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Title: Adventures in Toyland - What the Marionette Told Molly
Author: Hall, Edith King
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Adventures in Toyland - What the Marionette Told Molly" ***

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      file which includes the original 70 illustrations.
ADVENTURES IN TOYLAND

To my little friends Dorothy & Doris in recollection of
the time we spent in fairyland together.

Altemus' Young People's Library

ADVENTURES IN TOYLAND
What the Marionette Told Molly

by

EDITH KING HALL

With Seventy Illustrations



Copyright 1900 by Henry Altemus Company
Philadelphia
Henry Altemus Company



Contents
                                                      Page.

   Chap. I. AFTER THE SHUTTERS WERE UP                   13
    "   II. THE RABBIT AND THE MOUSE                     20
    "  III. BELINDA                                      57
    "   IV. THE OFFICER AND THE ELEPHANT                 75
    "    V. THE LITTLE DANCER                            93
    "   VI. THE HANSOM-DRIVER                           107
    "  VII. PROUD CLARIBELLE                            121
    " VIII. THE GROCER AND THE FARTHING DOLL            139
    "   IX. THE LAST PERFORMANCE                        156



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Molly and the Marionette,                      Frontispiece

                                                      Page.

Unrolling the Adventures                                  v
Three Friends in Fairyland                               vi
The Farthing Doll gets a Surprise                       vii
From Noah's Ark                                         vii
Four Merry Ducklings                                     ix
Birds of a Feather                                      xii
A Procession from the Ark                                13
"Molly's astonishment was great"                         15
The two Dancers                                          19
The Marionette is waiting                                20
The Rabbit plays and the Mouse dances                    21
The Mouse collects the Money                             24
A Pair of Conspirators                                   26
"The Sentry is both brave and wicked"                    29
The Mouse discloses its Plan                             31
The Owl listens behind the Sentry-box                    35
The Owl takes charge of the Drum                         37
On their way to the Sentry-box                           39
The Rabbit bids the Sentry Good-day                      41
The Rabbit spreads the Gum over the Floor                44
The Mouse tries to look pious                            49
The Rabbit takes Vengeance                               52
Two little Tell-tales                                    56
Here the Marionette paused                               57
Belinda shuts her Eyes                                   59
"Simplicity and Self"                                    61
The Sailor-lad tries to startle Belinda                  65
"Oh, Belinda, how I love you!"                           69
Bedtime in the Ark                                       74
The Marionette in a hurry                                75
The Two Enemies                                          76
"The Lady Dolls shrieked"                                79
The Officer threatens the Elephant                       81
"He fell under the animal's trunk"                       87
"He grunted and walked slowly away"                      92
Molly sits beside her Friend                             93
"One day she saw the Bicycle-man"                        96
"A very handsome fellow"                                 97
"Something within her went--_Snap_!"                    103
"Alas! alack-a-day!"                                    106
"Come, this won't do!"                                  107
"The Hansom-driver was very plain"                      109
"The Butcher, the Baker, and the Clown"                 111
"My face is my fortune"                                 113
"Every time he looked in the Glass"                     115
"Drove off as fast as he could"                         120
"I should like to hear about her"                       121
"Claribelle was a haughty doll"                         123
"The Rag Doll was a pushing person"                     125
The Driver begins to sing                               127
"Then she swept away"                                   131
"The Driver got up with dignity"                        133
"He loved but drove away"                               135
Proud Claribelle is penitent                            138
"The two met as usual"                                  139
The Grocer meets the Farthing Doll                      140
"They walked away hand in hand"                         143
"She handed him a joint of beef"                        147
"Supposing I said 'Yes' and you said 'No '"             149
"They were happy ever after"                            152
"Molly ran away content"                                155
"The little Marionette lay on the ground"               156
"They had just finished their dance"                    160
"I begin to understand--nerves"                         165
The General rides off to the nearest chemist            167
The Clown dances a double-shuffle                       169
"You are not crying, dear, are you?"                    171
"She rocked to and fro silently"                        175
The Marionette fell asleep quite happily                177



CHAPTER I


All sorts of toys were to be found in that toy-shop. It was truly a place
to please any child! A little girl, who had come to stay there with her
aunt--the owner of the shop--and her little cousin, was always to be
found amongst the toys; she was forever picking up and admiring this
one, stroking that one, nursing another. All her spare moments were
spent in the shop.

It so happened one evening that she wandered in after the shutters were
put up, and the place was deserted. She paused before the spot where
she was accustomed to find her favorite doll, a little lady Marionette,
who, when wound up, danced gayly in company with her partner, a very
fine gentleman.

They were both very prettily dressed. The little lady Marionette wore a
beautiful white silk dress brocaded with pink roses, whilst her partner
had on a blue velvet coat, knee breeches, white silk stockings, and
diamond shoe buckles. Their clothes were really very grand!

And they danced so gayly, too.

"Just as if they like dancing with each other!" the little girl once
said to her aunt.

"You are a fanciful child, Molly," answered the woman, laughing.

"All the same, I believe I am right," replied the little girl.

This evening, however, they were not to be found in their accustomed
place. The little platform on which they danced was there, but the dolls
themselves were gone!

The little girl looked round the shop much bewildered.

"Where _can_ they be?" she said.

At last she saw the little lady Marionette sitting on the right hand
counter, with her back against the Noah's Ark.

"Well, how funny!" exclaimed the little girl aloud. "How have _you_ got
there?"

"Walked, of course," answered the little Marionette in a sweet little
voice.

The little girl's astonishment at this reply was very great. So great
that it kept her silent.

"You seem rather surprised," said the little Marionette. "Why?"

"Why, I never knew you could talk!" she exclaimed, recovering a little
from her surprise. "Or any other toy, either," she added.

"Life is full of surprises," remarked the little Marionette; "especially
in the toy-shop."

"I wish you would tell me all about it," said the little girl, becoming
bolder. "If toys can walk and talk, why don't children know it?"

"Because, although they have known many toys, yet they are very ignorant
regarding their habits," she answered. "_That_ is the reason.

"At the same time," she continued, "as it is, generally speaking, only
when mortals are not present that we _can_ move and speak freely, this
ignorance is, perhaps, partly excusable."

"But how long will you be able to go on talking to me?"

"That I can't tell you. I can only say that our power of talking to a
Mortal--a power which comes but once in the lifetime of every
toy--generally lasts from a fortnight to three weeks."

The little girl clapped her hands.

"You will be able to talk to me, then, every day that I am here!" she
exclaimed with pleasure. "I am only going to stay with my aunt and my
cousin for twelve days longer."

She paused a moment, then added:

"How I should like you to tell me some stories of toys--a new story
every day, you know. Couldn't you do that?"

The little Marionette looked doubtful.

"Before I attempt anything of the sort, I shall have to consult Father
Christmas--the well-known and much-esteemed patriarch. As he is the Head
of our Society, I should like to do nothing without his advice and
sanction."

The little girl sighed anxiously.

"I _do_ hope he'll say 'yes'," she said. "I want so much to hear stories
of toys told by a toy."

"I'll do my best to please you," said the little Marionette. "Come here
at the same time to-morrow,--by yourself, for I can only speak before
one Mortal at a time,--and I will see what I can do."

"Thank you," she said gratefully. "Please give my best love to Father
Christmas; and tell him if he says 'yes' I will see that Auntie puts him
at the very top of the Christmas tree."

She turned to go, then paused and came back.

"I should just like to ask you one thing before I go," she said. "Don't
you and your partner enjoy dancing together?"

The pink cheeks of the little lady seemed to grow a little pinker.

"Perhaps we do," she replied.

"I thought so," remarked her new friend with some satisfaction. "Good
evening! I shall come again to-morrow at this same time."



CHAPTER II


The next evening the little girl returned to the Noah's Ark, where she
found the little Marionette in the same position.

"Well!" she said eagerly.

"I have consulted Father Christmas," answered the little Marionette. "He
is of the opinion that I may, without harm, tell you tales of _some_ of
the toys. You shall therefore hear the most interesting stories I can
remember."

"That will be very nice," said the little girl. "Will you begin at
once?"

"At once," she agreed, and began the story of "The Rabbit and the
Mouse."



THE RABBIT & THE MOUSE


The white Rabbit and the brown Mouse were both talented, though in
different ways. The Rabbit's talent showed itself in the precision and
vigor with which he could beat a drum as he sat on his hind-legs; the
Mouse in the swiftness and grace with which he could speed to and fro
upon the counter.

Talking over the matter, they arrived at the conclusion that if they
went up and down the counter together as a traveling-show they might
turn a very pretty penny. The Rabbit was to display his musical talent,
whilst the Mouse was to exhibit his powers of graceful movement.

The profits were to be equally divided. Such, at least, was the
arrangement as _understood_; but it was not a _written_ agreement, which
was a great mistake.

The reason, however, that the two partners omitted to be more
business-like was this: the Rabbit trusted the Mouse, and the Mouse
hoped to cheat the Rabbit. Not that anything of the sort was openly
expressed, but each was quite well aware of his own view of the matter.

The two started off upon the most amiable terms, stopping at such places
as they thought most likely to prove profitable: in front of the dolls'
houses; before the race-courses; by the shops. Then the Rabbit would
announce loudly:

"I am a rare-bit from Wales, and the Mouse is a tit-bit from Ireland.
We charge no fees for performing, but trust to your kind generosity."

After this the Rabbit played the drum with great energy, whilst the
Mouse ran up and down in the most nimble manner.

It was probably owing to a report which got abroad, to the effect that
the performers were noble strangers, working in the cause of charity,
that the success of the pair was so great. It was, indeed, wonderful,
and in a short time the two had gained quite a little fortune.

It was the Mouse who collected the money. For purposes of his own, he
persuaded the Rabbit to let him always take upon himself this duty. And
his companion, who was rather stiff in the joints after sitting
perfectly still upon his hind-legs for the length of time he was obliged
to, was quite willing to let the Mouse do as he wished.

Not that he would have been willing to had he known the real facts of
the case. For as you will understand by what I have said, the Mouse was
acting towards him in the most dishonest fashion, in spite of his many
fair words and speeches.

It was in this way that he plotted against his friend: As soon as a
certain sum of money had been collected, the Mouse always suggested that
he should go and invest it. To this the Rabbit never made any objection,
having great faith in the Mouse as an animal with a good business head.

When the little rascal returned after a long absence, he had always a
fine story to tell of the cleverness with which he had laid out the
money, and of the fortune which would shortly be coming in. This was
perfectly untrue. The Mouse was not investing a penny. On the contrary,
he was hoarding it all up, and for his own benefit.

There was a certain Horse who lived some little way off in a luxurious
stable. Here the Mouse was minded to pass his last years, so soon as he
had made a sufficiently large fortune, or unless chance removed him from
the toy-shop. But in order to carry out his plan, he would have to pay
the Horse a large sum for the right of sharehold--since it was his stall
he wished to share,--and also to get the warm, cosy corner he especially
desired.

The Horse himself was not the noble creature nature had intended him to
be. He was to the full as greedy as the Mouse, and was indeed his
helper in the plot. It was to the Horse the little swindler always ran
when he pretended that he was going to invest the money, and it was in
his stall that it was hidden. By the end of the half-year the Horse and
the Mouse calculated that they would have sufficient money to carry out
their design; when they intended to add further to their wickedness by
causing the Rabbit to be killed, in order to prevent his asking any
tiresome questions.

Now, as the time drew near when the money, had it been invested, should
have brought in some returns, the Rabbit began to talk of what he
intended doing with _his_ share.

"I think," said he, "after I have supplied my own wants, I shall found a
drum-scholarship for Musical Rabbits;" for he was a creature of a kind
and generous nature, and truly devoted to the cause of art.

"A most excellent notion," said the Mouse. "I shall follow your good
example, and found a scholarship for the encouragement of harmonious
squeaking amongst Mice. One cannot do too much to encourage the love of
music amongst all classes."

"When will our first dividends be paid?" asked the Rabbit.

"The money ought to have been paid already," answered the little scamp,
"but business is very bad just at present. I would explain the matter to
you, but I doubt you would not understand all the details."

"Very good; I will not trouble you," answered his companion easily. "I
have perfect faith in your judgment, and will leave all to you."

Yet from time to time, as was natural, he still made inquiries, which
the Mouse began to find troublesome. He therefore consulted with his
wicked friend the Horse, and they resolved that, as the half-year was
approaching, and they had got sufficient money for what they wanted, it
was better to delay the carrying out of their plot no longer, but to
kill the Rabbit as soon as it could be managed--indeed that very day.

"To whom shall we intrust the deed?" asked the Horse. "There would be
too great a risk for either of us to undertake it, I fear. If we were
discovered there would at once be an end of all our plans. Our money
would be taken, and possibly our lives also."

The Mouse considered for a moment, then he said:

"I think I know the very fellow for the job. There is the Sentry who
always stands in his wooden box. He is a chap who will do anything to
vary the dulness of his life and earn a little money. He told me so the
other day. He is both brave and wicked. Let _him_ him do the deed."

"Very well," replied the Horse; "I think your idea is good. Will you
arrange the matter so that it be carried out without any mistake?"

"Leave it to me," replied the other. "You need not disturb yourself. The
days of the Rabbit are numbered."

"Good!" neighed the Horse; "and the quantity of my corn, oats,--besides
carrots, apples, and other luxuries,--will be _beyond_ number. We'll at
once open an account with the fruiterer and corn-dealer."

"Also the cheese-monger," said the Mouse. "Well, I must go; there is not
a moment to be lost if we wish to carry out our plan." Then he hurried
off to the Sentry.

"Sentry," said he, "are you prepared to run some risk for the sake of
money?"

"For the sake of money I'm prepared to do anything," said the wicked
fellow.

"Then listen," said the Mouse. "There is a sum of money that, strictly
speaking, ought to be divided between the Rabbit and myself. But the
best way appears to be that I should have it all. But that is a little
difficult so long as he is alive. So I come to you to ask you if you
will kill him, provided I fill your knapsack with gold."

"Upon that condition, yes," said the ruffian. "But don't attempt to
break it, or I shall put an end to you as well as your friend."

"Never fear. Rest assured you shall have it," said the Mouse.

"Now for the details of the plot," he continued. "I am going to propose
to the Rabbit a private performance in front of your sentry-box. I shall
say I have suggested it in order to vary the terrible dulness of your
existence. Having finished our performance I shall lead the way straight
forward, _with our backs towards you_. When we have gone a few steps I
shall remark loudly, 'That Sentry friend of ours is a smart chap; _he_
knows how to handle the bayonet'. This is to be the signal for you to
step quietly out of your box, and, pretending to stumble, stab the
Rabbit in the back with your bayonet. This should be quite easy, for he
is sure to be walking away on his hind-legs. He has fallen into that
habit since he has taken to playing the drum. You and I will, of course,
exhibit much grief, and declare that his death was an unfortunate
accident. You see the plan offers no difficulty."

"Then if the _plan_ offers no difficulty, _I_ won't," said the Sentry,
with a cold-blooded laugh. "When is it to be carried out?"

"This very day, in about two hours' time," replied the Mouse. "Well,
good-bye for the present, I think it is all very nicely arranged;" and
he nimbly scurried back to tell the Horse that the Rabbit was to be
killed by the Sentry; which he did with the utmost glee.

Perhaps, however, his glee would not have been so great had he known
that whilst he was giving his account of what had occurred to the Horse,
_his wicked plan was at the same time being told to the intended
victim_!

This is how such a strange thing happened.

Whilst the Mouse and the Sentry were talking, they had forgotten that
the Owl's usual position was just behind the sentry-box. Or, if they
thought of it at all, they gave no heed to the fact, being aware that
the Owl was accustomed to sleep during the whole of the day.

It so happened, however, that at the very moment the Mouse began his
conversation with the Sentry, the Owl awakened with a start from a bad
daymare, and all but hooted with fright. Growing calm as he became wider
awake, he was going off to sleep again,--when the name of the Rabbit
caught his ear. Being well acquainted with both him and the Mouse, whose
squeaking voice he recognized, the Owl listened to what was being said,
at first with drowsy then with startled attention.

He only waited until he had learned all the details of the vile plot,
and then, overcoming, in the cause of friendship, every desire to close
his heavy eyes, he stole away, and imparted his startling news to the
astonished Rabbit.

"_Impossible!_" exclaimed his hearer, letting his drum-stick fall with a
crash upon the instrument he had been industriously practising. "I would
as soon doubt my own honor as that of the little Mouse--my friend and
companion through weal and woe. _Impossible!_ You must have dreamt it,
or invented it."

"Don't be so hasty in your judgment," remarked the Owl. "I have neither
dreamt nor invented it. If you doubt me go without delay to the brown
Horse's stable, where you will find the Mouse at this present moment
talking with his wicked companion. I will wait here until you return, in
case I may be needed to help you in your difficulty."

"Many thanks," said the Rabbit, and leaving his drum in charge of the
Owl he hurried away.

But a short time passed, and then he returned with a look of horror and
dismay.

"All you have told me is but too true," he exclaimed. "Let me tender you
my most sincere apologies for having doubted your word. Unseen by my
faithless friend, I listened to his conversation with the Horse, and
overheard more than enough to convince me of the truth of your story.

"Yet who," he continued sorrowfully, "who could have believed it of that
little Mouse? Who would have imagined so great an amount of deceit dwelt
in so small a body?"

Then he recovered his spirit. "I will baulk him yet!" he exclaimed, his
pink eyes flashing, and his white fur bristling with excitement.

"How can I help you?" asked the Owl. "I will endeavor to keep awake as
long as I am wanted."

"Wait a moment," answered the Rabbit, and then he beat a tattoo
thoughtfully on his drum. "I think I have arrived at a conclusion," he
said presently. "I will meet their dastardly plot by a counter-plot. I
do not expect the Mouse back for another half-hour; he told me he should
be busy till half-past twelve putting away our recent earnings. This
will just give us time to do what I wish.

"Here is _my_ plot," he continued. "Having procured a bottle of gum we
will go to the sentry-box, at the back of which you will take up your
position. I will tell the Sentry you have been telling me a most comical
little dream you have had--the one, indeed, you told me of late. He is a
great fellow for good stories, and will certainly hurry off to hear it.

"Whilst he is away I will spread the bottom of the sentry-box with gum.
When, on his return, he steps into the box, I shall keep him still, and
give the gum time to take effect, by offering him a bet of a gold piece
that he will not stand perfectly motionless whilst I go home and back.
He is very fond of a bet, and is sure to accept it. Leaving you to see
that he acts fairly, I shall go and meet the Mouse, returning here for
the performance which is to be suggested.

"That, however, I shall cut short, having no desire to waste my talent
on a villain like the Sentry. I shall turn away with the Mouse, who, on
giving the signal agreed upon, will, to his amazement, find that it is
followed by no result. For by that time the Sentry will be gummed so
tightly to the floor of his sentry-box that he will not be able to move
an inch.

"Having enjoyed the sight of their confusion I shall punish them, biting
off the head of the Mouse--for whose deceit no punishment can be too
severe,--and beating the Sentry about the head until he can't see out of
his eyes. Nor shall the Horse escape my vengeance. I shall creep into
his stall, and suddenly, and with a precise aim, throw a piece of gold
at the pupils of his wicked eyes. Thus he will be totally blinded by the
gold he has wrongfully helped to keep. A most fit and proper
punishment."

"Your plans are well and thoughtfully worked out," said the Owl,
blinking his eyes.

"To business, then," remarked the Rabbit; and the two having first
procured the gum took their way to the sentry-box; the Rabbit strolling
thither on his hind-legs to avoid any appearance of alarm or haste, the
Owl hopping by his side with a certain grave and sleepy dignity.

Arrived at the sentry-box, the Owl placed himself behind it, whilst the
Rabbit, concealing the bottle of gum under his drum, went to the front
and bid the Sentry "good-day."

"Good-day," said the Sentry. "What are you grinning at?" For the Rabbit
was smiling from ear to ear.

"Nothing of much consequence," he replied. "Merely a most comical little
dream that the Owl--who happens for a wonder to be awake--has been
telling me. It made me die of laughter."

"Pass it on," said the Sentry.

"I shouldn't think of doing that," replied the Rabbit. "I don't approve
of telling people's own particular little stories; they prefer the fun
of relating them themselves. Look here, you go round for a moment or two
and get him to let you hear it before he drops asleep again. It is an
occasion to seize, for he is hardly ever awake when other people are,
and he tells a story better than anyone else I know."

"Well, I rather think I will," answered the Sentry. "I'm very fond of a
good story. You take my place whilst I'm away, there's a good fellow.
Here, put down your drum and take my bayonet."

"Very good," answered the Rabbit, and the Sentry hurried off.

The moment he had turned the corner the Rabbit set to work and spread
gum all over the floor of the sentry-box. Then, standing outside, he
took up the bayonet and mounted guard, first carefully hiding the
tell-tale bottle behind a box of bricks. By and by the Sentry returned.

"Well, it was not a very good story after all," he said rudely. "Thank
you for nothing. Why aren't you in the sentry-box? I am inclined to
bayonet you for breaking your word."

"I should not have been able to move about sufficiently," the Rabbit
answered. "I should have suffered from cramp."

"Stuff and nonsense!" the Sentry replied. "I stand in it for hours at a
time."

"But not without moving?" asked the Rabbit, with an air of disbelief.
"Without stirring an eighth of an inch," the Sentry said.

"I don't believe it," replied the Rabbit. "I challenge you to keep
perfectly still for any length of time. I bet you a gold piece you won't
stand motionless whilst I run home and back again."

"Done!" said the Sentry, and straightway stepped into his box.

"This sentry-box gets slimy and dirty," he said, without the least idea
of what the Rabbit had done. "It is quite sticky with dirt. It wouldn't
be a bad thing if you were to clean it out for me some day."

"I'll see," answered the other carelessly, fearing to be either too
polite or too rude lest he should arouse any suspicions in the Sentry's
mind. "I don't generally care to do other people's dirty work, but I may
do that some day when I am not busy. You serve your country, so you
deserve a little help."

"If you don't do it willingly, you shall do it unwillingly," he
blustered. "If _I_ serve my country, _you_ must serve me."

"There's plenty of time to think it over," answered the Rabbit. "In the
meanwhile, you can't stir even to have it cleaned or you lose your bet.
I'm off. But wait, I must call the Owl to be a witness that you keep
strictly to the terms we have agreed upon."

Then, having called the Owl and stated the terms of the bet, the Rabbit
went home.

Here he awaited the arrival of the Mouse, who presently returned, full
of pretended sympathy for the dulness of the Sentry's life.

"He told me to-day," said the little rascal, "that the dulness of his
life was killing him. It struck me that it would be really an act of
charity on our part to give him a little performance, and let him fully
understand we expect no money for it. I hinted at something of the sort
to him, and the poor fellow's face lighted up in a way that was quite
touching. Suppose we go his way now as we have a little spare time."

"I'm quite willing to," replied the Rabbit. "But I've just come from
him, and he never complained of dulness to me. In fact, he was in quite
good enough spirits to have a bet with me on the subject of his being
able to stand motionless for a certain time."

"Oh, he did that to try and kill care, no doubt," answered the Mouse. "I
know him well, though he is a reserved chap and opens out his heart to
few. Come on."

Now by the time the Rabbit and the Mouse returned to the sentry-box, the
gum had had time to get well dried, so that the Sentry was firmly fixed
in his box. Nevertheless, there was still the danger that he might
attempt to move, and so find out too soon the trick that had been played
upon him. To avert this, directly the Rabbit came back again he lost no
time in remarking to the Sentry:

"Yes, I acknowledge you have won the bet. But you have only just managed
to do so; you are looking quite tired out. Another five minutes or less,
and you would have been unable to stand still a moment longer."

"Double or quits!" cried the Sentry. "For another gold piece, I'll
engage to keep still for the time you mention. If I fail to do so, of
course you don't pay me anything."

"Agreed," said the Rabbit.

"Oh, friends," exclaimed the Mouse, shaking his head, "do not give way
to this habit! It is, indeed, a sad, bad one."

This he merely said to impress the Owl (on whom he had not counted as a
spectator) with a sense of his moral worth. He hoped by this means to
counteract any after suspicions that might arise in the good bird's
mind.

"As to that," said the Sentry, who was generally rude whether he was
addressing friend or foe, "it is my own concern whether I bet or not.
You had better not trouble yourself with my affairs, but if you really
mean to give me one of your performances you would do well to begin."

"Just as you will," the Mouse said. "But I can't help taking an
interest in the welfare of those with whom I have to do." Then
addressing the Rabbit: "Dear friend," he said smoothly, "will you open
with your famous _rêverie_, 'Dreamings of a Drum,' whilst I perform my
_pas de quatre_, 'Twirlings of the Toes?'"

"Very good," agreed the Rabbit.

And the two performers began. But in a few moments the Rabbit stopped.

"I cannot continue," he said. "I am suffering from cramp in the muscles
of my drum-legs."

"Dear! What a pity!" exclaimed the Mouse. "Come for a walk and brace
yourself up."

"All right!" answered the Rabbit. "We'll go and fetch the gold pieces
which I must give this fellow."

"Can't you give me something at once?" asked the Sentry, who did not, in
his greed of gold, wish to lose the chance of getting all he could.

"I've nothing with me," replied the Rabbit. And so saying he followed
the Mouse, who with his back towards the Sentry had already moved away.

They had hardly gone more than half a dozen steps when the Mouse said
suddenly and loudly: "That Sentry friend of ours is a smart chap; _he_
knows how to handle the bayonet."

"You are right," answered the Rabbit, and walked on, the Mouse doing
the same, though with lagging steps.

Presently a look of anger and wonder crept into his eyes, remarking
which the Rabbit laughed.

"What are you laughing at?" asked the Mouse uneasily.

"At nothing particular," answered his companion. "Cheerfulness, you
know, is a habit of the mind."

At this moment a loud groan burst from the Sentry, who during this time
had been struggling to get free, and in a last frantic effort, had just
succeeded in giving a most painful rick to his back.

"Our Sentry friend does not look happy," said the Rabbit grimly.

"He is not well, I suppose," answered the Mouse nervously. "What has
happened, I wonder?"

"ALL IS DISCOVERED!" exclaimed the Rabbit loudly.

Then as the Mouse made a desperate effort to run away, the Rabbit dealt
him a blow on the back which injured the clockwork within his body and
quite put a stop to his flight.

"I know all!" the Rabbit said sternly. "You are a little villain! What
defence can you offer for so grossly deceiving me?"

But the Mouse made no reply. In a fury of disappointment and fear he was
biting the Rabbit's legs, hoping thus to disable him and prevent his
punishing the treachery that had been brought to light.

"Desist!" cried the Rabbit, "or I shall end your life without delay. I
repeat, what excuse can you offer for having so wickedly broken the
terms of our agreement? You have tried to rob me of my life and my
money. Make your defence."

"There was no written agreement," answered the Mouse shamelessly. "Each
was at liberty to understand it in his own way."

"Most wicked of animals, you are not fit to live," cried the Rabbit with
disgust. "Your moments are numbered."

Then before the Mouse could offer any protest, the Rabbit bit his head
right off and swallowed it.

"You will observe," said the Rabbit to the Owl with dignity, "that I
still maintain my proper position in the eyes of the world as a Welsh
rare-bit, but the Mouse, owing to his misdeeds, is now in the
contemptible state of the biter bit. Such is the end of the wicked.

"As for you," he continued to the Sentry, who, with his boastful spirit
crushed, stood trembling in the Sentry-box; "as for you, you have seen
too much of the world and its ways. It would be better for you to see a
little less of it for a time."

Then, according to his intention, the Rabbit beat the Sentry about the
head until he could not see out of his eyes.

"It now only remains to deal with the Horse. I go to give him the due
reward of his deeds," the Rabbit remarked, taking up his drum and
preparing to leave. But pausing a moment he added to the Owl: "With
regard to you, my good friend, if ever an opportunity arises by which I
can show you my gratitude for your kind services, rest assured that I
shall eagerly avail myself of it."

Now, the next morning the woman who keeps this shop spoke severely to
her own little girl.

"You have been touching the toys and damaging them," she said with
anger. "See what mischief you have done! You have knocked off the head
of this mouse--and, what is more, I can't find it anywhere,--you have
rubbed all the paint off this sentry's face, and you have broken the
glass eyes of this brown horse. You shall be punished."

The little girl began to whimper.

"I have not hurt the toys," she said. "I have never touched them since
you put me to bed for breaking the baby doll."

The woman looked puzzled: "If you say you haven't, you haven't, I
suppose," she said, "for I know you are a truthful child. Then how has
it happened? I shouldn't think any customer would do it without my
noticing. I can't understand it."

Nor can she to this day. But we can: you, the Rabbit, the Owl, the
Sentry, the Horse, and myself. But not the Mouse, for he has lost his
head.



CHAPTER III


Here the little Marionette paused.

"That is all," she said.

"What a good thing that the Mouse had his head bitten off," said the
little girl thoughtfully.

"It was just as well," the Marionette answered, "since he could use it
to no better purpose."

"Some of the toys were very wicked in that story, I think; dreadfully
wicked."

"I think the same. They were bad, wicked toys, with bad, wicked ways."

"Are many of the toys you know as wicked as that?" asked Molly.

"Oh, dear no!" said the little Marionette, quite shocked. "Most of my
friends and acquaintances are really wonderfully well-behaved."

"Do you know, I should like you next time to tell me about one of them."

"About some one simple, perhaps?"

"Yes, I think so."

The little Marionette thought a moment.

Then she said: "I know of no one more simple than Belinda."

"Tell me about her, if you please."

"Very good. You shall hear of Belinda and her simplicity."

So the next day she told her friend the story of "Belinda."



BELINDA


Belinda was a little wax doll who had a most charming way of opening and
shutting her eyes. When Mortals were about, she could not do it unless
they helped by pulling a wire. But when once the shop was closed, and
the toys, left to themselves, could move at pleasure, _then_ Belinda
pulled her own wires and opened and shut her eyes as she pleased. She
did this in so simple and unaffected a fashion that it delighted
everyone to see her.

"What simplicity! what delightful simplicity!" said the other toys.
"'Tis really charming!"

"Singularly simple," repeated the Butcher, who always stood at the door
of his shop, watching for the customers that so seldom came. "She is
like an innocent lamb," he added, his thoughts turning to his trade; "a
simple, harmless lamb."

"Elle est très gentille, la petite Belinde," remarked Mademoiselle
Cerise, the French doll just arrived from Paris. "Elle est une jeune
fille fort bien élevée; elle ferme les yeux d'une façon vraiment
ravissante."

"Here we are again, Simplicity and Self!" said the Clown, turning a
somersault and landing by Belinda's side with a broad grin upon his
face.

She made no reply, but instantly closed her eyes. She was not quite sure
but that he was laughing at her, so she thought it more prudent not to
see him.

"There! did you notice?" ... "Wasn't it pretty and simple?" said all the
Toys to one another as they looked at Belinda.

I must, however, make an exception when I say "all" the Toys. There was
one who did not utter a word. This was Jack, the curly-headed
Sailor-Boy, who was deeply in love with Belinda. He was so unhappy about
the matter that he feared to speak of her lest in so doing the thought
of his sorrow should make him shed unmanly tears in public.

I will tell you the cause of his grief. He could not make her see how
much he loved her. Whenever he came near her she immediately closed her
eyes. So that it did not matter what expression he assumed, it was all
wasted on Belinda. He worried himself about it very much.

"Is it," said he to himself, "because she doesn't happen to see, or
because she doesn't wish to see? How can I make her open her eyes? Shall
I speak to her coldly or gently, with mirth or with melancholy, in
poetry or in prose?"

"I will be poetical," he resolved; "I will sing her a song of love. That
may induce her to open her eyes."

Now Jack was only a simple Sailor-Lad; he knew little music and less
poetry. A few sea-songs and one or two little ballads, these were all he
had to trust to, and he could think of none that seemed suitable to the
occasion.

He thought long, and finally remembered the beginning of an old song
which, with a little alteration, would, he decided, do very well. So, in
a rough but tender voice, he thus sang to his lady-love:--

    "Of all the girls I love so well,
      There's none I love like 'Linder;
    She is the darling of my heart,--
      And Linder rhymes with cinder."

"This," he said to himself, "will teach her how deep and how true my
love is for her. _This_ should open her eyes."

But Belinda, quite unmoved, sat with them tightly closed.

"I will try again," he said to himself. And he sang the verse once more,
though this time his voice shook so greatly with emotion that he was
obliged to stop in the middle in order to steady it.

After this he sat silent, hoping that Belinda would even now open her
eyes.

"Then," said he, "she will see how sad I look, and she will surely be
touched."

But disappointment was again his lot. She never opened even half an eye.

"Shiver my timbers!" said the luckless Sailor-Lad, "she'll be the death
of me."

And he went away mournfully whistling "_The Death of Nelson_."

Then he tried to startle her by suddenly shouting within her hearing a
few seafaring expressions he knew. "Hard-a-port! Lay aft! Yo, heave ho!"

She half-opened her eyes, but immediately closed them again. "Those
expressions sound a little rough," she remarked.

He felt sorely tried.

"None so blind as those who _won't_ see, my lass," he said one day.

"I should have thought," she answered with unaffected surprise, "it was
those who _can't_ see."

"Have you looked up through the sky-light this afternoon?" he asked.
"The sunset is glorious."

"Describe it to me. I love descriptions," she said with simple
enthusiasm.

"You had better see it for yourself," he said crossly and turned away.
He felt so wretched that really he would have liked to go to sea.

He sighed again,--and looked back at Belinda. Why, her eyes were open!
He hurried over to her, pinching with great energy his arm as he went,
in order to make himself tearful, and thus, if possible, appear more
miserable than he already did. The tears did come, but just as he got to
Belinda she closed her eyes once more.

"The sunset is indeed perfect," she said, "I have been watching it till
my eyes ache, and I cannot keep them open any longer."

"I look just as if I had a cold in my head. You can see that for
yourself, can't you?" he asked, hoping that this question would induce
her to glance at him and observe his tears.

"Why, no," she answered, "I can't because my eyes are closed. But if you
say so, I suppose you must be correct."

"Belinda, I love you," said he.

"Thank you very much," answered she. "Isn't it extraordinary weather for
this time of the year? I can hardly believe that we are in the middle
of summer."

Poor Jack left in despair, and this time he whistled a funeral march.

But like a true-hearted sailor, he resolved to try again. So the next
day he said to her:

"Belinda, I'm afraid we are going to have heavy weather, there are so
many clouds overhead. Look up out of the sky-light and you will see for
yourself."

"I would rather not," she said, keeping her eyes tightly closed. "I
don't like seeing clouds; it depresses my spirits."

"You can look out of the sky-light _now_," he said to her later,
"without being afraid of seeing the clouds. They have all cleared away
and it is blue again."

"Then I can enjoy my afternoon nap," she remarked simply, "without fear
of thunder."

And on this occasion the poor curly-headed Sailor felt too miserable
even to attempt whistling; he went away in dumb despair!

It was just about this time that Mademoiselle Cerise was bought by a
lady as a present for her little god-daughter.

"But the color of the doll's dress has become faded," said the lady.
"She must have a new one before I take her."

"That can easily be arranged in a day," said the owner of the shop.

"Very well," answered the lady, "then I will buy her. You need not send
her. I will bring my little friend with me to-morrow afternoon when we
shall be passing your shop. She will like to carry her new doll through
the streets."

Next morning when Mademoiselle Cerise was brought back to the shop after
having been absent since the previous afternoon, the Sailor-Lad was
struck by something very familiar about the appearance of her new blue
muslin dress. At first he could not think why. Then he understood; the
muslin was--so it seemed to him--of exactly the same pattern and
exactly the same color as Belinda's dress.

As he realized this a sudden thought struck him, upon which he acted
without delay.

Coming up to Belinda softly, who was sitting with her eyes closed, he
exclaimed loudly and suddenly in her ear: "Belinda, Belinda!
Mademoiselle Cerise has on a dress precisely like yours!"

"No!" she said, and opened her eyes in a moment. She gazed around
anxiously for Mademoiselle Cerise, but the Sailor-Boy placed himself
right before her and looked at her as adoringly as he knew how.

"Oh, Belinda," he said, "how I love you!"

"Do you?" said she with great surprise. "Well, you don't love me more
than I love you."

"You make me very happy, my lass," said he. "But why are you astonished
at my saying I love you? Have I not told you so before?"

"I thought you were quizzing," she answered.

"The sad expression of my face should have told you I was not quizzing,"
he replied.

"How could I tell what your expression was when I never saw it?" she
asked with some reproach.

"You did not see it because you always closed your eyes when I spoke to
you," he replied. "What made you do that?"

Belinda thought a moment

"It was merely a habit I had fallen into," said she.

"You should never become a slave to a habit," replied the curly-headed
Sailor-Lad. He spoke reprovingly, as he thought of his many heart-aches.

She did not like to be reproved, so she changed the subject.

"You made a mistake," she said. "Mademoiselle Cerise's dress is very
pretty, but it is not _precisely_ like mine; the pattern is larger and a
little louder, and the color is lighter and a little harsher."

"Well, perhaps," said the Sailor-Lad. He spoke very cheerful now, he
felt in such good spirits.

                 *       *       *       *       *

"I am very glad that the Sailor-Boy was happy at last," said the little
girl. "I was afraid Belinda never meant to open her eyes."

"It certainly looked like it at one time," answered the little
Marionette. "However, it was all right in the end, for she opened them
in time to prevent her Sailor-Boy's heart from breaking."

"I wonder why she kept them closed so long."

"I wonder," reflected the little Marionette. And she smiled.

"Force of habit, I suppose, as she herself said," she remarked after a
pause. "We all have our little ways. Now what sort of story would you
like to-morrow?"

The little girl thought deeply for a few moments. Then she said: "You
have told me a story about a sailor, so I should like the next one to be
about a soldier."

"A soldier--a soldier--" the Marionette answered. "I don't think I know
one about a soldier--Yes, stay; there is the story of the Officer and
the Elephant. That is about a soldier."

"An Officer and an Elephant! How nice!" exclaimed the little girl
eagerly. "I am quite certain it must be very funny."

"I don't think the Officer found it so," the little lady replied, giving
a sweet, little tinkling laugh.

"Didn't he?" asked her listener with much interest.

"I wish you would tell me all about it now," she continued; "I want so
much to hear it."

"Not now," replied the little Marionette, "it is getting too late; all
the animals in the Noah's Ark are fast asleep. Listen, they are snoring
loudly. Come to-morrow at the same time. Be punctual, for the story is a
long one."

"Yes, I will," promised the little girl.



CHAPTER IV


The next day she was as good as her word, arriving to the very minute. It
was the little Marionette who was not in time. It was quite five minutes
before she tripped up the counter and greeted her little friend. The
little girl looked at her with some reproach.

"It is _you_ who are late, not I," she said.

"Is it?" replied the little Marionette. "Well, I _am_ ashamed. However,
here I am now, so I will begin at once to tell you my tale."

And settling herself down, and smoothing out her beautiful brocade
dress, she began without further ado, the story of: "The Officer and
the Elephant."



THE OFFICER & THE ELEPHANT


Amongst all the Toys in the toy-shop, none were so disliked and feared
as the twelve Wooden Soldiers who, with an imposing Officer at their
head, proudly faced the world in double file.

In the first place, they were intensely proud and vain. They showed this
in everything they did. For example, their drill was of the most simple
description. It merely consisted in their moving backwards and forwards
from one another on a platform of sticks, which could be drawn out or in
at pleasure.

This, it will easily be believed, required no great skill or knowledge.
Yet, to judge from the pride expressed upon the faces of the Wooden
Soldiers as they went through this simple movement, one would have
certainly imagined it was exceedingly difficult.

Their foolish pride was also displayed in their manner towards others.
No one ventured to ask them even the most civil of questions for fear of
receiving a rude answer. Father Christmas one afternoon happened to
inquire at the Commanding-officer what time it was.

"Time," he replied, "for little boys to be in bed."

"You might," said the patriarch gravely, "have shown a little respect
for the length of my beard and the whiteness of my hairs. 'Tis hardly
the way to speak to a man of my years and standing. One, too, who with
the decline of the year expects to be at the top of the tree."

But the Officer merely laughed loudly and shrugged his shoulders.

From this instance, which is only one example of many, you will easily
understand how the Wooden Soldiers came to be disliked in the toy-shop.

As for the fear they inspired, this was partly owing to the long swords
they wore, and partly owing to the boasting way in which they vowed they
could use them.

"My men and I really command the whole shop," said the Officer one day.
"Moreover, who faces one, faces all, for we all march in the same
direction. We not only have our good swords, but we know how to use
them. They are sheathed now, but let no one count upon that to offend
us. Let but a foolhardy toy dare insult us, and--" here he gave the word
of command, and instantly a dozen and one swords sprang from their
scabbards.

The lady Dolls shrieked, the Grocer and the Butcher began to put up
their shutters with trembling hands; the white, furry Rabbit became a
shade whiter; and the corners of the Clown's mouth dropped instead of
going up as usual. It was plain that a general panic was felt.

The only Toy that did not appear to be affected was the great gray
Elephant lately arrived. He twisted his trunk round thoughtfully, but
never changed countenance.

The Officer saw the general terror he had inspired, and both he and his
Soldiers were well pleased.

"Besides," he continued, speaking more loudly than before, "if our
swords fail us we shall have recourse to gunpowder, which will make
short work of our enemies."

The Elephant looked at the Officer and his men.

"I don't see it," he said bluntly.

"I didn't suppose you would," said the Officer scornfully. "Don't speak
in such a hurry. The powder I'm speaking of is felt but not seen. It's
our last improvement, arrived at by slow degrees. Gunpowder,--smokeless
gunpowder,--soundless gunpowder,--invisible gunpowder. Thus we may
surround an enemy with enough gunpowder to blow up a town, but they
neither see it nor hear it. In fact, they know nothing about it until
they are blown up."

This time all the Toys nearly expired with fright! The Elephant only
remained, as before, unmoved.

"Invisible gunpowder is more humane in the end," the Officer continued.
"You are quite unaware of what is happening until you find yourself in
pieces."

"The same thing may happen to yourself, I suppose?" asked the Elephant,
in his heavy and clumsy fashion.

"Beg pardon; did anyone speak?" inquired the Officer in the most
insulting of voices. For he despised the Elephant and wished to snub
him.

"I asked you if the same might not happen to yourself?" the Elephant
repeated, regardless of the Officer's attempt to make him appear
foolish. "What if the enemy serves you the same way?"

"That difficulty, my good beast," he answered in his most overbearing
manner, "is easily disposed of. We have special Soldiers trained to
_smell_ gunpowder. We have merely to send out these scouts, and we can
trace the gunpowder anywhere within gunshot."

"I don't believe it," said the Elephant.

The Officer at this laughed a grim laugh, truly awful to hear.

"Ha, Ha!" he exclaimed; "do not provoke me too far lest I slay you with
my sword. I'm a man of sport, and to do the act would cause me no little
diversion. Beware!"

The Elephant made no reply, which induced the Officer to think he had
frightened him.

"A great clumsy beast of no spirit," he said to his Soldiers.

"Right, sir," answered the Soldiers.

"Now to drill," he continued sharply. "Attention! Eyes right, eyes
left; right movement, left movement; swords out, swords in!
Mark--_time_!"

This last command they were obliged to obey with their heads, their feet
being tightly gummed on to the platform. So tightly gummed that they
could not get free even when Mortals were not present, and all the Toys
were at liberty to speak, walk, and talk. Indeed, nothing but a strong
blow could possibly loosen them from their position.

Therefore, when they marched or even took a simple walk they were
obliged to march or walk in a body, taking the platform with them.
Again, if the Commanding-officer granted leave of absence to one, he was
obliged to grant it to all, even to himself, otherwise no one could have
taken it.

"Come," said the Officer to the Elephant one day, "you are a bright
beast. Let me propound you a mathematical problem. If a herring and a
half cost three halfpence, how much would six herrings cost?"

"Just as much as they ought to, if you went to an honest fishmonger,"
answered the Elephant.

The Officer and his men laughed loudly.

"Capital, capital!" said the bully. "If you distinguish yourself in this
way we shall have to make you Mathematical Instructor-in-General to the
whole army."

But the Elephant made no reply.

"That's the thickest-skinned animal I ever met," said the Officer to his
men.

But herein he made a mistake. The Elephant never forgot an insult, but
paid it back upon the first opportunity.

The opportunity, in this case, was not long in arriving; it came,
indeed, all too soon for the Officer's taste.

It occurred in this way.

One day a little boy came into the shop and asked to look at some
soldiers, upon which the shopwoman showed him the wooden warriors.

"No, I don't like them," he said; "they have to move all the same way at
once. It is very stupid of them. Have you no others?"

"Not just at the moment," replied the shopwoman. "We are expecting some
more. They should have been here several days ago."

"Then I'll take a train," said the boy. "But it is very funny that you
should have such a poor lot of soldiers as these."

"That silly remark will make the Toys less afraid of us," thought the
Officer to himself with some alarm. "I shall make the men practise
sword-drill in the most open fashion for several hours. This will remind
the world that we are not to be trifled with."

But it is one thing to make a resolution and quite another thing to
carry it into effect. This the Officer was to experience ere the day was
over.

For in putting the Soldiers back into their place the shopwoman happened
to hit the Officer with some force against a dolls' house. Being a very
hard blow it knocked him off the platform, and, unnoticed by her, he
fell on his back upon the counter.

Now came the time for the Elephant's revenge. _The Officer fell just
under the animal's trunk!_

It was, as the Officer at once realized, by no means a pleasant
situation. As his men were some yards away from him, and unable to come
in a body to his rescue till perhaps too late, the Officer was
exceedingly uneasy.

"I had better soothe the monster," he said to himself. Then aloud, and
in a pleasant voice: "What a nice handy trunk that is of yours; you must
be able to carry so much in it? As for me, I have to travel with a
portmanteau, a Gladstone-bag, a hat-box, and a gun-case; it is a
terrible nuisance."

He paused, but the Elephant made no reply.

"This is not very pleasant," said the Officer uneasily to himself. "I
fear the beast is of a sulky temper. What _will_ happen to me?"

And he lay still, trembling and fearful.

At last the day closed in, the Mortals shut up the shop and left, and
the time of the Toys arrived.

The Elephant then addressed the Officer in a slow voice and ponderous
manner.

"I feel inclined to trample on you," he remarked.

The Officer closed his eyes with terror; then, half-opening them, he
endeavored to look defiantly and speak boldly.

"Pre-pre-sump-tu-tu-ous b-b-b-beast!" he faltered.

The Elephant looked at him threateningly.

"It was on-on-ly my f-f-un!" stammered the Officer, trembling with fear,
and all the crimson fading from his cheeks.

"Do you wish me to spare your life?" asked the Elephant.

"It is very valuable," the Officer replied more calmly as he regained
courage, and unable to forget his foolish pride even in that awful
moment.

"The world can do without it," said the great beast threateningly.

"Spare me!" cried the coward and bully.

The Elephant paused.

"Very good," he answered, "but only upon my own conditions."

"Certainly, certainly," the Officer said in a fawning voice. "Many
thanks; any conditions that you may think proper."

After this the Elephant thought for a long while. Then he said:

"These are my conditions. You must submit to let me carry you up and
down the counter, stopping before such Toys as I shall see fit. And
whenever I stop, you are to announce yourself in these words:
'Good-evening. Have you kicked the coward and the bully? The real
genuine article, no imitation. If you have not kicked him already, kick
him without delay.'"

"It is too bad of you to require me to say this," the Officer cried, his
anger for the moment overcoming his fear. "But then you are not a
gentleman. You are--"

"When you have done," interrupted the Elephant, "I will begin."

So saying, and amidst the intense excitement of the other Toys, the
Elephant, with his trunk, slowly picked up his fallen foe by the back of
the coat and began his ponderous march--so triumphant for himself, so
humiliating for the Officer.

The programme was carried out exactly as the Elephant had said it should
be, for the great gray beast was a beast of his word. He never made up
his mind in a foolish hurry, but having made it up he rarely altered it.

And so it was upon this occasion. After every few steps the huge
creature stopped before one or another of the Toys, when the former
tyrant was obliged to announce himself as a coward and a bully, and
invite a kicking, an invitation which was always accepted, and acted
upon with much heartiness.

Finally the avenger laid the Officer on the platform, from which the
Wooden Soldiers had been watching with amazement and horror the journey
of the Commanding-officer; understanding as they did for the first time
the strength of the great beast and afraid to interfere.

Having placed his humble foe in his old position, only upon his back
instead of upon his feet, the Elephant with his trunk deliberately
knocked over all the Soldiers one after the other. Then he grunted and
walked slowly away.

So ended the reign of terror which the Officer and his Soldiers had
established over the toy-shop. And so universal was the relief
experienced after the strain that had been felt, that the Elephant was
everywhere hailed as a Friend to the Public. Indeed, during the
remainder of his stay in the shop, he was treated with greater respect
and deference than any other toy,--Father Christmas only excepted,--and
when he left at Christmas-time, the regret expressed was both loud and
sincere.



CHAPTER V


"I am a little bit sorry for the Officer," said the little girl. "He
must have been a good deal hurt. And he must have felt very silly, too,"
she added.

"Almost worse than being hurt, isn't it?" said the little Marionette.
"Yes, I was a little sorry for him myself; but I think he deserved all
he got."

"Yes; because he _was_ a horrid bully, wasn't he?" said the little girl.
"And his men, too, were as bad as he. I always used to like
toy-soldiers. I never shall again."

"I should not like you to judge of all soldiers by the wooden ones I
have told you of," said the Marionette. "We _have_ had in the shop sets
of wooden and tin soldiers of the highest character; gallant fellows,
beloved and esteemed by all. I will tell you of them to-morrow if you
like."

The little girl considered a moment.

"I think," she said at length, "I would rather hear something quite
different for a change. If you do not mind," she added politely.

"Not in the least," replied the little lady. "I shall think of a story
that shall have nothing to do with soldiers, good, bad, or indifferent."

So on the morrow when they met again the Marionette said:

"I have thought of quite a different sort of story to the one I told you
yesterday."

"Thank you," said her little friend. "Please begin."

"Yes," she said as the little Marionette remained silent.
"Yes--yes--_do_ begin!"

"Patience, patience! I am just considering for a moment if I have the
story correct in every respect. It is now some time since it happened,
and one's memory is apt to play one tricks when one is telling stories
of other people. But I think I remember it correctly. So I will begin
without further delay the history of: 'The Little Dancer.'"



THE LITTLE DANCER


There never was a prettier dancer than the Little Dancer of the frizzy
dark hair, and the blue tulle dress with silver spangles.

Forward, backward, forward, backward went her little feet with rapid,
dainty movement, whilst the small musical-box--on the top of which she
gracefully danced--tinkled, tinkled, tinkled out its gay little tune,
and all the Toys watched her with the greatest delight.

Truly she bewitched all who saw her, and gained much admiration. But she
was very modest, and not at all conceited, so that she was not only
admired but also loved; which, as you will agree, is far better.

She took life very easily and happily, till it happened one day that she
saw the Bicycle-man, and unfortunately fell in love with him as he went
by. He was a very handsome fellow, and made a good appearance upon his
bicycle.

Directly the Little Dancer saw him she loved him, and she lost no time
in telling him so. She spoke without any hesitation.

"Dear heart, I love you," she said as she danced.

Now the Bicycle-man was very vain, and was therefore not a little
gratified at the impression he had made. But he pretended to be much
displeased.

"You should not have said that until I had first said something of the
sort," replied the Bicycle-man. "It was not your place to speak first.
You are very forward."

And he rode on.

The Little Dancer was much distressed.

"He is angry," she said to her friend the Little China Doll next to her,
with the two long flaxen pigtails hanging down her back.

"He is angry." And she danced more slowly and less gaily.

"What of that?" said her friend, tossing her head. "It is of no
consequence."

"No; it is of no consequence," repeated the Little Dancer. But she felt
unhappy.

The next day the Bicycle-man passed that way again, and she danced her
very best, hoping to win his heart.

"That is really not bad," he said; "not at all bad. You dance quite
nicely, as dancing goes."

"Oh sweetheart, I love you!" she said, encouraged by his praise.

"I really cannot stand such remarks," said the Bicycle-man. "They make
me both angry and confused."

And he went on, leaving her in tears.

"Why do you trouble about him?" said the Little China Doll. "He is not
worth it. A penny Toy, indeed! You turn his head. Take no more notice of
him."

"I won't," replied the Little Dancer tearfully.

So the next time he stopped to watch her dancing she did not speak to
him.

"You are getting rude now," he said. "I am not sure whether that is not
worse than being forward."

"What shall I say?" asked the Little Dancer. "My words do not please
you."

"I should not be displeased if you were to say 'good-day'," he replied.
"It would only be polite, and I never find fault with politeness."

"Good-day," she said, as she practised her steps.

"Is that all?" he inquired.

"That is all," she answered.

"I have a bit of news for you," he said. "I am thinking of marrying the
doll to whom the Red House belongs. It is a comfortable house, well
built, and well appointed. You shall come and have tea with us."

The Little Dancer burst into tears, and her feet moved more slowly.

"Why are you crying?" asked the Bicycle-man, with pretended surprise.

"Dear heart, Oh dear heart, I love you!" she wept.

"Well, well, so do many others," he answered. "It isn't my fault"

And mounting his bicycle he rode away.

"Don't you see you are making him terribly conceited?" said the Little
China Doll. "It is absurd of you. Try to be more sensible."

"I love him so, I love him so!" sobbed the Little Dancer. "My heart is
broken."

On the morrow the Bicycle-man appeared as usual.

"It is all settled," he said. "I hope to marry the doll to whom the Red
House belongs, before the week is out. I fear my marriage will be a
disappointment to many a lady."

The Little Dancer made no reply: she was too heart-broken to utter a
sound.

"Are you not going to wish me happiness?" he asked.

But the Little Dancer still spoke not. She danced faster and faster as
the tears fell from her eyes.

The Bicycle-man did not notice how quickly her tears were falling.

"Your silence is a sad want of manners," he said. "Uncivility is far
from attractive."

Still the little Dancer made no answer; she could not speak, she was
crying so bitterly.

"Well, good-day," he said. "It is very evident that you did not pay the
extra twopence for manners."

Then he left.

"Stop dancing," said the Little China Doll to the Little Dancer. "You
are not in a fit state to dance. You will kill yourself."

"I _must_ dance till I forget, or till I die," she answered--sobbing.

And then she danced faster, _faster_, FASTER, till she went at quite a
furious rate. Her little feet went to and fro so quickly you could
hardly see them.

The China Doll implored the poor Little Dancer to stop, but she did not
heed her. She continued dancing, dancing, dancing all through the day,
all through the evening, and far into the night. Till, at last,
something within her went--_Snap_!

And she fell flat on the ground, and the gay little tune stopped
suddenly. The clockwork within her had broken. She had danced herself to
death!

The next morning the Bicycle-man came again.

"The wedding is put off--" he began. Then he saw the lifeless form of
the Little Dancer, and he turned pale.

"You have killed her by your vanity," said the China Doll severely. "If
you had stayed away she would have forgotten you. But you _would_ come
because it pleased your conceit to hear her say she loved you, and to
hear her lament because you did not love her. She has danced herself to
death in her despair. Alas! Alas! My poor friend!"

"I really believe I loved her after all," said the Bicycle-man in a sad
voice. "What can I say or do to make some slight amends? Tell me."

"There is nothing to be said or done," said the China Doll. "The poor
Little Dancer is dead. It is too late! Go and marry the Doll of the Red
House."

"I don't want to _now_," he answered. "Henceforward my life shall be
passed mourning for the Little Dancer who broke her heart because of me.
And from this time I shall ride my bicycle sitting with my back to the
handle, and with my hands behind me. It will be a most absurd position,
but it will serve as a punishment to remind me of the sad end to which
my vanity brought my poor little sweetheart."

And he strictly kept his resolve. At first the other Toys laughed: then
they wondered; then they inquired into the meaning of so strange a
performance. And when they heard the story, such of them as had heads
shook them, and all said gravely:

"'Tis well and nobly meant. But it won't mend the poor Little Dancer's
heart. Alas! Alack-a-day!"



CHAPTER VI


When the tale was ended the little girl took out her handkerchief and
wiped her eyes.

"Come, this won't do," said the little Marionette. "I should not have
told you the story if I had thought you were going to take it so much to
heart."

"I am very sorry for the poor Little Dancer," she replied sadly; "I wish
that the Bicycle-man had not been so unkind."

"Well, well, it is all over now. Wipe your eyes; you can't do any good
by crying, and I don't like seeing tears," said her friend.

"Never mind; I rather like feeling sad," Molly answered politely, though
tearfully.

"Still, a little sadness goes a long way," remarked the Marionette.
"There is no doubt of that. I think I had better tell you something to
amuse you now." She thought a moment and then she laughed.

"What are you laughing at?" asked the little girl with curiosity.

"At the remembrance of the Hansom-driver," she answered. "I never can
think of him without laughing. Shall I tell you his story? I shall have
time to do so this evening, for it is short, like the one I have just
finished." And she began the story of: "The Hansom-driver."



THE HANSOM DRIVER


The Hansom-driver was indeed very plain, but he fancied himself very
beautiful. 'Tis thus that we are liable to make errors of judgment;
especially respecting ourselves.

His cheeks were crimson and his nose was the same hue, yet he was quite
convinced that all the young lady dolls envied him his complexion. His
eyes were dull as lead, but in his boundless conceit he always compared
them to sparkling diamonds.

In a word, his appearance was terribly against him, yet his constant
complaint was that he attracted so much attention, and won so much
admiration wherever he went, that he could almost find it in his heart
to wish he had been born ugly.

His own looks were his constant topic of conversation, till at length
the other Toys quaked when he opened his mouth, knowing very well how
they were going to suffer.

Amongst those who suffered the most from his talk were the Butcher, the
Baker, and the Clown. They lived at the opposite side of the counter,
where he drove every morning to give his orders for bread and meat. He
never thought of driving away at once when he had done this, but always
stopped to make remarks upon his own appearance; till at length, in
common with the rest of the world, they became wearied to death of the
subject. The Butcher and Baker tried to put a stop to it by making
uncivil remarks, and the clown by making rude jests. But the conceit of
the Hansom-driver still remained.

One day when he was talking to his three acquaintances, the Butcher
happened to remark on the beauty of the sunset-glow the previous
evening.

"Some people," said the Hansom-driver at once, "admire the beautiful
glow of the sunset sky, some the beautiful glow of the healthy
countenance. By the by, a chap I met yesterday told me my face was
simply glowing with health."

"Especially your nose, my pretty fellow," remarked the Clown.

"From my brow to my chin, I am, I believe, suffused with the glow of a
pretty color," replied the Hansom-driver. "Naturally it does not skip my
nose. And very glad I am it does not; I should not like any feature to
feel neglected or left out in the cold."

"He becomes quite unbearable," whispered one lady doll to another.

"Quite," she replied in the same tone.

The Hansom-driver smiled as he saw them whisper. He did not doubt but
that they were making some flattering remarks about himself.

"Speak out, ladies," he said.

But they turned away in silent anger.

Most people would have been annoyed at this behavior. Not so the
Hansom-driver. In his great vanity he completely misread their silence.

"A compliment about me," he laughed. "Doubtless too great a one to be
said aloud."

"You needn't fancy _that_," said the Butcher rudely. "You hear a good
many compliments, I don't deny, but they all come from the same
source--your own block of a head. When you are absent you get few
enough, that I know for a positive fact."

"Not that there is anything surprising in it," the Baker said to the
Hansom-driver in quite as rude a manner as the Butcher. "I am not yet
aware that you are a subject for compliments."

"'My face is my fortune, sir, he said'," misquoted the Hansom-driver
with great conceit; "and a very handsome fortune, too," he added.

"Your face!" exclaimed the Butcher. "Why, a sheep's face is more to be
admired than yours."

"I beg to differ," the Hansom-driver said, shaking his head. "I've never
yet seen a really good-looking face amongst a flock of sheep."

"So you actually think yours is good-looking?" sneered the Baker. "Why,
I could make a better-looking one out of a piece of dough."

"I defy you to," the Hansom-driver replied. "A face like mine is not
easily copied. Nor am I the only person of that opinion. All the ladies
think that I am beautiful. And of course I go by what they think."

"And who," he asked, with a bow towards a little group of lady dolls,
"who can be better judges of the matter?"

"Do you think they consider you good-looking?" inquired the Clown. "Get
along, you dreamer!"

"I do not think it, I know it," he replied.

"We don't," said the Butcher and the Baker. "Put it to the proof. We
challenge you. Let the ladies vote upon the matter and they will prove
you mistaken."

"Very well," answered the Hansom-driver. "The result will be favorable
to me. Of that I have no doubt."

"All right! To business," said the Butcher. "What about the ladies'
decision as to this fellow's claim of beauty?"

"Ay; when shall it be given?" inquired the Hansom-driver, anxious to
lose no time.

"In a fortnight at the earliest," said the Clown. "The making up of
ladies' minds, as of Christmas puddings, requires plenty of thought and
preparation."

"Good!" said the Hansom-driver. Then he got up upon the seat of his
hansom, whipped up his horse, and drove off.

Now, during the fortnight he was, if possible, more conceited than ever.
He never ceased making vain speeches respecting his looks, and could
indeed be induced to speak of nothing else.

"I have not the slightest fear as to the ladies' decision," he
boastfully remarked.

"When I look in the glass I see how impossible it is that they should
have anything but one opinion. By the by, a most curious little incident
occurred last night. I was sauntering about my end of the counter, when
the white Polar Bear walked right up against me. 'Hulloa!' I said, 'look
out where you are going.' 'I beg your pardon, I'm sure,' said he; 'It
was a little mistake. I was trying to find my way home, and catching
sight of your right eye, mistook it for the Polar Star and guided myself
by its light.' 'Very flattering,' I said, 'but I'd prefer you not to
tread on my toes.' Strange, wasn't it?"

"Most strange!" the Butcher jeered. "The Polar Bear has never been able
to see clearly since the shopwoman's baby poked out both his eyes. Your
story is a little far-fetched, my good chap."

"Oh, what a surprise!" laughed the Clown, as the Hansom-driver, unable
to avoid looking a little silly, turned his head aside and pretended to
sneeze.

"I've a piece of news for you," said the Baker; "another surprise. The
ladies have made up their minds already. Instead of a fortnight they
have only taken a week to decide. They have but one opinion, and the
Clown has been instructed to deliver it to you to-morrow morning when
you come to give your orders. I may warn you that you will find a great
crowd of Toys waiting to hear it."

"Let come who will," vaunted the Hansom-driver. "_I_ fear no crowd. The
more Toys to witness my moment of triumph, the better."

And it was in this frame of mind that, on the following morning, he
drove to the Butcher's shop, outside of which a large crowd was
gathered.

"Well," he said with a smile to the Clown who headed the crowd; "well,
and what is the ladies' opinion about my beauty?"

"The ladies have decided," said the Clown, nodding his head and speaking
very rapidly, "the ladies have all decided--mind you, _all_
decided--that you _are_ a hansom man. And so say I."

The Hansom-driver climbed down from his seat.

"Shake hands," he said. "One doesn't find a fellow of sense like you
every day."

The Clown shook hands, then turned a somersault and grinned from ear to
ear.

"Handsome," he said slowly, "but _without_ the _d_ and the _e_. Mark
that, my child. No _beauty, but a hansom man_. Ho-la! What's the time
of day? Time to go away?"

For the Hansom-driver had mounted to his seat, and, whipping up his
horse, was driving off as fast as he could.



CHAPTER VII


"That was very funny," said the little girl; "it made me laugh very
much."

"It made all the Toys laugh," said the Marionette--"except the
Hansom-driver himself. And, perhaps, he might be excused for not doing
so."

"He _was_ a vain thing," said the little girl.

"He was," the Marionette agreed. "However, we must not be too severe on
him. He had his good points after all. He was not bad-tempered, for
example, like poor Claribelle, who at one time was quite unbearable, and
made herself disliked by everyone. Though in the end, poor creature, she
became, it is true, an altered character."

"'Poor Claribelle!' Who was she?"

"A young lady doll whose bad temper, unfortunately for her, brought her
great sorrow.

"I should like to hear about her," said the little girl.

The little Marionette mused a moment. "I should not do wrong to tell
you," she remarked. "The story of this poor, proud creature may perhaps
serve as a lesson and warning to some other haughty and fanciful young
lady. Yes, you shall hear to-morrow evening of Claribelle." And so the
next evening, in a grave voice that befitted the tale, she told the
story of "Proud Claribelle."



PROUD CLARIBELLE


Claribelle was a very haughty doll. She was very beautiful, with great
brown eyes and a mass of dark hair that fell to her waist. She had fine
clothes, too; a pink silk dress, a large straw hat trimmed with lace and
pink roses, pink silk stockings and bronze shoes, and round her neck a
string of pearls, which were the envy of every lady doll in the
toy-shop.

She held her head very high indeed, and would not speak to this doll
because it was "frumpish," or that doll because it was not in the same
set as herself. The China Doll she really could not be on intimate terms
with, because she had a crack across her cheek. Fancy being seen walking
with a cracky person! Also, she must really decline being introduced to
the Farthing Doll. A very good, worthy person, no doubt, but really she
and a doll worth a farthing could not possibly have many tastes in
common.

As to the Rag Doll, she was a pushing person. At a tea-party at which
they had both been present, she had asked Claribelle if she didn't think
that skirts were fuller. To think of discussing clothes with a creature
of rags! The idea was really too comical!

It was thus, and in this proud spirit, that Claribelle talked about the
other and more modest Toys. There were, indeed, very few that she would
take the slightest notice of. As a matter of fact, when she walked down
the counter she held her nose so much in the air that it was very rarely
she saw anyone. She did not care in the least whether she trod on other
people's toes or not.

From this you will easily understand that she was a Toy who gained more
admiration than love. There was, however, one who was truly devoted to
Claribelle. This was the Driver of the Wagon, who was always of the
opinion that beneath her haughty manner lay a kind heart. They were
engaged to be married, and with true affection he often spoke to her
about her haughty manner to the other Toys.

On such occasions Claribelle tossed her head and flew into a passion,
often sulking for hours afterwards. Yet, although she so sorely tried
the Driver's patience, he continued to love her. And when all other
means had failed he would often sing her back to good temper, for he had
a beautiful tenor voice.

He was a little proud of his voice, and used to practise every night,
partly because he loved music, also because he delighted to show his
devotion to Claribelle by singing her little love-songs in a
well-trained manner.

He was of a kindly, genial nature, so that you would have thought it was
hardly possible to quarrel with him. But Claribelle's pride not seldom
caused a dispute between them, and she would often start a heated
argument without any reason.

It was thus one day that a quarrel arose which ended in the most serious
manner.

They were out driving in the Wagon, when the Driver, remembering he owed
a call on the Farthing Doll, proposed that he and Claribelle should go
thither.

"What!" she exclaimed haughtily. "Pay a call on that Farthing creature!
_Certainly_ not!"

"I, at least, must go, sooner or later," the Driver replied.

"Why?" she asked much displeased.

"Because did I not call," answered he kindly but firmly, "I should be
lacking in courtesy to a lady who has never shown me anything but the
utmost civility. However, since you do not wish it, I will not go
to-day."

"I do not wish you to go at all," she said. "But I see it is quite
sufficient for me to say that I do not desire you to do a thing, for you
to do it."

And after this she sulked and said she did not love him.

Upon this the Driver bethought him a new song he had just learnt, and he
determined to sing it in the hope of winning her back to good temper. So
he began:

    "'Oh, down in Alabama, before I was set free,
    I loved a dark-eyed, yaller girl,
    And thought--'"

But he got no further, for here Claribelle interrupted him.

"Does that apply to _me_?" she said with flashing eyes.

"Well, you _have_ dark eyes, you know," he said pleasantly, hoping to
make her smile. "Beautiful dark eyes, too."

"Stop the wagon!" she said furiously. "I will not be so insulted. Dark
eyes, yes; but yaller! yaller! yaller!"

"Allow me to explain. I only--" began the Driver.

"_Yaller_, indeed! Stop the Wagon!"

"I should like to say--"

"A dark-eyed, _yaller_ girl! Stop the Wagon,--and consider our
engagement at an end."

"_Will_ you let me--"

But Claribelle shook her head furiously, and in her rage tried to jump
out of the Wagon. So the Driver, fearing she would break her neck, did
as she requested and pulled up his horse, when she immediately alighted.
Then she swept away, flouncing her pink silk dress, and with her head in
the air.

The Driver called later and tried to pacify her, but she would not
listen. She only turned her back upon him--which was a very rude thing
to do--and persisted in saying that their engagement was at an end.

So the Wagoner whipped up his horse and went away sad and sorry. He
looked, indeed, so sad that the haughty Claribelle nearly repented of
her pride and was just about to call him back.

"But he'll return to-morrow," she said to herself, "and he must be
taught not to make false remarks about my complexion. Fancy calling me
'yaller!'"

The next day he came as she expected.

"Do I still look yaller?" Claribelle asked scornfully.

"Let bygones be bygones," said he. "Besides, I never called you yaller."

"Our engagement is ended," she said.

"Claribelle," he said kindly but firmly, "listen to what I say. If you
do not tame your proud temper, you will one day bring sorrow upon
yourself." Then he left, wounded and displeased.

The next day he came again.

"I may be going away," he said, "to the other side of the shop, to the
opposite counter."

"Do I still look yaller?" Claribelle asked, tossing her head.

"Aren't you sorry I am going?" he replied.

"I haven't time to think of trifles," she said haughtily.

"Cruel Claribelle," he said. "I shall not send you a letter, not even a
post-card."

"Letters are dull," she said coldly, "and post-cards are vulgar."

"You will repent of this some day," he replied. And he turned and went
away in anger.

On the morrow he came once more.

"I have come to say good-bye," he said.

"Oh!" she replied; but not a word more.

"Aren't you sorry?" he asked again.

"Yes," she replied, "because the Farthing Doll put her foot on my dress
this morning in passing me, and tore it. She is a clumsy thing."

"You are trying my patience too far," he said. "Proud Claribelle,
beware! Beware, proud Claribelle!"

"You confirm me in my resolution," said she. "I will never marry a Toy
who gives way to his temper over nothing. Once for all, our engagement
is at an end."

"I cannot believe that," he said. "Do you really mean it?"

"Certainly," she answered.

"So be it," he replied.

Then he got up from his chair with dignity, made a low bow, mounted his
Wagon, and drove away.

"I almost wish I had not said that," thought the haughty Beauty
uneasily. "I never meant him to go away so soon. If he had stayed I
should, perhaps, have altered my mind. I will tell him so when he comes
to-morrow."

But next day he did not come. Then a few tears fell from Claribelle's
haughty eyes. Nor did he come on the next, and then she shed more. Nor
on the following day; nor the day after that, nor the day after
_that_,--nor ever again! And each day poor Claribelle wept more and
more, till it was sad to see her.

At last she heard the Wagoner had left the toy-shop altogether, and she
knew she should never see him again. And she cried, and cried, and
cried, till she cried away every bit of pride in her nature! Indeed,
from being the proudest Toy in the shop she became the meekest and
gentlest--kind and thoughtful to all.

So the other Toys would often remark one to the other with surprise and
pleasure:

"Lo! how poor Claribelle hath been chastened by sorrow!"

"Poor, _poor_ Claribelle! I _am_ sorry for her!" said the little girl.

"She had, indeed, a severe lesson," answered the little Marionette.

"And did the Wagoner ever come back?"

"Never, never. He loved, but drove away."

"How sad!" sighed the little girl.

"Sad, indeed," said the Marionette. "Well, as I always say, let all
young ladies take warning by the story of Proud Claribelle, and then it
will not have been told in vain."

There was a pause.

Then the little girl said:

"Next time you tell me a story I should like it to be happy all through.
Happy, you know, from beginning to end."

The little Marionette thought a few moments, then shook her head.

"I can't remember such a story," she said. "I think there must be very
few."

"I am sorry for that," answered the little girl, disappointed. "I wanted
very much to hear one."

"We must take things as they are," said the little lady cheerfully. "If
I don't know many stories that are happy all the way through, I know
plenty that are so at the beginning, or the middle, or the end; or even
more than that."

"Which do you like best?" said the little girl.

"Oh, stories with a happy ending! You can forget that the beginning or
middle has been sad, and you can go away smiling."

"Then tell me to-morrow a story that ends happily."

"If you will," said the little Marionette.



CHAPTER VIII


On the morrow, when the two met as usual, the Marionette said to the
little girl:

"Good evening. I have thought of a story that will please you."

"Then I suppose it ends most happily, doesn't it?" asked Molly.

"Quite right," she replied. "I am going to tell you one that ends as
happily as you could wish it to. You will, I am sure, be quite satisfied
with the conclusion of: 'The Grocer and the Farthing Doll.'"



THE GROCER AND THE FARTHING DOLL


Never was there a love affair more perplexing than the love affair of
the Grocer and the Farthing Doll. It puzzled the whole toy-shop; it even
puzzled the two lovers themselves.

The affair was rather difficult to understand, but I will try to explain
it to you as simply as I can.

Everyone knew that the Grocer and the Farthing Doll loved each other;
the Grocer knew he loved the Farthing Doll, but he did not know that she
loved him; the Farthing Doll knew that she loved the Grocer, but she
didn't know if he loved her.

So everything was at a stand-still, and none of the other dolls knew how
to bring the matter to a happy end. No one quite liked to interfere. And
for these reasons: The Grocer was very proud and would take no advice,
whilst the Farthing Doll was so sensitive that a single wrong word might
cause her a serious illness. Again, the Grocer wouldn't ask the Farthing
Doll to marry him because, being a proud Toy, he feared the humiliation
of her saying "No." She, on her part, would not say much to help him,
lest it should look as if she were forward.

It was thus that matters stood, when, walking along the counter one day,
the Farthing Doll met the Grocer sauntering by with a sad face.

"Well!" she exclaimed, with a start of surprise. "Fancy seeing you
here!"

"My shop is close by," he answered. "Don't you remember?"

"To be sure," she said. "How odd of me to forget."

"I'm very pleased to see you," said the Grocer.

"I am glad of that, for I have every wish to please you," said the
Farthing Doll.

"Is that satisfactory?" he asked.

"It ought to be," she replied.

"I don't know," the Grocer said. "You may wish to please, without
loving. For instance, you may try to please a turkey by giving him the
best of grain. But that is not because you love him. It is merely
because you wish to fatten him well for your Christmas dinner."

"Good-morning!" said the Farthing Doll coldly.

"Stay!" the Grocer cried. "I have an idea. We appear to have some
difficulty in finding out the Truth. Let us go and hunt for it."

"Where is it to be found?" she asked.

"At the bottom of a Well, so I've heard."

"Then I suppose the first thing is to find the Well."

"Exactly so," he said. "Come, let us start." So they walked away hand in
hand. They hunted all up and down the counter, and asked directions of
many dolls. But never a Well could they find.

"See!" exclaimed the Farthing Doll at last; "here's a square thing that
looks something like a Well. Go, open it and look down."

"What may be inside, though?" he said cautiously.

"Truth, Truth, you silly thing!" she said impatiently. "Go!"

So he went and opened the lid.

But it was not a Well at all. It was merely the abode of
Jack-in-the-box, and when the Grocer looked in Jack jumped out. He
jumped up so suddenly that he knocked the Grocer flat on his back.

The poor fellow got up and rubbed his head.

"One gets very hard blows sometimes in the search for Truth," he said
ruefully.

"You shouldn't be in such a hurry," remarked Jack-in-the-box. "Take
things more calmly, and ask the Policeman. Kindly shut up the lid of my
box. I can't very well manage it myself, I'm so springy. Close it
firmly, please, or I shall be jumping out again, and I don't want to do
that. I wish to stay indoors to-day as much as possible, for I have a
heavy cold in my head and am sneezing every two minutes."

"_That_ didn't do much good," said the Grocer when he had done as he was
asked, and closed the lid of Jack's box.

"Let us find the Policeman," she said, holding out her hand.

"An excellent idea," he replied as he took it. "There he is, just
outside that dolls' house.

"Constable," he said, "can you direct us to the Well with Truth at the
bottom?"

"First to the right, second to the left, and keep on till you come to
it," the policeman answered, without removing his eyes from the kitchen
window.

"Not that I ever heard tell of any such Well," he added, putting his
head inside and speaking to the Little China Doll within.

"Then you're a deceiver," she said severely, as she handed him a joint
of beef tightly gummed on to a wooden platter.

"You're sure to arrive at anything if you keep on till you get it," he
answered carelessly. "So it doesn't really matter if you take the first
to the right and the second to the left, or the second to the right and
the first to the left. You are bound to get there in time.... This beef
is gummed so tightly to the dish that it is a job to get it off...."

In the meantime the Grocer and the Farthing Doll were wandering about
trying to find the Well. They sought for a long time, but they could not
see a sign of it.

"We'll never find it," she said in despair. "And I am growing so tired I
am beginning to lose all my good looks. All the crimson is wearing off
my cheeks."

"Come, come, my dear, we won't give up yet," he said. "Console
yourself; I believe many others have been in the same plight before us."

"I don't mind if they have," she said, tired and impatient.

Now the Grocer was a man of quick intellect. His thoughts were not
solely given to the selling of raisins, currants, flour, rice and other
groceries. As the Farthing Doll spoke, a very clever idea came into his
head.

"Wait!" he said thoughtfully. "Your last remark has given me a new idea.
You mentioned the word _mind_! Mind,--mind,--mind. Yes,--now why should
we not give up seeking for truth in a Well, and try to find it in our
minds?"

"Have we got them?" she asked doubtfully.

"I think so," he replied.

"Then where are they kept?"

He pondered.

"In our heads, I imagine," he said.

And tapping his forehead to help out his thought he remarked.

"Let us begin. Here is my first question: Do you approve of marriages
with Grocers?"

"Before I answer," said the Farthing Doll cautiously, "I should like to
hear if you approve of marriages with Farthing Dolls? Some people
don't."

"Ladies first. It is your place to reply to me before I reply to you."

"I prefer the last word; you may have the first."

"It is all very well to expect me to answer you, but supposing _I_ said
'Yes' and _you_ said 'No,' fancy how my pride would suffer!"

"But supposing I said 'Yes' and you said 'No,' picture to yourself what
my feelings would be. I should not recover from the blow."

"We have got ourselves into a difficult position," said the Grocer. "Let
us start afresh. If I wrote you a letter, how would you answer it?"

"As I thought best," she said. "But tell me how would you write it?"

"As I thought fit," he replied. "What would your 'best' be?"

"That would depend on your 'fit'," she answered.

The Grocer sighed and knit his brows.

"It seems very difficult to come to an understanding with you," he said.

And then they were both silent for a long while. As a matter of fact,
this was because they were both so depressed that they could think of
nothing further to say.

The Farthing Doll was the first to break the silence.

"Perhaps," she said sadly, "we had better start looking for that Well
again. The Policeman told us that if we kept on we should come to it."

"I am not sure that I trust the Policeman," he answered. "It struck me
that he wished, unobserved, to enjoy some food from the dolls' house
kitchen. He wanted to get rid of us."

"What is to be done then?" she asked.

The Grocer thought for a long while. Then he spoke again.

"I have another idea," he remarked. "Let us look for Truth not in the
Well, nor in our Minds, but in our Hearts. Do you agree?"

"Yes, I do," she said. "But how shall we set about it?"

"Let our Hearts speak," he replied.

After this they were silent for a moment or two. Then the Grocer and
the Farthing Doll clasped each other's hands and spoke at the same
moment.

    "My Heart's Dearest, I love you," said he.
    "You are my Best Beloved," said she.

So the matter ended happily, to their own joy and to the joy of the
whole toy-shop.

And these two lovers found Truth at last: not in the bottom of a Well,
but in the depths of their own Hearts.

And they married and were happy ever after.

                 *       *       *       *       *

"That was a nice ending," remarked the little girl. "I like it."

"Yes; very satisfactory, wasn't it?" said the little lady.

"How will the next story end, happily or sadly?"

"I haven't thought of it yet. You shall know to-morrow."

"I think I must go now," said the little girl. "I promised my little
cousin to have a game of nine-pins with her before bed-time."

"Wait," said the Marionette. "I have something to tell you. I think
to-morrow evening will be the last time I shall be able to speak with
you. My power of talking to a Mortal is going; it will not last after
our next meeting."

"Oh, I _am_ sorry!" exclaimed the little girl. "I do not leave till two
days after to-morrow, and I thought that you would be able to go on
telling me stories up to the very last evening."

The little Marionette shook her head.

"It will be impossible," said she.

"And after to-morrow we shall not be able to talk to each other any
more," exclaimed the little girl. "Oh, how sad!"

"Never mind, even if we cannot talk we can remain good friends. The
deepest friendship is often the quietest."

"Then we can be very great friends indeed," said the little girl with
much affection. "I am so glad, dear!"

"I am going out to-morrow afternoon to see the pantomime, but I shall
come here as early as I can," she added as she went away. "Don't you be
late."

"No, I won't," answered the Marionette.

"Remember!"

"Yes, I'll remember."

"_How_ will you remember?"

"I'll tie a knot in my hair, so that when I brush it I shall feel that
there is something to recollect."

"That's a good idea," said the little girl, and ran away in content.



CHAPTER IX


The next evening, as soon as the little girl came in, she went to their
meeting-place by the Noah's Ark.

But the little Marionette was not to be found.

"This is too bad of her!" said the little girl. "Our last time! And
after she has promised not to be late!"

Tears rose to her eyes.

"I am very much disappointed," said she as she walked up and down the
shop looking for her friend.

"I shall never find her.... Why, _there_ she is!" she exclaimed
suddenly.

And she hurried up to the little Marionette, who, half-concealed by a
big Drum, lay on the ground beside a Puzzle.

"You are not very kind," remarked the little girl reproachfully. "I
asked you to be early, and you never came at all."

"I am very sorry," answered the little Marionette in a tired voice.

Then she sat up, and the little girl saw with much sorrow and surprise
that she was quite disfigured. Her nose was broken, her eyes were
crooked, and her face was quite knocked about. All the little girl's
annoyance vanished, and her heart was full of pity.

"Oh, you poor dear little dolly!" she cried; "what _has_ happened to
you?"

"I have hurt myself," was the answer. "I tripped up over this Puzzle."

"I am sorry. Are you very badly hurt?" asked her little friend with
pity.

"Never mind me. I promised to tell you one more story, and I shall do
so," answered the little Marionette.

She spoke very sadly, and the little girl picked her up and kissed her.

"Would you not like to put off telling me a story to-day?" she asked.

"No. I should like to do so," the Marionette answered, "for it is our
last meeting. Put me back on the counter and I will tell it to you."

"Shall I put you back where I found you?"

"No, take me back to our old place. I am tired of this Puzzle."

So the little girl took her to the Noah's Ark, and placed her with her
back to it.

"What is your story about, dear?" the little girl asked, drawing her
chair close to the counter, and bending her head close to the little
Marionette, the better to hear her small voice--weaker and more tiny
that evening than usual.

"About a little Marionette like myself, whose best and dearest friend
left her and thought she didn't mind. And all the while she minded so
very much! More than she knew how to say!"

"Poor little Marionette!" said Molly.

"It _was_ sad, for it was only a mistake, wasn't it?" said the little
Marionette lady with a sigh. "But you shall hear all about it. Listen
whilst I tell you the story of: 'The Last Performance.'"



THE LAST PERFORMANCE


The two little Marionette dolls had just finished their dance before an
admiring throng of Toys, and the curtain had, that moment, fallen upon
their last performance.

"So now," sighed the little lady Marionette to her partner; "so now the
play is over. We shall never act together again. I heard the woman who
owned the shop say that she was going to separate us, and sell us as
ordinary Toys. She said there was so little demand for Marionettes
nowadays.... But you heard that as well as I, didn't you?"

"Yes, I heard," he answered. "And more, too. She said she was going to
send me away with some other Toys to a Christmas-tree. So that it will
be good-bye for a long while."

The little lady Marionette patted the paniers of her pretty brocade
dress and remained silent.

"You don't mind that, do you?" her partner said. "I thought you
wouldn't."

"I do mind," she answered at last.

"Yes; very much I am sure," he said.

"You hurt my feelings," she replied.

"I wouldn't do that for the whole world--not for ten worlds," he
answered.

She smiled.

"Oh, you smile!" he said. "Then you do not mind very much after all."

"I smile because it makes me happy to hear you speak kindly to me
again," she answered.

But her answer did not please him.

"You smile at everything," he said "Nothing troubles you much."

"It troubles me that you should be going away; away from me into the
wide world," she said.

"It will trouble you for half an hour, not longer," said he. "Only half
an hour, that's all. I must leave you now."

"Don't," said she. "_Stay._"

"I can't," said he. "Good-bye."

And he went straight away without another word.

"He does not know how dear he is to my heart or he would not leave me
so," said the little Marionette to herself after he had left.

Then she threw herself down on the counter and cried as if her heart
were breaking. She threw herself down so violently that she broke her
nose and knocked her eyes awry. But she was too miserable to care. She
lay still and cried on.

At last a friend of hers came along--a friend who was a Doll of common
sense and practical ways.

"What is all this about?" she asked. "Why are you crying?"

"Because half an hour may last for so long," wept the little Marionette.

"You are talking nonsense," she replied contemptuously. "Everybody knows
that half an hour can only last thirty minutes."

"Not always. It may sometimes last a whole year--many years."

"Tut, tut!" replied the common-sense Doll; "you have no reasoning power.
That I can see by your face. Still, if I can help you I will. What would
you have me do?"

"Give me back my dream," said the Marionette. Then she covered her face
with her hands and gave a great sigh.

The common-sense Doll looked even more practical than before.

"That is it, is it?" she said. "A morbid longing after a Dream. I begin
to understand. Nerves,--indigestion,--too many sweet things,--I fear I
cannot, then, be of much assistance. However, the General of the Tin
Soldiers has a wonderful turn for doctoring, quite a natural gift. I
will send him to you. He may be able to do you some good."

So she went on her way, and the little Marionette was once more alone
with her sorrow and regret.

By and by, however, the General of the Tin Soldiers trotted up on his
handsome black charger, and reined in before her.

"My dear little lady," he said kindly, if pompously, "in what pitiful
condition do I find you? Come, come, tell an old soldier, who has been
through much himself, all about it." And, as she did not at once answer:
"Well," he continued good-naturedly, "never mind. Do not trouble to
speak, I will prescribe for you. I recognize your complaint, and have
already treated with much success a large number of my Tin Soldiers
suffering in the same way. This, then, is my prescription for your
malady: plenty of fresh air; exercise in moderation; early hours and
plain diet. But don't let your diet become monotonous. For example, a
rice pudding one day, sago the next, tapioca the third. And a little
gentle amusement every now and then to keep up your spirits; Christy
Minstrels; a pleasant, little musical gathering of friends; and so on.
Finally, a powerful tonic to put a little more color into those poor
little cheeks. Kindly permit me to feel your pulse."

And so saying the General bent from his saddle and courteously took the
little Marionette's hand. Then, looking much alarmed, "_Galloping,
galloping!_" he exclaimed, "I must do likewise, and order you a tonic at
the nearest chemist's without delay."

And putting spurs into his horse he rode away hurriedly.

"All that won't do me any good," said the little Marionette aloud. "I
don't want that."

"What do I want?" she sighed.

"A jest, my good creature," said a voice near her, and looking up she
saw the Clown with his hands in his pockets dancing a double-shuffle in
front of her.

"A jest," he repeated. Then as he danced and shook the bells on his cap,
he chanted in time to the movement of his feet--

    "Broken nose and crooked eyes,
    Broken heart and mournful sighs,--
    Life's a jest for a' that."

"No, it isn't; not to me," answered the little Marionette very sadly.

"It will be, by and by," he said cheerfully.

"No; not to me," she repeated.

The Clown looked at her with sympathy.

"Shall I tell you a good story?" he asked. "Quite one of my best?"

"You are very kind," said the little Marionette. "I think, though, I
would rather hear it another time, if you do not mind."

"Not at all," answered the Clown as he danced away, jingling his bells
as he went. "_I_ don't mind, I'm not easily hurt. But take my advice, if
the situation is not a jest in itself make a jest dove-tail into the
situation. Good-bye, my little friend. Cheer up."

"Cheer up!" repeated the little lady. "But it is not easy. I shall have
to wait until the half-hour is over before I can do that."

After this she lay on the counter quietly, without taking notice of
anything or anyone. And the other Toys, seeing she wished to be left to
herself, did not disturb her.

By and by, the time when the Toys are able to talk and move about passed
by, and they all became still once more: just as you are accustomed to
see them. And people passed in and out, and to and fro, but the little
lady Marionette lay unobserved--alone and unhappy in her corner of the
counter.

"The half-hour is very long," she said. "Will it ever end? My heart is
very heavy...."

The little Marionette made a long pause.

"Go on, if you please," said the little girl.

But the little lady remained silent.

"_Do_ go on," repeated her small friend.

Yet she never answered.

"What is the matter with you?" asked the little girl impatiently.

She looked closely at the Marionette as she spoke.

Why, were those tears she saw, or was it only the light shining upon
the little lady's glass eyes? Glass eyes shine very easily, it is true.
Still, supposing she _were_ crying and wanted to be comforted? She would
ask her.

"You are not crying, dear, are you?" said the little girl.

The little Marionette gave a great sigh.

"Perhaps," she replied gently.

"What is it about?" asked the little girl with much sympathy.

Then all at once she understood.

"I believe," she exclaimed, "you have been telling me a story about
yourself! It all happened to you to-day, while I was away, didn't it?"

The little lady rubbed two tiny wax hands across her two glass eyes.
"You have guessed rightly," she said in a little faltering voice.

"Oh, I am sorry!" said her little friend with great sympathy. "I have
been out all the afternoon, so I never heard Auntie say she was going to
send you and your partner away from each other. And fancy his going away
and leaving you as he did! You poor little thing, how I _wish_ I could
do something to make you happier!"

Molly thought a moment. "I know!" she exclaimed; "you shall belong to
me, my dear. I shall ask Auntie to give you to me, and you shall be my
very own dolly!"

"Come with me, darling," she continued, hugging the little Marionette
tightly, "and I will sing you to sleep in Auntie's big rocking-chair. I
will make up a nice song all by myself and all about you. You will see
then how much I love you, and you won't cry any more. When you wake up
you will feel happier again."

And going into the room at the back of the shop, she drew a
rocking-chair near the cheerful blaze of the bright fire and sat down,
still clasping the little Marionette in her arms.

At first she rocked to and fro silently, and with a thoughtful
expression. Presently she gave a sudden jerk to the rocking-chair, and
sung in a shrill sweet voice, and with some energy--

    "Lulla_by_, little dolly, lulla_by_, lulla_by_,
    Your poor nose is broken, your eyes are awry,
    But I'll love you and kiss you, so you must just try
    Not to cry, little dolly,--lulla_by_, lulla_by_."

"Lullaby," she said more gently, and kissed her fondly. Then she began
afresh, but more softly and soothingly--

    "Lulla_by_, little dolly, lulla_by_, lulla_by_,
    You know you are ugly and rather a guy,
    But my arms are around you, so why should you sigh?
    Just you sleep, little dolly,--lulla_by_, lulla_by_."

"Lullaby," she whispered, and kissed her again very tenderly.

"This is not poetry, only rhyme, and not very flattering rhyme either,"
murmured the little Marionette. "But if it is not poetry it is love....
And it brings comfort to my sore heart, which the reasoning, and the
doctoring, and the jesting could not do...."

She whispered something more, but very weakly. Her power of talking to a
Mortal had all but left her, and the child had to put her head quite
close to the little lady so as to be able to catch what she said.

"Let me always stay with you," the little Marionette just managed to
whisper.

"Always, dear," said her little friend.

And then the little lady fell asleep quite happily. That at least was
what the little girl thought. And if _she_ thought so _we_ might as well
think the same.

                 *       *       *       *       *

"You want me to give you that little Marionette?" said the owner of the
toy-shop to the little girl that same evening. "Very well, Molly, you
shall have her."

"Oh, thank you, Auntie!" replied her little niece with much gratitude.

"There is not very much to thank me for," remarked her aunt. "She is not
worth anything now. I can't imagine," she added, "how it is that she has
got so knocked about."

Now the little girl had no need to imagine it, for she knew. But she
kept her knowledge to herself, fearing that if she told her Aunt what
had happened she would be laughed at as a fanciful child.

But we should not have laughed at her,--should we? There would have been
no fancy at out the matter for us. For _we_ know that the Toy World is a
very real World indeed!



                 *       *       *       *       *



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Altemus' Illustrated

WEE BOOKS FOR WEE FOLKS

Filled with charming stories, beautifully illustrated with pictures in
colors and black and white. Daintily, yet durably bound. Price, 50 cents
each.

NURSERY TALES.--NURSERY RHYMES.--THE STORY OF PETER RABBIT.--THE FOOLISH
FOX.--THREE LITTLE PIGS.--THE ROBBER KITTEN.

                 *       *       *       *       *

CHILDREN'S GIFT SERIES

A new series of the most famous children's classics, in new and
attractive bindings with full page illustrations in color and black and
white. Cloth, 4to, 75 cents each.

ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND.--THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS AND WHAT
ALICE FOUND THERE.--A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES.--MOTHER GOOSE'S RHYMES,
JINGLES AND FAIRY TALES.--SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.--THE ADVENTURES OF
ROBINSON CRUSOE.--GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.--ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.--BIBLE
PICTURES AND STORIES.--ANIMAL STORIES FOR LITTLE PEOPLE.

                 *       *       *       *       *

ONE-SYLLABLE SERIES

For Young Readers

Embracing popular works arranged for the young folks in words of one
syllable. With numerous illustrations by the best artists. Handsomely
bound, with illuminated covers. Price, 50 cents each.

ÆSOP'S FABLES.--A CHILD'S LIFE OF CHRIST.--THE ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON
CRUSOE.--BUNYAN'S PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.--SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.--GULLIVER'S
TRAVELS.--A CHILD'S STORY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.--A CHILD'S STORY OF THE
NEW TESTAMENT.--BIBLE STORIES FOR LITTLE CHILDREN.--THE STORY OF JESUS.

                 *       *       *       *       *

Altemus' Illustrated

DAINTY SERIES OF CHOICE GIFT BOOKS

Bound in half-white vellum, illuminated sides, unique designs in gold
and colors, with numerous half-tone illustrations. Price, 50 cents each.

THE SILVER BUCKLE. By M. Nataline Crumpton.

CHARLES DICKENS' CHILDREN STORIES.

THE CHILDREN'S SHAKESPEARE.

YOUNG ROBIN HOOD. By G. Manville Fenn.

HONOR BRIGHT. By Mary C. Rowsell.

THE VOYAGE OF THE MARY ADAIR. By Frances E. Crompton.

THE KINGFISHER'S EGG. By L. T. Meade.

TATTINE. By Ruth Ogden.

THE DOINGS OF A DEAR LITTLE COUPLE. By Mary D. Brine.

OUR SOLDIER BOY. By G. Manville Fenn.

THE LITTLE SKIPPER. By G. Manville Fenn.

LITTLE GERVAISE AND OTHER STORIES.

THE CHRISTMAS FAIRY. By John Strange Winter.

MOLLY THE DRUMMER BOY. By Harriet T. Comstock.

HOW A "DEAR LITTLE COUPLE" WENT ABROAD. By Mary D. Brine.

THE ROSE-CARNATION. By Frances E. Crompton.

MOTHER'S LITTLE MAN. By Mary D. Brine.

LITTLE SWAN MAIDENS. By Frances E. Crompton.

LITTLE LADY VAL. By Evelyn Everett Green.

A YOUNG HERO. By G. Manville Fenn.

QUEEN OF THE DAY. By L. T. Meade.

THAT LITTLE FRENCH BABY. By John Strange Winter.

THE POWDER MONKEY. By G. Manville Fenn.

THE DOLL THAT TALKED. By Tudor Jenks.

WHAT CHARLIE FOUND TO DO. By Amanda M. Douglas.

                 *       *       *       *       *

Altemus'

YOUNG FOLKS PUZZLE PICTURES' SERIES

A new series for young people, including numerous Puzzle Pictures by the
best artists. Full cloth, illuminated cover design. Price, 50 cents
each.

MOTHER GOOSE'S PUZZLE PICTURES.

THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT, WITH PUZZLE PICTURES.

ANIMAL TALES, WITH PUZZLE PICTURES.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WITH PUZZLE PICTURES.

DOG TALES, CAT TALES AND OTHER TALES, WITH PUZZLE PICTURES.

                 *       *       *       *       *

Altemus' Illustrated

MOTHER STORIES SERIES

An entirely new series, including the best stories that mothers can tell
their children. Handsomely printed and profusely illustrated. Ornamental
cloth. Price, 50 cents each.

MOTHER STORIES. 89 illustrations.

MOTHER NURSERY RHYMES AND TALES. 135 illustrations.

MOTHER FAIRY TALES. 117 illustrations.

MOTHER NATURE STORIES. 97 illustrations.

MOTHER STORIES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT. 45 illustrations.

MOTHER STORIES FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT. 45 illustrations.

MOTHER BEDTIME STORIES. 86 illustrations.

MOTHER ANIMAL STORIES. 92 illustrations.

MOTHER BIRD STORIES. 131 illustrations.

MOTHER SANTA CLAUS STORIES. 91 illustrations.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

The keynote of these books is manliness. The stories are wonderfully
entertaining, and they are at the same time sound and wholesome. No boy
will willingly lay down an unfinished book in this series.

1 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB OF THE KENNEBEC; Or, The Secret of Smugglers'
Island.

2 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB AT NANTUCKET; Or, The Mystery of the Dunstan Heir.

3 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB OFF LONG ISLAND; Or, A Daring Marine Game at
Racing Speed.

4 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB AND THE WIRELESS; Or, The Dot, Dash and Dare
Cruise.

5 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB IN FLORIDA; Or, Laying the Ghost of Alligator
Swamp.

6 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB AT THE GOLDEN GATE; Or, A Thrilling Capture in the
Great Fog.

7 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB ON THE GREAT LAKES; Or, The Flying Dutchman of the
Big Fresh Water.

Cloth, Illustrated. Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS

By Frank Gee Patchin

Have you any idea of the excitements, the glories of life on great
ranches in the West? Any bright boy will "devour" the books of this
series, once he has made a start with the first volume.

1 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS ON THE RANCH; Or, The Boy Shepherds of
the Great Divide.

2 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS' GREATEST ROUND-UP; Or, Pitting Their
Wits Against a Packers' Combine.

3 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS ON THE PLAINS; Or, Following the Steam
Plows Across the Prairie.

4 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS AT CHICAGO; Or, The Conspiracy of the
Wheat Pit.

Cloth, Illustrated. Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

SUBMARINE BOYS SERIES

By Victor G. Durham

These splendid books for boys and girls deal with life aboard submarine
torpedo boats, and with the adventures of the young crew, and possess,
in addition to the author's surpassing knack of storytelling, a great
educational value for all young readers.

1 THE SUBMARINE BOYS ON DUTY; Or, Life on a Diving Torpedo Boat.

2 THE SUBMARINE BOYS' TRIAL TRIP; Or, "Making Good" as Young Experts.

3 THE SUBMARINE BOYS AND THE MIDDIES; Or, The Prize Detail at Annapolis.

4 THE SUBMARINE BOYS AND THE SPIES; Or, Dodging the Sharks of the Deep.

5 THE SUBMARINE BOYS' LIGHTNING CRUISE; Or, The Young Kings of the Deep.

6 THE SUBMARINE BOYS FOR THE FLAG; Or, Deeding Their Lives to Uncle Sam.

7 THE SUBMARINE BOYS AND THE SMUGGLERS; Or, Breaking Up the New Jersey
Customs Frauds.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE SQUARE DOLLAR BOYS SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

The reading boy will be a voter within a few years; these books are
bound to make him think, and when he casts his vote he will do it more
intelligently for having read these volumes.

1 THE SQUARE DOLLAR BOYS WAKE UP; Or, Fighting the Trolley Franchise
Steal.

2 THE SQUARE DOLLAR BOYS SMASH THE RING; Or, In the Lists Against the
Crooked Land Deal.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

BEN LIGHTBODY SERIES

By Walter Benham

1 BEN LIGHTBODY, SPECIAL; Or, Seizing His First Chance to Make Good.

2 BEN LIGHTBODY'S BIGGEST PUZZLE; Or, Running the Double Ghost to Earth.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

PONY RIDER BOYS SERIES

By Frank Gee Patchin

These tales may be aptly described as those of a new Cooper. In every
sense they belong to the best class of books for boys and girls.

1 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE ROCKIES; Or, The Secret of the Lost Claim.

2 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN TEXAS; Or, The Veiled Riddle of the Plains.

3 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN MONTANA; Or, The Mystery of the Old Custer
Trail.

4 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE OZARKS; Or, The Secret of Ruby Mountain.

5 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE ALKALI; Or, Finding a Key to the Desert
Maze.

6 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN NEW MEXICO; Or, The End of the Silver Trail.

7 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE GRAND CANYON; Or, The Mystery of Bright
Angel Gulch.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE BOYS OF STEEL SERIES

By James R. Mears

The author has made of these volumes a series of romances with scenes
laid in the iron and steel world. Each book presents a vivid picture of
some phase of this great industry. The information given is exact and
truthful; above all, each story is full of adventure and fascination.

1 THE IRON BOYS IN THE MINES; Or, Starting at the Bottom of the Shaft.

2 THE IRON BOYS AS FOREMEN; Or, Heading the Diamond Drill Shift.

3 THE IRON BOYS ON THE ORE BOATS; Or, Roughing It on the Great Lakes.

4 THE IRON BOYS IN THE STEEL MILLS; Or, Beginning Anew in the Cinder
Pits.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

WEST POINT SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

The principal characters in these narratives are manly, young Americans
whose doings will inspire all boy readers.

1 DICK PRESCOTT'S FIRST YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or, Two Chums in the Cadet
Gray.

2 DICK PRESCOTT'S SECOND YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or, Finding the Glory of
the Soldier's Life.

3 DICK PRESCOTT'S THIRD YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or, Standing Firm for Flag
and Honor.

4 DICK PRESCOTT'S FOURTH YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or, Ready to Drop the Gray
for Shoulder Straps.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

ANNAPOLIS SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

The Spirit of the new Navy is delightfully and truthfully depicted in
these volumes.

1 DAVE DARRIN'S FIRST YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or, Two Plebe Midshipmen at the
U. S. Naval Academy.

2 DAVE DARRIN'S SECOND YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or, Two Midshipmen as Naval
Academy "Youngsters."

3 DAVE DARRIN'S THIRD YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or, Leaders of the Second Class
Midshipmen.

4 DAVE DARRIN'S FOURTH YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or, Headed for Graduation and
the Big Cruise.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE YOUNG ENGINEERS SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

The heroes of these stories are known to readers of the High School Boys
Series. In this new series Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton prove worthy of
all the traditions of Dick & Co.

1 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN COLORADO; Or, At Railroad Building in Earnest.

2 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN ARIZONA; Or, Laying Tracks on the "Man-Killer"
Quicksand.

3 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN NEVADA; Or, Seeking Fortune on the Turn of a
Pick.

4 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN MEXICO; Or, Fighting the Mine Swindlers.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

BOYS OF THE ARMY SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

These books breathe the life and spirit of the United States Army of
to-day, and the life, just as it is, is described by a master pen.

1 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS IN THE RANKS; Or, Two Recruits in the United States
Army.

2 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS ON FIELD DUTY; Or, Winning Corporal's Chevrons.

3 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS AS SERGEANTS; Or, Handling Their First Real Commands.

4 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS IN THE PHILIPPINES; Or, Following the Flag Against
the Moros.

(Other volumes to follow rapidly.)

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

BATTLESHIP BOYS SERIES

By Frank Gee Patchin

These stories throb with the life of young Americans on to-day's huge
drab Dreadnaughts.

1 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS AT SEA; Or, Two Apprentices in Uncle Sam's Navy.

2 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS FIRST STEP UPWARD; Or, Winning Their Grades as
Petty Officers.

3 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS IN FOREIGN SERVICE; Or, Earning New Ratings in
European Seas.

4 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS IN THE TROPICS; Or, Upholding the American Flag in
a Honduras Revolution.

(Other volumes to follow rapidly.)

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE MEADOW-BROOK GIRLS SERIES

By Janet Aldridge

Real live stories pulsing with the vibrant atmosphere of outdoor life.

1 THE MEADOW-BROOK GIRLS UNDER CANVAS; Or, Fun and Frolic in the Summer
Camp.

2 THE MEADOW-BROOK GIRLS ACROSS COUNTRY; Or, The Young Pathfinders on a
Summer Hike.

3 THE MEADOW-BROOK GIRLS AFLOAT; Or, The Stormy Cruise of the Red Rover.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

In this series of bright, crisp books a new note has been struck.

Boys of every age under sixty will be interested in these fascinating
volumes.

1 THE HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMEN; Or, Dick & Co.'s First Year Pranks and
Sports.

2 THE HIGH SCHOOL PITCHER; Or, Dick & Co. on the Gridley Diamond.

3 THE HIGH SCHOOL LEFT END; Or, Dick & Co. Grilling on the Football
Gridiron.

4 THE HIGH SCHOOL CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM; Or, Dick & Co. Leading the
Athletic Vanguard.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

This series of stories, based on the actual doings of grammar school
boys, comes near to the heart of the average American boy.

1 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS OF GRIDLEY; Or, Dick & Co. Start Things
Moving.

2 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS SNOWBOUND; Or, Dick & Co. at Winter Sports.

3 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS IN THE WOODS; Or, Dick & Co. Trail Fun and
Knowledge.

4 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS IN SUMMER ATHLETICS; Or, Dick & Co. Make Their
Fame Secure.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

HIGH SCHOOL BOY'S VACATION SERIES

By H. Irving Hancock

"Give us more Dick Prescott books!"

This has been the burden of the cry from young readers of the country
over. Almost numberless letters have been received by the publishers,
making this eager demand; for Dick Prescott, Dave Darrin, Tom Reade, and
the other members of Dick & Co. are the most popular high school boys in
the land. Boys will alternately thrill and chuckle when reading these
splendid narratives.

1 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' CANOE CLUB; Or, Dick & Co.'s Rivals on Lake
Pleasant.

2 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS IN SUMMER CAMP; Or, The Dick Prescott Six
Training for the Gridley Eleven.

3 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' FISHING TRIP; Or, Dick & Co. in the Wilderness.

4 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' TRAINING HIKE; Or, Dick & Co. Making Themselves
"Hard as Nails."

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE CIRCUS BOYS SERIES

By Edgar B. P. Darlington

Mr. Darlington's books breathe forth every phase of an intensely
interesting and exciting life.

1 THE CIRCUS BOYS ON THE FLYING RINGS; Or, Making the Start in the
Sawdust Life.

2 THE CIRCUS BOYS ACROSS THE CONTINENT; Or, Winning New Laurels on the
Tanbark.

3 THE CIRCUS BOYS IN DIXIE LAND; Or, Winning the Plaudits of the Sunny
South.

4 THE CIRCUS BOYS ON THE MISSISSIPPI; Or, Afloat with the Big Show on
the Big River.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS SERIES

By Jessie Graham Flower, A. M.

These breezy stories of the American High School Girl take the reader
fairly by storm.

1 GRACE HARLOWE'S PLEBE YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL; Or, The Merry Doings of the
Oakdale Freshman Girls.

2 GRACE HARLOWE'S SOPHOMORE YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL; Or, The Record of the
Girl Chums in Work and Athletics.

3 GRACE HARLOWE'S JUNIOR YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL; Or, Fast Friends in the
Sororities.

4 GRACE HARLOWE'S SENIOR YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL; Or, The Parting of the
Ways.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

                 *       *       *       *       *

THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS SERIES

By Laura Dent Crane

No girl's library--no family book-case--can be considered at all complete
unless it contains these sparkling twentieth-century books.

1 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS AT NEWPORT; Or, Watching the Summer Parade.

2 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS IN THE BERKSHIRES; Or, The Ghost of Lost Man's
Trail.

3 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS ALONG THE HUDSON; Or, Fighting Fire in Sleepy
Hollow.

4 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS AT CHICAGO; Or, Winning Out Against Heavy Odds.

5 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS AT PALM BEACH; Or, Proving Their Mettle Under
Southern Skies.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.





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