the
run of the stable itself with its old corncribs.
Some hens, Jerusha said, were never satisfied
unless they could steal a nest. But for sensible,
well-conducted hens, John Pearson arranged a
row of neat boxes well raised from the floor ;
cosy, comfortable, and inviting. Outside shed
and stable was a yard some thirty feet square sur-
rounded by a high fence of wire netting. Never
had preparations for the comfort of chickens
been more perfect. Miss Hester had bought
three white brahma hens and a cock. Then
Mrs. Fuller had sent six of her own hens as a
present to Dorothy. The white brahmas were
beautiful, slow, majestic - looking fowls ; Mrs.
Fuller's, of no recognizable breed, were spotted,
speckled, parti-colored, certainly not handsome,
158 DOROTHY DEANE
and seemed a distinct species from the sleepy
thoroughbreds, as if their struggle for existence
had been more fierce and their hardships had
made them eager and hungry.
Dorothy at first adopted the brahmas as her
favorites, but Jerusha was on the side of the
plainer fowls. " They '11 lay two eggs to one
of the white ones," she said.
John Pearson gazed at them all with a shake
of his head ; but in answer to Jerusha he ob-
" Should n't wonder ef Mis' Fuller was glad
to get rid of them speckled critters. They look
lively a'most too lively."
John accordingly looked round for a roll of
wire netting to carry his fence higher.
If only the dear, beautiful creatures need not
be penned up ! That was the feeling of all the
children. Of course, they named all the hens.
The three brahmas at first looked so precisely
alike it was no easy matter to distinguish one
from the other ; but presently Dorothy saw that
one was the handsomest ; she was Blanche. An-
other had a refined, mincing way ; she was Lady
Jane ; and the third was White Lady. The
cock was left to Herbert Lee to name. Bert
said, " Oh, call him call him Oh, I don't
care. Call him what you please."
KEEPING CHICKENS 159
"I I I was going to say, M M
M " said Gay.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" Mikado," said Gay.
" Well, Mikado is as good a name as an-
other," Bert condescended to admit ; so the cock
Mrs. Fuller's hens, not belonging to the
brahma class, had to take up with common
names. One was Speckle; the second, Top-
knot ; the third was Dappy ; the fourth, Biddy ;
the fifth, Fantail ; and the sixth, Dot, for she
was black and round and little.
Mikado, Blanche, Lady Jane, and White
Lady were beautiful creatures to look at ; but
Speckle, Dot, Dappy, and the others were so full
of life, character, and whim, Dorothy was soon
almost ready to agree with Jerusha that one of
them was worth two of the big, sleepy creatures.
They were always on the lookout for Dorothy,
and, naturally, such signs of affection pleased
her. The truth was, however, that the problem
of how to make a living was the one that con-
cerned them. They scratched, they dug ; they
were on the watch incessantly, not only for their
regular meals, but for any sort of miraculous
dispensation in their behalf. In a few days they
had devoured every blade of grass in the hen-
160 DOROTHY DEANE
yard ; what had been turf became a mere gravel-
bed. They had even undermined the roots of a
small apple-tree growing there.
However, they carried the same energy into
the laying of eggs, and their shrill, triumphant
cackle resounded from seven o'clock in the
morning until long past noon. Jerusha was as
proud of the eggs as the hens themselves. She
loved to give Dorothy a pleasure, so she let the
children hunt for the eggs. The brahmas' eggs
were large, a perfect oval in shape, and of a
rich cream color. They were set aside and kept
for hatching. All the eggs were dated. Dor-
othy was soon able to recognize the egg of each
individual hen. Speckle's had funny little dark
marks like speckles in the shell; Dot's were
small and round and clear white ; Dappy's long
and slim. Each had its own distinct traits.
" Oh, grandmamma ! " Dorothy would break
out at breakfast, "that is one of Topknot's
eggs you have got, and aunt Hester's is Fan-
"Nonsense, Dorothy," Miss Hester would
say; "it is not possible to tell one egg from
Not possible to tell one egg from another!
If Dorothy had not known it was impolite to
contradict, she could have proved that no two
eggs were exactly alike.
KEEPING CHICKENS 161
The children knew. How they gloated over
the eggs ! They had seen eggs, eaten eggs all
their lives, but the real meaning of an egg had
never before dawned upon their minds. Tenny-
son wrote about the music of the moon lying
hidden in the eggs of the nightingale. That
faintly suggests what Marcia, Dorothy, Lucy,
and Gay saw in those piles of eggs.
If only the hens would be sensible. Dor-
othy's first idea had been to have the name of
the hens printed in black ink on the boxes, so
that each hen, knowing her own place, might
always go to it, so avoiding all confusion ; and,
indeed, if the hens had only carried out this ex-
cellent idea of Dorothy's, it would have been of
inestimable advantage to all parties concerned.
" I suppose," Marcia observed, " that the hens
have their ideas just as we have ours."
This was, of course, a sympathetic and chari-
table view to take of the matter. The hens did
seem to have original ideas. When any one of
them started off to begin her laying, she was
almost sure not to do what was expected of her.
When nice, comfortable nests in boxes had been
provided, why should Blanche drop her eggs
about casually, as it were, on the ground, on
the floor of the hen-house? Why should Dot
fly up and lay her egg on a high beam, so nar-
162 DOROTHY DEANE
row that she could hardly balance herself on it
when she was sitting down ? Really it was diffi-
cult even for Dorothy to have patience with
these stupid, idiotic, absurd proceedings; al-
though when John Pearson said (when asked
to mount the ladder and put a box up on the
beam for Dot), "Hens is all born fools," she
begged him with tears not to say such dreadful
Four hens insisted on having their nests to-
gether in the corncrib, which was accordingly
filled with hay and given over to them. These
were White Lady, Speckle, Dappy, and Top-
knot. Blanche finally concluded to try her
luck in one of the regular boxes. Lady Jane
had her nest at the bottom of a barrel.
" Does n't it seem too bad," Marcia said one
pleasant day, " that they can never come out of
that dreary little cooped-up place ? "
"Doesn't it?" Dorothy exclaimed. "I do
feel so sorry for them. They must get so tired
of being shut up."
Lucy and Gay gave each other a glance.
Their gardener highly disapproved of Mrs.
Bickerdyke's having chickens at all, and was
constantly uttering dire threats as to what would
happen if one of the hens was to invade his
KEEPING CHICKENS 163
"I I I "said Gay.
"Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" I don't believe they mind being shut
up," said Gay.
" Should n't you mind ? " demanded Marcia.
" Should you like to be shut up from one week's
end to another ? "
Jerusha, too, sympathized with the hens, and
the result was that one soft, balmy afternoon,
after John Pearson had gone home, Mikado and
the hens were invited to come out. Gay and
Lucy were picketed so as to head off any inva-
sion of the Lee place. Jerusha mounted guard
over John's garden. Marcia and Dorothy were
to take care of the flower-beds, while Carlo and
Flossy, in the highest spirits, appointed them-
selves general skirmishers. Mikado strutted
forth, and, with congratulatory chuckles, invited
his spouses to come on, making straight for the
bed of freshly planted annuals. Dorothy and
Marcia rushed at Mikado and Blanche and
Lady Jane ; Carlo and Flossy chased Dappy out
into the street, and across the way, into a neigh-
bor's yard, while Dot flew straight over the
hedge into the Lees'. It was, however, Je-
rusha who had the worst time. She fought with
Speckle, Fantail, Biddy, and White Lady, until
the sun had gone down and the shades of night
164 DOROTHY DEANE
had gathered. Then slowly and reluctantly the
hens, one by one, took their way back to the
roos ting-place. Even Dappy turned up, minus
some tail-feathers. How Jerusha and the chil-
dren trembled at the thought of what John
Pearson would say ! All agreed that henceforth
the hens should be kept shut up. But, having
once tasted the delights of liberty, they were
always pining for it. They escaped whenever
they could, and, with one fell swoop, descended
upon John's garden.
Thus it was a most welcome sight to Jerusha
and Dorothy when, after a few weeks, certain
of the hens began to go about clucking and ruf-
fling their feathers, sitting on their nests for
hours at a time, and altogether showing that
they were bent on settling down to be quiet fam-
ily hens. Blanche was the first to be given
fourteen beautiful creamy eggs. The children
looked on in awe, while John Pearson lifted the
great white clucking creature, and Jerusha ar-
ranged the eggs beneath her ample breast and
wings. Next, all four hens in the corncrib went
to sitting. It was a beautiful sight to see them,
each in her own corner, with her head down, her
feathers widespread, all the thirteen or fourteen
eggs beneath her well covered ; each one in-
tensely quiet, yet each with an air of subdued
KEEPING CHICKENS 165
excitement. Lady Jane soon followed suit. Six
hens were now sitting.
" Three hens on fourteen eggs and three hens
on thirteen eggs makes eighty-one chickens,"
Marcia announced after long battling with the
" Eighty-one chickens ! "
" Then suppose Dot, Fantail, and Biddy go
to sitting, and each has thirteen eggs, that will
be thirty-nine more. One hundred and twenty
chickens ! "
" One hundred and twenty chickens ! "
"Don't count your chickens until they are
hatched," said grandmamma Bickerdyke.
"Don't count your chickens until they are
hatched," said Miss Hester.
" Don't count your chickens till they 're
hatched," said John Pearson ; and even Jerusha,
who was in high spirits over her enterprise, also
uttered the same warning. It had sounded
familiar to the children, even from the first,
like " Haste makes waste," " One thing at a
" Don't count your chickens till they 're
hatched." Dorothy repeated it to herself, trying
to see the virtue of the saying. Why not count
them now when there was time ? By and by,
when the one hundred and twenty chickens were
166 DOROTHY DEANE
hatched and running round, it might not be so
easy a matter to count them.
The hens had been sitting about a week, when
one morning when Dorothy went to take a peep
between lessons, she found that something had
She ran back to John Pearson and Jerusha,
who were looking at the beans just up, or, as
John described it, " a-busting the ground."
"Oh, John!" cried Dorothy. "Oh, Je-
"What has happened?" "What's the mat-
ter?" John and Jerusha exclaimed, looking at
Dorothy's face, which had grown pale, while her
eyes seemed starting from her head.
" I don't know what 's happened ! I don't
know what 's the matter ! " cried Dorothy wildly.
" Come and see ! "
She led the way, and pointed at the corncrib
in the stable.
" Well, I never did ! " said Jerusha.
"Did you ever see the beat of that?" said
Nobody could tell what had happened ; no-
body could tell just what was the matter, but
the sight that met their eyes was this : instead
of, as yesterday, each of the four hens being
quietly and decently ensconced in her own cor-
KEEPING CHICKENS 167
ner over her own eggs, all the eggs from all
four nests, except a few which had strayed, were
gathered into the centre of the box, and on these,
in a sort of a pile, were grouped the four hens,
all alike bristled up sullenly, and each sitting
with an evident fury of intention to hatch all
the eggs for herself.
" And they 've left five eggs out in the cold,"
" I ought to ha' knowed more," said John,
with an air of intense disgust, " than to have
let you set them four hens so close together, and
so ought you, Jerusha."
"I always heard from my youth up," said
Jerusha, " that hens stick best to the nest they
Dorothy looked wistfully from one to the
other as they spoke.
" I 'm blest if I feel sure what 's the best
thing to be done," said John.
" I know what 's going to be done," declared
Jerusha, with an air of determination. " Each of
them hens is a-going back into her own corner,
and there she 's got to stay till she hatches her
eggs, even if I have to sit here all day and all
night and watch her."
John shook his head, not so much in denial,
as if hopelessly perplexed before the situation.
168 DOROTHY DEANE
Jerusha's plan was acted upon, however. Je-
rusha lifted two of the hens, John lifted two,
and Dorothy proceeded to count out fourteen
eggs into White Lady's original nest, and thir-
teen into each of the others.
There was no doubt about the accuracy of
Dorothy's count, for she carefully laid out each
egg before the eyes of John and Jerusha. Sin-
gular to relate, however, when she had put four-
teen into one corner and thirteen into each of the
other corners, there still remained nine eggs in
the centre of the bin. She gazed at them aghast.
It seemed like a juggler's trick.
"Now, where on earth did them nine eggs
come from ? " queried John.
" They must have gone on laying after they
went to sitting," said Jerusha.
" But what shall we do ? " demanded Dorothy,
indifferent to theory.
There was only one thing to be done, appar-
ently, which was to divide the extra eggs fairly
between the four hens. Each, indeed, was ready
to expand her feathers to meet any demand.
Each hen, too, had settled anew to her duty
with a conscientious air, which seemed to pro-
mise better conduct for the future. Jerusha kept
watch ; John Pearson kept watch ; Dorothy,
Marcia, Gay, and Lucy kept watch ; Carlo and
KEEPING CHICKENS 169
Flossy longed to keep watch, and had to be
carefully restrained from stealing into the stable.
Nevertheless, by the day after the morrow, all
the eggs were in the centre of the corn bin again,
and the four hens were again mounting guard
over them. There were by this time sixty-five
" I 'm going to give each one of them hens
a box to herself," said John Pearson. " That 's
what they want. White Lady shall stay here
in the corncrib, and I '11 rig up three other
boxes, and put 'em next to it."
This was a sensible arrangement, but Dappy,
Speckle, and Topknot declined to cooperate ;
they persisted in leaving their own eggs to get
stone cold and going back to sit with White
It was Miss Koxy Burt who was called in to
"Put all the eggs back into the big nest,"
she said. " Let the hens have their own way.
They know more than you think they do."
There was some comfort in this definite
statement ; but everybody's calculations had
been upset. It was discovered presently that
each time Lady Jane returned to her nest in the
barrel after her morning's feed, it was her habit
to break one or two of her eggs. Dot went to
170 DOROTHY DEANE
sitting, not in the box John had arranged for
her comfort, but on a place higher up, which
nobody but a winged creature could have inves-
tigated. Fantail had hidden somewhere; no-
body but herself knew the secrets of her retreat.
Biddy, like Blanche, conformed to the laws of
good sense and personal comfort, and had taken
But everybody's faith in the hens and confi-
dence in the one hundred and twenty chickens
was shaken. Jerusha was depressed ; John shook
his head, and said he never had taken any stock
in the enterprise. Not even Marcia ventured to
predict what would happen. Against a hen's stu-
pidity the best efforts seemed to be powerless.
The only thing to do was to watch the al-
manac and await events.
Blanche had been brooding over her eggs
nineteen days. It was a Saturday ; a beauti-
ful soft day in May when all the sky, and earth,
and tree, and flower, and springing seed sud-
denly thrilled with the touch of tender, stirring
"It's Saturday, Jerusha," said Dorothy.
" Just think, perhaps on Monday ! "
She did not say any more, at least in words.
She needed to say no more. Was not Jerusha
also counting the days ?
KEEPING CHICKENS 171
Dorothy went out and gave one look. Blanche
appeared as usual, calm, majestic, and undis-
turbed, not as if she was in the least degree
upset by the idea that her eggs were on the
point of hatching. The other hens also all
seemed quiet and self-possessed, except the four
in the corn bin, who, as usual, had an air of
excitement as they sat in a heap together. At
this moment Speckle happened to be on top.
Dorothy glanced at them and shook her head.
She was saying to herself what stupid, naughty,
ungrateful hens they were, when all at once
something startled her. She looked, advanced
nearer, listened an instant, then drew back ; she
looked again, then fled to the house shrieking,
" Oh, Jerusha, Jerusha ! "
In less than five minutes, Jerusha, John Pear-
son, and Miss Hester were all on their way to
What Dorothy had heard had been a soft,
faint little "peep." "What she had seen had
been a bright-eyed downy little creature looking
out at her from the breast feathers of one of the
circle of hens.
" It can't be," Jerusha was saying. " Them
hens hain't been setting but eighteen days. I
did n't give 'em any eggs till twenty-four hours
after Blanche had hers."
172 DOEOTHY DEANE
" 'T ain't in natur'," John Pearson had in-
But those four hens in the corncrib had man-
aged all through to compass the unexpected.
There were actually four beautiful little white
chicks out of their shells, two of them bright,
alert, and eager to be fed. Although Jerusha
said it was incredible, and John Pearson main-
tained it was impossible, the miracle had hap-
" You must have made a false calculation,"
said Miss Hester, at which suggestion Jerusha
actually snorted in indignation.
The other children had to take Dorothy's
word for it about the four chickens for two days
more. Then Blanche came off her nest with
twelve beautiful little creatures of her own, and
the four from the corn bin were added to her
flock. No more had been hatched, and not one
of the four hens was disposed to adopt these
stray nestlings ; each being afraid, perhaps, that
the least concession to them might put her claim
to the whole pile of eggs in jeopardy. It is not
often that a hen has some seventy eggs under
her, and a mere matter of four small chicks is
not worth looking after.
Blanche was placed in a coop out on the clean
green grass. She was an easy, comfortable-going
KEEPING CHICKENS 173
mother, and was perfectly willing to have the
children sit down and watch her and her chick-
ens from morning until* night. Nothing in the
world is so perfect and so wonderful as a chicken
just out of its shell.
There are some people who think it is a supe-
rior sort of thing never to wonder. I would n't,
myself, give a pin for a child who never wonders.
There 's a dreadful lack of understanding and
sympathy behind that superior attitude of
thought and mind.
Dorothy, Marcia, Lucy, and Gay experienced
not only wonder, but delight, and an almost
greater puzzlement, over the chicks and their
mother. How could little balls of fluff, just out
of the shell, possibly know so much? It was
painful to see that they were as selfish and
greedy among themselves as if they had been
hard at work getting their living out of a cruel,
hard world for years. But how pretty they
were ! How deliciously full of fun and spirits !
What soft little voices they had, and how many
different notes in their voices ! And what a de-
lightful little crooning song they sang when they
nestled under their mother's feathers at night!
When they were only four days old the
chickens recognized the children, and would
come running towards them.
174 DOROTHY DEANE
" I suppose it 's only because they want to be
fed," Marcia said ; " but it 's awfully cunning
all the same."
" I don't believe it 's because they want to be
fed," Dorothy insisted. " It 's because they 're
so glad we have come."
Carlo and Flossy, at first, were full of curios-
ity and eagerness about the chickens. They, too,
wanted to have their fun with them, and, alas !
it was death to one chick. The dogs repented
in sackcloth and ashes. They were talked to
by the hour. " Poor little chicken ! " one of the
children after another would say in accents of
displeasure and pointing the finger of scorn at
them. Flossy had no heavy sins on his con-
science, but Carlo felt it to the bottom of his
soul, and would whine, lie on his back, and put
up his paws in supplication. After a little, he
refused to come near the brood at all.
In the course of a week seven more chickens
were hatched in the corncrib ; but still the
four hens continued to sit on. Finally the nest
had to be broken up ; the corncrib was covered
over. Even then, White Lady and Dappy con-
tinued to sit about in dejected attitudes near
the place where they had brooded with so many
The hen on the beam had it all her own way
KEEPING CHICKENS 175
for a while ; but one day she flew down cluck-
ing beseechingly and authoritatively, and was
followed by ten little white and black chicks.
Lady Jane came out of her barrel with eight,
and Fantail had twelve.
Dorothy had learned, by this time, what the
proverb meant about not counting chickens be-
fore they are hatched. But the fact was that
with some forty or fifty there were as many as
the place could hold conveniently.
NOTHING had really happened for a good
while when Marcia began to talk about her pic-
nic. They had done a good many things : had
made expedition after expedition to the " spring-
lot ;" they had watched brood after brood of
chickens ; had named each individual one ; they
had gathered wild strawberries, to say nothing
of eating berries of all kinds that came within
reach. But all had been easy, safe, and gener-
ally acceptable. Now the weather had become
very warm, and one hot afternoon the children
had carried some of Jerusha's cakes up to the
top of the hill, where they had coasted on that
moonlight night, and they were pretending to
have a picnic.
" I should like," said Marcia, " to have a real
picnic. What I want is to know what is on the
other side of those woods."
Green and cool and grand stretched the line
of forest at the west, crowning the swelling up-
lands beyond the Swallow River. The sun set
MARCIA'S PICNIC 177
there and the moon ; there too the stars went
down. Thunder-storms came up from behind
that horizon. Now, each afternoon, when a
shower was hoped for, everybody looked to see
if white, fleecy clouds were showing their heads
above the sky-line of those tall trees.
Dorothy had had an idea that the world ended
on the other side of those woods. After a long,
long tramp in search of chestnuts the autumn
before, they had reached the outskirts of the
forest, and had peered in, trying to see daylight
through the long vista of trunks of trees. But
the shade grew more and more dense ; there
was no sign of an opening. And this thought
of going through the woods was one of those
wonderful thoughts which could only have oc-
curred to Marcia.
" And we are all not only going through those
woods," she went on, " but we are going to
find out what is on the other side."
" How could we ever get there ? " demanded
Marcia gave a little nod.
"I mean to borrow Pocahontas," she re-
" I I I '11 drive him," cried Gay.
" Not you, Gay," said Marcia. " Miss Roxy
would never lend him to you, never in the
178 DOROTHY DEANE
This was true, and Gay, after a moment's feel-
ing of rebellion that he, a boy, must be driven
about by a mere girl, gave in to logic and rea-
son. Somehow, it always was so. The sting of
it lurked in Bert's disdain of Gay's going about
with a " lot of girls." But then, as Lucy ex-
plained, Bert was not " a twin." The fatality
of it lay in Gay's being a twin.
More than once, when Miss Roxy Burt had
been sitting with Mrs. Dundas listening to the
last accounts of what " poor Paul " was doing in
South Africa, Marcia had been permitted to
drive the pony for half an hour. Nothing could
better have shown Miss Roxy's leaning to Mar-
cia. Pocahontas was not a mere pony ; he was
a sort of personage. He had been trained for a
circus, and had been one of a company of per-
forming ponies, until, most unluckily, while go-
ing through some exercise, the tendons of his leg
were injured by a rope. Thus, considered useless,
he was offered to any one who would buy him.
It was Miss Roxy Burt who out of pity made a
bid for the poor creature. He was turned into
the meadow behind the Burt place, and after a
few months' grazing defied prediction and got
well. This had happened years ago, and by this
time Pocahontas had waxed old in Miss Roxy's
service, and she and he and the phaeton were
MARCIA'S PICNIC 179
known for miles around. She did not set up to
be a doctor, but always carried about a case of
homeopathic remedies, and administered little
white pellets to any one willing to become her
patient. Not only pellets, but sympathy, care,
nursing, and good food, which sometimes did as
much good as doses of aconite, belladonna, and
Poky (short for Pocahontas) was to Miss
Roxy's mind a very knowing creature. Having
been trained to the circus, he persisted in be-
lieving that all the world 's a circus. He could
not get the ideal of respectable private life into
his head. He was always waiting for the signal
to begin his performance. Not given his cue,
how could he possibly know what to do ?
Miss Roxy, with her wide-brimmed straw hat
well off her head, her gray curls on each side of
her face, and spectacles on nose, would mount
into her phaeton, gather up the whip and reins,
one in each hand, give a twitch, and say,
" Now, Poky ! Get up, Poky ! "
Poky, however, with his head down, his feet
set stubbornly, apparently declined to make a
" Now, Poky ! " Miss Roxy would plead.
" Why, Poky ! Poky ! Did you hear me say
get up, Poky? Why, I really am surprised
180 DOROTHY DEANE
at you, Poky ! Do you think we can wait here
all day, Poky? You can't be tired, Poky!
Now, Poky ! I say, Poky ! "
Miss Roxy would stop for a moment to peer
over her far-sighted spectacles at the reluctant
" Now, Poky," she would begin again, " don't
you remember what I' said, Poky ? " at the same
time touching his flank with the butt end of her
whip. He was waiting for this signal, and off
he would start. Miss Roxy always believed it
was the force of her reasoning that had over-
come his obstinacy.
She never really whipped him. At the sound
of the crack of the whip or the touch of the lash
the creature was capable of the oddest antics.
He loved to describe a circle. Any wide open
space brought back early associations. Miss
Roxy would never have dared tell her sister,
Miss Amelia, or her brother, the Rev. Dr. Burt,
how, more than once, the pony had insisted
on traveling round and round a large empty
place near Bristol Basin, where four roads met.
Once, when the Rev. Dr. Burt (now retired
from active service) was officiating at a funeral,
in the absence of the parish clergyman, Poca-
hontas (whom Dr. Burt was driving at the head
of the procession), catching sight of the circular
MARCIA'S PICNIC 181
drive before Dundas House, insisted upon enter-
ing the grounds and making the circuit.
These pranks of Poky's of course pained Miss
Roxy, but, as she said, the bad tricks we learn
when we are young are apt to stick to us all
our lives, and ponies need not be expected to be
wiser than human beings. However, Pocahon-
tas had nowadays waxed old and lazy.
Marcia made her plea for a whole long after-
noon with Pocahontas and the phaeton in this
" Oh, Miss Roxy, I am so fond of Poky."
Marcia said this standing at the pony's head
and rubbing his nose. Miss Roxy, naturally
" Poky is an excellent pony. Such a really
" I really think," continued Marcia, " that
Poky knows me."
" There is very little that Poky does n't know,
I mean, of course, things that he has an
opportunity of knowing," said Miss Roxy.
" And I think," persisted Marcia, " that Poky
likes me, likes me rather particularly."
" I dare say. I like you, Marcia ; I like you
rather particularly, and Poky and I are apt to
be of one mind. I don't hear quite so much
good of you as I should like to hear, Marcia,"
182 DOROTHY DEANE
Miss Roxy added, glancing kindly at the girl
over her spectacles, " but I always say that you
are well-meaning, that your faults come from
your high spirits."
Marcia always listened to strictures upon her-
self with the imperturbable air of the old Dun-
dases. Miss Roxy said to herself now that,
although Marcia resembled her mother, she
could see traits of Paul Dundas about the brow
" Miss Roxy ! dear Miss Roxy ! " Marcia pro-
ceeded, " will you do me a very great kind-
" Why, my dear child, I have so little in
my power. For your father's sake if there
were anything I "
" Just let me have Poky and the carriage for
one whole long afternoon," pleaded Marcia.
After explaining, arguing, promising, listen-
ing minutely to every sort of detail relating to
the proper way to manage Pocahontas, Marcia
got what she asked for. Miss Roxy consented
to send Pocahontas to Dundas House at half-
past one on the following day.
It did really seem a wonderful coincidence
that Mrs. Bickerdyke and Miss Hester set out
that same Wednesday morning to spend a night
at North Swallowfield. It was such fine weather
MARCIA'S PICNIC 183
Mrs. Fuller had sent over a comfortable carriage
for her mother just after breakfast, asking her
and Miss Hester to come and enjoy the late
strawberries, which were now in perfection.
There was some question as to whether Dorothy
should go, but as the little girl had not been
expressly named in the invitation, it was de-
cided, much to the relief of Dorothy herself,
that she should stay at home with Jerusha, who
was left in charge.
"Now, Miss Marcia Dundas," said Jerusha,
" will you promise not to be up to no mischief
if I let Dorothy go?"
" Mischief ? " echoed Marcia. " I don't know
what mischief means. I 've got to take good
care of this pony, that 's all I know, to
keep him from being up to mischief."
It was quarter to two. The phaeton and pony
were standing in the grass-grown drive behind
Dundas House. Lucy and Gay had a lunch of
bread and butter packed in a box ; this was
stowed away on one side under the seat. Je-
rusha had toiled over with a huge hamper, and
this was placed in the middle. Dorothy car-
ried a blue and white wicker basket, which was
tucked in the only bit of space left. The phae-
ton was low and wide and comfortable. There
was plenty of room in it for two grown persons,
184 DOROTHY DEANE
so of course four half-grown would have room
and to spare.
Carlo and Flossy were running backwards
and forwards, expressing great interest in the
expedition. The question had been discussed
whether the dogs should or should not be per-
mitted to go, but Carlo decided the matter by
not allowing himself to be caught and tied up.
Carlo was wiser in his generation than Flossy,
the child of light, and when a certain gleam of
fun appeared in Carlo's eyes, he was too much
for Gay or for Lucy.
The first idea, that all four could find room
on the seat, turned out not to be quite prac-
" You '11 have to sit on the floor, Gay," said
Gay was staring hard at Marcia, who had
taken her seat and grasped the reins ; and Dor-
othy squeezed in between her and Lucy.
" Sit down, Gay," Marcia said, " I 'm going
He looked so full of worry and anxiety that
Dorothy pitied him.
" I '11 change places with you when you get
tired, Gay," she said.
" I I I I " spluttered Gay, pointing
MARCIA'S PICNIC 185
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
Gay struggled with himself silently a mo-
ment, then burst forth,
"People don't sit on that side when they
And, droll to relate, Marcia was sitting on
the left side.
"What difference does it make, anyhow?"
said Marcia. But they unpacked themselves,
and packed themselves up anew, and Gay could
now sit down contentedly on the hard floor, say-
ing to himself that girls did not know things.
They might think they knew ; they might put on
airs and pretend to know, but they did n't.
" Now, Poky ! " said Marcia. " Get up,
And, strange to say, Poky did get up. Off
they went down the drive, between the rows of
maple-trees ; out of the open back gate into the
lane ; down the lane towards the river. Before
they crossed the railroad track they paused, as
Jerusha had directed, looked up, looked down,
waited, and listened. The dogs, too, stopped
short, cocked their heads on one side, and looked
and listened. Nothing was to be seen ; nothing
was to be heard.
Across the track they went. Here they were
safe in the fern-bordered lane. All four of them
186 DOROTHY DEANE
now looked at the others and smiled. Oh, how
delightful this was ! Usually they toiled along
this road on foot. This was promotion. They
knew exactly how kings and queens felt in a
royal progress. It was perfectly blissful to sit
squeezed up on the rather high seat, and then,
when one could no longer endure to have one's
legs dangle down without reaching the floor, to
stand up a little, in order to get the queer feel-
ing out of them.
" Is it nice down there, Gay ? " Dorothy in-
" P p pretty nice," murmured Gay ; and
presently, rather to Marcia's and Lucy's relief,
Dorothy said she, too, would try it. Down she
went on the floor beside Gay.
" They 've mended the fence," she observed,
and then they all laughed. They had made
more than one expedition after flowers since
that first in early April. In fact, they had al-
most forgotten about the time of the freshet.
But to-day the recollection came back, and they
all laughed. The Swallow River was a very
quiet little river to-day. As they clattered up
the ascent to the bridge, Dorothy and Gay stood
up and looked out at the clear, bright water run-
ning over the sparkling stones, and at the long
branches of the willow-tree swaying in the ripples.
MARCIA'S PICNIC 187
They did not like to confess, even to themselves,
that their legs got cramped with sitting, but pre-
tended that they liked to watch the dogs. Carlo
and Flossy had run to the edge of the river as
they approached, lapped a little water, and waded
in to a certain distance, perhaps to cool their
legs, perhaps to try whether they could ford it.
It was too deep ; so out they came, up to the
bridge, crossed over, then ran down to the other
bank, again lapped a little water, and waded in
So far it was familiar, well-known ground.
Usually the children's expedition branched off
here across the fields to the " spring-lot." Not
so this afternoon. On they jogged towards
Wolf Hill. The pasture-lands on each side of
the river ended; the grain -fields began. Tall
rye, nodding oats, and Indian corn, not yet tas-
seled, stretched out on either side as far as the
eye could reach. They had not known, until
this minute, how hot the day was. Everything
began to give out heat and glare ! not only
the sun, but the sand of the road, the stones in
the sand, and the rocks piled up on either side.
A sort of green flame with little points of white
light seemed to play over the grain-fields and
emit sparkles. Now and then a breeze would
make a long, slow, beautiful billow over the rye
188 DOROTHY DEANE
and oats, but no cooler breath of air reached the
party in or outside the phaeton. The dogs hung
out their tongues, panting. The children were
all engaged in discussing what Wolf Hill was
and where Wolf Hill began. Just ahead were
three great hickory-trees. The trees threw a
shade over some rocks beneath them, and really
the nook did look invitingly cool.
" I see raspberries ! " cried Marcia. " Whoa,
Poky ! Let 's get out."
Dorothy and Gay were very glad to get out.
Pocahontas was ready to take a rest ; he stood
perfectly still, put his legs out as far apart as
they would go, and went fast asleep.
The children clambered over the rocks and
picked the raspberries, just ripening, with great
satisfaction. Anything to eat, somehow, does
seem to add attractions to a place. They ate all
the ripe raspberries; also all the green rasp-
berries. There were a few strawberries in the
grass, very small ones, but they were devoured
with keen relish. Finally they sat down and
enjoyed the shade and coolness, although the
rocks, all at a steep slope, were most uncom-
fortable to sit on. They decided that this was
Wolf Hill, and that probably wolves used to
congregate here. Gay suggested that perhaps
they had better get out their bread and butter,
and have a lunch.
MARCIA'S PICXIC 189
This remark reawoke Marcia's ambition.
There were the woods they were to traverse,
looking not so very, very far off.
" No bread and butter till we have got a good
deal farther on than this," she said. " Come,
wake up, Poky. Jump in, children."
She picked up the reins, hanging loose, as she
spoke. The children were about to obey, when
Pocahontas began to back, then, of his own ac-
cord, was about to turn the phaeton round.
" He thinks we 're going home," observed
Marcia, quite indignant, ran forward, seized
the bridle, and brought the pony back to posi-
" Hurry up," she called ; " he wants to start."
This was quite true. Dorothy, Lucy, and Gay
clambered in, Marcia followed, took the reins,
" Now, then, Poky ! "
Pocahontas again made a movement as if to
" You are not going home, Poky," said Mar-
cia, tugging hard at the reins. " You 're going
up to those woods, and through those woods.
Get up, Poky."
The dogs began to run forward and back,
barking, to show the pony the way.
190 DOROTHY DEANE
Pocahontas, not permitted to turn round, put
down his head, planted his feet deeper in the
sand, and declined to budge.
" Oh, dear ! " faltered Lucy, who was timid.
" Now, Poky ! " Marcia began, with something
of Miss Roxy's bland habit of persuasion, " now,
Poky ! Get up, Poky. This is n't proper be-
havior, Poky. We want to go through those
" Please, dear Poky ! Try to do as you 'd
like to be done by, there 's a good Poky," said
" You shall have a nice cake if you '11 go on,
Poky," said Lucy.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" Give him all the cakes," said Gay.
Pocahontas did not move.
" I 'm really surprised at you, Poky," Marcia
began once more. "Miss Roxy will be very
sorry to hear how naughty you have been, Poky.
She said you were so sensible, Poky. Do you
call this sensible ? She told me that the whip
was the very last resort, Poky ! I don't want to
whip you, Poky. It would hurt my feelings
very much to whip you, Poky, but "
At the mention of the whip Gay had drawn
it out from its safe receptacle beneath the
MARCIA'S PICNIC 191
leather boot and began gently to flick the
" Be careful, Gay," said Marcia warningly.
" Don't touch him with it until I tell you."
Gay perhaps intended to be careful, but wish-
ing to let Pocahontas understand that the whip
could at need be forthcoming, he went on flour-
ishing it in the air until, presently, it gave a
loud cr-cr-crack !
The pony turned back his ears, threw up his
head, tossed his mane, kicked out his legs, and
set off at a pace so astonishing that the reins
dropped from Marcia's hands and Gay fell
backwards against Lucy, who caught him in her
arms. They fairly flew on, Pocahontas showing
by the motion of his head and the spirited fling
of his mane that he was not without some per-
sonal enjoyment in the cutting of these capers.
The way, for some distance, lay straight and
comparatively smooth between banks ; but after
the run had lasted about a half mile, the road
forked suddenly, the right turn leading to the
woods, and the left, a mere cart-path, opening
into a rough clearing given over to berry bushes,
rocks, and half-decayed stumps of trees. Poca-
hontas took the left, making so sharp a turn that
the children had to cling to the seat in order not
to be thrown out. Their cries of " Oh, Poky ! "
192 DOROTHY DEANE
" Now, Poky ! " " Poky, stop ! " " Whoa, whoa ! "
only seemed to make the pony increase his
speed. And as he was all the time gathering a
little more and more rein, he became more and
more rampant. When the cart-path ended, on
he went, prancing and curveting, into the waste
of huckleberry bushes.
" Oh, what shall we do ? " cried Marcia.
"I I I " Gay began, at the same time
leaning over the dashboard, whip in hand, to
make an effort to fish up the reins, when the
phaeton was suddenly brought up with a terrible
jolt. The right wheel having lodged in some
bilberry bushes and the left made fast against a
rock, Pocahontas's mad career was checked. Hav-
ing accomplished so much, the pony yielded to cir-
cumstances, and seeing some fine herbage at the
base of the rock, he began peacefully to nibble.
" I '11 get out," said Marcia.
"I I I I I was just going to stop
him myself," remarked Gay, but nobody lis-
tened. Lucy and Dorothy were clambering out,
each looking a little pale.
" Suppose he had broken the carriage all to
pieces," said Marcia. " I do just wonder what
Miss Roxy would have said to me then." With
a knowing air Gay examined the wheels and
shafts. Fortunately no harm had been done.
MARCIA'S PICNIC 193
" I '11 tell you what we will do," Marcia an-
nounced. "You three children get in again,
and I will lead Poky the rest of the way."
" Oh, please let me walk, Marcia ! I should
a great deal rather walk," pleaded Dorothy.
" So should I," said Lucy.
"I too," said Gay. "I I'm st st
stiff with riding so long."
" I don't like horses," said Dorothy.
" Or ponies, either."
" Particularly ponies," said Lucy.
Marcia had gone up to Pocahontas, and, tak-
ing him by the bridle, backed him away from
the rocks and bushes.
"Do you know," she called to the others,
" he is regularly grinning at me, the beast ! He
thinks it is good fun."
The dogs also thought it was good fun. They
had not been quite easy and contented in their
minds at seeing the children in the phaeton,
instead of being on foot as usual. Now they
dashed forward, then ran back, jumped up and
down, barked at the pony, and altogether acted
as if they had lost their heads.
Oh, how the sun beat down in that open, un-
shaded place ! Marcia walked on one side of
the pony, holding the bridle, and Gay on the
194 DOROTHY DEANE
other. Dorothy and Lucy lagged behind the
phaeton, trying to get a little shade from the
cover. Had it not been for Marcia's indomitable
resolution to go through the woods, they would
all have given up, that line of deep shadow
looked so far, far off. By Gay's little silver
watch it was only ten minutes past three. Not
even Gay believed it. They had started at a
quarter before two. Dorothy said it seemed
a day ago. Lucy declared she knew it was a
whole year ago. It was certainly incredible
that all these events had happened in less than
an hour and a half.
But Marcia behaved as if she found the ex-
perience delightful. And if Marcia really did
like it ! That was the way with Marcia. Diffi-
culties that robbed others of spirit seemed to
give her a sort of passion of enjoyment. Any-
thing to be done was to be done, and personal
discomforts were not to be thought of. On she
went in the full glare of the sun, her torn straw
hat far back on her head, her hair clinging in
little wet curls to her forehead and temples ; her
great eyes shining ; her cheeks and lips red as
crimson cherries, all the time laughing and
talking. The pony, every few rods, would de-
cide that he did not like this sort of thing at
all; he would stop short, plant his forefeet
MARCIA'S PICNIC 195
in the turf, and drop his head between his
" Poky, my dear Poky," Marcia would say,
addressing him with arguments and remon-
strances ; " it is not worth while for you to put
on those little airs, Poky, for you are out on a
picnic, a whole long afternoon picnic ! We 're
not going home till almost sunset, Poky. Do
you hear? There are the woods, and we are
going through those woods. You can't stop and
rest till you are on the other side of those woods.
Then, dear Poky, you shall have a perfectly
beautiful time," and she would pull him along
almost by main force.
They toiled on. The forest, which from a dis-
tance had had a uniform color, began to take on
different shades of green. They could make
out trees standing singly and in groups on the
border. A little more and they were under the
lengthening shadows, enjoying grateful coolness.
How glad they all were ! Everybody, except
Marcia, had lost spirit ; the pony had stumbled
along at a snail's pace ; even the dogs, with
lolling tongues, had finally slunk under the
phaeton and panted on quite discouraged.
Here they actually were beneath the great
dome of foliage, and it seemed, compared with the
glare of the open meadow, as if they had passed
196 DOROTHY DEANE
into a dimly lighted church. They all stood
still, looking up at the green arches of the roof.
Here, on the edge of the forest, light streamed
in and fell on the white, feathery flowers, the
moss, and the fine, scanty grass. But this was
the daylight they were leaving behind. Ahead
all was dark and cool and colorless ; the wide
cart-path was the only open vista.
"Isn't this worth coming for?" demanded
Marcia. Her eyes had grown dark and pensive,
but she was smiling, and her teeth shone like
"It makes me just a little bit afraid," said
Dorothy in a hushed voice.
The dogs, too, made up their minds that they
had better wait and see what sort of a strange
place this was. There were so many soft noises
in the wood : a stir and rustle in the branches
above them ; something seemed to be creeping
through the thickets and the undergrowth. Ac-
cordingly, not quite liking it, Carlo and Flossy
kept very close to the children, for suppose there
should be strange beasts !
" I I I " Gay began.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
"I I I don't believe there are any bears
in these woods," Gay finally announced, with
MARCIA'S PICNIC 197
" Bears ! " Marcia repeated, with just that ex-
pression of scorn in which few could excel her.
" There may be a squirrel or two."
And, as if to reassure them, a red squirrel at
this moment ran across their path not ten feet
away. Carlo and Flossy, slinking behind, tails
down, their hair stiffening along their dorsal
column, thinking of bears, no doubt, and lions
and tigers, at the sight of this enemy regained
heart and courage. Up went their tails ; with
a joyful bark they dashed forward just in time
to see the squirrel run up the trunk of a tree,
where, gaining a safe degree of elevation, he
gazed down at them with his bright little eyes,
then, chattering, retreated to a still higher bough
It really was a wonderful wood ; an enchanted
wood. Quite reassured, Carlo and Flossy ran
hither and thither, following up scents, investi-
gating holes and hollow tree trunks, now and
then making something scurry into the deeper
thickets. They crossed and recrossed the path
in front of Marcia and Gay and the pony and
phaeton ; with Lucy and Dorothy bringing up
Dorothy had gradually recovered from her
fears, although, somehow, her heart beat as she
looked about her with wonder and surprise, and
198 DOROTHY DEANE
listened to the soft sigh and rustle in the leaves.
Now and then sounded the note of a bird, a
persistent, soft note. Dorothy thought to her-
self, " Oh, if I could only see that bird ! " She
strained her eyes to look far up into the green-
gold glimmer of the roof of the wood. While
she still looked up, her quick ear caught a sound
in the undergrowth beside her. She turned ;
there was a little gray bird ; silver-gray, with
feathers preened to the softness of satin. Its
eye, too, was gray, set in a ring of white, and
with its little gray eyes it looked at Dorothy,
and Dorothy gazed back at it. It evidently
wondered about her and did not seem afraid,
and as she went on, it flew silently from twig to
twig, and followed her, always regarding her
with that soft, inquisitive eye.
" Oh, dear ! " Dorothy whispered, " it makes
me almost feel as if I had done something
" Oh, dear ! " cried Marcia, so loudly that the
little gray bird flew away, " there 's a fallen
tree across the path."
" Oh, dear ! " said Lucy, " we shall never get
through this wood. I 'm sure we shan't."
"I I I I f f f eel like M M
Moses in the wilderness," said Gay.
Luckily the obstacle in the path was not a
MARCIA'S PICNIC 199
whole tree, only the branch of a tree which had
splintered down the side of a great chestnut in
the storm of two days before. Marcia lifted
the end of it and tugged hard ; Gay lifted and
tagged ; so did Lucy and Dorothy. The dogs
desisted from their sport and came and looked
on, as if to help. Only the ungrateful pony,
the object of all these labors and pains, made
no attempt to get the obstacle out of his own
path, but after blinking, and rather grinning,
fell to cropping the thin green blades of grass
which pushed their way through the rich mould.
Finally, after four pairs of arms were pulled
almost out of their sockets, the obstruction was
removed and the way was clear. Marcia once
more took Pocahontas by the bridle ; the chil-
dren followed, and the dogs began to frisk about.
Dorothy caught sight of a white flower and went
aside, out of the path, to look at it. It was a
pipsissewa, growing at the foot of an oak-tree
among the leaves of last year, half -eaten acorns,
little sticks, and moss. As she stooped to look
closer, something flew up, knocking against her
cheek, and making a loud whirring noise. And
under her feet ? What were these little things
that moved? Had the brown leaves suddenly
come to life ?
" Oh, oh, oh," cried 'Dorothy. " Oh, Marcia !
Is it chickens?"
200 DOROTHY DEANE
When Marcia and the others came running
towards her to see what she meant, Dorothy
was standing looking perfectly bewildered, star-
ing at the ground.
" I don't know," she said. " One minute I
saw speckled chickens ever so many of them
then all at once "
" They must have been partridges," observed
" But what became of them ? " demanded Dor-
othy. " One minute they were right here I
was almost stepping on them then, in another
Alas ! Carlo and Flossy knew something about
that family of partridges. Carlo had seen one
of the old ones go whirring up past him to find
safety on the bough of a tree. Flossy, mean-
while, had made a grab at the other as she scut-
tled off into the bushes, but he had missed her.
Carlo was more sure : there was one pounce, a
shake, and then the poor, faithful mother par-
tridge was just a limp heap of feathers. Flossy
contented himself, meanwhile, with one of the
pulpy young ones.
" S s see there ! " cried Gay.
Dorothy followed the direction of Gay's fin-
ger and uttered a shriek of indignation.
" Oh, you bad dogs ! " 'she screamed, running
MARCIA'S PICNIC 201
towards them. " Oh, you horrid, wicked, cruel
dogs ! You 've killed both these poor, beautiful
creatures ! Oh, how naughty you are ! Oh, these
poor birds ! I wish I had never seen you, you
bad, heartless, wicked dogs ! "
Dorothy had pressed the poor dead things
against her breast, and was stroking their fea-
thers gently. The other children looked at her
and at the partridges with solemn eyes. Lucy
began to cry. Gay would have liked to cry, but
that would have been like a girl, so he began to
kick at the dogs, who, suddenly pulled up in
their mad pranks, were quite surprised and in
dismay at this burst of fury on the part of their
" It is a shame," said Marcia. There had
been a good deal of cold water flung on her en-
thusiasm that day. " Dear, pretty little crea-
tures." She, too, passed her hand over the soft
plumage. " I would n't have had them killed for
anything ; but now that they are killed, may I
have 'em and cook 'em for mamma, Dorothy ? "
" Cook them ? " repeated Dorothy, bewildered.
" They '11 be good for mamma," said Marcia.
" She 's not strong, you know. She loves birds,
but does n't often get them."
Dorothy, all alive with pity and drawing every
breath in pain, still looked horrified.
202 DOROTHY DEANE
" Why," said Marcia, " if a man had killed
them with a gun and taken them to market "
Gay pulled at Dorothy. " They '11 do her
good," he suggested.
Dorothy, still bewildered and disenchanted,
yielded up the birds to Marcia.
" Oh, yes, if they will do her good."
The dogs, quiet for one moment, now at some
fresh sound cocked up their ears and were
about to dash off again, when Dorothy flung
herself upon them, and, seizing Carlo by the
ears and Flossy by the tail, gathered them both
under her arms.
" No, no, no," she cried, " I will not let you
go killing some more beautiful things."
It was no easy matter to go on holding the
dogs by the ears and tail. Still Dorothy felt
she must hinder any more wicked mischief. Ac-
cordingly, it Was decided to put Carlo and Flossy
in the phaeton and tie them to the seat. The
extra hitching-rein was slipped over the rail of
the dashboard, then each end was buckled to the
collar of the dogs. After a few moments of sur-
prise and insubordination, Carlo and Flossy ac-
cepted the inevitable, and, with some natural
pride in such elevation, sat side by side on the
seat of the phaeton, looking for all the world as
if they considered themselves superior creatures
MARCIA'S PICNIC 203
taking an airing, while inferior creatures went
The children had all taken hold of Pocahon-
tas's bridle, and were pulling him on at a rapid
pace. The afternoon would not last forever, and
they were beginning to think longingly of the
contents of the baskets, and of the comfort it
would be to sit down and have their picnic. It
was evident that they were nearing the end of the
wood. The air, which for a time had been damp
and cool, grew warmer. Tall, feathery ferns
began to show in great masses, and instead of
the vistas before them being dim and dark, there
came a sudden brilliance, and long shafts of
sunlight made their way in.
" Here we are ! " shouted Marcia. Even Po-
cahontas, sniffing the scent of fresh pastures, set
off at such a gallop that the children could
hardly keep up with him. As they emerged
from the shadow, they were all dazzled by the
light. The sun was shining straight in their
faces out of a brilliant blue sky. They stopped,
shaded their eyes with their hands, and gazed
about them. What they saw was a very green
and fertile-looking field, which, descending in a
gentle roll, met the banks of a brook fringed
with alders. Beyond the brook the ground rose
again into a hill, and above the hill was a high
204 DOROTHY DEANE
mountainous ridge, whose dark fir woods showed
heavily against the sky line.
This was the promised land.
" I knew it would be worth coming for,"
Marcia now observed with a complacent air, as
if she had arranged the meadow and the brook
and the hill and the notch in the mountain,
where the sun was to go down. " I felt sure it
would be a beautiful place to have a picnic."
" I should love to come here in the spring
after wild flowers," said Dorothy.
"L 1 let's have our p p picnic right
off," said Gay.
" So I say," Marcia rejoined. " Lucy, you
and Dorothy find a place to sit down, and Gay,
come and help me unbuckle Poky, so that he
can graze comfortably."
Dorothy and Lucy regarded each other with
peculiar satisfaction at the thought of the picnic.
" This will do," said Dorothy, pointing out a
flat rock where a stony ledge cropped out of the
" Yes, that will do," Lucy agreed. They
turned to look at the phaeton, from which Mar-
cia was leading Pocahontas away.
"Where are the dogs?" inquired Dorothy,
suddenly remembering. " Gay, what did you
do with the dogs?"
MARCIA'S PICNIC 205
Gay had not seen the dogs. He and Marcia
turned and looked. Where were the dogs?
While the others were staring about in surprise
and alarm, a sudden suspicion smote Marcia.
She dropped the pony's bridle, dashed back to
the phaeton, and looked in.
" They 're at the baskets ! " she cried.
" They 've eaten up our picnic ! Oh, was ever
anything so perfectly ridiculous ! "
This was the fact : The two dogs, sitting bolt
upright on the seat of the phaeton, like Mr.
Punch's knowing little beast, had at first been
so surprised and pleased by this novel form of
attention, they had kept perfectly still. Grad-
ually Carlo's keen sense of smell detected some
odor which did not belong to this wild, un-
tamed forest : it was not balsam, or pine, or
squirrel, or woodchuck ; it was something plea-
sant and familiar. Accordingly, just simply
to investigate the matter, Carlo first put his
head under the seat, then his forepaws, finally
his whole body. Flossy followed suit. Here
was a wicker basket, with the cover carefully
tied down with a string. What were paws made
for ? They knew now what it was that smelled
so nice ! Cakes ! Jerusha's cakes !
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD
MARCIA'S excursion had so many climaxes,
we were obliged to leave off before we came to
the picnic. At the end of the last chapter it
really did seem as if the picnic were to be ex-
clusively Carlo's and Flossy's. Although Marcia
was probably as hungry as any one of the party,
when she saw Carlo and Flossy looking out at
her from under the flap of the cushions, each
with his mouth full of Jerusha's cakes, she sat
down on the grass and laughed ! As she said,
it was so perfectly ridiculous ! She had carried
the dead partridges in her hand all this time,
thinking that the dogs might scent them if she
put them in the phaeton, but she had not been
alarmed about the safety of the baskets and
The others were amazed to see Marcia over-
come with amusement. It did not seem to them
a laughing matter that the dogs had eaten up
their picnic. Dorothy climbed in, untied the
two, scolding them all the time, and turned them
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 207
out ; then she went down 011 the floor and looked
under the seat, to find out the extent of the
disaster. There was the little blue and white
wicker basket overturned, indeed, almost torn
to shreds, and only here and there a crumb of
cake left. Nevertheless, she came up smiling
and tugging at Jerusha's hamper.
" Never mind ! " she cried. " Never mind !
They have n't eaten up everything. Here, Gay."
Carlo and Flossy, released from captivity,
stood beside the phaeton with expectant, hun-
gry eyes. Gay was admonishing them with up-
"Sh sh sh " he began, over and over
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" Shame on the dogs ! " Gay now burst forth.
Having once uttered the phrase, he repeated it
half a dozen times. " Shame on the dogs ! "
" Never mind ! " said Dorothy. " Here 's the
big basket, Gay. They have n't touched that, or
your box of bread and butter, either."
It was, indeed, a big basket, so big it might
be called the basket. In fact, the cakes which
the dogs had devoured had been extras.
It was Jerusha's way to begin by saying that
nothing was so wholesome for the children as
bread and butter. After packing an ample
208 DOROTHY DEANE
supply of bread and butter, it would occur to
her that, poor little things, they were growing so
fast they needed to have their strength kept up ;
accordingly a couple of sandwiches apiece, with
a bit of cold ham or tongue, were added. Then
a little bread and butter and jam is never amiss,
and, finally, four little turn-over gooseberry tarts
somehow got themselves baked and put in.
Thus the hamper had grown, and here it was !
Gay needed all his strength to lift it out of
the phaeton. He set it down on the flat stone
beside Marcia and Lucy, the dogs following his
every motion wistfully, and seating themselves
on their haunches in an attitude of impatient
" Shame on the dogs ! " Gay now exclaimed
again. " Shame on the dogs ! "
Pocahontas, on being released, had turned a
blinking, surprised glance behind, and, stepping
forth free, lay down on his back, pawed the air,
looked at the sky while uttering whinnies of
satisfaction, then finally stood up and went to
Gay was still saying to Carlo and Flossy,
" Shame on the dogs ! "
He explained to Marcia that he had lately
read a story about a collie-dog that entered his
master's kitchen and stole an oat-cake. Making
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 209
off with his plunder, his master caught sight of
him and exclaimed, " Shame on the dog ! " at
which the collie dropped the cake, and, in great
shame and distress of mind, hid himself for two
days, and never afterward was able to bear the
sight of an oat-cake, and by no entreaty could
be brought to eat one.
Again Gay apostrophized Carlo and Flossy,
" Shame on the dogs ! " hoping similarly to rouse
pangs of conscience in them.
Carlo and Flossy, it was clear, had no pangs
of conscience whatever. It is not certain, in-
deed, but that they thought it was the children
who were without heart or conscience. They,
Flossy and Carlo, had been established in the
carriage along with the baskets, and naturally
took it for granted they were expected to fall to
and help themselves. They had only just begun
to fall to when they were interrupted, and
now what had happened ? Here were Marcia
and Dorothy, Gay and Lucy, sitting down com-
fortably to eat up their (the dogs') picnic ! As
if that were not enough, every other minute
Dorothy would say, puckering up her face, and
screwing up her lips in order to look severe,
" Naughty Carlo ; naughty Flossy ! " To Car-
lo's and Flossy's thinking it was most cruel and
unjust. Pocahontas had grass and clover, the
210 DOROTHY DEANE
children had sandwiches, but they, two worthy,
excellent, and knowing dogs, had nothing at all.
They lay down at a little distance, with their
heads on their front paws, and looked at Doro-
thy with such an earnest, agonizing gaze, she
really could not go on eating her sandwich.
" Oh, I must give it to them," she said, almost
with tears. " They do look so hungry ! "
" I 'd let them look hungry," observed Mar-
" So would I," said Lucy ; and Gay nodded as
if to express his conviction that the dogs ought
to beg in vain. But when they transferred their
glance of entreaty to him, Gay gave in, and
like Dorothy insisted that the dogs should have
a fair share of the good things, for there was
enough and to spare. For as soon as Marcia's
hunger was satisfied she began to be curious
about this new world that she had discovered,
and was in a hurry to explore. Dorothy as well
turned a quiet, thoughtful glance all round, and
smiled at Marcia.
" I don't suppose," she said, " that anybody
was ever here before we came."
" No," said Marcia. " It has been waiting
Gay shook his head and pointed to the fence.
" Somebody had to make that," he declared.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 211
" No," Marcia declared, " the fence grew and
the stone wall too."
Lucy and Gay insisted that fences and stone
walls were made with hands, but Marcia said
that she knew nobody had ever been through
that wood before and come out on this side, be-
cause the grass was so green and the mountain
so blue. They all went down to the brook where
Pocahontas was quenching his thirst.
"If anybody had ever been here before,"
Marcia persisted, " the water would n't be so
clear. See, it is as blue as the sky."
Lucy was easily convinced, but Gay would not
give up his point. Girls never understood, he
said to himself. Why, there was the stump of
a tree ! He pointed it out to Marcia, trying to
make her see that some man must have cut it
down with an axe. But Marcia would n't listen.
She was strolling on, looking at the little brook
which slid quietly along between two very green
banks, with here and there a clump of alders
bending over it, until presently the stream
seemed to vanish in a wide, marshy place full of
sweet-flags, cat-tails, and lily-pads. Two or three
yellow cow-lilies were in bud, but there was no
way of getting anywhere within reach of them,
for the whole ground had turned into a quaking
bog under their feet. How wonderful it all was !
212 DOROTHY DEANE
The joyous fever of discovery had its hold upon
each one of the four, children, and the dogs
contentedly followed them.
"I I I wish we might live here always,"
They all echoed the wish except the practical
Lucy, who inquired what they would live on.
Marcia was full of expedients. There were
berries and nuts, and the woods were evidently
full of squirrel and partridge. Dorothy ob-
jected. She would prefer to starve outright
rather than harm the dear, beautiful, little wild
" And where should we sleep ? " demanded
" Oh, sleep ! " said Marcia, as if that were the
smallest possible matter. " I should n't want to
sleep. I should want to sit up all night and see
" There goes the sun," exclaimed Gay. And,
indeed, the sun had dropped into the notch in
the mountain behind the feathery tops of the
tall pines. Of course it was n't actually sunset,
for the trees of the forest were still bathed in the
full glow of sunshine ; but the sun had gone so
far as the meadow was concerned. Everything
took on a different tint, the greens turned
bluish ; color and brightness vanished.
WE MUST GO HOME"
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 213
" We must go home," said Lucy. They all
had a feeling of being suddenly overtaken by
night, although Gay found by his watch that it
was only half -past five.
" Six o'clock will do to start," Marcia de-
cided. They had no fears about Pocahontas
being slow in getting back. Miss Roxy had
told Marcia that he could manage himself on
Gay asked Marcia to let him catch the pony
and put him in the traces, and Marcia consented.
Pocahontas, having eaten and drunk his fill,
stood meditatively rubbing himself against the
elder-bushes by the brook. He probably had his
own ideas about this picnic, but at this moment
was in a bland mood, and, when Gay ap-
proached, permitted his nose to be rubbed, his
mane to be twitched, and showed himself so
docile that Gay suddenly jumped on his back.
" Why, Gay nor Lee ! " exclaimed Lucy.
Gay had plenty of spirited capabilities, which,
somehow, had little chance of coming to the
surface. The girls were so used to ordering
him about, they had almost forgotten that he
belonged to the stronger and more daring sex.
But there he was astride Pocahontas !
"Oh, Gay," cried Marcia, "that is splen-
did ! " When anything was going on, it was so
214 DOROTHY DEANE
natural for her always to be in it, to be part of
it. " I tell you," she went on, with sparkling
eyes, " let 's play circus. I '11 be ring-master."
Pocahontas was a trifle startled, even a little
displeased, to feel the unsuspected weight on his
back. He stood still for one minute, not quite
sure what to do ; backed a little, then ran a few
steps, and stood still once more, Gay all the
time holding on manfully.
By this time, however, Marcia, suiting the
action to the word, had run to the phaeton after
the whip, and now stood in the centre of the
field cracking it. Pocahontas had just lowered
his head and was prepared to kick up his heels,
when his sensitive ears caught the once familiar
signal. Up came his head ; he tossed his mane ;
out he threw his legs and tail, and off he went,
taking the circuit of the meadow in large, easy
circles. Gay was somewhat surprised at finding
himself prepared to witch the world with noble
horsemanship. The pony's back was so low and
broad, it had been an irresistible impulse to
jump on it. He had not expected to stay, but
by clutching the silky mane and digging his
feet into the animal's sides, Gay was really hold-
ing on very well. Every now and then, when
the creature described a sharper curve than
usual, the rider's seat became precarious, but by
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 215
putting his arms round the neck of Pocahontas
he contrived to avert the danger. Perhaps Gay
did n't quite like it, but the pony liked it, and
Marcia liked it. She played the part of ring-
master very well, cracking her whip and calling,
"Well done, Poky!" "Hold on, Gay!"
" Just one more ! " " Now, then ! " and the like.
Dorothy and the dogs looked on with equal
surprise. The dogs were astonished and rather
displeased. Dorothy's eyes grew bigger and
bigger, her mouth rounder and rounder, and her
cheeks redder and redder, as she watched the
performance. She was so bewildered. It seemed
like a dream. She could not feel quite sure
that it was not wicked, particularly as Lucy
was weeping, and kept saying in a weak voice,
" Oh, Gay ! Don't, Gay ! Stop, Gay ! "
Perhaps Gay would have been glad to
stop, but, more and more, all his attention had
to be given to the difficult task of holding on.
He was growing a little giddy. His cap had
long since fallen off, and now one of his shoes
was gone. The pony had all the time pranced
round in a regular circle, but, never quite com-
ing back to the original starting-place, had grad-
ually gone farther and farther afield, until pre-
sently his easy, ambling strides had brought him
close to the bog. At the same moment that he
216 DOROTHY DEANE
felt, instead of the firm sod beneath his feet, the
ooze and slime of the morass, Marcia's voice
rang out like a shot, " Look out ! "
Whether she addressed the warning to the
pony or to Gay did not appear. But it was
Pocahontas who looked out for himself. Put-
ting down his head, he flung back his hind heels
vigorously, and alighted on dry ground. He
was safe, but not Gay, who was thrown clean
over the pony's head and into the very middle
of the quagmire.
" Oh, Gay, Gay ! " cried Lucy, running to-
wards him. " He '11 be drowned ! Oh, Marcia,
save him ! He '11 be drowned ! "
Gay had fallen face downwards, but now
came up spluttering.
" Is it deep ? " called Marcia anxiously.
" Can you touch bottom ? "
Gay was apparently experimenting, for down
he went again, then floated up like the bubbles
he made. He was by this time clutching at a
tuft of bulrushes.
" N n n not quite ! " he gurgled.
" Hold on," said Marcia. " I think I shall
have to run back to the wood and get a log."
Almost before the words were out of her
mouth, however, Gay, who was as light and as
nimble as a cat, had drawn himself up by the
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 217
rushes ; next he grasped the lily-pads, and sup-
porting himself first by one clump of the lush
vegetation and then by another, he presently
seized a branch of alder and swung himself
across to the bank, where Lucy and Dorothy
were waiting, ready to pull him up.
There he stood dripping, his feet bare.
" Oh, Gay," said Lucy, looking at him with
streaming eyes, "you've lost your shoes and
" I don't care," said Gay recklessly.
" I 'm glad they were n't your best shoes,"
" Should n't mind if they were ! " retorted
Gay, feeling as if he had for once in his life
successfully escaped from feminine domination.
" Here 's one shoe," said Dorothy, who had
picked it up and now offered it to him, along
with his cap. " Oh, Gay ! " she faltered, as
their eyes met. " Oh, Gay, I 'm so glad ! "
She did not say what she was glad of, but
Gay knew what she meant. He, too, was glad
he had scrambled so easily out of the cold, damp,
clinging weeds and grasses, which had seemed
to pull him down. But all the time there was
a certain proud satisfaction in the thought that
he had ridden Pocahontas, also that he had been
in danger. Even when Lucy had made him
218 DOROTHY DEANE
strip off his wet jacket and knickerbockers, and
wrap himself in the woolen carriage rug, there
was still something heroic about his feelings.
Marcia had by this time caught Pocahontas
by the bridle and was buckling the harness to
the shafts of the phaeton. Then she turned
pony and chaise in the direction of home. The
empty basket was put in front ; Gay was estab-
lished on top of it, the dogs one on each side
of him (Dorothy was afraid they would waylay
some innocent creature in the wood) ; the three
girls piled on the seat, and off went Pocahontas
as if he were the most sensible and obliging
pony in the world. Oh, how delightful it was
in the wood ! They wished Pocahontas was not
in such a hurry, for from the high upper
branches of the trees came the notes of birds.
A hermit thrush was singing, oh, so beautifully !
as if it was breaking its heart with happiness.
Then, when they were through the wood, what
wonderful lights lay on the valley below them,
the little winding river, and the village beyond.
The church spire and some of the houses seemed
to gleam with points of ruddy fire. The dogs
were now compelled, much against their inclina-
tion, to get out and walk the rest of the way.
Still, they had a feeling that their picnic, upon
the whole, had been rather a successful affair.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 219
Gay, on the contrary, could n't quite get over
the feeling that Carlo and Flossy had been
weighed in the balance and found wanting. In
any book about dogs, these animals are noble,
conscientious, heroic. Carlo ought, when he
saw his master in the fen, to have jumped in,
seized him by the sleeve, and drawn him out.
No, the dogs had not acted up to the possibil-
ities of the occasion. Nobody could even write
a book about the splendid feats accomplished by
Carlo and Flossy. Still, after the children had
each described what the two animals ought to
have done, they decided that they loved them
just the same.
How easy, how pleasantly, how wonderfully
swift, the way was home ! Pocahontas dashed
along as if running a race with the dogs. When
they reached the river, Marcia said,
" Let 's ford it."
She had had it in her mind all the time that
they could go through the water instead of over
it on their return. She could not be quite sure
how deep the stream was, but she liked the
excitement, the risk of finding out. It really
seemed for one instant, when they were halfway
over, as if it were going to be up to the bottom
of the phaeton ! Oh, how strong the current
was ; how the water swirled past the wheels and
220 DOROTHY DEANE
the pony's feet ; what a queer grinding and roar
the stones made on the bottom ! Then in an-
other moment it was all over. But there were
Carlo and Flossy swimming across ! That was
their great feat.
Really, taking it altogether, Marcia, Lucy,
Gay, and Dorothy decided they had never had
such a good time in their lives.
The children got out at their back gates.
Dorothy was ecstatically pounced upon and
greeted by Jerusha, but Lucy had a chance to
smuggle her bedrabbled twin up to the nursery,
and to set him up in shoes and stockings, not to
say dry knickerbockers, without being seen.
Marcia had some natural pride in returning
pony and phaeton, safe, sound, and unharmed,
to Miss Roxy, who had not been without her
misgivings. Riding on the crest of the wave
that threatened to overwhelm her was the
phase of existence that Marcia best enjoyed. It
was something to make life satisfying and worth
acceptance that she had had such a variety of
experiences with Pocahontas.
It was just sunset when Marcia entered her
own house, and gave the birds to old Chloe to
A little later, upstairs in Mrs. Dundas's room,
there was a small table drawn up to the lounge
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WOOD 221
where Mrs. Dundas was reclining, and on the
table were the partridges that the dogs had run
down. Marcia was telling her mother all that
had happened, and they grew quite merry.
Marcia acted sometimes the part of the pony,
sometimes of Gay, sometimes of the dogs. She
described how Gay had put on one moment
the aspect of a fearless rider, and the next had
clung to the neck of Pocahontas.
Marcia's big black eyes were full of fun and
frolic ; she had shaken her hair about until it
was as rough as the pony's mane ; she wore an
old gingham frock altogether too short to have
pleased Miss Hester ; but Mrs. Dundas, as she
ate the bird, not so much that she was hungry
as to oblige Marcia, said to herself,
" Oh, how I wish her father could see her ! "
" PEOPLE who live together," said Mrs. Bick-
erdyke, looking over her glasses at Dorothy
rather sternly, " ought to tell each other every-
thing. Don't you think so ? "
Dorothy's face had grown rather red, but
then she was bending down very much engaged
in putting the angles of her piece-work together.
" Oh, yes, grandmamma," she replied.
" When people do not tell each other all they
have done and are going to do," Mrs. Bicker-
dyke proceeded in her deliberate, solemn way,
" very strange things sometimes happen. Now,
once there was a young man who lived with his
mother and two sisters. They were excellent
people, but they were very silent, and hardly
ever spoke unless it seemed really necessary. It
happened that the young man was going to be
married. So he had a new suit of clothes made,
and when they came home he tried them on.
When he sat down to supper he said, ' I find
my trousers are two inches too long, and I
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 223
should be obliged if one of you could shorten
them for me.'
" Well, his mother and sisters did n't say
anything ; they never did say anything unless
they felt really obliged to speak. As soon as
supper was over, the eldest sister, who was very
prompt, went upstairs to her brother's room,
took the trousers, cut off two inches from the
bottom, and then hemmed them up again. Well,
she didn't tell anybody. Then after all the
others had gone to bed, the mother, she took
the trousers, and she cut off two inches, and she
hemmed them up again. Next morning the
youngest sister, who liked to do things bright
and early, she went and got the trousers, and
cut off two inches, and hemmed them up again."
Dorothy dropped her work in distress.
" Oh, grandmamma, what did he do ? " she
said, with a little shriek. " Why, how could
he possibly be married ? Was he going to be
married that very same day ? "
" I think he was," answered the old lady. " I
never heard that part of the story. What I told
it to you for was on account of the moral,
that is, never to be silent and mysterious with
the people you live with ; but open and frank as
"Yes, I know," said Dorothy; " but just think,
224 DOROTHY DEANE
grandmamma, -six inches off the bottom of his
trousers ! Why, what could the bride have said
when she saw him ? "
" You think too much about the story itself,"
insisted Mrs. Bickerdyke. " It is the moral I
want you to lay to heart."
" Oh, I do, I do," said Dorothy, with a pro-
found sigh. " Only I do think it was lucky that
there was n't a larger family. If there had been
five sisters, he would n't have had any trousers
left at all."
Mrs. Bickerdyke shook her head severely at
Dorothy and frowned. " When I tell you a
story," she said, " it 's the moral you must lay
to heart, not the story."
" Oh, yes, grandma," said Dorothy ; " I keep
thinking about the moral."
This little sermon of Mrs. Bickerdyke' s and
its illustration referred to the fact that Dorothy
had not told her and Miss Hester everything
about Marcia's picnic, the incidents of which
had, in one way or the other, leaked out. Gay's
lost shoe had to be accounted for. Marcia told
Miss Roxy about the pony's behavior, and finally
all was known. Dorothy had confided everything
to Jerusha and to John Pearson ; but somehow
it was so hard to find courage to tell it to grand-
mamma and aunt Hester, who were certain to
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 225
say, " Ah, that Marcia ! It needs only that girl
to make strange things come to pass."
When Jerusha and John Pearson said the
same thing, Dorothy could argue with them.
How could it be Marcia's fault that Gay lost
one of his shoes and both stockings in the bog ?
How could the fault be Marcia's, when the pony
cut capers and the dogs killed the partridges ?
Marcia came out of any such trial triumphantly
clear to the minds of Dorothy, Gay, and Lucy.
There could be nobody in the whole wide world
so delightful as Marcia. And the fact was, that
the three had plenty of time to discuss her per-
fections, since for the six weeks following the
picnic they were almost wholly cut off from her
society. Just at the moment when Mrs. Lea
and Miss Hester Bickerdyke were discussing the
question whether they ought to permit the chil-
dren to see so much of Marcia, Marcia took the
initiative and renounced the children.
For Marcia's aunt Mary, her mother's sister,
whom they had visited at Christmas, came to
Dundas House, bringing her two daughters, girls
of fifteen and sixteen, their governess, and three
servants. No more flags floated from the win-
dow of the tower ; no more delicious feasts were
given the children in the kitchen of Dundas
House ; there was no more running in and out.
226 DOROTHY DEANE
Dtmdas House was quite reclaimed from its
easy-going ways, at least for those long, tedi-
ous six weeks.
How insignificant Dorothy and the twins felt
in comparison with Lil and Bel Stuart, for
these were the names of Marcia's young lady
cousins. " I 'm sorry I can't ask you to come
over," Marcia had explained ; " but we have so
many things to do, and you 're such children in
comparison with us ! "
Dorothy and Lucy and Gay crept around like
whipped dogs after this rebuff. They knew they
were children. Bert, not to say the other bro-
thers and sisters, all frankly despised them for
being children ; but to have Marcia look down
on them ! The iron entered their souls. That
Marcia had up to this time regarded them with
kindliness instead of contempt was simply her
goodness. Oh, how heavy, how dull the time
was without her ! All three felt half ashamed of
the childish games they played together. What
was it to pretend to be building a house,
that is, to put pebbles in a row and make flower-
beds with shells and moss? Then, when Gay
decided to set up for a druggist and make pills
out of bran, and Lucy and Dorothy came to buy
them, telling a story about their children being
ill ! What dreary work ! Paper dolls, too, palled
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 227
upon them. The fact was that Marcia, with
that easy superiority of hers, came into their
petty little world and brought them up to her
higher level, infusing life and spirit into the
simplest thing. When they caught a glimpse
of Marcia nowadays there was an air of pains-
taking, of scrupulous neatness about her, which
depressed them. She was evidently acquiring
the distinctions and graces of Lil and Bel. Oh,
it was hard to bear ! She had not used to care
about these worldly adornments. What she had
hungered and thirsted for had been free, easy-
going, shabby ways.
I really do not suppose Dorothy and the twins
could have endured this dreary interval at all,
had it not been that they nursed the hope of
having one happy day.
When Mrs. Bickerdyke and Miss Hester were
over at Fuller Farm the day of Marcia's picnic,
Mrs. Fuller had said to her mother,
" Since Dorothy did not come with you now,
send her over some day with the Lee twins to
eat fruit and play about the place."
This was told to Dorothy, who naturally re-
peated it to Lucy and Gay, and for the next
fortnight they would say to one another every
day, " Do you suppose it will be to-morrow? "
Certain ideas do so contrive to stick in the
228 DOROTHY DEANE
memory ! Now, it was an easy enough matter
to forget other things ; for example, people were
always saying, " It is very bad for children to
eat between meals ; " " Always wipe your feet
carefully on both mats before coming into the
house ; " " When you have on a nice clean
frock, sit down and read a book, instead of play-
ing rough games ; " and these and similar exhor-
tations went in at one ear and out at the other.
But Mrs. Fuller's hospitable invitation was
never out of the children's minds for one instant
while they were awake. The Fuller homestead
was to Dorothy's imagination a land flowing
with milk and honey. Oh, the fruits that grew
there ! one variety succeeding another in rich
profusion. Strawberries were not gone before
raspberries and cherries came ; blackberries,
apricots, peaches, plums, pears followed, not to
say apples. There was one tree to which the
Fuller children (now men and women with fam-
ilies of their own) used to race out in early sum-
mer dawns, since the first-comer had a right to
the mellow fruit lying on the dewy grass. Dor-
othy thought that those apples, at any rate,
must be ripe by this time.
It was so strange that what was so much in
her own mind should not be equally in every-
body's. Twice Dorothy almost asked Miss Hes-
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 229
ter if it was not time to go over to Fuller Farm,
but somehow the words did not quite come out.
However, when there was anything on Dorothy's
mind, Miss Hester was apt to notice the look of
the little girl's eyes, and the downward curve of
the corners of the lips. And finally, when she
observed that Dorothy forgot to eat her supper
and sat staring straight before her, she asked,
" What is it, Dorothy ? What are you think-
ing about ? "
Dorothy's cheeks grew pink ; her eyes began
" Oh, aunt Hester ! " she exclaimed.
" Well, what is it ? "
" Don't you think that aunt Fuller will be
expecting us ? " Dorothy inquired coaxingly.
" Expecting us ? "
"I mean Lucy and Gay and me," Dorothy
explained. " You know she asked us to come
over and eat fruit and play about the place."
"Yes, I remember Lois did tell me to send
Dorothy and the Lee twins over," observed
" Oh, mother ! " said Miss Hester, " I don't
think it was wise to tell Dorothy what sister
Lois said. That sort of a general invitation
amounts to no invitation."
Mrs. Bickerdyke would not admit that Mrs.
230 DOROTHY DEANE
Fuller's had been a mere general invitation.
Accordingly, after some discussion, Miss Hester
agreed that if Mrs. Lee's permission could be
obtained, Dorothy and Lucy and Gay should
go over to North Swallowfield on the following
day. The early apples would be ripe ; apricots
and plums ought to be plentiful ; they could
set off soon after breakfast, stay to dinner, have
a long afternoon, and, perhaps, uncle Fuller
would drive them home himself before or after
" Don't take the dogs," Miss Hester insisted.
"Aunt Fuller dislikes to have strange dogs
come on the place."
This was said when, on the following morning,
Lucy and Gay came over at breakfast-time to
say that they could go with Dorothy. Carlo
stood by listening, with his head a little on one
side, as Miss Hester said this, as if he had his
own ideas about the matter. But John Pearson
was too quick for him. It needed a long head
to be able to manage Carlo, but then John
Pearson flattered himself that his head was long
and deep. Five minutes later Carlo and Flossy
were shut up in John's own tool-shed, and were
to be kept shut up until the children were
safely at Fuller Farm.
John and Jerusha looked the children over
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 231
before they set off on their long walk. They
were all as neat as wax and were dressed for
coolness. Each carried a small basket.
" What 's in the basket ? " inquired John.
" Nothing yet" said Dorothy, with little dim-
ples playing all over her face.
" You mean, no doubt, there will be some-
thing in the baskets when you come back," ob-
" Does Mrs. Fuller know you 're coming ? "
asked John Pearson.
" She invited us to come some time," returned
" Some time," repeated John dubiously.
" Some time 's no time."
" She said we were to come," Dorothy in-
sisted, " and eat fruit and play about the place."
She lifted her basket. " This is to bring back
the fruit we can't eat."
The three children went up the street together,
Lucy and Gay hand in hand. They all felt in
the most wonderful good spirits. It was the
first time they had had any experience really to
enjoy since Marcia's cousins came.
" If only Marcia were going with us ! " Doro-
thy said, with a little soft sigh.
" She was n't asked," observed Lucy. " Mrs.
Fuller said the Lee twins."
232 DOROTHY DEANE
" I forgot that. But I 'm sure aunt Fuller
would be glad to have her."
The clock struck nine just as they passed the
church. They had a two mile walk before them,
but it was a plain and easy way, and it gave
them a sensation of freshness and freedom that
they had started early and could be as long as
they chose on the road. It was a charming day ;
a soft rain had fallen in the night, and the air
was delightfully cool. The sky was blue, with
soft, fleecy white clouds traveling across it. It
was a day of days ; just the day for the visit.
" I think," said Dorothy, after a time, " I
shall give some of mine to Marcia." She was
alluding to the fruit she was to bring home in
" I, too," Gay hastened to add.
" I shan't," Lucy observed, in her quiet, de-
liberate way. " Marcia does n't care anything
about us nowadays."
" I don't mind that," said Dorothy ; " I care
just as much about Marcia."
" I, too," declared Gay.
" If you give Marcia your fruit, Gay," ob-
served the practical Lucy, " you '11 be wanting
some of mine."
" Why, yes, of course," said Gay, turning a
soft, surprised glance at his sister.
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 233
" Well, I '11 try to get a good deal," Lucy
They had to walk through the upper part
of the village, past a church and a store and
houses ; then came a burying-ground, and after
that the real pleasantness of the way began.
The Swallow River had one of its many turn-
ings here and came almost up to the road ; a
brook flowed into it and went under the bridge.
At one place there was quite a thick wood on
each side, and birds were flying in and out of
the cool depths of shadow ; butterflies fluttered
high and low; dragonflies darted hither and
" It makes me feel a little sorry," said Doro-
thy, "to think of poor Carlo and Flossy shut
up at home. They would have liked this so
Yes, the dogs would have enjoyed it; they
would have been running forward and back ; no
sober walking along the road quietly and pro-
perly for them. They would have explored the
wood as far as they dared to go ; waded in the
brook ; dashed after everything that rustled and
stirred ; in short, would have kept the children
occupied in watching them, calling to them,
scolding them. Dorothy really missed the dogs,
and felt a little remorseful at the thought of
234 DOROTHY DEANE
them in the tool-shed, having such a dull time
and mourning the absence of their friends.
" We shall be there very soon, now," Doro-
thy presently announced. The river meadows
were passed. On each side houses began to
appear, not set very near together, but in
the midst of orchards and gardens.
" There it is ! That 's aunt Fuller's place ! "
Dorothy cried, pointing to a large, comfortable
square house, painted white with green blinds.
A long wing extended towards the east.
" That 's the dairy," she went on, and told how
a stream of spring water flowed beneath it.
There were whole rows of shelves covered with
pans of delicious cream ; there were cheeses, too,
and the smell was delicious ! It really made her
hungry to think what a delicious place that
dairy was !
" Once, aunt Fuller gave me a little round
cream cheese to take home," Dorothy whispered,
and at this each of them smiled. Now that they
saw the house, the great, substantial looking
barns, the general air of solidity and thrift,
their baskets seemed so very small. Gay was
thinking of a wonderful wallet he had read
about, which, although it was so tiny you could
hide it in your pocket, would open at need wide
and deep enough to hold all you wished to put
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 235
inside of it. Surely, just such a wallet was
The gate stood wide open. On each side of
it was an elm-tree with branches that offered
a welcome shade. It made an excuse to loiter
there a moment. Dorothy was conscious of a
little fluttering of the heart.
" See," murmured Lucy, "there is a row of
" Oh, aunt Fuller has loads and loads of
honey," said Dorothy.
"I I wish she 'd give us some b b
bread and honey," gasped Gay. " I 'in so hun-
They all laughed ; and as they laughed, they
turned away from the direction of the house
towards the road they had come. Two dots,
one white and one black, seemed to be moving
along it at a rapid pace.
" R r rabbits," said Gay, pointing. He
was a little near-sighted.
" Rabbits ! " repeated Lucy ; " it 's dogs ! "
" It 's Carlo and Flossy," cried Dorothy.
"It's Carlo first and Flossy following after
" Oh, dear," said Lucy.
" It 's too bad," said Gay.
The twins looked rather anxiously at Dorothy.
236 DOROTHY DEANE
" Do you think your aunt will care very
much ? " Lucy inquired.
" I think," Dorothy replied, " that when we
tell her that we did not mean to bring the dogs,
she won't mind so very much."
It had been a quarter-past eight o'clock when
John Pearson put the dogs in the tool-shed. At
a quarter-past ten, Jerusha let them out, having
heard, at intervals, for two hours, Carlo's short,
indignant, interrogative bark, a bark sugges-
tive of surprise, incredulity that they were ap-
parently shut up, shut up by mistake. It was
now half-past ten, and the dogs, exceedingly
pleased with themselves and in the highest spir-
its, were jumping up and down round the chil-
dren, trying to lick their faces in glad recogni-
It was at this same moment that Mrs. Fuller,
happening to glance out of the window, saw her
three visitors and their two dogs on the drive.
" Bridget," she called, " you just step out
and tell those children we don't want any ber-
ries. We have almost more than we can eat
ourselves. I don't want them coming any nearer
with those dogs."
Bridget, a portly, red-faced Irishwoman,
" You may just take yourselves off this min-
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 237
ute," she called. " You '11 sell no berries here.
We want no berries at all, at all. We 've more
than we can ate. It 's ourselves as is fading the
pigs with thim. And as for thim dogs, it 's
me honest duty to declare to you that there 's a
mastiff here tin times the size of both, who
would rather eat thim than look at thim."
Bridget stood facing the party, stopped mid-
way in the drive, rather enjoying the surprise
and horror of the three terrified little faces.
" Be off wid ye," Bridget said again, address-
ing, we will hope, Carlo and Flossy, who, breath-
less and exulting, were dashing forward.
Dorothy advanced a step.
" Oh, please," she said in a trembling little
voice, " I 'm Dorothy Deane."
" And who," demanded Bridget, " may Doro-
thy Deane be?"
But Mrs. Fuller had caught the name, and
now bustled to the doorway.
"What, Dorothy!" she called. "Is that
Dorothy gladly ran forward, and along with
her Carlo and Flossy.
"Why, it is you, Dorothy, isn't it?" said
Mrs. Fuller. " What in the world brings you
over ? Surely mother is n't ill ? "
" No, ma'am," said Dorothy under her breath.
238 DOROTHY DEANE
" Or your aunt Hester ? "
" Aunt Hester is n't ill, either," faltered Dor-
" Who are those other children, pray ? " Mrs.
Fuller demanded, while Bridget, skeptical and
still belligerent, stood by longing for fresh
orders to disperse the enemy.
When Dorothy, instead of answering, gave a
little half sob, and while Gay held down his
head, blushing, Lucy, quite self-possessed, called
" We 're Mrs. Lee's twins, Gay and Lucy,
" Well, well," said Mrs. Fuller, as if trying
her wits at an insoluble riddle. " How did you
all get over here ? " She looked from one to the
other. " You don't mean to say you walked ? "
At this moment came the sound of a crash.
" An' will you look at that ? " cried Bridget.
Carlo and Flossy, being thirsty after their
long walk, had run to the well-trough to slake
their thirst. A tortoise-shell cat was sunning
herself on the curbstone, but at the sight of the
intruders retreated, putting up her back. The
first thing to be accomplished was to slake their
thirst; that done, Carlo, with a loud bark,
started in pursuit of the cat, and Flossy after
him. The cat had by this time gained a safe
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 239
altitude at the top of a brick wall, against which
rows of milk pans, pails, and cans were drying.
As the dogs pressed closely up, as if determined
to scale the wall and seize the cat, one of the
milk-cans was knocked down, and the whole
shining row of tins went down like a set of nine-
pins and with a terrific clatter.
" Goodness ! " Mrs. Fuller exclaimed, " see
what those creatures have done ! You might
have left your dogs behind, at any rate."
Having set off in this free-and-easy way, Carlo
and Flossy, quite intoxicated with the novelty
of the situation, and seeing fowls in the dis-
tance, were bounding towards them, when they
caught sight of something coming round the
corner of the brick wall ; something large, yel-
low, black-faced, something to take their
It was Bunch, the mastiff. Carlo and Flossy
stood glued to the spot. Bunch walked slowly
towards them, not with eagerness, but with an
air of knowing that things waited for him. The
dogs waited, Carlo with his hair bristling
along his spine, Flossy with his erect, plume-
like tail uncurled and between his legs. Bunch
did not condescend to approach very near. He
eyed them and walked twice slowly around
them ; then, having made it clear to the dullest
240 DOROTHY DEANE
canine understanding that this was his place,
that was his cat, and those his chickens, he
quietly sank down on the turf, picked up a
casual bone, and began to gnaw it.
The children had for a moment or two been
frightened out of all the senses they had left by
the apparition of Bunch. Mrs. Fuller, however,
seeing the anguish of terror on the three little
faces, was good enough to reassure them.
"Oh, Bunch won't touch such little dogs,"
she said. "You needn't be a bit alarmed.
You have n't told me yet what your errand was."
She looked questioningly at Dorothy, whose
little flushed face with its tearful eyes was now
turned towards her. " What did you say ? "
Mrs. Fuller asked, as the little lips quivered as
if trying to form a word.
She bent her head closer.
" We just came over to see you," whispered
the shame-faced Dorothy.
" Well, well," said Mrs. Fuller, laughing,
"just came over to see me! You must have
been at a loss for something to do, and I should
think your elders would have known better than
to let you heat yourselves up this warm day.
You all look like red peonies. I 'm sure I don't
know what to do with you. You 've come to a
busy place. Company 's expected to dinner,
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 241
and here is Bridget with twelve pounds of jam
on the fire. How should you like to go into the
garden and pick some peas? Ann can't stop,
and I was just thinking of blowing the horn for
one of the men to come up from the fields to
help us out."
" Oh, please let us pick the peas, aunt Ful-
ler," said Dorothy.
Bridget had gone back to her jam, but, fully
acquiescing in the idea that the children should
be made useful, now came running out with
three good sized baskets, led them towards the
garden, and pointed out the particular crop of
peas to be picked. The dogs slunk away from
the vicinity of Bunch and kept pace with the
children, Carlo every now and then giving a
rigid sort of glance behind him, to make sure
that he was not followed. Once in the garden,
Dorothy and Gay fell to picking the peas with
a sort of fury, their melancholy and dejection
working itself off in that way. Lucy was hurt
and angry ; and crying softly to herself, as her
way was, decided that she would do as little as
possible. Not one of the three felt like talking,
but Lucy did say to Dorothy in an injured tone,
" You told us she wanted us to come ; " and
Dorothy replied with a little, soft sob,
" Grandmamma Bickerdyke said she did."
242 DOROTHY DEANE
When Dorothy had picked her own peck
basket full, and Gay his, they began to fill up
" If there 's c c company to dinner," ques-
tioned Gay, " will she want us to st st stay ? "
" Oh, yes," said Dorothy hopefully. " I 'm
sure she will. I wish she would let us have a
little table to ourselves. Once, some of us had
when we came to a family tea-party."
" That would be nice," Lucy observed, and
the last basket was soon filled up ; and, with a
clear sense of duty performed and a consciousness
of good deserts, they walked up the long garden-
path towards the kitchen. As they approached,
Bunch trotted lightly round the house and
alighted in their way as suddenly and unex-
pectedly as a bird, uttering a low growl. Gay
dropped his basket of peas and threw his arms
round Flossy, while Dorothy did the same for
" Bunch, Bunch," Mrs. Fuller called warn-
ingly from the house. " Come here, Bunch.
Don't mind him, children ! He 's jealous ;
that 's all." She came out and dismissed the
big, black-nosed creature. "Do you mean to say
you 've picked three pecks of peas already ? "
she continued. " Why, you are dabsters at it.
I wish I had such helpers every day. Now, if
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 243
you '11 sit down and shell them for me, I shall
feel as if there was some chance of dinner 's be-
ing on the table before two o'clock."
Accordingly, Mrs. Fuller brought three pans,
and the three children sat down in the wide
doorway and began the task. It was a cool
place, facing the north, and the outlook was
very pleasant. But the children were tired ;
they were hungry, too, and the shelling of the
peas seemed one of those monstrous and unend-
ing labors which no mere human power can
accomplish. The dogs had squeezed themselves
in under the children's feet, not for comfort,
but for the sake of security. Who could tell
from what quarter Bunch might next descend ?
Gay, conscientiously opening one pod after
another, soon became interested in his work.
Most of the pods held seven full-sized peas ; a
few had only six and a little one ; here and
there one mammoth growth had eight. Gay
would make a guess how many peas each pod
he took up would hold, and the occupation soon
offered a mild excitement. Dorothy, too, tried
to make a guess, but something seemed to be
gluing her eyes together. Once it seemed to
her Marcia was talking.
It turned out to be Mrs. Fuller, who was
244 DOROTHY DEANE
" Come, children, wake up ! At this rate,
those peas will never be ready ! I '11 sit down
and help you a little, presently, as soon as I get
the ice-cream going."
The children were wide awake now. Even
Lucy flew at the peas, and showed herself the
most dextrous of them all. The idea of ice-
cream had wreathed their faces with smiles.
How pleasant it was to be sitting here in the
doorway and looking over the garden into the
" I see apples," whispered Dorothy !
Oh, how their mouths watered for early ap-
ples ! How their teeth longed to nibble at them,
just as a preparatory relish before they sat down
to fricasseed chickens, green peas, and ice-cream !
Mrs. Fuller was as good as her word, and pre-
sently her capable hands helped reduce the piles
of pods in each pan to empty shells. She had
too many irons in the fire, as it were, to give
much attention to her little visitors, but her calls
and orders to her subordinates were in them-
selves interesting bits of conversation, opening
up fertile vistas to the imagination. For exam-
" Ann, keep turning that freezer. Don't let
it have a chance to stiffen too much in one place.
That makes it coarse."
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 245
Or, " Bridget, that sponge cake must n't get
And again, " Better put the jelly as close to
the ice as you can. There 's no danger of its
being too firm."
Really, this was being in the centre of things,
turning on the very axis of events.
" Children, I 'm very much obliged to you,"
said Mrs. Fuller. " Many hands make light
She had risen, had gathered up the three pans,
and now pouring the contents of all into one,
was much pleased to see what a fair provision
it made for the coming dinner.
The children, too, rose in a modest but con-
scious sort of way, blushing with pleasure at
being appreciated. The dogs found their feet,
but they stood still suspicious and on guard.
Mrs. Fuller, possibly a trifle embarrassed, but
meeting the three glances of pleased expectation,
kept running her hands through the peas.
" Why, I do declare," she said, giving a sud-
den glance at the clock, " it 's almost half -past
twelve. You 'd better run home, children, as
fast as you can. You '11 be late for dinner."
It was more than half -past one, and Jerusha
had just cleared the table, put on the sweets,
246 DOROTHY DEANE
and gone back to the kitchen, when there came
the sound of a loud exclamation to the ears of
Mrs. Bickerdyke and Miss Hester.
" What is that ? " cried the old lady. " Oh,
Hester, what can have happened?"
"I hear Dorothy's voice," answered Miss
Hester ; and in another moment Jerusha ushered
\u a little girl with a very flushed, tear-be-
" Why, Dorothy ! " said Mrs. Bickerdyke,
" what 's the matter ? "
"Nothing," Dorothy replied; "that is, no-
"Is aunt Fuller sick?"
" Oh, no, grandmamma, aunt Fuller is n't a
" Why did you come home so soon ? " de-
manded Miss Hester.
" Because aunt Fuller told us to come," an-
" But why did she tell you to come ? "
"She didn't exactly say," replied Dorothy,
"but I guess it was because she didn't want
us to stay to dinner."
Mrs. Bickerdyke and Miss Hester both recog-
nized a note of indignation in Dorothy's voice,
and a flash of fire in her eyes.
"I suppose," Miss Hester now suggested,
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 247
" that aunt Fuller gave you a nice lunch, with
lots of good things."
"No, she did not, aunt Hester. It was
Bridget that gave each of us two cookies. And
then she asked us if we should like a glass of
" Did you drink the buttermilk? "
Dorothy shook her head.
"We all said, 'No, please, we don't like
buttermilk,' " she returned, with some pride.
" And I gave my cookies to Carlo and Flossy.
Gay and Lucy did n't want to eat theirs, but
they had to, they felt so hungry."
While Dorothy was telling her story, Jerusha
had freshened up her face and hands with a wet
sponge. Now she established her in a chair and
brought a plate of green-pea soup.
" When we first got to aunt Fuller's," Dor-
othy went on, " Bridget rushed out and ordered
us off. She thought we came to sell berries."
Mrs. Bickerdyke sat back in her chair, and
raised her hands.
" Thought you came to sell berries ! " she
" Yes, grandmamma," said Dorothy. " She
told us they had so many berries they were
feeding the pigs with them. We did n't see one
single one," she added significantly.
248 DOROTHY DEANE
"Well, well," observed Miss Hester, "that
will do. I don't quite understand it, but we
will not talk any more about it."
" Grandmamma says," replied Dorothy gently
but firmly, " that people who live together ought
to tell each other everything."
" Yes," said Mrs. Bickerdyke, " I did say so.
I told Dorothy she ought to be frank and open."
"I said to myself coming home," Dorothy
explained, " that this time I meant to tell grand-
mamma every single thing."
Miss Hester was obliged to give way before
this laudable determination to be candid and
open. She and Mrs. Bickerdyke heard the
whole story of how surprised Mrs. Fuller had
been ; of how she wondered anybody could have
permitted the children to come out in the heat ;
of how Bunch frightened them; of how they
were set to picking three pecks of peas, and
shelling them afterwards ; and then how they
were summarily dismissed just as it was getting
dinner-time, and when they knew exactly what
there was going to be for dinner: fricasseed
chicken, new potatoes in cream, green peas, and
summer onions ; lettuce and kale ; then berry
pudding, ice-cream, and sponge cake.
Dorothy had had a good deal of self-command
during the greater part of this recital, but as
UNEXPECTED GUESTS 249
she enumerated the good things they had missed,
her face began to pucker a little, then a little
more ; her eyes filled with tears, and finally,
great sobs burst forth.
" Oh, grandmamma," she cried then, " I could
have stood it better if it hadn't been for the
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS
MRS. FULLER accounted satisfactorily at
least satisfactorily to her mother and sister
for her lack of hospitality to the children, by
saying that she had been expecting her daughter
Amelia and her visitors from Boston, seven peo-
ple in all, to dinner that day. She promised to
make it all right for Dorothy and her little
friends another time.
To Dorothy, Lucy, and Gay, " another time "
sounded very, very far off. Three weeks had
passed since their visit to Fuller Farm, and no-
thing more had come of it. It was now the mid-
dle of August. It had rained for two days ;
then, instead of its really clearing off, warm,
damp, sultry weather had set in. In the morn-
ing, fog and mist shut out the landscape ; when
the sun was fairly shining, the mists broke away
into great white woolly masses. But after mid-
day, real clouds would come up, threatening
rain, and the afternoon would go on, first dark-
ening, then brightening, then darkening again.
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 251
Sometimes a few drops of rain would fall ;
finally, just before his setting, the sun would
blaze forth, lighting up the world with a last
gleam of splendor.
" Keal dog-day weather," Jerusha and John
Pearson explained it.
Dorothy and Gay and Lucy had not heard or
seen anything of Marcia for some time, when
one afternoon John Pearson observed to Doro-
thy that he supposed now that the company was
going away from Dundas House, Miss Marcia
would be preparing some fresh pickle for them
" Are her cousins really going away ? " de-
" So I heerd," said John.
Dorothy was on her way over to play with the
twins, and she lost no time in slipping through
the wicket and running towards " the children's
play-room," where they had spent most of the
time through the wet weather with their dogs,
their books, dolls, blocks, and tenpins. Dorothy
now found Lucy sitting on a stool cutting paper
dolls, and Gay lying on the floor, his head
propped up by his hands, reading, with Carlo
asleep on one side of him and Flossy on the other.
Dorothy was not slow in communicating the
252 DOROTHY DEANE
" Oh, I do wonder," said Lucy, " whether she
will let us play with her again when her cousins
have gone away."
" I think she will," said Dorothy.
"I I I hope so," exclaimed Gay.
A row of pears was ripening on the beam.
Gay brought three of the yellowest and mellow-
est, and they all nibbled at the fruit while they
discussed the chances of Marcia's once more be-
stowing her friendship on them. She had of
late looked so superior, so grown up, so remote,
so aloof from them, that they had felt she was
lost to them forever.
This was the same sort of unpromising look-
ing afternoon that I have described. The sun
was first in, then out ; the air was heavy and op-
pressive in the narrow, confined place. Still,
there was a general brightening of spirits now
that the children had something to talk about.
The pears, if not perfectly ripe, were toothsome.
Life once more seemed to be growing interest-
ing ; and all at once, when a shadow crossed the
window and the dogs sprang up wagging their
tails joyfully, the three children turned and be-
" There you are ! " said she. " I wondered
what had become of you. I 've been looking for
you all day."
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 253
They all stared in surprise.
" Why, did you expect us to go over ? " asked
" Did n't you see the flag flying ? "
The three children regarded each other in dis-
may. It was a long while since they had thought
of looking for that flag.
" We only just heard that your c c c
cousins were going away," Gay explained.
" Going ? " said Marcia. " They 're gone,
went last night, bag and baggage. Aunt Mary,
Lilly, Bel, Miss Brown, cook, chambermaid, and
waitress. Don't you see my old clothes ? "
Marcia had at first perched on the window-sill
with her legs hanging down outside. By one
easy wriggle she now transferred them to the
inside and stood before the children.
Yes, they saw the dear old clothes that they
knew : the red frock with holes burned in it,
holes torn, and holes worn ; the red cap thrust
jauntily on one side of her head ; the great flap-
ping braids tied with red. Even the split in the
side of her shoes was familiar.
" You don't suppose," she now went on,
" that if aunt Mary were anywhere within hail
I should have these things on."
" I think you look real nice in them, Marcia,"
254 DOROTHY DEANE
" I know I feel so," returned Marcia. " How
about those pears ? "
The pears were instantly put at her disposal.
" They 're pretty green," she observed. " How-
ever, I 'in hungry."
Oh, how delightful it was to see her sitting on
the window-sill, swinging her legs in the old
way, her great elfish eyes sparkling, her red lips
smiling, and her little, white, even teeth gleam-
" But I must n't forget," she said presently ;
*' I 'm going for mushrooms."
u Mushrooms ? " repeated Dorothy.
" M m may I come ? " inquired Gay.
" I 'm afraid it will rain," said Lucy.
" It 's just precisely the right weather for
mushrooms," said Marcia. " I don't believe it
will rain. But anybody who is made of sugar
or salt may as well stay at home."
Three minutes later all six, counting the dogs,
were outside the window, having scrambled over
the sill. They might have left the place by the
door, but the door of the play-room opened on
the drying-yard and the laundry, and the cook,
not to say the man mowing the grass, might
have seen them. The window, on the contrary,
commanded a retired spot close by the arbor
vitse hedge which separated the Lees' place from
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 255
Dundas House. Once on the grounds of Dun-
das House they could scurry on like rabbits.
Inside, it had been hot, close, dismal. Here,
with the south wind in their faces, the air
seemed fresh ; their bodies felt so light, as if
they could almost float ! It was the sort of wind
that made a loud swish through the trees.
" Oh, how nice it is to go out without Miss
Brown," cried Marcia. " It was ' My dear, don't,'
' My dear, don't,' all the time. Why should I
run, when there was time to walk ? Why should
I stand, when there was a chance to sit? Why
should I perch on a rail, when there were chairs
and sofas ? " She paused and nodded at the chil-
dren. " Miss Brown does n't know what fun
is ! " she added
Oh, how grateful they were to Marcia for not
caring about Miss Brown !
" Then Lil and Bel," she proceeded ; " they
thought everything was ' odd.' How odd not
to have the house repaired ! How odd that the
nice gardens were all overgrown with weeds !
How odd that we didn't always have three
servants ! How odd the piano had n't been kept
in tune ! Oh, it 's so nice to be c odd.' I 've done
the oddest things I knew how to do all day."
They would not have dared believe it ; they
never could have believed it unless she had told
256 DOROTHY DEANE
them ; but looking at Marcia now, from the tassel
on her red Tarn O'Shanter cap down to the
holes in her shoes, they were enabled to grasp
the fact that she was n't changed, that she
had n't become an elegant, finished young lady.
" Where are we going ? " inquired Lucy.
" I know," said Marcia.
If Marcia knew, that was enough. They
would gladly follow her through fire and water.
" Miss Brown was n't so very bad, after all,"
Marcia now observed. " She made the girls
study four hours a day and practice three, be-
cause aunt Mary wanted it. But she knows lots
and lots of things, about botany, for instance.
She taught me a great deal."
"I I I I want to know about b b
botany," said Gay.
" Oh, it is n't so easy," returned Marcia. " I
don't feel sure I like it. It 's all rather nice
when you want to know what true mushrooms
are, but not so easy when it 's just saying, for
instance, that the crowfoot is a large family,
and includes many species where the pistils are
closely packed together. Now, when I see a
buttercup or a cowslip or a hepatica in blossom,
I can sit and smile at it for a week. I don't
care a bit that it belongs to the crowfoot family.
But it 's different about mushrooms ; some are
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 257
good to eat, and some are poisonous. So it 's
important to know the true mushrooms."
"I I I know what mushrooms are," said
" But do you know them when you see
them ? " Marcia demanded triumphantly.
" What are they, Gay? " Dorothy inquired.
" I don't know what mushrooms are," ob-
served Lucy primly. She was often surprised,
almost hurt, that Gay knew about more things
than she did, But then Gay was always read-
ing, and ideas grow in books. At this moment,
however, he had not fully got hold of his idea.
It eluded him.
Marcia knew mushrooms and that was enough.
She went on describing the different features of
her aunt's stay with them, regular meals,
flowers in the centre of the table, all the old
Dundas silver and china out. It had been a
liberal education, of course, in the way of civili-
zation and refinement ; but Marcia had, it was
clear, been a little cramped and fettered. Not
only Miss Brown, but aunt Mary had had no-
thing but " don't's " for her.
" Don't eat so fast, Marcia."
" Don't bite your bread, Marcia."
" Don't come to the table in tearing haste, as
if you were too hungry to wait."
258 DOROTHY DEANE
" Don't seem impatient between courses."
Then, in return, Dorothy and Lucy told Mar-
cia about their visit to Mrs. Fuller.
" If I had been with you, I should have stayed
to dinner," Marcia said. " I should have gone
to the orchard, and I should have filled my
basket with apricots and plums."
She would have done it; they all three felt
sure of it.
" Grandmamma says we can all go over when
the fall apples are ripe," Dorothy said.
" C C Carlo won't want to go," observed
Carlo and Flossy were frisking about, but now
turned and looked inquiringly at the sound of
B B B " began Gay.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" B Bunch is coming, Bunch is coming,"
Carlo uttered a low whine, looked around
fearfully, his hair standing up along his back.
Even Flossy was a little frightened.
44 You should n't tell Carlo what is n't true,
Gay," said Dorothy. 4t Bunch isn't coming,
Carlo. Bunch is at home. Bunch never comes
But, all the same, the very na.me of Bunch
cast a gloom over Carlo.
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 259
They had run down the lane as far as the
railroad track, but instead of crossing it, Mar-
cia took a narrow footpath which led up to the
top of a hill, through which a cutting had been
made. Then down they went again, and soon
reached a wood of young trees growing up very
straight, slender, and tall, out of a dense under-
growth. They had to pick their way through
brambles and briers for a little time, but pre-
sently felt repaid, when, after crawling between
the bars of a rail fence, they emerged in a park-
like place. Here the trees grew singly, or in
clumps of three or four. They were all very old
and very fine trees, mostly oaks and beeches.
There was also one very tall tulip-tree. Whether
these great trees had killed out all seedlings and
saplings, who could tell? but, for some reason,
the whole place was given up to these giants.
One huge oak was entirely dead, and this dead
tree was encircled by a belt of the finest, softest
grass. On the tree itself they saw three or four
beautiful gray and white woodpeckers creeping
up the branches, and making repeated blows that
sounded like fairy hammering.
Dorothy had taken hold of Carlo's collar and
had put her arms about him. He should not
run down any birds to-day ; no, not even if she
had to call Bunch.
260 DOROTHY DEANE
The sky had been completely swallowed up in
blue-black storm-clouds almost ever since they
left the house, but just at this moment the va-
pors parted and the sun shone out brilliantly.
" I felt sure it was not going to rain," Marcia
Rain ! The idea of its raining out of this blue
What a lovely place it was ! Dorothy could
see liverwort leaves and strawberries ! Oh, how
pleasant to come here in the spring !
Marcia was peering about in the soft, rich
" Do you see these ? " she called. " Come
Lucy, Gay, Dorothy, and the dogs answered
her call. The ground was broken up by masses
of whitish, pinkish, brownish knobs.
"Fairy umbrellas," said Dorothy.
" F f f f " Gay stuttered.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" Fungi," Gay now continued to say.
"They 're fungi."
" I call them toadstools," said Lucy.
" Toadstools ! " exclaimed Marcia, crushing
Lucy with her disdain ; " they are mushrooms ! "
Gay looked bewildered.
"I I I thought m m mushrooms were
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 261
a sort of aristocracy," he said, looking question-
ingly at Marcia.
" What 's an aristocracy? " demanded Lucy.
" I thought," said Dorothy, peering closely at
the queer little fairy umbrellas, "I thought
mushrooms were good to eat."
" They are," Marcia affirmed.
"I I I suppose when people are c c
cast away on a desert island they eat them,"
" Mushrooms are a very great delicacy," Mar-
cia declared, almost with indignation. " Now,
children, I '11 show you."
She picked half a dozen of the fungi, and
pointed out the distinguishing traits of the true
mushroom : how the gills ought to grow clear
and free from the stem ; how there was a little
ring at the base. Really, it was very interest-
ing. Marcia had brought a basket, and the
children all began to gather the mushrooms with
a will. Sometimes the funny little knobs (which
Lucy still to herself called toadstools) grew in
circles. It was so easy and pleasant to pick
them ; they broke off as if they liked it. And
some of them were so pretty, with such soft, del-
icate colors that each new one was a fresh
study. The dogs had, so far, stood by, not quite
understanding what it all meant, but with a sus-
262 DOROTHY DEANE
picion that there was something to eat coming ;
but now, catching sight of the vanishing whisk
of a squirrel's tail on the fence, they started off
on a foray.
Dorothy looked up in affright.
" Bunch, Bunch, Bunch," she called. " Carlo,
Bunch is coming ! "
At the same moment Marcia, also lifting her
eyes, was startled to see what a change had
come over the face of things. The clouds had
gathered in a mass like a curtain, which covered
all the sky except a streak in the east. And
even over this the fringes of cloud were dropping
Carlo, at the mention of Bunch, had desisted
from the chase. Perhaps in any case he would
have stopped short, for suddenly the dogs, as
well as the children, became conscious of a pe-
culiar hush. The wind, which had been blowing
a soft gale through the woods, no longer made
even a murmur ; the birds that had been twitter-
ing were silent ; not a blow sounded from the
" How still it is all at once ! " said Marcia.
She gave another uneasy glance up at the
canopy of clouds.
" Perhaps we had better go home," she now
observed. " Any way, the basket is almost full."
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 263
Lucy looked up at the signs of the weather.
" Oh, Gay, Gay ! " she cried ; " come ! Do
come ! We shall get wet ! "
Lucy tugged at Gay, who was still stooping
to pick the mushrooms. Marcia and Gay both
tugged at the basket, and Marcia taking hold
of it by one hand and of Dorothy by the other,
they all four scrambled over the fence, then
through the wood, from which they were glad
enough to emerge with only a few rents and
As they reached the open, the dogs stood still
and cocked up their ears.
"What is that noise?" murmured Marcia.
It was a strange sound, as if something were
coming towards them ; it grew louder and
louder; nearer and nearer; a steady tramp,
" It 's the rain ! " cried Gay.
" Let 's hurry over this hill," said Marcia.
" If we can only get into the lane, I don't so
They clambered up the slippery bank, reached
the top, and could see that the rain-cloud had
swallowed up all the west and south. Down
they toiled. How glad Marcia was to be safely
over that perilous place ! Now they had only to
follow the narrow footpath for five minutes, and
264 DOROTHY DEANE
then they would be in the lane. It had grown
almost as dark as night. One big, plashing
drop fell, then another and another; still the
real shower had not yet reached them. They
were just saying to each other that perhaps,
after all, they could reach home without getting
wet, when, all at once, with one tremendous
swoop, down came the deluge. They felt, for a
moment, as if they were swallowed up in it.
The rain made a solid wall all around them.
They kept walking on mechanically, all holding
on to the nearest hand, but they were blinded,
they were deafened, they could not see where
they were going. Luckily they were in the lane,
where they knew every inch of the way. They
could make no mistake, and could feel that
every step told in the right direction. They
were walking through a running stream of
water ; water was in their eyes, their noses, their
mouths. It was like being under the falls of
Niagara. Nobody had breath to speak, but if
any one had spoken, nobody could have heard.
The rain descended with a noise like the roar of
But not being the falls of Niagara, presently
this tremendous burst of rain from the low
clouds was spent. Then came a lull. It only
rained in a sensible, every-day sort of manner.
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 265
" Now, then," said Marcia, " let 's run home
by the short cut."
It was not too easy a matter to run with all
their clothes clinging, dank and chill, to their
bodies ; nevertheless, in another five minutes the
four children and the two dogs were all gathered
in the warm, comfortable kitchen of Dundas
House, which old Chloe had only lately deserted.
Marcia surveyed the three little dripping,
shivering creatures with all her wits alert.
" I '11 make up a roaring fire," she said, " and
you must take off your clothes and dry them."
Carlo and Flossy, who had cowered along
close to the children, were shaking themselves
violently. Rills of water ran off everybody.
It was a miserable moment. The only comfort
to Lucy and Gay was that Gay had n't lost his
shoes this time. He had taken them off and
buttoned them up inside his jacket. Dorothy
was glad that she had somehow kept hold of
Marcia's basket of mushrooms, so they were
safe. But everything else was sheer misery and
gloom. Marcia, after stirring up the embers of
the fire and piling on logs, had left them. The
logs did not burn; the dogs were sprinkling
everything in the kitchen in their agonizing
efforts to dry themselves. It all seemed like a
horrible dream, a nightmare !
266 DOROTHY DEANE
Then, in another minute, back came Marcia,
herself freshly dressed, and with a pile of gar-
ments on her arm. Gay was sent into the pan-
try to array himself, and Lucy and Dorothy,
stripping off their brown holland frocks, snug-
gled into the warm and comfortable things. By
this time the wet clothes were hung up on the
line above the fire, which had become such a
solid core of heat that it was certain to dry the
wettest things in no time. The dogs were steam-
ing away as they lay pressed up close to the
ashes. Gay appeared with a jacket and trousers
much too big for him, and they all burst into fits
of laughter. What had been a little while before
a state of things to weep over was now great fun.
All had their adventures in the rain to tell.
How lucky that they had got away from the
woods and the railway cutting before the storm
came ! After they were in the lane there was
really no trouble. They had had a lucky ex-
perience ; nobody had lost a shoe ; as for being
wet, all their shoes had been wet before. It
was odd to think how cold they had felt, for
now each was in a glow from head to foot.
" And hungry ? " Marcia inquired. Hunger
feebly expressed what they felt. They had
been hungry before. This was stark famine.
" Now, then," said Marcia. She put on her
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 267
cook's cap and apron. She brought out the
very largest copper saucepan, two bowls, and a
beating-spoon and a knife.
The three children, with all their heart in
their eyes, watched her. How pleasant it was
to be in the kitchen again ! It was not worth
while to have any misgivings, any thoughts
about getting away, for the rain, after a brief
lull, had now set in harder than ever. It was
impossible to see anything outside but the white
solid wall of falling drops.
" How it does rain ! "
" No matter."
Marcia was cutting up the mushrooms.
" They 're beauties," she announced, with an air
of understanding the subject, dropping them as
she spoke into a bowl of water. Then she
" You may as well be setting the table, Gay."
Gay had not forgotten how to set the table in
the kitchen at Dundas House. First, a fringed
towel, then four little plates, four little knives,
forks, spoons, and glasses, and the thing was
done. No furbelows, no scallops ; just the right
sort of table. This task accomplished, Gay
could sit down with Dorothy and Lucy and
watch Marcia. Watching Marcia was, to their
thinking, entertainment of a high order.
268 DOROTHY DEANE
First she put a piece of butter, half the size
of an egg, into the saucepan, stirring into it
smoothly a tablespoonful of flour. To this
mixture she added a generous pint of milk.
" Gay," she called, " just stir this gently, very
gently, until it boils."
Hitherto the evaporation from the wet gar-
ments, as Marcia turned them this way and that
before the fire, as if she were broiling them,
had made its distinctive odor felt. It might
not be delightful, but at least it was a promise
to the children that perhaps after a time the
clothes would be dry enough to put on and wear
home; but, nevertheless, when they began in-
stead to smell the simmering milk and butter,
it offered an agreeable variety.
Gay soon lifted a scorched face.
" B b b " he began.
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" It boils."
At this Marcia, who had been bringing out
bread and butter, and arranging the tray for
Mrs. Dundas, instantly took possession of the
spoon and began dropping the mushrooms into
" Now you '11 see," she said, with a little nod
Lucy whispered to Dorothy,
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 269
" Are you going to eat those those "
" Those mushrooms ? " returned Dorothy.
" Yes, of course, if Marcia cooks them for us.
Are n't you?"
"I don't want to; that is, I don't want to
very much," said Lucy.
" I don't think," observed Dorothy earnestly,
" it would be polite to say we would n't eat
" Perhaps it would n't. They smell nice."
"Oh, don't they?"
Of course Marcia had not heard this conver-
sation, which had been carried on in a whisper.
Now, raising her face, with its sparkling eyes,
red cheeks and lips, she cried,
" Oh, are n't they delightful ? Don't they make
your mouth water ? " Gay nodded, so did Lucy,
and, naturally, Dorothy. They were all three
interested, intensely curious, and, besides, they
were so hungry ! And nothing ever at once so
stimulated and yet so gratified the appetite as
did this peculiar, delicious aroma of the mush-
rooms. It was the sort of savory smell which
makes one glad one is hungry and tired ; which
laps one round with the idea of approaching
comfort ; which makes one think how happy one
is going to be presently ; which almost satisfies
while it rouses the keenest sense of expectation
270 DOROTHY DEANE
Then to see Marcia bending over the stew,
whisking that long-handled silver spoon ! How
could she know how to do it? How could any-
body possibly know everything like Marcia?
Who but Marcia would have thought of going
into the beautiful woods and gathering those
strange and wonderful things? Not Gay, nor
Lucy, nor Dorothy. But Marcia had done it.
The dogs now waked up, and began to have the
most sincere curiosity and interest in what was
going on. They two were watching Marcia with
their soul in their eyes.
" Why don't you talk?" called Marcia.
But they had nothing to say. It was enough
to look at her.
However, Dorothy did manage to exclaim,
" See how hard it pours ! "
" Does n't it, though ! "
" We could n't possibly go home, even if we
" No, indeed ! "
Going home was an event far off, hazy, re-
mote. Some time, doubtless, they would be
obliged to go home, but something delightful
was to happen first. The odor grew richer.
"They are done," said Marcia almost sol-
emnly. " That is, I think they 're done. I will
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 271
" Oh, they 're simply delicious ! " she de-
clared. " Gay, please hold this saucepan just
there till I come back."
She had poured a portion into a little covered
dish. Putting this in the middle of the salver,
she set off for her mother's room, was absent
five minutes, then returned. Nothing had
stirred in the kitchen or uttered a sound in this
interval. Gay had continued to hold the sauce-
pan just above the coals; Dorothy and Lucy
and the dogs had sat watching him.
" Mamma had caught the odor," cried Mar-
cia joyfully. " She said it had made her feel
hungry. I know it has made me feel hungry."
Oh, how hungry everybody was ! How hun-
gry, above all, the dogs were ! Marcia gave
them each a bone.
Four chairs were brought close to the table.
The mushrooms were poured into a big, round
dish. Marcia sat down, and the children also
took their places.
"Now, then, taste 'em," said Marcia, as she
helped everybody liberally.
" Are n't they good ? " she continued.
They had never in all their experience tasted
anything so good. They had bread and butter
272 DOROTHY DEANE
too. There were also crackers, a really royal
" Aunt Mary's cook taught me how to stew
them," Marcia was generous enough to concede.
The three children had not the least doubt in
the world that Marcia could do everything bet-
ter than aunt Mary's cook. This sense of their
exclusive privilege deepened their love for her ;
they admired her all they could already. They
had lost her for six weeks ; now they had her
again, and they all looked at her and smiled.
They felt as if they had never in their lives
been so happy before. This was their ideal of
happiness : to go on eating mushrooms forever
and looking at Marcia. They had each had
two helpings. They had eaten all the bread
and all the butter; now they had fallen upon
the Crackers. Crackers were excellent to sop
up the rich, plentiful sauce.
There was now just one mushroom left in the
bottom of the dish, rather a large one, which
somehow had not been sliced.
Marcia cut it in three pieces.
" Here 's one little bit for each of you," she
They begged her to take it. No, it would
give her more pleasure to see them eat it. Dear,
good, generous Marcia !
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 273
They had all had enough before, but this little
additional piece, with a teaspoonful of sauce
and a cracker, was just the delightful too much
which gives the feeling of completeness to a
meal. They ate, smiled, and loved everybody.
It was over. The rain, too, had spent its
strength and was falling only in a fine mist,
with the light from the west shining through it.
Alas ! not even eating stewed mushrooms, and
feeling that nothing can possibly happen, lasts
forever. It was a point of honor with the chil-
dren that each should clean up his and her own
plate, knife, fork, spoon, and glass. Gay's extra
duty was to scour the saucepan, for Marcia liked
everything left shipshape. Everybody babbled
now. The sun was breaking through the clouds
outside ; the birds were singing and taking baths
in the pools of water left on the stone flagging.
Lucy and Dorothy were discussing the knotty
point of whether Dorothy had done wrong in
making Carlo think Bunch was coming. Dorothy
had found fault with Gay for doing the same
thing, so Lucy argued. Dorothy explained that
Gay had tried to frighten Carlo with the idea of
Bunch just for fun, while she, Dorothy, had done
it to check him in his pursuit of the squirrel.
While Dorothy was advancing this plea, she
suddenly put her hand to her head, then sat
274 DOROTHY DEANE
down. She had grown a little pale, particu-
larly about the mouth.
" What 's the matter, Dorothy ? " demanded
Marcia. " Don't you feel well ? "
" Oh, yes," said Dorothy, jumping up. " I
feel well, only I was dizzy for a moment."
" It 's so warm here," murmured Lucy, whose
face was very red. " I think I feel a little dizzy,
Marcia flung both doors wide open. The
clouds had retreated towards the east. The sun
was shining brilliantly ; the west wind was astir.
It blew across the kitchen with a life-giving
" You Ve all right, are n't you, Gay ? " ques-
Oh, yes, Gay was all right.
" Are you better, Dorothy," Marcia said.
" I 'm better, but I don't feel quite well,"
" I don't feel well at all," murmured Lucy.
" I 'm afraid," faltered Dorothy, " I 'm
afraid I ate too many mushrooms."
" I did n't," said Gay ; " I could eat as many
Marcia, however, saw something in Gay's face
which seemed to contradict his words. He, too,
was growing pale.
A STEW OF MUSHROOMS 275
" Oh, children ! " she exclaimed, conscious that
with the very best intentions things did somehow
turn out calamitously, " perhaps we 'd better not
say anything about the mushrooms."
Limp as they all were, they promised.
Marcia was taking down the dried garments.
" I '11 put these on you," she said ; " then I '11
take you home."
Getting dressed was hard enough ; but the get-
ting over to the play-room, although it was only
about a hundred yards away, was the hardest
journey Dorothy and Lucy and Gay had ever
" Of course," said Mrs. Bickerdyke, " it was
those green pears."
Miss Roxy Burt and Pocahontas had chanced
to be passing by the evening before having
been detained by the storm just as John
Pearson returned from a fruitless expedition
after Dr. Barnes, who was six miles away. Ac-
cordingly, Miss Roxy had tied the pony to the
post, and had gone in to see the three children,
whom John Pearson (when Miss Hester had
sent him for Dorothy at six o'clock) had found
on the floor in the play-room, all alike in a state
of collapse, pale, spent, and speechless, with
not a word to say except that they had been " so
276 DOROTHY DEANE
Miss Roxy had ordered each warm drinks, a
warm bath, and had seen them put to bed.
Next morning, although still a little languid,
they were all better.
" It was the pears, no doubt," Miss Roxy said
to Marcia, who was hanging about, very eager
for news. " The gardener said he put a whole
basket of pears to ripen in the play-room, and
now they are all gone but three."
Yes, it must have been the pears. Everybody
said it must have been the pears, because there
had been nothing else to eat. Jerusha and John
Pearson thought that the children must, too,
somehow have got their feet wet. It had rained
in at the open window of the play-room.
But Marcia and Dorothy and Lucy and Gay
could n't help suspecting that it was that one
last mushroom which Marcia divided between
them which had done the mischief.
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES
MRS. DEANE and Dorothy had planted flower
seeds together at Easter. By this time the
sweet peas had blossomed and died ; the candy-
tuft had gone ; the cornflowers were ragged la-
dies indeed, and the larkspurs faded. The nas-
turtiums still made a dazzling show along the
edge of the borders and also clambered riotously
over the fences and the trellis, while the Japan-
ese morning-glory had wound itself round the
wistaria and was setting off the vine with its
great blue stars.
Mrs. Deane had told Dorothy that very day,
while they planted the seeds, that she had been
asked to go to Europe for the summer with two
of her pupils and their mother, to coach the girls
and look after the party, so that she could not
see the flowering of the sweet peas and the early
" But before the asters and marigolds are out
of bloom I shall be back, I hope," she said.
Thus, when, one morning in August, Dorothy
278 DOROTHY DEANE
was walking round the garden with Mrs. Bick-
erdyke, and saw that the marigolds and asters
were all full of buds, she gave a little cry, and
" Oh, mamma must be coming home very
soon, now ! "
" Not for four or five weeks," said Mrs. Bick-
erdyke. " In fact, I doubt if she will be here
before the first of October."
Still, Dorothy thought to herself, the first of
October was coming !
So long as Marcia's cousins had been staying
at Dundas House, time had seemed to creep;
but now that they saw Marcia all the time, the
remaining days of summer were spinning away
like a top. The first of October would soon be
here. Dorothy would see her mother's loving
eyes, hear her mother's loving voice, but
still It was n't all quite joy that the summer
flowers were going out of blossom and the au-
tumn ones coming in ; for, at last, Marcia's
mother had had the great, good news ! Paul
Dundas was ready for his wife and child, and
by the middle of October they were to go to
England, where he was to meet them and take
them to his wonderful new home in South Africa.
One is so often pulled two ways, towards
pleasure and towards pain ; one so often plucks
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES 279
the bitter along with the sweet. Dorothy
could n't quite decide whether she longed more to
have her mother back or dreaded to lose Marcia.
Even when her mother was home from Europe,
she would not live at Swallowfield, while Marcia
was here, ready to tell stories, to chase butter-
flies, or fight buffaloes ; to do anything and every-
thing that turned up, or could be imagined, with
all her heart and soul.
Lucy was dissolved in tears whenever the
thought came of losing Marcia, while Gay froze
up and looked miserably unhappy.
The twins had nothing pleasant to look for-
ward to in October ; it would be school-time.
No, they wanted the summer to last forever and
Marcia naturally felt the interest and the im-
portance of standing, as she stood now, on the
threshold of great events. Then, too, it was a
comfort to see her mother so proud and well and
happy ; so secure in her hopes ; so well past her
doubts and her alarms ; so eager to meet Paul
and belong to his life once more. Nevertheless,
what Marcia felt was that she had had, all things
considered, a very good time at Swallowfield,
and that she loved Dorothy and Lucy and Gay
better than anybody else in the world, save her
mother and father. They were always ready to
280 DOROTHY DEANE
do her bidding, whether to go looking for mush-
rooms and eating them heroically, or to cross
rivers, to explore woods, and to enter into all
her plans and conspiracies.
Yes, Marcia, as well as Dorothy, was pulled
two ways ; with longing for the future, yet with
a desire to say to the passing moment, " Stay,
for thou art so fair."
There was no comfort for any of the children
in Marcia's telling them that just as soon as her
father made a fortune they would come back,
restore the old house, and live there comfort-
ably. There would be little fun in that, Lucy
and Gay and Dorothy thought ; everything in
order ; no meals in the kitchen ; no scouring of
saucepans and heaping fagots on the fire. They
had loved the old place just because it was
shabby and going to pieces, and because there
were no cross, pampered servants to interfere
In September came some rainy days. Mrs.
Dundas, rummaging among the old trunks and
camphor-chests in the great attics, brought out
all sorts of relics of dead and by-gone Dundases,
and the children played with them to the sound
of rain on the roof. There was a scarlet riding-
habit which Marcia liked to put on and trail
round in. It had belonged to her great-great-
IN THE GREAT ATTICS
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES 281
grandmother, who had been a famous horse-
woman, and had a rather imperious way of rid-
ing her horse up to people's doors, and, without
dismounting, summoning them by a hard rat-tat-
tat from the butt end of her riding-whip. Lucy
and Dorothy tricked themselves out as well in
old-fashioned gowns and spencers and mob-caps,
while Gay had a wonderful choice of uniforms
and rusty old swords.
Thus arrayed, they used to play the landing
of the Mayflower. Grandmamma Bickerdyke's
remote ancestor had come over in that ship, and
she had told the story over and over again to
Dorothy, singing in a quavering voice,
" The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock-bound coast."
Usually Dorothy waited for others to propose
games, but the landing of the Mayflower was her
" First," she said, with her eyes growing big-
ger and bigger, and with a little smile lurking
in the corners of her lips, " first we must have a
They were used to makeshifts. The three
men of Gotham went to sea in a bowl, but these
four children went to sea in anything, and now,
for the good ship Mayflower, took an old clothes-
basket with holes in the bottom.
282 DOROTHY DEANE
Oh, how that boat rocked and tossed in the
waves ! Indeed, the voyage was so wild and
rough, Lucy fell overboard and had to be saved
by having a rope flung out to her. It did really
make the dangers of the sea seem very real
when she clambered in again.
" Oh, how awfully cold and wet you are ! "
said Dorothy, clasping the one rescued from a
watery grave. " Well, we are almost there.
We '11 land soon."
" Yes, I see Plymouth Kock," shouted Mar-
cia, who was at the mast-head. " Gray, you must
jump out, wade to the shore, and pull us in."
" Yes, that 's Plymouth Rock," said Dorothy.
" But, Gay, be careful ! You '11 be drowned !
See how awfully rough it is ! I 'm afraid the
ship will go to pieces before we can land."
And, indeed, there was great danger that
there would be a complete wreck, for one of
the sides of the basket was in splinters.
" Oh, it 's just beautiful ! " cried Marcia, en-
tering into the spirit of the thing.
" We 're PP Pilgrims and PP Puri-
tans," said Gay. " We 've come over here
because because "
" Because we want to have a good time," sug-
" No, indeed," Dorothy corrected her. " We' re
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES 283
going to have awful bad times. There 's bears
and wolves and red Indians "
" Lions and tigers, too," put in Gay.
" Lions and tigers if you want them," said
Dorothy, " but grandmamma only told me about
bears and wolves."
How that boat did rock in the surf !
" I 'm the first man on shore," cried Marcia,
jumping out, with her red riding-habit gathered
up in her hands. " I 'm planting the flag," and
she flapped a bit of muslin.
They all landed.
" We must all kneel down and say grace,"
said Dorothy solemnly. Accordingly, all on
their knees, they murmured after her, "For
what we are about to receive, Lord, make us
Then they rose.
" This is the new world," explained Dorothy.
" There is n't a single house anywhere, unless
you call wigwams houses. There is n't a single
street or a store or a church or a post-office.
There 's nothing but trees and Indians, and wild
beasts going up and down."
" I '11 be an Indian," said Gay. " I '11 be a
wild beast, too ; " and from the strange noises he
made, it was clear he meant to be as good as his
284 DOROTHY DEANE
"Oh, don't, please, Gay," begged Dorothy.
" We have got to build a house first, and you
must help us."
They found materials for a house in no time.
A bedstead with a canopy, an old quilting-
frame, and a few other odds and ends soon
enabled them to find shelter. There was even
a queer iron tripod with a kettle in which they
could cook their first meal.
"Now then, Gay," said Marcia, "you can go
and be a wild Indian. Then when we are eat-
ing supper, you can come and tomahawk us."
The supper consisted of a dozen of Jerusha's
cakes, and Gay demurred. He said he thought
he ought to be one of the settlers until he had
had his share. Then he would play he was a
wild Indian. Marcia told him he would be all
the more bloodthirsty for being hungry, and, of
course, he could have all the cakes he could rob
them of. Gay thought it safer to provide him-
self with his share in good season. Accordingly,
snatching three, he ran off, hid for two minutes
behind a beam, then burst out with such blood-
curdling yells, Lucy was frightened and burst
into tears. Indeed, had such a spirited attack
been made upon the original Pilgrims, it is to
be feared the Plymouth colony would have been
nipped in the bud.
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES 285
" I will be an Indian, too," Marcia now de-
Dorothy and Lucy looked at each other in
dismay. To have Gay spring out of the dark
corners with bloodthirsty yells was almost more
than they knew how to endure; but to have
Marcia also lurking in ambush, ready to dash
down upon them, that was distinctly too
Dorothy and Lucy did not often nurse a
grievance, but it did seem to be taken for
granted that they were always to come off
badly. If, for example, Marcia and Gay played
at being lions and tigers, the two girls stood
no chance at all ; they had to fall down and,
to the sound of terrible roarings, be quite
eaten up. But, on the other hand, if Dorothy
and Lucy took the part of lions and tigers, they
fared no better, being pursued by hunters, and
finally brought to bay in the corner, where no-
thing was left for them to do save to tarn over
on their sides and die gracefully from their
Then, too, when they played pirates, it must
always be Marcia and Gay who dressed up in
red sashes and slouched hats and big swashing
boots, and made Dorothy kneel down and beg
for their lives, beg all in vain, as well. For
286 DOROTHY DEANE
never were there more ferocious pirates than
Marcia and Gay, who always decreed that their
unhappy victims should be blindfolded and walk
the plank. Of all punishments, that was the
worst. Dorothy and Lucy shrank and cowered
when they were ordered to be blindfolded and
walk the plank, although they knew the plank
was only two inches above the floor.
Yes, it was always so, they now said to each
other, dejectedly huddling over the tripod and
kettle, which represented the embers of the first
camp-fire. Marcia having, as it were, put on her
war-paint, that is, stuck two peacock feathers
in her hair, wrapped herself in a blanket,
and, seizing a bow long since unstrung, led the
attack, and with fierce warwhoops darted down
upon the unhappy Pilgrims, who soon lay quite
dead, with only one eye open to see what was
next to come.
" Oh, is n't it splendid fun ! " said Marcia.
Gay agreed with her, and even Dorothy and
Lucy, coming to life, found themselves in good
spirits, and they all danced a war dance to-
"I do love to be an Indian," observed
" Yes, it is n't so bad being an Indian," Dor-
othy observed gently.
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES 287
"I tell you," said Gay, "we'll play B B
" What 's Braddock's Defeat ? " inquired
" It happened, you know," explained Gay,
" it happened a long, long while ago. George
Washington was in it."
" George Washington ? " repeated Dorothy.
" You don't mean 4 The noble, great, immortal
" Yes, I do ; he was in it. He and General
Braddock and a whole lot o' soldiers; they
marched through the woods after the Fr
Fr French an' the Indians ; and the Fr
Fr French and Indians they lay low till they
came up, an' then, why, they fired an' killed
everybody 'cept George Washington."
" Oh, do let 's play it ! " said Marcia. " Was
it all in the woods ? "
"The very thickest woods you ever saw in
your life ; so thick you could n't see the sky,"
" Now, all of you listen," said Marcia. " This
is all deep woods ; trees clear up to the sky ;
great roots down at the bottom, twisting round
like snakes. Bushes and vines, too, and all
sorts of growing things. Now, Dorothy and
Lucy, you two girls are General George Wash-
288 DOROTHY DEANE
ington and General Braddock and a whole army
of soldiers ! Each of you take a gun or a sword
and be coming along by the path through the
woods, and Gay and I will be Indians and will
be crouching behind the trunks of the trees, and
will just spring out and kill you."
"All except George Washington," replied
Gay earnestly. " He has got to live an' be
father of his c c country."
" Oh, Marcia," pleaded Dorothy, with a pa-
thetic break in her voice, "couldn't we be Indians
just this one time ? "
" Oh, dear, no ! " Marcia replied hastily.
" You would n't know how ; that is, you would n't
know how to be a real, cruel, cold-blooded In-
dian; we will play a game some time where
there are good Indians for you and Lucy."
" But I never heard of a good Indian," fal-
" Oh, yes, there are heaps and heaps," Mar-
cia insisted. "I'll tell you about them when
the right time comes. But now Gay and I are
going to be awfully bad Indians. Now let me
dress you up." She put an old bear-skin muff
on Dorothy's head, and a three-cornered hat on
Lucy's. " Now," she went on, " run down to
the other end, and both come up, brave and gay,
singing and talking, because, you see, you are
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES 289
not to have any idea that we are here waiting
" It 's to be an ambuscade," said Gay.
" Well, no matter," remarked Lucy. " I 'm
George Washington, so you are not to kill me,
either of you."
" No, it would n't do to kill you," said Gay,
pondering the matter; "that is, not if you're
really George Washington."
"I tell you," Marcia now explained, "you
shall really be George Washington, don't you
see, and you shan't be really killed. But then,
just to fill out, you can be twenty or thirty
soldiers, and we '11 shoot and scalp you."
The trouble was that Marcia always knew her
own mind, knew it in a flash, before Dorothy
and Lucy could venture to make up theirs. In
spite of her cocked hat Lucy was whimpering
when, obeying orders, she and Dorothy withdrew
to the farthest reach of the garret and began
" I don't like to be scalped," she whispered.
" I don't like to be scalped one bit."
" I don't like it much," Dorothy answered.
" But, after all, you know, it does n't really
" No, 't ain't that it hurts," Lucy granted,
290 DOROTHY DEANE
"but I hate it so. And and and I don't
think it 's quite fair."
" I don't think it 's quite fair," said Dorothy.
" I say, Lucy " she stopped and put her little
face under its bear-skin muff, close up to the
other, beneath the cocked hat. " I say, Lucy,
let 's not be killed"
" I told Marcia I was n't going to be, that
I was George Washington," Lucy replied with
indignation ; " but she said I was to be twenty
or thirty soldiers, and be killed twenty or thirty
times, only I could come to life afterwards and
be George Washington."
" I don't care," said Dorothy. " The Indians
did n't always beat, you know."
"What, not really?"
" Why, if they had," argued Dorothy, strug-
gling with the idea that the North American
Indian did not remain in testimony of his being
a survival of the fittest, " why, if they had
always beaten, don't you see, the Indians would
be alive and the white people would be dead ;
but it 's the Indians that are dead and the white
people are alive."
" Lots of white people are dead," said Lucy
" There 's lots alive, too," declared Dorothy.
" Come on. Don't let 's be killed."
LITTLE COLONIAL DAMES 291
And they accordingly surprised Marcia and
Gay exceedingly. Nobody was killed, although
" All day long the noise of battle rolled,"
until Mrs. Dundas came up to the garret to find
out what was happening.
DOROTHY'S mother was to have sailed from
Europe September 19. By the first of October,
everybody, except Dorothy herself, was worried
over the fact that the steamer had not only not
reached New York; but that there was no news
Dorothy picked a fresh bunch of flowers every
morning to put on her mother's dressing-table.
" I 'm sure mamma will come to-day," she
" Oh, yes ; she 11 be here as soon as the ship
comes in," Jerusha would answer. " But some-
times they do take a fearful time a-crossing."
There was so much to do, the days were so
crowded with incidents, Dorothy had very little
time to stop and think. To begin with, she and
Lucy and Gay were making a book for Marcia's
voyage. Each day, on the ocean, Marcia was
to tear off a leaf and find under it a letter from
one of them. Then, too, Dorothy was making
her a bag to tack up by the side of her berth.
EXPECTED GUESTS 293
And mot interesting of all to Dorothy were
Mrs. Dundas's preparations : the rugs and cush-
ions ; the natty sailor suit Marcia was to wear ;
the trunks, boxes, bags, of their traveling equip-
ment. It seemed to Dorothy as if, seeing these
belongings which were to make part of Mar-
cia's new life, she herself could claim a tiny
share in it, because she buckled straps, tied
knots, and helped pack generally, putting into
corners and crevices little reminders, a rose
from her bush ; a bunch of lemon verbena
leaves ; a verse written in Dorothy's own rather
queer hand, not original, perhaps, but still so
full of poignant meaning that it brought the
tears to her own eyes,
" When this you see
In one way, Dorothy's whole consciousness
was pervaded with the thought of Marcia, and
that Marcia was going away. But along with
the pang of that cruel loss came all the thrill of
glad feeling that her mother was sailing, sailing,
sailing towards her every day.
" I 'm sure she '11 be here by afternoon, don't
you think so, John ? " Dorothy inquired of John
Pearson when she was picking her morning
" There 's a west wind," answered John.
294 DOROTHY DEANE
" But I should suppose a boat might make some
headway, for it does n't blow hard."
Dorothy looked up at the weather-vane.
" The wind ought to be east," she said.
" That would blow her over faster ; but if it
were east it might be rainy. She would n't like
They accordingly decided, John Pearson and
Dorothy, that even at the risk of prolonging the
voyage a little, it was better to have fair weather,
particularly as Marcia had only a few days
more at Swallowfield, and that one of these was
to be spent at Fuller Farm.
" It would be a good time, sister," Miss Hester
had said to Mrs. Fuller, " to let Dorothy invite
the children to go over to see you. It will help
to take up her mind."
And Mrs. Fuller cheerfully sent the invita-
Dorothy had little idea that the reason Mrs.
Bickerdyke and Miss Hester and Jerusha and
John Pearson, and in fact everybody in Swal-
lowfield, was so good to her just now came from
their dread lest a great sorrow was impending.
" I always thought," Dorothy said, with some
natural pride, when she gave out her invitations,
" that aunt Fuller would really ask us some
EXPECTED GUESTS 295
Everything, on this occasion, was to be done
for the children's comfort. The wagon was to
be sent on Saturday at half -past ten. The dogs,
even, were invited. Bunch was to be tied up
for the day. The early apples and quinces were
to be gathered at Fuller Farm ; the grapes, too,
were ripe, and all the fruit was being boxed and
sent off to market. But it had been a great
fruit year, and everybody was to eat and carry
away all they chose. Now, if the weather would
only keep pleasant !
Friday afternoon there came a low bank of
violet cloud at the westward.
" What do you think, John ? " inquired Doro-
thy anxiously. " You don't really believe it 's
going to rain to-morrow ? "
John shook his head, declining to commit
himself. The sun dropped into the bank of
mist presently, but was not hidden, and looked,
until it set, like a blot of red sealing-wax.
When it was dropping behind the trees, up
sailed the moon in the east, almost as red, quite
as round, and a great deal bigger.
But in spite of all these favorable portents,
when Dorothy looked out next morning, the
whole world was veiled in thick mist. It was
almost more than she could bear.
However, by half-past nine, when Lucy and
296 DOROTHY DEANE
Gay and Carlo and Flossy had come over, and
they were impatiently waiting on the back porch
for Marcia, there came a rent in the mist ; the
top of a maple-tree suddenly showed like a crim-
son banner ; they had a glimpse of blue sky, and
out came the sun. Marcia arrived in another
minute, looking so tall and elegant in her new
blue sailor suit and hat, they pressed round her
with admiration. She held herself like a queen,
they thought, but it was their old Marcia still.
She was laughing, but there were tears in her
" Here is the wagon," called Miss Hester.
She was standing at the front door, and the
children all trooped through the house and ran
down the steps. As it happened, Bert Lee was
walking past at this moment.
" Hulloa," he cried ; " what 's this ? " He was
looking at the wagon and the two great, strong
horses ; but he also saw Marcia with her sailor
hat and dress.
" We 're going over to aunt Fuller's," an-
swered Dorothy. She paused a moment, then
added, with a soft little inflection in her voice,
" Perhaps you 'd like to come with us, Bert ? "
" I ? " said Bert, as if he found the idea
incredible. " I go ? "
"Mamma would have gone, if she had come
EXPECTED GUESTS 297
last night," Dorothy proceeded ; " you can have
" You 'd better go, Bert," called Miss Hester
from the porch.
" Don't care ; might as well," Bert now con-
descended to say, and clambered up to the seat
by the driver, which Gay had spoken for and
counted on, but which he relinquished with only
one little gasp of discontent.
Carlo and Flossy stood looking up at the
party in the high wagon with surprise ; they
were almost more surprised when Dorothy said,
" Come, Carlo ; come, Flossy," and they were
invited to follow after. Such a thing was un-
expected ; but they were always expecting the
Dorothy blushed all over with pleasure. This
was really a party to be proud of. Bert on the
front seat with Perkins, aunt Fuller's second
man ; then Marcia, looking so beautiful, in the
middle seat with Gay ; Lucy behind with Doro-
thy herself, and the dogs trotting along. If
only if only mamma had come in time ! But
then, as aunt Hester said, mamma might have
felt too tired to go. And certainly it was an
honor to have Bert find anything desirable it
was in Dorothy's power to offer. Very possi-
ble he might not like it. Nobody had ever
298 DOROTHY DEANE
known anything to please Bert. But no mat-
It had by this time not only cleared off, but
it was the most beautiful day October could
give, which is the same as saying that it was
the most perfect day in the year.
The woods on the hills rose, fold on fold of
crimson, scarlet, russet, and gold. In one field
stood an oak-tree, as green as it had been in
summer, but almost every other tree or bush or
creeper had taken on the richest dyes. Here
and there on the road a single wet leaf burned
like a gem. The banks of the nut-brown sleep-
ing pools, full of reflections of meadow and
woodland, were fringed with yellow and red
leaves. The brook slipped away almost unseen
under its mantle of gay tints.
Dorothy looked and smiled and dimpled ; then
she and Lucy, their eyes meeting, would say,
" Oh, is n't it, though ? "
By which they meant, " Is n't it perfectly
Marcia, also, at times, turned round and
nodded. They felt this to be kind of Marcia,
for Bert was treating her with very distinguished
attention. She had never seemed to care that
Bert had hardly ever spoken to her all these
three years and more that she had lived in Swal-
EXPECTED GUESTS 299
lowfield ; sSe had accepted the enforced loan of
his sled with no especial gratitude ; she had piled
logs for him without bearing any particular
grudge. But something in the way he was star-
ing at her to-day stirred a feeling of mischief.
" I should n't mind it, if I were going to
South Africa, myself," Bert had observed loftily.
" Why don't you? " said Marcia.
" I may, some day," he returned.
" But if you don't go now, you will find that
I have picked up all the diamonds and nuggets
of gold before you had a chance," said Marcia.
" I shall have gold rings on my fingers and gold
bells on my toes when I come back ; gold brace-
lets all up my arms and round my ankles ; dia-
mond necklaces on my neck and diamond rings
in my ears and nose."
" Oh, Marcia ! " cried Dorothy.
" When you live in Africa, you must do as
the Africans do," Marcia observed.
Dorothy, Lucy, and Gay recalled the pictures
of the native Kaffirs and Dahomeys in their
geography, and looked aghast.
Bert was afraid that Marcia was laughing at
him, so changed the subject.
" What is there to do when we get over to
Mrs. Fuller's ? " he inquired in a patronizing
300 DOROTHY DEANE
It was at this moment that Marcia made the
discovery that she had dropped her handker-
chief. It was only a little way back. She re-
membered that she had taken it out just when
they passed the bridge. Gay was ready to jump
out on the instant, but that did not suit Marcia.
Nothing would do but that Bert should go back
and find it.
Bert really was surprised at himself. He
would not have supposed it possible. It did
actually seem incredible. But presently he
found himself walking along the road they had
come, looking for that handkerchief. He did n't
want to do it. It seemed absurd that he should
be doing it when Gay or even Lucy might have
done it quite as well. But there was something
in the way Marcia spoke, in the way she looked,
with her sailor hat and her natty collar and
jacket, that seemed to speak the word of com-
mand, as if she had been the centurion.
The others, meanwhile, had driven on, had
entered the gate, and were now alighting before
the hospitable door of Fuller Farm. Mrs. Fuller
came out to meet them, kissed Dorothy, shook
hands with the others, and asked about their
mothers' health. Even the dogs were addressed
and their heads patted encouragingly. Mr.
Samuel Bickerdyke happened to be visiting his
EXPECTED GUESTS 301
sister, and he, as well, was polite and atten-
"Now, Dorothy," said Mrs. Fuller, "it is
your party, and you shall do just what you like
and go just where you please. Your uncle will
show you the orchard."
Mr. Samuel Bickerdyke was putting on his
overcoat and rubber shoes.
" I don't think you will need an overcoat this
warm day, brother Samuel," said Mrs. Fuller.
" If you knew as much about lumbago as I
do," replied Mr. Bickerdyke in a mournful
voice, " you would put on your overcoat."
" I am sure it 's so dry you will not need rub-
bers," Mrs. Fuller said again.
"If you knew as much about sciatica as I
do," Mr. Bickerdyke once more answered, " you
would never leave off your rubbers from August
Nevertheless, Mr. Bickerdyke stepped off
quite youthfully, leading the way. Carlo and
Flossy had kept their ears cocked, and their
eyes had roamed round the place, waiting for
their dreaded enemy, but Bunch was nowhere
to be seen.
" Where do you think Bert can be ? " Lucy
"Don't know, I'm sure," said Marcia. As
302 DOROTHY DEANE
she spoke she happened to put her hand into her
pocket, and drew out the very handkerchief Bert
was in search of.
" Oh, Marcia ! " said Dorothy, with a sudden
" Oh ! " said the twins in unison.
" And there comes Bert now," said Dorothy,
as if appalled at the thought of what Bert might
He was sauntering up the drive slowly, ele-
gantly, reluctantly, as if his inclinations were
all against it.
" Did you find it ? " cried Marcia. She shook
out the folds of her handkerchief to wave to
him. "I hadn't lost it after all," she said,
laughing. " I suppose I ought to say, I 'm
But she did n't say it. She simply laughed,
as if it had been a good joke. Bert did not
seem to mind. He stopped and shook hands
with Mrs. Fuller, then, without haste and with
the air of one to whom all things are equal, he
followed the party, who were now going through
the little gate. When the little gate was passed
they found themselves on the terrace, above the
It was a wonderful orchard. The trees stood
each at a sufficient distance from the other to
EXPECTED GUESTS 303
have the sun and air reach it on all sides. The
trees of Boxbury russets, Baldwins, and other
late winter apples were still untouched. The
others had been stripped of their fruit, which,
after being assorted, lay arranged under each
tree in three pyramids, the perfect, the second
best, and the third of indifferent quality.
Whether little or big, fair or knotted, each pile
helped to make part of the picture, and each
variety of fruit gave out its own beautiful
color : crimson, light red, golden yellow, white,
and green. What a rich, fruity smell hung
over the orchard !
Mr. Fuller was directing the men who were
packing the fruit, and he came down the or-
chard to shake hands with Dorothy.
" Pretty nice fruit, ain't it, brother Samuel ? "
he said, rubbing his hands. " This is a good
apple year, and a good apple year means a good
deal of money."
Mr. Fuller went on to tell about the late frost
in the spring that he had been afraid would in-
jure the fruit ; then of the long northeaster in
May, which had scattered the blossoms too soon ;
finally, about the drought in September; but
everything seemed after all to have worked
together for good.
" Yes," said Mr. Samuel Bickerdyke, " 4 Clouds
304 DOROTHY DEANE
and wind, the moon, the sun, the firmament, all
are busied that thou, oh man, mayst obtain thy
bread ! Only eat it not in neglect.' "
This was an Eastern proverb, and the chil-
dren accepted it as a sort of grace before falling
to, and each began to nibble at an apple.
" But Dorothy, my dear Dorothy," said Mr.
Bickerdyke, "surely you are not going to eat
that raw fruit ! "
" Why, uncle Bickerdyke," returned Dorothy,
" what are apples for ? "
" She has you there," said Mr. Fuller. " What
else are apples for ? "
"But apples are so very indigestible," pleaded
Mr. Bickerdyke. " I have n't eaten a raw apple
for twenty years."
"Time you did," said Mr. Fuller. "I eat
two every night before I go to bed. I could n't
live without them."
Mr. Fuller went back to direct the apple
packing. Mr. Samuel Bickerdyke and Carlo
and Flossy hung round the five young people,
who were eating apples, looking at them wist-
fully. It not only made the dogs hungry, but
it made Mr. Bickerdyke hungry. There really
did seem to be something easy and natural
about the way the children were devouring the
EXPECTED GUESTS 305
" Now, please try, uncle Bickerdyke," said
Mr. Bickerdyke, with an air of resolution,
accepted the apple Dorothy gave him, looked at
it, smelled of it, put his hand into his pocket,
drew out his knife, pared it with the utmost
nicety, cut it into quarters, then put one into
"Why, Dorothy," he said, with an air of
having made a discovery, " really it is very
good. The flavor is excellent, so fresh, juicy,
altogether palatable, neither too sweet nor too
It is only the first step that counts. Mr.
Bickerdyke was very warm in his overcoat and
very thirsty; the fruit was refreshing. He
finished by eating sixteen apples.
How to eat an apple with dignity; how to
bite it and munch it without seeming to relish
it, had been Bert's problem. His position was
a little embarrassing. He had been rather
lonely that morning ; he had felt left out ; then,
when he saw Marcia's new sailor suit and hat,
there had been a stirring of a wish to join the
party. Some things may be done in a half-
hearted way, as if the right hand did not
approve of what the left hand was doing;
but, somehow, one commits one's self when one
306 DOROTHY DEANE
eats an apple, particularly when one eats half
a dozen. Bert felt himself to be deteriorating,
but, after all, he had a better time than usual.
Marcia put him to the test more than once.
There happened to be one fine large red apple
which had been overlooked, or else had hung
beyond the reach of the pickers. Nothing would
satisfy Marcia except that Bert should climb up
and get it for her. Really with Bert, as well as
Mr. Bickerdyke, it was only the first step that
counted. After running back to find the hand-
kerchief Marcia had not lost, Bert had grown
more sensible, not to say more human.
I should like to tell about the dinner the chil-
dren ate ; about their visit to Bunch, who was
chained up in the kennel near the stables, and
who lay with his head on his paws and refused
to give a glance at Carlo and Flossy, standing
shivering with terror in the distance.
When the afternoon was waning, Mrs. Fuller
gave the children leave to go to the grapery to
pick grapes to carry home. Bert climbed the
trellis, cut the bunches, and dropped them one
by one into the baskets that Marcia held up.
" Oh, aunt Fuller," said Dorothy, " if I could
only have a little basket with two bunches in it
for mamma ! "
" Oh, yes ; do take all you want," said Mrs.
EXPECTED GUESTS 307
Fuller. She stooped and kissed the little up-
turned face. "I hope your mother will soon
be here now."
"I shall keep them till she comes," said
The sun was setting in the west ; the full
moon was rising in the east. The horses were
being put into the wagon to take the party home.
It had been a beautiful day. The end of many
happy days together. A sad change, a terrible
change, was hovering over one of this little
group like a hawk over a dove. But they did
not know it.
Mr. Bickerdyke was not feeling quite well
this afternoon, but he came out to see the chil-
dren off, and to send a message to his mother.
" Tell your grandmamma, Dorothy," he said,
" that I shall probably dine with her and your
aunt Hester to-morrow. I am afraid I took a
little cold in the orchard this morning ; but a
good night's sleep "
He finished his sentence by kissing Dorothy,
and then lifted her and her two baskets of grapes
into the high wagon.
" Good-by, Marcia," he said next ; " you are
going on a long journey, I hear."
" Yes," Marcia said, her eyes shining, her
cheeks glowing, and her red lips smiling ; she
308 DOROTHY DEANE
and her mother were, at last, going to join her
" We have been waiting for three years," she
said. " Now, at last "
She, too, got into the wagon ; Lucy was there,
and Bert and Gay clambered up to their seats.
" Well, children," said Mr. Bickerdyke, " I '11
give you my blessing for those who go, and for
those who stay :
" May you be happy ; but whether you are
happy or not, may you be good.
" May you learn all the lessons that books
" May you learn all the lessons, too, that books
cannot teach, but which make you simple, self-
denying, honest, and pure-hearted.
" May you be gay, light-hearted ; but may
you shed enough tears to soften your hearts.
" May you live in the world, yet above the
" May you, girls, learn to make good bread,
boil potatoes, broil a chop, and make a good cup
of coffee. And, boys, find the work you can do
best, and do it with all your might."
The horses started, and the children looked
back and waved a good-by to Mr. Bickerdyke,
who stood on the curbstone with his hand still
A NIPPING FKOST
MRS. BICKERDYKE had said all that Monday
that there was certain to be a frost that night.
Sunday had been milder than the Saturday ; then
at night a little rain had fallen ; afterwards it
cleared, and the wind came out of the north-
west. The old lady was so much in the habit of
foreseeing calamity, and of predicting it when
it did not arrive, that her prophecies were not
always listened to. But it did grow colder,
and so, just after three that afternoon, Miss
" Dorothy, grandmamma is afraid the dahlias
will be touched by the frost, and perhaps you
had better pick them."
Dorothy, accordingly, was fitted out with a
basket and a big pair of scissors, and so set forth.
Her mother had not come yet, but she felt sure
that she would arrive by the five o'clock train. It
was nice to be doing something while she waited.
As she crossed the lawn, the wind rushed at her
with bluff freedom, as if it had been a big dog,
310 DOROTHY DEANE
knocked her basket out of her hands, and
seemed to bear her on with its own strength.
But she liked it. John Pearson was carrying
the last bag of potatoes into the barn, and the
hens and chickens were having a good time
scratching in the empty hills. John came
" They 've got a telegraph over at Mis' Dun-
das's," he said to Dorothy. " Cablegram, I
think the boy called it."
" I suppose it 's from Marcia's father telling
them he's starting to meet them in England,"
said Dorothy, with a little nod. " They 've been
wondering why he had n't sent word."
John carried in his potatoes and then went
home. Jerusha had gathered up the last of the
clothes, and Dorothy had the place to herself.
" Mamma did n't come quite as soon as she
said she would," she thought, as she passed the
bed of asters, quite gone to seed. The nastur-
tiums still blazed in wonderful flame and vermil-
ion ; the moonflowers and morning-glories blos-
somed all day now; the cosmos tossed in the
wind. Dorothy hated to think that the frost
would kill them all.
" Oh, I don't like to have things die," she
said with the tears starting.
Just then she looked up and saw the blue sky
A NIPPING FROST 311
with soft, downy little clouds like a flock of
" After all," Dorothy thought, " the sky will
stay, and the sun and the wind, and the moon
and stars. We shan't be left without anything,
for Christmas only comes when it 's very cold,
and there are snow and ice."
She began to think about Christmas. She
hoped that her aunt Hester would give her a
great many beautiful presents to carry to people
this year. And no matter how many face-cloths
grandmamma made, Dorothy would be glad to
tie them up. Everybody had been so good, so
loving to her lately, she had a very warm, grate-
ful little heart. Somehow, even the chill of
losing Marcia no longer made her unhappy.
She would write to Marcia, and Marcia would
write to her and tell her about the strange, droll,
wonderful things in that far-off country.
Then she came to the dahlias. There they
stood, straight and tall, with their high color and
their prim little quillings, looking too proud and
haughty ever to be nipped by any killing frost.
Mrs. Bickerdyke was particularly proud of her
" But you 've got to come down, you splendid
great things," said Dorothy, brandishing the
sharp steel shears. They were so tall, she could
312 DOROTHY DEANE
not reach up to the blossoms, but she could clip
the stems, and pride had a fall. As the stalks
were cut, they gave out a queer acrid odor. Let
Dorothy live as long as she may, that strange
scent of a dahlia will bring a clear picture in her
mind of that long-past October afternoon, with
its crisp air, the tossing of the cosmos flowers in
the wind, and the sense of something about to
happen; something which touched everything,
changed everything, and ended much.
Lucy and Gay had been taken to town by
their mother to be fitted out for winter. She
did not expect to see them. Marcia, of course,
was busy, for, early on Wednesday morning,
she and her mother were to set out for New
York, and on Saturday they were to sail. Dor-
othy had filled her basket full of the dahlias
and was cutting the very last, when she heard
a little cry of " Oh, Dorothy."
She turned and saw Marcia.
Dorothy had never seen Marcia cry, or she
would have believed that Marcia had been cry-
ing, for her eyes were red and swollen ; elsewhere
there was no color on her face. Even her lips
" Oh, Marcia," faltered Dorothy, " what is
" I was coming to ask you to sit with mamma
A NIPPING FROST 313
while I go for the doctor," said Marcia.
" We Ve had bad news. Mamma is n't
quite so well. Will you ? "
Dorothy dropped her basket and ran as fast
as she could to the wicket, across the Lees' lawn,
through the gap in the hedge, and gained the
grounds of Dundas House. The kitchen door
stood wide open, and, entering, she saw Chloe
stirring something before the fire.
" Run up, run up to the poor lady. She 's all
alone," said Chloe, who was also crying.
Dorothy toiled up the stairs. Something
seemed to hold her in its clutches. Her little
legs almost bent beneath her, and the way was
very long and steep. The door stood ajar. She
did not wait to knock, but went in softly. There
was the beautiful room, and Mrs. Dundas was
lying on the lounge, bolstered up high with all
the pillows. There was an odd look in her face,
her lips were blue, but her eyes were wide
open, and their glance clear as they met Doro-
" Did Marcia send you to me ? " she asked
with a little, faint smile.
Dorothy went nearer.
" Oh, I 'm afraid you 're not well," she said.
Mrs. Dundas took the little, warm, out-
stretched hands between her two cold ones.
314 DOROTHY DEANE
" Oh, yes, dear, well enough."
" But you '11 need to be very well to go on
that long journey," said Dorothy.
Mrs. Dundas smiled again.
" Marcia did n't tell you, then ? We 're not
going to South Africa. That 's all over."
Dorothy uttered an exclamation. Mrs. Dun-
das waited one moment, then said,
" Poor child ! it 's hard for her. Her father
Dorothy's eyes brimmed over with tears ; a
" Yes, it 's hard for Marcia," murmured Mrs.
Dundas. " I had hoped, yes, I had
hoped " -
She broke off.
" I don't need to say I ask you all to be good
Dorothy could n't speak. Her face was all
Chloe came with some beef tea. Mrs. Dun-
das took a few spoonfuls, but Dorothy had a
feeling as if no food, no heat, no tender clasping
hands could warm or comfort or help that poor
woman any more. It seemed to Dorothy as if
a long, long time had passed. Her hands had
grown very cold, lying between those chilly, life-
A NIPPING FROST 315
" I 'm thinking " whispered Chloe, laying
her black finger across the blue-veined wrist.
But Mrs. Dundas's eyes opened.
" I 'm just keeping quiet," she said.
One of the windows had been opened to give
the poor lady a better chance for breath. Sud-
denly, from outside, there came a rumble of
wheels, then the sound of an arrival, and Miss
Eoxy Burt's voice saying,
" Now, Poky, Poky ! Stand stiU, Poky ! Be
a good Poky."
And in another instant Marcia came in.
"I couldn't find Dr. Barnes," she said.
" I 've brought Miss Koxy."
Miss Roxy was just behind her. Marcia had
taken Dorothy's place by the lounge. As Miss
Roxy came up, she put her hand on Dorothy's
shoulder and said,
" Go right home, dear. Ask Miss Hester to
come, and perhaps Jerusha."
It seemed strange to Dorothy to be outside in
the wind again, and to see the blossoms of the
cosmos tossing to and fro.
She met Miss Hester on her way. Miss
Hester had by this time heard the news that
had come by cable, that Paul Dundas had died
at Johannisburg two days before. A thread
316 DOROTHY DEANE
stretches and stretches, but it breaks at last. So
with Mrs. Dundas's heart, worn out with wait-
ing, with hopes deferred. Miss Hester was
hurrying to take what consolation she could
proffer to the poor lady who had lived so near
her, who had struggled so silently, who had
borne so much, perhaps not wisely, but in her
blind, human way. At this moment Miss Hester
felt, with a pang, that she had tried too little
to help her.
Dorothy picked up the dahlias and carried
them slowly round the house. As she went up
the steps, the door opened before her. It was
Mrs. Deane who opened it. She had just ar-
rived, as Dorothy expected, by the five o'clock
Just as Marcia was losing her mother, Dor-
othy had regained hers. The steamer had met
heavy gales, had been disabled, and finally had
been towed into Halifax..
Dorothy did not know that she had been in
danger of not having her little mother back
again ; but just as if she had known, it was
wonderfully sweet to lie close in those loving
arms. She could not have enough of the comfort
from the touch of those hands and of those lips ;
of the look of those eyes. Then the wonderful
thing about it was that henceforth Dorothy was
CLOSE IN THOSE LOVING ARMS
A NIPPING FROST 317
always to be with her mother. Strange things
had come to pass during the summer trip to
Europe. A Mr. Clare, an old friend of Dor-
othy's father, had been on the steamer, and
afterwards had met Mrs. Deane, as tourists do
meet in Europe; and Mrs. Deane was to be mar-
ried to him, and she and Dorothy were to go
and live with him at his place near New York.
" I told him," said Elizabeth, " that I could
never love him as I loved Frank. But I said
that I could be so grateful to any one who gave
me a home and helped me to do all I wish for
Dorothy, that I believed my gratitude would be
almost as well worth having as my love."
WINDINGS-UP are always painful, and the end
of Dorothy's life in Swallowfield held, certainly,
some sad moments. She had her mother back,
and she was to have a father for the first time
in her life. He was not so young as he might
have been, but he seemed so wise and kind ; his
voice was so pleasant ; his face, if not handsome,
was, somehow, so much nicer than handsome,
that she liked him, liked him better and better
every time he came.
But then, poor Marcia had neither father nor
mother any more ! Dorothy did not dare to
feel perfectly happy.
Marcia was soon to go away. For two weeks
after her mother's death the children saw her
day after day, looking so strange, so unfamiliar,
so grown up in her black clothes ; sitting mute,
motionless, with a startled look in her eyes,
her lips parted, the upper one with an acute lift
to it, as if she drew her breath in pain.
Her few relatives came and went, settling up
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 319
the business connected with the property and
discussing the arrangements for the young girl's
future. Everything Marcia had cared for,
looked forward to, and believed in, the fortune
her father was making for her and her mother ;
the life they were to live with him ; the feeling
that this father was working for them, think-
ing of them, day after day, week after week,
month after month, and that presently they
were to enjoy the result of his labors, all had
crumbled to pieces. It had been far off, unsub-
stantial, like a dream at the best ; now it was a
dream within a dream, for the real life she had
had with her mother now had become a dream.
No wonder Marcia felt as if between her and the
life of the world there was a deep gulf fixed.
The day before Marcia was to go away, Gay
came running over to Dorothy.
" D d did you see ? " he asked her.
" See what ? " demanded Dorothy, startled.
" She 's p p put out the red flag," said
" Oh, let 's go," cried Dorothy, and she and
Lucy and Gay and Carlo and Flossy ran as fast
as their legs could carry them to answer Mar-
cia' s call.
They found her standing on the grass with
her hat on, waiting.
320 DOROTHY DEANE
" I thought," she said, " I should like to go
to the old places. It 's the last time, you
She put one arm round Dorothy and the other
round Lucy. Gay walked on before, constantly
turning back to look ; and the dogs, as well,
dashed forward, then turned on their steps, ran
towards the children, and then frolicked on
again, leading the way. They all naturally took
the road down the lane to the river. Nobody
talked. In spite of Marcia's bright, sweet look,
Dorothy and the twins were a little in awe of
her. She was older ; she had met strange trials ;
she had reached the zone of deep and terrible
feeling ; and now they could see in her eyes, in
the quiet, controlled lips, that she had taken up
her sorrow and was carrying it unflinchingly
away into her new life.
"Yes," she said dreamily, "I wanted to go
down to the river once more, and over to the
spring-lot. We have been so many, many
" Oh, Marcia," cried Lucy in a woeful voice,
" Dorothy is going away, too."
Marcia did not answer for a long minute;
then she said, " Yes, Dorothy has not only got
her mother back, but she is going to have a
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 321
As she spoke, she looked straight ahead, as if
meeting her desolation face to face. Dorothy
blushed and dropped her eyes, feeling that she
had more than her share of good things ; that
she ought to divide with Marcia.
There was a cheerful chirping of crickets
along the lane. Now and then a crow flew over-
head with a caw, caw, caw, but the other birds
had gone with the summer. Two chipmunks
made a streak of yellow and brown across the
path and gave the dogs something to chase.
Here and there fluttered a belated butterfly.
Dorothy, Lucy, and Gay had been shy of ask-
ing Marcia what her plans were, but now she
began to talk about herself. She was to be sent
to a large girls' school in the country.
" I 'm going to study hard," she said ; " oh,
so hard. Aunt Mary says that if I work my very
best for two years, I shall have found out if I
have any particular bent, whether I had bet-
ter go on studying, or take up music or art."
She paused a moment, then added, with a deeper
tone and more deliberate emphasis as the possi-
bilities of the future crowded on her, "Some-
how, some time, I mean to do something."
They all felt sure she would, but they felt
it like a physical pain that she would be away
from them ; they shrank back dizzy before that
vision of her.
322 DOROTHY DEANE
They reached the bridge and looked down
at the clear, running water. The willow-tree,
which dipped into the river as the wind swayed
it, had not lost all its leaves, but it looked
dreary. They walked across the stubble to the
spring-lot, and stood on the green, grassy banks
and stared wistfully into the basin where the
fountain gushed forth boiling out of the sand,
and at the rivulet dancing down the hill.
" It seems to me," said Gay, " that everything
in the world is running away."
They went back after sunset. Their eyes
shone as they all bade Marcia good-by at the
top of the lane.
Marcia forgot to take her flag in, and it was
flying next day after she had gone. The chil-
dren cried when they saw it more than they had
cried that afternoon in parting with her. It
reminded them of a lost and happy time.
Mrs. Deane was to be married from Mrs.
Bickerdyke's on the sixteenth of November, and
the remaining days before- that great event ran
away very quickly now. Grandmamma Bicker-
dyke used to hold out her arms to Dorothy
every time she saw her, and Dorothy would go
up and nestle close against her white necker-
"I don't know who will do up your face-
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 323
cloths this year, grandmamma," Dorothy would
say. Sometimes the old lady answered,
" I 'm sure I don't know. I think you ought
to stay and help me." Then again her head
would shake a little, and she answered not a
Miss Hester, too, was not afraid to show Dor-
othy now that she loved her dearly. Indeed,
the little girl had fixed a place for herself deep
in everybody's heart, and she was not to pass
away and leave no trace. As for Jerusha and
John Pearson, they felt it was more than they
could bear to lose her.
Mr. Clare had already come twice to Swallow-
field. When he came for the third time, Dor-
othy and her mother were to go away with him,
so it was now time for Dorothy to begin to pack
up her things.
Just a little while before, the children had all
three helped Marcia to pack ; now Lucy and Gay
were looking on as Dorothy was getting her
possessions together-. Such heaps of things,
such droll things, such dear, worn-out, shabby
old things ! Nobody but Jerusha could have
folded and squeezed and tucked them all into one
trunk. Full as the trunk was, it could n't begin
to hold the things which had belonged to Dor-
othy's life in Swallowfield : the first beam of the
324 DOROTHY DEANE
sun in the morning, which from season to season
gilded everything in her room ; then the glimpse
of the valley and the river and the woods be-
yond ; the sight of Sirius and Orion in the sky
as she went to bed. Her mother told her she
would find these beautiful things again; but
how could she ?
Then came the final morning.
The sun shone, still there was something like
a mist in the air ; a faint haze like an impalpa-
ble frost ; and the effect of it was to make the
last yellow and red leaves drop silently.
They all went quietly to church to see the
marriage, and finally Mrs. Deane came in with
Mr. Clare and Dorothy. Dorothy stood by her
mother all through the service, and then held
her hand as they came down the aisle. In the
vestibule she stopped and kissed Lucy and Gay,
who were waiting. Then they ran through the
churchyard and saw her once more as the car-
riage drove off.
Dorothy saw the twins standing hand in hand,
and she raised her own hand and nodded and
smiled. But she seemed to Lucy and Gay
already very far away. They had shared many
bitter things of late, but this was bitterest of
all, and they were exceeding sorrowful.
" Sh sh she says sh sh she '11 c c
c come b b back," whimpered Gay.
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 325
" Count three, Gay," said Lucy.
" I d d don't c c care," cried Gay.
"I d d don't c care. I d d don't feel
as if I c c could c c care for anything,
now Dorothy and Marcia have g g gone."
" Oh, they '11 come back," said Lucy. " They 're
sure to come back some time."
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, U. S. A.
ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY
H. O. HOUGHTON AND CO.
3. F. McLEAN. BOOK3ELLEW.