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Dorothy Deane 





CIjc iiiiuTsi&c press, Cambriti0e 



, . . 


of " Mangi'oville," Paget, Bermuda 

this little chronicle of the doings of old-time 

New England children is lovingly 

inscribed by their 























"SOMETHING REALLY USEFUL" (page 76) Frontispiece 








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 


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, 


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 
begin again." 

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. 
Bickerdyke sternly. 

" 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. 


" 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 
cried out, 

" 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. 


Miss Hester, who was a tall, slender woman, 
with a fine, quiet, earnest face, went slowly up 
the stairs. 

" 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 


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- 
othy, encouragingly. 

" 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 


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. 


" 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 


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," 
expostulated Dorothy. 

" 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 ! " 


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 


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 
the porch. 

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 
and called, 

" 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. 


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 


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- 
ing questions. 

" 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. 


" Oh, please, aunty, may n't I go on holding 
them ? " Dorothy pleaded. " I do so love to 
hold them." 

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 
her heart. 

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 


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 


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- 


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, 


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 


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 
get up. 

At any rate it could do no harm to look and 
see what time it was. One little foot stole out 


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 


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 


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 
blue ribbon. 


" 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 
so unendurable. 

" 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 


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 


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 


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 
nice Christmas." 

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 


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 


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, 
severe way. 

" 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 
that all?" 

" 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 


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 


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 


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 
Miss Hester. 

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 ? " 


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 
Mr. Bickerdyke. 

" 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 
and common-sense." 

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, 


as it were, she chafed slightly, and this was one 
of them. 

" 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. 


Bickerdyke almost tearfully. " It seems to me I 
could n't rightly go on eating my dinner unless 
you did." 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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, 


" 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 
said quietly, 

" 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 " 


" 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 


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 


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- 
clared stoutly. 

"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 
enjoy books." 


" 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 
little sigh. 

" 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, 
brand-new dolls." 

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." 


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 


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 


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 
the desk." 

" Now it is time to get ready for tea," said 
Miss Hester. 

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. 


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- 


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 


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- 


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 
Dundas House. 

" 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 


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. 


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 


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 


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- 


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 


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 


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 
stammered slightly. 


" 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 : 


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 
feast began. 

" 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 


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 



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 
the window?" 

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. 


' 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. 


' 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- 


" 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 


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- 


lates, each with a different flavor. See, I 've 
saved one of each for each of you." 

"Oh, Marcia!" 

" 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 
of it. 

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- 


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 
the bonbons." 

" 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. 



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 


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, 


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 


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." 

"Well, what?" 

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 


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. 


" 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 
helping him. 

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, 
almost everything." 

" 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." 


" 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 


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 
the table, 

" I think we will eat rice and sugar and milk 
for our dessert, and take this tapioca cream to 
Johnnie Long." 

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. 


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. 


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 


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 ' 


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 
garnish it. 

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, 


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 


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 
way out. 

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 


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 


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 
grown so 

" 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 


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 


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 
kissed Dorothy. 

" 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 


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 
Mr. Dundas." 

" Yes, ma'am," said Dorothy softly. 

Her eyes traveled round the room. 


" Do you like it here ? " inquired Mrs. 

" It 's the most beautiful room I ever saw," 
answered Dorothy. 

" 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 
from it." 

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- 
pressed her. 

" I had better go now," she said, rising. 

" Very well. Thank you for the cake. Good- 
by, dear." 

Mrs. Dundas put her arms round the little 
girl and folded her in a close embrace. 

" I pity your mother," she said ; " she must 
miss you." 

When Dorothy told Jerusha about her visit, 


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." 


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 
dry place." 

In bad weather John had a safe retreat in the 
loft of the old unused stables at Mrs. Bicker- 


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 
would reply. 

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- 


ing in a disrespectful manner to no person, that 
they ought to be all hale and hearty, and 
rather young." 

" 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 ? 



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 ! 


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 
feeling ? 

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 


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. 


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, 


' 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- 
fessed Marcia. 

" And Bert is n't using his," Dorothy burst 
out ; "he has gone over, to Rosemary port." 


"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 


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- 


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," 
Dorothy replied. 

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. 


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, 


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 
once more. 

"Now, Gay," said Marcia, "you steer and 
I '11 push it off." 


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- 
quired Lucy. 

" 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. 


" 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, 


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- 


ful feat, and now gathered herself up and turned 
with pride to say to the others, " Did n't I tell 
you so?" 

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 
moving object. 

" 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 
a clock. 

" Where are you ? " she shouted. 

Was that the echo, or did she hear a faint 
whoop ? 

Far above her rose the summit of the hill, 
white and symmetrical, the sky-line sweeping 


sharply against the sky, here and there taking on 
a halo of misty gold where some point caught 
the light. 

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- 


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 


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- 
prised her. 

" 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- 


" 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, 


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, 


and I knew I should fall off if I did n't hold on 

" Why, what was the matter, John Pearson ? " 
inquired Marcia. 

" 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, 


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. 
Bickerdyke say. 

" 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- 
mured Dorothy. 

" 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 
ails her." 

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 
remarked reassuringly. 

" She 's jest dead with sleepiness," Jerusha 
observed. " I '11 feed her." 

Nothing more was clear to Dorothy's mind 


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 ! " 


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 
soft voice. 

" N n not much," Gay answered. 

What had happened when Bert came home 


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 
tell one." 


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 
heard before. 

" Yes, do tell us something new, Gay," Lucy 
also pleaded. 

" 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 
not come. 

" 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 ? " 


" 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 
interrupting " 

" 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 


" 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." 


" 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, 
then said, 


" 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- 
tacles on." 

" '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 
cranberry sauce." 

" They did," said Gay. " There was bread 
an' butter too, an' an' an' other good 
things ; they ate everything up clean. Then 


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- 


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 


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 


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." 


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. 


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 
the darkness." 

" 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 
a story." 

" 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 


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, 


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 


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. 


" 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 


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. 



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 


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 
different pool, 

" 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 


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 


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." 



" '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. 


" 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. 


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, 


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. 


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. 


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 


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 
said coaxingly. 

" 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 


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 


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 ? 


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 
on it." 

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 


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 
different cry. 

" Hulloa! " said a voice ; " huUoa ! " 


"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 


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 
a footing. 

" 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," 
said Dorothy. 

" 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. 


" 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 
dry land. 

" 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 
have happened." 

" 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, 
quite amazed. 

" 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 ? " 


" N n no," said Gay. 

Marcia turned to John Pearson. 

" You 're such a dear, good old John, you 
won't tell." 

" '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 


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 


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 
rose-breasted grosbeak. 

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- 


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, 


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." 


"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 
was Mikado. 

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- 


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. 


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- 


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 


"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 


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 


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 


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- 


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," 
said Dorothy. 

" 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 
choose themselves." 

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. 


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 


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 
give advice. 

"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 


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 
a box. 

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 ? 


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 
the stable. 

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." 


" '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- 
pened nevertheless. 

" 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 


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. 


" 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 
fond hopes. 

The hen on the beam had it all her own way 


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 


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 


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 


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 
nux vomica. 

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 


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 


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 
wise : 

" 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 
pleased, replied, 

" Poky is an excellent pony. Such a really 
sensible pony." 

" 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," 


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 
and eyes. 

" 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 


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, 


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 
to start." 

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 
to Marcia. 


" 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 


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. 


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 
as before. 

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 


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. 


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, 
and called, 

" Now, then, Poky ! " 

Pocahontas again made a movement as if to 
turn about. 

" 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. 


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 
woods, Poky." 

" 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 


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 ! " 


" 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. 


" 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. 

"Nor I." 

" 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 


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 


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 


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 
little pearls. 

"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 
some swagger. 


" 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 
and vanished. 

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 
the rear. 

Dorothy had gradually recovered from her 
fears, although, somehow, her heart beat as she 
looked about her with wonder and surprise, and 


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 


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?" 


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 
minute " 

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 


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. 


" 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 


taking an airing, while inferior creatures went 
on foot. 

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 


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?" 


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 ! 



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 
their contents. 

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 


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- 
lifted finger. 

"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 


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 


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 


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 
for us." 

Gay shook his head and pointed to the fence. 

" Somebody had to make that," he declared. 


" 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 ! 


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," 
said Gay. 

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 
Lucy again. 

" 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 
the sky." 

" 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," 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 
the home-stretch. 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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," 
said Lucy. 

" 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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 


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 
the day." 

"Yes, I know," said Dorothy; " but just think, 


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 


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. 


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 


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 


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- 


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 
to shine. 

" 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 
Mrs. Bickerdyke. 

" 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. 


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 


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- 
served Jerusha. 

" 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." 


" 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 
her basket. 

" 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. 


" 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 


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 


inside of it. Surely, just such a wallet was 
needed to-day. 

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. 


" 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, 
stepped forth. 

" You may just take yourselves off this min- 


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. 


" 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, 
Mrs. Fuller." 

" 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 


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 
breath away. 

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 


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, 


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." 


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 


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 


" 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." 


Or, " Bridget, that sponge cake must n't get 
a scorch." 

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, 


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- 
smirched face. 

" Why, Dorothy ! " said Mrs. Bickerdyke, 
" what 's the matter ? " 

"Nothing," Dorothy replied; "that is, no- 
thing much." 

"Is aunt Fuller sick?" 

" Oh, no, grandmamma, aunt Fuller is n't a 
bit sick." 

" Why did you come home so soon ? " de- 
manded Miss Hester. 

" Because aunt Fuller told us to come," an- 
swered Dorothy. 

" 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, 


" 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. 


"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 


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 



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. 


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- 
manded Dorothy. 

" 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 


" 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- 
held Marcia. 

" There you are ! " said she. " I wondered 
what had become of you. I 've been looking for 
you all day." 


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," 
said Dorothy. 


" 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 


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 


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 


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." 


" 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 
Carlo's name. 

B B B " began Gay. 

" Count three, Gay," said Lucy. 

" B Bunch is coming, Bunch is coming," 
said Gay. 

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 
over here." 

But, all the same, the very of Bunch 
cast a gloom over Carlo. 


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. 


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 
now observed. 

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 
and look." 

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 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," 
said Gay. 

" 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- 


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." 


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, 
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 
much mind." 

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 


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. 


" 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 ! 


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 


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. 


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 
the saucepan. 

" Now you '11 see," she said, with a little nod 
of satisfaction. 

Lucy whispered to Dorothy, 


" 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 
and desire. 


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 


She tasted. 

" 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. 

They tasted. 

" Are n't they good ? " she continued. 

They had never in all their experience tasted 
anything so good. They had bread and butter 


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 ! 


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 


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- 
tioned Marcia. 

Oh, yes, Gay was all right. 

" Are you better, Dorothy," Marcia said. 

" I 'm better, but I don't feel quite well," 
answered Dorothy. 

" 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. 


" 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 


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. 



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 


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 


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 


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 
with them. 

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- 



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 
own idea. 

" 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. 


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- 
gested Marcia. 

" No, indeed," Dorothy corrected her. " We' re 


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 
truly thankful." 

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 


"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. 


" 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 
many wounds. 

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 


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. 


"I tell you," said Gay, "we'll play B B 
Braddock's Defeat." 

" 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," 
Gay returned. 

" 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- 


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- 
tered Dorothy. 

" 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 


not to have any idea that we are here waiting 
for you." 

" 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 
their march. 

" 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, 


"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." 


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 
of her. 

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 
would say. 

" 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. 


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 
Remember me." 

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. 


" 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 


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 


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 


last night," Dorothy proceeded ; " you can have 
her place." 

" 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 


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- 


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 


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 


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 
to May." 

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 
inquired anxiously. 

"Don't know, I'm sure," said Marcia. As 


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 
awfully sorry." 

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 


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 


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 


" 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 
his mouth. 

"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 


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. 


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 


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 
can teach. 

" 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 


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 
Hester said, 

" 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, 


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 
towards her. 

" 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 


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 


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 
were white. 

" Oh, Marcia," faltered Dorothy, " what is 
the matter?" 

" I was coming to ask you to sit with mamma 


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. 


" 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 
is dead." 

Dorothy's eyes brimmed over with tears ; a 
sob came. 

" 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 
to Marcia." 

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- 
less palms. 


" 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 


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 



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 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. 


" 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 
father, too." 


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. 


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- 


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 


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. 


" 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."